bigjim

dedicated computer

24 posts in this topic

I recently heard Clark Howard advocate using an inexpensive dedicated computer using

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I recently heard Clark Howard advocate using an inexpensive Chromebook for banking only. No email, no surfing the web etc.  I can understand why a dedicated computer might be good but I don't have the experience or knowledge to understand why a Chromebook would be preferable to any other.  Can some of the more enlightened here comment on this?

 

On edit: It looks like I screwed this post up but maybe you all can figure it out.    bigjim

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by bigjim

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Guessing here, but a ChromeBook has very little on board to infect. It's barely a computer, more like a modem with a screen and keyboard attached. Without connectivity, it's almost a paperweight. I've been thinking of the same thing for a while, just haven't dropped the coin to pick one up. That, and I wonder if I have strength (fear?) to limit it's use to banking/secure websites only.

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Costco has a $249. Acer Chromebook.   A Chromebook along with a dedicated email for financials would be highly secure.  And for the cost, you could skip purchasing anti-virus software.  

A note on the dedicated email.  That's an email that one should use that no one has except one's bank, mutual fund companies, annuity, etc.  Not one's health insurer, not one's financial adviser, etc.

Only the money people should have your financial email. 

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A chromebook is great for security. I don't know if I would say it's worth it though just to use it for only for banking though. If you are reasonably safe with your surfing and e-mail, I think you'd be fine. You'd have to really screw up to compromise your bank account with a chromebook. If you were convinced though you wanted a chromebook for that sole purpose, you could find an older one that isn't very fast for very cheap. I just sold an older early gen one for $25. 

One great thing about chromebooks is they are so easy to reset back to factory and since it's all web based, you don't lose anything unless you downloaded files to the actual chromebook. You can always download the latest install right from google and you are up and running in now time.

I love my Acer R11 (CB5-132T). It's a touch screen chromebook which is actually nice to have and it can load the google play store and apps from it which not all can. That makes it a lot more useful for other things too when you load google apps. BTW, if you like to keep a lot of tabs open in your browser, spring for a 4gb ram model over the 2gb model as it will handle that so much better. Chromebooks are quite fast with out needing fancy hardware like normal laptops and as mentioned you can easily put one back to factory and start over if you want. 

This is the exact model I have, but you can frequently find it under $200. - https://www.amazon.com/Acer-CB5-132T-C8ZW-2-Touch-Screen-Chromebook/dp/B01HAQNGIO

Edited by BlueLghtning

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I bought my wife a Chromebook for surfing the web. God knows where she goes on the internet!! She does also use it for banking, but even there I was surprised to find "interesting" extensions on her Chromebook.

So I would pick the Chromebook for surfing the web and limit my laptop to trusted sites like banking.

When I surf the internet it is on my IPAD. There are only three or four sites that I visit on my laptop. All new sites are on the IPAD and as soon as I can find a Chromebook with a pointing stick I will switch to that Chromebook.

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1 hour ago, Vladimir said:

When I surf the internet it is on my IPAD. There are only three or four sites that I visit on my laptop. All new sites are on the IPAD and as soon as I can find a Chromebook with a pointing stick I will switch to that Chromebook.

Are you talking about a touch screen Chromebook? That model I posted above is exactly that. You can even flip the keyboard 180 degrees and use it just like a tablet if you so desire. 

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No, the pointing stick between the G&H keys on Lenovo and old IBM ThinkPads. For some reason touchpads have totally taken over the market, but for me the pointing stick is much easier to use. 

 

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48 minutes ago, Vladimir said:

No, the pointing stick between the G&H keys on Lenovo and old IBM ThinkPads. For some reason touchpads have totally taken over the market, but for me the pointing stick is much easier to use. 

 

Ah gotcha. Yeah I haven't seen a chrome book with one of those, but you can use a regular USB mouse or even a trackball with a chromebook if you wanted. 

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So are chromebooks W10 or android or what. KSIP (keep it simple please)

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As mentioned above, Google has it's own OS with Chrome. Everytime Chrome gets updated, your OS gets updated. It's very low overhead, very simple, stable and pretty secure. Chrome has some of it's own add-ons and apps, but certainly not as vast as the Google Play store with android apps, however some chromebooks like the one I have are optmized to run android apps even though they aren't really android. I guess it's more of an emulator in the Google Chrome OS. 

