Keeping your Log In Information Safe

Posted Posted by Garrett Holmes in , , , Comments 0 comments



Internet Security is a hot topic nowadays, and we all know that the best practice is to keep multiple passwords, but most of us do not follow this practice. This makes keeping your current passwords secure much more important. If you lose a current password that you use across multiple sites and accounts, then it is not one, but all the accounts that are compromised.

To prevent this, there are a few methods available that allow for safe web browsing.

First and foremost, use multiple passwords. Yes it is hard, but it can be made very simple using password managers (Such as LastPass). We have a post already on password managers so I won't linger here for too long, but to quote Shia Lebouf, "Just do it!"
Second of all, and just as important as using multiple passwords, is using good passwords. If you are still not convinced about using a password manager, then an additional reason to use one is it majes using good passwords easy, as many of them have the ability to randomly generate passwords that you don't have to remember. If you still don't want to use a password manager, then some good tips to making a strong password can be found here

Lastly, only send your usernames and passwords to secure sites. When using Google Chrome this is easy as it will tell you up by the address bar what sites are secure, and what sites are not. If using Firefox then the same rule applies, but you are looking for a locked lock for secure or an 'i' in a circle for insecure. As a general rule, if a site address starts with "https://" then the site is secure. If it starts with "http://" (Note the missing 's') then the site is insecure.


If a site says insecure, then it is in your best interest to NOT put ANY personal information into the site, as it can easily be "sniffed" by nearby people using packet analyzers (a computer program or piece of computer hardware that can intercept and log traffic that passes over a digital network or part of a network.*)

Using these three tips is a great way to keep your log in information safe. If you have questions or feel you may have compromised a password, then feel free to come up to the DormNet Helpdesk in Admin 205 or call us at 501-279-4545

*Wikipedia Definition for packet analyzer (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Packet_analyzer)

Submitting on Canvas

Posted Posted by Ellie Waters in Comments 0 comments

This semester I noticed that canvas has tweaked the submission look and process. They have changed the way Turn-it-in receives your papers. As a result, there a few extra steps.

1. Select the class you need to submit an assignment, and go to the assignments tab and choose the assignment you need to submit. 
2. After you have selected the assignment, wait for the page to lode and you should see a blue submission button.
3. Select the submission button. You can name the Submission file. Then click the "Select a file to upload" button.
4. A file manager window should pop up. Once you have found the desired file, select it and click the "open button."

5. It should give you a summary of the document. Click "Continue". The window should show you uploading the document to Turn-it-in and show you three checked actions. (This does not mean you have submitted the assignment, only that it is ready to be submitted. 
6. Review your document and click "Accept Submission and Save." You may have to scroll down or Zoom out to see the button. 
7. Most importantly check to make sure your assignment has been submitted. 

If you are having trouble or if you have any questions please contact E-Learning
 
If you would like to learn more about what E-Learning can help you with visit the E-Learning and Multimedia Services page: https://www.harding.edu/ist/elm 

Virtual Reality: How Far Have We Come?

Posted Posted by Daniel Norwood in Comments 0 comments

     The idea of Virtual Reality is not a new concept; in fact, its evolution can be traced back to flight simulators from the 1930's. However, over the past eighty years, the cost of simulators, augmented reality, and virtual reality remained the most significant roadblock to wide commercial use and further development. Therefore, since the reintroduction of Virtual Reality with the completion of the Oculus Rift Kickstarter campaign in 2012, video game developers have jumped on the bandwagon in droves because, for the first time in decades, VR was finally proven possible in a cost-effective manner.



     Sudden interest from video game companies produced the likes of the HTC Vive, Samsung Gear VR, the Microsoft HoloLens, and Playstation VR. Unfortunately, despite the leaps and strides made in this new arena, VR has remained in the background of the video game industry, in part due to the lack of available titles for the systems, as well as the still relatively expensive nature of the necessary software and hardware.


