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Monday, January 16, 2017

1778. Credit Monitoring Services

I see a lot of online ads for credit monitoring services, and I’m tempted to sign up for one. Are they worth the money?

This is a little outside our normal area of expertise, and look we're not tax attorneys we're not legal advisers.

So you need to take everything we say with a grain of salt and that it's from technical advisors not legal ones. But the answer, generally is no if you have to pay for credit monitoring it's probably not worth it.

Now you do need to keep track of your credit score and you should watch your credit reports but you shouldn't have to pay for it. If you go to ,you should sign up to be able to look at each of your three major credit reports once a year. I space mine out looking at each of them, one every four months, so I get a good idea of where my credit is going. In addition you'll find the website that is credit and karma with a K.. useful it lets you to do free credit monitoring. You do need to give them your social security number and that feels a little weird but they're completely on the up and up and they're definitely worth the time.

I've recently become aware of a useful website called and it provides free credit monitoring just like the services you'd have to pay for. Now this is a website provided by one of the credit monitoring services. I'm guessing they found it was more useful to let people monitor their credit than have to fight with them afterwards. It's a free service. It's safe. It's definitely worth checking out So don't pay for credit monitoring, use one of these free sites to help you keep track of your credit score and your credit reports.

1777. Delete Yourself from Twitter

I have used Twitter for several years in order to promote my small business, but to be honest, I’ve had enough of it. I really need to completely kill my Twitter account, as if it never existed. Can you help?

Not being a huge Twitter fan I've often considered just cancelling my account and getting rid of it. And to be honest. There are some other people. I wish would do the same.

But in any case if you want to delete your Twitter account, you have to remember one important fact you can't do it from a Twitter application. On your phone or your computer you have to actually log in to a web browser and once you've done that go to Settings and from there choose deactivate my account.

That doesn't kill it immediately. That gives you a thirty day grace period where you can reactivate it again from a web browser, if you care to do so. If you don't do anything after thirty days your Twitter account will be deleted.

I'm just saying this is something that probably a lot of people could make use of.

1776. Block Robocalls and Telemarketers

On my cell phone, I get far too many junk calls. Robocalls, telemarketers, and random sales calls (I hear from someone selling carpet cleaning a lot. I mean, a lot!) Is there some way I can block these jerks from calling me?

One thing's for sure - Spam callers like this are super irritating and getting yourself on the federal do not call list at can help a little but not really. All that does is block legitimate callers from calling your phone. You can yell at the spammers when they call you. But that really doesn't do any good either.

First of all my policy is if I don't recognize the caller ID I don't answer the call End of Story. You can subscribe to the same thing if you like.

But we actually came across an application that seems to work called Mr Number - I love that name. It's available for both IOS and Android. The IOS version requires at least IOS 10 or the most current version to work. Once you've installed the app. You'll at least be warned before answering a call from a spammer as long as Mr Number has information about the particular spam caller.

What Mr Number does is maintain a database of all of the known spammy phone numbers that people call from -it's not perfect. It doesn't work in every case but I have definitely seen my phone mark incoming call as spam because Mr Number has done his job.

Therefore the short answer is there's nothing you can do that will definitively keep you from getting robo calls and telemarketer calls. On the other hand there are tools you can use - Mr Number the application available in the App Store or the Google Play store can get you a start at least screening calls that you shouldn't be answering.

1775. Deal with Calendar Spam

I don’t even understand how this is possible, but recently, I’ve been getting a bunch of calendar meeting requests that are clearly spam: They’re mostly advertisements for Ray-ban sunglasses or something like that. I use meeting requests often for work, so I don’t want to completely turn them off. What’s up with these irritating, totally unsolicited meeting requests?

Welcome to the world of the public Internet. I've only heard of this happening on the Macs with the standard calendar application but it could happen to anyone. Spammers have found a new vector for bombarding unsuspecting folks with stupid and irritating advertising until Apple fixes the problem.

There's not much you can do. You could of course simply decline the meeting request doing so however alerts the spammers they have reached a live email address and that's never a good thing. Except in your replying maybe has the same effect. So you really don't want to click any of those links in the meeting request.

Apple's aware of the problem and recently they've added an option to the calendar application to at least report the spam but that doesn't really solve the problem until they find a way to block it. You need some way to handle it yourself. There's a couple of alternatives I've read about and if you need some way to handle it.

