tech news Archives - COBRA softwares
23 Oct

Here Are Top 10 Uses of OTG Cable That You Probably Don’t Know

The USB OTG also known as USB On-The-Go is one of the important inventions. The device is so useful that enables two devices to communicate with each other. The USB OTG is generally used to extend your device’s functionality. It can easily transfer the data from a smartphone to pen drive and vice versa.

More than transferring data, there are more ways of using a USB OTG that you probably don’t know. Check it out.

1. Connecting As A Game Controller:

Yes, it’s true. With the help of OTG cable; you can easily connect a Game Controller. In most cases, playing games with a touchscreen is not as natural as using a dedicated gamepad. This way is especially useful while playing racing, shooter or sports games. Many Android games support the use of an external gamepad, and one such way to take advantage of this is to connect an external game controller to your device using an OTG cable.

2. Charge Your Android Smartphone With Another Device:

This could be one of the most loved uses for the Smartphone users. The only thing you have to do is connect the two smartphones and the phone that acts as the USB host will start charging the other device. This might help you a lot in the case of emergency. With this technique, you can also charge non-android phones by applying the same procedure. For this to work, the host device needs to have a higher battery capacity compared to the secondary device.

3. Connect A Potable Hard Drive:

You can connect a USB flash drive to your Android phone using an OTG cable. You need to do is plug the flash drive into the secondary port of the cable, and use it. This is useful when we find ourselves in a Dilemma that which Files to keep on our Android Phone and which files to not.

4. Connect To A Camera:

It is mostly helpful for Photographers. Photographers go to different places where they can’t remove their laptop to overcome this situation. Hence, you can easily connect your camera to your smartphone using the data cable and USB OTG. It can be helpful to clear up the memory in the camera so that you can click more pictures.

5. Connect To LAN Cable:

Most of us don’t know that USB OTG can be used to connect your device to LAN cable. This will be helpful when you have a Broadband connection and No Wi-Fi router. All you have to do is just buy a LAN to USB controller and connect it as shown below. Now you can use your broadband internet in your mobile directly.

6. Connect A Sound Card Or Microphone:

When your smartphone’s inbuilt mic is insufficient, a real microphone can be connected to deliver a high-quality recording. You can also connect a sound card to your Android phone with the help of an OTG cable. Whenever your jack is not working, then can connect the sound card with it and listen to the music.

7. USB Keyboard:

Writing on an Android device is really boring, as on-screen keyboards are so smaller in size and our fingers feel uncomfortable to type long messages or writing Email. With the help of an OTG, you can connect a keyboard to your device and configure it using Android’s built-in settings for external controllers. Now you can comfortably continue texting or writing Long emails.

8. USB Mouse:

Connecting a USB mouse is also possible which could be handy if you have calibration issues with your device. Connecting a USB mouse to your Android phone with OTG can help you feel comfortable while data recovery, especially when your touchscreen is damaged.

9. USB Fan:

Nowadays, you can see USB fans which work with the electric charge. The USB OTG can also be helpful to connect the USB fan to your smartphone which works as a mobile coolant.

10. Connect USB Light:

You can also connect a USB LED lamp to your smartphone using a USB OTG. IT helps you during the time of power cuts. You can also use this as a Front Led flashlight for capturing Images and video calling in low light.

These are few unknown uses of a USB OTG cable on Android devices; do tell us if we had missed any feature so that we can add it up to our list. Feel free to add some more in the comments section.

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24 Sep

Top 12 Best Hacking Software For Windows Users

Hacking tool, which is a computer program or software and helps a hacker to hack a computer system or a computer program. Most of the people use ‘Linux’ for hacking as it is the best open source operating system. But what about windows users? Are you using windows and are searching for the hacking tools? Here we have provided few hacking tools for windows users.

Although, there are not many hacking tools for windows that work well but here are some of the best hacking tools which perform hacking, security threat analysis and penetration testing.

Top 12 Hacking Software For Windows Users:

1. Metasploit – Penetration Testing Software:

It provides data on the vulnerabilities in the security system and performs penetration tests. Metasploit evades leading anti-virus solutions 90% of the time and enables you to completely take over a machine you have compromised from over 200 modules.

