How to disable and re-enble some Chromebook Touchpads



Do you have a Chromebook? They’ve beccome popular, especially in schools and businesses. The simplicity and pricing make them appealing. They do work a bit differently, though. There are some tricks to get used to and we have one for you today,

On a Windows computer there’s frequently a button that turns the trouchpad off and on. Quite often it’s an F Key in conjunction with ALT. However, Chromebooks can be unique in this case as they work in different ways.

Why would you want to do this? Personally, I did it because my wrists brushed the pad while typing and the cursor would jump into places that were done. I’d find myself typing a sentence in the middle of a previous one.

One common method for disabling the touchpad is by use of a software-hardware combo. Start via software  you”ll need to First, you need to enable an experimental flag named “Debugging keyboard shortcuts” at chrome://flags/#ash-debug-shortcuts.

Now we’ll move onto hardware. This is also a quick and easy step. Simply hold down Shift+Search+P and the touchpad will go off. Reverse the key press to turn it back on. It’s a simple process once the flag is done, and that’s a one-time deal the first time.

It’s that simple and you’re on your way to working on $150 laptop. Talk about saving some money.


1GB Fiber Internet #1239



Thank you to everyone that participated in my Social Media Experiment from Facebook to Twitter we have some movement on the potential 1GB internet connection. More on this as I find out but there appears to be a very small chance to make it happen. A great batch of news on today’s show and some soapbox time to get you all fired up.

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MSI Awarded 6 CES Innovation Awards



MSI, a world leader in gaming hardware, received the distinction of an International CES 2018 Best of Innovation at Gaming Award for its powerful, small form factor Trident 3 Arctic gaming desktop.

In addition, other MSI products, including the high-performance Z370 GODLIKE GAMING motherboard, cutting-edge GTX 1080Ti Lightning graphics card, innovative Optix MPG27CQ curved gaming monitor and the next generation Infinite X gaming desktop, received the distinction of International CES 2018 Honorees in the Computer Hardware & Components and Gaming categories.

Trident 3 Arctic was recognized under “Best of Innovation at Gaming” and “CES Innovation Honoree at Computer Hardware & Components” categories. It is the perfect gaming solution for those with space constraints or design requirements. It is equipped with the latest Intel Core processor and up to NVIDIA GTX for the ultimate performance in a wide variety of applications.

The Z370 GODLIKE GAMING Motherboard was honored under the “CES Innovation Honoree at Gaming” category. It is quality built and loaded with exclusive features for maximum performance.

GTX 1080Ti Lightning Graphics Card was recognized under the “CES Innovation Honoree at Computer Hardware & Components” category. The cutting edge MSI Lightning graphic cards have been at the top of the overclocking world for years. The latest iteration, the GeForce GTS 1080 Ti Lightning Z, is the best choice for those looking for top level performance.

Infinite X Gaming Desktop was honored under the “CES Innovation Honoree at Gaming” category. The Infinite X is the next generation gaming desktop. It is equipped with Intel’s 8th gen. CPU, Mystic light RGB LED, dual steel/tempered glass side panels, MSI’s award-winning gaming graphics cards, and MSI Silent Storm Cooling 3 Pro thermal design.

Optix MPG27CQ Gaming Monitor was honored under the “CES Innovation Honoree at Gaming” category. It is a new curved gaming monitor made for ultimate gaming. More information about it will be announced at CES.


Twitter Expanded the Character Limit



Twitter has expanded the number of characters that can fit into a single tweet from 140 to 280. This change is being rolled out “to languages where cramming was an issue.”

Twitter points out that “Japanese, Korean, and Chinese will continue to have 140 characters because cramming is not an issue in these languages. In fact, these languages have always been able to say more with their Tweets because of the density of their writing systems.”

It seems to me that not everyone who uses English on Twitter received the 280 character update right away. Those who have not been given the extra characters to tweet with will get the update eventually.

What will you do with 280 characters? While some people are filling their tweet with emoji, or stretching it out so it takes up a lot of space, others have used the opportunity to post something meaningful.

The Tony Awards tweeted part of the lyrics to “Give My Regards to Broadway”. The Chicago Cubs tweeted their win/loss record. Bob Vorwald, a “Chicago TV sports guy” tweeted the lyrics to “Take Me Out to the Ballgame”. The Twitter account for The Office TV show tweeted out a cry for help. Actor Isiah Whitlock Jr. tweeted his most memorable line from the TV show The Wire.

