Notes from the Electronic Cottage 1/14/21: Big Tech & First Amendment

Producer/Host: Jim Campbell

In the wake of what many are calling an insurrection in our nation’s Capital (and Capitol), Twitter, Google and other big tech companies removed the accounts of Donald Trump and others for, in the judgement of the tech companies, fomenting violence. Can they do that? Doesn’t that violate the right to free speech under the First Amendment? There is a lot of confusion about that and about what the law is and is not when it comes to free speech on the web. Let’s start at the beginning and sort things out because we are going to be hearing a lot about proposed laws in the next little while that will affect what we all can – and cannot – say online. Here’s chapter 1.

Notes from the Electronic Cottage 1/7/21: New Year’s Digital Tune Up 3

Producer/Host: Jim Campbell

New Year, time to sweep out the old – or, when we are talking about or computers, time to be sure we are preserving the old we want to keep, and updating the rest! Here are three very basis questions we can all ask ourselves as we start the New Year. They may seem very basic, and that’s because they are but polls indicate that well over half of personal computer users in this country don’t ask these questions, let alone try to answer them. Just in case, here they are.

Notes from the Electronic Cottage 12/31/20: New Year’s Digital Tune Up 2

Producer/Host: Jim Campbell

As the year turns, we are all focused on Covid and vaccines, and that is perfectly understandable. Still, once vaccines are distributed and the pandemic is under control, we will still be living in a digital world in which, we would suggest, those who have at least a basic understanding of science and technology will be a lot better off than those who don’t both for themselves personally and for society in general. Let’s think about that for a moment with the help of Stephen Hawking and Isaac Asimov.

Notes from the Electronic Cottage 12/24/20: Holiday Gift Settings

Producer/Host: Jim Campbell

Many folks may find a swell new personal digital device gifted to them in this holiday season. The first reaction for many people is to start using the device right away. Don’t! Instead, check and adjust the Settings on the device first to make sure that new gift works the way YOU want it to work, not just the way the manufacturer wants it to work.

Notes from the Electronic Cottage 12/17/20: December Update 1

Producer/Host: Jim Campbell

Difficult as it may be to get into stores these days, it’s still the holiday season and lot of folks are buying “smart” appliances. As we’ve mentioned on past programs, these devices are called “smart” for a reason, a point made by one of the regional offices of the FBI. Those agents offered some very good advice for any time of year but especially in the gift-giving season.
The Department of Homeland Security, meanwhile, is trying to offer some swell advice as well about having your face scanned if you want to take a plane out of the country. That idea deserves a stocking full of coal. Here’s why.

Notes from the Electronic Cottage 12/10/20: COVID-19 Tracking Again

Producer/Host: Jim Campbell

Who wants to be talking about Covid-19 tracking in the holiday season? Probably no one. However, given the world we are in, it’s not a bad idea and think about one of the most important tools for stopping the spread of the virus – contact tracing. Technology was supposed to help make that cumbersome task easier but that will only happen if people choose to use it. So far they haven’t.

Notes from the Electronic Cottage 12/3/20: Holiday Shopping & Phishing

Producer/Host: Jim Campbell

Despite all that is going on in the world, it’s still the holiday season and that means lots of folks are shopping, and increasingly shopping online, and that means an increase in email phishing attempts. Here are a few thoughts on how to falling prey to phishing attacks to help avoid the world of hurt those who succumb to those attacks can find themselves in.