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Issue #492: December 25-31, 2016

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As I put fingers to keyboard to write this last column of 2016, I want to pause for a moment and say “thanks” to the many readers who have expressed their appreciation and support for the column in the past year. Make no mistake, I’ve also heard from a vocal minority who have absolutely no use for me, my column, my suggestions, or pretty much anything else as far as I can tell. These few individuals stridently criticize my responses, and insist that I.G.T.M. is a waste of ink and electrons, yet, they seem to avidly seek it out and read it every week, if for no other reason than to have something to complain about. They don’t discourage me in the least. It’s Geek to Me continues to be a labor of love and a public service, as, contrary to the assumptions of many, the column is totally freelance, is not syndicated, and I am not an employee of any of the newspapers in which it publishes (in case that wasn’t clear, it means I don’t get paid for writing this). Nevertheless, 2017 is going to be a special year for me and my free column. In just a few short weeks, our milestone 500th issue will publish, and this coming July, the column will mark its 10th anniversary. We’ll probably celebrate in the same grand and spectacular way we always mark milestones when they pass. That is, bringing you relevant information on computers and technology, and attempting to help you make your PC run a little more reliably. So, Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year, my dear Geeks, and yes, even you negative pundits out there! Hope to see you all in 2017!

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 Q: I recently updated Adobe Flash Player which brought along Intel Security’s TrueKey. While it looks promising, I was wondering if you had any opinion on it.

– Dave E.
Destin, Florida

A: Did you hear about the software that was so awesome that the publisher had to distribute it by bundling it with a more popular software’s update bundle, and having it automatically install by default if the user doesn’t read the dialogs carefully enough?

I suppose that’s rather flippant, but I’m about fed up with Adobe bundling random stuff with Flash Player when they distribute it. It’s like advertising but instead of just displaying an annoying pop-up, it goes ahead and installs software on your machine. Now, granted, it does this with your permission, because despite all the warnings that I’ve given, people continue to quickly click NEXT, NEXT, NEXT, when going through an install Wizard, rather than actually read about what it’s going to do to their computer.

Okay! Take a deep breath, Geek! [Rant Mode Off] The following comes with the caveat that I have not actually tested this software yet, I have only read about it. However, the fact that it is being distributed by a reputable company like Intel Corporation lends credence to their claims about what the software does. So, aside from the questionable distribution method they’ve chosen, it seems like pretty useful software.

TrueKey is an automated password manager. What that means is that the software automatically saves your passwords for your e-mail, websites, etc., then automatically enters them for you when they are needed. The passwords are securely encrypted using one of the most powerful encryption methods currently available, and it uses Multi-factor authentication, or MFA, to reliably verify that you are you before accessing your passwords.

Looking at the product on its website at, it looks like it’s compatible with Windows, Mac, iOS and Android, and with all of the major browsers on those platforms. It can do anything from logging you into Windows Hello, to generating strong passwords which it then remembers, so you don’t have to.

You asked what I think. Well, I’m certainly all for password managers, since far too many people continue to violate the primary rules of password-protected information systems. Specifically, they use simple or easy-to-guess passwords, and they use the same password everywhere. TrueKey solves both of those problems. It’s even fairly cost-effective. You can get started with up to 15 passwords for free. If you decide you like it and it’s for you, you can have up to 10,000 passwords for only $19.99 per year. In this Geek’s opinion, that’s a small price to pay to exchange using “12345” as your password everywhere with unique, secure passwords that will be automatically filled-in wherever you go. I’d be very interested in hearing feedback from anyone who has used TrueKey. If I get any responses, I’ll pass them on.

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