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Sunday, September 29, 2013

1411. Android issues?

You know I have always been an iPhone bigot, at least for the past 4-5 years. And I really enjoy my iPhone. But I am intrigued by the Android mystique and its popularity. Recently you got one but you returned it. What made you do that? 

Size, battery, and security of Android. I liked the idea of the freedom of the Android, so I wanted to give it a chance.  The physical size of the Android just didn't fit my hands. The battery did ot last very long and I didn't use it much. But the main reason was the security. I found that any application can be installed and there is really no good security checking.

I also tried the Windows phone for a couple of weeks. I liked the idea of the changing information in the Window's tiles and how they are working to make the UI of your phone desktop and tablet the same.  

I remember when we first worked together we had Blackberry email devices. Sadly Blackberry seems to be giving up.  

But for now I am getting another iPhone and will give it another try. If only I could utilize all of the apps.

1410. Loose contacts on my phone. Backups?

You know Doug I am totally retentive that my contacts on my phone are in sync with the web. So if I loose my phone I wouldn't loose my contacts. I use Google contacts to make sure that doesn't happen. On the other hand I hear of so many people that loose their phone that they have to re-enter all of their contacts. What are they doing wrong? Why aren't they syncing their contacts with some web based service.

Well I want to blame the carriers for this. Yes I will.  

When you buy your phone they do not point out the options you have. At most they may help you set up email.  
On your iPhone and similar options are on Androids, your contacts get stored in the Default location "On My iPhone", or in some cases if you use iCloud in your iCloud account.  

Even though this is not where you keep all of your email contacts. You want your contact to use the same location for your email and your phone, and keep them in sync on your phone as well as on your email system on your phone and on your computer.  

In most cases you can do this. Google email and Microsoft Office 365 email allow you to do this easily.So if you have a, outlook, msn, live or hotmail email account this will work.  

BTW you can do this for your calendar as well. Other email service may not do this for you. I would consider changing my service if they don't. You still need to set this up correctly and always test things when you are done to make sure it is working. There are places and companies in the area that will help you do this. These devices and computers are supposed to make your life easier, not more complicated.

1409. Twitter emails that look like you sent them.

So call me the grumpy old man but I just don't get twitter. I know the world relies on twitter for news and other information and personally I have managed to avoid it. But last week Doug you got involved and I was testing and suddenly I go an email from you from twitter that looks like you sent it but clearly you didn't. What's going on here? Are you just trying to give me trouble?

Well yes you are the gumpy old man but twitter is not the reason.  

As it turns out both my followers on twitter (what does that say about me) got this "Direct Message" from my account. I had not used my twitter in months.  

I received a message from twitter explaining that their system was hacked by a "website". This site cause direct messages to be sent out to many twitter users . The message was a scam and should not be opened. There are links that take you to bad places.  

Twitter then advised me to change my password and to remove any "extensions" I had set up - Like to Facebook and Microsoft. Since it seemed to be Twitters fault that they were hacked why are they telling us to change things. They didn't indicate that the hackers used my password. In any case it is a good idea to change your passwords often and make them complex.  

If you have heard of a problem go to the site and look for the security section for help to resolve these problems.

1408. Browser add-ins - what are they?

You know we are spending more and more time in web browser now a day than using applications. And I have added a bunch of add-ins to my browser and sometimes one or more of them just doesn't seem to be working. Is there some way to start the browser without the add-ins working so I can find out what is going on?

It is a problem and some security consious web sites will not allow you to access them with add-ins installed. These extensions allow for additional features that the original browser did not support.  

Some of them can cause security issues.  

For Internet Explorer go to start Run and type iexplore -extoff.  

Firefox type firefox -safe -mode.  

Chrome and other browsers have similar commands.  

If this is something you find you need to do often, you can set up a shortcut with these values so you can easily start your favorite browser with the extensions turned off. If you are concerned that you have an extension installed that is a problem, you can go into the browser settings and find the Extensions area. You have the option to turn one or more of them off. This may not only help with security it may speed up your computer.  

