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Sunday, June 18, 2017

1825. Message app

Richard asks: On my iPhone, I recently got a text message from my wife with a photo of our dog, but the notification disappeared before I could see the image. A friend told me to open the Messages app to view the message, but I can't find it. How can I see this photo?

I wonder what percentage of the world's texts contain photos of family pets. In any case if you can't see the notification one option of course is to pull down from the top edge of your phone and that should show you all the recent notifications.

If it's no longer there you need to open the messages app and look there. Now the messages app should be easy to find on your phone, but if it's buried somewhere it may have gone to a different screen than the first home screen. So you can swipe to the right or to the left to look at other screens until you find the messages app.

If you still can't find it you should be able to use Spotlight search to locate the app. To do that swipe down on your home screen not from the top edge, but sort of from the middle. That brings up Spotlight search type messages or just the first few letters of messages and it should locate the app for you.

You might make note if it's inside a folder because you can put apps inside folders and the name of the folder will appear in the spotlight search results. Then you'll know for next time where the app is. In the case using Spotlight search you can tap on the icon and open the messages app to look at the lovely photo of your family dog.

1824. Beeping Dishwasher

Last week, I decided that I needed to figure out how to turn off the incredibly irritating beep that my dishwasher plays when it's done with its wash cycle. I have always hated this feature, but it finally just made me crazy. The problem is that I can't find my user manual. I'm guessing you don't know how to turn off my dishwasher's beep, but do you know how I can get a replacement manual on the internet?

Sometimes we get questions from readers and listeners sometimes the questions come from our own lives and this time this is something that made me absolutely crazy. My dishwasher plays an irritating beep every few minutes once it finishes its cycle like the dishes are going to explode if you don't take them out of the washing machine.

In any case I couldn't find my manual and I needed to find one online. OK that's not really the truth I save every manual, scan it, put in than ever know but that's another story.

If you can't find your manual there are websites online that make it easy to find such things the best one I found was a website called Safe manuals. There's a hyphen in there so it's

The reason it's called Safe is there's a lot of websites that say they will give you manuals but what they give you is malware. It's a really bad deal so look at and you might be able to find the manual you need.

Another one I found without a hyphen. Both of those are available. They provide free manuals and you should be able to find what you need by searching on their site.;,

1826. Photos with ID

I understand that if a friend takes a photo that includes me in it, and then she posts that photo on Facebook, she can tag me in the photo. I get the concept, but I don’t always like being tagged in other peoples’ photos. Is there some way to untag myself once I’ve been tagged in a photo?

We often feel like telling the world that once you have a Facebook account (and even if you don’t), all real privacy has been lost to social media. (The sky is falling! The sky is falling!) Maybe it’s not that bad, but certainly, once you’re on Facebook and you’ve made posts, commented on others’ posts, have posted photos, and have been tagged in others’ photos, you’re an easy target for anyone wishing to find out more about you than you perhaps wanted known to strangers.

Admit it—you’ve done a little Facebook stalking, haven’t you? That is, searched to find information on an acquaintance, or someone you’ve heard something about? Wait, what? It’s only us? We don’t think so. For the uninitiated, once you post a photo on Facebook, you can “tag” individuals in the photo by hovering over the person’s face with your mouse, and filling in the name in the box that appears underneath the face. If the person is a Facebook member, typing the name converts to a link to the person’s profile, so viewers can click the link to be taken to the profile associated with the photo.

Once you’ve opened the Pandora’s Box that is online social media, there’s no easy way to completely close it, but do have some control over how your name is used in photos. If you find that you’ve been tagged in a photo you’d rather not have your boss, your mother, or anyone else see, you can untag yourself. First, find the photo on Facebook. Then, hover your mouse over the link that identifies you in the photo. A little box pops up, with information about you and a link to your wall/profile.

At the top, next to the information about the person that tagged you, you’ll find a link with the text “Remove tag.” Click this link, and Facebook will remove the link to you in the photo. Fixing up all the photos showing you in various states of embarrassment could take a while, but at least you have that option. (Or you could just be in compromising situations to begin with!) Of course, we’re guessing that if you were truly concerned about your privacy, you wouldn’t be active on Facebook to begin with! (Of course, removing your tag from the photo doesn’t remove your image from the photo: If you really want the image to disappear, you’ll need to ask your friend to remove it. Good luck!)

1823. MacBook Pro serial number

I recently needed support for my 2012 MacBook Pro, and in order to set up an appointment with Apple’s support engineers at the Apple Store, I needed to supply my Mac’s serial number. I had no clue where to find it. Can you help?

