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Group Texts

If texting to one person is good, texting to a group is better. Right? Maybe.   

A group text is a typed conversation among more than two people. You can get your message out to a group of your contacts at once and they can respond … to everybody.

Group texts are great if, for example, you text with select friends about the big game you are all watching from different places. Or if a few friends need to agree on a restaurant.

But, because every response to a group text goes to everyone in the group — that is, it’s an automatic “Reply All” — sometimes it’s just not the appropriate medium. Does everyone in the group need to know which entree everyone else prefers, or who can’t come to your event … and why?

Before you send a group text, consider the response factor; would you want to read all the responses if you received the text rather than sent it? Does everyone in your group even know everyone else? Trust me, your friends don’t want to read texts from your other friends they don’t know.

On some phones, and in some group texts, there is a way to “leave this group” so you are not bombarded by the responses of others. But, more often than not, you are stuck receiving the texts. So, if you don’t want random group texts, pass this message on to your friends … one at a time …. by email.

Saving Emailed Pictures

This week, one of my clients experienced something we all fear: she lost some pictures she thought were saved in her computer.

Other than the loss of the pictures themselves, the saddest part is that this was easily avoidable.

Her method of storing these particular pictures — which were sent to her by email — was just not to delete the emails. As long as she could access her email account, she could find the pictures in her inbox. That is, until something unexpected happened to her email account (probably at the email company, not specifically on her computer) and all but her most recent emails disappeared. Sigh.

The lesson: save emailed pictures to your computer’s hard drive; don’t rely on saved emails.

How you save pictures to your hard drive depends on the kind of computer and software you have, but in many cases, you can drag and drop the picture from your email to your desktop or into a photo program. Another option is to click “download” and choose where you wish to save it. On mobile devices, you can usually tap and hold the image until the “save image” option appears.

Then be sure to back up your computer files!

Site Specific

Searching for a product or information on your computer, tablet, or smartphone has never been easier: just type what you are looking for in a search engine and scroll through the results.24a90df4-b14d-4325-b64e-489281cc9e69

Here’s one cool way to narrow your search results: specify the exact site you want your search results to come from.

  • You once saw a great brownie recipe on a cooking show called “Barefoot Contessa” and now you’d like to have it. Type “site:barefootcontessa.com brownies” (no quotation marks necessary) in your search engine; the results will be only from that site.
  • You were in Home Depot and saw a great combo tool chest and work table on wheels. A few days later, you think maybe you’d like to look at it again. Type “site:homedepot.com tool chests” (no quotes necessary).
  • You started a New Yorker magazine article in a waiting room and wish to finish reading it on your home computer. Type “site:newyorker.com article title or subject” (no quotes necessary) in your search engine.

Of course you will get results if you don’t type the “site:” part (“barefoot contessa brownies” or “home depot tool chests”), but mixed in the results will be similar items on competitor sites, blogs about the item, mention of the item on social media, or reviews of the item from third party sites.

If you want these other mentions, don’t specify the site. But if you want to go right to the site, let your computer know. Try it!

Yet Another Scam

Last week a friend received an email that appeared to come from Amazon. It was an order confirmation, complete with item description, price, recipient name, and address. The email said that if any information in the order was incorrect, my friend should sign in and correct it, using the link provided.

Of course it was incorrect. “Amazon” was baiting my friend to disclose his password by trying to get him to sign in. My astute friend did not respond. Instead, he forwarded the email to the real Amazon security department. He also signed in to his real Amazon account and confirmed that no such order existed.

Fraud opportunity is rampant in the computing/internet world.

To help yourself:

  • Don’t click on links in suspicious-looking emails.
  • If you suspect fraud in any account, sign in at the legitimate site and change your password and your security question answers.
  • Major computer companies do not call/email you because your computer is infected, your email account is full, you need to change your password, or a package is undeliverable, etc.
  • If you seek help by phone or computer, be sure that you are contracting with the actual company, not an unauthorized third party supplier (search engines can be tricky and re-direct you away from the real company).

To help others:

  • Forward the suspicious email to the real company. I am sure they’d want to know who is out there cashing in on their name. And perhaps they can shut them down.

My friend did this, and Amazon’s Security Department responded:

… In the future, if you are ever uncertain of the validity of an e-mail, even from us, don’t click on any supplied links — instead, type our web site address “www.amazon.com” directly into your browser and follow the regular links to Your Account. Many unscrupulous spoofers mislead consumers by displaying one URL while taking the visitor to another …

… Also, please be assured that Amazon.com is not in the business of selling customer information. Many spammers and spoofers use programs that randomly generate e-mail addresses, in the hope that some percentage of these randomly-generated addresses will actually exist …

Be vigilant with suspicious emails!

Special Characters

Someday you will need to include a “special character” in a document. The Registered symbol (®), the Trademark symbol (™), the degree symbol (º), the checkmark symbol (✓), and math symbols are a few of the hundreds of characters available.

Do you know how to find them?3809fffd-5dad-4f55-a94b-82307e17fcfa

On a Mac
Click “Edit” on the Menu bar at the top of the screen and click “Emoji and Symbols” (or “Special Characters” on older Macs). Once you locate the symbol you want, double click on it to insert it into your text.

On Windows 7, 8, or 10
Type “character map” into the control panel’s search box and click “character map” from the search results. Click on the desired character, click “select,” and then click “copy.” Go to your document, place the cursor where you want the character, right-click, and then click “paste.”

On an iPad
Some special characters are “under” keys on your regular keyboard; just tap and hold down a key to find them. A full set of special characters is located on the “Emoji” keyboard, which you need to add to your keypad. Go to Settings > General > Keyboard > Add Keyboard > Emoji. Once it’s added, you will find it under the “globe” symbol on your keypad (to the left of the space bar).

Note: when working in Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, Powerpoint), you can insert special characters from within the program itself: Insert > Symbols.

If you want to learn more about Special Characters — including the keyboard shortcuts for the more popular ones — type “special characters” and your operating system or device into your favorite search engine. You’ll learn all you need to know … and more!