The Tech Guy Blog

Set Up Your Router Securely

When you get a new router, there are a few things you can do to make sure it's set up securely.

The first thing you'll do is connect it to your computer and check the manual to find out how to configure it.

Once it's connected to your computer, you'll use the browser to navigate to a special address as instructed in the manual. It should be something like 192.168.1.1. This will take you to the login screen for the router.

Make the MacBook Pro Touch Bar More Useful

The Touch Bar that replaced the row of function keys on Apple's MacBook Pros as of late has been very controversial. Many users find it annoying to not have hardware keys for volume, brightness, and playback controls that have been on MacBooks up until 2016, and the Touch Bar isn't utilized well in many applications aside from Apple software like Final Cut X or Logic. Apple just updated its MacBook Pros for 2018, however, and they now support 32GB of RAM, 4TB of SSD storage, and Intel's Core i9 processors.

Donate Your Computer's Downtime to Science

There are a couple of ways you can donate your computer's downtime, or unused CPU power, to benefit science. One way is SETI @ Home, which is a scientific experiment based at UC Berkeley that uses internet-connected computers to search for extraterrestrial intelligence. You just install it on your computer, kind of like a screen saver. Whenever you're not actively using the computer, it will work to analyze radio signals they're collecting. Find out more at setiathome.berkeley.edu

Reset a Mac User Account Password

If you have an old user account on your Mac that you can no longer access, there's a way you can still get into it as long as you have an "Administrator" account on that Mac. Just get into the System Preferences from the Apple Menu and click "Users & Groups". Then click the lock icon and enter the admin name and password. Select a user, and then click "Reset Password".

Add More Ethernet Ports to Your Router

While Wi-Fi is more popular and prevalent than ever, it's still no match for a hardwired ethernet connection. But many of the new routers, especially mesh routers, don't have many ethernet ports built into them. Fortunately, if you have at least one ethernet port, you can expand that to as many as you need with a "Switch". Netgear makes some quality switches, but any unmanaged networking switch should work just fine. They all are very easy to use, as long as you get an unmanaged Switch.

Use Authy for 2-Factor Authentication

Since many sites now allow (or even require) 2-factor authentication, it's a good idea to use an authentication app on your smartphone to get the security code. This is a much more secure method, because codes texted over SMS could be intercepted. There's also the danger of SIM cards being duplicated or even hijacked with some creative social engineering. The Authy app for iOS or Android is a good option, because it sends a secret number and combines it with the time of day so the code changes after 30 seconds.

Uninstall Nonessential Programs From Mac or PC

If you no longer need a program on your computer, or if it is conflicting with other programs on your system, it's a good idea to uninstall it. Most of the time, the program's uninstaller will be adequate for this. You can find that by looking for the installer file, and then selecting "uninstall." This should remove all of the files associated with that program. There may be many other programs that wound up getting installed on your system that you're not even thinking about, and are just taking up space or resources.

How to Save YouTube Videos to Your Computer

You may have noticed while watching videos on YouTube that Google doesn't offer a 'download' option. This is likely by design, and is most likely a way to give content creators more control over what videos are out there. But in reality, streaming a video and downloading a video are very close to the same thing. In order to stream a video on YouTube, your computer still needs to 'download' the bits in order to play it back. The only difference is that you can't access that file locally, but there are third party tools out there that will make this possible.