Whenever you need to communicate with Apple’s support technicians, they’re going to need to know your serial number, so they can confirm your support availability, and so they can find out more about your computer. (Given a Mac’s serial number, Apple can determine the original configuration of the computer, and can better provide support for you.) Without that serial number, you’re not going to get far.

If you can boot your Mac, you can easily grab the serial number: Select the Apple menu in the upper left corner of your screen, and then select About This Mac. This action displays a dialog box with information about your computer, including its serial number. You can select the serial number, and then copy/paste it wherever you need it. If you can’t boot the Mac, things are a bit more difficult. You should be able to find the serial number printed on the body of the Mac, somewhere.

For most laptops, you’ll find it with the copyright information on the back of the computer. Get out your magnifying glass—the text is very small—but it’s there. If the type has worn off, or if you simply can’t read it, you’ll have to dig deeper. If you have the original box your machine came in (you kept that box, didn’t you?) it’s printed on the box itself. If you don’t physically have the Mac, you may still be able to find the serial number. If you signed into your computer with your Apple ID, you tied your computer’s serial number to your Apple ID account, and you should be able to find information about it by logging into the Apple ID account web site ([]). If you enabled the Find My Mac feature on the Mac, you should be able to log into your iCloud account ( and find the serial number there. Hopefully, one of these options will help you get the information you need.

1822. Twitter regret - options?

I use Twitter to help promote my business, and I have, on occasion posted tweets that I later regretted. Are tweets permanent, or can I delete them?

Although neither of us uses Twitter for much, and we’re not big fans of the 140-character messaging format, we can see how Twitter can be a useful marketing tool for some people. We won’t even start to discuss it as a political platform. As you, and our Twitterer-in-chief, have found, sometimes you just say things in public you wish you hadn’t.

Luckily, Twitter makes it possible to “take back” your tweets. To undo an error, you start by logging into your Twitter account in a Web browser. Find the tweet you want to delete, and click the downward-facing arrow on the right side of the tweet. From the drop-down menu that appears, select the Delete Tweet option. That’s it! It’s gone. Well, maybe it’s gone. If anyone has captured your tweet using a screen capture tool (one keystroke away in both Windows and Mac), it’s permanent—they can easily post the image of your tweet wherever they like. Check any news Web site, and you’ll see this happens often.

In other words: If you don’t want your tweets to appear in your mother’s news feed, don’t tweet them. Nothing on the public Web can be irreversibly deleted, at least, not in the world of social media.

1821. TV Streaming

Friends keep telling me about great TV shows that I MUST watch, and that the show is available online. The problem is, I don’t know where to find these shows. I do have accounts at Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime, but don’t know where to start. I guess I could search each one, but that seems silly. Isn’t there an equivalent of TV Guide for online streaming resources?

We have to agree: There has never been, in our lifetimes, more insanely great content available for our viewing. Sometimes, it seems that there’s too much. One of us watches far too much online content from each of these services (“The Handmaid’s Tale”, “Fargo”, “The Leftovers”, “Better Call Saul”, “Veep”, “Last Week Tonight”, and many more, each week. Too much TV!) And it can be difficult figuring out where to find any given show, and whether a particular movie is available online, as well.

If you own either a Roku or Apple TV set-top box, things are getting better. You can use the Search function in either to search for any particular content. (Yes, we know—other set-top boxes provide the same, or similar functionality.) If you want to do your searching before you head for the TV, however, or if you watch online content from your phone, tablet, or computer, that doesn’t help much. We’ve recently run across a truly useful streaming content indexing service, at

This free service allows you to search across all major content services for any movie or TV show in which you’re interested. You’ll find out if it’s available for free on any service, and if not, how much it will cost to rent or buy the content. If you’re interested in watching content online, check out—it succeeds handily at its goal. On the other hand, perhaps we all watch too much content, and a little fresh air would be good. Take a walk. Just don’t watch an episode of “Game of Thrones” while you’re walking!

1832. Third party software keyboards

I am a terrible typist on my iPhone. I know there is a built in keyboard. I know there are other options. I don't know how to do it.What are my options?are keyboard options.

There are many software keyboard options that you can get for your iPhone. If you go to the Apple store search for keyboards. The built in keyboard does many special things like allowing you to slide to other characters so you don't have to switch between Caps and numbers each time.