This is what my chromebook says:

Google Chrome OS

The faster, simpler, and more secure computer
Version 58.0.3029.140 (64-bit)
Platform 9334.72.0 (Official Build) stable-channel cyan
ARC Version 4015103
Firmware Google_Cyan.7287.57.100
 
 
More info…
Google Chrome
Copyright 2017 Google Inc. All rights reserved.
Google Chrome is made possible by the Chromium open source project and other open source software.
Chrome OS is made possible by additional open source software.
Google Chrome Terms of Service
 
 
Edited by BlueLghtning

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Jim,

Just run any Linux distribution from a USB Flash Drive. You set your computer to check to boot from USB device first then your hard drive second so if the LInux drive is plugged in before turning it on it boots from it and you are not on your system at all.

This can run securely on your machine and you shut down then boot normally and nothing is saved on your computer, just on the USB thumb drive.

http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/running-linux-usb-right/

http://linux.softpedia.com/get/System/Operating-Systems/Linux-Distributions/LPS-Public-53808.shtml

Jim,

Just read the articles through. I am about to do that on a system a friend of mine has that came with Vista but for his I'm trying to decide which will give them the most bang for the buck.

 

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Another option is to get an old laptop and load Chrome OS on it for free! OLd working laptops with XP are really cheap. I can get one in fine working shape for under 30 bucks here but I would spend a bit more if it was for regular use. Here is a video:

 

 

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This discussion seems focused on a safe software platform for banking security - but don't forget that you expose your data stream, keystrokes, password etc to snooping when you connect through any public wifi network.

Security is more than just the operating system of your computer.

John

 

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I use open WIFi spots often and use Malwarebytes and Windows Defender! Haven't had any problems in 2+ years maybe I'm lucky, or the programs work well. Today I am using and older Macbook Air!:)

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1 hour ago, Pieere said:

I use open WIFi spots often and use Malwarebytes and Windows Defender! Haven't had any problems in 2+ years maybe I'm lucky, or the programs work well. Today I am using and older Macbook Air!:)

I'm pretty sure the only thing that truly hides your data on open wifi network is using some sort of VPN software/client. Otherwise anything you do regardless of the platform (iPhone, Android, PC, Mac, Chromebook, etc) are all subject to your data being "sniffed" out on a public wifi if someone knows what they are doing. 

 

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Linux can be hacked but it is unlikely without being infected first by a Linux specific hack. Linux is not really superior to a fully up to date Windows machine.

The idea as asked for was to have a dedicated system that is never used for anything but banking. It would of course need to have Anti malware like Windows defender and Malwarebytes Professional, which are what I use, to protect the system for the short time it will be online. In other words a clean system at the moment you connect and go to your online banking website. A Linux USB can accomplish this.

Isolating everything on your computer including Windows Bios etc, and all boot programs is achieved by booting from a Live DVD or a USB flash drive directly into Linux.

You can order a USB drive already burned and ready to boot from here: https://www.osdisc.com/products/linux/linuxmint/linux-mint-182-cinnamon-16gb-usb-flash-drive-32bit.html

Or you can just get the live DVD for $5.95 here.

https://www.osdisc.com/products/linux/linuxmint

For those having issues booting into a DVD or USB drive you can access the boot menu with the function keys.

You can reboot your computer and press the function key that pulls up the boot menu to force it to boot from a DVD or USB drive..

Here is the list of function keys used by a manufacturer:

  • Acer - F2 or delete
  • Asus - F2, F9 or delete
  • Compaq - F10
  • Dell - F2
  • Emachines - tab or delete
  • HP - Escape, F1 or F10
  • Lenovo - F1 or F2
  • NEC - F2
  • Packard Bell - F1 or F2
  • Samsung - F2 or F10
  • Sharp - F2
  • Sony - F1, F2 or F3
  • Toshiba - Escape, F1, F2 or F12

 

Edited by RV_

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Last thoughts.

I would hesitate to use a Chromebook when traveling or with data limits, because on a Chromenbook nothing is local, it must be connected to the Internet to use it. With a Windows, Apple, Linux, or Android computer or laptop you can work offline too. for example, creating documents and email lists, organizing your photos and editing them, and then only connecting to send them.

But my most important addition to the discussion is to ask what software you use for your banking.

For example my wife here is the accountant and she uses Quicken Home and business. Everything is done through that program. That means if we wanted to have a dedicated banking computer it would have to be a Windows 10 computer.

Because desktops are too big for RVs as a second system, and laptops also can be space intensive I would buy a Windows tablet. I have had 7" Windows tablets and connected a Logitech k400 wireless keyboard which has a built in track/touchpad. https://www.target.com/p/logitech-wireless-keyboard-k400-black/-/A-14303437?ref=tgt_adv_XS000000&AFID=bing_pla_df&CPNG=PLA_Electronics%2BShopping&adgroup=SC_Electronics&LID=700000001230728pbs&network=s&device=c&querystring=&gclid=[*GCLID*]&gclsrc=ds

It is not my first choice for a lot of typing but it is perfect on my tablets when needed. I use only 11.6"-12" Windows tablets so the touch screens are big enough for me to use touch only.

