Turn Off Cloud Access to your WD My Cloud Device NOW

Posted Posted in Networking, Technology

The technical press (like Engadget https://www.engadget.com/2017/03/05/wd-my-cloud-security-exploits/) is publishing info about a vulnerability that impacts WD Networked devices that have cloud access enabled. That’s great, but they aren’t providing info for non technical users on how to check their settings and turn off this access is needed. So here is that information: (more…)

Verizon’s Unrelenting Hard Sell for iPhone 7 Device Plan

Posted Posted in iPhone, Technology

Let me first state that I’m getting an iPhone 7. I’m going to buy it from Apple. My prior “contract” which I signed when I traded an hammeriPhone 5 for an iPhone 6 expired when I paid this month’s bill and I am off contract.

It isn’t that I plan to switch carriers, as Verizon is the only real choice where I’m located. AT&T doesn’t even give one bar inside my home. I want the freedom to decide my own destiny so to speak. Verizon, on the other hand, seems to be using training that requires their store agents to use a sledgehammer approach when customers ask about their options and want to make changes.

I can’t remember ever having such a hard time getting what I wanted and getting a sales person to stop hammering me with details of something I indicated up front I had no interest in. (And getting my intelligence questioned to boot.)

 

On Thursday, I went to one of the corporate Verizon Stores to discuss what plans were available. I brought a print out with me so that it was crystal clear what I was interested in:

plans

After waiting for a store rep (busy, longish wait, others were there with the same questions) on Thursday, a rep came over and asked what I wanted. I said, “ I’m going to be buying an iPhone 7 from Apple, not Verizon. I’m checking to see if there are any hidden charges if I sign up for the “new Verizon Plan” and keep my tablet (already activated) on it and get the iPhone 7 for the Apple Store at the Mall and activate it there and I don’t want a contract with Verizon”. He checked my account and confirmed I was “off contract’’” and launched into a sales pitch for trading my phone (iPhone 6) and getting a free iPhone 7. I said (nicely) “I already told you I wasn’t interested in this trade up two year contract. I want to talk about any hidden charges on the New Verizon Plan”.

The rep checks some stuff on his tablet and then says “You can buy the iPhone 7 from us on a device plan for $27.04 a month. It’s not the same as the old contract”. I stood up and said “You aren’t listening to me. I’m not buying a phone from Verizon”. He then decides to tell me “You can trade in your iPhone 6 for a $200 credit that you can apply to accessories”. I tell him that this is just another ‘shell’ for a 24 month contract. He confirms this is true. I want to smack this guy upside the head. I restrain myself. I decide to leave the store and come back the next day.

So yesterday (Friday), I return the the Verizon store and a different rep waits on me. I still have my piece of paper (the above print out) and I tell her I don’t want to buy an iPhone 7 from VZW, lease one, trade in anything and all I want to do is switch to the new Verizon Plan with MY CURRENT DEVICES, as I am off contract and eligible. She launches into a sales speech about how I can trade in my iPhone 6. I tell her bluntly to STFU as I already stated I was not interested. Then she starts with the device payment plan. I ask her if she has actually listened to what I told her. (Apparently not.)

I stand my ground, I tell her I want to switch to the new Verizon Plan. She taps some stuff into her tablet and tells me she can make it effective with my next billing period. She gives me figures. I tell her I’m off contract and it would save me $35 to switch today. She then tells me that THAT would involved a pro-rated bill and that I would have trouble understanding it. I stand up again, and restrain from physical violence and tell her that it is uncalled for to question anyone’s intelligence or math skills and to make the switch or get a manager over that will do it. She tries one more time to sign me up for device payment or a contract. She asks me why I won’t take a contract or buy a phone from VZW or select device payment. And I tell her it is none of her business.

She finally sets up the plan I want and pushes the buttons to make it happen. She tells me she is making a note in my account that I probably will be complaining about a pro-rated bill that I don’t understand. Unbelievable. Exhausting.