Love it, or hate it, the 280 character count is here to stay. One one hand, I see it as a good thing because it allows people to be creative and to express more of their thoughts in one tweet. Perhaps we will have fewer need for “Threads”. On the other hand, I fear that this change will enable mean people to spew 280 characters of hate at whomever they choose to attack.


Razer and Blizzard Made D.Va Gaming Peripherals



Razer is the world’s leading lifestyle brand for gamers. Blizzard is the creator of the popular Overwatch video game. The two companies have partnered in order to create gaming peripherals based on D.Va, a character from Overwatch.

The Razer Abyssus Elite is a mouse that comes with true 7,200 DPI and tracking at 220 inches per second (IPS) as well as an acceleration of 30 G. Users can switch between left and right handed button configurations. The mouse has 3 hyper response buttons and an exclusive D.Va design. It is available now, and priced at US $59.99.

The Razer Goliathus is a mousepad that has an exclusive D.Va design. The mousepad weave is pulled taut to create a slick and seamless surface that enables the D.Va Razer Abyssus Elite to glide over it quickly with zero hinderance. It is a soft cloth design that maintains its flatness no matter how many times it is rolled up and unrolled. It is available now, and priced at $19.99.

There is also a D.Va Razer Meka Headset (which is listed on the Razer website as “coming soon”). It is an iconic headset that resembles the one that the D.Va Overwatch character wears in-game.


OnePlus 5T Coming Soon



In not-entirely-unexpected news, OnePlus have announced the 5T’s launch event in Brooklyn, New York for 16:00 GMT, 17:00 CET, 11am Eastern) on 16 August. Availability will follow on 21 August from oneplus.net.

The new Android smartphone comes five months after the original 5, which was shown off for the first time on 20 June. While differences between the 5 and 5T aren’t confirmed, a new design is expected, unlike the OnePlus 3T which only differed internally from the 3. The keynote is branded, “A New View” but it’s difficult to extrapolate anything from that.

In an interesting development, fans can buy tickets for the OnePlus 5T launch event, priced at US$40. There’s no detail on what the $40 gets other than a seat, but I would imagine there would be some swag involved. Ticket sales start at noon ET 8 November.

As it’s OnePlus, of course there’s a social media contest to win a trip to the launch event. Good luck.

For everyone else, the event will be streamed live. If you can’t wait, there’s the obligatory teaser trailer that seems to involve mechanoids. Maybe it’s a gaming phone?


WhatsApp Supermarket Phishing Scam



There’s a WhatsApp phishing scam doing the rounds here in the UK based on free gift vouchers from big supermarket retailers. It’s doing well because (a) people are receiving the links from friends and (b) they’re disguising the false links with foreign letters.

Here’s two that I received in the last few days.

 

Check the subtle dot over the c of Tesco and the line on the d of Asda. They got my scam senses tingling but many people seem to have fallen for it based on the couple of messages I received. Apparently there’s a variant for Aldi too.

If you do follow the links (and I recommend you don’t), the first part asks for more friends to pass on the message to, and the next bit starts collecting personal info so they can send out the vouchers. Yeah, right. Fortunately, friends I’ve spoken to became more suspicious on the second section and dropped out.

This scam can easily be moved to other retailers in other countries so watch out for it, though the basic scam has been around for awhile. It’s the use of special characters that seems to be new. I imagine that they can be creative with other letters in addition to c and d. More at the BBC.


Apple iPhone X Drop Test #1238



Well the studio just about got gutted this past weekend and I had some fun at the beginning of the show. Things will get back to normal at the beginning of next week. For now though the studio upgrade process is going well.

You have heard me talk about proximity beacons. I know now how to do it with minimal investment! This course that I endorse and have used successfully is the gateway to deploying proximity beacons for Android.

My New Personal YouTube Channel
Geek News Central Facebook Page.
Download the Audio Show File

Support my Show Sponsor:
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Stay Safer with 2FA and a YubiKey



In the past couple of weeks I’ve received three notifications from haveibeenpwnd informing me that a couple of organisations didn’t do a good enough job keeping my info secure. While it’s always going to be a good idea to change your login and password, any sites that use 2FA significantly reduce the value of stolen credentials (as long as you’ve signed up for the 2FA option!)

What’s 2FA? Two Factor Authentication. Still not clear? Maybe you’ve used a web site that’s texted your phone with an extra number or code that needs typed in before you are let in to your account. That number is a “second factor” and you’re using 2FA to get into the web site. Excellent choice. 2FA is good because it means that even if ne’er-do-wells steal your details from a sloppy site, they don’t have access to your phone, so they can’t get any further. However, SMS authentication is not perfect – there are some vulnerabilities typically using “man in the middle” attacks.