That keyboard uses a full size USB receiver plugged into the computer. Tablets save for the bigger more expensive ones only have a micro USB port. I use an adapter cable and just plug in the Logitech receiver, or a full size wireless keyboard and mouse receiver into it and then the tablet. Like this: https://www.amazon.com/HONSHEN-4-Pack-Converter-Adapter-6-5Inch/dp/B06Y557SXJ/ref=sr_1_14?s=wireless&ie=UTF8&qid=1500574340&sr=1-14&keywords=Micro+USB+to+USB+OTG+Adapter+Cable

Here is a pic of a tiny 7" tablet using a camera flexible tripod as a tablet holder and the full size USB keyboard/mouse receiver plugged into a 7" full size USB female to a micro USB to plug into the tablet.

USBadapter_zps337c1864.jpg

https://www.amazon.com/HONSHEN-4-Pack-Converter-Adapter-6-5Inch/dp/B06Y557SXJ/ref=sr_1_14?s=wireless&ie=UTF8&qid=1500574340&sr=1-14&keywords=Micro+USB+to+USB+OTG+Adapter+Cable

Here is a webpage with some excellent tablets:

http://www.gearbest.com/tablet-pcs-c_11294/tb3_windows~10/

I am not endorsing them as they are from China, and can take up to six weeks for you to receive them. I included it to show how cheaply you can get a tablet for new, and a 7" screen, with reading glasses, on a stand with a wireless keyboard might surprise most.

The best and cheapest dedicated computer solution would be a USB thumbdrive with a Linux version on it.

My second choice would be a Windows tablet. New like above or used from Craigslist. I have seen the ASUS T100 10.1" hybrid tablet/mini laptop for sale at the local pawn shops for $100.00. Which has a detachable keyboard.

My third choice would be a very inexpensive Windows 2 in 1 like this:

https://www.walmart.com/ip/iView-Maximus-II-11-6-Laptop-Touchscreen-2-in-1-Windows-10-Intel-Bay-Trail-Z3735F-Processor-2GB-RAM-32GB-Storage/54066839?findingMethod=wpa&tgtp=1&cmp=11555&relRank=1&pt=ip&adgrp=12134&bt=1&plmt=944x345_B-C-OG_TI_4-20_HL-BOTTOM&wpa_qs=m2lRSuntnR1bHwDX6JjaeplhyRrljIqa2OE-6pG6N7f1_bZyVBbZUPSN4uHeapwM&bkt=lr-item-sk1-0714&pgid=45804382&itemId=54066839&relUUID=5e76991f-d42f-4a92-b6b4-4b2a481525e9&adUid=36c5666a-91ca-4370-80e7-86c895c37425&adiuuid=7dba16da-a194-4415-8586-94be35d856e2&adpgm=wpa&pltfm=desktop#about-item

If you decide to get a Windows tablet or laptop that is usable and inexpensive stay away from 1GB of RAM, you need 2GB of RAM with Atom Processors for them to work well. Also for a single purpose computer 32 GB of storage is alright but 64 is better. However even for a multipurpose tablet computer 32 GB of storage is OK if it has a micro SD card slot. I have 128GB of storage on my Surface 3 Pro and a 128GB Micro SD card in it holding music on 75% of it and the rest for extra storage should I need it.

So:

For Windows -

2GB RAM minimum (4 better)

32GB of storage minimum (64GB better)

Must have a Micro SD Card port.

Edited by RV_

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53 minutes ago, RV_ said:

Last thoughts.

I would hesitate to use a Chromebook when traveling or with data limits, because on a Chromenbook nothing is local, it must be connected to the Internet to use it. With a Windows, Apple, Linux, or Android computer or laptop you can work offline too. for example, creating documents and email lists, organizing your photos and editing them, and then only connecting to send them.

Chromebooks still have that reputation they are useless offline, but they have come a long way and there are many more options these days. http://www.pcworld.com/article/2453999/computers/chromebooks-beyond-the-cloud-everything-chromebooks-can-do-offline.html

Now if you do use specific banking software that won't run on a chromebook, it won't even work for you anyways, but for just logging onto your banking webpage, you would need connectivity anyways. 

You do give a lot of other options too though. I still enjoy a chromebook for everything web based I do, it's low overhead and how fast and easy it is to use. I have times I enjoy the small footprint of a tablet, but anytime I have to do any work, typing, etc I much prefer a full keyboard, etc. 

