Yahoo Answers Is Gone Forever

Yahoo published a press release explaining that their “Answers” service is permanently shut down. “Once a key part of Yahoo’s products and services, it has declined in popularity over the years as the needs of our members have changed,” said the release. The site is no longer accessible as of May 4, 2021, but those who have interacted previously can download their Yahoo Answers data until June 30.

Yahoo Answers was an enigma. Launched in 2005, the question-and-answer platform was meant to be “a place where people can ask each other questions on any topic, and get answers by sharing facts, opinions, and personal experiences.” Initially, it was created to help boost Yahoo Search results. Back then, Yahoo was a massive company with a humungous social community, e-mail address hosting, directories, and the biggest search engine worldwide.

“Long term, Answers has the potential to attract incremental users, increase time spent on the Yahoo! Platform, and create monetization opportunities through additional sponsored links and page views,” Douglas Anmuth told Forbes in 2005.

Truth be told, Yahoo Answers had a legacy, but not the one it was intended for. The answers were never really relevant; instead, the questions were more popular. As seen on YouTube, comedians and podcasters made light of the interesting Yahoo Answers community.

The ridiculous questions people asked gave way to its popularity. Despite the off-the-wall jokes, the platform did have some formidable queries such as household repairs and awkward questions from teens too shy to ask their parents.

An internal ranking system helped create a sense of community though it didn’t mean much. Those who asked questions could choose the best answer, giving them points and leveling them up. This sense of community made the platform engaging. In 2005, Facebook and Reddit were infants, and Twitter was seen in the distance. Yahoo Answers didn’t compete with those social media platforms, but they did fulfill similar needs throughout their user base. As chat rooms began to shift to social media, Yahoo Answers was a half-step between the two.

After May 4th, Yahoo Answers will be lost to the depths of the Internet the way of GeoCities, MySpace, and Adobe Flash. The good news is, a large portion of Yahoo Answers will be available on the WaybackMachine, an Internet archive.

Founded in 1994, Creative Programs and Systems provides professional results for all computer needs. We design, create, and code an array of custom software programs and websites; offer top-notch digital marketing services including enhanced Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and paid advertising; repair and provide support for computers of both residential and professional nature; build custom systems and servers, and offer secure data backups. Need assistance or want to learn more? Call us at 810-224-5252 or e-mail info@cpsmi.com.

Written by the digital marketing staff at Creative Programs & Systems: www.cpsmi.com.

Why You Should Consider Using a Password Manager

Password managers are an essential tool in 2021. Most websites require a username and password to log in or use their services. The human brain cannot possibly keep up with dozens of different combinations. To sidestep this issue, some people use basic passwords like “123456789” or “thisismypassword” or even integrate pet, family member names, or birthdates. Using simple, generic, or easy-to-guess passwords can easily lead to identity theft.

That’s where password managers come in: they store, generate, and manage passwords for you. All you have to remember is a single master password for your account, which is used to encrypt the contents of your password vault. It is imperative that you remember this password (maybe jot it down somewhere safe) because it is likely unrecoverable if you forget it.

Additionally, you can set up two-factor authentication to secure your password manager account. The best password managers support authentication through hardware keys or authentication apps.

Ensure the password manager you are considering supports each device platform you use. Several browser extensions rely on a local desktop component, which might not support all operating systems. The best password managers have browser extensions that function independently wherever you install them.

Complete support for mobile platforms is usually required for most modern password managers. Smartphones are typically used to access secure sites and apps. A majority of password managers translate to mobile platforms without issues. However, automatically generated passwords such as “5^3iojs#0%1@” can be challenging to input on their tiny smartphone keyboard. Thankfully, password manager apps offer fingerprint or facial recognition to fill in app credentials automatically.

Most Internet browsers have an integrated toolbar menu of saved logins and other website credentials. When users log into a secure site, the browser offers to save their credentials. When they return to that same site, those credentials are automatically filled in. This includes first and last name, e-mail address, phone number, credit cards, passport numbers, etc.

