The Tech Guy Blog

Try Out Voice Control on Your Apple TV or Roku Remote!

If you own an Apple TV or Roku for your living room entertainment, try pressing the Siri/voice control button on the remote to find a show. Mention the movie/show and it'll find the streaming service where that title is available. Apple users with a HomePod can even go hands-free with a "Hey Siri" command, while people with a Roku Voice Remote Pro can yell "Hey Roku" if the slider is pushed to 'green' on the nearby device.

Don't Use Antivirus Programs on Your Mac

If you use a Mac, you do not need an antivirus service like Norton. They burrow deep into your operating system in an effort to protect your device, but they themselves might be vulnerable if not perfectly crafted. There aren't many macOS viruses, and anti-malware updates quickly take care of the few that pop up behind the scenes. Antivirus products will probably slow your computer down, sometimes considerably, in order to operate. In fact, Apple may have even blocked applications that dig so suspiciously deep into their OS.

Learn to Code With Swift Playgrounds

Swift Playgrounds is an educational tool for the Mac and iPad. It resembles a videogame and is available for free. The app helps kids (and adults) learn to code, even if they are total newbies. It uses the programming language Swift to create challenges for students to solve in engaging ways. Users start with "Fundamentals of Swift" and eventually move on to complex code for advanced concepts.

Assign a Recovery Email or Phone Number for Your Account

For important email addresses, make sure you have a recovery email or phone number set up. Email access is important, and if you forget your password, the service is going to need to contact you somehow. Treat email with respect, because losing the ability to log in can be devastating in many ways. Phone numbers can be used to get texts with an emergency 6-digit number (or something like that), which can help begin the new password process. If you don't have multiple email accounts, set one up with Gmail or another known service.

Wait About 4 Years Before Upgrading Your Phone

While it is easy to get caught up in the hype for a new smartphone, you don't need to upgrade with each new model. Especially as these devices can get expensive. The latest iPhone announcement is a great example of updates many won't find necessary. It's probably appropriate to wait about 3-4 years before upgrading your phone. It's also better for the environment to not throw out all those old electronic parts so frequently, though there's at least a decent market for used phones these days.

When Troubleshooting, Test or Replace the Cheap Parts First

When troubleshooting connected hardware tech, you should test out which component is causing the problem before hastily buying a whole new system. Try replacing parts like the cables before moving on to monitors, receivers, computers, etc. If the problem can be identified as the cable/wires, it will be a relief to your wallet. As a rule of thumb: Start with the cheap stuff, then work your way on up to the more expensive items if necessary.

Understand That Companies Can Monitor Traffic Under Their Wi-Fi

When you're working for a company and using their internet, be mindful that the company is generally allowed to monitor your online activity. This includes your desktops, laptops, and cell phones that use their resources. If you are using a VPN, they'll be unable to monitor the sites but can still see that you're using a virtual private network. There may be a policy in the employee handbook regarding internet usage, but the safest thing is to just not surf sketchy websites or NSFW content on the job.

Back Up Your BitLocker Recovery Key

BitLocker is an encryption tool for Windows users that helps protect data from unauthorized people. It requires Windows Pro, Enterprise, or Education, but is not available for the Home edition. If you have turned on BitLocker from the Control Panel, you should save a copy of the recovery key to your Microsoft Account (or somewhere else secure). If you do not have a way to access this recovery key and cannot authorize another way, you will be forced to format your computer.

Wait for the iPhone 13 Reveal Before Purchasing a New iPhone!

If you are itching to get an iPhone, you may want to wait just a bit for Apple to announce and/or show off their iPhone 13. There will probably be minor improvements, but exactly which enhancements are uncertain. Even if you don't want the newest model, prices will drop on the iPhone 12 versions. The reveal will likely occur on the 8th or 14th of September 2021, so keep an eye out for rumors from Mark Gurman and other Apple-related sources.