It’s the Little Things That Count

Do you try to quiet your children by handing them your iPhone? There’s stuff on there you don’t want messed up by curious little fingers. There is a way to lock the iPhone, by using Guided Access, that will still let your little one use one app.

Go to Settings, General, Accessibility, Guided Access. Then turn on “Guided Access” and “Accessibility Shortcut.” Now open your kid’s app and press the home button three times in a row (for iPhone X, triple-click the side button instead.) The first time you do this, it will prompt you to enter a passcode (you create one at this point) to start the access. When you need to exit guided access, hit the home button three times again and enter your passcode. (Don’t forget your code.)

Do a Little More

You can optimize your ever-growing and changing list of tasks by assigning blocks of time to each task in your computer’s calendar. This is called “timeboxing.” You create an estimate of how long a task might take and put that block of time on your calendar. Seeing those blocks of tasks with their time estimates can make them easier to reprioritize and move around.

Learn a Little More

The Goodwill Community Foundation offers a variety of online learning tutorials at edu.gcfglobal.org/en. The site helps anyone who wants to use it learn the essential skills they need to live and work in the 21st century. From Microsoft Office and email to reading, math, and more, the site offers more than 180 topics, including more than 2,000 lessons, more than 800 videos, and more than 55 interactives and games, completely free. These go beyond technical computer skills training to include work and life skills. And it’s put together in Raleigh.

Correct a Little Error

If you use Facebook Messenger, you can now unsend messages. You have 10 minutes after sending your message to retrieve it.

Do you try to quiet your children by handing them your iPhone? There’s stuff on there you don’t want messed up by curious little fingers. There is a way to lock the iPhone, by using Guided Access, that will still let your little one use one app.

Go to Settings, General, Accessibility, Guided Access. Then turn on “Guided Access” and “Accessibility Shortcut.” Now open your kid’s app and press the home button three times in a row (for iPhone X, triple-click the side button instead.) The first time you do this, it will prompt you to enter a passcode (you create one at this point) to start the access. When you need to exit guided access, hit the home button three times again and enter your passcode. (Don’t forget your code.)

Do a Little More

You can optimize your ever-growing and changing list of tasks by assigning blocks of time to each task in your computer’s calendar. This is called “timeboxing.” You create an estimate of how long a task might take and put that block of time on your calendar. Seeing those blocks of tasks with their time estimates can make them easier to reprioritize and move around.

Learn a Little More

The Goodwill Community Foundation offers a variety of online learning tutorials at edu.gcfglobal.org/en. The site helps anyone who wants to use it learn the essential skills they need to live and work in the 21st century. From Microsoft Office and email to reading, math, and more, the site offers more than 180 topics, including more than 2,000 lessons, more than 800 videos, and more than 55 interactives and games, completely free. These go beyond technical computer skills training to include work and life skills. And it’s put together in Raleigh.

Correct a Little Error

If you use Facebook Messenger, you can now unsend messages. You have 10 minutes after sending your message to retrieve it.

Use the three horizontal dots (on a computer) or press and hold on the message (on a touch device) to find the Remove option. If you don’t see it, you may not have the latest version of Messenger (update to get this feature) or you may have gone over the 10-minute mark. If you delete something, there will be a gray placeholder left in the message thread that indicates something was there.

Changes Coming to Flickr & Google+

Are you using Google+? If you have a personal account, you should have received a notice from Google about that service going away on April 2 and the steps you should take to download your content. If you are not sure and are worried that you might lose something, go to plus.google.com and sign in to see if you did anything in Google+. Google+ was an attempt to make an online community system of Google users, sort of like Facebook. It looks like Google thinks it failed.

If you’re a Mac user and have been waiting to purchase Office 365 through the App Store and not straight from Microsoft, you can now download it to your iOS and MacOS devices the Apple way. After installing the app, you can then purchase the software from inside the app. If your iOS screen size is less than 10.1 inches, you can use the core basic editing functions for free.

There is an app to help you figure out which cell provider has better coverage. Crowdsourced data gathered by OpenSignal (opensignal.com) is used in their app, available for iPhone or Android. Search for OpenSignal and read more about their worldwide coverage maps at opensignal.com/networks.

Learn how to spot phishing email attempts to gather your login credentials and passwords by taking Google’s phishing quiz at phishingquiz.withgoogle.com.

