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Sunday, February 25, 2018

1904. Spoofing caller-id?

I got a call from a friend saying they got a call from me trying to sell them something.  I didn't call them.  How was my telephone number used by them in caller-id?


Unfortunately there is not much that can be done. Usually these callers are spoofing legitimate telephone numbers, so tracing the call is difficult.

Spoofing a telephone number is illegal. So you can contact authorities and they are supposed to deal with the problem. But it is difficult.

Your telephone company must provide you with the ability to block the number. But often the people will just start using another number. Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) technology allows the caller to do spoofing easily.

Here is a link that will help you follow up on the problem. https://www.fcc.gov/consumers/guides/spoofing-and-caller-id

1903. I Bar and more about Mouse cotrol

Control shape and size of mouse cursor.

I work on many different computers. Some screen are bigger and better than others. But the one thing that is hard to work with is the mouse.

However it's shape, size and color can be controlled. In Windows 10 go to Settings, Devices, Mouse, advanced Mouse options.

In other versions of Winows and your Mac you can do the same types of changes.

Once in the mouse settings, you can specify the button configuration, speed settings, change the pointer shape from arrow to a hand finger pointing. Lot's of options. You can change what the mouse looks like when the system is busy and when you hover over text you want to change

What helps me the most is the color of the mouse when it is over a white background vs. a black background. It makes it so much easier to see the mouse.

Also related to the mouse is computers with a trackpad. When you also plug in a mouse you can make the trackpad disabled. I use my trackpad when traveling. But when at the office I use a mouse and it is so irritating to have a mouse and you accidentally touch the trackpad and move the mouse. You can turn the trackpad off.

Give the mouse setting a review and make you computer work better and easier.



1902. WTurn off Windows update

Windows updates suck. How to turn them off

OK. First it is easy to turn Windows updates off. Go to Admin Tools, Services, Windows Update, Disable. Then OK.

A Windows service is a program that runs in the background to do things. if you disable the service for the Windows update it will no longer update Windows. Short term this is OK. But you want the updates to fix things.

You might want to just delay updates for a month or so. You can do this by: Go to settings, Update and security, advanced options, Pause updates, turn ON.

But you really want to consider why you are stopping Windows updates. If it is interrupting your work in the same Settings area you can control the time that updates will run.

If you had an update cause a problem, you can use our image backup solutions to make an image of your system before allowing the update. You can then recover easily.

We recommend keeping up with your system updates but you can control when and how often they run.



1901. Translate Voice to text

I need to translate some voice (MP3) files into text. Know of a good service or application?

I hope everyone knows that we also publish a blog. You can review all of our techtips at blog.techtipguys.com.

Ken is a great ad-libber. He never writes out the answers to our tips. So I have to take those recorded tips and publish them.

I use a get service called VoiceBase. You can sign up and receive a great free trial.

You can upload the voice recordings and within minutes they provide you with a very accurate text of your recordings. I would say they are well above 95% accurate.

Usually only some punctuation is required.

They also provide human translation in the service.

So go to http://voicebase.com Great service good prices, free trial. And for special translation you can have them do it using a live person. Highly recommend!

1900. Mac Hotspot - How?

Your Mac can be a Hotspot? Why would you do this?

Kken you have the right idea. If you have a smartphone, making this a hotspot makes sense because you can then use the cell connection to allow your Mac or PC access to the internet.

But why make your Mac a hotspot? It probably doesn't have a cell internet connection. Well many offices like you mentioned do not have WiFi but do have a wired Ethernet connection. Now you can connect to that and create your own WiFi hotsopot.

The Wi-Fi hotspot option is part of the “Internet Sharing” feature in Mac OS X. You'll find it in the System Preferences window. Click the Apple menu, select System Preferences, and click the Sharing icon. Select the “Internet Sharing” option in the list. You’ll now need to select the Internet connection you want to share with the devices.

The one big limitation is that you can’t both be connected to a Wi-Fi network and host a Wi-Fi network at the same time. In the “To computers using” box, enable the Wi-Fi option. This will create a Wi-Fi hotspot, and the Internet connection you selected at the top of the window will be shared with devices that connect to the Wi-Fi network.

Click the “Wi-Fi Options” button at the bottom of the window to configure your Wi-Fi hotspot. Select your preferred network name and the best Wi-Fi channel.

Be sure to click the “Security” box and select “WPA2-Personal” and provide a password. By default, the hotspot will be configured without a password and anyone will be able to connect.

1899. Image backup - Carbonite?

Why do you guys recommend Image Backups? Doesn't Carbonite work just as well?

Carbonite was originally designed to backup data files and folders. As internet speeds improved they are backing up more and more data. They even offer for an extra charge image backup. You do need faster internet speeds to even use this effectively.

Our full Image backup is intended to give you the protection against full disk failure, a Virus, or ransomware, and software failure that could destroy a disk.

