Saturday, August 12, 2017

RECYCLING ELECTRONIC WASTE WEST HOLLYWOOD

 
recycling west hollywood area
Every computer user ends up with old machines, dead printers or an obsolete cell phone.  Often this just gets thrown in the trash where toxic chemicals in the electronics can poison landfills.  In addition to heavy metals such as lead and mercury, there are quantities of arsenic, beryllium, cadmium and gobs of polyvinyl chloride. Yuk! Things get worse when these products are burned in incinerators and we end up breathing these poisons. 90% of cell phones/batteries are never recycled. That is illegal in California!

african mining slaveWe all know recycling is better for the environment but did you know it is better for society too?  And I don't mean West Hollywood.  Cell phones alone contain rare earth elements which are mined by African warlords to pay for their violent, war mongering regimes in Rwanda and the Congo.  Adults and children are paid slave wages to work 12 hour days covered in filth while panning, by hand, for these valuable minerals.  Re-using these elements means less money for African despots and a saner world for everyone. For more on this dirty secret the cell phone companies don't want you to know just click here.

LOCAL RECYCLING SPOTS:

City of West Hollywood - The City of Weho holds occasional recycle events and document shredding in conjunction with HomeboyRecycling.  If there is one coming up it will be shown here.  Plus you can recycle your batteries at City Hall any time.
Best Buy Geek Squad - Take your dead computer to the Geek Squad desk at Best Buy and they will take care of it for you for free. But they will pocked the money they make from the materials.  Also they take computers in ones and twos but don't expect to mass-dump ten broken PCs on their doorstep they won't accept them all. Best Buy store locator.
Koontz Hardware - As a computer fixer I end up with a lot of batteries from dead laptops. If the battery is removable then I just take them around the corner to Koontz Hardware.  Their battery recycling bucket is right by the front door.
Goodwill - Two locations in the Hollywood/Beverly Hills area:  Goodwill Store Locator


cell phone batteryWHEN RECYCLING YOUR CELL PHONE
If you bought a new phone, make sure to transfer the data from your old phone. The store can often help with this. Locate the settings screen on your phone and factory reset it so all your data is removed. As an added precaution, you can also remove the SIM card. If the cell phone battery is removable, you’ll want to take it out. Most cell phone batteries are lithium-ion batteries, which require special transportation for recycling, so this is especially important if using a manufacturer’s mail-back program.

CELL PHONES FOR SOLDIERS:  Your old phone can be re-used by a member of the U.S. armed forces.  With the simple, powerful donation of your newer or gently-used cell phone, smartphone or tablet, you become a hero to our nation’s heroes. Your mobile phone gets responsibly recycled and proceeds from that process fund the charitable programs that truly provide a lifeline to troops and veterans. CELLPHONESFORSOLDERS.COM

RECYCLING FOR CHARITIES:  You send them the e-waste, you pick the charity to benefit and that group gets the money. Simple. And there are a huge number of charities available.  RECYCLING FOR CHARITY

LIFECELL RECYCLING:  Your dead cell phone can provide clean drinking water to the world's poorest people.  Find out more at LIFECELLPROJECT.

recycled cell phones 2008
With 1.4 BILLION new phones made every year those old ones gotta go someplace!

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

THE HACKING OF U.S. CONTINUES AT NUKE PLANTS

THE HACKING OF U.S. CONTINUES AT NUKE PLANTS https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/06/technology/nuclear-plant-hack-report.html For more on protecting yourself in the digital age check my website http://wehocomputerrepair.com/protecting_your_information.htm

Recycle that junk West Hollywood!

DUMP THAT JUNK! Recycle your e-waste and shred confidential docs in West Hollywood this July 29: http://www.weho.org/city-hall/city-departments/public-works/environmental-services/document-shredding-and-e-waste-collection Cell phones alone contain rare earth elements that terrorists in Africa use to fund their wars and environmental destruction. Every phone recycled means less power to those scumbags. For more computer help and advice go to my blog at http://www.wehocomputerrepair.com//blog_posts_main.htm

Thursday, April 20, 2017

How to make cell phone batteries last all day!

MAKE YOUR CELL PHONE BATTERY LAST

 

look don't like warningWest Hollywood loves shallow things. Weho also loves its cell phones. Everyone is relying on them, addicted to them, all the time.  City hall even bought signs telling pedestrians to look up from their devices while crossing the street!  Seriously, multiple (often drunk) people have been hit at crosswalks in West Hollywood, often because they were glued to their phones.

With that kind of popularity keeping your gadget charged all day is now more important than ever. Here are some tips:

1. Vibration: turn it off if possible. It's a huge power eater.

2. GPS: Constantly monitoring your global position takes power and prevents the phone from "sleeping" to save juice. Turn it on to use Lyft or Uber, then turn it off again.

3. Opening and closing apps: let apps you use often keep running. Don't close and re-open them all day long. I'm looking at you, Grindr.

4. Constantly re-charging your phone is better for it than letting the battery go to 0% before re-charging. Topping off and constantly recharging is good.