If unsure call for technical help.

1407. HTTPS and lockls what do they mean?

I recently signed up for a service and at some point they just asked me for my credit card number on the web page. I went up to the top and noticed the page didn't have a little lock or a HTTPS in its address which I normally look for when supplying my credit card information. Can you explain what the HTTP is and what the lock tells me?

This is an important question, especially in todays world of security. First a quick definition. HTTP is an acronym for HyperText Transport Protocol which is the language foundation for the Internet. HTTPS adds Secure to that protocol.  

Think of HTTP as a loudspeaker and everything you send and receive can be seen and heard by everyone wanting to see or hear. When you add the S think of a tunnel and everything that goes through the tunnel cannot be seen or heard unless you are at the beginning or end of the tunnel.  

It is encrypted and without the key you cannot understand the messages. The little lock you see in your browser window insures that the current message is being encrypted. You can get information from that lock that tells you who you are talking to at the other end of the tunnel and who (SSL Security company that created the tunnel like Geo Trust).  

Bottom line is when you are sending any sensitive information make sure you see the HTTPS at the beginning of the address and the lock is present in the address. I often double check on the lock certificate to make sure it is who I expect it to be. 

Scammers are trying to make you think you are connected to Amazon when you are not. If not I do not use the service. I will at least look into things further. Like in Hill Street Blues let's be careful out there.

1406. Blackberries - what happened?

So Doug you'll recall that 10 years ago we carried around our little Blackberry devices and we were happy to do it.and I remember discussing at the time wouldn't it be cool if there was a phone attached to this thing as well and of course Blackberry took our idea and paid us nothing and then built phones. But it seems like they are in decline at the moment. Can you tell me what's really wrong with Blackberry and where is going to end up?

Ken if I could answer that question I would play the stock market.  

Back then Blackberry took the pager device (you remember them don't you Ken) and made email work with that type of device. For many reasons this was limited to corporate type of email systems.  

And cell phones only made phone calls. I am sure somebody at RIM(Research in Motion) had already been thinking about combining the two devices so I am not holding my breath for those royalty checks.  

When the phones and email started to be available on the same device Blackberry still stuck with the corporate business. They finally saw the light but were too late to be able to compete with Apple and Google's Android in the consumer market.  

They tried as did Microsoft and their Windows phone. Microsoft is increasing more of the market but still only have about 4%. Blackberry is much less and it seems like RIM is going back to the corporate market. Sadly I think they are too late. They had the advantage 15 years ago. They just didn't pursue the right course.

Friday, September 27, 2013

1400. POP vs. IMAP Why?

When I set up a new email account, I see options to use IMAP or POP3. What are these? How do I know which one to use? And where do I find the email settings I need to configure the account?

IMAP versus POP3. It is the age-old question and there are so many acronyms involved in using computers it just seems like these are two more. 

But in choosing what email server to use your always better off if possible using IMAP.  It's a more modern protocol for receiving e-mail. There  is another protocol you might read about "SMTP" which is for sending e-mail. But no matter which you choose IMAP or POP3 you use SMTP to send.

Every e-mail service you might subscribe to needs to give you the names of two servers one for receiving mail and one for sending mail. Luckily most e-mail clients you might want to use can automatically detect the correct settings to use. 

If on the other hand you're setting up your own custom domain you might have to supply the information yourself. A simple solution is to search the Internet for the name of your e-mail client. whether it's Outlook or iPhone or Android,and the e-mail provider like Google, Gmail, Outlook or whatever it happens to be, and word IMAP.  

Whatever it happens to be you're almost guaranteed to quickly find the settings you'll need and it will be in the form of something like or something like that indicating where you would indicate to your e-mail client to go look to receive this e-mail.  

You'll need to the same sort of thing for the outgoing e-mail with the server generally called something like In any case a quick search on the Internet should help you find the settings you need to manually configure your IMAP e-mail. If you don't have the option of using IMAP then POP3 is fine. It is just an older standard that limits how you can interact with your e-mail.