Let's say you have this type of failure. It will take someone at least 3-4 hours recover. To install the operating system, install all the applications and enhancements since you originally got the computer then restore your data.

With an image copy it will take about 1 hour and you don't miss things. Like I said Carbonite offers this now if you have fast internet, but you will still probably need to have them send you a copy of the image on disk because it is so large. That costs money and time.

Spend $50 and buy a backup drive. Use image backup software like Macrium Reflect for Windows 10 Image Backup, or Carbon Copy Cloner for your Mac. Save hours of time to rebuild your disk, OS, Apps, data.
Carbonite, Google Drive, One Drive, and IDrive are great for files, multiple versions etc. NOT good for disk restore.

Use a combination of local Image backups and the other file backups for the best of both worlds.


1898. Google Calendar Dumped its best feature

I’ve been using Google Calendar forever to keep my life organized. Recently, they updated the design so it’s all pretty, but I can’t make it allow me to enter events like I used to. Previously, I could enter an event like “Lunch with Rhoda tomorrow at noon” and the calendar would create the event with the correct name and time for me. Now it just creates a full-day event with the title “Lunch with Rhoda tomorrow at noon.” That’s not very helpful! Is there some way to enter events like I used to?


And here in lies the problem with using an online service for an important part of your life. There's no guarantee that the provider won't change that service over time and in this case Google made the feature pretty but they removed functionality.

The name of the feature is natural language. The ability to enter a new event with the title "lunch with Rhoda tomorrow at noon" requires Google to parse that text out and figure out what part of it is the title. What part of it is the date, and if you enter a location they should be able to parse that out as well. But they remove that from the web app and it's unclear whether they're going to be bringing it back. So the answer is no you can't enter events like you used to using the Google web app.

They did add back in the ability to set the title and the time so if you type in lunch with Rhoda at noon, they will at least on the given date put it at the right time. But it doesn't allow you to set a date.

Outlook supports this in a very limited way. You can say on the event to set the date to be next Wednesday and they'll figure out what date that is but it's not nearly as nice as what Google used to do if you're using a Mac.

The MAC calendar and the app Fantastic Hour which is my favorite calendar app support this fully. Fantastic Hour lets me enter things like Meet Rhoda for lunch every Tuesday until May fifth at one pm and they'll get that right. That's pretty complex stuff now if you still want to use Google Calendar and enter dates in that same old way you can use the Chrome extension. There is an extension for Chrome for Google calendar that makes this happen or you can use your phone app. The Google calendar app on your phone or tablet still handles this correctly.

So in summary the web app is broken and it's unclear whether they're going to fix it or not but you have other options to replace that functionality.




1893. Add Wireless Charging to Android

I have an older Android phone, and would love to be able to use wireless charging--I love the idea of just dropping my phone into a wireless charger without dealing with cables. Is there some way to make my phone support wireless charging?

As with all things it depends. Lots of Android phones support wireless charging natively. So all you have to do is find a compatible charger drop it on that charger and it will charge. On the other hand some phones don't.

A friend gave me an Android Galaxy S5 to work with and it doesn't support wireless charging natively. But I looked online and it can support wireless charging with a little insert you put behind the back cover right on top of the battery. This adds wireless charging capability without much effort. Your phone may also support that sort of add on hardware to make wireless charging possible.

If your phone doesn't support that there are lots of cases out there that wrap around the phone that provide wireless charging.They plug into your phone's charging port and then provide their own charging port for charging themselves. If you can get that sort of case great. It'll cost you a little extra to get that functionality.


  1. So look to see if your phone supports wireless charging natively.
  2. If it doesn't look to see if there's some add on piece of hardware you can add to the phone to add wireless charging.
  3. if not then look for a case that wraps around your phone and provides wireless charging. 
  4. If none of those are available and you really want wireless charging it may be time to update your phone.

1894. Wipe an Old IPhone

I recently purchased a new phone, and I’d like to sell my existing iPhone. I certainly don’t want the new buyer to see all my data, however. How can I reset my phone so all my data is gone?

You really don't want to give away your phone with your data on it that's for sure. You need to completely reset your phone to its factory settings before you do that.

However you probably want to back up your data or at least ensure that it's all stored in the cloud somewhere. Next you want to disable the "Find My iPhone" option in settings you. Yon't be able to reset your phone with that feature turned on.

If you have an Apple Watch paired to your phone this is the time to unpaired it as well. You do that in the watch app. Next you want to remove your phone from your iCloud account. In settings tap your username then scroll to the bottom and sign out. Finally go to settings general, reset and choose erase all content in settings. You'll have to confirm a couple times. Finally your phone will be reset to its default settings.

Now if you want to sell it we've had good luck on "Selling phones". It's a very honest service. They do a good job. They pay you on time and they pay you a reasonable amount. So if you want to sell your phone and don't want to deal with e-bay or Craigslist check out Gazelle.com.

