Monthly Archives: May 2017

Cell phones: Know why before the buy

GSM is the most popular cell phone standard, and is used internationally, GSM originally stood for Groupe Spécial Mobile but now means Global System for Mobile communications. Almost 80% of the world’s people use this form of cell phone carrier. This blogger had no knowledge of this term or any other as well as their significance. Below i a breakdown of each term and its importance to the buyer.

For practical and everyday purposes, GSM offers users wider international roaming capabilities than other US network technologies and can enable a cell phone to be a “world phone.” What’s more, things like easily swapping phones and using data while on a call is supported with GSM networks. GSM also has the advantage of easily swappable SIM cards. GSM phones use the SIM card to store your (the subscriber’s) information like your phone number and other data that proves you are in fact a subscriber to that carrier.This means you can put the SIM card into any GSM phone to instantly continue using it on the network with all your previous subscription information (like your number) to make phone calls, text, etc.  

Most people overseas like these phones because they are universal, that is they can be used with any carrier in the U.S.. A lot of  International students enjoyed their phones and purchased top of the line to avoid roaming fees. Some avoid the two year contract too.

Unlocked cell phones are phones that can be used by more than one service provider.On the negative side, they cost more than a locked phones. One could ask their provider to unlock their locked phone, but it could make one’s warranty null and void. Another thing that might prevent the carrier from doing this is if the user had an two-year contract.

These phones are in high demand by the international visitor because:

  1. It can give them more freedom to use their phone as they like

  2. it can save money. Getting out of a two-year contract can be costly too

Recently, Samsung launched the Galaxy S8 and the 8+ in Ghana via a host of public events using Lexis Bill. A few of the main attractions on this phone:

  1. It’s bezel-less, meaning there is more screen

  2. Full frontal– meaning it is borderless

  3. edge to edge -stretching almost to the end

The closest competitor, the Xiaomi’s Mi Mix, is sold only in China, can be purchased for 3449 yuan ($510) online. One should pay attention to the reviews. Improvement is needed for a better reccommendation the cost to produce them is astronomical, hence the limitation in availabity. The camera’s pretty average at best and taking selfies can be awkward. This blogger only sold products having four stars or more on Amazon.com.

Locked means only carriers that have software with a partiular type of phone can unlock it with a csde. When the carriers decide to support the manufacturer’s phone as part of their product range, they access this software using the code and use it to add a carrier lock to the phone. The lock ties the phone to the carrier’s network, so people who purchase the phone from the carrier can’t use it on anyone else’s network even if they remove the SIM card and replace it with one that uses a different network. Phones are locked to prevent people from buying a phone cheaper than market price using a two-year contract, and then switching carriers, leaving the original carrier out of pocket. It made it harder for the consumer to leave the carrier.

Using my land phone got to be expensive at $90 a month. The only way to slash the bill is to bundle with the cable company or phone company. Neither are liked by me because both of then had a monopoly in the area. Spectrum is tight-fisted about giving any type of yearly discounts. Before taking over for Time Warner Cable, my connection to cable and internet remained iffy on a daily basis. U.S. Cellular did not allow my Galaxy S5 on their network. For this, a refurbished phone is needed, but not at an additional $78.They wanted me to purchase a bundle too. My landline went wireless by usig the old AT&T line after the change of providers. Because my plan is A Simple Home Phone Plan there is no:

  1. Online access to paying bills, they are eitther mailed in or paid by phone

  2. Calling overseas-These numbers are blocked-This is built in tto the plan

  3. unwanted callers like spam calls put through-Some are forwareded to my cell and blocked if there isn’t already a busy signal.

Whether my cell phone became locked or unlocked, this blogger now knew the difference between the three. In spite of having a locked cell phone, my Samsung Galaxy S5 was still usable on three other service provider networks.

Sources:

What Does GSM Mean?

