Education Technology

Are You Techno-Squeamish?


I have issues when it comes to technology.

Sure, my computer ate my life.

But I’ve other issues, too.

My friend Jill recently brought to my attention that I’ve been sending out SPAMMY email.

She sent me the screen shot.

Groupon. Hmm. I could use a keratin treatment. Wait. Whaaaaat?

I was like: Whaaaaat? I would never send Jill anything like that.

And then another friend told me she’d been getting SPAM from me about once a month for the last six months. But she’s just been deleting the messages.

Maybe you’ve even gotten SPAM from me!

{Have you? If you have, I am really sorry!}

Anyway, guess what I’m doing on Thursday night?

Besides DVRing the finale of Project Runway?

I’m taking a class called:

Who Wants To Know? Internet Privacy & Security

The instructor, Jay Donovan, will introduce techniques for safer web surfing, keeping your address & phone number offline, reducing the chances of your accounts being hacked, better ways to hide behind a pen name, and more.

This is Jay. Doesn’t he have the cutest neck?

I’m prepared for Jay to wag his bony cyber-finger at me. I’m prepared to shudder in fear when he tells me how vulnerable I really am.

I mean, I have a bunch of email accounts and a blog. And like most bloggers, I have several ways to be reached online. I’ve got my Twitter and my Instagram and my two Facebook pages. I’m on Pinterest and LinkedIn and Behance. I could go on.

The point is, you see how wired I am, yes?

But I’m committed to learning about how to be safely social on the Internet while keeping my personal information private.

Jay has been helping me with a lot of stuff for a while now, and I really trust him. A geek since before geeks were cool, he’s done it all: from remotely debugging the Internet connection for a US aircraft carrier deployed to *somewhere classified* to being responsible for the servers and networks for one of the largest Internet sites in the world. He’s trained as a Certified Ethical Hacker (yes, really!) and always uses his geeky powers for good. When he’s not neck deep in wires and computer parts, you’ll find him hanging out on Twitter as @jaytechdad. 

For just $40, you can be part of the class and the conversation taking place this Thursday, April 25th from 8:00 pm – 11:00 pm, EST.

Click HERE for more information and to register!

Please consider joining me in class this Thursday.

Just don’t tap your cyber-pencil or snap your cyber gum.

Cuz that’s like cyber-fingernails on an invisible chalkboard.

Or something.

Seriously, come hang with me and a bunch of other geeky kids.

I’ll save you a seat. Like totally.

tweet us @rasjacobson & @jaytechdad

42 thoughts on “Are You Techno-Squeamish?

  1. My first reaction was, no way. Bring it on! But life is always ironic. I just read a post about how to make your WordPress site secure and it suggested changing your user name and password. I was all ready to go for it until he said to add a user (yourself and a new password) and then delete your old name and password. That’s when I got nervous. Whenever I think that I could mess up my site and possibly blow it up, I freak. I am kind of a fritz sometimes and don’t always follow directions correctly. I can’t imagine if I did this wrong.

  2. Yay for having my voice. I felt like Neo did when Agent Smith removed Neo’s mouth… Thanks Renee!

    Hi Susie, you can’t delete the only admin account. But yes, in this case, paranoia is especially good. 🙂


    1. I’m soooo sorry! Why didn’t you tell me? You know last night before we say good night? Or good morning? You know what I mean! Oy! I’ll see you tomorrow night! I promise I’ll be vewwwy, vewwwy quiet.

      {Good thing you have a mute button.}

  3. Sorry, Renee, I got distracted. We’re announcing free 1-month hosted sites today so people can see the advantages to having total control of their site and enjoying all the plugins, themes, and other magic. 🙂


  4. Oh and there’s a sekret coupon code “hacking” (seemed appropriate) to knock $5 off the price of the class.

    But enough of the class pushing, if people have tech questions, ask away.

