I don’t want your purse…just hand over your phone…

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Losing or having your phone stolen is a huge hassle. Not only is it expensive, it is also amazingly time consuming. Now, we have yet another even bigger worry. Turns out the information on our lost phones, in some cases, is worth more on the information black market than the actual phone. In the good old days,a phone thief would quickly wipe the phone clean and sell the handset. Not so anymore. The folks at Symantec began an experiment called the “Honey Stick Project” to potentially expose the risks from Lost Smartphones. Read on for the shocking results.

In order to get a look at what happens when a smartphone containing sensitive corporate information is lost, Symantec loaded 50 phones with tracking software and fake “sensitive” information, and then scattered the devices across multiple cities in North America.

The test, called the Honey Stick Project, was designed to see what really happens when a smartphone is lost and collected by someone other than the owner.

Once the mobile devices were loaded with the simulated personal and corporate data, Symantec dropped the 50 fully-charged smartphones in five different cities: New York City; Washington D.C.; Los Angeles; San Francisco; and Ottawa, Canada. The devices were intentionally “lost” in different types of locations including elevators, malls, food courts, public transit stops and other heavily trafficked, publicly accessible locations.

With the remote monitoring software installed, it wasn’t long before the phones started to move. Tracking showed that 96-percent of the devices were accessed once found, and 70-percent of them were accessed for personal and business related applications and information. Less than half of the people who located the intentionally lost devices attempted to locate the owner. Interestingly enough, only two phones were left unaccounted for, the others were all found.

Phones can be worth more than your wallet to people who buy and sell personal info on the black market , and that was exactly the point Symantec was looking for.

Going further, of the devices located, 45-percent of them reported that there was an attempt to read corporate email, and the remote admin application was accessed 49-percent of the time. A file named “saved passwords” was also one of the top selections, with a 57-percent access rate. Access to social networking accounts and personal email were each attempted on over 60 percent of the devices.

Additionally, 66 percent of the devices showed attempts to click through the login or password reset screens (where a login page was presented with username and password fields that were pre-filled, suggesting that the account could be accessed by simply clicking on the “login” button) .

In all, the average time spent accessing the “found” phones was just over 10 hours.

The goal of this research is to show what smartphone users should expect to happen on their phones if they are lost and then found by a stranger. In today’s world, both consumers and corporations need to be concerned with protecting the sensitive information on mobile devices, the report on the experiment explains.

While devices can be replaced, the information stored and accessed on them is at risk unless users and businesses take precautions to protect it.

We recommend you take some measures now to back up your data (which you should have done during World Backup Day) and  protect your phone remotely in the event that you lose it.  The graph below gives you some helpful app suggestions to outsmart info thieves. Be sure if you do lose your phone, to go through all your important passwords and change them. Lastly, if you think your phone has been lost or stolen, notify your phone company right away.

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Mouse Trap

As technology continues to re-invent itself at a blinding pace, many of our senior population are feeling more isolated from it. Technorella teaches people to embrace and explore technology with the goal of keeping everyone connected.
If you were born into a generation where all a mouse did was run up the clock, then learning to mouse on a computer can be a daunting and frustrating task. Dexterity is one of the skills that declines as we get older. Grasping, clicking, double clicking, rolling and scrolling depends a lot on the size of your hand and touch sensitivity. Many of the queries and calls we respond to at Technorella.com come from people having difficulty with the hand eye coordination it takes to navigate with a mouse.
For these clients, we have been recommending touch screen computers and tablets. Touch technology addresses many accessibility challenges that face our aging population.

They are guided by touch which is one of our most refined senses.

Objects and text can instantly be made larger with a simple touch motion allowing the user to control their experience based on their own needs and limitations.

Tablets are light, portable and make wonderful traveling companions allowing the user to carry photos, music and reading material to share with friends and family.

Price. Tablets are much less expensive, a real plus on a fixed income.

By 2014, the senior population will out number any other for the first time ever. Become a technology tutor or ambassador to someone around you who may need your help staying connected.

This holiday season, give the gift of technology and if you lack the patience, you can always contact…Technorella.

From all of us at Technorella, we wish you and yours a happy, healthy and digitally blessed holiday season!

I’m calling…and I can’t get up

Say bye bye to unlimited data plans. The phone companies will try and tell you it’s to protect you, the consumer from data hogs who slow up your connection by using more than their fair shares of band width. Wow…my wireless provider is really looking out for me…Wrong! While it is true that currently the average consumer uses less than 1 GB of data per month, as smartphones, tablets , i phones, i pads and other data sucking devices continue to improve and inspire, that number will most assuredly increase and they know that. Sorry you now have to take your carrier of your holiday card list.
There are still a few rogue carriers that offer unlimited but if you’re the adventuress type and often find yourself outside city limits, you will find the phone coverage on these carriers, how can I put this…crappy.
Verizon and AT&T, the top two carriers, offer a 2GB plans which for most consumers is more than enough for watching You Tube videos, downloading apps, Tweeting and texting. Where you run into the potential for trouble with the 2 GB plan is streaming. If you like to access Netflix from your digital device or use it to stream Pandora into your office, sadly, 2GB will not suffice. The best way around this is to utilize a wi- fi connection whenever one is available which will leave your data in tack and unscathed. I don’t recommend using a public wi-fi connection for ANYTHING secure such as banking or shopping, for these activities, your phone line is much more secure.

Here is a small chart that might help you determine how much data you might use.
• Email (text only) = 10KB
• Typical Web Page Lookup* = 1.5MB
• Audio Streaming = 40MB/hr
• Lo-Res Video Streaming = 200MB/hr
• Hi-Res Video Streaming = 400MB/hr
• Digital Photo download/upload (Hi-Res) = 1MB

Most of the major carriers of usage calculators to help you determine which plan would work best for you.
The internet, most of it free access, has spoiled us all into thinking that information of this caliber and speed will and should always be free. Not to be. As the big communication and entertainment companies work harder on ways to harness and charge for whatever they can, we will see charges for many things that they know we have become addicted to and for a small price…will pay for. That’s what they’re banking on!

