The Tech Guy Blog

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.

Securely Erasing SSDs

If you’re about to sell or give away a computer, it’s important to ensure that all of your personal data is erased first. This is a pretty simple task when it comes to traditional spinning hard drives, and there are plenty of tools to make sure the drive is completely and securely wiped. Solid State Drives, however, are a different story. SSDs use something called “wear leveling,” which ensures that no one cell gets written to too many times. This is to keep the drive from wearing out, but it also means that it isn’t possible to write over (or erase) every part of the drive.

Get Free College Courses Online

The internet has always been an incredible resource for information, but if you're motivated enough, you can take that a step further and get a free or inexpensive college education. MOOCs, or "Massive Open Online Courses," are real classes that have been made available online from schools and universities. Many of these courses are free, but if you decide to pay, you can actually get a certificate of completion or a MicroMasters from it. Here are some of the places you can find these MOOCs:

How to Identify Bootup Problems

Slow bootup times have always plagued many Windows computers, and it can often be tricky to figure out what causes it. Often times, it's as simple as a hard drive going bad. When hard drives start to wear out, the operating system can have difficulty reading all of the sectors on it. If it happens to come across bad sectors during the bootup process, it will have to repeatedly attempt to read that sector until it finally works. This can extend the time it takes to boot the PC up by several minutes.

Get More Out of Live Photos on iPhone

If you have an iPhone, you may already be familiar with the Live Photo feature that it has. When Live Photos are enabled, whenever you take a picture, the iPhone will also capture a few seconds before and after the shot is taken. This gives the photo some motion, almost like a very short video clip. But you may not know that it can actually go beyond just that basic functionality. After you take a photo of something that moves, go to edit the photo and swipe up. This will reveal a few different effects that you can apply.

Create a Disk Image in Windows

One of the best ways to make a backup of your drive is to create a "disk image." This will essentially take a snapshot of the drive and make it bootable so you can restore your PC to that moment in time if your drive crashes. There are a number of third-party tools that you can use to do this, but Microsoft actually has included the ability to create a disk image right within Windows. Here's how to get to it:

Map Any Location with Just Three Words

A company called what3words has set out to map the world in a new way, and it's coming to Mercedes Benz owners next year. Traditional addresses can be problematic — there are repetitive street names, homes and businesses are sometimes located far from the center of their postcode, and many locations don't have a formal address at all. what3words aims to solve these issues by giving every place in the world a 3-word address that's precise, simple and unique. Since it uses words and not numbers, it tends to be easier to remember and share with others.

Block Online Ads Responsibly

Online ads have become increasingly pervasive and annoying over the years, so the effort to circumvent or block them entirely is no surprise. Some ads go as far as to completely obstruct content, and it can significantly slow down the responsiveness of the site as well. Some sites automatically start playing video and audio of ads or other content, which can interrupt something else you’re watching or listening to. It may seem like an obvious solution to install and run an ad blocker all the time, but this presents an ethical dilemma.