When creating new or updating weak passwords, don’t strain your brain to develop something different and solid. Password managers can handle that; you don’t have to remember it, after all. Automatically generated passwords should be at least 20 characters long and include major character types (uppercase, lowercase, symbols, numbers).

Overall, password managers are almost necessary for 2021. With various features, options, and security measures, they are much easier to use and ensure you’ll never forget a password again.

Founded in 1994, Creative Programs and Systems provides professional results for all computer needs. We design, create, and code an array of custom software programs and websites; offer top-notch digital marketing services including enhanced Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and paid advertising; repair and provide support for computers of both residential and professional nature; build custom systems and servers, and offer secure data backups. Need assistance or want to learn more? Call us at 810-224-5252 or e-mail info@cpsmi.com.

Written by the digital marketing staff at Creative Programs & Systems: www.cpsmi.com.

What Is 5G and How Does It Differ from Wi-Fi

What Is 5G and How Does It Differ from Wi-Fi

After nearly a decade in the making, 5G is now a reality. Select cities throughout the United States received 5G mobile internet access a few years ago, and now, it’s readily available depending on your phone plan. The fifth generation of mobile broadband, 5G, will eventually replace the 4G connection. The time it takes for devices to communicate with wireless networks (latency) will be dramatically faster. These new networks are also much more efficient, handling more connections per cell tower and faster speeds per user.

Cellular/mobile networks rely on licensed spectrum bands, which are auctioned off to the highest bidder. Verizon, AT&T, and other carriers have to pay in order to use those bands. For coverage, they must build a network of intertwined base stations capable of sending out a strong enough signal for the network to withstand thousands of people at once. Carriers expect consumers to recuperate their investment and further expand network infrastructure.

On the other hand, Wi-Fi is an unlicensed spectrum that is free for anyone to use but offers a somewhat weak signal. Consumers pay an Internet Service Provider (ISP) to connect the internet to their infrastructure, and then a router is used to fill the building with Wi-Fi. In densely populated areas with limited bandwidth, using the same Wi-Fi frequency band between more than one building can be disruptive. Wi-Fi uses two frequencies: 2.4GHz and 5GHz. The frequency with a more extended range but lower top speed potential is 2.4GHz, while 5GHz can deliver faster speeds but not penetrate walls as easily.

Wi-Fi is used at home, in the office, or public areas such as coffee shops or restaurants. Mobile networks are used when Wi-Fi is not available. The most crucial factor is to have a good connection at all times.

Several elements play into the actual 5G connection speed, including location, network, device, and how many other people connect. To achieve a maximum download speed of 50Mbps and a low latency of 10ms, this will represent a massive improvement over the average speed most consumers are receiving now. 

Wi-Fi has had a troublesome history of naming confusion throughout its lifespan. The Wi-Fi Alliance has accepted the need for less-perplexing nomenclature, so the next standard is going to be marketed as Wi-Fi 6. This standard will offer faster speeds and many improvements in efficiency and capacity, designed to cope with the growing number of internet-connected wireless devices.

Both 5G and Wi-Fi 6 are readily – and widely – available. With expansions set for both, upgrades will be necessary to support the new standards. Most newer smartphones support both 5G and Wi-Fi 6; eventually all phones will support both.

Founded in 1994, Creative Programs and Systems provides professional results for all computer needs. We design, create, and code an array of custom software programs and websites; offer top-notch digital marketing services including enhanced Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and online paid advertising; repair and provide support for computers of both residential and professional nature; build custom systems and servers, and offer secure data backups. Need assistance or want to learn more? Call us at 810-224-5252 or e-mail info@cpsmi.com

Written by the digital marketing staff at Creative Programs & Systems: www.cpsmi.com.

CPS Wins the 2021 Best of Brighton Award for Computer Repair Service

Creative Programs and Systems has won the Best of Brighton Award in the Computer Repair Service category for the tenth year in a row! The award program was created to honor and generate public recognition of the achievements and positive contributions of businesses and organizations in and around Brighton, Michigan.