As a penetration tester, it pin points the vulnerabilities with Nexpose closed–loop integration using Top Remediation reports. Using the open source Metasploit framework, users can build their own tools and take the best out of this multi-purpose hacking tool.

2. Acunetix Web:

Acunetix is a web vulnerability scanner (WVS) that scans and finds out the flaws in a website that could prove fatal. By using Acunetix Web Vulnerability Scanner you can perform a full web scan from your computer in windows.

This is the fast and easy which scans WordPress websites from more than 1200 vulnerabilities in WordPress.

3. Nmap (Network Mapper):

Nmap (Network Mapper) is a port scanner tool. It is used to discover hosts and services on a computer network. It is capable of Host Discovery, Port Scanning, Service Name and Version Detection, OS Detection.

It is capable for tasks such as network inventory, managing service upgrade schedules, and monitoring host or service uptime.

4. oclHashcat:

You might be aware of the free password cracking tool Hashcat. While Hashcat is a CPU-based password cracking tool, oclHashcat is the advanced version that uses the power of your GPU. oclHashcat is the world’s fastest password cracking tool with world’s first and only GPGPU based engine.

For using this tool, NVIDIA users require ForceWare 346.59 or later and AMD users require Catalyst 15.7 or later. It is released as free software and the versions available for Linux, OS X, and Windows and can come in CPU-based or GPU-based variants.

5. Wireshark:

Wireshark is the world’s foremost and widely-used network protocol analyzer.

Wireshark has rich features such as Deep inspection of hundreds of protocols, with more being added all the time, Multi-platform i.e; Runs on Windows, Linux, MacOS, Solaris, FreeBSD, NetBSD, and many others. It monitors every single byte of the data that is transferred via the network system.

6. Maltego:

Maltego is proprietary software used for open-source intelligence and forensics, developed by Paterva. It focuses on providing a library of transforms for the discovery of data from open sources and visualizing that information in a graph format, suitable for link analysis and data mining.

It is a great hacker tool that analyzes the real world links between people, companies, websites, domains, DNS names, IP addresses, documents and whatnot. Based on Java, this tool runs in an easy-to-use graphical interface with lost customization options while scanning.

7. Social-Engineer Toolkit:

It is an advanced framework for simulating multiple types of social engineering attacks like credential harvestings, phishing attacks, and more.

It automates the attacks and generates disguising emails, malicious web pages and more.

8. Nessus Vulnerability Scanner :

Nessus is a proprietary comprehensive vulnerability scanner which is developed by Tenable Network Security.

It is free of charge for personal use in a non-enterprise environment. Nessus allows scans for

  • Vulnerabilities that allow a remote hacker to control or access sensitive data on a system.
  • Misconfiguration (e.g. open mail relay, missing patches, etc.).
  • Default passwords, a few common passwords, and blank/absent passwords on some system accounts. Nessus can also call Hydra (an external tool) to launch a dictionary attack.
  • Denials of service against the TCP/IP stack by using malformed packets
  • Preparation for PCI DSS audits

Most of the worlds are using Nessus to audit business-critical enterprise devices and applications.

9. Nessus Remote Security Scanner:

It was an open source but recently it has been changed to closed source. It is the mostly used Security Scanner over 75,000 organizations worldwide.

Most of the worlds are using Nessus to audit business-critical enterprise devices and applications.

10. Kismet:

Kismet differs from other wireless network detectors in working passively. Namely, without sending any loggable packets, it is able to detect the presence of both wireless access points and wireless clients and to associate them with each other.

It is also the most widely used and up to date open source wireless monitoring tool. also includes basic wireless IDS features such as detecting active wireless sniffing programs including NetStumbler, as well as a number of wireless network attacks.

11. NetStumbler:

NetStumbler (also known as Network Stumbler) is a tool for Windows that facilitates detection of Wireless LANs using the 802.11b, 802.11a, and 802.11g WLAN standards.

It runs on Microsoft Windows operating systems. It is used for wardriving, verifying network configurations, finding locations with a poor network, detecting unauthorized access points.

12. inSSIDer:

It is a popular Wi-Fi scanner for Microsoft Windows and OS X operating systems.