Girls CAN Do Anything

Posted Posted in Technology

 

Mattel has angered a large segment of the Girl Geek world with a book with a decidedly sexist slant that portrays Barbie as needing help from boys to successfully complete a coding project. While Mattel has apologized and “pulled” the publication and has promised a better attitude going forward, the important concept that girls can be what they dream to be and should reach for the stars is what really matters. Women in tech have been successful for years. I’m not just talking about the Marissa Mayer’s of this world. There are thousand’s (and hopefully tens of thousands) of us who have built successful tech careers, many of them, like myself, going back 20 or 30 years.

There’s been lots of activity on Barbie’s Facebook page where posts are being deleted by Barbie’s social media staff (see Posts to Page) and some still are up at https://www.facebook.com/BarbieNAD/posts/362944293876701

One of my peers has started a #realgirlgeek campaign to highlight the fact that women and girls CAN be anything they want to be, including computer programmers and IT professionals.

The White House also has recently stepped up a campaign to highlight and help and equalize the pay gap in ALL professions.

 

white house equality

Let’s encourage our girls to pursue and excel in technical careers.

Oh yeah, for what it’s worth, here’s my remix of the horrendous Barbie, I can be a Computer Engineer.

January Surface RT Update Enables WDTV Live Hub Play To

Posted Posted in Technology, Windows 8

I was more than discouraged when my WDTV Live Hub, which was the poster child for Windows 7 Play To, did not show as a certified device for Windows Store Apps in Windows 8/Surface. Sure, the classic desktop interface worked, but I felt as though a promise had been broken.

I had the latest available firmware from October and others posting on the WD user forums were also miffed.

I happened to check the forums today and noted a couple of new comments. So, I followed the bouncing ball and performed the following steps:

 

1.      Charms, PC Settings, Devices, Delete the Uncertified WDTV Live Hub device

2.      Reboot

3.      Charms, PC Settings, Devices, manually ADD the device after it was discovered and listed

4.      Reboot

After the above, it now appears in the Device list and works. Photos, Music, Videos, even HTML5 browser streaming (nice!)

 

I checked with Microsoft to see how this update was done, since there was nothing listed in the Windows Update history specifically referencing Play To, and received this response:

 

Device certification is not handled in any way via Windows Update.

We have a service, called NCD-AS (auto setup for short) that will automatically find media renderers and pair them (even if they aren’t certified). As part of pairing, PNP updates drivers and metadata packages for a device if available. Every 8 days, this service will check for updated drivers and metadata packages for all media renderers that have been paired.

playtoupdate

Windows 8 – Liking the People App

Posted Posted in Technology

I’ve been having mixed feelings about Windows 8 on a desktop. I hate the navigation using mouse and keyboard and dislike the stark switch between Metro and the classic desktop when I start a classic app from the Metro Start menu. It is jarring to say the least.

 

I do love the idea of Live Tiles and the constantly updating information, although I don’t think it is suitable for privacy reasons when your device is in a public place. Yes, I know you can turn off a Live tile, but then what is the point.. I don’t want my email and other personal stuff shared only with friends on Facebook seen by passers by.

 

With respect to the Metro App “previews”, I am disappointed with the incompleteness and buginess of the various media apps – Music – Photos – Video. And as far as Metro’s Mail App goes, the omission of IMAP and POP connectivity is troubling. It is unclear if this is just unfinished or a design decision.

 

The app I like the best (though it needs work) is the People app. It does seem to bring everything together seamlessly. I wish you could add social networks without connecting them to a Microsoft/Live ID. This could be a Flipboard for Windows type app if the user could add all types of networks and RSS feeds.

 

I love the way People displays images in What’s New.

 

people2

 

And I also like the way individual Facebook posts are displayed with comments and likes, along with the ability to post a comment.

 

people1

 

I haven’t figured out how to post a NEW entry/status update/photo to Facebook/Twitter from this app. This feature needs to be added.