Monday, April 8, 2013

Confused about public transit? Now there’s an app for that!

Webnotes by: Theresa Payton, Fortalice, LLC. Content also covered on WBTV's "Protecting Your Cyberturf" segment featuring Theresa Payton and Kristen Miranda.
Some good news for our viewers headed to cities with public transit - Google has added a new transit alert service to help you manage your commute whether for fun or work!  It’s easy to get to through Google Maps.  Unfortunately, even though you can get transit information on 800 cities around the world, you can only get these transit alerts (for now) for the rail lines in DC and NYC and bus lines in Salt Lake City...but they are inviting city transit managers to apply…maybe Charlotte can ask to be added?

Google already helps out travelers with tips on fares, walking directions, and estimated travel time but these new features are a huge help!  They recently added a lot more cities around the globe that they support.

This new service provides:
Real time service alerts
It will help you map out the best route to take
It will warn you about construction or anything that might delay the train
They take their alerts directly from the public transit’s alert system

Although Google can give you transit information for 800 cities around the globe, including Paris, the transit alert system is not available everywhere.  Transit alerts are available for the rail lines in  DC and NYC, and the bus lines for Salt Lake City.

Stay tuned because they plan to add the transit alerts to many of the cities they provide information for today!

You can get the transit alert on Android or Apple phones

PILLBOXIE:  Do you need to take a lot of supplements or medications?  Well, there’s an app for that!  The Pillboxie app lets you visually manage your pills in an online pillbox.  Drop the pill in and take it out and you make sure you never double up or forget to take a pill.

Try this cool feature out at your house to test it out at:

Google company blog post about transit alerts:

Apple adds a new security feature: What you need to know now!

Webnotes by: Theresa Payton, Fortalice, LLC. Content also covered on WBTV’s “Protecting Your Cyberturf” segment, featuring Theresa Payton and Kristen Miranda.

Remember when we told you about technology reporter, Matt Honan, whose entire digital life was erased several months back?  Well, part of the erasing happened on his Apple account.  Apple has recently released a solution that should help avoid that problem of hackers taking over your digital life but how do you add this new feature?  Is it hard?  

You are going to want to log on right after the news to take advantage of this. Cyber Expert, Theresa Payton, has a caution for those who don’t turn it on and some tips for those of us  that want to but we are not sure where to begin!


1.  Your Apple ID is your ticket to the Apple cloud, apps, songs, TV shows and more.  

2.  If someone gets a hold of your Apple ID, not only can they steal your information, your data, your apps, and run up a huge bill on your account, they can also remotely wipe any devices you have tied to that ID clean - and you would lose your digital life.

3.  The new security feature adds another layer of security to your Apple ID sign on to protect your Apple accounts from cybercriminals


Not yet.  Anyone in the USA, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand or the UK, has this new feature available to them.  It will be rolled out across the globe eventually.


1.  Make sure your account has a trusted cell phone device registered

2.  Once you choose the new security feature, it will send a one time passcode that you will type in after you type in your Apple ID and password

Hint:  It’s probably a good idea not to send the text of the code to another Apple device.  Choose a smart phone that is not Apple.

Otherwise, if someone steals your iPhone and guesses your Apple ID and password, now they can get the SMS sent previously to your phone.  

They will also give you a 14 character “emergency recovery key”.  Print it out or write it down (do not store on your Apple devices or in email) and keep it in a safe place.

WORD OF THE WEEK:  2FA this is short for Two Factor Authentication & what it means is it takes a 2nd item, not just your ID & password to authenticate that it’s really you!  In some cases, this might mean sending a text to a mobile phone that you key in.  In others it might be an additional code word or a physical key that you plug into your computer.  Nothing is 100% foolproof but it helps avoid some of the cybercriminals out there!

When Your Smart Phone is Smarter at Remembering Where You Were

Webnotes by: Theresa Payton, Fortalice, LLC. Content also covered on WBTV’s “Protecting Your Cyberturf” segment, featuring Theresa Payton and Kristen Miranda.