It performs various tasks which include finding open wi-fi access points, tracking signal strength, and saving logs with GPS records.

We hope that you found this best hacking tools for windows. Do let us know if we missed any on our list.

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04 Sep

No Matter How Remote Your Workplace is, own it with Panasonic Toughpads

Thanks to the increasing enterprise usage of rugged computing products, businesses can now achieve productivity from their mobile work force even in the remotest places. Seeing the success of rugged computing products in industries like oil and automobile and government departments such as Police, many individuals too have turned their heads to rugged laptops and tablets. These rugged computing products, especially tablets, operate smoothly even after surviving strong vibrations, extreme temperatures, and wet or dusty hands. Even after withstanding such physical trauma from knocks, drops, spills and dust, there are no instances of the loss of hardware function or data. Panasonic, the undisputed leader in the fully-rugged category, too has come up with the rugged laptop and tablet series – Panasonic Toughbook. It is designed to survive the rigors of the real-life business world.

Why Panasonic Toughpad?

The low cost of ownership, high Ingress Protection (IP) Rating, durable frames, shielded connectors and reinforced corners of Panasonic rugged laptops save enterprises from the confusion of choosing out of so many rugged devices available in the market. Known for the strengthening features, the Toughpads offer desktop-class performance in competitive rugged designs. The powerful processor, brilliant touchscreen, integrated webcam and amazing battery life make one sure about going for the Panasonic Toughpad.

Rugged Handhelds for Tough Conditions

Be it intense heat, pouring rain or freezing temperature, the Panasonic Toughpad offers the desired combination of military-grade durability and enterprise-class mobile computing power in all harsh conditions. Panasonic Toughpads are a great choice for oil and automobile industry workers who work under the most demanding environments. They are also empowered with Android or Windows 10.

Long-Lasting Handhelds for Remote Locations

Now the Police workforce can visit any remote location with a Panasonic Toughpad device in hand; thanks to its long battery life. Easy connectivity through Wi-Fi, 4G Data and USB ensures smooth workflow with no loss in productivity. With no risk of losing data and lesser reliance on cloud services for data structure, now industries like oil and automobile have the advantage of investing the least in device repairs.

Why Toughpad FZ-G1 with ATEX?

Panasonic has created the fully rugged, highly mobile yet lightweight FZ-G1 with ATEX to answer the needs of organizations that require Windows functionality in a machine for outdoor working challenges. The FZ-G1 shares its DNA with the Toughbook family of products, combining ergonomic and durable design – the best choice for field workforce. Never before has so much flexibility and performance been packed into such a portable device for data and workflow management.

Image Source: Panasonic Toughpad FZ-G1

For the first time, the oil and automobile industry that is sensitive to potential gas explosions has access to a fully rugged 10.1″ tablet that has flexible configurable ports to view high definition documentation in ATEX environments. Equipped with Windows platform, the Toughpad FZ-G1 ATEX sets the new benchmark for outdoor viewable tablets, and is ideal for the workforce in ATEX Zone 2 environments as well.

24X7 Connected, even in remotest locations

Toughpad FZ-G1 is a ‘low maintenance – less downtown – long life span’ device that lets businesses discover that they need not compromise on the ease-of-use and mobility. Whether you’re a head of operating engineers in a plant or a police personnel browsing previous records, embedded Wi-Fi Bluetooth®, USB 3.0 and optional 4G LTE (or 3G Gobi™) ensure 24×7 connectivity even in difficult and challenging conditions. FZ-G1 with ATEX is also ideal for workers who often drop their handheld device accidentally on the concrete floor.

With its 10-finger multi-touch display and digitizer pen, the Toughpad FZ-G1 can operate for 8 hours in ATEX zones. The device is built keeping mobile workers in mind who spend much of their time working outside. The fully rugged device uses a new level of viewing quality for a tablet and is certified according to MIL-STD-810G along with an IP65 Ingress Protection Rating for resistance to dust and water. With built-in battery saving technology, FZ-G1 can operate for 8 hours in ATEX zones. The device also comes with a high-quality front web camera with flash capability for a clear document, asset or site photos whateve done.

