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Posts from the ‘Other’ Category

Happy New Year 2019

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Happy New Year to my ITmail readers,
It’s time again for the year to move.
Let’s look back at your computing year
So I can ask you — Did you improve?

Did you download at least one new app
And try its features and such?
Or does your phone look as it did last year;
Because there’s something you’re afraid to touch?

Did you avoid a known scam this year
Because you’re getting to be more “with it”?
Or did you forget to question unusual requests
And maybe fall for something not legit?

Did you make someone’s day this year
By sending a fun picture you snapped?
Or are you still thinking the pictures you’ve taken
Live in your phone where they’re eternally trapped?

Did you answer any questions this year
By doing online research on your own?
Or did you do what’s always worked in the past:
Call your kids at work from your landline phone?

Have you backed up your data on a regular basis
Or is your stuff still in one place only?
You should have a system and keep it current
So your important data isn’t so lonely.

Do you have a password system that works for you
So having to login doesn’t make you sweat?
Or are your computing days still not complete
Without strong coffee and a “password reset”?

I hope that you’ve had an “improving” year —
And now your machines aren’t so foreign and scary.
And I hope that 2019 is full of good health and good times,
And each computer issue is not such an adversary!

Carolyn Zalesne
The IT Girl

Holiday Travel Tip

It’s holiday travel time to visit with family and friends. Visiting is fun; packing and unpacking … not so much.

Thank goodness for binder clips. They can make traveling with electronic devices — and their must-have charging cables — so much neater.

Go from this:

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To this:

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Safe travels

Georgia’s New “Hands Free” Law

On July 1, 2018, a “hands-free” law goes in to effect in the state of Georgia.

What will this mean for you as a Georgia driver?

It will mean that you can still useyour phone in the car, you just can’t hold your phone while driving.*

If you need to use your phone while driving, consider these options:

  • Turn on the phone’s speaker feature. The sound might not be as clear, and others in the car will hear both sides of the conversation, but you can talk while keeping both hands on the wheel.
  • Wear wired — or wireless — earbuds: talk without holding the phone and without sharing the conversation with others around you.
  • Pair the phone with your car. If your car has the technology, talk and hear through your car’s sound system. This includes initiating and answering a call without taking your hands off the wheel.
  • Ask Siri (or Google Assist, or Bixby, or Genie) to help do what you need to do: make a call, send a text, schedule a meeting, create a reminder, etc. all without your holding the phone.
  • Set your GPS destination before you leave and start the route before you start the car.

*The new law treats stopping at a red light or stop sign as driving. Drivers must be “lawfully parked” to legally hold a phone.

If you are interested in reading more about what will be legal and what will not, click the link below to read an article from the Atlanta Journal Constitution:

https://www.myajc.com/news/state–regional-govt–politics/georgia-just-passed-distracted-driving-bill-what-legal-what-not/PZXchE0AqAi1H8r7X8XrZN/

Receipt Management

If you shop online, you know that soon after you click “Place Order,” you receive an electronic receipt by email.

What do you do with these receipts?

My suggestion: create an email folder called “Receipts,” and drag your electronic receipts from your “Inbox” to your “Receipts” folder.

By storing receipts in their own folder, you can find them easily. When you leave them in your “Inbox,” they get buried under new email and you may have trouble finding them even a few days later.

  • When your package arrives, check your electronic receipt to be sure you got what you ordered.
  • If the order does not arrive as anticipated, call the store, and refer to the order number on the receipt.
  • Even after the package arrives and the order is complete, compare your receipt to your credit card bill.
  • Once the bill is paid, delete the email receipt or, perhaps, move it into a different folder labeled “Paid Receipts.”

Happy shopping!

iPad’s New “Flick” Keyboard

If you upgraded your iPad to the latest operating system (iOS11), you might have noticed a change to the visual keyboard: numbers and symbols are now displayed above the letters on the main keyboard page.

These characters are still accessible when you tap the “.?123” button but now you don’t even have to do that. Just touch the letter key that displays the character you want and swipe downward. Apple is calling this a “flick” motion on the new “flick” keyboard.

Try it!

Note: If you don’t see these new characters on your iPad’s keyboard, then you either haven’t upgraded to iOS11 (Settings > General > Software Update) or your iPad is too old to upgrade to this newest system.

Apple Standard Time

If you have an Apple device, you get an email from Apple every time you — or someone — signs into or makes a change to your AppleID account. Apple just wants to be sure it was you. If you are the one who accessed the account, delete the email.

What if you are not sure it was you? You did use your account recently, but not at the time the Apple email indicates. At that hour you were getting your haircut, sleeping, playing golf, at the movies, etc.; it definitely could not have been you.

