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Sunday, February 25, 2018

1904. Spoofing caller-id?

I got a call from a friend saying they got a call from me trying to sell them something.  I didn't call them.  How was my telephone number used by them in caller-id?

Unfortunately there is not much that can be done. Usually these callers are spoofing legitimate telephone numbers, so tracing the call is difficult.

Spoofing a telephone number is illegal. So you can contact authorities and they are supposed to deal with the problem. But it is difficult.

Your telephone company must provide you with the ability to block the number. But often the people will just start using another number. Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) technology allows the caller to do spoofing easily.

Here is a link that will help you follow up on the problem.

1903. I Bar and more about Mouse cotrol

Control shape and size of mouse cursor.

I work on many different computers. Some screen are bigger and better than others. But the one thing that is hard to work with is the mouse.

However it's shape, size and color can be controlled. In Windows 10 go to Settings, Devices, Mouse, advanced Mouse options.

In other versions of Winows and your Mac you can do the same types of changes.

Once in the mouse settings, you can specify the button configuration, speed settings, change the pointer shape from arrow to a hand finger pointing. Lot's of options. You can change what the mouse looks like when the system is busy and when you hover over text you want to change

What helps me the most is the color of the mouse when it is over a white background vs. a black background. It makes it so much easier to see the mouse.

Also related to the mouse is computers with a trackpad. When you also plug in a mouse you can make the trackpad disabled. I use my trackpad when traveling. But when at the office I use a mouse and it is so irritating to have a mouse and you accidentally touch the trackpad and move the mouse. You can turn the trackpad off.

Give the mouse setting a review and make you computer work better and easier.

1902. WTurn off Windows update

Windows updates suck. How to turn them off

OK. First it is easy to turn Windows updates off. Go to Admin Tools, Services, Windows Update, Disable. Then OK.

A Windows service is a program that runs in the background to do things. if you disable the service for the Windows update it will no longer update Windows. Short term this is OK. But you want the updates to fix things.

You might want to just delay updates for a month or so. You can do this by: Go to settings, Update and security, advanced options, Pause updates, turn ON.

But you really want to consider why you are stopping Windows updates. If it is interrupting your work in the same Settings area you can control the time that updates will run.

If you had an update cause a problem, you can use our image backup solutions to make an image of your system before allowing the update. You can then recover easily.

We recommend keeping up with your system updates but you can control when and how often they run.

1901. Translate Voice to text

I need to translate some voice (MP3) files into text. Know of a good service or application?

I hope everyone knows that we also publish a blog. You can review all of our techtips at

Ken is a great ad-libber. He never writes out the answers to our tips. So I have to take those recorded tips and publish them.

I use a get service called VoiceBase. You can sign up and receive a great free trial.

You can upload the voice recordings and within minutes they provide you with a very accurate text of your recordings. I would say they are well above 95% accurate.

Usually only some punctuation is required.

They also provide human translation in the service.

So go to Great service good prices, free trial. And for special translation you can have them do it using a live person. Highly recommend!

1900. Mac Hotspot - How?

Your Mac can be a Hotspot? Why would you do this?

Kken you have the right idea. If you have a smartphone, making this a hotspot makes sense because you can then use the cell connection to allow your Mac or PC access to the internet.

But why make your Mac a hotspot? It probably doesn't have a cell internet connection. Well many offices like you mentioned do not have WiFi but do have a wired Ethernet connection. Now you can connect to that and create your own WiFi hotsopot.

The Wi-Fi hotspot option is part of the “Internet Sharing” feature in Mac OS X. You'll find it in the System Preferences window. Click the Apple menu, select System Preferences, and click the Sharing icon. Select the “Internet Sharing” option in the list. You’ll now need to select the Internet connection you want to share with the devices.

The one big limitation is that you can’t both be connected to a Wi-Fi network and host a Wi-Fi network at the same time. In the “To computers using” box, enable the Wi-Fi option. This will create a Wi-Fi hotspot, and the Internet connection you selected at the top of the window will be shared with devices that connect to the Wi-Fi network.

Click the “Wi-Fi Options” button at the bottom of the window to configure your Wi-Fi hotspot. Select your preferred network name and the best Wi-Fi channel.

Be sure to click the “Security” box and select “WPA2-Personal” and provide a password. By default, the hotspot will be configured without a password and anyone will be able to connect.

1899. Image backup - Carbonite?

Why do you guys recommend Image Backups? Doesn't Carbonite work just as well?

Carbonite was originally designed to backup data files and folders. As internet speeds improved they are backing up more and more data. They even offer for an extra charge image backup. You do need faster internet speeds to even use this effectively.

Our full Image backup is intended to give you the protection against full disk failure, a Virus, or ransomware, and software failure that could destroy a disk.

Let's say you have this type of failure. It will take someone at least 3-4 hours recover. To install the operating system, install all the applications and enhancements since you originally got the computer then restore your data.

With an image copy it will take about 1 hour and you don't miss things. Like I said Carbonite offers this now if you have fast internet, but you will still probably need to have them send you a copy of the image on disk because it is so large. That costs money and time.

Spend $50 and buy a backup drive. Use image backup software like Macrium Reflect for Windows 10 Image Backup, or Carbon Copy Cloner for your Mac. Save hours of time to rebuild your disk, OS, Apps, data.
Carbonite, Google Drive, One Drive, and IDrive are great for files, multiple versions etc. NOT good for disk restore.

Use a combination of local Image backups and the other file backups for the best of both worlds.

1898. Google Calendar Dumped its best feature

I’ve been using Google Calendar forever to keep my life organized. Recently, they updated the design so it’s all pretty, but I can’t make it allow me to enter events like I used to. Previously, I could enter an event like “Lunch with Rhoda tomorrow at noon” and the calendar would create the event with the correct name and time for me. Now it just creates a full-day event with the title “Lunch with Rhoda tomorrow at noon.” That’s not very helpful! Is there some way to enter events like I used to?

And here in lies the problem with using an online service for an important part of your life. There's no guarantee that the provider won't change that service over time and in this case Google made the feature pretty but they removed functionality.

The name of the feature is natural language. The ability to enter a new event with the title "lunch with Rhoda tomorrow at noon" requires Google to parse that text out and figure out what part of it is the title. What part of it is the date, and if you enter a location they should be able to parse that out as well. But they remove that from the web app and it's unclear whether they're going to be bringing it back. So the answer is no you can't enter events like you used to using the Google web app.

They did add back in the ability to set the title and the time so if you type in lunch with Rhoda at noon, they will at least on the given date put it at the right time. But it doesn't allow you to set a date.

Outlook supports this in a very limited way. You can say on the event to set the date to be next Wednesday and they'll figure out what date that is but it's not nearly as nice as what Google used to do if you're using a Mac.

The MAC calendar and the app Fantastic Hour which is my favorite calendar app support this fully. Fantastic Hour lets me enter things like Meet Rhoda for lunch every Tuesday until May fifth at one pm and they'll get that right. That's pretty complex stuff now if you still want to use Google Calendar and enter dates in that same old way you can use the Chrome extension. There is an extension for Chrome for Google calendar that makes this happen or you can use your phone app. The Google calendar app on your phone or tablet still handles this correctly.

So in summary the web app is broken and it's unclear whether they're going to fix it or not but you have other options to replace that functionality.