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September 17, 2012

Gas Buddy - Your Buddy for Finding the Lowest Gas Price

With summer here many of us are taking trips with our cars. If you are looking for the lowest gas price while on your travels or even locally you may want to think of having the GasBuddy app on your smartphone. GasBuddy is a great app to help you find the lowest price in your area.  If you do not have a smartphone you can go to and search before you hit the road. The prices are for areas in the US and Canada and the various grades of gas. Prices are obtained from members and you can see when the price was entered as well.  By removing the price data after 72 hours for each station, you are assured the prices are current.  The site is free, has about 5 million users and is advertising supported.

Gas prices can widely vary in an immediate area.  I have used it on my trips and found it to be useful in finding the lowest prices wherever I was. When we were in Maine last summer, prices in a small area varied as much as $0.20 per gallon. The app also gives directions to get to that gas station as well.  Just make sure that a passenger is doing the search for you or you have pulled over to the side of the road if you are doing the search yourself.

So give the site a try and/or add it as an app to your smartphone and start saving. You may decide that you too wish to become a contributing member and help yourself and others find the lowest priced gas in your area.

If you have further questions or wish to know of other apps that may be useful to you, please call me at 917.572.3468.

Computer Safety in Public

By Infrogmation of New Orleans (Photo by Information) [GFDL ( or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Last week while volunteering at the Central Queens Y in Forest Hills, I was working with a gentleman about using email. I mentioned to him the importance of signing out of his email and any other site he signed into when finished using a public computer. Five minutes later when he was done, he started to leave without signing out of the public computer he was using and I needed to remind him about the importance of doing so. Using a computer in public whether it is on a public desktop computer or a public Wi-Fi can be more secure if precautions are followed.

Hotels and libraries are two places where there may be a public computer for all to use. I will also include using a friend’s computer here as well. They are only as safe as the internet security that the computer is using. It may be a good idea to check to ascertain that the computer is secure.  As I noted previous it is important that when you are done using the computer (even if for a quick moment), you sign out of all sites that you had logged into. This includes your email and Facebook accounts.  If you forget, the person using the computer after you has access to the accounts you did not log out of. They would have the ability to send spam or perhaps post inappropriate comments on your Facebook account as you. When logging onto a site and you are prompted to save your password or if the default is “Yes”, make sure that you do not allow the computer to save your password.  Unselect the “Yes” default where applicable.  You should also make sure that no one is snooping over your shoulder in an attempt to obtain your passwords or other confidential information.  What I always do when leaving a public computer is to clear browsing data.  This includes browsing history, cookies and autofill form data.  It is another layer of security.

When you are using a public wireless network such as Starbucks or in an airport, you also should make sure that no one is snooping over your shoulder and ascertain that the computer you are accessing the Wi-Fi network has the needed security.  You also should be sure that any sharing features that you have turned on are turned off.  This would include file and printer sharing as well as network sharing as well.

Last whether using a public computer or public Wi-Fi never do banking, credit card or other financial transactions. In the event there is a keystroke logger on that public computer you are using or sniffer intercepting data over a public Wi-Fi network you do not want to put information out there that can compromise your personal information. I also would never enter any information that could be used to steal your identity.  A while back I did a blog on choosing a good password. In it I mentioned that you need to have different passwords for the sites you log into. Click on link.  Should a hacker ever get the password to a site you logged into, they realize that many people use the same passwords to log into their accounts. Having different passwords will minimize the damage.

These are a few ways to keep yourself safe while using your computer in a public Wi-Fi system or using a public computer.

If you have additional questions about computer safety or any other technology questions, I can be reached at (917) 572-3468 or email me at  

My Facebook page provides information on the current goings on in the technology field. There are tips to better use your computer and smartphone. For timely information, please visit and "Like" my page.

September 5, 2012

Your Child Is Away At College. How Will You Keep In Touch?

Back in the day when I attended college, keeping in touch with my parents was simple.  I had a phone in my dorm room that I called them on or they called me on. We tried not to stay on the phone all that long since we were charged by message units which was related to both distance and time on the phone. I went to college in Manhattan and my parents lived in Massapequa which is on Long Island. There was also the occasional letter. Those students whose parents lived out of town had a different issue that some of us chronologically gifted people may know as long distance charges. Some dorms did not have phones in their rooms but there was a payphone in the hall. That created a different issue of trying to keep the call short since you may not have had much change, collect call charges could be expensive and there may have been a line to use the phone.

Today things are totally different.  Almost all college students have cell phones and there is Skype and iChat for video conferences.  The cell phone provider you use at home may not have a strong signal where your child is at school. As a parent, it may be worthwhile for you to change cellphone providers or it may be more beneficial for your college student to get a cell phone plan of their own with a provider that has good cell phone reception at their school.

There is also video chatting. Skype and iChat are the two big ones here.  We’ll keep our discussion to Skype as this works on both PC and Macs.  iChat is a proprietary program that only works on Apple products. With Skype you can talk to anyone, anytime, anywhere, any length for free provided you are speaking with someone who is also using Skype. The only charge would be for internet connection fees if any. This is just like at home.

One other possibility to think about is Magic Jack.  For a $70.00 initial investment and a $30.00 annual subscription you can make unlimited calls to the USA and Canada from anywhere in the world where there is an internet connection.

You will or should be having discussions with your college child about the new experiences they will be having. You also will need to also discuss how you will be communicating with him or her while they are away. Will their college friends be using the same cell phone provider? Will you and your child have the same cell phone provider?  If an emergency was to arise how will you get in touch?

Regardless of what plan you choose, your student should also bring an Ethernet cord with them.  If your student lives in a dorm where there is an Ethernet connection you and them will be glad particularly if the Ethernet connection is the only way for them to connect to the internet.

If you have additional questions about keeping in touch with your college child I can be reached at (917) 572-3468 or email me at

My Facebook page provides information on the current goings on in the technology field. There are tips to better use your computer and smartphone. For timely information, please visit and "Like" my page. 

Except for customized Excel spreadsheets which are provided in the USA and Canada, Computer Concierge NY LLC provides expert computer and technology services in the Queens, NY area. This includes Albertson, Bayside, Bayside Hills, Bay Terrace, Bellerose, College Point, Douglaston, Floral Park,  Flushing, Forest Hills, Great Neck, Jamaica Estates, Kew Gardens, Kings Point, Lake Success, Manhasset, Mineola, Munsey Park,  New Hyde Park, North Hills, North Shore Towers, Oakland Gardens, Plandome, Rego Park, Roslyn, The Bay Club, Thomaston, University Gardens, Williston Park, Whitestone and Other Areas in the Bayside, NY vicinity.