You can try one of these two things. One of them is to log into iCloud via a web browser access the calendar settings and then select to receive all calendar event invitations via e-mail. It's easy enough to redirect all emails like that to a particular folder or just delete them. That means you won't see event invitations in your calendar however which is really where you want to get them.

Another alternative is to create a new calendar. Maybe you call it spam. Then when spammy event invitations show up, you just move them to that new calendar. Doing that doesn't alert the sender that you receive the invitation. You can hide this calendar so it doesn't show up and occasionally simply delete that calendar and create a new one. That means you never touch the invitations individually except to move them to a new calendar.

Like I said neither of these solutions is perfect and I have thoughts on what I'd like to do to the jerks who spam me this way but until Apple works out a way to just simply block them, these are the best solutions we have to offer.

1774. Close all Tabs in Safari on iOS

I tend to open a lot of tabs when using Safari on my iPhone. I have had occasions when I wanted to close all the tabs, but I couldn't find a way to do it other than manually shutting them down one by one. Is there a trick to this?

This generally isn't a problem on devices with larger screens but on the iPhone it's easy to get into a situation in which you have so many tabs open that you can't find the one you need. If you're working in Safari on IOS you can tap the tabs link at the bottom right of the browser. It looks like two overlapping pages in the current version of IOS to create a new tab page and you can click on the little X in the upper left corner of any page to close that tab.

The problem comes when you want to close them all and start fresh. The solution is simple but not obvious. You would most likely never think of trying the right solution. The answer rather than tapping the tabs a link at the bottom right corner press and hold it. When you do that. IOS presents three options, new tab, close thirteen tabs or however many you have open and cancel.

Selecting the second option close thirteen tabs or however many makes it simple to close all the open tabs. If you already open the tabs link you can get the same effect by pressing and holding on the done link at the lower right. Who thinks of these things.

This presents the same three options allowing you to close all the tabs. Although this isn't a serious problem, knowing how to close all the tabs with one click can certainly save you a lot of time. You would think that you could just shut down the browser and restarted and accomplish the same thing but it doesn't because Safari remembers the set of tabs you had open the last time you were in the app. Take a second and try this press and hold trick and you'll be able to close all the tabs at once.

1773. Change size and Color of Mouse Pointer

I often lose the mouse pointer in Windows 10. It's just too small for me to see. How do I change the size and color of my mouse pointer so I can see it?

It sure can be difficult to see the mouse pointer in Windows sometimes especially when you have a lot of windows open concurrently. The default size for the mouse pointer ought to be OK but you certainly may want to need or change the size or color.

Every version of Windows has had a mechanism for changing the mouse pointer size but it's never been easier than it is in Windows ten. In Windows ten, you can just run the Settings app select Ease of Access and then Mouse. It maybe even easier just to type mouse pointer into the search box in the lower left corner of the screen that should take you right to the correct place.

Once you find the mouse pointer accessibility settings you can change the size to a small medium or large pointer. You can change the color to white black or inverted where the color changes based on the background.

If you want to change the shape of the mouse pointer. You'll have to go to the control panel application find the mouse applet and select the pointers tab. There you can change the mouse pointer to be a number of different shapes. Back in the good old days I remember I could change the mouse pointer to be a galloping horse or tapping fingers. But those kinds of fanciful mouse pointers have gone by the wayside since they were never very helpful. Now most of the time a simple arrow will do but it's simple to change the mouse pointer size and color using the settings application in Windows 10.

1763. Add and Remove Stock Apps in iOS 10

I’ve updated to iOS 10 on my iPhone, and after all these versions of iOS, I still see apps I have never used and am never going to use. In previous versions of iOS, there was no way to remove the Stocks app and the Compass app, among others. Has anything changed that would allow me to unclutter my phone and get rid of these useless apps?

I am sure there are some people that use the Stocks app on there iPhone and look at it every day but I am not one of those people. I have played withe the Compass app once. There is this Watch app that I will never use becasue I don't think I will ever get an Apple watch.

Doug has never looked at the health app and never knew it was there.

So to remove these apps that are built into the phone unlike previous versions of iOS 10, you can simply press and hold the icon and when the little X appears you can simply click on the X and remove it.

If you want to put it back on the phone you can go to the apps store and reload it.

One thing to note if you are trying to remove these apps to gain a little space on the phone it won't help becasue you may think you are removing them you are not. You are just hiding them. With these built in apps there is really no way to really get them off the phone. But at least in iOS 10 you can hide them so they don't clutter up the display.

