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Use Tech To Help You Get Fit in 2017

New year, new me.

Christian, my director of service operations, and I committed to regularly exercising in 2017. Our always full schedules pose a challenge, but I’m proud to say we’ve faithfully hit the gym as scheduled the first two weeks of the year.

So have many others who made similar resolutions.

If you’re like me, sometimes it’s extremely easy to give up on your fitness resolution once you get off track. Maybe an illness or schedule conflict causes you to miss some sessions. Maybe you get bored with your exercise routine.

Technology can be your ally to help you maintain and achieve your fitness goals.

The Ultimate Fitness App

Knowing what exercises to do, how to properly execute them, and keeping track of your progress can overwhelm you quickly.

I’ve found the Fitness Buddy app by Azumio to be one of the best to take care of all this. Its database contains over 1700 exercise moves – complete with step-by-step photos and videos. Some exercises can be done in the comfort of your own home, while others utilize gym equipment.

Fitness Buddy provides an easy-to-use log to track your exercise sets, as well as important body measurements – all showing your improvement over time.

The premium paid version, which I don’t use yet, offers several advanced features.

Work Out for Charity

Helping others often motivates us to continue when we feel like giving up.

The free Charity Miles app lets you earn money for one of 37 charities every time you run, walk or bicycle. Charities include St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, Wounded Warrior Project, Feeding America, Autism Speaks, and Stand Up to Cancer.

Corporate sponsors donate a few cents for every mile you complete.

Why not give back while getting in shape?

Wearable Fitness Tracker

Dozens of fitness trackers crowd the marketplace. They all count your steps and monitor your sleeping patterns.

New wearable technology offers you more advanced, more useful and more practical features to make working out more fun and more beneficial.

Although I don’t own a pair, probably the best multi-function fitness tracker I’ve seen reviewed is the Jabra Sport Coach Special Edition.

These wireless earbuds not only provide quality sound from your iPhone or MP3 player, but also include an automatic rep counting mode that tracks your sit-ups, press-ups and lunges. The included app to install on your mobile device offer slick music integration and is packed with a lot of workouts.

Have you decided to “get fit” in 2017? I’d love to hear your fitness goals and what technology you’re using to help you achieve them. Send me an email.

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Beware the Fake Windows Support Scam

It was early Monday afternoon when Larry’s phone rang. “Hello,” he greeted the caller, expecting it to be a friend or family member.

“Hi. I’m calling from Windows technical support. We have detected a problem with your computer,” the caller proclaimed in an almost unintelligible accent. “I need to log in to your computer to check to see what is causing the problem.”

Suspecting something to be fishy about this, Larry told the caller he should call back in an hour. Then Larry immediately called me to inquire if this was legitimate.

This type of scam has been around for years, but is still going quite strong. Callers – often from foreign countries – pose as computer support technicians from companies like Microsoft, Norton, and other well-known computer industry names. They try to convince the victim that their computer is running slow, is infected, or has problems that they need to check out.

To make you “believe” what they are saying, they instruct you to go to your computer, pull up the Windows Event Log and observe various warnings and errors appearing there. Although most of these entries are no cause for alarm, these scammers adamantly assert these are problems that must be fixed immediately – for a cost!

They then ask you to provide credit card information either over the phone or via a web site to pay for the service. Once they receive confirmation of the payment, the scammer then asks you to download software that allows them to access your computer over the Internet, which allows them to make changes and install software.

Unsuspecting computer users who fall for this scam suffer several problems. First, they pay an exorbitant amount of money for unneeded “repairs.” Second, their computer becomes loaded with useless and often-times virus-infected software. Third, they may become the victim of identity theft.

What should you do when you get one of the calls? Hang up! Don’t waste your time talking to them. Definitely do NOT perform any actions they ask you to take on your computer.

Be warned, though, that some of these scammers are very persistent. People have reported receiving numerous calls, even after explicitly telling the scammer to not call back.

Larry asked a really good question when he called me: “How do I know if something like this is real or fake?”

You should only consider phone calls from companies that you personally know, trust, and do business with to be legitimate. Although Microsoft is the maker of the Windows operating system on your computer, you don’t actually do business with them. So they will never call you to tell you there is a problem with your computer.

Your Internet Service Provider or your local computer repair company are probably the only two who might call you to let you know about an issue with your computer.

Even then, if you do get a phone call from someone purporting to be them, don’t immediately follow their instructions. Look up the phone number for that company and call them back yourself to inquire if they called you about a problem (don’t ask the caller for their number).

Another tell-tale sign of most scammer calls is if the person calling has a foreign accent. Most of the trusted companies you do business with have employees who speak the English language very well and without a noticeably foreign accent.

Phone scams have been around for a long time and promise to be a nuisance well into the future. Play it safe. If it doesn’t sound right, it probably isn’t. Hang up and call a computer support professional you know and trust. You’ll save yourself a lot of frustration and problems.