Live Transcribe from Google, currently for Android phones only, uses Google’s speech recognition to translate between over 70 languages on the fly, and provides live captioning of what you are trying to hear or understand. Learn more at android.com/accessibility/live-transcribe.

Are you a Flickr user from way back? Don’t forget that March 12 is the deadline to download your photos if you have more than 1,000 on the service—unless you have already sprung for one of their Pro accounts. Grab your old images first or get them all by logging into your Flickr account, going through User Account, then Settings, to the bottom where you will find a “Request my Flickr data” button. Click that and wait for an email confirming they are ready to download.

Are you using Google+? If you have a personal account, you should have received a notice from Google about that service going away on April 2 and the steps you should take to download your content. If you are not sure and are worried that you might lose something, go to plus.google.com and sign in to see if you did anything in Google+. Google+ was an attempt to make an online community system of Google users, sort of like Facebook. It looks like Google thinks it failed.

If you’re a Mac user and have been waiting to purchase Office 365 through the App Store and not straight from Microsoft, you can now download it to your iOS and MacOS devices the Apple way. After installing the app, you can then purchase the software from inside the app. If your iOS screen size is less than 10.1 inches, you can use the core basic editing functions for free.

There is an app to help you figure out which cell provider has better coverage. Crowdsourced data gathered by OpenSignal (opensignal.com) is used in their app, available for iPhone or Android. Search for OpenSignal and read more about their worldwide coverage maps at opensignal.com/networks.

Learn how to spot phishing email attempts to gather your login credentials and passwords by taking Google’s phishing quiz at phishingquiz.withgoogle.com.

Live Transcribe from Google, currently for Android phones only, uses Google’s speech recognition to translate between over 70 languages on the fly, and provides live captioning of what you are trying to hear or understand. Learn more at android.com/accessibility/live-transcribe.

Are you a Flickr user from way back? Don’t forget that March 12 is the deadline to download your photos if you have more than 1,000 on the service—unless you have already sprung for one of their Pro accounts. Grab your old images first or get them all by logging into your Flickr account, going through User Account, then Settings, to the bottom where you will find a “Request my Flickr data” button. Click that and wait for an email confirming they are ready to download.

Brush up on your Pirate or learn one of 70+ languages available via Mango Languages (mangolanguages.com/available-languages). It’s all free with a library card. And check out many other online resources and databases via NC Live and the Buncombe County Public Library at buncombecounty.org/governing/depts/Library.

iPhone Hacks and Online Photo Fun

The iPhone/iPad Lightning charging port is great at collecting lint that ends up making it hard to tightly plug in the charging cable. You might even think the port is broken. But save your money, because it is easy to clean out with a tweezer.

Do you sometimes have trouble on your iPhone with moving the cursor to where you want it? To make it easy, press and hold down the space bar button and then move around the screen (while still holding down the button). When you release the space bar, your cursor will move to where you indicated.

Save Your Battery

Smartphone battery life can be extended by using Airplane mode, even when you’re not on a plane. Turn it on for charging, when you need to focus on just one task, in the car, in any building where cell signal is weak, or when traveling on mountain roads where cell towers are not nearby.

Skype Upgrade

Microsoft added a potentially useful feature to Skype, their video call program. Real-time captioning in audio and video calls, along with coming real-time translations for over 20 languages, could make Skype easier for users who are deaf or hard of hearing. Like most new features in free software, Microsoft is rolling it out in waves. On a call-by-call basis, you can turn it on with the blue plus (+) symbol in the lower-right corner of the Skype screen. Or go into Settings, under your profile picture icon, and then Calling to toggle on those features.

Online Photo Manipulation

AI (artificial intelligence) on the web can help you edit your photos or at least have fun with effects. Making a child-drawn cartoon can be done at Cartoonify (kapwing.com/cartoonify) or turn your photo into a “famous artist” style painting at GoArt (goart.fotor.com). And with DeepDreamGenerator (deepdreamgenerator.com), you start with a normal photo and then change it into something almost from a dream.

Look Beyond the Lock

The iPhone/iPad Lightning charging port is great at collecting lint that ends up making it hard to tightly plug in the charging cable. You might even think the port is broken. But save your money, because it is easy to clean out with a tweezer.

Do you sometimes have trouble on your iPhone with moving the cursor to where you want it? To make it easy, press and hold down the space bar button and then move around the screen (while still holding down the button). When you release the space bar, your cursor will move to where you indicated.