You should not that this feature works for most of the stock apps but not all of them. We tried removing the Health app but it won't go away and you will not see the little X.

1714. Some Android App Causing Huge Data Consumption

I recently added a few new apps to my Android phone, and all of a sudden, my data usage has skyrocketed. I didn’t expect these applications to consume any data at all, but clearly, one or more of these apps is doing something I’m not aware of. What’s up? How can this happen?
We’re all addicted to our smart phones, apparently, but not all smart phone operating systems work alike. Say what you will about Apple’s curated App Store, but if you download an application from the store (and that’s the only reasonably easy place to download apps for iPhone), you’re pretty well guaranteed that it has been vetted to some level by Apple. That isn’t the case with Android apps, which can come from any source, and can contain any code that the developer cares to insert.
As you might guess, you have downloaded and installed a “rogue” application for your Android phone, and the application has set up a connection to an online location and is sending data. The problem is that you have no control over the data that your application sends, and you need to find out which application you installed that is sending data against your wishes.

The amazing thing is that there are a lot of extremely popular Android apps that exhibit this same sort of rude behavior. Sometimes, an application is safe in its original incarnation, but over time, bad features get added. It really is up to you to guard against applications that break the rules, but it’s difficult to keep track. We suggest starting with this article, which lists 10 popular Android apps that aren’t really what they seem: There are a number of Android apps that advertise that they can track the data each application uses, but we can’t vouch for any of them. You can start with this article:,news-21226.html.

1713. Automatically Route iPhone Calls to the Speaker

I most often use the speaker on my phone during the day, and for every call I make or receive, I have to press the little speaker icon. Is there some way to make my phone automatically route calls to the speaker, so I can bypass fiddling with that button every time?
We can definitely see situations in which this might be helpful: If you’re in the car, for example, or if you’re working at home and need to answer the phone hands free. The solution is simple, if not totally obvious, and you can definitely set up your phone so that calls automatically route to the speaker. In addition, you can automatically route calls to a Bluetooth device, using the same steps.
You might think that you would look in the settings for Audio or Phone or something like that, but that’s not where you’ll find the option to select the default sound source. Instead, select Settings and then General; then select Accessibility. Within the Accessibility settings, choose Call Audio Routing (set to “Automatic” by default). Select from the available options (Automatic, Bluetooth Headset, or Speaker) and calls you both make and receive will use the selected option. A nice side note: Facetime calls use the same routing, so you won’t need to alter your settings for those calls.

If you want to switch back to the default setting, simply repeat the steps and select Automatic. (Note that for Android phones, audio routing is handled by individual applications, which may modify the routing for all applications—things are lot more complicated and less organized in the Android world. Your Android phone may include an option to set a default audio routing, but not all phones do.)

1748. Emails that are the same

I use MS Outlook and send emails often that are basically the same. How can I create a sample so I can use that sample to send?

Ken yes there is. Using an email template.

In Outlook you just create the email template by starting a message. Fill out the Subject, and then the body of the message.

Go to the File Option and do a Save As. Choose the location and remember where that is so you can later retrieve it.

To use it navigate to the location open the template and modify it as needed. Then you can add the receipients.

Then simply send it.

1745. Use for old electronics

What can I do with my old iPhone? (Use for security camera or remote control, or sell on or other sites)

Ken there are lots of things you can do with your old electronic devices. The first thing that comes to mind is a security camera.

You can get a free app with your Android or iPhone and turn it into a motion sensing security camera recording things around the house.

Use the device for a digital picture frame. For the Android grab the Day Frame App. It's free. It not only lets you set up your photo side show from your photos it can pull photos from Facebook, Instagram and other placess as well.

For the iPad Digital Photo Frame (Free), and another is PickMatic.

Another use for your device is a Universal Controller. Yes you can get software for your deice to remote control your TV and other electronic devices.

How about an E-Book reader? You can install the Kindle app for the Android or Apple free.

Another use is an alarm clock.

How about setting it up a dedicated music player in your car. No need to use your current phone.

1784. PC to Mac

How can I move document folder from PC to Mac?

If you have decided you want to drink the cool aid, there is a great utility that you can get at the Apple Support web site that will allow you to transfer data from a PC to a Mac.