The mission is to raise the profile of exemplary companies and entrepreneurs among the press, the business community, and the general public. Recognition is given to those companies that have shown the ability to use their best practices and implemented programs to generate competitive advantages and long-term value.

Annually, the Brighton Award Program identifies companies they believe to have best achieved exceptional marketing success in their local community and business categories. These are local companies that enhance the positive image of small businesses through service to their customers and our community. These exceptional companies help make the Brighton area a great place to work, live, and play.

The Brighton Award Program was established to recognize the best of local businesses in our community. The organization works exclusively with local business owners, trade groups, professional associations, and other business advertising and marketing groups. Their goal is to recognize the small business community’s contributions to the United States economy.

For all of your computer needs, contact the professionals at Creative Programs & Systems today.                         

Founded in 1994, Creative Programs and Systems provides professional results for all computer needs. We design, create, and code an array of custom software programs and websites; implement internet marketing strategies for enhanced Search Engine Optimization (SEO) results; repair and provide support for computers of both residential and professional nature; build custom systems and servers, and offer secure data backups. Need assistance or want to learn more? Call us at 810-224-5252 or e-mail info@cpsmi.com.

Written by the digital marketing staff at Creative Programs & Systems: www.cpsmi.com.

How to Use Microsoft Office for Free

Microsoft Office is usually a necessity for most people, yet the suite isn’t exactly considered budget-friendly. Subscriptions are between $7 a month or $70 annually, and stand-alone versions of the set start at $150. Despite the fee, there are (thankfully) ways to use the software for free.

Without using the professional version that has all of the bells and whistles and latest features, there are plenty of ways to save your wallet.

Use The App: There’s a free online Microsoft app store where you can sign in (or signup) and use the functionality with other apps as well. Follow the on-screen instructions to use Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Calendar, and other Office suite apps. A few less-popular apps are available too, such as Sway, an interactive report/presentation app; People, an advanced contact list; and OneDrive, a cloud storage service allowing you to save and access files effortlessly. These apps are limited to basic functionality but are still useful. To use the apps, you will need to be connected to the Internet.

The School Advantage: If you are a student, faculty, or staff member at an educational organization, you are eligible to use Office for free. As long as your school is signed up for the program, you can reap the benefits of using the Office suite (Word, PowerPoint, Excel) along with other apps such as Microsoft Teams, Access, and Publisher. If you are a recent graduate, you can obtain the programs at a low cost. The alumni discount program enables post-grads to use Microsoft 365 Personal for only $1 per month for 12 months.

Use that 30-day Trial: For a month, you can use Microsoft Office for free, no strings attached. Up to six users can be added across Windows, Mac, and smartphones. One TB of OneDrive cloud storage is included, which boasts the latest versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and more. When your trial expires, Microsoft will automatically charge you for the full version, as they require your credit card information before you can sign up initially.

Get an Evaluation: For $30, Microsoft’s Evaluation Center program lets you test certain Office apps. This is essentially another free trial, but it provides specific, full-featured software for Office 365 ProPlus. It’s not ideal as a long-term solution, but it is a great temporary option. Since this is a test service used by Microsoft developers, you might encounter a few glitches.

Valid Alternatives: There are plenty of free alternatives that work well and transfer features over to Office seamlessly.

For all your computer needs, contact the experts at Creative Programs and Systems today.

Founded in 1994, Creative Programs and Systems provides professional results for all computer needs. We design, create, and code an array of custom software programs and websites; implement internet marketing strategies for enhanced Search Engine Optimization (SEO) results; repair and provide support for computers of both residential and professional nature; build custom systems and servers, and offer secure data backups. Need assistance or want to learn more? Call us at 810-224-5252 or e-mail info@cpsmi.com.

Written by the digital marketing staff at Creative Programs & Systems: www.cpsmi.com.

Data Shows Information Technology Jobs Grow, Showing Recovery

In January, the United States economy struggled, adding only 49,000 jobs overall. Despite the low number of total jobs, the past two months saw 55,000 new Information Technology (IT) employment, revised from the 18,000, which was initially reported according to research from Janco Associates, Inc.