If you want to take your online authentication to the next level, you might want to consider a physical security key for your second factor. This isn’t a key like you’d use in a lock, but a USB key that doesn’t look too dissimilar to a memory stick. A good example is Yubico‘s YubiKey 4 series range, which supports a wide range of protocols including “FIDO U2F, smart card (PIV), Yubico OTP, Code Signing, OpenPGP, OATH-TOTP, OATH-HOTP, and Challenge-Response” and can be used with many of the big names like Google, Facebook and Dropbox. The keys can be used for authentication when logging onto PCs too (depending on OS, version etc.)

As an end user, you don’t need to know all the technical stuff, only that it’s a very safe way of authentication and it’s simple to use. To get started, you first associate the security key with your account, and the next time you try to logon to the service, you’ll be prompted to insert the security key into a USB slot (or swipe for NFC keys). You can use one key for multiple sites.

Yubico provides YubiKeys for different use cases. There’s the standard YubiKey 4 which is designed to go on a keyring (keychain) and works with USB A. The YubiKey 4C  also goes on a keyring but works with USB C. The 4 Nano and 4C Nano are smaller and are intended for semi-permanent installation in USB A and C sockets respectively. For NFC applications, such as suitably-equipped smartphones, there’s the YubiKey NEO. Physically, the keys are tough. Allegedly, they can go through the washing machine and get run over by a car, though I didn’t try any of these.

Here I have a YubiKey 4 and 4 Nano (shown left) and they both work in the same way – the only difference is the size and what you touch to activate the key. Let’s take a look at getting Google setup with a YubiKey.

Login to your Google account, say via Gmail. Click up on the top right where your “headshot” is and then click again on “My Account”.

Head on into “Signing in to Google”. I’ve blanked out a few sensitive items.

2-Step Verification is what you want. Hopefully, you’ve already got this turned on but if not, go ahead and get this sorted out. This page shows the factors you can use for 2FA. Security keys are topmost with text messages and backup codes below (not shown).

Click on “Add Security Key”.

Get the YubiKey ready and insert when instructed. Hit Next.

On the YubiKey 4, the “Y” logo on the key will flash – tap with your finger to confirm. On the Nano, tap inwards on the end of the key. Once the YubiKey has registered, you can give it a name.

And that’s it – all set and ready to go. The next time you login to Google on a computer that you haven’t used before you’ll be prompted to insert your YubiKey to prove who you are. Super secure!

Other services are similar. Here’s part of the Dropbox procedure.

And Facebook…

Supported sites are listed here and you’ll recognise a good few of the names.

If you can see the benefits of secure 2FA, the YubiKeys can be purchased from the Yubico online store. The YubiKey 4 is US$40 and the 4 Nano is US$50, with similar prices in GB£ from amazon.co.uk.

The 4 series can do a whole lot more, and if you just want the basics, then a YubiKey 3 at only US$18 is a good start. I personally bought one of these awhile ago to secure my Google account.

Thanks to Yubico for providing the YubiKeys for review.


Evertoon has been Acquired by Niantic



Evertoon was created to democratize storytelling. Their mission was to enable video creation for anyone with stories to tell, regardless of their looks, race, or age. Evertoon announced that it has been acquired by Niantic, the company that makes Pokémon GO.

Evertoon posted a blog in which they announced they had been acquired by Niantic. They also explained what happens to the Evertoon videos.

Through the course of our company, we learned a great deal about building community and social experiences. We’ve gotten to know other companies who would derive great value from this. Today we’d like to share with you that Niantic has acquired the Evertoon team. We will be adding a social platform to Niantic’s amazing roster of games, including Pokémon GO, Ingress, and future titles. We’ll also be contributing engineering leadership experience. Niantic’s games are unique in bringing people together in the real world, and we’re excited to weave our expertise into them.

Niantic confirmed the acquisition of the Evertoon team in a blog post of their own. The Niantic post also states that the Evertoon team will be helping Niantic with building social systems that benefit Niantic’s entire community.

Evertoon will be put into offline-mode as of November 30, 2017. People who download the latest version of the iOS Evertoon app from the App Store will be able to use offline-mode to continue making animated videos on their phones.

As of November 30, 2017, Evertoon will remove the community component of the product, and older versions of Evertoon will no longer work. There are instructions on the Evertoon post that explain how to download the videos you already shared to the Evertoon feed.