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21 Aug

15 Toughest Interview Questions And Smart Answers By IAS Toppers

We’ve all been attended some typical job interviews where we unearth ourselves thrown off by a question posed by the interviewer. At a job interview, most people will be prepared for the basic questions and some of them even try to prepare for what the inquirer will ask us. There are no means of discerning what eccentric inquests will be made as we strive hard to impress a prospective head of the company. While coming to the Civil service exams and its interviews we can say it as the toughest interview without any doubt. But the answers to those questions can be given in a smart way. Sometimes these answers may seem very fine. But thinking out of the box, those answers can be treated as the best answers and candidates can be considered as the intellectuals.

Must Read: Weird IIM Interview Questions

Here are the 15 Such questions to which smart answers were given:

Question #1

Question #2

Question #3

Question #4

Question #5

Question #6

Question #7

Question #8

Question #9

Question #10

Question #11

Question #12

Question #13

Question #14

Question #15

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15 Aug

It further said that there will be an increase in data usage by 35 to 40 percent, taking the average data usage per user to 1250MB. “RJio’s data-centric business strategy, the proliferation of cheaper smartphones and accelerated adoption of 4G are catalysts for higher data usage,” the report said. In fact, voice data revenue is also set to take a hit after the Jio’s VoLTE offers. Reliance Jio launched its mobile services on September 5, 2016, offering consumers free voice and data. While the ‘Jio Welcome Offer’ was set to end on December 31, the company again announced an extension offer ‘Happy New Year’. Jio was then criticized largely by other telcos which suffered immense losses due to major trouble in data and voice pricing. “A redistribution of market share among the existing telcos is under way as RJio’s subscriber base could cross 100 million by March 2017, but its ability to retain market share would be driven by both pricing and user experience, coupled with the success of VoLTE (voice over LTE) technology,” it said. However, the agency expects the increasing competition to be beneficial as it would help speed u the consolidation process. “RJio’s launch has accelerated the consolidation of both spectrum and market share which could eventually lead to four private sector telcos in India, ” said the report.

Bloggers spend a lot of time in portraying quality content on their blogs. They resort to a variety of techniques to attract a larger audience. Over last year or two, websites using HTTPS have attained greater popularity due to their SSL security stamp. This added feature not only adds to the security but also boosts the site’s rank and traffic due to its reliability mark.

If you have not yet migrated your website from HTTP to HTTPS, then follow the below link to quickly initiate the free SSL with let’s encryt process.

Now that you have configured your server with a free SSL certificate from Let’s Encrypt, you need to complete the installation process by configuring few settings on the CloudFlare dashboard.

  •  Select the website in your CloudFlare –> click on Crypto–> Go to SSL tab

Here you will have 3 alternatives to choose from-

1. Flexible

For many websites that do not have an SSL certificate, they usually opt for “Flexible SSL”.

Flexible SSL creates a secure (HTTPS) connection between the website visitors and CloudFlare and then an in-secure (HTTP) connection between CloudFlare and the origin server. The data will be encrypted between the website visitor and CloudFlare but not between CloudFlare and the origin server. Website visitors will not see an SSL lock icon in their browser.

2. Full

For websites that have an SLL certificate but a free version from Let’s Encrypt opt for “Full”.

Full SSL creates a secure (HTTPS) connection between the website visitor and CloudFlare and also a secure (HTTP) connection between CloudFlare and the origin server. The data will be encrypted between the website visitor and CloudFlare and also between CloudFlare and the origin server. Website visitors will see the SSL lock icon in their browser but this SSL certificate is not signed by an authentic certificate authority as it a free version.

3. Full (Strict)

For websites that have a paid SLL certificate from vendors such as Comodo, DigiCertGeoTrust ,etc.

Full(Strict) SSL creates a secure (HTTPS) connection between the website visitor and CloudFlare and also a secure (HTTP) connection between CloudFlare and the origin server. The data will be encrypted between the website visitor and CloudFlare and also between CloudFlare and the origin server. Website visitors will see the SSL lock icon in their browser and this SSL certificate is signed by an authentic certificate authority as it a paid version.

When we configured our website with the Let’s Encrypt Free SSL and opened our website we encountered with a bug name “Mixed Content”.

What Is This Mixed Content?