1401. Transfer money over the internet?

I have had a need to transfer money quickly to a friend. Is there a safe, easy way to do this over the internet? I have an intrinsic fear of Western Union.

As well you should after all this online scams asking you to send money via Western Union. I'd stay as faraway from them as possible. But there are a number of different ways to send money over the Internet and these are becoming more and more popular overtime.

PayPal's offered this service for a long time. They charge a little bit of money to send the money but it's not much. 

Another newcomer is Google Wallet.  The big company Google now has an easy way to send money from your phone Providing you have an android or an iPhone you can send money to anyone who has an e-mail account. This is safe but it doesn't cost very much.  

I look into it if you need to send money to a friend and you want to do it over the Internet.

1402.Remotely record DVR?

I was at a party recently, and a friend recommended a TV show I wanted to watch. Is there some way to program my DVR remotely to record the show?

Funny this actually happened the other day when a friend was out of town asked me to go next store to her house and set up for DVR to record a football game for her. Of course that meant I had to get out of my chair and walk 200 yards to her house to go in and program the DVR for her. And she could've done that herself had she had her DVR connected to the Internet.

Both Dish and DirecTV make this possible and I'm sure other providers do as well and once your DVR is connected to the Internet each provider provides an application that you can run on your tablet or phone or in a web browser to remotely set up recordings.

When I hear about a nice TV show that I want to watch and I'm at a party for example, not to go to parties very often, but when it does happen I can take out my iPhone run the DirecTV application and set up a remote recording for that show.

Jjust two things are required,  your DVR has to be connected to the Internet and you need to be able to get to a web browser or have the appropriate app on your tablet or phone to be able to remotely set up a recording.

1403. IOS6 to IOS7 upgrade problems.

A friend recently had trouble updating from IOS 6 to IOS 7 on her iPhone. What did she do wrong?

It's really not very much to go and I've heard very good success stories from many people in the millions of people that have performed this upgrade without failure. On the other hand it's pretty easy to mess this up especially if you don't know your Apple ID or password or you don't follow the directions.

Here are the steps I would follow. It is pretty clearly documented. You plug your phone into your computer, connect up with iTunes,  back it up first, then install IOS 7, then restore from your backup. 

That puts all your data back as well as all your applications. That way you're pretty safe and with that back up before you start the upgrade then you know should something go wrong you could put it back the way was.  

On the other hand be aware that it is difficult if not possible to go from IOS 7 back to IOS 6. It does take some serious effort to make that translation. 

Make sure you back up your phone first and then follow the directions carefully to avoid bricking your phone. That's the term we used affectionately referring to turn your iPhone into a brick it You want to avoid that so follow the instructions.

1404. Should I upgrade to Windows 8.1?

I've been using Windows 8 for a while. Should I update to Windows 8.1 as soon as I can?

Out there on the inter- webs the general consensus is that every other Microsoft Operating System was a good one.

Certainly Windows 8 was fine but I found it kind of frustrating and lots of features. But I have been using Windows 8.1 for a while and I am very happy with it. Certainly solve most of the problems I had with Windows 8. So yes take the earliest opportunity to install windows 8.1.

It will be pushed down to your computer at some point if you don't install it manually, but in any case it should solve a lot of problems you may have been having including the loss of the start menu, and the ability to go directly to the Windows desktop. Both of those issues have been handled in Windows 8.1.

1405. How do I transfer files between iPhones?

I have some data files on my iPhone and I need to get them to a friend's phone. How can I transfer files from one iPhone to another?

The answer my friend is e-mail just kidding that's so 1995.  There are lots of ways to transfer files from one iPhone to another but they all require some third-party software to make it happen.

Starting with IOS 7 and depending on what kind of iPhone you have you may be able to use Airdrop. A new feature built into IOS 7. It allows you to find nearby iPhones and transfer content directly to them. If you're using IOS 7 and have a phone that supports the feature,  check into using Airdrop to easily transfer files from one phone to another without needing to use some third-party external software.