Or was it? Look more closely at the email. Apple has an inconsistent way of noting the time. Sometimes they use the time zone you are in (Eastern Standard or Daylight Time for most of us), sometimes they use the time zone they are in (Pacific Standard or Daylight Time for Cupertino, California), and sometimes they use GMT, Greenwich Mean Time. I have received all three.

If you are concerned, check the time zone of the reported hour and do the math — on the east coast, add 3 to PDT or subtract 4 from GMT — to determine if it was really you. Probably was. Phew!

Call Back Survey

After working my way through a company’s tedious phone tree system, the last thing I want to do is agree to their call-back survey offer. Yet, I say “Yes” every time.

Here’s why:

I have no idea whether the person who eventually helps me knows if I have agreed to the follow-up survey, but on the chance that he/she does know, and might step up the level of service in return for my positive feedback, I agree to the survey.

Then, once the survey call comes in, I can choose to ignore it, or, depending on my experience, participate. Seems like a no-lose option.

Press #1 if you agree.

Apple Storage Explained

iPhone (and iPad) users: do you know the difference between your iPhone Storage and your iCloud Storage? You should, especially if you get an “almost out of storage” notice.

iPhone Storage
This is the storage capacity of your phone’s physical hard drive. When you purchased your phone, you chose 16, 32, or 64 gigabytes of storage. The more gigs, the more room to store pictures, music, apps, messages, etc. This storage capacity is not expandable in Apple devices; to increase physical storage, you need to purchase a new phone.

iCloud Storage
When you bought your first Apple device, you created an Apple ID: your unique identity in the Apple world. With that, came 5 free gigabytes of storage in the iCloud. This is the space reserved for backing up all of your apple devices into, well, space. Any device registered to your Apple ID — iPhone, iPad, iPod, etc. — shares your Cloud storage space. Fortunately, this capacity is expandable without buying new devices; currently $.99/month will expand your 5gb to 50gb.

So, which storage is your error message warning you about? Here’s how to tell:

  • Home Button
  • Settings
  • General
  • Storage and iCloud Usage (older phones might just say “Storage”)

The phone’s physical storage is listed first and the iCloud storage second. “Used” and “Available” show for each. You can see which storage is almost full.

Tap the “Manage Storage” option in each section to reveal a list — in descending order — of how that space is used. If you need to make choices about what, if anything, to delete, these lists might help.

 

Back to 100%

I often receive “panic calls” from clients with a computer screen full of characters and images so magnified (or so minimized) that reading and navigating are virtually impossible.

What did I do? How do I get it back?

To get the text size back to 100%, hold down the Control key (ctrl) on a Windows computer (or the “Command” key on a Mac) while pressing the “0” (Zero) key. Phew. Immediate relief!

So, what happened?

You may have changed your screen’s magnification in one of these ways:

  • You held down the Control/Command key and repeatedly hit the “Plus” sign (enlarge) or the “Minus” sign (reduce) and the text size changed.
  • You clicked on the “View” or “Settings” or “Zoom” menu options and changed the magnification percentage.
  • You moved the magnification slider (available in some programs but not in others) to the right or left changing the screen view.
  • You slid your fingers across the touchpad (laptop) or across the mouse, triggering the screen magnification tools.

Undoing what you did by any of these methods will get your screen back to 100%, but the simplest way is the “Control(Command) Zero” option.

Of course if your touch screen is magnified or minimized, “pinch” the screen to minimize your screen view, or “spread” your fingers to maximize your screen view.

Support Scam

We’ve talked about support technicians who call you claiming to be from Microsoft (they are not; hang up). But what about tech companies you call for support? Sadly, another possible scam.

For example, you search for “HP support” or “Google help” and find a support phone number. You call, explain your issue, and the person on the other end offers to help by accessing your computer remotely and then charging your credit card for the help.

Did you really call HP or Google? Maybe not. Did you call a reputable third-party support company? Hard to know. Did they fix the problem? I hope so.

But, in the meantime, you have let a stranger into your computer (what did they take out? what did they put in?) and you have relinquished your credit card number. Are you better or worse off than before you called?

Here are some tips for getting help but not getting scammed:

  • Rather than use a search engine to find support, use your search engine to find the company’s official website. (Don’t include the word “support” or “help” in your search). Once at the official website, click your way to the support options. Be patient.
  • If someone offers to access your computer remotely, politely decline. Instead, tell them that you are pretty savvy with the computer (whether you feel that way or not!) and ask them to talk you through the steps. You can always hang up — and be completely detached — if you are not getting the help you need.
  • You might not have to give your credit card because you might not (should not?) have to pay for help from the company that created the product or service.
  • If there is a charge, ask the cost up front. You might even keep an extra low-limit credit card on hand for these instances. If you feel you need to cancel the card, you will not be canceling the card you use every day.
  • If phone support doesn’t work, try taking your machine to a store you trust or hiring someone to help you on-site.

Please don’t get scammed!