1895. Mute Email Threads on Gmail

I’m a Gmail user, and recently, I got involved in a family discussion via email that simply wouldn’t stop. I kept deleting emails, and more kept showing up from distant family members hitting “reply all.” Is there some way to get myself out of email discussions like these, when I don’t care about any further email messages on the topic?


First of all don't reply all unless that's absolutely required. We hate people that reply all when it has no business going to everyone. If you're sending out an email if you want to avoid reply all the answer is simple just put the recipients in the B.C.C. line instead of the C.C. line and the blind carbon copy won't allow them to reply all.

End of story.

But if this nightmare has already started and you're using GMail it's easy to get yourself out of the conversation. You can mute a conversation. In that case you simply won't see any more responses. If you're using the GMail web app and you'll have to be using the web app to make this happen. You first select the message, look for the more dropdown at the top of the list of messages and click it in that list. You'll see the mute option. Once you select mute you won't get any more messages from your Uncle Harold about what he's bringing for dinner at Thanksgiving. It'll save you from the nightmare of endless discussions you don't want to be involved in. If you're using a different email client or email server check to see if it supports the mute option like GMail.

It's really helpful. BTW Outlook does.


1896. Fix Scroll Direction on Mac OS

I’ve never used a trackpad before, but my latest computer is a Mac. I now find myself trying to use the trackpad, and it seems that scrolling goes in the wrong direction. On my phone, when I swipe up, the content on the screen goes up. That’s how I’d like it to work, but on my Mac, things go the opposite direction! Can I make the trackpad on the Mac work like swiping on the phone?

The question of which way to scroll when you move your finger on the trackpad is very similar to the question about which direction should you place toilet paper on the paper holder. There is no right answer it's different for every person. Normally on a Mac when you scroll with the mouse wheel or move your finger on the trackpad the screen moves in the opposite direction.
The phone however works that when you move your finger up. The data on the screen moves up as well and if you want them to work the same and I'll confess that I do on the Mac.

Find trackpad settings and the easiest way to do that is press all space bar to get spotlight and then just type trackpad and hit enter. Find scroll and zoom options then select the scroll direction and set it to natural. That's a check mark you check. You'll probably want to make the same change for the mouse settings and once you do that the screen will move in the same direction you move your finger or scroll

The mouse wheel on the other hand once you do that other, people trying to use your computer will hate you and they'll hate your computer and once you get used to it you will find using anyone else's computer frustrating and incorrect. You will be the loner using your computer the way it was intended to be used everybody else does it wrong. On the other hand that's the way it comes to you'll have to make this change to make it happen. Go to settings find the trackpad settings and change it to natural scrolling. It's called natural for a reason.

1897. Does Uploading Count Towards my Data Cap?

My Internet Service Provider suddenly started applying a data cap to our Internet usage. Because we live in a rural area, we don’t have any options for our ISP, so we just have to live with it. Everything we see about the data cap deals with downloads. What about uploads? Are those counted against our data cap?

It's interesting although mobile ISP's like phone providers are moving back to unlimited data, Well it's really limited, and limited because they they sort of throttle you if you use too much. Home ISP's are starting to cap data.

Comcast does it, ATT does it and our local providers do as well. If you're streaming video you're probably OK. They factor in you're going to watch an hour or two of Netflix a day and that shouldn't hurt your data cap, but you aren't able to watch high definition 4K video for hours on end with almost any data service out there. If you send emails and there's photos or music attached that's not going to hurt you either, but sending lots of video or downloading lots of video could be a problem.

What's really going to hurt you is online backup because the question you asked is upload included in your data cap in the answer is absolutely. It's just data that moves between you and the server and online backup can be quite large if you're using Back Blaster or Carbonite two of the best online backup providers. It's a nice idea but it's bad for data caps.

You need to make sure you know what you're backing up and when you're doing it. Some ISP's like Usenet and I wouldn't recommend Usenet for much of anything, but if you're stuck with it they provide free times where you aren't counting against your data cap. Middle of the night for example.

So if you can do your backup then with Usenet you probably won't worry about your data cap. Other providers like Comcast don't have these time controls so you need to worry about it all the time.

Another big problem is an online security camera like a Nest Cam. We have one at my office and it's always sending video up to the cloud. If you're doing that from your home and you have a data cap you could have a problem.

So in answer to your question yes uploads counts and yes they could cause you to hit your data cap long before you think you should.


*Although mobile ISPs moving back to limited unlimited data, home ISP capping data
* Streaming video probably OK, but not 4K for hours on end
* Normal emails even with photos or msuci won't kill your cap, video more of a problem
* Online backup will kill you. Backblaze or Carbonite, nice ideas, bad for data caps
* Make sure you know what you're backing up, and when
* Some ISPs provide free data late at night (Hughes Net) and back up then
* Online security camera, like Nest Cam, a big problem; constrantly uploading video