     When I first witnessed the development of the Oculus Rift, I was ecstatic, mainly because my dreams of one day walking around a HoloDeck from Star Trek seemed to be reaching fruition; however, its high cost still limits its availability to a large majority of people. I have only recently had the opportunity to enjoy its wonder through the generosity of close friends. So, will this demographic gap remain the case for the foreseeable future?


     In 2014, Mark Zuckerberg stated that VR was the future, that the next logical step was to fully immerse ourselves inside the virtual worlds that already exist on our Xbox's, our Playstations, even on our iPhones, and I believe Mr. Zuckerberg is correct.


     Following its success with the Vive headset, HTC is reportedly developing a mobile VR experience, and more companies are following their lead. If such an experience can truly become mobile, availability and interest in the VR industry will skyrocket. Furthermore, Sony's more recent release of Playstation VR provided a relatively cheaper alternative to the Vive, albeit with a lower quality result and greater risk of nausea and headaches. However, I believe the future is looking bright with continual improvement in the world of VR.


     If you want to read detailed reviews of the various VR systems, GameInformer provides ratings and detailed schematics, experiences, and available games on their website. Also, the other article on this blog with the label "Virtual Reality" provides options for the various systems and their approximate prices.

Android Wear 2.0 - A work in progress

Posted Posted by Mack Peters in Comments 0 comments

The long-awaited software up for Android Wear is here! It will be released to most (not all) earlier Android Wear models over the next few weeks, but this release is greeted with two new watches--LG Watch Style(slimmer and feature-limited) and LG Watch Sport(super-thick and ready to take on the world)--that have the software built in.

Left-Slim, Right-Sport

This highly anticipated update attempts to give Android some leverage over the more popular Apple Watch, and has some noteworthy improvements such as:
  • Android Pay using NFC
  • Android Wear apps can run better away from a phone, or can even run independently with an LTE phone-connected watch or via Wi-Fi
  • Much more info can be placed onto watch faces, easier to swap faces and customize.
  • Google Fit adds more tracking modes and better workout interfaces
  • Google Assistant appears as a voice-activated upgrade to Google Now
While Android Wear still feels as though it's a step below its competitors, this update is pushing Android Wear in the right direction.
Watch-face improvements
When referring to info placed on the face of a watch, such as the battery life or the date, the watch industry uses the term 'complications'.
Added watch-face customizations make accessing info quickly on the fly easier; with Apple already using this via its Apple Watch complications, this is Android playing catchup. In the article used for reference, the tester was able to fit eight bits of information on the watch face, all with quick-access info. These complications can also act as app shortcuts, however currently there aren't many apps that support complications on Android Wear 2.0.

Simple Complications

Wallet on your wrist
Hate grabbing for loose change or reaching into your wallet? Android Wear watches with NFC can now make payments! Simply add a credit card via your phone and cease having to scramble when payment is required. The new watches have three side buttons, the bottom one automatically bring up Android Pay. Older watches that can upgrade to Android Wear 2 and can receive Pay updates won't necessarily have this button, but a Pay shortcut can be added to the watch face.

Grabbing some grub with a flick of the wrist

Fit is...getting better
Google Fit now has more workout types and a new way to display stats on-wrist. The top button on the LG Watch Sport allows one to start a workout and while the workout is happening, the stats appear on the watch. Stats can be customized, allowing one to add heart rate, distance or elapsed time, but not many more than that. The interface can be slow and looks chunky, and looking at daily Fit stats results in a slow "updating" message that is less responsive than other watches. Fit also only displays very basic stats as well as no fitness-goal graphics or easy way to log food intake.

Simple interface, but lacking in features

Better on its own
Wear 2.0 allows the watch to be a lot more independent from your phone, being able to connect to what it needs to function using Wi-Fi or an LTE connection. When offline it's designed to run apps on its own, minimizing the "Check your phone" messages that cluttered up its screen previously.
Google Play has been integrated for Wear 2.0, allowing one to downloads apps straight to the watch without any phone interference, however Play on the wrist is decently hard to navigate.
Even with the watches ability to use apps away from the phone, because of this software being fairly new not many apps support this feature.

Digital Crown-like wheel for better navigation
Wear 2.0 supports a spinning-wheel crown, which on the new watches can be pressed to launch apps or use Assistant, as well as being spun to scroll through messages or choose apps. Clicking in the button brings up an app tray, and flicking the wheel on the watch face brings up notifications and messages. This feature is reminiscent of the Apple Watch, but the app tray makes apps much easier to find than Apple's grid of apps.

Crowns help to rule over your apps

Google Assistant: Better...but similar
Google Now has been replaced with Google Assistant, but really it seems to stay the same. Assistant is tucked away more, so you'll need to press and hold the side button in order to get it going. Wear's version of Assistant is only text based, meaning it can't talk back...which is odd because the LG Watch Sport has a speaker. It does everything it should: ability to look up restaurants, check weather, find appointments, etc. etc. It can also be paired with a Chromecast or Google Home.

Don't worry, Assistant will take care of you

There will be many watches that will be compatible with Wear 2.0, being that it's an update, but it ultimately depends on your model. If your watch is update-ready, brace yourself! Wear 2.0 allows the watches to feel more like watches and less like a clunky, app-heavy wrist-gadget. However, it still isn't ready to dethrone Apple Watches, and even then Samsung Gear S2 or S3 might still be better. Given time, Wear 2.0 will surely come into it's own.

The Future of Mobile Computing

Posted Posted by Jerred Shepherd in Comments 0 comments

Have you ever wondered why you can't use the desktop versions of programs like Microsoft Office or Adobe Photoshop on your phone? The issue performance like it used to be; SOCs such as Samsung's Exynos 8890 is faster than Intel's i3 6100, a high-end desktop CPU. Their biggest obstacle is currently the differences in architecture between the two processors.

Most desktops, laptops, and even servers use processors built on the x86 or x86-64 architecture, because of this most applications are only designed to be used on these architectures. When Apple introduced the iPhone to the world, they also introduced the ARM architecture to many consumers. The ARM architecture is well suited to products that require low heat, power, and production cost, which is why it's used over other options.

We currently have many applications made for desktop architectures that are incompatible with mobile SOCs. This includes those applications mentioned at the start of this article, but it looks like Microsoft is looking to remedy that.


Last December Microsoft revealed a new technology allowing Snapdragon ARM processors to run x86 applications. While it doesn't work for x86-64 processors, it can run a full version of Windows 10 along with any applications that would regularly work on it.

While these processors aren't fast enough to run applications as fast as a desktop would, it is still a huge step in the right direction. It's also limited to older 32-bit x86 programs, although that isn't too big of a deal considering the great compatibility it has with applications.

Windows 10 running on a Qualcomm Snapdragon processor

The Only Earbuds I Will Ever Buy Again

Posted Posted by Josh McAlister in Comments 0 comments


     Okay, so the title may sound a little dramatic, but hear me out.  There is a pair of earbuds on the market today that so far exceeds the rest in terms of value that it's running circles around its competitors, with reviewers going so far as to call them the best headphones under $100.  But the best part?  They're only $6.99.

Monoprice 9927 Noise Isolating Earbuds


     The company that makes them is called Monoprice, and even if you haven't heard of them, you have probably used one of their products before (they mostly deal with inexpensive cables ranging from HDMI in your home to networking cables for enterprise-level infrastructure).  I don't know how they do it, but across the board, Monoprice makes quality products for significantly cheaper price points than the market average (often in the range of 50% cheaper or better).  But enough about the company, let's talk about the earbuds themselves and why they're worth your money.