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I get criticized for talking too technically or over heads. I just tried to follow the directions to create a Mint Cinnamon USB drive from the link I gave and it won't work so I will rewrite that post too in an edit.

I was unaware that you can order a USB drive already burned and ready to boot from here: https://www.osdisc.com/products/linux/linuxmint/linux-mint-182-cinnamon-16gb-usb-flash-drive-32bit.html

Or you can just get the live DVD for $5.95 here.

https://www.osdisc.com/products/linux/linuxmint

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BL,

Let's remember to just access it online is one thing but I want to be clear in that a Linux live system will not load or run any Windows programs, only Linux available open source programs that are not all that appealing visually and with the exception of Libre office and a few others I won't use them. When Microsoft drops support for my Office 2010 I will go to Libre Office. I keep it on my computers and load it on all the computers I have refurbished and sold locally

When we already have a good computer it is much easier and cheaper to just get a boot-able DVD or USB drive or make one if you are so inclined.

Chromebook $100-$300.

DVD with Linux boot-able all ready to use - $5.95

USB drive already made up $14.95

Download and make your own - Cost of one DVD or USB drive.

Used or new Windows 10 computer or tablet about $100 give or take  a bit.

We use our primary computers, Windows 10 and Quicken Home and Business for banking. All of ours have Windows Defender and Malwarebytes Premium (MBP)  on them.  Go here (https://www.malwarebytes.com/) and see that MBP

does it all:

  • Anti-malware
  • Anti-ransomware
  • Anti-exploit
  • Malicious website protection

Pretty impressive for much less than the others that cannot run in tandem with Windows defender which is free. Then just never click on any spam. I get a lot now from Yahoo.com mail and am blocking their domain now as I know only a few folks that used it that I know. I review all the blocked emails in my junk folder before I empty it because it occasionally catches valid emails.

Edited by RV_

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15 hours ago, RV_ said:

BL,

Let's remember to just access it online is one thing but I want to be clear in that a Linux live system will not load or run any Windows programs, only Linux available open source programs that are not all that appealing visually and with the exception of Libre office and a few others I won't use them. When Microsoft drops support for my Office 2010 I will go to Libre Office. I keep it on my computers and load it on all the computers I have refurbished and sold locally

When we already have a good computer it is much easier and cheaper to just get a boot-able DVD or USB drive or make one if you are so inclined.

Chromebook $100-$300.

DVD with Linux boot-able all ready to use - $5.95

USB drive already made up $14.95

Download and make your own - Cost of one DVD or USB drive.

Used or new Windows 10 computer or tablet about $100 give or take  a bit.

We use our primary computers, Windows 10 and Quicken Home and Business for banking. All of ours have Windows Defender and Malwarebytes Premium (MBP)  on them.  Go here (https://www.malwarebytes.com/) and see that MBP

does it all:

  • Anti-malware
  • Anti-ransomware
  • Anti-exploit
  • Malicious website protection

Pretty impressive for much less than the others that cannot run in tandem with Windows defender which is free. Then just never click on any spam. I get a lot now from Yahoo.com mail and am blocking their domain now as I know only a few folks that used it that I know. I review all the blocked emails in my junk folder before I empty it because it occasionally catches valid emails.

Oh I agree and i like that Linux idea and it is certainly cheaper if you already have a laptop/PC that it could work on. I've dabbled in Linux a few times and made bootable USB drives before, but always kept falling back to my Windows machines never quite making the transition. Now that we have drastically downsized in preparation to go full time, I got rid of a lot of those old desktop machines I had been keeping around to play on. I have a primary work laptop and a secondary one just for emergencies for when we will be on the road. I turned in my old work desktop as I didn't want to carry it and just asked for an older laptop as a backup, but I still have our home desktop as it's the nicest window machine we have of our own. My primary work laptop is really nice too, but I'm not allowed to load any non approved software on it. I was thinking the USB linux drive might be a cool idea, but they may have disabled the USB from loading any flash drive. I will have to check if that was pushed down to my laptop. Maybe my reserve laptop would be a good candidate for that. My wife has a windows 7 laptop, but it's seen it's better days too. 

I'll check out that malwarebytes too. 

Edited by BlueLghtning

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On 7/20/2017 at 10:26 AM, BlueLghtning said:

I'm pretty sure the only thing that truly hides your data on open wifi network is using some sort of VPN software/client. Otherwise anything you do regardless of the platform (iPhone, Android, PC, Mac, Chromebook, etc) are all subject to your data being "sniffed" out on a public wifi if someone knows what they are doing. 

 

I also use Opera browser and its VPN! I'm not a Techie, and give much credit to RV. I'm using my Android Win/10 tablet today! 

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