Watch out for Card Skimmers at Gas Stations

Credit card skimming at gas stations is happening all over the country including here. With lots of travellers on the road, here are some tips to avoid this common technology hazard.

With the summer travel season in high gear, the FTC is warning drivers about skimming scams at the pump.

Skimmers are illegal card readers attached to payment terminals.  These card readers grab data off a credit or debit card’s magnetic stripe without your knowledge. Criminals sell the stolen data or use it to buy things online. You won’t know your information has been stolen until you get your statement or an overdraft notice.

Here are a few tips to help you avoid a skimmer when you gas up:

  • Make sure the gas pump panel is closed and doesn’t show signs of tampering. Many stations now put security seals over the cabinet panel. If the pump panel is opened, the label will read "void."

    skimmer-01.png

    Photo credit: National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS) and Conexxus
     
  • Look at the card reader itself. Does it look different than other readers at the station? For example, the card reader on the left has a skimmer attached; the reader on the right doesn’t.|
     

    skimmer-02.jpg

    Photo credit: Royal Canadian Mounted Police in Kamloops, Canada
     
  • Try to wiggle the card reader before you put in your card. If it moves, report it to the attendant. Then use a different pump.
  • If you use a debit card at the pump, run it as a credit card instead of entering a PIN. That way, the PIN is safe and the money isn’t deducted immediately from your account.
  • If you’re really concerned about skimmers, pay inside rather than at the pump.
  • Monitor your credit card and bank accounts regularly to spot unauthorized charges.

If your credit card has been compromised, report it to your bank or card issuer. Federal law limits your liability if your credit, ATM, or debit card is lost or stolen, but your liability may depend on how quickly you report the loss or theft. For more information, read Lost or Stolen Credit, ATM, and Debit Cards.

 

Be Good to your PC

 used with permission from HP Tech@Work

Here’s how to keep it in top shape

Let’s be real: You probably can’t swap your PC in for a new one as often as you’d like. A PC is an investment—and taking good care of it pays off in the long run. If your PC has a few years on it and you want to make it last—or you have a new machine and you want to treat it right—here are some simple ways to keep it running smoothly and extend its life.

Keep it clean

This may seem obvious, but seriously, do not let the Sriracha sauce from your lunch drip into your laptop—it’ll cause more problems than just a sticky keyboard. Make sure these other parts are spiffy as well for maximum longevity.

  • Wipe your monitor. First dust it with a cloth, then wipe it down with glass cleaner. Better yet, use monitor wipes for serious cleaning.
  • Inspect your tower. Check the air vents on the back and remove dust and buildup. If your tower opens, clean the inside with a can of compressed air.
  • Keep peripherals tidy. Use compressed air on your keyboard and wipe it down with a cloth. Check over your mouse as well—if it has a roller ball, remove the plate and swab it with isopropyl alcohol to get the gunk off it.

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Selecting the Right Business Software to meet your needs.

We get asked all the time "which software should I purchase to run my business?" Nearly every industry has specific business software written for it. We can help you with the analysis, make recommendations and provide the system integration with you other systems; however you know you business best. Here's a checklist of how to go about selecting business software that fits.

Good software can enable your small business to increase sales by saving time and money while expanding capacity.

But you must choose wisely — because the wrong software can be an expensive mistake.

Here is my tried-and-true checklist for choosing software to support your business operations:

Testimonials from Businesses Like Mine

Find vendors with a meaningful number of testimonials from other small business owners. Look for testimonials from businesses like yours — businesses of roughly the same size, in similar industries and trying to solve similar problems.

A software package might work just fine for some businesses, however, it may not help fix your problem.

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The Computing Center is a P-Tech Business Partner

 

The Computing Center is participating as a business parter in the newest P-Tech partnership. P-TECH Round 4 Winning Partnerships Will Help Students Earn Associate’s Degrees and Prepare For High Skill Jobs

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo in late May 2018 announced six winners in the fourth round of the New York State Pathways in Technology Early College High School (P-TECH) partnership awards. These newly awarded public-private educational partnerships add to the growing number of New York high school students currently preparing for high-skill jobs in technology, manufacturing and healthcare-related fields. Students will earn an associate degree at no cost to their families and will be first in line for jobs with participating companies when they graduate.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo

“This nation-leading program is transforming our education system by providing students the tools and experience they need to succeed in the competitive global workforce,” Governor Cuomo said. “These P-TECH awards are enabling New York’s young, bright minds to develop and grow, and I am proud to support these innovative partnerships as they prepare the next generation of leaders for the opportunities of the future.”

“I have visited students who are benefitting from the P-TECH program all over the State, and I have seen firsthand how it changes their view of their own potential,” said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. “As New York’s economy continues to grow, the number one concern I hear from employers is the need for more skilled workers. With this latest round of P-TECH Awards, New York is investing in our workforce by preparing high school students for jobs of the future in technology and manufacturing. Providing our students with the resources they need to succeed in the job market is a smart strategy for continued economic progress.”

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Machine Learning & Deep Learning 101

 

Need a primer? Here’s what you need to know about AI’s most buzzed-about fields

The term “artificial intelligence” has been around since the 1950s, but it’s taken more than half a century for it to finally have a transformative impact on everyday life.

But why? And why now? The short answer is that we finally have computers that are strong enough, data that is extensive enough, and learning models that are advanced enough to power the rapid growth of intelligent machines.

Andrew Ng, chief scientist at China’s search giant Baidu and one of the heads of the Google Brain project, put the recent AI explosion in easy-to-understand terms: “I think AI is akin to building a rocket ship. You need a huge engine and a lot of fuel,” he told Wired Magazine. “If you have a large engine and a tiny amount of fuel, you won’t make it to orbit. If you have a tiny engine and a ton of fuel, you can’t even lift off. To build a rocket you need a huge engine and a lot of fuel.”

But before we rocket off to space, let’s look at two of the most talked-about areas of AI back here on earth: machine learning and its subset, deep learning.

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