Do you have a technology conundrum…email technorella@gmail.com

One Ringy Dingy…

When is a phone booth not a phone booth…If a two way conversation were intended for more than two people, then instead of phone booths, we would have had phone buses. I will admit, I take issue with anyone saying anything to me when I am in the privacy of my own public restroom but screaming at someone on a cell phone, really? Does the screamer think that the four walls surrounding them are soundproof? Or maybe they think if you can’t see me…you can’t hear me. Is there no place sacred anymore? Technology is a beautiful thing but so is common courtesy. We now have so many toys and gadgets that we are forgetting our manners. Emily Post is doing back flips in her grave right now so Technorella is taking over and is about to lay one down right here and now.
Public Restroom Etiquette
1. No cell phone conversations in restrooms or restroom stalls.
Think of it as secondhand verbal smoke. In fact…
2. Cell phones users like smokers should only be using their phones in designated cell phone areas.
We’ll build cell phone aquariums right next to the smoker aquariums at the airport.
My phone and I are attached at the hip and checking messages…well…we’ll cover that topic later but, like the bumper sticker reads: If I can hear your cell phone…you’re too close!

To friend or not to friend…

Facebook. You may love it, hate it, be afraid of it or think it’s a total waste of time but whatever your feelings are…Facebook is here to stay (at least for the foreseeable future).
While I do understand all the feelings and emotions that can arise when discussing the social relevance of many new social media platforms, I would be remiss in my Technorella duties if I did not try to at least provide you with one more perspective on the subject.

A dear friend of mine celebrated her 80th birthday last month and has been talking to me about her grand daughters. She was upset at all four of them for not picking up the phone every once in a while and calling her (these girls are in their 20’s). One just had a baby, one is in college, one is working and the last one, finishing her senior year of high school and like most families these days, are sprinkled all over the place. I suggested at that point that maybe she should look them up on Facebook. Oy…oh no…Facebook…never…it’s all I can do to check my e-mail and my girls don’t even send me those. I said no…most twenty somethings don’t. Email is so NOT what they do. They text, FB , Twitter, Stumble Upon, Tumblr (no not a typo that’s how it’s spelled), Digg, Ning, and infinite combinations of all of those and more that are popping up everyday on the internet. But most, I explained to her have a FB account.
So I went over to her house and spent the afternoon showing her how to stalk her grand kids on Facebook. As soon as we pulled up the first one, she squealed with delight. ” That’s her…that’s my grand daughter”, as she beamed with Grandmother pride, her excitement grew with each one we found. She saw the baby, and saw that one of her grand daughters had actually posted a picture of them together on a recent family outing. She was quite touched by that. Yes, I can make a case either way for FB and people abuse all forms of technology but at this moment, to watch my friend’s joy as she became that fly on all of her grand daughter’s walls, I thought to myself, this is technology at it’s finest hour. I of course walked her through the account process with a complete tour of the security and privacy sections, very important to setting up and maintaining a FB account. She did admit that it was fun but that she probably would never use it and that she was sure that most her friends were not on FB. I am thrilled to report that as of today, one month later, she is a thriving member of the FB community. Not only does she use it, she has 16 friends!
Here is a slice of life:

FB may not be for everyone but it’s importance and impact can not be ignored. It connects many families, friends and communities in an increasingly disconnected and fragmented world. Most of my immediate family live in Ohio and I have friends scattered all over the world. I am grateful to social media tools like FB and Skype as they allow me to feel a part of their lives. Whether people are sharing triumphs or tragedies, accomplishments or disappointments, these social media, when used responsibly, allow us to feel that we are not alone on our journeys and in tumultuous times like these, I’ll take all the friends I can get. Even…Facebook friends!

I Pad II…a swollen I Pod Touch

Last weeks highly anticipated release of the I Pad II left me predictably unimpressed. Still unanswered for me is, why is this better than a I Pod Touch and, why does anyone really need it.
Yes they added a front and back facing camera but why did they forget that in the first place? Yes the dual processor is faster, it is thinner and lighter and oh…it comes in white but really, do I NEED to have one? My answer is a definitive NO.
I so tried to talk myself into getting one and yes…will be will be one of the many, squishing into the Apple store like a Tokyo salary man on the Shinjuku train just to have the privilege of holding one but, will I buy it…again no. I am too spoiled by my Apple/Android combo that I’m sporting now and find myself leaning more and more towards open source platforms. Having said that, no one does touch technology like Apple and that is one aspect of screen technology that other companies should spend some time trying to copy. I had the opportunity to play with the Motorola Xoom at the GDC in SF and was quite impressed. I love the size and the speed and still contend that Apple shot themselves in the virtual foot by axing Flash Player.

I think we will see amazing things happening in the next few years with tablet technology. For more on this, check out this eye opener from Fast Company:



Is technology passing you by, or pissing you off. Do you want to understand some of it but feel a bit paralyzed? You are not alone. Everyday we are bombarded by the latest and greatest technology but what if I just want to make a phone call? or take a picture without having to spend a thousand dollars on a camera and then need a degree from MIT to figure out. Is there such a thing as a dumb, smart phone?

Technorella is here help. We will try to answer any technology questions you feel comfortable asking.

Here are some sample questions:

How do I get on or off FaceBook?

What’s the best digital camera?

What is Twitter and why is it so ridiculously popular?

Do I need a smart phone?

Ask us anything you want and if we don’t know the answer…we will find it for you. Remember there are no dumb questions…just smart phones!