 MTE Explains: The Difference Between a Locked and an Unlocked Smartphone 

Before You Buy Unlocked Cell Phones or Smartphones

Xiaomi Mi Mix review

Xiaomi’s Mi Mix is one amazing almost bezel-less phone

A gorgeous con

Samsung and Apple iPhones available at The Movie Store

 

I love to write about trending topics and real life experiences. I love to read and write Science Fiction and Fantasy stories dealing with parallel worlds.

Ransomware–WannaCry Microsoft’s latest concern for older OS’s

There are different types of ransomware, according to Microsoft. rir , demanding money to decrypt . This was worse than the Melissa virus and most pop ups that tell people there may be a virus on their computer and give them a number to call for repairs.

They can target any PC users, whether it’s a home computer, endpoints in an enterprise network, or servers used by a government agency or health care provider.

Ransomware—What it does

Ransomware can:

  • Prevent users from accessing Windows.
  • Encrypt files so people can’t use them.
  • Stop certain apps from running (like the web browser).

Ransomware will demand payment of money (a “ransom”) to get access to the PC or files. We have also seen them make the user complete surveys.

There isn’t any guarantee that paying the fine or doing what the ransomware told one gave them access to their PC or files again.

The ransomware typically contacts a central server for the information it needs to activate, and then begins encrypting files on the infected computer with that information. Once all the files are encrypted, it posts a message asking for payment to decrypt the files – and threatens to destroy the information if it doesn’t get paid, often with a timer attached to ramp up the pressure.

 

Ransomware WannaCry—The North Korean connection

Technical details within an early version of the WannaCry code are similar to code used in a 2015 backdoor created by the government-linked North Korean hackers, who were implicated in the 2014 attack on Sony Pictures and an $81m heist on a Bangladeshi bank in 2016Lazarus Group has also been known to use and target Bitcoin in its hacking operations. The similarities were first spotted by Google security researcher Neal Mehta and echoed by other researchers including Matthieu Suiche from UAE-based Comae Technologies.

This didn’t mean, however, that the same group or groups are responsible for the major cyber attack that occurred over the weekend. Anyone with computer coding knowledge could easily duplicate the effects of a ‘false flag’ thereby confusing those assigned to find the culprit. That is only if they can find the original code, which appeared to not be in later versions of the WannaCry program.

The WannaCry exploits used in the attack were drawn from a cache of exploits stolen from the NSA by the Shadow Brokers in August 2016. The NSA and other government agencies around the world create and collect vulnerabilities in popular pieces of software (such as Windows) and cyber weapons to use for intelligence gathering and cyber warfare.

How did Ransomware WannaCry differ from the Melissa Virus?

The ransom ware typically contacts a central server for the information it needs to activate, and then begins encrypting files on the infected computer with that information. Once all the files are encrypted, it posts a message asking for payment to decrypt the files – and threatens to destroy the information if it doesn’t get paid, often with a timer attached to ramp up the pressure.

Melissa is a fast-spreading macro virus that is distributed as an e-mail attachment that, when opened, disables a number of safeguards in Word 97 or Word 2000, and, if the user has the Microsoft Outlook e-mail program, causes the virus to be resent to the first 50 people in each of the user’s address books. While it does not destroy files or other resources, Melissa has the potential to disable corporate and other mail servers as the ripple of e-mail distribution becomes a much larger wave. Melissa caused the Microsoft Corporation to shut down incoming e-mail. Intel and other companies also reported being affected. The U. S. Department of Defense-funded Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) issued a warning about the virus and developed a fix.

This reminded me of the pop up alerts of a possible virus being on my computer and giving the user a supposed 800 number to call for repairs. The computer tech requested payment before proving their ability to fix the problem. The same thing happened in August 2014. The person on the phone, a foreigner with a thick Indian accent, saying he was affiliated with Microsoft, warned me of the same thing and spent the next seven hours trying to gain access to my laptop unsuccessfully. This same company ‘bothered’ me for the next four or five months until my reporting them to the credit card company and FTC. The ironic thing was that someone with a thick Australian, English, or New Zealand accent called me a year later claiming the same thing. I relayed the same story to the FTC again.

