Home Security Code Tips

Home security systems have been a boon for all manner of dwellings during the past two decades. If someone should break in, the system will alert both you and the authorities with great speed, which is important when it comes to apprehending those breaking in. Today’s systems are so sophisticated, you can even program them using your smartphone while in another city.

Like your phone, you need to come up with a code. Here are some tips to think about when choosing your home security system code:

Don’t Pick a Code Already in Use

It can be very tempting to use the same code across all of our devices, but it’s a very bad idea. If a hacker figures out that one code, everything is vulnerable. When creating your security code, come up with something different from your usual method.

When choosing, try to avoid numbers that can be easily tied to your identity. For example, if you have your birthday year as the code and that information is already out there on social media, you might as well not even have a code. Take the time to come up with something unique that you can easily remember.

Periodically Change That Code

Never use the same code for too long. Change it up every six months at the most.

Give Everyone Their Own Code

Some families all use the same code, but it is actually a wiser idea for their to be several codes in use. This would not apply to young children, but having, for example, teenagers with their own code would allow you to check the system and make sure that they are remembering to re-arm it. You can also see whether they are adhering to your rules regarding how late they can stay out and when they should be at home.

Forget 1080p, Think 4K

Technology waits for no one and that is increasingly true right across the board. Let’s take television: Cathode Ray Tubes and a 1.33:1 display were the standard for over 50 years. In 1997, DVD arrived and sets soon became a bit wider at 1.78:1. A few years later, progressive scan replaced interlaced images and resolution began to march upward. From a standard of 480i, we soon reached Hi-Def 720p. Then that game way to 1080p. And now we have the next step: 4K, which offers 3840 pixels × 2160 lines.

All of those years where we were happy with standard def seems like another lifetime. TVs have gotten bigger and bigger and thinner and thinner. The images are now incredibly sharp and realistic, sometimes to the point where the program or movie you’re watching suffers under such intense scrutiny (many sets and types of make-up were designed a certain way because the makers knew there would be a certain lack of clarity to hide flaws – not anymore).

It can seem confusing for those of us out there who only think about TV specs every few years when we need a new one (I won’t even get into the current OLED vs QLED debate), but it always boils down to personal preference. How much space do you have for your set? How much money do you have to spend? What type of things do you watch?

Many people have money on their minds constantly and, as a result, are reluctant to splurge on big ticket electronics. However, as technology advances, prices come down. I paid over $1000 for my first DVD player back in 1997; now I can buy one for $30 that is just as good or better.

Large format TVs used to be the sole domain of the rich, but prices continue to drop. If you want an especially large 4K, that could set you back $10,000, but if you only need, say, 40″, you can grab one for less than a grand.

What do you need? Shop around for prices, size, and format. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.

Worried About Getting Malware on Your iPhone? Here are Some Tips That Can Help

Malware and viruses are a common annoyances for those with laptop and desktop computers. But did you realize that you can also get them on your smartphone? It actually makes sense as smartphones are really just tiny computers. Do you worry about such a thing infecting your Apple device? The iPhone just celebrated its tenth birthday, but you can still do your part in keeping your device safe.

Here are some steps that can help:

Avoid Jailbroken Phones

Jailbroken phones offer certain advantages, such as allowing the installation of apps not available from Apple. However, this can come at a price as the jailbreak process removes much of the device’s security protection, leaving it vulnerable to viruses and malware. On top of that, jailbreaking also makes your phone more likely to be hacked.

Stick With Apple-Approved Apps

It may sound like corporate control that is forcing you to stick with Apple products—and it is, really—but only using apps the company approves helps to maintain the integrity of your device. In doing so, you will only be downloading apps that have been vetted by Apple. The company also verifies all of the developers that produce them.

On the plus side, Malware is far more prevalent on Android devices than on iPhones (however, if you suspect there is a virus on your iPhone already, this handy guide can help you to remove it).

Hacks and other vulnerabilities are not unprecedented on iPhones, however. Wikileaks’ Vault 7 release included information on methods used by the CIA to break into iPhones and other iOS devices. Fortunately, although the information is now out there, Apple insists that it has since removed these security flaws.

So, rest assured that you are far more likely to get a virus on your laptop or desktop computer than on your phone. It never hurts to be vigilant, though.



Records are Back! Yes, I Don’t Get It Either

I’m all for nostalgia. We look back on certain periods of our life with fondness because everything seemed so much simpler before we were burdened with 100 responsibilities a week and the frailty of increasing old age.

I’m a child of the ’60s, so I certainly had my share of records. While I love music, I never loved the actual records. They damaged easily, they got scratched, they skipped. If you loved a particular song, you could wear them out after a few hundred plays (yes, I have listened to certain songs hundreds of times). I was quite happy when cassettes came along. Hell, I don’t even remember minding 8-Tracks all that much.

However, as you have probably seen, records are making a comeback. No, these are not new and improved records: they are still the same easily damaged and worn out vinyl Frisbees of olden times. Enthusiasts insist that the analog sound from records is richer and more involving. I’ll take their word for it because I don’t hear that much of a difference and whatever improvement there is gets tempered by all of those scratches, bumps, and hiss.

Fans also like to spend time with the record covers and the written inserts. Yes, these can be nice, but chances are I can also find them easily online.

People also like to have something tangible. A record definitely provides that and it is not something that can be taken away from you, like a digital file. However, if you don’t have a lot of space, you don’t really want a lot of tangible things making your life even more crowded.

There is also the thrill and distraction that comes from shopping for albums in record stores (yup, still around), flea markets, etc. I enjoy that, too, but as I age, I’m opting more for convenience. Records are a lot of things, but they are not convenient.