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Sunday, December 14, 2014

1552. Restrict App Usage of Cellular Data

I have a smartphone and I keep getting messages that I am over my data usage.  I am guessing I am downloading podcasts and using the podcast app that is using the cellular data,

I can vouch for this problem myself. The last two months I have gone over my data usage. When you want to use a WiFi signal you have to make sure your phone has all of the correct selections. This varies by phone and carrier.  

For Podcasts you can specifically set your phone to only use WiFi.  

Look in your phones settings and review the WiFi, cellular, Airplane Mode, and Hotspot settings. Also review your app settings. Make sure they all are set appropriately to use WiFi. One way I found to make sure I had things set for WiFi was to turn on the Airplane Mode setting review the settings mentioned, and then turn on the WiFi setting.  

Remember all phones and services may have different settings but it is worth the time to review them so you don't pay for extra service you don't need to pay for.

1555. What's that Clutter Folder in Office 365?

I use Office 365 for my email.  And recently I noticed a new folder called Clutter.  Where did it come from?  Can I use it?  And what is it used for?

If you are an Office 365 business user you have probably seen this Clutter folder. I was confused at first because it didn't seem to do anything and Microsoft never told me about this folder. I started to do some basic searches and finnally have some basic understanding.  

It is like the SPAM/Junk mail but what goes into clutter is not the stuff you don't want at all. It is the stuff you just want to be separated from the more important things. You need to access your Office 365 account using the browser and Outlook Web Access and turn on Clutter. Now as you start to deal with mail in your Inbox, Clutter will learn about how you organize things and what is important and what can wait.  

When you start you can also move messages to clutter. As you do this Clutter will learn and start to move mail there automatically. If you find something in Clutter you need to pay better attention to move it to your Inbox.  

As you continue to use it clutter will get smarter. I have started to use the Clutter feature. My feelings are not yet convinced this will work for me. I will keep using Clutter to give it a chance and I will update the TIP as I do.  
If you have Clutter email send your feelings to and let us know.

1554. What is One Note?

I just got a new Windows PC, and noticed an application called OneNote that I had never noticed before. I open it up, and it’s not clear what it’s for or how I would use it. Should I remove it?
Actually, OneNote is part of Microsoft Office (and has been for the past several versions). It started its existence as a simple note-taking application, but has blossomed into an incredibly useful “brain dump, keep track of everything in your life” application. You can use it for making notes, outlining, and tracking any bit of important information. You can set up multiple virtual “notebooks” for organizational purposes, and because it’s part of Microsoft Office, Microsoft supplies hooks all over Windows and in other applications for sending data to OneNote (such as the ability to clip part of a Web page and send the clipping to a note in OneNote).
Your notes aren’t just stuck on your computer, either. You can download the OneNote app for your phone or tablet, and gain access to all your saved information there, as well. Recently, Microsoft updated its OneNote apps so that you can not only view saved notes, but you can create new content on mobile devices, as well.
And that’s not even a tiny portion of what OneNote can do to organize your online life. You can scan directly from some scanners into a OneNote note, and you can forward email to a special email address that adds the email as a note.  You can draw directly into OneNote notes, to keep sketches handy (think maps)! OneNote indexes everything you enter, so it’s easy to find things you toss in there, later, when you need them.
As you can tell, we’re big, big proponents of applications like OneNote. (We say “like” because Doug uses OneNote and Ken uses a competitor, EverNote, which he’ll swear is better because it’s not tied to a particular platform. Doug will tell you that OneNote has apps for just about every platform, but Ken will tell you it’s not really the same thing.) In any case, if you ever thought about having a digital filing cabinet for anything you might need to find later, OneNote (or EverNote) makes a great tool. Both tools provide solid security models (and support two-factor authentication), so your data is as safe as it can be in the “cloud.” (Do consider backing up the data in OneNote occasionally, especially if you use it to store data that is crucial to your life or business.)

We use OneNote (and EverNote) for all sorts of things. Ken stores copies of his drivers license, credit cards, product manuals, online tips, technical information, and much more in EverNote—OneNote could (and does) store the exact same sorts of things. We love these apps, and couldn’t recommend them more highly. For more information, check out these links:,

1553. Using Multiple Internet Providers

I currently use AT&T’s U-verse service for my internet provider, but I really need a backup—it AT&T goes down, my business requires that I can still access the Internet. Cable Internet access is available in my area, as well. If I’m willing to pay for both services, can I use both concurrently? If one goes down, is there some way to automatically switch to the other?
Not only using dual connections a possibility, but it’s a good solution in cases where a home-based business requires constant Internet access. It can be expensive (paying for two online services concurrently), and in order to take advantage of the two services with automatic failover, you’ll need a router that supports the feature. Luckily, just about every router manufacturer sells a product that can handle two incoming Internet connections. Doug uses a Cisco router, and Ken uses one from Asus. In Doug’s case, because Comcast isn’t available at his office’s location, he maintains two DSL connections, and that configuration works as well. (In addition to failover, having two WAN—Wide-Area Network—connections may allow you to bond the two, providing you with faster access to the Internet. This feature depends on both the router and the two connections, so leave this planning to a professional.)

Another possible solution is to use a cellular connection as a backup. Depending on your location, one or more of the cellular companies might have good enough service so that you could use their connectivity in case your preferred connection goes down. Some advanced routers provide a USB port for a cellular modem, so that the router can automatically use the cellular connection in failure cases. The problem with this solution (isn’t there always a problem?) is that most cellular companies charge a fixed fee per month, whether or not you use their data. And the charges can add up quickly. There is a good alternative, however: A product named Karma provides a “bucket” of data that doesn’t expire, with no monthly fees—you pay only for the data you use. This plan is unlike most other cellular data plans. If you’re interested in a cellular plan with a sane cost structure, with a modem that you can carry with you anywhere in the country, check out Karma: (and if you use this link, you and Ken both save $10 on data—you can’t lose!)

1551. AT&T Uverse

Here is one I don't get.  AT&T recently forced my father tio switch from DSL to Uverse.  And that means that his dial tone comes through the Uverse modem.  He lives in Houston, they have hurricanes, he loses power, he has no phone service. How can he make a phone call if he loses power.

If you loose power your UVerse system will have at best limited function. And you are correct to be concerned for you father. Without power to Uverse you need to know what limited functions you have.  

Don't just blame ATT, Venison FIOS and Comcast Xfinity will also have some limitations. You can read that some of their devices have battery backup. Well I know for a fact that they don't. If they do it is limited to maybe 4 hours.  

So I suggest you test your system. Unplug your modem. If you still have dial tone you may be OK for up to 4 hours. Remember you will not have dial tone on any other phone attached to the system unless you supply your own power.  

You can get inexpensive UPS (Unitteruptable Power Supply} that will allow you to use these other phones as well as your modem. But test them!  

And don't plug other things like lamps and TV's. You need the power for as long as the power is out. Make sure you are prepared.  

UPS is a partial answer. Make sure you know the limitations. Ask your provider if you are concerned. And you should be living in our rural area.

No power, no dial tone. UPS is the answer

1550. What's Up with Windows 10?

I have been reading and hearing about Windows 10 recently, and it seems like Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 just came out—they’re moving on already? My company hasn’t even moved from Windows 7 to Windows 8 yet. Should I just skip Windows 8 and jump on to Windows 10?
My, that’s a lot of questions! First of all: Yes, it’s true. Windows 10 is due out some time in 2015, and there should be a public “beta” version of the operating system available sometime in early 2015. If you’re adventurous (and have an extra computer, or a really good backup of your current one), you can give it a try. We can’t say this firmly enough (and we’ll say it in upper-case letters so it will feel like we’re yelling): DO NOT EVEN CONSIDER INSTALLING THE EARLY VERSION OF WINDOWS 10 ON THE COMPUTER YOU USE FOR “REAL” WORK. Install it on a separate computer, in a virtual machine (assuming that’s something you’re comfortable with), or leave it alone. It can be fun and informative to work with the latest and greatest from Microsoft, but you’re working “without a net” when you install a preview version of an operating system.
So, what’s new in Windows 10? There’s no complete list yet, and anything you read now is subject to change, but we’ve read that the Start menu is coming back, in a slightly altered format; Modern apps come to the Desktop, in individual windows (as opposed to requiring you to switch to a different layout); multi-tasking and multiple desktops will be improved; you’ll find a new command prompt and updates to the touch interface. In addition, Microsoft is working to standardize Windows across all its platforms (desktop, tablet, and phone). You can review basic information about Windows 10 here: You can find more current information here:
And yes, it’s true: Many companies have yet to migrate from Windows 7 to Windows 8 or Windows 8.1. We’ve heard that many of these companies will skip Windows 8 altogether, and simply move from Windows 7 to Windows 10. That’s most likely a wise move for companies that haven’t yet moved to Windows 8.
Wondering what happened to Windows 9? Why the skip from Windows 8 to Windows 10? We’ve heard lots of rumors, and they’re all vaguely apocryphal. We’ll let you research this one yourself, rather than spread rumors ourselves!

We’re both running early versions of Windows 10, and like what we see so far! If you’re in an experimentative mood, you might want to give the public beta a try once it’s released—just don’t install it on your main computer. You will be sorry. We promise.

Friday, December 12, 2014

1520. Moving to a Mac.

I’ve always used a Windows computer, but my office uses only Mac computers, and I’d like to make the switch now. I’m having a hard time figuring out how to make it work. Do you have any suggestions?
Honestly, Mac OS X and Windows are awfully similar in many respects, as far as end users are concerned. They’re both windowing operating systems that allow you to run multiple concurrent desktop applications, browse the Web, and run business and creative applications as well as games and other applications. The devil is, of course, in the details. While they both have the same intent, they handle pretty much everything slightly differently. Microsoft Office on Windows is similar to Microsoft Office on a Mac, but they’re different enough to confuse lots of people. Even simple things, like finding files and moving them from one place to another feel different on a Mac than on a Windows PC.

Ken made this transition pretty much fulltime around 8 years ago (he still uses Windows for work, and runs it in a virtual machine on his Mac—a topic for a different day), and found the transition a little slow at the start. He found a series of books by New York Times author David Pogue to be helpful in making the transition, however. His books, “Switching to the Mac: The Missing Manual” (one for each version of Mac OS X) are well written, and make it easy to switch. You can find the most current version on at this link: Ken uses a Mac daily for all his computing needs (except for work, still on Windows) and Doug uses a Mac reluctantly—your move shouldn’t be a crisis, as long as you take the time to take the computer skills you’ve already learned, and apply them to the slightly different Mac OS X operating system. You can do it!,