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Sunday, February 9, 2014

1453. Siri pops up when not needed?

Sometimes when I’m listening to a voice message on my iPhone, Siri pops up and tries to get involved in the conversation. Why does she do this, and how do I stop this behavior?

We’re going to guess that this unwanted intrusion is caused by two specific issues: First, we assume that you listen to your voice messages by bringing your phone to your ear (and why not?). Second, we assume that you have—either on purpose, or inadvertently—modified the setting on your iPhone that tells Siri to “wake up” when you raise your phone. The combination of these two behaviors will definitely cause the experience you’re having. The solution is simple: Because we guess you probably don’t want to change the way you listen to voice messages (that is, by bringing the phone to your ear), the answer is to tell Siri to take a break. In other words, go to the Settings app on your phone, select the General settings, select the options for Siri, and ensure that the Raise to Speak option is set to Off. Making this one simple change should solve your problem, and get Siri “out of your face”.

1452. Siri Can’t Say My Name. Can I Teach Her?

My name is Allyson, and I go by Ally. Siri, on my phone, refuses to pronounce my name correctly—she always refers to me as “A Lie.” Can I convince her to pronounce my name correctly?
Actually, teaching Siri to pronounce first names correctly is easy. Whenever she “says” a name, you can prompt her with something like “You said that name wrong.” Siri will ask you to say the name correctly, and from then on, she’ll get it right. (We were unable to get Siri to learn pronunciations for last/family names, but people say online that it’s possible. We tried, and failed.)

You can teach Siri a lot more about yourself, as well. You can say “Call my brother,” for example, and if you have not yet indicated who your brother is, Siri will ask you to identify your brother. Once you have done so, she’ll ask if you want her to remember that the particular contact is your brother. Once you’ve set up this relationship, you can then ask her to “Call my brother,” and she’ll know what to do. Before you can set up these relations, however, you’ll need to tell Siri who you are—you can do that in Settings-General-Siri.

1451. Free Software to Access My Home Computer Remotely?

I've been using LogMeIn's free version to remotely access my computer when I'm on the road. All of sudden, the service is no longer free. Can you recommend another similar remote access service that is free?
Funny how that is: Companies offer a free service for a while, but then realize that they actually have to make money in order to survive. LogMeIn is such a service. Lots of people (including us) got used to using it for free, but at one point, they terminated their free options, and now require you to pay for an account in order to be able to access your home computer while you’re on the road. Of course, LogMeIn had other uses as well, including providing remote support (we both provide a lot of remote support—Ken continues to attempt to keep his father from getting inundated with online malware, using remote access software like LogMeIn from across the country).
Although we mourn the loss of LogMeIn’s free service, you have options. You could, of course, continue to use LogMeIn—it will just cost you a little to do so. If your intent is to remotely access your own computer unattended and use LogMeIn, you don’t have any options besides giving them money. On the other hand, if you’re attempting to provide remote support, LogMeIn has a product called ( that offers a free level of service; it’s worth checking out.
If you’re technically astute, you can use the Remote Desktop feature in Windows (RDP), or VNC on the Mac. These products can be tricky to set up and use, but they’re definitely free.
Ken swears by a free service that he uses for helping his family out: TeamViewer ( It’s free for personal use, but requires payment for business use. It’s a great tool, and provides for unattended access (so you can access your own computer remotely, if you’ve set up TeamViewer to allow this), and it’s simple for folks who need support to set up so you can remotely access their computers. If you’re using remote access for personal use, we strongly recommend TeamViewer as a simple-to-use alternative to LogMeIn.

You can also find many other free and paid remote access services. For example, you may hear radio ads for GoToMyPC, which is a fine service—it just doesn’t happen to be free. (The paid levels for GoToMyPC and LogMeIn seem to be comparable.) For personal use, however, check out TeamViewer. It’s simple to use, and it’s free!

1450. How can I filter my search in Google?

Sometimes when I search on Google, I want to restrict the site for my search, or restrict the file type that contains the results I'm looking for. Is there some way to get results closer to what I need?