Creepy but real, your smartphone remembers more about where you were last week then you do and there’s a new study that proves it.  Although - did we need a study to confirm that?  MIT and other groups came together to see if they could take that data from phones and somehow track it back to an individual.  Guess what?  They did.

Here’s what you need to know - yes, you can identify a person by tracking cell phones.  This could be a good thing, especially if a person goes missing.  But, in the wrong hands, it could get creepy or become an invasion of your privacy.  The study tracked 1.5 million people for a little over a year.  Cyber expert, Theresa Payton, is with us tonight to talk more about this study.


Think about this - The researchers compared their study to fingerprints -- it takes 12 data points to track a fingerprint down to an individual.  In this study, the researchers said they only needed 4 data points to guess who the individual was within 95% accuracy.

Smart phone users leave behind patterns that over time are unique to them.


They pulled hourly updates on the phone’s whereabouts from the mobile cell phone towers
Over time, they could compare past tracking to current data and work backwards into the person’s identity over 90% of the time.

They tracked:  where the phone went every day.  Most people are predictable:  they wake up, head to work, go to the gym, go to a soccer field, etc.  Most people have a pattern to their whereabouts.  

It used to be that ONLY a mobile phone company had this information but this location information is now widely shared with “partners” and apps.  

A staggering stat - those cell phone purchases you made last year?  Well, 65.5B of those payments were geo-tagged, meaning, we know where you were when you made that payment.

The data correlation techniques used by the researchers required a long time period and large quantities of data.  

Turning off geo-location may help in some cases but really are very few workarounds - other than leaving your phone at home or committing to altering your routine frequently!

SUMMLY - the newest addition to Yahoo.  It’s an app that summarizes an article quickly to give you the key points.  It was created by a 17 year old and Yahoo reportedly bought it for $30 million.    You can try out SUMMLY by going to

You can read the actual study and full set of findings at this link:

Social Media Around the World

Webnotes by: Theresa Payton, Fortalice, LLC. Content also covered on WBTV’s “Protecting Your Cyberturf” segment, featuring Theresa Payton and Kristen Miranda.

Have you ever wondered if the entire globe was on Facebook and if not, what the rest of the world is doing online?  Well, tonight we take a look around the globe to give you a bird’s eye view of what people like you are logging onto.  You might be surprised to find that even though Facebook, Twitter and YouTube are popular all around the globe, they are not the only games in town for other countries.  

Boasting 1 billion users, Facebook always seems to be the global winner in the social media race.  It is amazing, just when we think we could not keep up with one more account, we find out that around the globe, there are popular and local alternatives to sites like Facebook or Google+ or Twitter.  And, it’s not just the locals paying attention to those sites; Hollywood big names are interested in keeping in touch with their fans wherever they are.  Look at Tom Cruise...he was the first Hollywood star to set up a page on the popular Russian social network Vkontakte, which means “In Contact” and has more than 40 million users from Russia.  So, we talked to cyber expert, Theresa Payton, and asked her to give you a quick trip around the globe to highlight some sites!

1.  In the China and South Korea region, the popular hangout spot is Qzone.  At last count, Qzone was at roughly 550 million users.   Users can blog, share posts and photos.  It’s a favorite in the 18-24 year old set.  Keep in mind, China blocks Facebook, Google, YouTube and Twitter so it makes it tough for anyone in that country to get access.  

2.  The Russians, when they go local for social media, prefer VKontakte also known as “VK”.  They have reportedly 190 million users.  It allows it’s users to post messages and share photos.  It consistently lists in the top 5 sites visited in Russia from other countries.  

3.  When the Iranian government reportedly blocked Facebook, Twitter, and Orkut, the Iranian people turned to Cloob.  As of right now, Cloob is still invitation only and has roughly 1 million users.  It’s user base is predominately male.  


GOOGLE KEEP - A new service from Google that lets you “keep” your notes, thoughts, websites and ideas handy in one place on the web.  It’s Google’s answer to the popular Evernote service.


If you would like to see a map of the social media networks, try this site: