2018 October e-Bytes

Our Favorite Cheap Laptops
5 settings to change on your new router
Amazon debuts Echo Sub, Amazon Smart Plug and more
Remove yourself from people search sites and erase your online presence
17 new features coming to your iPhone with iOS 12
Cheap Wyze security camera is sneaky-good
The Best Video Editing Software of 2018

Our Favorite Cheap Laptops

Gone are the days when a decent laptop would cost you north of a grand. In this market, manufacturers are inventing new ways to outsell each other, including aggressive price cutting. It's now possible to pick up a full-size or ultraportable Windows 10 notebook with a processor powerful enough for use at home, school, or work, for around $500. Our budget laptop picks all ring up for less than $600, with many under the $400 mark. Here's how to achieve the perfect balance of price and features.

5 settings to change on your new router

Here are five basic settings to look at when configuring a Wi-Fi network router for the first time.

Amazon debuts Echo Sub, Amazon Smart Plug and more

Amazon is expanding its line of Alexa-enabled devices while refreshing its smart speaker lineup.

Remove yourself from people search sites and erase your online presence

Here is a step-by-step guide to reducing your digital footprint online, whether you want to lock down data or vanish entirely.

17 new features coming to your iPhone with iOS 12

Want to be the cool kid who shows everyone else the cool features included in the iOS 12 update? Check this out.

Cheap Wyze security camera is sneaky-good

Wyze's Cam Pan has all of the security camera basics, a few bonuses and none of the expense. 

The Best Video Editing Software of 2018

Whether you're a weekend GoPro shooter or a full-time video professional, you need editing software that's powerful but easy to use. Here's how the best video editing software stacks up.

Links - News, Tips, & Downloads

Roku Premiere doles out 4K HDR streaming for just $40 - There's also a new $50 Premiere Plus, and Google Assistant and Spotify support are coming, too.

Windows 10 October 2018 Update: Dump your files to avoid crashes, warns Microsoft - Got a 32GB Windows 10 device? You probably shouldn't have bought it, but here's how to make sure it doesn't stumble during the next Windows 10 update.

iOS 12 features you should try today

If you've been hacked, don't count on the police for help - Even the FBI and your local police can't agree on who you should contact first.

5G is real! Verizon's home broadband service is set to launch in October - The company calls this the first 5G deployment in the world. But there's a big asterisk.

Two billion devices still vulnerable to Blueborne flaws a year after discovery - Countless devices are still vulnerable to the set of Bluetooth-based security flaws 12 months after being made public.

What's the Difference Between a Wi-Fi Extender and Mesh Networking System? - Mesh network systems are a great way to fix dead spots in your home. But how are they different from range extenders, and are they worth the extra cost?

The 10 Best Free PC Games - If you have some time to kill, you can't go wrong with a free title, especially if you're playing on PC, which has far more free-to-play options than consoles.

Google Chrome Gets an Update: 8 New Things to Try - The Chrome browser has looked pretty much the same since it debuted a decade ago. The formula has worked for Google; its browser now has 66 percent market share, according to Statista. But a tenth anniversary seems like a good time for a little refresh, so Google Chrome is getting a makeover with version 69. Expected on Sept. 4, the updated browser includes interface tweaks and new features galore; here's what you can look forward to.

Fancy a Dash Cam? - Whether for safety, liability protection, or just capturing the occasional on-the-road spectacle, a dashboard camera can be your second set of eyes on the road. Here's what to look for when buying one, along with the best dash cams we've tested.

Ask a Question


Send any Tips & Downloads, Ask a Question, For Sale, or articles to:  TheMiningPCC@gmail.com


Q. From a Tom Kreuzer PCC Member - I tried to signup for Venmo the money transfer app. When I got to the point to enter a phone number so they could send a text with a verify number, I got the text and entered the number and it told me "To use Venmo we need your mobile phone number" and would not continue. I tried it several times with the same result. I then called Venmo support they said they did not support VOIP or Republic phone numbers and I would have to have use another mobile number.
A. From Tom Kreuzer, a PCC Board member. I checked with Paul Ebert who is using Venmo and also has Republic phone service. He said he did not have a problem using his Republic phone number. Republic has a feature called Republic Anywhere where you can send and receive your texts from any device like a PC or tablet. I am using that feature and Paul is not. Looks like Venmo does not like phone numbers that use that feature.
Q. From a PCC Member - I have an old Gateway computer which had lots of 3.5" floppy disks used for it.  I would like to destroy the information on these floppies.  I Googled erase floppy disk but cannot find an appropriate way to erase them.  Can you suggest an way? Seems like I cannot just reformat them.

Also, from our first Gateway computer I have removed the hard drive.  Planning to beat it to death with my 8# sledge hammer.  Any alternate ideas?

A. From Tom Kreuzer, a PCC Board member.  You only have to destroy 3.5" disks that have your personal info. Any software like Windows can just be thrown or photo, music, and most data have nothing personal that can be used. There is free software that will permanently erase data on a floppy or hard drive, but is slow and not usually used. You are correct that the Windows/DOS Delete or Format should not be used since it can be easily recovered.
  • Obtain a powerful magnet, such as a neodymium magnet, and rub the magnet all over both sides of your floppy disk. I used an old handheld electric magnet used to erase magnetic tape. 
  • Rip open the floppy disk and cut it up with a pair of scissors. 
  • Pull the disk apart, rip out the metal center and put the magnetic tape into a cross-cut shredder.
  • Burn them. Usually outside in fire pit or steel pail and fill with gas. You get lots of dark toxic smoke from burning plastic.

To beat to death the hard drive will work, lots of work due to the thick iron and small size. Most people use a drive to drill multiple holes in it.

The member replies - Next week I have to burn up lots of brush cut earlier this summer.  I will put the floppies in there when the fire really gets going well. Also, I seem to have an important document lost.  I did the doc several years ago and I recall putting it directly on what I think was the hard drive.  It is a table.  I cannot recall which computer but if I knew how to look for it I could look on the last computers I have.  Do you have a clue for me?

Tom Kreuzer responds - The fire should work fine for the disks. 

You can use the Search in Microsoft File Explorer to locate files.  Example: If you know it was a Word document you can search for *.doc in all folders. You have a number of other settings that can be used if you know the year or any other info.

File Manager

FYI... If you have a printout of the document you can scan the pages into a PDF file and then use an internet site to convert the PDF to a Word document.

Q. From a PCC Member - I have always used the free antivirus protection software...if a person is really serious about protection, do most people buy
this software and then pay to update it yearly or more often?
A. From Tom Kreuzer, a PCC Board member. The last PCC meeting on Antivirus was in Feb 2015 with the video and handouts out on the club site for you to view at: https://sites.google.com/site/theminingpcc/past-meeting-files 

If your Internet provider is Xfinity/Comcast/CenturyLink, I recommend the free Norton Security Suite you can get from them at no cost.  Looks like you currently are using Avast which is one of the free packages I recommend if you can not get Norton for free from your provider. All Antivirus packages provide basic services that include updates to the software and the definition that it scan for. The definitions get updated at least weekly because new viruses are constantly being created. To be protected, you want to make sure your software and definitions are up to date. This is usually done using the menu for the software and by default it is constantly being updated.

Most people use the free versions of the software which provides good basic protection and the updates. If you upgrade and pay more you get additional features and protections like firewalls, file encryption, file shredder, VPN service, system optimizer/tuner, premium password manager, identity-protection features, and more. There are other ways to get most of these services for free if people need them.

Sounds like you have gotten by without any of the features, so I would not recommend you pay for an upgrade.