5. The Facebook app is huge drain on batteries even when you turn it OFF. Uninstall it. cell phone battery

6. Instagram also gobbles up battery power and storage pre-loading images and videos. Uninstall it.

7. Screen brightness: the lower you go the more power you save.

8. Beat the heat: don't leave your phone in the hot sun or a locked car. High temperatures ruin the battery over time. Air vents should be dust free.

9. Basic Black Wallpaper: modern phones with OLED screens use power slower showing black. Up to 18% less. And it's easier on your eyes.

10. Ad-Blockers: an ad you block is one less ad for your processor to display. Fortunately this website does not show ads.

But I HATE AD BLOCKERS for my ad based websites. Don't kill our ad revenue with blockers!  I'm conflicted :(

For more consumer tech news go to http://www.wehocomputerrepair.com

iphone with dead battery


Friday, March 10, 2017

Windows 10 - Microsoft's pushiest product ever!

WINDOWS 10 THE PUSHIEST, MOST INVASIVE WINDOWS EVER!

windows 10 logoWindows 7 was Microsoft's last broadly popular version of its flagship product, the Windows operating system.  That is the version of Windows most folks here in Hollywood or Beverly Hills use.  Windows 8 was a mess, Windows 9 does not exist, and we are now on Windows 10. Don't get me started on how stupid these product names are.  Microsoft has a monopoly on the Windows brand, and it is a big brand indeed.  They can pressure their customers because there really isn't another choice for a program that runs a personal computer (sorry Apple fans your market share is puny.)

1984 george orwell book coverThe problem with Windows 10 is the staggering amount of spying and manipulation it does.  Not even the Church of Scientology does so much spying!  Some of this behavior can be turned off but you have to make that effort yourself.  By default Windows is set to be maximum intrusive. That is because Microsoft GAVE AWAY millions of free copies of Windows 10.  If you aren't paying for a product then you ARE the product.

SOME OF THE THINGS WINDOWS 10 DOES

•    FORCED UPGRADING:  During the period Win 10 was given away for free Win 8/7 owners were constantly pressured to upgrade using some tactics that could be considered malware hacks.  My lawyer went to bed one night, woke up, and found that his two Win 7 PCs had magically upgraded themselves in the middle of the night to Win 10.  If you know what you are doing this upgrade can be rolled back in minutes, but most people don't know how or even if they should.

•    LOGS EVERYTHING:  It logs its users time on Windows 10 but also their time using Microsoft Edge... and gaming... and streaming games... and counting your search queries... and every single time a user opens a photo. Read the Windows 10 EULA (contract), privacy blogs and Error guides and you'd have no idea your images were being tallied or your gaming sessions logged and this separates it from rivals. At least Google, Facebook and Apple admit when they are watching.   Even your browser history (where you go on the internet) and your keystrokes are being watched. Microsoft claims this is to serve you better and make error reporting more robust. Uh huh.

•    INSTALLS ANYTHING IT WANTS:  By forcing updates on you and deliberately not providing much info on what the update does it can pretty much put anything on your PC.  And, although updates can be delayed, you can't prevent them from happening.

•    DISPLAY ADS IN THE START MENU

•    ANALYZES YOUR PERSONAL DATA:  Signing in with your Microsoft email account means Windows is reading your emails, contacts and calendar data. The new Edge browser serves you personalized ads. Solitaire now comes with ads. Using Cortana – the voice-driven assistant that represents Redmond’s answer to Apple’s Siri – reportedly plays fast and loose with your data too.   “We will access, disclose and preserve personal data, including your content (such as the content of your emails, other private communications or files in private folders), when we have a good faith belief that doing so is necessary to.”

•    CONSTANTLY TALKS TO MICROSOFT:  Even with all the intrusive features turned off as possible one researcher found Win 10 constantly is talking on the internet.  Eight hours later, he found that a completely idle Windows 10 machine had tried over 5,500 connections to 93 different IP addresses. 4,000 of these were Windows connections and 51 of the IP’s belonged to Microsoft. After leaving the machine alone for 30 hours, Windows 10 attempted connections to an additional 113 non-private IP addresses, which is akin to placing a sign on your network saying “now open to main in the middle (MiTM) attacks.”

•    SPREADS ITS PRIVACY SETTINGS ACROSS 13 DIFFERENT SCREENS: Just try getting all your settings straight with THAT layout scheme.  Was this done on purpose to make it hard to turn off spying? Of course!

For detailed instructions on how to deal with this spying and turn most of it off read the "Paranoids Guide to Windows 10."

EXPERTS ONLY:  For those who are experts at computers (and being paranoid) use this utility to get even more control.
 
For more go to MY WEBSITE

Thursday, January 19, 2017

BEST BUY'S 'GEEK SQUAD' LETS FBI CONDUCT WARRANTLESS SEARCHES

BEST BUY'S 'GEEK SQUAD' LETS FBI CONDUCT WARRANTLESS SEARCHES

geek squad logo
JANUARY 2017:  Best Buy's computer repair department the "Geek Squad" (what an insulting name) has been in trouble over the years as I previously detailed here.  Now they are in a really big scandal.  It all started in May 2016 at a kiddie porn trial. First let me say KIDDIE PORN IS SICK, ILLEGAL AND WRONG! But that isn't the issue here.

