Facebook, Zelle, Snapchat

Anyone with a Facebook account who has downloaded other apps, like photo editors, VPNs, flashlight apps, 3D games, fitness trackers, horoscopes, and business or ad management apps should change their password for Facebook. Many of those apps, more than 400 according to Meta (the parent company of Facebook), have sucked up Facebook credentials. Look through the list that Meta published online (see the direct link at fairviewtowncrier. com/links). And, if any app asks you to authenticate using your Facebook credentials, run away from that app.

If you use Zelle to pay friends, be careful of scams that have you “Zelle” them money. Some Zelle users have been reporting that their banks are not refunding such frauds. Zelle, designed by seven major banks in 2017 to simplify sending money from your bank account to that of a friend (sort of like Venmo), has been facing a large increase in fraud. If money is illegally taken from your account without your authorization, the banks have to put it back. But if you are talked into sending money to a fraudster via Zelle, banks are using a loophole—you “authorized” that transaction because you started that transaction—to get out of refunding the charge. Consider contacting your federal representative or senator to ask them to clarify the federal rules on this so that this is truly handled as fraud.

Scratching your head when looking in your fridge, trying to figure out what to make from the oddball assortment of ingredients? My Fridge Food (myfridge- food.com) may be able to help. If you need it on your tablet or smartphone, there are installers for Android or iOS.

The IRS will never text you, so don’t ever respond to such a text. They also won’t call or email you, so no need to reply to those either. When they want your attention, they will contact you by postal mail only.

If you have security cameras around, test them in bad lighting (at night or with bright lights around) to see if you can still make out important identifying marks or license plate numbers. You might find that you need to reposition or add cameras to better cover your property.

Snapchat, which was only a mobile app, has finally come to desktop computers—if you use Chrome or Edge. Go to web.snapchat.com to log in. As this is just a website, there are limitations. For instance, you can’t open snaps on your desktop, only your phone.

Craigslist (craigslist.org) is a reminder that an old design can still be a good design. It has nearly the same look as when it first started out decades ago, proving that a functional site that gets the job done does not have to change just for change’s sake.

Safer Login Options

Logins without passwords are increasingly common, and something Microsoft has been pushing hard lately. Going “passwordless” does not mean you no longer need authentication; you just use something other than a traditional password. Think of those codes you sometimes get when logging into a website, often financial sites. Passwords suffer as an authentication method for many reasons—easy to guess, poorly stored on the server, rarely or never changed—so the use of what are basically one-time codes or some kind of biometric login (say, a fingerprint) is seen as a safer method. Microsoft Authenticator is the software you could use on your phone to provide that one-time code, untethering you from having to remember your passwords. Just don’t lose your phone.

Untangling everything USB-C can do means learning a bit more about what USB-C really is. It is a type of plug that has different capabilities, depending on what the manufacturer wants to include. USB-C cables can use USB 2.0 or 3.2 speeds; they can handle different charging wattages; and they might have Thunderbolt support (if so, Thunderbolt cables can be either “active” or “passive”). The connector is the same for all but the capabilities aren’t, so you must carefully read the packaging to avoid buying an adapter that may not deliver what you think it should just because the cable fits.

Spotify seems to be draining iPhone batteries. Until Spotify figures out a fix, you can turn off Background App Refresh for Spotify. This is in Settings, General, Background App Refresh and then slide off Spotify. You might want to turn off Background App Refresh for other apps as well, such as Facebook. One other purported fix for Spotify’s battery drain is to uninstall and reinstall it.

Paywalls are here to stay. But there are ways around them. The one that I find works best involves getting comfortable with your browser’s settings for erasing cookies and site data, most specifically for the site whose paywall is blocking you. Opening that site in Incognito mode can often accomplish this same thing. Other methods include pasting the headline into Google or doing a Facebook redirect—which means pasting “https://facebook.com/l.php?u=” (without the quotes) before the actual URL. These two methods work if the blocking site has made some arrangement (financial, most likely) with Google or Facebook.