  5. What I want to know, Renee, is where you find the time to keep up with blogs, Twitter, Facebook (x2), Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Behance. I’m out of breath just listing them. Whew! Or as you’re fond of saying , Oy!

    1. It’s pathetic, David. And the answer is, I don’t. I really don’t. I have all these accounts. It doesn’t mean I really use them. Or remember the Passwords. That’s probably a problem right there. Like I probably just set up a challenge for some freak. Oy.

    1. I’m sorry. I couldn’t hear you. All I could hear was lalalalalalalalalala. Did you SEE what happened on this thread since you were here? OMG. I don’t have the words. Were these even words? What I’m trying to say is I’m with you 100%.

      1. No, just stating what I am. I have a variety of computers here, running a variety of operating systems, mostly Linux based, except for my MacBook, which is my main writing machine (best keyboard).

        I like messing with technology. It keeps me entertained. Besides, I keep learning neat ways to do things.

        Do you know that if you get a free account at MEGA that they give you 50 gigabytes of encrypted cloud storage? I backup my writing to it once a week, with the folders dated. I’ll have to start deleting some of the older ones sooner or later, but if the house burns down, I have a copy there.

        I’m also setting up the new Alpha test of the BitTorrent backup system, so that it backs up between Mom’s computer and mine. That way her stuff is safe (she is the Poet Laureate of Cobalt Ontario) and mine will be safe, each backed up to the other’s computer.


        1. Wayne: I’d be wary of MEGA since the founder has a bit of a riding-the-line-profiting-from-piracy history. (Read as: “I wouldn’t trust MEGA with anything I cared about.)

          And the new bittorrent tool “Sync” does look nice, but it doesn’t track previous versions. I’ve set up crashplan to back the in-laws computers to my house & the computers at TechLair to the TechSurgeons data center presence.


          1. Oy. See? THIS is why I’m terrified of technology. It really is another language. And I’m not even close to literate. My questions are like: What are all these bloggers doing now that Google is shutting down Fireburner?

          2. Jay,

            As a tech writer, I covered the original arrest, and commented at the time that the U.S. case appeared to be insubstantial. Developments since have justified my skepticism.

            I should probably mention that I’m on the “Hate List” of the Canadian Recording Industry Association, their President, Graham Henderson, loathes me with a passion. I proved that he was lying publicly on one issue. It was either that, or he was a total and utter moron, and since I’m pretty certain he isn’t a moron…

            I would regard MEGA as safer than anything offered by Microsoft, and probably safer than anything offered by Google. One thing is for certain, there’s no way that anyone is going to be able to sub peona your data, since the encryption is controlled by you, and you alone.

            All of my stories are stored there, including a lot of stuff that is sold, but hasn’t seen print yet. To me that level of encryption is protection, so that the people I’ve sold the stories too haven’t any worries that copies will leak. It isn’t likely that anyone is going to go after my stuff anyway, I’m not J. K. Rowling, but when I sign a contract, I believe in adhering to it.


          3. Wayne, if you noticed, I didn’t make mention of the case – it was weak.

            That being explicitly stated, Kim DotCom knew there were pirated files on his previous site and profited from the ads and premium services sold there. Just as you have your opinion on Microsoft’s & Google’s respective morality (or lack thereof), I think many content creators might want to consider whether or not they wish to support a site paid for in part by proceeds from people pirating other content creators’ content.

            I’m not a fan of the **AA organizations either and am very happy to see the balance of power shifting toward the content creators.


            P.S. Renee, Wayne and I are pretty deep in the weeds on bleeding-edge tech stuff here.

          4. Previous site may have had (did have) some piracy going on. Quite frankly just about every major site on the ‘net has some piracy going on, it happens.

            As to profiting off it, well, so does Google, so does Microsoft, so does Apple, so does Sony… I could go one, but the list would be endless.