Mixed Content = Mixed Protocol (HTTPS + HTTP)

When we configure SSL and when the webpage is loaded over SSL (HTTPS protocol), most browsers expect all of the content (images, links, themes, etc.) to be loaded over the same protocol i.e HTTPS. Some browsers will display an error about loading “insecure content” while others will just block the insecure content outright. This happens when all the content is not migrated to HTTPS and some images or links still possess HTTP protocol.

This error only applies to pages loaded over SSL, since the browser is working to make sure that secure pages only load equally secure content.

How Did We Get Rid Of It?

STEP 1: Forcing All Pages to HTTPS

Login to the admin WordPress dashboard –> Goto Settings –> General  and change the WordPress URL address to HTTPS

STEP 2: Edit the “wp-config.php” file

Open your wp-config.php file and add the below line to it. This will force all the HTTP traffic to HTTPS.

STEP3: Install Plugin and Adjust the Settings

You can also install the CloudFlare WordPress Plugin and make the necessary configurations.

There are few other plugins which help in identifying the insecure content. Some of them are-

The problem with these plugins is that it will display warning notification to not only the admin but all the website visitors as well which will dent the websites value.

Step 4: Make use of Tools that will identify the insecure content

Whynopadlock is a free tool that will help you find the list of images/links that are using the HTTP protocol. Once you identify them, you can manually take the actions in your theme/ plugins.

Step 5: Make use of Google console to identify the insecure content

Open you webpage in chrome–> Right click anywhere on the page–> Click on Inspect–> Select the console tab

This will display all the assets with insecure content and you can take necessary actions to rectify them.

After making these changes, if you refresh your web page you will see the secure page with no warnings.

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13 Aug

12 Things You Should Never Say At Work (Instead, Say This)

Professional manners carries considerable importance when working in a team.” Most of us (employees), try to avoid conflict at work, especially while trying a sensitive subject with colleagues. It’s easy to let something slip at work, especially when you’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed.

There are a number of potential scenarios where you can put your foot in your mouth. Maybe you’re trying to provide constructive feedback and you end up coming off rude or critical, or perhaps you disagree with a co-worker, but instead of listening first, you interrupt.

The difference between the almost-right word and the right word is really a large matter, it’s the difference between the lightning-bug and the lightning. – Mark Twain.

According to a recent survey by Harvard Business Review, nearly 1100 individuals found that around 66 percent of workers want to make the other person feel comfortable during tough chats. However, these diplomatic intentions can be soured by poorly phrased or negative comments, uttered in moments of stress, anger, or sheer carelessness.

People those who look out for ways of being more polite and friendly toward each other must follow these Phrases below:

1. That’s Not My Problem / That’s Not My Job:

If you asked someone for help, and the person replied with one of the above phrases, how would you feel? “Regardless of how inconvenient or inappropriate a request may be, it is likely important to the other person or they would not have asked. Therefore, as a contributing member of the team, a top priority is to care about the success of others.”  An unconcerned, detached and self-serving attitude quickly limits career advancement.

2. This Is The Way It’s Always Been Done:

Something it really does feel there’s nothing else we can do, especially if we have exhausted all possibilities. Adopting a “can-do” attitude would go much further than admitting defeat.

4. This Will Only Take A Minute:

We all get confused, but rather than jump to conclusions it could be that simply don’t understand. Instead of appearing negative, try to recognize what the other person is saying.

6. You Are Wrong:

This can slip out before we realize. The trouble is you are verging trampling on office etiquette and could rite same people up. Try a more diplomatic approach.

This can slip out before we realize. The trouble is you are verging trampling on office etiquette and could rite same people up. Try a more diplomatic approach.

7. I am Sorry, But…:

We rarely think when we say sorry, and it’s often followed by an excuse. This undoes the power of a true apology.

8. I Just Assumed That:

Mistakes are easy to make and can simply come from miscommunication. Nevertheless, it’s much better to not express assumption and clarify what it is you needed to do.

9. I Did My Best:

Since school, we have always been taught to try our best. But when your best isn’t good enough, use it as a lesson you can learn from.

10. You Should Have…:

Pointing out mistakes when you are frustrated is all too easy to do, but blaming someone and finding fault with them or their work isn’t the best approach. Try to be more constructive.