The case in question involves Dr. Mark Rettenmaier, a gynecological oncologist in Orange County, California, who brought his desktop in to a Best Buy for repairs in November 2011.  For some reason his computer was shipped to Kentucky (first in marijuana farming last in in education spending). Why would anyone ship a computer from CA to KY to be fixed? Just give it to me right here in West Hollywood! A technician at Best Buy's repair facility in KY an image of a naked prepubescent girl on a bed in a choke collar, then informed his boss, who told the FBI. Both Best Buy employees received some payment from the FBI, as did at least six others over four years, court records show.

Rettenmaier's lawyer, James D. Riddet, argues that the relationship between the FBI and the Geek Squad is "so cozy" and extensive "it turns searches by Best Buy into government searches." Court records show the "FBI and Best Buy made sure that during the period from 2007 to the present, there was always at least one supervisor who was an active informant," Riddet told OC Weekly.  Riddet says agents conducted two additional searches of the computer without obtaining necessary warrants, lied to trick a federal magistrate judge into authorizing a search warrant, then tried to cover up their misdeeds by initially hiding records.

The defense in the child pornography trial alleged that the FBI used a member of electronics retailer Best Buy's tech support team, Geek Squad, to peer into the accused's computer on the hunt for evidence of child pornography. Since then, the defense's lawyers revealed that the FBI had cultivated at least eight of the company's IT "geeks" over a four-year period to serve as confidential informants, who all received some payment for turning over data. Obviously, this raises serious questions about whether sending devices into the repair shop forfeits a person's right to privacy or unreasonable search and seizure.

The eight Geek Squad members in question worked in the tech support branch's repair center in Brooks, Kentucky, servicing items sent in from all over the country. Technically, users sign consent to search over to Best Buy when they hand their devices over to get fixed. This includes fine print indicating that any evidence of child pornography would require the company to hand the device over to authorities.

hard diskBut if the FBI paid each of its informants to pass along evidence they'd acquired in the course of their normal job, and plan to keep doing so in future cases, wouldn't that make Best Buy's employees functional agents of the bureau? A federal judge is allowing the case's defense attorneys to explore that relationship between company and government which functionally allowed the FBI to bypass the need for a warrant or acquire specific consent to search. On the first day of the inquiry, an FBI agent's testimony cast doubt on whether the initial image found by the Geek Squad member and informant technically qualified as child pornography to warrant bureau action.

Another problem is that, in this case, the child pornography found was on the drive's unallocated space, i.e. space that the file system is able to use for new data, not capacity containing the files the customer wanted preserved. Accessing files in unallocated space requires going above and beyond the job the customer contracted for, as well as extra software to recover deleted data. A Federal appeals court has ruled that data in unallocated space is insufficient to prove that the user knew of its existence.  Finding files in unallocated space is HARD and takes time and expertise. Apparently the Best Buy employees were motivated by payouts from the FBI to snoop around.

"The government concedes it presented no evidence that Flyer knew of the presence of the files on the unallocated space of his Gateway computer's hard drive," declared judges at the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit before overturning that conviction. "The government also concedes it presented no evidence that Flyer had the forensic software required to see or access the files. . . . Deletion of an image alone does not support a conviction for knowing possession of child pornography on or about a certain date within the meaning of [federal law]. No evidence indicated that Flyer could recover or view any of the charged images in unallocated space or that he even knew of their presence there."

I don't know how information can even be STORED on "unallocated space" and I'm a PC expert!  It's possible the image was saved in a strange place by malware or a virus used to blackmail people.

But the biggest issue remains whether Geek Squad technicians acted as secret law-enforcement agents and, thus, violated Fourth Amendment prohibitions against warrantless government searches. Riddet claims records show "FBI and Best Buy made sure that during the period from 2007 to the present, there was always at least one supervisor who was an active informant." He also said, "The FBI appears to be able to access data at [Best Buy's main repair facility in Brooks, Kentucky] whenever they want." Calling the relationship between the agency and the Geek Squad relevant to pretrial motions, Carney approved Riddet's request to question agents under oath.

best buy fbi scandal

bEST BUY RESPONDS

best buy logo
Best Buy and Geek Squad have no relationship with the FBI. From time to time, our repair agents discover material that may be child pornography, and we have a legal and moral obligation to turn that material over to law enforcement. We are proud of our policy and share it with our customers before we begin any repair.

Any circumstances in which an employee received payment from the FBI is the result of extremely poor individual judgment is not something we tolerate and is certainly not a part of our normal business behavior.

To be clear, our agents unintentionally find child pornography as they try to make the repairs the customer is paying for. They are not looking for it. Our policies prohibit agents from doing anything other than what is necessary to solve the customer's problem so that we can maintain their privacy and keep up with the volume of repairs.

For more on this story go here: Weho Computer Repair