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Technology thoughts leaking from the brain of "Bill Pytlovany"

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Your Feedback Creates Special Offer

One price (under $10), for an established app, available on multiple devices.  This limited offer is available with one requirement. Users are asked to provide feedback on their experience. It doesn’t have to be a bug report, it could just be a request for a feature you can’t find in other programs.

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Task Catcher 1.x

For many years our Task Catcher program has been available to meet the needs of a specific audience. Even though I have neglected new development for Task Catcher it continued to attract an large audience. Many of our most vocal fans have waited patiently for a new version. 

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Watch List


Task Catcher is most often used for its specific restart function. Many depend on Task Catcher to make sure an important program continues to run even if it crashes or the system reboots. Many others use it to protect a their favorite security program. One long time customer actually runs a radio station and Task Catcher prevents any dead air during the night and early morning recorded sets.

If you’ve ever wondered why a program is no longer running Task Catcher can help. Like many new Windows programs Task Catcher 2 has been redesigned to work with mobile devices, Tablets as well as traditional Windows desktops.

Very Special Offer


Our newest version is available as a Sneak Peek Preview and currently runs as a Windows Desktop app. Mobile and Tablet versions are being developed and I look forward your feedback.
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Many people may have heard of the term “beta test” before the release of new software.

At one time, this was a useful process but those days are gone.

When you consider the number of machines running Microsoft Windows world-wide it’s easy to see there are
more variations and unique combinations than there are snowflakes.

Good user feedback isn’t what it used to be so I’m offering Sneak Peekers a very special offer. I’m confident anyone trying Task Catcher 2 will have a suggestion or two. When you share your opinion with
support@TaskCatcher.com your under $10 purchase will activate full participation for our desktop and mobile versions.

 
Task Catcher providers a clean interface that will work the same on all your devices. The program ‘Watch List” will continue to be a primary feature but we’ve also added the ability to track which programs are used often. The decision of which program “metrics” are important and how your data is presented is the kind of feedback we need you to tell us. 
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When a program fails you can decide the action Task Catcher will take. In most cases, you may want to automatically restart your program.  You’ll also have the option to keep an event log of any failures.  
In some cases, you’ll want to be notified immediately. At that time you can chose to restart but even more important Task Catcher can help you diagnose if a program conflict exists. The choice is always up to you.
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The trend for new systems is that “internally” programs don’t exit or close. They are always running in the background but claim not to be using any resources on your phone or tablet. Task Catcher’s program tracker will let you know the truth. 

Visit http://www.taskcatcher.com and order your special activation code.  Download Task Catcher 1.4 and explore how your favorite new program used to work.  After you’ve seen Task Catcher in action download Task Catcher 2 Sneak Peek and you’ll be a part of our newest project Team.



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All files from BillP Studios are signed with a class 3 digital security certificate.



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Monday, October 06, 2014

Your Email Password is a Target

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Interested in hacking into the Email account of Charlie Sheen, Rob Lowe, Sean Penn or Carson Daly?  You’ll want to know they attended Santa Monica High School. Want access to the CEO of a large retail corporation?  Keep reading.


 highschool
Simple question used by Yahoo to verify your identity.

Truth is we’re all screwed but having good password habits will keep out the amateurs. It may save you from emailing people on your contact list to say, “I’ve been hacked, if you received email from me don’t click on the link.”
My security expert friends will advise you to use…

1) Strong Passwords
2) Unique passwords for each of your password protected websites
3) Two-step verification

Important Advice to Share From BillP
My most important tip to family and friends is “Use fake information when asked for answers to security questions.”


Example of Fake Security Answer
Example of making up your own unique answers to security questions.

I had plenty of time this summer to research malware and identify the first step in the infection process.  The most common way to get hacked is someone using the small amount of public information needed too reset your email password. Once they have one of your email addresses it’s not hard to receive a new password on other services.
I recommend creating easy to remember jokes to use when asked for answers to security questions.  Some examples may be “What high school did you attend?” Pick something like Jefferson High School (Happy Days) or Rydell High(Grease). I won’t tell you what it is but people often laugh out loud when they see what I use for my mothers maiden name. Yes, some company’s still use it.
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Target’s Easy Target

Using real data is dangerous. In less than 15 minutes I was able to find information about “former” Target CEO Gregg Steinhafel. His mother’s maiden name was Schreindl. He graduated from Homestead High School.
His first job was at Steinhafel's Furniture and he attends Wayzata Community Church. Born in Milwaukee, Steinhafel graduated from Carroll University in 1977 and earned an MBA from Northwestern University two years later. I could say more but for the safety of his wife and three children I’ll stop here.
When a high school kid gained access to Sarah Palin’s email he wasn’t a computer genius. He just looked up the answers to the security questions used by Yahoo. Even though that was way back in 2008 this method has continued to grow as the number one way to steal personal data.

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I’ve also noticed a set of quizzes common on Facebook specifically designed to collect personal data used in security questions.  I am currently investigating the background of the companies who spread these quizzes. Most created their domain within the last 30 days. I will share any information in the future.


