Are Ultra HD 4K TVs worth the money?

Published: Monday, March 11, 2013 @ 6:00 AM
Updated: Monday, March 11, 2013 @ 6:00 AM

Just when you thought TVs couldn't get any better, they've gotten 4 times better and 20 times more expensive!

TV manufacturers have been crushed by the price competition today to buy a TV. I saw an ad recently for a 55-inch LED for $500. The price points are just unreal. But if you're a TV manufacturer and you're in a break-even or even loss leader business, you need to invent the next big thing.

Ultra HD is the next big thing. The first Ultra HD TVs are now appearing starting at $25,000. They give a picture that is closest to looking through a window we've ever seen. It's essentially 4 times as sharp as the highest definition TV sold today. Of course, there's no programming available for these things yet. So thank goodness for early adopters who want the bragging rights.

Because the next generation of TV is already coming on horizon, you shouldn't buy a zillion dollar TV of the state of the art variety. Instead, buy the cheapest rot gut TV in the size and technology you prefer instead of reaching for what appears to be the latest and greatest.

Follow these price points on current technology and you won't get burned when it is time to buy new technology:  60-inch TVs should be bought for less than $999; 42-inch for less than $499; and 32-inch for $199 or less.

Ransomware: Holding Your Computer Hostage for Money

Published: Thursday, April 16, 2015 @ 2:56 PM
Updated: Thursday, April 16, 2015 @ 2:56 PM

The worst ransomware to date is freezing up computers until consumers pay scammers hundreds of dollars to supposedly implement a fix.

Beware of this ransomware virus

Crypto-Locker is apparently making the rounds and encrypting all the files on your computer hostage until you pay criminals $300 for them to unlock your files, according to The Cleveland Plain Dealer. In some cases, even after you pay them, the crooks continue spying on you remotely with keyloggers.

At this point, there is no fix for Crypto-Locker. That's why it's important you don't get it in the first place. You know the usual routine: Don't click on attachments, don't watch unsolicited, keep your anti-virus up to date, etc.

The best advice I can give is this: Back up everything you have so you can abandon a computer if it's infected with Crypto-Locker. There are two ways you can do this. Either use a freemium back-up cloud service for data or use a back-up external drive. The latter is really cheap starting around $30.

The last instance of ransomware I reported was about a year ago. At that time, the Internet Crime Complaint Center said that Reveton malware was seizing up computers with pop-up windows branded with the FBI logo! The pop-up window typically warn the computer contains "child pornography, unlicensed materials or 'computer-use negligence,' according to The Cleveland Plain Dealer.

If someone is holding your computer hostage for money, never pay the ransom. There's no way to tell the scammers will do what they say and not load additional viruses on your computer. Second, you're rewarding bad behavior if you pay them.

Normally I talk about using free antivirus software to prevent something like this. But now the warning is that won't get it done. The recommendation I have is to contact a professional to clean your computer. Even if you're able to unfreeze your computer yourself, elements of the virus could remain behind.

Here's how to protect yourself going forward:
  • For basic protection, use anti-virus and anti-malware software and keep it up to date. See my Virus, Spyware and Malware Protection Guide for links to free options. 
  • Keep your browsers, applications and plug-ins up-to-date with the latest security patches and updates. Be sure to do this at home on your own secure connection.
  • When using WiFi at a hotel or other public hotspot, make sure you are using the real WiFi connection.  Some scammers try to lure people to a fake WiFi connection that can steal your info.
  • When using public wifi of any kind, don't access your financial institutions or do any kind of bank transaction--do that at home only!

How To Opt Out of Verizon's Super Cookie Tracking

Published: Tuesday, April 07, 2015 @ 1:54 PM
Updated: Tuesday, April 07, 2015 @ 1:54 PM

Verizon has finally relented on its most invasive customer spying measure to date and now allows you to opt of the dreaded supercookie.

The company has been pushing its supercookies on users to track everything you ever do on a phone -- every email, every page you visit, everything you click. By doing that, they were able to build a data-rich dossier and sell it to marketers. 

AT&T had its own supercookie as an experiment too, but they abandoned the project months ago. Now Verizon is caving to relentless media pressure too.

2 ways to opt out of Verizon's supercookie tracking

1. Visit and log into your account. Then scroll down to "Relevant Mobile Advertising." Click the button below "No, I don't want to participate in Relevant Mobile Advertising" for each line on your account. Be sure you click the red "Save Changes" button below that. Courtesy: USA TODAY

2. You can also supposedly opt out over the phone. Call 866-211-0874 to opt out. Courtesy:

For you as a consumer, I say go to the other guys and don't deal with Verizon's high prices and intrusive monitoring anymore. T-Mobile will pay your early termination fees, AT&T is cheaper than they were, and Sprint will cut your bill in half.