Why Do You Have Two Telephone Numbers? Use an Amazon Echo Instead.

According to a recently published U.S. Health Department report at http://bit.ly/2icwvuw, 50.8 percent of American homes don’t have a landline telephone. Instead, the residents use a cellphone as their only phone or use a computerized VoIP phone or other, alternative telephone device. The number of landlines in homes has declined in recent years and apparently will continue to fall. There’s simply no need to have both an old-fashioned wired home phone and a cellphone. Having duplicate phones is unnecessary and expensive.

Perhaps even worse is the difficulty of anyone trying to call you when you have two or more telephone numbers. If they know you well, perhaps they know to call one number during certain hours of the day and a different number at other times. If they don’t reach you on the first number (and they should be able to do so), the caller then has to know to call a second number.

I have been using a cell phone as my only telephone number for several years. However, I recently slid backwards: I added a second “phone” in my home. Admittedly, it is not a normal telephone. I use it mostly for outgoing calls, so my callers never need to be concerned with which number is needed to call me. The new “phone” provides high-quality audio, a built-in speakerphone, and, if appropriate hardware is used on both ends of the conversation, video calling. The new device also performs many other functions besides making telephone calls. Best of all, there is no need for telephone wires connected to the house nor for a monthly bill from the local telephone company. In fact, my new device provides free calls after the hardware has been purchased.

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Security, Privacy Focused Librem 5 Linux Smartphone Successfully Crowdfunded

Purism’s Librem 5 security and privacy-focused smartphone was successfully crowdfunded recently when it reached and even passed its goal of $1.5 million, with 13 days left. Librem 5 wants to be an open source and truly free mobile phone designed with security and privacy in mind, powered by a GNU/Linux operating system based on Debian GNU/Linux and running only Open Source software apps on top of a popular desktop environment like KDE Plasma Mobile or GNOME Shell. Featuring a 5-inch screen, Librem 5 is compatible with 2G, 3G, 4G, GSM, UMTS, and LTE mobile networks. Under the hood, it uses an i.MX 6 or i.MX 8 processor with separate baseband modem to offer you the protection you need in today’s communication challenges, where you’re being monitored by lots of government agencies.

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How to Become a Full-Blown Privacy Fanatic With Purism’s Librem Laptop

If you value your online privacy and if you have need for a laptop computer, you need to read an article by Dell Cameron in the Gizmodo web site at http://bit.ly/2xJ6TM8. In the article, Cameron describes the $1399 Librem 13 manufactured by California-based Purism.

The laptop runs a modified version of the Debian GNU/Linux distribution. The modified version is called PureOS, a simple and unique Linux-based system designed by Purism’s own team of specialized Debian developers. It includes an impressive list of features, all designed to protect your online privacy.

Dell Cameron writes:

“If you have any useful skills whatsoever beyond tying your own shoes, then I promise you already possess the faculties required to conquer Linux.”

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Bose Headphones Secretly Collected User Data

My headphones did what?

The audio maker Bose, whose wireless headphones sell for up to $350, uses an app to collect the listening habits of its customers and provide that information to third parties—all without the knowledge and permission of the users, according to a lawsuit filed in Chicago on Tuesday.

The complaint accuses Bose of violating the WireTap Act and a variety of state privacy laws, adding that a person’s audio history can include a window into a person’s life and views.

Details, and a video, are available in an article by Jeff John Roberts in the Fortune web site at: http://fortune.com/2017/04/19/bose-headphones-privacy/.

Is the Chromebook the Most Private and Secure Computer Available Today?

I must admit that I love my Chromebook computer. I am using it more and more every day, including right now as I write this article in Microsoft Word Online. This low-cost ($150 to $500 US) powerhouse does almost everything I ever want to do on a computer. I am also impressed with the privacy and security that the Chromebook provides.

Of all the consumer-grade operating systems available today, most security experts will tell you that Linux is the most secure of all. That is especially true of the more security-focused “distributions” of Linux, such as Tails, Security Enhanced Linux (often called SELinux, developed by the NSA’s Trusted Systems Research Group ), Ubuntu Privacy Remix (UPR), or Whonix. All of these are designed to protect your private information and to keep out spies and hackers.

I am not aware of any published studies comparing the security of Chromebooks versus any version of Linux. However, after using both Chromebooks and Linux for several years, I find that numerous facts lead me to believe that Chromebooks also provide very high privacy and security, possibly even better than Linux. No computer, not even a Chromebook, is 100% secure, but a Chromebook probably is the most secure consumer computer you can buy off the shelf today.

Here are a few facts to consider:

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LiteBook – the Impressive $249 to $269 Linux Laptop

Linux has always been known as a more secure operating system than Windows and even more secure than Macintosh. For most installations, Linux also requires less computing power than do either of its two major competing operating systems: Windows and Macintosh. Therefore, it is interesting (to me) that a company called Litebook has released a new Linux laptop that is priced to compete with Chromebooks and other low-cost laptops. The price? $249. If you want to add the one (and only) option available, it may cost you $269. Those prices include a one-year warranty.

Even at those prices, the LiteBook has some impressive specifications.

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The Best Laptop for Traveling Is One You Can Afford to Lose

laptop_stolenA few years ago, I had an expensive laptop computer stolen from my locked automobile. The thief apparently used a large screwdriver or some similar object to pop open the trunk of my automobile that was in a parking garage. When I returned to the automobile, the trunk was open, the laptop was gone, and there were some new scratches in the paint near the latch of the trunk.

Not only did the thief get my laptop, he or she alo gained access to a lot of personal information stored in the laptop’s hard drive: bank account information, all my email messages, information about most of my friends, relatives, and business acquaintances, passwords to almost all my personal accounts and the services I used at my employer’s and more. It was a tough lesson.

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