But other keyboards allow you to do many special things like sliding across letter to spell a word without lifting your finger. It really works. I installed the Google keyboard. It was free as many other are. Besides the actual tricks on the keyboard, the Google keyboard has voice translation. It is very accurate. I can speak fast and freely and it produces almost error free translation

Saves me typing and trying to spell.I am a worse speller than a typist. Installing the keyboard can be tricky so follow the instructions. Give a couple keyboards a try to see which best suits your needs.

1831. Don't just pull the plug

My friend has his computer plugged into a switched power outlet. At the end of the day he simply turns the switch off. Thi seems wrong. Is he harming his computer by doing this?

DO NOT just pull the plug. Computers should not have the power just turned off. It may not have saved information. Many programs do extra things when they are shut down.

You should always do a software shutdown of your computer. This applies to your Mac or PC. I even shutdown my programs first although most programs will be shutdown properly by the operating system.

On the Mac click the Apple icon and select Shutdown. On the PC click the Windows icon, and select shutdown. Wait until it complete the shutdown and then you can turn the power off.

If you have a battery UPS and it has a cable connected to the computer, the UPS will notify the computer to do a nice shutdown before the battery power runs out. Do a controlled shutdown and buy a UPS for your computer.

1830. Not Secure Web site message

Why does my Google Chrome browser showing me a "not secure" message when I connect to a web site. Places that I have been visiting before are now insecure?

In January an update to Google Chrome started to display NOT Secure in front of a URL address. This was not that way before the update. Nothing has changed on the site it is just a way to warn you that the site is not protecting any content.

You should never enter passwords if the site is not secure or pass any private information. Before this change and on other browsers the way you can tell if the site is secure you would see the HTTP or HTTPS in front of the actual domain address. This is identifying that it is a HTTP site not HTTPS. Hyper Text Transfer Protocol and the ending S stands for Secure.

No matter which browser you use remember to check this information be fore entering private or sensitive information. NO S don't enter the data. The S indicates the data will be encrypted on your computer sent over the internet then un-encrypted at the other end.

1829. Backup options

We always talk about malware and how backups are the only real way to protect yourself. Can you take some time to clarify.

Well as you know there are thousands of bad people trying to destroy your computer with malware. I frankly don't fully understand the motive. Ransomware makes sense, at least they can get money.

In any case there are only a handful of companies trying to provide software to protect against the many bad people. So no matter what antivirus software you will get attacked and the backup is your only real protection. This will also protect you in case of disk failure. You want to have an image backup. This is a complete copy of your computer disk. Not just your documents and pictures.

Windows 10 has builtin software and for about $50 you can purchase image backup software called Reflect or Acronis for PC's and Carbon Copy Cloner for a Mac. And yes bad things can happen to your Mac.

All you need besides the software is a USB hard drive for about $50. TimeMachine for the Mac and basic backup of files on the PC is not enough.

Also make sure you have your documents and pictures backup to the cloud. There are many free services OneDrive, Dropbox, iCloud and more. Use the Image backup and offsite cloud backup to insure you can recover your computer from bad people and hardware/software failure. Backup, backup, and backup again.

And don't forget to test your backups to make sure they are working and you know what you have to do to recover your system. You will thank us later.

1828. More Scams

The amount of scams are increasing. What can you do to protect yourself? I recently got a call from someone saying they were Microsoft support saying something was wrong with my computer and they wanted to connect to my computer to fix the problem. I started to get out my CC and then I realized something was wrong. Should I let someone connect to my computer.
Bells should go off immediately. First Microsoft would never call you out of the blue. No legitimate support group would. When this happens just hang up. If you ever get a pop up on your computer saying you have a virus, NEVER call the number on the screen. These are scams. Don't call them, hang up if they call you. DO NOT give them CC information. And never ever let a stranger connect to your computer. Unless you know where this person lives you will regret it. If they connect they can leave bad things on your computer. In my support business I have a need to help people by connecting remotely. But my clients know where I eat. Please do not let this happen to you. Never ever let someone you don't know or can't confirm they are legitimate connect to your computer. PERIOD!!!!!!

1827. Link to bad URL

How can I protect myself from going to a bad link? I got an email from Fedex saying my package was being delivered. There was a link. Then I realized I had no package coming from Fedex. Is there a way of telling where I will go if I click on a link?

Hover your mouse over every link you are going to click. Yes it is a pain. But if you are going to click on a link in an email or on the web, hover your mouse over the link before you click on it. You will see the actual URL that you will link to. The link or underlined link may be hiding the real link. By hovering over it you can see the real URL. If it is different or hinky don't click the link. Be very careful, it is scary out there.'