OCR, SPAM increases, Enhance Old Photos

Being able to copy text embedded in an image will soon be easy in Windows 10 and 11 as part of Microsoft PowerToys. In the next few months, with PowerOCR, you will be able to select part of an image with recognizable text to be converted and put in the Windows clipboard as text for you to paste.

Microsoft makes rather decent hardware— ergonomic keyboards and mice and a lineup of tablets and laptops under their Surface moniker. Their tablets offer a Windows alternative to Chrome and Apple tablets.

Windows 11 users: Microsoft recently rolled out its big update, version 22H2, offering all sorts of new learning opportunities and ways to keep your mind supple.

If you have a Gmail address and have noticed an increase in political campaign emails in your inbox, it is due to the Federal Election Commission approving a Google plan to let campaign emails bypass Gmail’s spam filters.

If you write email like spam, it will go to a spam folder. Avoid poor grammar and spelling; all caps and heavy punctuation, especially exclamation marks; too many links or attachments; inconsistent fonts, colors and formatting: image-only emails or a high image-to-text ratio; and promotional language like “click here,” “no cost,” “make money now” or “a great deal.”

End-to-end encryption in Facebook Messenger is not yet the default, you can turn it on. Its called Secret Conversations, which you can enable each time you start a one-on-one chat. Find it by tapping the person’s name at the top of Messenger; scroll to find the lock icon for “Go to secret conversation,” and then tap. If you already have an unencrypted conversation going, pay attention to which thread you are using.

When making or updating a will, remember to include a digital executor with access to your digital estate, which can include logins/passwords for all devices and online services; purchased assets like music and apps; and all stored data, local and cloud. That person will notify your online community of your death and ensure any accounts, subscrip- tions or other services are canceled or transferred to your next of kin.

A new service can digitally enhance old photos, which might help you finally identify that one face that had faded too much to see. Go to tinyurl.com/4c54c65h.

DuckDuckGo lets you create an email address that strips out trackers and forwards them to your inbox. Use for those “subscribe to our newsletter” requests.

Extend Power During Outages

When the power goes out and you don’t have your phone and/or battery packs charged, there are a few things you can do to extend your phone’s battery. Turn on low power mode, turn down the screen brightness, turn off location services and Hey Siri or Hey Google, and close all apps you don’t need. And just do less on the phone.


You may want to limit what it tracks about you and your listening habits and shares with third parties. Most of those changes have to be made via Spotify’s web- site. Log in and go to Account, Edit profile to turn off “Share my registration data with Spotify’s content providers for marketing purposes.” Save changes and go to Account, Privacy settings to turn off “Process my personal data for tailored ads” and “Process my Facebook data.” You’ll still get ads, just not personalized ones. You may also want to hide your playlists; they are public by default. Also, there is a private listening mode, but you’ll have to turn it on each time.


App Volume Annoyingly, you can’t adjust the volume on Macs for individ- ual apps to avoid loud alerts while blasting music. A free third party app, Background- Music (github.com/kyleneideck/Back- groundMusic), lets you set volume levels for each app running on macOS. The app puts an icon in the menu bar that, when clicked, displays the volume levels for various apps, which can be easily adjusted.

Better Searching

Google can search so many things that you have to use modifiers to improve results. You may know that quote marks around words will return exactly that phrase. If you find your term results include word(s) you don’t want, put a minus sign in front of that word(s) in the search box. You can include synonyms for terms by putting
a tilde (~) in front of that term. I often use site:xyz.com (for example, “site:fairview- towncrier.com”) at the start of my search terms to search a site whose own search option may not work as well. And remember that the Google search site has tabs for refining your search to images, maps and books; and under the tools tab you can refine your results to recently published pages.