There is a Migration Assistant in OSX Lion and above that will easily transafer data from your PC. Apple Retail Stores and Apple Specialists offer serveral levels of data transfer services as well. You will need some sort of device to store the data on to make the transfer.

A portable hard drive, thumb drive and DVD can be used. Of course this is for your data only. Programs are not transfereable. But some licenses allow you to move your programs like Office suite available on Office 365.

So if you must or if you want you can move to the dark side. I am only kidding. I have both a Mac and PC's. I use what is the best for the job. We will do a tip on moving from a MAC to Windows. I promise.

1783. Fix Windows 10 Start Menu

The biggest complaint I hear about Windows 10 is the Start Menu. How can I make it like something I can use?

Don’t forget to make the Start menu your own. If you appreciate the blend of the traditional interface with the Live Tiles, note that you can right-click on any tile and select Resize to alter the tile’s dimensions—just like on the Windows 8 Start screen.

Alternatively, if you hate Live Tiles and the Metro interface you can also right-click on every one of the defaults in the Start menu and select Uninstall to wipe them from your system. Or simply Unpin from Start if you’d rather hide them. Repopulate them with desktop software of your choosing—you can right-click any app or program and select Pin to Start. You can also make some changes —and before you know it, it’ll be like the Windows 7 Start menu all over again.

You can also go to the Settings Personalization, Start section and make adjustments. If you really want to get back to a Windows 7 menu look at the link on our web site to Install and configure the Classic shell.

You can download Classic Shell at the project homepage here. More info:

1782. Turn off Quick Access.

I don't like the Quick Access view when I open File Explorer. Is there a way to turn this off?

Ken you can certainly return to a file list by going to the View menu option and selecting the Navigation pane and unchecking the Navigation Pane option. That will remove that left side column.

But if you would like the Navigation Pane to remain but don't want the Quick Access section to be on top you have another option. I don't like the extra items showing at the top. Some people do.

If you want to hide this section all you need to do is Open File Explorer, then select View > Options from the Ribbon. Select Change Options and Search, A Folder Options window will open. Click the “Open File Explorer” drop-down menu at top, then select the “This PC” option. Click OK and you’re done!

Now when you open File Explorer "This PC" section will appear. If you for some reason still want to look at the other sections simply scroll to them.

1781. Linux in Windows?

I like some Linux applications. Is there a way to run some Linux apps in Windows 10?

Bash. There is a new feature that let's you run some Linux programs in Windows.

The Windows 10 Anniversery update added the full, legendary Bash shell to Windows 10. It is running natively not as a virtual machine. With the right tricks you can even use Bash to run graphic Linux applications and even the Unity desktop right inside Windows.

To enable Bash head to the Settings, Update and Security, For Developers and enable Developer Mode. Then navigate to the Control Panel, Programs, turn Window features On and activate Windows Subsystem for Linux. and click OK. You will need to restart and then search for Bash.

1780. Modify Command Prompt

I still use the command prompt. Back to my IBM days with OS2. Can I modify the command prompt to add features? Like combining the cut and paste? Change font size?

Open command prompt, right button on title, Properties, Look at Options.

The easy to change options include changing the size of the cursor, adding buffer size of the history , and add or remove specific options like the QuickEdit mode, Insert Mode, and enabling Crtl+ key shortcuts like Ctrl+C for cutting and Ctrl+V to paste.

For those that really want to dig into features there is a New Console features link that explains all of the many options available. This is not for the faint hearted but I find that the Command Prompt does offer many functions that I use daily. An example is the IPCONFIG /ALL command that will list the details of your network connections. Give it a try.

1779. Locating Recycle bin.

I can never find my recycle bin. Is there a way to make it easy to always have it available?

One option in Windows 10 is to right button click on the recycle bin and Pin it to the Start Menu.

But if you can't find it, I will explain how to pin it to the taskbar. You might want to do a search for pin recycle shortcut to the taskbar of look for details on our website.

Right button click on the desktop and create a shortcut. In the location field, you have to enter %SystemRoot%\explorer.exe shell:RecycleBinFolder .

Give it a name like "Enter recycle Bin. This will place the shortcut on the desktop. Next you want to change the icon to the recycle icon. Right-click on the shortcut you just created and select Properties. Then click the Change Icon button, select the Recycle Bin icon, and click OK.

Now, you can simply drag the icon onto your taskbar. You can now get to your Recycle Bin easily.