            I also know who the real thieves are. I own my own recording studio. It’s small, not overly fancy, but it works. I also know a lot of musicians. I know who rips them off far more than sites like the original MegaUpload or The Pirate Bay. I know a lot of writers. I sell stories to a couple of markets. I’m fairly new as a pro, but the writers who have been in the business for a while tell me who really rips them off, and it isn’t the file sharing/torrent sites.

            So I’d rather back Kim Dotcom. At least he’s honest about what he’s doing, and some of what he’s talking about sounds like it could have a huge payoff for artists. Assuming:

            A) He isn’t lying
            B) He can make it work

            Thing is, he hasn’t been caught lying yet. The other guys have. Who would you trust?


            PS: Rene, sorry, this is a bit technical. It is also a bit philosophical, and a bit political. I was involved in the Copyright Consultation in Canada before we adopted the new Copyright Laws a couple of years back. Curiously the laws, which were supposed to benefit the artists, appear to have had no such affect, according to the people I’m talking to. This is pretty well what I had predicted, and I’m not in the least surprised.

  6. i think i will sign up for this class. i just have to send myself an email reminder to remind me to sign up and then show up. but i think i need to do this; plus: i’m killing my fb blog page. it’s just … pleh.

    1. Molly! DOn’t listen to Jay! Do it! Let’s be in class together. I’ll pass you notes when I’m confused text you pictures of naked people and we’ll learn a lot while goofing off. The teacher will never know!

      1. I think I need this class. I’m pretty good about passwords and changing them and making them totally bizarre and all that; it’s just that I have too much going on and I’m not sure where my vulnerabilities are. Well, my cyber-vulnerabilities.

        Jay, I replied to your comment on my reblog post about the WordPress breach. I need help I think. No, I know I need help. Well, we all know this about me… ‘Tis a sordid tale…

        1. You will be amazed. He already pointed out some of mine, and I kind of freaked out. This WordPress breach has me stressed out. Jay can attest to that. And my email account was hacked at the same time. I thought my head was going to pop off my shoulders.

          1. That’s okay, next time. I just followed you on Twitter & sent you a “hi” message.


  7. I was here this morning but the comments were closed Renee. Then I popped over to Wana1011 page and saw that you opened them. Uh, I’d like to take Jay’s class, but I already have a class tomorrow at the same time. Darn, I hate that. One question Jay. How much is your hosting for the year? Inquiring minds want to know? Thanks Renee and Jay! 🙂

    1. Hi Karen! Sorry, I was an idiot yesterday and locked things down. (I hit some button I’ve NEVER hit before.) I’m pretty sure Jay will charge me triple what everyone else has to pay. I require hand-holding. And arm-holding. And leg-holding. And hair-holding. And … Keep in mind, you can ALWAYS send Jay a tweet or an email. He’s like a first-responder. I don’t know too many people who are like that. ALso Jay answered your question, but it wasn’t nested, so you might want to go back and read it. 😉

  8. Hi Karen, if it’s the class I think it is, I’ll probably sit in for the first 30 minutes or so. Don’t worry, I’ll run it again soon, possibly a couple weeks since I’m guest posting next week on Kristen’s blog.

    Hosting prices vary depending on the service level you want. Our typical author packages range from $75-270/yr depending on the hand-holding required. At $150 (what most people choose), there’s phone support and a second set of backups a day. At $270, we take care of all your WordPress and plugins updates.

    Pricing is before any discounts *cough* WANA10 for 10% off *cough* and doesn’t include one-time setup fees. More details here:


    1. Hi Marcia: I hate these crazy SPAMBOTS! Jay knows we have been under deluge at WordPress lately, and he has been very reassuring. Still, I HATE the way they are just kind of there, inflating my numbers and hanging out. I feel like aliens have invaded. I do encourage you to take his class. I just know from the number of times he has recused me to date that I NEED him when I cross over to self-hosted. Eventually.

      1. Hi Marcia! Nice to meet you!

        Everyone is being deluged with WP spam. I wrote a plugin for our WP hosting clients to lessen the impact a bit. It’s ridiculous.


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