On October 5, Windows 11 rolls out, and nobody seems to care. At least not those I’ve talked to. Don’t worry about upgrading next year; you have until October 2025, with continued security updates from Microsoft. And I will stop thinking I have to answer questions about Windows 11.

iPhone Tips, Wi-Fi Help, and Security Updates

iPhone and iPad performance on the web can be improved by clearing your device’s web browser cache. The only
warning is that clearing the cache will log you out of sites and clear website per- sonalizations. Each browser has its own technique but you can Google something like “iOS chrome clear cache” to get the procedure. This is also worth doing on Android devices.

iPhone Screenshot Help

iPhone screenshots can be challenging when you want to get more than what is on the screen. You may have learned to save webpages as a PDF, but if you want
to capture a long message thread you will have to either use an app, such as Tailor, to stitch together screenshots or add Screen Recording to your Control Center, which can be found in Settings. Screen Recording can also be useful for creating a show- and-tell to teach a new feature to someone who needs a little help; it will be saved as a video in Photos.

While you are in the Control Center, consider adding other functions, such as Apple TV remote, Code Scanner, Music Recognition, Notes, Voice Memos or the Magnifier.


QR Wi-Fi Password

Print out a QR code containing your Wi-Fi network name and password to make it easier for people with smartphones to easily join your home network. Visit wificard.io and enter the relevant information to get a printable QR code for others to use.

So you or your guests don’t have to remember long or complicated Wi-Fi network names and passwords, print out a page with a QR code, as shown above, for easy scanning.

Pegasus Update

If you are worried about whether the Pegasus spyware might be on your iPhone, iMazing now includes a free spyware detection utility in its flagship application (imazing.com). The latest iOS update, 14.7.1, likely includes a fix for Pegasus, but Apple has not officially confirmed this.

Complex Passwords

The National Cyber Security Centre in Great Britain advocates using three ran- dom, unrelated words to make passwords harder to guess. The “complexity” of brute force guessing three random words, especially if using long words, is likely to be more than settling for eight random characters. And it is far easier to type in words instead of random letters and numbers. Just don’t use the same words again on different sites. You still need to use different passwords. Finally, there’s another use for the dictionary.

Screen protectors, Amazon Drive, ChromeOS on old laptops, text-to-speech

As AI (artificial intelligence) is used more and more on the internet, here is an interesting use: translating jargon into more understandable English. There is an extension Chrome titled Jargon. It appears to have a “limited free trial offer” —no indication if or when that will change. Visit explainjargon.com.

If you like to choose a book by reading the first page, try recommendmeabook.com. It gives you a random first page, and if you like it, you can click to reveal the title and author.

Screen protectors and MacBooks don’t really play well together. The screens have an invisible anti-glare coating that will likely be damaged if you try to peel off the protector. Also, many of the glass screen protectors are too thick, preventing you from fully closing the lid. And depending on the thickness of a keyboard cover or protector, you might be leaving marks on your screen.

It seems like Microsoft is tired of their Windows 10 forever, already broken with Windows 11. They have strongly hinted that they will be returning to releasing a major new version every three years or so. So, Windows 12 in the fall of 2024?

I hope that anyone using Amazon Drive has learned that the service is closing by the end of 2023. You do have alternatives—for example, Amazon Photos. Prime members get free photo storage, and non-Prime members can store up to 5 GB of photos.

Find webcams, some with music, others with live ambient sound at montereybayaquarium.org/animals/live-cams.

Find the most notable person at a specific place on the globe at tjukanovt.github.io/notable-people, with data pulled from Wikipedia and Wikidata.

Old laptops and over 400 different systems are now officially supported to run ChromeOS Flex, converting old hardware into, essentially, Chromebooks. This might be the best way to “make” a cheap travel laptop out of an older laptop. You can even run ChromeOS Flex from a USB installer stick to see if you like it before you install it. You can get more info at chromeenterprise.google/os/chromeosflex.

If you haven’t tried text-to-speech on your smartphone, you may be surprised to learn that you can have many things read to you out loud. I wish both iOS and Android didn’t bury that accessibility feature so well, as it is a wonderful way to have articles and books read to you when the audio version isn’t there. It will sound mechanical, but you may find it useful. The iOS and Android have different instructions, so Google to find out how to get to it on your phone.