Some Security Advice May Be Outdated
Complicated passwords:

Some may recommend a complicated password like “hfY4df$dhEW_!cvrh3H7D&d.” It’s safer than 123456 but isn’t very easy to remember. A complicated password may be useful to beat programs which try every possible combination but most systems will lock you out after a handful of incorrect attempts.

Unique passwords:
Using different passwords on different services is good advice but unless you’re using a program that remembers your passwords it’s too easy to forget unique passwords. If you’re like me you’ll just end up resetting your password using security questions.

Two-Step Verification
The two step verification process is a step in the right direction For banking or any service where real harm could be done it’s worth the extra step. If someone gains access to your cell phone or one of your email accounts the benefit is lost. Unfortunately, you’re trusting that the company is not going to take advantage of having more of your personal data like your cell phone number or alternate email address.

Some Advice Will Never Change
As far as recent failures by Home Depot, Lowes and other large companies the advice hasn’t changed much in 20 years. When your bill comes, check all your charges and make sure they’re legitimate. Most likely you can access your credit card online and see charges as they come in. If you haven’t already, register an account connected to your credit card and review charges regularly.
Reviewing your bills doesn’t just apply to credit or bank cards. Keep an eye on any charges like your cable or phone bill. Legitimate companies have been known to add bogus charges. Verizon wireless added a monthly charge for ring tones on Cindi’s phone. They claimed she agreed to the monthly charge by not responding to a text message. They removed the charge when I explained her cell phone at the time didn’t support test messaging.

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Sunday, August 17, 2014

Task Catcher Universal

The recent sale of my WinPatrol™ program has generated many questions from a large, loyal user base. One common query has been about the future of WinPatrol’s sister program Task Catcher.  This program has a smaller fan base because the popularity and needs of WinPatrol has required my full attention. 

lady_7_128Task Catcher is a completely separate program with  different goals. While it currently has  familiar interface, WinPatrol is now a product of Ruiware LLC and Task Catcher is still owned by BillP Studios.  Some shared feature may continue while others will be phased out.

Watch List
Task Catcher currently has two main functions. You can create a "Watch List" of programs that you want to remain active at all times. For instance, I've added WinPatrol.exe to my watch list. If for some reason WinPatrol.exe crashes or is shut down by malware, Task Catcher will automatically restart it. I can tell Task Catcher to automatically restart it or to let me know it has stopped so I have the option of restarting it. 

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One of our customers runs a radio station. They have a number of sources from pre-recorded commercials and content from live streams. They use Task Catcher to make sure a program doesn't crash during the night causing dead air.

Black List
The other function is "Black List".  This function allows you to create a list of programs you never want to run on your computer. The most common use may be with parents of teenagers but it's also used by companies to prevent employees from using restricted programs. 

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Unlike WinPatrol there isn't a FREE and PLUS version of Task Catcher. You can download the version available online to see what it looks like but none of the features work in real-time until an activation code is applied.

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What you download today may look a little different than the screen shots above.

The sample screens you see are only the first step towards a new user interface. If you’ve used a newest Windows Phone you’ll be familiar with the interface.  If not, you’ll find an easy to understand interface with plenty of room for as much data as possible.  Stay tuned for more surprises ahead.

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Sunday, August 10, 2014

Great 50% Educational Discount

Most years I’ve offered some kind of discount for students or a back to school time sale but this year our schools really need help. Bill and Melinda Gates aren’t the old tech professionals who have a sincere interest in our nations educational system. I can’t change our education system but nobody can object to having WinPatrol PLUS available for half its regular price.

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Most of you have probably heard of changes to our school known as “Common Core”. Unless you’re an educational professional you probably won’t have an accurate understanding of how common core will affect your school and children.  You may not understand how teachers are now evaluated or how refusing to take a test could raise your taxes.

I’ve started my fourth year on the Scotia-Glenville School Board and learn something new every month. I don’t claim to be an expert on education but I have experience at hiring the best people for a job.

In our school district, the school board is an elected position with no salary or benefits. I have the added role of serving on the Audit Committee and I’m our Legislative Liaison. I have chosen the most challenging years to serve but thankfully we have built an excellent team of administrators, teachers and other staff.

Tartan3by4colorWe also have a community that considers education as critical and they’ve supported the hard decisions we’ve had to make. While billions of dollars are being spent to demonize Common Core no one is paying attention to state lawmakers balancing their budgets by taking money away from funds previously allocated for traditional education programs.

Given my interest in education I’m very happy  to offer WinPatrol PLUS for just $14.98 USD. A Family Pack license is even half price for $24.98 USD. The sale will continue until the end of August but the sooner you upgrade the quicker you’ll have more protection.

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If you’ve ever been infected you know the horrible feeling of being violated and the cost of repairing your computer. Even if you can recover critical programs and data the time you spend is lost forever.  For the $14.98 you spend today upgrading to WinPatrol PLUS you’ll have valuable protection that won’t slow you down. WinPatrol’s squeaky clean reputation means you won’t end up with unwanted toolbars or page hijackers.

Take advantage of this special offer and upgrade to WinPatrol PLUS today. It’s a one time payment good for all future versions.

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