11. I May Be Wrong, But…:

You have an idea but lack confidence and worried others might dismiss what you have to say. Avoid discounting yourself and tell people what you think.

12. I Haven’t Had Time:

There are never enough hours in the day, and conflicting priorities occur far too often. It’s better to be proactive and say when the task will be done, rather than explaining why it is late.

To keep awkward office discussions honest yet positive, steer clear of these phrases. They may seem innocuous at surface level, but the subtext indicates that you’re not a team player.

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01 Aug

Be Careful: This Single Photo Is Hacking Everyone’s WhatsApp, Telegram Accounts

One of the most worrying leaks arising from the recent WikiLeaks publication is the possibility that government organizations can compromise WhatsApp, Telegram, and other end-to-end encrypted chat applications. While this has yet to be proven, many end-users are concerned about WhatsApp and Telegram end-to-end encryption to guarantee user privacy. This encryption is designed to ensure that only the people communicating can read the messages and nobody else in between.

 

But, this same mechanism has also been the origin of a new vulnerability we have discovered in both messaging service online platforms WhatsApp Web and Telegram Web. The online version of these platforms mirror all messages sent and received by the user and are fully synced with the users’ device.

This vulnerability, if exploited, would have allowed attackers to completely take over users’ accounts on any browser, and access victims’ personal and group conversations, photos, videos and other shared files, contact lists, and more. This means attackers could possibly download your photos and or post them online, send messages on your behalf, demand ransom, and even take over your friends’ accounts.

So, next time when someone sends you a photo of a cute cat or a hot chick on WhatsApp or Telegram, then be careful before you click on the image to view, it might hack your account within seconds. A computer security firm on Wednesday revealed a flaw that could let hackers break into WhatsApp or Telegram messaging accounts using the very encryption intended to protect messages.

Technical Details – WhatsApp

WhatsApp upload file mechanism supports several document types such as Office Documents, PDF, Audio files, Videos, and images. Each of the suphttpsported types can be uploaded and sent to WhatsApp clients as an attachment.

However, Check Point research team has managed to bypass the mechanism’s restrictions by uploading a malicious HTML document with a legitimate preview of an image in order to fool a victim to click on the document in order to take over his account. Once the victim clicks on the document, the WhatsApp web client uses the FileReader HTML 5 API call to generate a unique BLOB URL with the file content sent by the attacker then navigates the user to this URL.

Technical Details – Telegram

Telegram supports multiple document types to be sent to the Telegram Web application, but the only image and video document types are stored in the Filesystem section within the browser.

Check Point researchers have managed to bypass Telegram’s upload policy and upload a malicious HTML document with a mime type of a video file “video/mp4”. Then, they were able to send it to the victim side in an encrypted channel through telegram servers. Once the victim opens the video in a new browser tab, it will start playing and the users’ session data will be sent to the attacker.

Interestingly, it’s the end-to-end encryption feature of these apps that would have helped hackers take advantage of the flaw. Because the contents of chats are end-to-end encrypted, it means that neither WhatsApp nor Telegram could see the malware hidden in a shared malicious image. That means both companies would be blind to the content, allowing malicious code to be passed back and forth between users.

Henceforward, content will be validated before the encryption, Check Point explains, which would block malicious files. The Check Point team also outlines a couple of methods to make sure that you aren’t victims of such hacks.

Check Point Security Tips:

While WhatsApp & Telegram have patched this vulnerability, as a general practice we recommend the following preventive measures:

1. Periodically clean logged-in computers from your WhatsApp & Telegram. This will allow you to control the devices that are hosting your account and shut down unwanted activity.

2. Avoid opening suspicious files and links from unknown users.

After fixing this flaw, content on the web versions of both WhatsApp and Telegram will now be validated before the end-to-end encryption comes into play, allowing malicious files to be blocked.

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31 May

Got vinyl? You can enjoy that awesome nostalgic music once again.

Do you own a stack of old LPs and 45s that you’d love to listen to again?

Or perhaps you’d like to convert the music on your vinyl records to digital format so you can bring that great music into the modern world?

