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Saturday, April 14, 2018

1909. Get postal mail information.

My mailbox is down the road from my house, and some days, I just don’t feel like going out to check the mail. It would be so cool if there was some way to receive an email that would notify me of what’s in my mailbox, so I wouldn’t have to trek down there if there wasn’t mail to pick up. Am I just dreaming?

We both have long walks to a mailbox as well it's just too much work to trudge down to the mailbox to find nothing there. Although a little more exercise probably wouldn't hurt either of us.

Luckily the U.S. Postal Service makes this easy. They have a new service named "informed delivery" which you can find https://informeddelivery.usps.com/box/pages/intro/start.action .

Once you set it up and it's free you get an email every day with a photo of what's going to appear in your mailbox. The U.S. Postal Service doesn't open your mail it just photos the outside as it marks it for delivery. The package list is also available and it includes tracking information. Informed delivery isn't available for everyone or everywhere but it certainly works great for me personally and I would recommend it highly I get in the mail every morning with information about what's going to appear in my mailbox. So I know whether or not I should make the trek

1905. Convert Phone audio to stereo

Over the years, I’ve subscribed to a number of email lists that I’d prefer to no longer hear from. I get far too much political and sales emails. I know I could unsubscribe from each manually, but is there some tool I can use to take care of this for me?

This question hits close to home because I am also in the nearly one hundred percent deaf in one ear because of a sudden hearing loss in my forties.

So I feel your pain on this. Listening to stereo audio and headphones is a pain because some dialogue is in the wrong ear and you can't hear it. All modern smartphones include an option to combine both stereo channels into a single channel sending the same information to both ears. To find this look for your devices accessibility settings. Look at the option there to convert audio to mono.

On I O. S. select settings, then general, then accessibility, then turn on Mono audio. That's all you have to do.

I tried it on an Android phone and there was a similar setting under accessibility. If you need to use it with just one earpiece or you want both your pieces to play the same audio This trick is for you.

1910. Facebook privacy issues


Retrieve Facebook Data

I’ve heard a lot about Facebook and its use (or misuse) of my personal data. I’m a little uncomfortable posting anything, liking anything, or even responding to anything there, because of this data use. What do you recommend we do to safeguard our information?
Clearly, Doug and Ken are not Facebook fans. It’s possible/probable that we’re too old to really “get” social media, but we try. We really do. And Ken even bought into it for a while and posted a lot of personal stuff on Facebook. He “liked” a lot of things, posted personal information, enjoyed getting birthday greetings on the special day, posted notices about important life events, and more. But no longer.
As it has become clear that the folks at Facebook have no idea how to control the data that we post online, it’s also clear to us that Facebook is not a good place to post personal information. For example, if some nefarious character was looking for information about you, that person might start by looking at Facebook to retrieve your birthdate; given that information, the crook could start digging into other online records to find important personal information that identifies you.
So what do we suggest? Well, perhaps we’re a bit too paranoid, but we’d start by deleting all personal information, such as your birthday, school, work, and marital status. (And yes, we’ve done this.) Although this action doesn’t help with prior data scraping from Facebook, it makes it impossible for future information gathering to happen.
To get start, in a Web browser, head to Facebook.com, and click the little triangle in upper-right corner of the Facebook page. Select Settings. Look for your personal settings to remove all the personal info. In addition, in the Apps settings, turn off all Websites, Apps, and Games (and don't use them). Yes, we know that farm game was fun, but is it worth distributing even a tiny bit of information to those folks bent on stealing information about you from Facebook?
In the Security and Login section, make sure all information is available only to you, or to friends.
Finally, although it won’t help with data breaches, it’s useful to know what Facebook “knows” about you. Under the General settings, select Download a Copy of your Facebook data. You'll get two emails: One to confirm that Facebook is preparing your data, and another to let you know when the download is ready. In the second email, click the link to download your data. In the downloaded data, click on the index.html file to load it in a browser--this shows what Facebook knows about you. This information includes anything you’ve posted online, any photos you have uploaded, and more. If you uploaded a lot of data, the download can be quite large, so be prepared to wait. You may be surprised at how much Facebook has on you.
If you love Facebook, feel free to stay involved. But please, take a moment and clean up your security settings and remove any non-essential information. Do it before the next big data breach.

1908. Disk storage full - Windows? Delete System32 Folder?


Delete System32 Folder?

My computer’s storage is getting nearly full, and I thought I would clear some space by removing stuff I don’t need. I ran across a very large folder named System32—it’s just chock full of stuff that I didn’t put there. Can I remove it to regain the space it’s consuming?
Should you delete the System32 folder in Windows? Here are two simple answers: a) You shouldn’t, and b) You can’t. The System32 folder contains a ton of internal files and programs that Windows needs in order to operate. If you try to delete it, or its contents, you'll get warnings and errors indicating that you can't delete the files. If you are persistent and override the security settings of the files so you can delete them, you'll watch Windows slowly die as files get deleted. (Think of the scene in the movie 2001 where the computer, HAL, has his memory wiped as he sings "Daisy, Daisy." It's the same thing, really.)
If you really need to clean up some hard drive space, look for videos or large downloads—those are the files that take up a lot of space. Large backups can consume a lot of hard drive space, as well. Remember that storage space is different from the amount of memory in your computer, and the amount of consumed memory. Running a lot of programs concurrently consumes your RAM (Random Access Memory) but this has nothing to do with your amount of disk-based storage.
We've mentioned it before but look for the application named WinDirStat on the Web. It's free, and immensely useful for determining what's taking up your hard drive space. You can find it online at WinDirStat.net, and you should check it out if you need to clean up your disk storage.
In any case, don't even think about deleting the System32 folder. Yes, it’s a large folder, but deleting it won't help, and it won't work.