Compared to January 2020, total U.S. IT jobs have decreased by 35,800, or about one percent. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, over 100,000 IT employees were furloughed, representing roughly three percent of the entire workforce.

According to CompTIA’s press release, the IT sector saw growth of 11,500 new hires and an estimated 40,000 total new technology employees. CompTIA calculates technical and non-technical positions, whereas Janco analyzes IT positions, including software developers in all industries.

Tim Hebert, executive vice president for research and market intelligence at CompTIA, said, “With net job gains of 33,500 positions through the first two months of 2020, this is the best start to the year for the tech sector since 2017. However, we must acknowledge the possibility of a hiring lull due to the uncertainty many employers are facing.”

CompTIA calculated that an estimated 78,000 IT-related jobs were added in January across the industry sectors, including sales positions. The unemployment rate of 2.4 percent was down from three percent in December 2020. In all job areas, the U.S. unemployment rate fell from 6.7 percent to 6.3 percent. The number of IT-related job listings also grew in January to nearly 26,000, surpassing 232,000.

Janco CEO M. Victor Janulaitis expects eleven percent growth in U.S. IT jobs over the coming decade. He said, “Most of the growth in the IT job market will be with software developers, quality assurance, and testers. This will be driven by [work from home] as it is will be embraced by more enterprises in normal operations and internet-centric applications are developed and deployed. The projected growth for that sector alone will be almost 18 percent,” he said.

According to CompTIA, the states with the most IT job openings in January included California, Texas, Virginia, New York, and Florida. The most substantial month-over-month growth in job postings took place in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Alabama.

The top three industries for IT were scientific and technical services (51,278 job postings), finance and insurance (23,566 job postings), and manufacturing (20,581 job postings.)

Founded in 1994, Creative Programs and Systems provides professional results for all computer needs. We design, create, and code an array of custom software programs and websites; implement internet marketing strategies for enhanced Search Engine Optimization (SEO) results; repair and provide support for computers of both residential and professional nature; build custom systems and servers, and offer secure data backups. Need assistance or want to learn more? Call us at 810-224-5252 or e-mail info@cpsmi.com.

Written by the digital marketing staff at Creative Programs & Systems: www.cpsmi.com.

PC Sales See Biggest Upswing in Ten Years

Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, working from home and shelter-in-place orders have driven Personal Computer (PC) sales to the highest rate in a decade.

IDC, a PC company, said global shipments of PCs in 2020 reached 302.6 million devices, a 13 percent increase from 2019. The jump was the largest annual gain since 2010, with the volume being the largest since 2014, which was notable since six of the past ten years saw declines. Gartner Research also showed a boost in PC shipments, with steady growth that was the highest measured since 2010.

Jitesh Ubrani, research manager for IDC’s mobile device tracking team, said, “A lot of volume early in the year was because companies had people working at home. Enterprises purchased large numbers of laptops to equip those suddenly-remote workers; the sales volume at time sufficient to completely throttle the component supply chain.”

With many school districts focusing on remote learning, many tried to equip students with PCs (low-cost laptops), to learn adequately. Families with school-aged children also added PCs to households when districts could not afford to cover costs for every child.

Gaming PCs also proved useful during the pandemic, when people were hunkered down at home for long periods of lockdowns and quarantine. Entertainment-wise, families needed distractions, and games became an easy target. Those interested in playing games on old PCs were in for a surprise, as many didn’t make the cut for gaming, crafts, or other projects. Therefore, those consumers were forced to purchase new devices, which also helped drive sales.

Acer, Apple, Dell, HP, and Lenovo reported the highest PC shipment numbers for 2020, according to IDC. The highest year-over-year growth rate went to Apple, coming in at roughly 22.8 million. Chromebook, Google’s laptop powered by a Chrome-based operating system, also surged in 2020. Shipments grew by more than 80 percent, totaling approximately 30 million.

