Social Media Lunch & Learn Updates
If you joined me for one of the Social Media & Internet lunch & learns a few weeks ago, you know we talked about all manner of technology, security measures, and even a few scams. I learned of a new scam over the weekend – well, new to me, anyway – and I thought I would give everyone a heads up. I also wanted to answer a few questions I didn’t properly get to answer during the lunch & learns.
- A New Scam: If you’re staying in a hotel, it’s uncommon but not unheard of to get a call from the front desk. It may be a wakeup call you requested, a notification of some sort, but now, it could be someone scamming you. It goes something like this. You’re in your room, your phone rings, and it’s a call from the manager. They give an excuse – there’s a crowd at the desk, there’s a problem with the computers, there’s a problem with your card, etc. – and ask if you’d like to check out/confirm the information over the phone. But no legitimate hotel ever does this. They’re trying to get your credit card.
If you’re traveling and you get a call like this, don’t give out your information. Head down to the desk and verify with them.
- What’s a good computer to buy?: This was the most popular question during the lunch & learns, and the answer depends on a few things – what you want to do with it, how long you want to keep it, and what brand you want. For most folks, however, the best bet is use what Apple puts in its cheapest Macbook as a reference. That will always be a solid middle-of-the-road computer that will last you at least three years, and you typically will be able to get a similarly equipped Windows laptop for $200 or $300 less.
So right now, the cheapest Macbook is the $899 Air. It has an i5 Intel processor (good), Intel graphics (fine for playing on the Internet, but no games),4GB of RAM (OK), and a 100GB hard drive (small, but OK). A similarly equipped Dell at Best Buy with more RAM and a bigger hard drive, running Windows 10, is $619. Not too shabby!
- Prepaid Smartphones: The other big question from the lunch & learn concerned smartphones and cell service. Facebook and Pinterest are all great, but if you’re still carrying a flip phone, you’re not going to get much use out of them. Some of you asked about services like Tracfone or Walmart’s StraightTalk and phones like the Moto E. These services all reuse limited versions of one of the Big 4 networks (Sprint or T-Mobile, usually), so service can be spotty if you get away from the main roads. And the smartphones they carry are often unheard-of brands and models that sacrifice features & speed to reach a price point. But, if you just want to check the market, call the grandkids, and keep tabs on Facebook now and again, they’re fine.
If you like the idea of a smartphones but can’t justify a big monthly bill or buying a lot of minutes, you may want to look at FreedomPop. You’ll pay more for the phones – cheapest one is $100 vs. StraightTalk’s $10 starting point – but the phones are more feature-rich, have bigger, easier-to-read screens, and FreedomPop’s basic service is FREE. Once you buy the phone and activate it, you’ll get 200 minutes, 500 texts, and half a gig of data a month on the house. The only thing the big guys give you for free is directions out their door.
Again, if you made it out to one of our lunch & learns, it was great to see you. And if you weren’t able to make it out, I hope we’ll see you at the next one!