Internet

Help and advice relating to websites or software and services easily accessible from the Internet.

Online Passport Renewal….

Recently I had cause to renew my passport – I thought I had better get it up to date as it was due to run out the early part of next year. Whilst researching the most efficient way to do this I came across the option now available to renew online and was pleasantly surprised at how easy and straight forward it was – I thought I’d take you through the process this month. Read this entire article »

Astronomy and Astro Photography with your phone (Part 2)….

Last month we looked at how you could physically connect your mobile phone to your telescope so that you could take pictures of the moon (and other night sky objects). If you decided to have a play then you will have taken a number of videos of the things you saw and you should, quite rightly, be very pleased with them. Read this entire article »

Astronomy and Astro Photography with your phone (Part 1)….

With the nights drawing in and things getting darker earlier and lighter later, my thoughts turn to the skies. You may (or may not) be aware that we live in some of the best areas for stargazing in the world. Its not that difficult to find a “dark area” within easy walk/drive of most of our homes here on the Costa Blanca. There are plenty of nature reserves and areas without street lighting that enable us even with the naked eye to see some of the wonders of the Universe. Alternatively, if you want to see even more – further afield, down in Almeria, we have the Calar Alto Observatory – www.caha.es where you could visit and look through their state-of-the-art telescopes. Read this entire article »

Online Security….

It’s becoming more and more important to take care of your online activities, your passwords, the places you visit and what you do. With companies like Facebook having millions of their users accounts’ compromised recently it’s a real possibility that some of your personal information has fallen into the hands of hackers and therefore criminals.

On the 30th September 2018 Facebook lost 30 million of their users’ account details to hackers who had exploited a vulnerability caused by three bugs on the Facebook system. It’s likely that you will already have been contacted if you were one of the unfortunate 30 million people involved, however if you want to be sure then visit the page https://www.facebook.com/help/securitynotice whilst logged into Facebook and scroll to the bottom. You will see a blue highlighted section titled “Is my Facebook account impacted by this security issue?” and below that will be a message detailing whether or not your account was affected.

This, and all of the other high profile hacks brings me onto another great website that can check to see if your email address has ever been associated with any hacked sites. It tells you which sites and which information has been compromised. Armed with this information you can at least decide whether you want to continue to use the services of the companies that breached your data and if you do, you can take steps to change your password and lock down your security on those affected sites.

If you go along to https://haveibeenpwned.com you’ll have the option to check your email address in the search bar at the top of the page. Click the “pwned” button to find out whether your email address has ever been compromised and on which sites – you’ll see this information if you scroll down a little.

If your account has been compromised, then you can assume that whatever password and email combination you used is now known by hackers, so the first thing to do would be to change your password on the site that was hacked. The next sensible thing to do, would be to change your password on any other un-compromised sites where you use the same combination of email address and password as this is now not safe.

You see, once a hacker has this information, they know that many people use the same email address and password for multiple different services, so better to be on the safe side and change any accounts where you use the same email address and password. Also a good idea moving forward would be to use a different password for each service that you use, yes I know this means more things to remember but it also decreases the chance of multiple accounts being compromised at the same time.

Control Your Stuff with Alexa!

Ok, so here we go again! As you know I love ‘home automation’ and since I’ve taken possession of a few Amazon Dot’s, I’ve been so impressed with how easy Alexa is to talk to that I have started to investigate what else she might be able to help me with.

So, the first thing I found she could do was use a ‘smart plug’ to enable her to be able to turn things on and off. In our bedroom we have a couple of bedside lights – and now we also have the HS100 from TP-Link; this little gadget plugs into any wall socket and allows you to plug anything in to it – once configured the smart plug can work with your mobile phone or tablet OR Alexa! Yes, you’re right, so now as I walk into the room I can demand “Alexa turn on the lights in the bedroom” and after a second or so I hear a reassuring response of “Ok” and then the lights turn on – magic! Read this entire article »

Find Out Information About Your UK Pension Online

Do you still work? Perhaps you’ve retired to Spain early and don’t yet collect your UK state pension or perhaps you’re close to retirement and want to know whether you’ve contributed enough to receive a full UK state pension when it’s time. These are all questions that most of us here on the Costa Blanca and further away may ask ourselves from time to time – I know I did!

I also remember how it used to be, i.e. in order to find the answer, you had to write to the HMRC back in the UK and ask them to kindly send you on a statement of your contributions. Well I recently found out that online services have finally reached the good old jobs and pensions department of the UK government! Read this entire article »

How do I find out what information Facebook holds on me?…

Ok, well this one has been in the news quite a lot recently – as in how Facebook may have been playing fast and loose with your personal information. It’s a great one for the conspiracy theorists of course but there is a reasonable amount of truth in the stories, of course the devil is in the detail. Did most of the people who had their personal information used give their concent by signing up to the Facebook third party apps in the first place? I guess we will never really know the full truth of it all, but whilst we ponder, there is something positive that you can do to discover exactly what information Facebook store about you and your friends by using their new service which allows you to download and view all of this information. Read this entire article »

How to refresh your Internet browser’s cache…

We all use the Internet. Whether we realise it or not the Internet has become such an integral part of our day to day lives. Most of us use computers (PC’s, laptops, tablets, smart phones) to look at information stored on web pages, this is called browsing or surfing the Internet and one of the “tricks” that computers use to try to speed up this process is a copy of the information you download on your computer, when you go to a website, on your computer. This is called cache (it’s pronounced “cash”). Read this entire article »

Amazon Smile – help charities when you buy from Amazon

Amazon Smile has been around for some time in the US, enabling users who purchase from amazon.com to gift a percentage of their purchase price to the charity of their choice, according to public record the amount donated to date is over $69 million!

Amazon Smile has (as of the end of last year) come to amazon.co.uk so if you purchase goods from the UK Amazon site then you can sign up to send a small percentage of your spend direct to your favourite charity. Read this entire article »

iOS 11 – Available Now For iPhones and iPads…

Are you lucky enough to be the proud owner of an apple iPhone or iPad? Then you probably have been receiving messages about a new operating system. It’s called iOS 11 and it’s free to download if you have an iPhone 5S or an iPad mini 2, Pro or Air or newer. This month we will look at some of the advantages of this new system but also some of the things you should check before you decide to press the upgrade button. Read this entire article »