It seems to me that searching on the web is a skill that students talk to be taught in school like reading and writing and arithmetic at this point. And certainly if you just make a blind search on Google or Bing or any other search engine's you are likely to get thousands of responses when all you really want is the one you actually need.

 At least on Google is pretty easy. If you want only search on specific site include as part of your search site: and then the name of the site. Like  if you only want it to search on a specific site like Microsoft to only search on that site.  

If you only want it to search for a certain kind of file like a PDF file for example.  You can include file type: and then the type of filing PDF in this case. Google within restrict results to just the things you asked to make sure you don't get thousands of results just want you need.

1449. Syncing my email accounts. How can I do this?

I want to keep the email accounts on my two computers synchronized. If I delete an email on one, I want it to be deleted on the other; if I send an email on one, I want the sent emails synchronized on the other. At this point, it's kind of flaky. What can I do?

I am going to guess that if your having problems keeping emails synchronized  that perhaps you are using POP3 as the mechanism for retrieving your emails. 

 POP3  works but is really meant for use on a single computer. A better mechanism would be to use IMAP which is a newer or more complete protocol for retrieving your e-mail and most e-mail providers support both POP3 and IMAP as a means of retrieving e-mail.

Ask your ISP or your email provider for the steps you have to go through to set up an IMAP account to get out your e-mail.  Once you do that any changes you make a one computer are stored both on all computers that used the IMAP settings and on the server.

So you will  see the same exact e-mails on all of your different computers and on any web accounts where you login and look at your e-mail.  IMAP is way better than POP3 and we recommended to all of our clients.

1448. Check hardware to support Windows 8?

I have an older computer, and would like to upgrade to Windows 8.1. How can I tell if my computer will support this latest operating system?

Luckily it is pretty easy to find out. One way to do it would just be to replace the hard drive in your computer saving away your old one putting a new one in installing Windows 8.1 and seeing what happens,

On the other hand you can check ahead of time. The Windows Compatibility Center on Microsoft website will give you information by testing your computer to see what it contains and to see if it will support Windows 8.1. 

It's worth checking out the Microsoft site and search for "Windows compatibility Center".

Windows Compatibility Center:

1459. Windows 8 - Safe mode gone?

Sometimes when my Windows computer wasn't working I used to be able to boot into safe mode and then it wouldn't load all the drivers and I could test things out. But with Windows 8 it's not so easy. I can't just press the F8 key as it's booting. How do I get into safe mode and what's going on here?

Yes things are different in many cases if you want to boot into safe mode with the newer computers and Windows 8.  

If you can boot the computer in normal mode then there are certain ways you can try to boot into safe mode.

  1. Start msconfig.exe and select Boot tab. You can then select Safe Mode and some additional options.
  2. Another method is to press the Power button at the Windows login screen or in the Settings charm.
  3. Then, press and hold the SHIFT key on your keyboard and click Restart. 
    1. Then follow the varies commands. 
    2. Windows asks you to choose an option. 
    3. Press Troubleshoot. In the Troubleshoot screen, press Advanced options. You are informed that you are about to restart in order to change several Windows options, including enabling Safe Mode.
    4. Press Restart
    5. You will then get a screen with up to 9 startup options.  
    6. Choose the safe mode you desire.
  4. Boot from a System Recovery CD/DVD - works only in Windows 8
  5. Boot from a System Recovery Memory Stick - works in Windows 8 & 8.1
  6. Boot from a System Recovery Memory Stick - works in Windows 8 & 8.1

If the computer will not boot into normal mode then there are the following ways.

  1. First you can try to hold down the F8 key. This is the way you usually booted into Safe mode.
  2. If that didn't work try holding the Shift Key and the F8 key.

Some times the only way you can do this is if your have turned OFF the UEFI funtions. This is the new standard for newer computers (especially the tablets). You will need to check with the manufacturer as to how to turn off the UEFI function.

I hope one of the ways suggested has provided the information you need to boot into safe mode. It is something you will probably need to do at least once in your computers life span. Find the procedure for your computer and keep it in a safe place.

You will thank us.