1907. Expand Shortened Links



You recently ran a tip describing how to hover over a link in email or on a Web site to determine where that link will actually go, and that was a really useful tip. Sometimes, however, I get links that are compressed, or shortened or something. I get links from goo.gl or bit.ly—clearly, these are obfuscating the destination URL. How can I preview where these links will take me without actually going there? I want to ensure the links are safe before clicking.
You are so correct: You should never click a link you don’t trust, and you should never, ever click a shortened link (like the ones you mentioned, and there are many others: bit.ly and goo.gl are the ones we see most often, along with tinyurl.com). For these shortened links, unless you’re really sure you’re getting the link from someone you know you can trust, you should preview the link.
What is a shortened URL, anyway? Rather than including long URLs in article, emails, and Web sites; it’s far simpler to replace the URL with a shortened, or compressed, version. You can find many online services that take a URL, store away its value, and provide you with a short version. These services maintain a reference to the original URL, allowing you to use the shortened version in its place. For example, here’s a URL to an item on Amazon.com:https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01H1CDURE/ref=s9_acsd_al_bw_c_x_2_w?pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_s=merchandised-search-3&pf_rd_r=9SR87R8DGH9C93A2A2G2&pf_rd_r=9SR87R8DGH9C93A2A2G2&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_p=5a5d1f09-c0cc-4be7-88f4-b7bc72469aba&pf_rd_p=5a5d1f09-c0cc-4be7-88f4-b7bc72469aba&pf_rd_i=13270237011.Obviously, no one can type that URL to find the item to which we’re referring.On the other hand, the shortened version might look like this: https://goo.gl/aW4j5v. Go ahead, look it up: We’re sure you’ll be jumping all over the opportunity to purchase this useful item.
So how do you preview the URL without actually going to the page? Like in so many other places, the “devil is in the details.” Each different URL-shortening service provides a means of doing this, but each one is different. One thing is for sure, however: As we said, unless you trust the source of the shortened URL, do not click it. Instead, copy it (or type it from scratch into the URL bar on a browser). Don’t press Enter, however. Each URL-shortening provider allows you to type something at the end of the URL to preview it. For example, adding a “+” after the URL takes you to a description page (that is, type https://goo.gl/aW4j5v+ for our previous example). Bit.ly works the same way. For TinyUrl.com, add the word preview in front of the URL.
For more information on previewing shortened URLs, check out this page: https://goo.gl/xyNUVm. You’ll find everything you need to know about the topic there.

1906. Easily Unsubscribe from Mailing Lists


Over the years, I’ve subscribed to a number of email lists that I’d prefer to no longer hear from. I get far too much political and sales emails. I know I could unsubscribe from each manually, but is there some tool I can use to take care of this for me?
We certainly understand your frustration here. During the 2016 election cycle, Ken signed up for a bajillion email newsletters to keep track of everything, and at this point, would prefer to hear nothing at all about anything. He found a useful tool to clean out his inbox, and has given it a try. It works!
First of all, understand that you never want to click an Unsubscribe link in spam emails: Doing so just alerts the sender that there’s a human at the receiving end of the email. For spam, you’re better off using spam filtering in your email client to rid your inbox of the messages.
On the other hand, for legitimate emails that you’d just prefer to no longer receive, you can and should click the Unsubscribe link to remove yourself from the distribution list. If you have just a few, you can do this manually. If you’ve gone overboard, however, you may need some help automating this.
We’ve run across several “unsubscribe” services over the years, but a new one, available for free at getunsubscriber.com, works the best of any we’ve seen with the least intrusion into your life.
Once you sign up at getunsubscriber.com, you grant the site access to your email inbox; it creates a new folder named Unsubscribe. For any email list you’d like to unsubscribe from, drag an email to the Unsubscribe folder, and the service takes care of the rest. That’s it. You can re-subscribe if you want, but in general, the service removes you from the email list.
Unsubscriber works with pretty much any of the most popular email providers (Gmail, Outlook, Office365, Hotmail, AOL, Yahoo), but there’s a down side, and it’s a big one: You have to give the service access to your email inbox. If you’re not comfortable with that, you won’t want to use the service. On the other hand, they promise (really) that they won’t look at any folder except the Unsubscribe folder. This is a tough decision, but one you’ll need to make. Ken bought into it, and believes that the service is honest.
If you find that you need help managing all your email newsletters, give Unsubscriber a try by visiting GetUnsubscriber.com. It definitely does what it sets out to do: You just need to determine if the service is worth the trust you must grant it.

1914. Wireless printer goes offline

My wireless printer seems to go offline offen and I can't connect.  I have to re-install it.  What can I do?

The most common reason your wireless printer stops working is the result of the use of Dynamic IP addresses.

Lots of Blah, blah, balh words. But these are important.

When you get your wireless printer, the setup is usually fast and easy. This is because the printer setup system uses dynamic IP addressing. Each device on your internal network needs an address to be able to talk to the world. Your internal network has it's own set of private addresses that are differnent from the outside (internet) world.

That little black box your ISP gave you (modem, router) translates your internal and external addresses . Thank goodness. Dynamic address expire after a number of days and the black box gives out a new address (usually the same as the previous one). This is where the problem occurs.

Sometime (not often) this IP address may change and can cause the printer to no longer work. The best way to stop the problem is to give the printer a FIXED IP address. This process is different on all printers so you need to find the instructions for your printer. The other wrinkle is using an IP address that is not used by any other device on your network. Also not a hard task but is necessary.

You need to access your black box gizmo from your ISP to find the available fixed IP addresses. If you are not having the lost printer problem while using a wireless printer then nothing needs to be done.

But if you are taking the time to set up a fixed wireless IP address for your printer will take only 5+ minutes and is well worth the energy.