At this time, that company has called me twice. The first time, the PCSpeedy affiliate said they no longer support Windows XP. Microsoft support ended in April 2016. The last two phone calls stated that they lost their affiliate status from Microsoft and had to pay its customers back.

Ironically, Microsoft issued a special fix for older Windows operating systems in custom support only, like Windows XP, 8 and Server 2003, to prevent the massive ransomware attack that occurred in the UK last weekend. Even more extraordinary, the ransomware program had a kill switch, discovered by someone in their early 20s. For the moment, the attack has lessened. Microsoft has warned the public that no on should continue using older Windows operating systems.

 

 

 

 

Sources:

WannaCry ransomware has links to North Korea, cybersecurity experts say

Malware Protection Center

What is WannaCry ransomware and why is it attacking global computers?

What is Melissa virus? – Definition from Whatis.com – SearchSecurity

What is WannaCry ransomware and why is it attacking global computers?

I love to write about trending topics and real life experiences. I love to read and write Science Fiction and Fantasy stories dealing with parallel worlds.

Meals on Wheels a ‘necessary’ program for nation’s seniors

As a disabled person, I am scared. I know a lot of senior folks receiving Meals on Wheels. Thankfully, I can cook for myself. The question is what will the recipients do if this program is cut? The article said that it cost more to place a senior in a nursing home just because they couldn’t cook for themselves. I don’t see much savings in that.

How these cuts affect me….

I have to get housing assistance because the rent at my current location got too expensive. With no job and mounting expenses, sacrifices have to be made.  I have to move in August and still don’t have my voucher. When I renewed my application, the lady informed me that they had not gotten their funding. Thanks to Trump’s budget cuts, this might not be till January 2018.

While some places offer rent based on income, It is better on Section 8. Trump’s realization has not caught up to how these cuts affect people. Meals on Wheels is one of the necessary programs, nor wasteful.

I also found out that the local medical bus that took me to my doctor’s appointments last year will cease operation May 31. This was another one of those programs that Trump thought ‘wasteful’. It will probably go to an ‘as needed’ basis. I pray that this requirement can be met by me.

Meals on Wheels got 35 percent of its funding through state subsidies. It was not on the budget cut list.

I am not on Medicaid, but I heard Mac Thornberry’s Town Hall meeting on The American Health Care Act, which was supposed to replace Obama Care and didn’t because it failed. I probably won’t get the written letter I was promised either. I am still waiting. There were a lot of questions about Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security and Veterans benefits. Obama Care took a big chunk of Medicare funds to run their program. When they refused to expand the Medicaid funding with this program, it hurt a lot of people. My Medicare premium went from $63.20 to $79.80 a month.

Trump’s realization is that he sees the need for the programs about to undergo severe
budget cuts. However, it did not mean that he is to protect the recipients of Meals on Wheels or
the other programs. Meals on Wheels got 35% of its funding from the government. It might get
hit indirectly though. The Trump administration planned to slash 18% of the Health and Human
Services for his defense spending.

Now, this man wants to use funds from the money El Chapo stole to fund the wall separating the U.S. and Mexico. Someone told me he should be paying from his own pocket. He sure has a lot of nerve. That i’ll give him.

At least with Hillary Clinton in charge, things would be different. She would have left the situation with North Korea alone. She would have let Putin disgrace himself instead of the current ‘cold war’ stance that exists now.

India is upset because the travel ban kept them from getting visas to work on America’s tech line. China, Russia, and North Korea are allies. Trump’s realization is that all three have ruffled feathers because of him, but he doesn’t care. He still has diplomacy issues.

What a difference 100 days makes.

Sources:

Trump’s Budget Rollout Scared The Crap Out Of Meals On Wheels Recipients

Here’s The Skinny On Meals On Wheels In Trump’s Budget

 

I love to write about trending topics and real life experiences. I love to read and write Science Fiction and Fantasy stories dealing with parallel worlds.