Ryan Reith of IDC, leader of the firm’s mobile device tracking group, said, “Demand is pushing the PC market forward and all signs indicate this surge still has a way to go. In retrospect, the pandemic not only fueled the PC market demand but also created opportunities that resulted in a market expansion.”

Consumer shipments are projected to increase through 2024. “We’ll see a lot of demand in 2021 because some of that went unfulfilled in 2020. Those orders slipped from the end of 2020 into early 2021,” Ubrani said.

For all your computer needs, contact the experts at CPS. Our fully-trained, knowledgeable staff can help troubleshoot or answer any computer questions.

Founded in 1994, Creative Programs and Systems provides professional results for all computer needs. We design, create, and code an array of custom software programs and websites; implement internet marketing strategies for enhanced Search Engine Optimization (SEO) results; repair and provide support for computers of both residential and professional nature; build custom systems and servers, and offer secure data backups. Need assistance or want to learn more? Call us at 810-224-5252 or e-mail info@cpsmi.com.

Written by the digital marketing staff at Creative Programs & Systems: www.cpsmi.com.

Computer Scientists Say Super-Intelligent Machines Could Be Uncontrollable

Theoretically, it is impossible for humans to control a super-intelligent Artificial Intelligence (AI) machine. It is also nearly impossible to detect when such an AI is created.

In 2015, Google developed AI software that was able to play – and regularly win – classic arcade games. Their findings were detailed in the journal Nature. In 2018, a study published in Science outlined how AI can regularly master chess, shogi (Japanese version of chess), and Go (ancient Chinese strategy game) through self-play. Smartphone apps can easily beat world chess champions such as Magnus Carlsen.

The Three Laws of Robotics are:

  1. A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
  2. A robot must obey the orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
  3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Laws.

Additionally, the “Zeroth Law” states that a robot may not harm humanity, or by inaction, allow humanity to come to harm.

Researchers from Tufts University’s Human-Robot Interaction Lab are trying to develop mechanisms for robots to reject orders received from humans, as long as they have a legitimate reason to do so.

Now, researchers are warning that any program written to stop AI from harming humans (and destroying the world while they’re at it) might conclude to halt or not. Mathematically, it is impossible for us to be absolutely sure which route the AI will take.

An alternative would be to teach the AI “ethics” of sorts and order it to not destroy the world. Researchers say this limits the super-intelligence capabilities and would force the AI to be cut off from parts of the internet or specific networks. Moreover, this defeats the purpose of creating AI in the first place: If the AI isn’t going to be used to solve problems beyond a human scope, then why exist in the first place?

As AI research expands, we might not recognize when the super-intelligence beyond human control forms. It would be incomprehensible, thus, uncontrollable.  

Read the full article in the Journal of Artificial Intelligence Research to learn more. Check out a full paper that outlines how humans are developing mechanisms to allow AI to reject any given orders.

Founded in 1994, Creative Programs and Systems provides professional results for all computer needs. We design, create, and code an array of custom software programs and websites; implement internet marketing strategies for enhanced Search Engine Optimization (SEO) results; repair and provide support for computers of both residential and professional nature; build custom systems and servers, and offer secure data backups. Need assistance or want to learn more? Call us at 810-224-5252 or e-mail info@cpsmi.com.

Written by the digital marketing staff at Creative Programs & Systems: www.cpsmi.com.

Quantum Teleportation Achieves 90% Accuracy Over 27 Miles

Today’s internet is a hacker’s dream: from vulnerable communication links and incompetently secured cloud data, weaknesses are everywhere. Quantum physicists are looking to construct quantum networks in substantial full-blown glory where information is created, stored, and moved around in ways hackers could never replicate or trace. If implemented, these networks could rise to fruition with an extremely high level of privacy, security, and computational power.

These networks might be a distant vision, but recent breakthroughs in transmitting, storing, and manipulating quantum information have convinced some physicists that a quantum internet is closer to reality than initially speculated.

A lightning-speed, completely secure internet is possible. Scientists recently teleported high-fidelity (over 90 percent accuracy) quantum information over 27 miles.