Conventional wisdom says the golden days of vinyl are over, and for the most part I suppose it is. CDs, iTunes, and streaming to our mobile devices have made those old spinning vinyl discs fairly obsolete.

That being said, it’s still entirely possible to buy a record player and listen to your nostalgic music, and it won’t cost you an arm and a leg either. In fact, Amazon sells several record players for as little as $40. 

Of course the most inexpensive models won’t play music in high fidelity or pump out a lot of volume, but they’ll play your records just fine. And if you’d like to transfer your music from vinyl to a digital format so you can play it on modern devices, you can do that as well.

It’ll cost you a bit more than just a standard record player, but something like the awesome Crosley CR6001A-BK Archiver USB-Enabled 3-Speed Turntable will not only play all of your old records, but let you copy the music in digital form right onto your computer’s hard drive. And once it’s on your hard drive, you can put your music on your iPod, tablet, mobile phone, or even onto CDs.

Here’s a photo of the aforementioned Crosley Archiver Turntable:

This awesome machine from Crosley will also allow you to play and digitize the music from your old cassettes tapes, CDs, and even the built-in AM-FM radio!

Bottom line: Although the world of music has moved into the digital age, you can still get yourself a record player and enjoy the sounds of yesteryear by playing your old vinyl LPs and 45 records. And if you want to, you can even place all that great nostalgic music on your computer and mobile devices!

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30 May

The ‘Geek Squad’ will search your PC for child porn (and the FBI will pay them to turn you in).

Have you ever taken your computer into Best Buy to have their “Geek Squad” crew check it out and repair it if needed?

If so, the computer technician who worked on your machine probably searched your hard drive to see if there was any child pornography on it.

And guess what? Had they found some the FBI could have paid them to turn you in.

You’re probably thinking that having computer techs help the FBI catch people who create, distribute and view child pornography is a good thing, and I certainly don’t disagree. But I do believe it’s a very bad idea for the FBI to be paying them to do it. 

When law enforcement at any level pays computer technicians to turn in folks that have illegal content on their computers, that gives the techs a strong incentive to find someone to turn in every now and then to earn some extra cash, which begs the following question:

What’s to prevent a dishonest tech from planting child porn on an innocent customer’s PC in order to turn him/her in and collect the bounty?

You might be thinking that the FBI would be able to detect that the illegal files were copied onto the hard drive at the time the computer was in the shop, but it really isn’t that simple.

It’s quite easy to fake a file’s time stamp so there’s be no way to know for sure exactly when any given file was created.

Just to be clear, in no way do I mean to imply that the Geek Squad is manned by an army of dishonest technicians. I have no doubt that the vast majority of them are honest and decent people who are just out to earn a living for their families.

But the above being said, the actions of just one dishonest tech can send an innocent customer to prison, and that’s one too many in my opinion.

Bottom line: I believe that every computer technician has a moral obligation to report any child pornography they see on a customer’s computer to the authorities, and in some states they are even required to do so by law. But I also believe it’s a very bad idea to be paying them to turn people in.

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29 May

Q&A: Can moving a laptop while it’s in Sleep mode damage the hard drive?

Question from Larry A:  I just bought my first laptop and I have a question about it.

When I close the lid it goes into Sleep mode. Is it safe to carry it around while in Sleep mode or should I shut it down completely?

I’ve always been told never to move a computer that’s powered up or it’ll damage the hard drive, and a sleeping laptop still has power, right?

As you can see I’m confused LOL. Looking forward to your answer.

Rick’s answer:  Larry, the short answer to your question is no, you won’t damage the hard drive in your laptop if you carry it around while in Sleep mode.

When a computer is placed into Sleep mode, the only components that are left powered up are the ones needed to keep the current operating environment alive and “wake” the laptop up when you’re ready to use it again.

As a general rule, the hard drive and all other non-essential components are either powered down completely or placed into a very low power mode.

To be a little more specific, while your laptop is in Sleep mode the platters in the hard drive stop spinning and the read/write heads are parked (i.e. pulled back into a “safe zone”) to prevent damage to either the heads or the platters themselves.

Bottom line: You can pick up your sleeping laptop and carry it anywhere you wish without having to worry about damaging the hard drive.

I hope this helps Larry. Good luck!

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