Not All Battery Chargers are Created Equal

Written: February 1, 2016

I use both Apple and Android devices every day in my business and personal life, so decided that I should buy a new battery charger for the AAA batteries used in my Apple Magic Mouse. The charging unit is white, sleek, rounded and comes with six AAA batteries:

Apple Battery Charger

Apple Battery Charger

 

I brought the charger home, charged up two of the included silver batteries, then used them in my Magic Mouse, all was well.

Then curiosity took hold and I tried to insert another brand of rechargeable NiMH battery in this charger. Guess what? The Apple charger flashed a Yellow distress light, because it will only charge the six included batteries and not any other brand of rechargeable battery.

Huh?

How could a major American company create a battery charger and disable it from charging any NiMH battery?

The greedy marketing folks at Apple clearly went overboard and paranoid in this case by insisting that only Apple batteries can be recharged and not other NiMH batteries. Apple may be so embarrassed by this offense that they have recently removed this product from their online store. The only place that I found one for sale was at Amazon.com, but none are listed at www.apple.com.

 

Keeping Your Software Updated

Written: January 19, 2016

It’s a best business practice to keep all of your software updated and at the latest release, because you get bugs fixed, better security and often receive new features. There are many times that I have to update software:

Just today my financial app Quicken 2015 running in Windows 10 requested to be updated to release 10, so I obliged:

Notice how in that final screen Quicken nagged me to upgrade from the 2015 to 2016 version, but at a price, so I declined. When financial software like Quicken is working OK at version 2015 release 10, I delay paying them extra money for version 2016 just because the app does everything that I want in version 2015. Use your own best judgement about having to pay for yearly releases of apps, however if you are offered a free release upgrade then do so.

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It’s Tax Time, Beware of this IRS Phishing Email

Written: January 14, 2016

I cringe every time that I have to pay taxes quarterly, and whenever I receive an email or letter from the IRS or Oregon Department of Revenue. My email inbox today had the following official looking message:

IRS phishing

The from email address was legitimate as noreply@irs.gov, however this email message had two things that stuck out to me as suspicious:

  1. The wording was quite awkward, like: “we oblige you to update”
  2. There’s an HTML file attachment, a big security no-no

So folks, this email was another phishing attempt to lure me into double-clicking on the attached HTML file, the real IRS will never send you an HTML file for clicking. The real IRS would have your Social Security number displayed, or your first and last name, or your address, something to identify that they know who you really are beyond just an email address.

Be vigilant and always question any suspicious looking email before blindly following what hackers are sending you.

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Happy New 2016, Beware of an Apple ID Phishing

Written: January 8, 2016

Welcome to 2016, and I hope that this will be your best year ever.

I just received an official-looking email from Apple with a security notice about a failed login attempt on a device in the UK:

phishing-security-notice

 

My suspicions were alerted so I did a quick look at the email sender, which revealed: infoweb@appleid.net

That’s not an email address coming from the official apple.com domain name, so I was about 90% certain that this was yet another phishing scam to get me to click a link. Step two was to hover over the blue link that they wanted me to click to see what URL they wanted me to land on:

Phishing URL

Phishing URL

OK, now I was 100% certain that this was a phishing scam because the URL is pointing to www.haven24.cool, which is certainly not in any way related to the official apple.com domain name.

This email looked quite official on the surface, but digging a bit deeper on my part instead of blindly clicking the phishing link protected my identity from being stolen and abused.

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