Dr. Panagiotis Spentzouris, a physicist from Caltech’s Fermilab particle physics and accelerator laboratory, was pleased with the results, “This is a key achievement on the way to building a technology that will redefine how we conduct global communication,” he said.

Qubits are unmeasured particles that remain suspended in a blend of possible states. Similar to spinning dice, qubits are full of possibilities. When dice land on any number, they are both guaranteed to add to seven no matter the distance. Much like dice, qubits that are introduced to each other are connected (quantum entanglement) in ways that become obvious once they are measured. This data is reflected from one location to the next.

The science of quantum entanglement and data teleportation is intricate and complex. Even experts aren’t sure how the technology would work in a quantum network. Each proof-of-concept positions scientists one step closer toward creating such a network. The most recent teleportation brings a city-sized quantum network closer to reality as it has never before been demonstrated with such accuracy over a long distance. Years of work remain ahead to create the vision, but the results are promising.

Quantum internet would provide large increases in speed, computational power, and security. Hacking attempts would be futile. Researchers believe quantum internet networks will be unique extensions to today’s classic rather than a comprehensive replacement.

For more information, check out the journal article published in PRX Quantum.

Founded in 1994, Creative Programs and Systems provides professional results for all computer needs. We design, create, and code an array of custom software programs and websites; implement internet marketing strategies for enhanced Search Engine Optimization (SEO) results; repair and provide support for computers of both residential and professional nature; build custom systems and servers, and offer secure data backups. Need assistance or want to learn more? Call us at 810-224-5252 or e-mail info@cpsmi.com.

Written by the digital marketing staff at Creative Programs & Systems: www.cpsmi.com.

Quantum Teleportation Achieves 90% Accuracy Over 27 Miles

Today’s internet is a hacker’s dream: from vulnerable communication links and incompetently secured cloud data, weaknesses are everywhere. Quantum physicists are looking to construct quantum networks in substantial full-blown glory where information is created, stored, and moved around in ways hackers could never replicate or trace. If implemented, these networks could rise to fruition with an extremely high level of privacy, security, and computational power.

These networks might be a distant vision, but recent breakthroughs in transmitting, storing, and manipulating quantum information have convinced some physicists that a quantum internet is closer to reality than initially speculated.

A lightning-speed, completely secure internet is possible. Scientists recently teleported high-fidelity (over 90 percent accuracy) quantum information over 27 miles.

Dr. Panagiotis Spentzouris, a physicist from Caltech’s Fermilab particle physics and accelerator laboratory, was pleased with the results, “This is a key achievement on the way to building a technology that will redefine how we conduct global communication,” he said.

Qubits are unmeasured particles that remain suspended in a blend of possible states. Similar to spinning dice, qubits are full of possibilities. When dice land on any number, they are both guaranteed to add to seven no matter the distance. Much like dice, qubits that are introduced to each other are connected (quantum entanglement) in ways that become obvious once they are measured. This data is reflected from one location to the next.

The science of quantum entanglement and data teleportation is intricate and complex. Even experts aren’t sure how the technology would work in a quantum network. Each proof-of-concept positions scientists one step closer toward creating such a network. The most recent teleportation brings a city-sized quantum network closer to reality as it has never before been demonstrated with such accuracy over a long distance. Years of work remain ahead to create the vision, but the results are promising.

Quantum internet would provide large increases in speed, computational power, and security. Hacking attempts would be futile. Researchers believe quantum internet networks will be unique extensions to today’s classic rather than a comprehensive replacement.

For more information, check out the journal article published in PRX Quantum.

Founded in 1994, Creative Programs and Systems provides professional results for all computer needs. We design, create, and code an array of custom software programs and websites; implement internet marketing strategies for enhanced Search Engine Optimization (SEO) results; repair and provide support for computers of both residential and professional nature; build custom systems and servers, and offer secure data backups. Need assistance or want to learn more? Call us at 810-224-5252 or e-mail info@cpsmi.com.

Written by the digital marketing staff at Creative Programs & Systems: www.cpsmi.com.