Life & Technology – 2GB 31st May, 2014


Australians are some of the biggest users of social media in the world. Facebook is particularly popular with over twelve million Aussie users and nine million who log into the site every day! The bad news is that this massive popularity has made Facebook a potential target for online troublemakers, spammers and criminals.


To find out how users can stay secure, I spoke to Tim Falinski from Trend Micro. Trend Micro is releasing HouseCall, a new product that aims to protect Facebook users from online threats.


An area that has really been taking off in recent years is that of the connected home. What if your home knew to turn the lights on when you walked in the door, or sent you an alert when your washing was done? Daniel Friedman is working to make that a reality with Ninja Blocks – tiny, cloud enabled computers that will connect all the devices in your home. I talked to him about the products and just how different our homes of the future will be.


Finally, great design can elevate a product, making it more beautiful, functional and effective. The Good Design Awards are an annual celebration of design. I spoke with Dr Brandon Gien, CEO of Good Design Australia about the awards and the importance of design to our lives.


I also helped out a few of our listeners with their questions.


Carla asked whether she needs to eject a flash drive before unplugging it from her computer.


Carla, you probably know that unplugging a drive while it is being written to could corrupt the data. However, even if the drive is not actively being written to you could still corrupt the data by pulling out the drive without first ejecting it.


This is because most operating systems use something called ‘write caching’ to get better performance from your computer. If you copy something to your drive, sometimes your computer will tell you that it has completed the task, however it's actually waiting until it has a few other tasks to perform so it can do them all at once.


Pressing eject tells your OS to make sure that all pending actions have been performed so you can safely unplug the drive without any data corruption. For this reason I recommend ejecting all of your drives. It only takes a second and it’s a small price to pay for avoiding lost data.


John asked me how to keep his files in sync across his devices. He asked about OneDrive and Google Drive.


John, Microsoft’s offering, OneDrive, is great because it works on almost every device you can imagine. It supports Windows and Mac, Windows Phone, Android and iOS. You can even use it on your Xbox! OneDrive integrates nicely with Office, making it super simple to access your documents wherever you are. OneDrive has one last nifty trick – you can use it to remotely connect to your PC through your web browser, from anywhere. Pretty cool if you ask me!


Google Drive provides more free storage, as well as cheaper paid storage options. It is seamlessly integrated into Google’s range of online applications, including Gmail and Google Docs. If you’re writing an email in Gmail, you can attach a file straight from Google Drive. There’s no need to save it your machine first.


If you’re an avid Microsoft Office user and are mostly looking at using cloud storage for documents, OneDrive is definitely the winner. If you’re looking for more storage space, or you’re already using other Google’s other tools, Google Drive is your best bet. Regardless, both are excellent cloud storage solutions. 


Samantha asked whether she needs to pay for Antivirus Software.


If you’re fairly savvy and internet-smart, the basic protection in Windows 7, Windows 8 and Mac, along with an ad-blocker for your internet browser, will keep you protected from most threats. However, programs like Norton, ESET Smart Security and Kaspersky can add value through features like parental controls, device and identity theft-protection, and spam filtering. There are also mobile versions of ESET Smart Security, Kaspersky and Norton available for Android, which give you functionality such as theft protection, back-ups and the ability to block calls.


So, if you’re a bit worried about going online, antivirus isn’t a bad investment. But as long as you’re not clicking suspicious ads or downloading suspect attachments, the basic protection built into most operating systems will also keep you safe.