     I've already mentioned the $6.99 price point, but there are plenty of cheap headphones and earbuds out there.  These, however, have outlasted and outperformed any $50 pair of earbuds I've ever owned.  I bought a pair of these around 2013, and I still use that same pair several times per week.  From my experience, Skullcandy, Apple, and other big-name brands simply can't boast the same longevity without reaching the higher end of their product lines.  This makes Apple's $29.99 price tag on the basic earpods seem like highway robbery when considering how quickly they reportedly wear out.  Additionally, the Monoprice 9927's sound quality is very rich and full for the low price.  The bass and mid-range sounds are very strong, which other similarly priced earbuds seem to struggle with. This is further bolstered by the snug fit and noise-cancelling features.

     For the sake of brevity, here's a basic rundown of some of the other quality of life features you can expect to get out of these earbuds.

Flat Profile
    • The bud itself forms a 90-degree angle
    • Stays comfortable even while laying on a pillow or against a seat while travelling
Braided Cable
    • Prevents fraying
    • Keeps the jack and the earbud firmly joined
Interchangeable Tips
    • Comes with three sets of interchangeable silicone tips
    • Allows you to customize the headphones to fit your ears better



     If I still don't have you convinced, I will leave you with this: the next time you buy headphones, if you try these Monoprice earbuds, the worst thing that can happen is losing $7.  If you end up enjoying them, however, you've likely saved anywhere from $10-$50 without sacrificing quality.  If you're unlucky and they only last half as long as a pair of $30 headphones, replace them with another pair of these.  They're so inexpensive that buying them 4 times is cheaper than buying Apple EarPods once.  If you can find a better pair of headphones for the price, please, let me know, because I can't imagine ever buying a different type of earbuds ever again.

Protecting your gadgets through USB-C

Posted Posted by Blake Herring in Comments 0 comments





Apple's new push for USB-C as the universal cable for all things Apple has some users worried. Apple boasts that this single port can:
  • Charge your Mac.
  • Provide power out.
  • Transfer data between your Mac and other devices.
  • Connect video output such as HDMI, VGA, and DisplayPort (requires adapter).
  • Connect to other technologies, such as Ethernet (requires adapter).
  • Connect Thunderbolt displays and accessories to MacBook Pro (13-inch, Late 2016, Two Thunderbolt 3 Ports), MacBook Pro (13-inch, Late 2016, Four Thunderbolt 3 Ports), or MacBook Pro (15-inch, Late 2016) with an adapter.

Image result for iphone vs ipad charger


This all seems like a great idea right? Here's the catch. Remember how iPhones and iPads have different charging brick wall ports? The iPhone had the smaller one and the iPad had the big square. The reason behind this is that when charging, the iPhone only needs 1 Amp of power to charge while the iPad needed 2 Amps. When users would charge their iPhone's with the iPad charger, it would supposedly "charge faster". It may seem that way, yes. However, this is actually damaging the internal battery of the phone itself since it is allowing more power to flow through it. It deteriorates the overall battery life much quicker than your regular charging cables. 


This is the same idea with cables for a USB-C. Since USB-C isn't compatible with all devices, there are many different adapters and cables that you can buy to circumvent this new port. Certain cables will work properly with your devices without causing any harm. But not everyone can afford the high-end adapters. If you do seem to stumble upon cheap cables, most people will tend to buy them because that is what they can afford. What they don't know is that these cables can fry your gadgets and ruin them. There is a way you can monitor this.



A company called Satechi has created a device that shows users what kind of power your cables and adapters are allowing into your devices. It shows amps, voltage, and the amount of power used. While it doesn't have any features that can detect any problems, it can still give them valuable information to check and see if the cables are giving proper power. The user will need to know what each device actually needs in order to fully protect their devices, but this will definitely assist them. Either way, this device can save users a few hundred dollars if properly managed.

Is there one solution that fits all for the universal port? Not really. However, you can protect your devices by paying attention to adapters and cables that you purchase. Sometimes the high end products that cost a bit more are the ones your devices actually need in order to function properly.

Get Satechi's device here: http://www.satechi.net/index.php/satechi-type-c-power-meter
Other sources:
http://gizmodo.com/usb-c-power-meter-helps-you-spot-counterfeit-accessorie-1791668311
https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT204360