Save Your Battery

Smartphone battery life can be extended by using Airplane mode, even when you’re not on a plane. Turn it on for charging, when you need to focus on just one task, in the car, in any building where cell signal is weak, or when traveling on mountain roads where cell towers are not nearby.

Skype Upgrade

Microsoft added a potentially useful feature to Skype, their video call program. Real-time captioning in audio and video calls, along with coming real-time translations for over 20 languages, could make Skype easier for users who are deaf or hard of hearing. Like most new features in free software, Microsoft is rolling it out in waves. On a call-by-call basis, you can turn it on with the blue plus (+) symbol in the lower-right corner of the Skype screen. Or go into Settings, under your profile picture icon, and then Calling to toggle on those features.

Online Photo Manipulation

AI (artificial intelligence) on the web can help you edit your photos or at least have fun with effects. Making a child-drawn cartoon can be done at Cartoonify (kapwing.com/cartoonify) or turn your photo into a “famous artist” style painting at GoArt (goart.fotor.com). And with DeepDreamGenerator (deepdreamgenerator.com), you start with a normal photo and then change it into something almost from a dream.

Look Beyond the Lock

Just because a site has a padlock does not mean that it is still not phishing for your information. You know to look for that padlock before entering credit card info and passwords, but that padlock just means that your typed information is encrypted as it travels to the website, not that the site is legitimately the site you think it is. Always look at the URL or web address displayed in that top one-line address box to make sure you are where you think you should be.

Privacy and Cleaning Up

Apple is letting users download a copy of all the data they have on you. Log into privacy.apple.com with your Apple ID and password to get to where you can select which bits of all the data Apple has on you. This is also a way to download documents, photos, and videos in their original format, and contacts, calendars, and bookmarks in VCF, ICS, and HTML format.

If you want to poke around and find out which Facebook advertisers have targeted you, Facebook makes it possible but a little hard to get to. This won’t tell you why particular advertisers are targeting you, just that they have some bit(s) of information about you from some other source and they are matching things like your phone number, email address, street address, etc. Log into Facebook and go to your Settings; close to the bottom of that dropdown menu (on the left side if you are using a desktop web browser) there should be a link to “Ad Preferences.” Click or tap into there and select “Advertisers you’ve interacted with” and then “Who use a contact list added to Facebook” (slightly different wording on the Facebook app). Here you will see all the advertisers that might be reaching out to you.

Windows updates, especially the semi-annual major upgrades they are delivering in Windows 10, can leave around many temporary files. If Windows fails to clean up after itself, then you can by opening up Windows’ 10 Settings app, then the system section, and then the storage section. Scroll down to where you see an option that says “Free Up Space Now” and click. Here you can clear out many things. But read carefully and proceed slowly. The “Previous Windows installations” choice is what will help with reclaiming major amounts of space. Check that box and click the “Remove Files” button. Wait and probably reboot the computer.

Time to remind you about how to see and adjust the information that Google keeps about your searches. Log into your Google account at myaccount.google.com. Look for and click into “Manage your Google activity” and click through “Go To Activity Control” and also check the “Go To My Activity” sections to adjust and/or erase search histories kept by Google. If you sign out of your Google account on the web, then your Google-based searches aren’t tracked by Google.

What Facebook targets, clean up Windows upgrades

Wading through the smartphone choices every few years while not wanting to fall to the latest hype or teaser pricing from your carrier might be easier if you compare specs at https://GSMArena.com. You will find their comparison “Phone Finder” in the upper left of their website with many more choices than I usually think of.

Apple is another company that is letting users download a copy of all the data they have on you. Log into https://privacy.apple.com/ with your Apple ID and password to get to where you can select which bits of all the data Apple has on you. This is also a way to download documents, photos and videos in their original format, and contacts, calendars, and bookmarks in VCF, ICS, and HTML format.

If you want to poke around more in what Facebook advertisers have targeted you, Facebook makes it possible but a little hidden. This won’t tell you why particular advertisers are targeting you, just that they have some bit(s) of information about you from some other source and they are matching things like your phone number, email address, street address, etc. Log into Facebook and go to your Settings within Facebook, close to the bottom of that drop-down (on the left side if you are using a desktop web browser) there should be Ad Preferences. Click or tap into there and select “Advertisers you’ve interacted with” and then “Who use a contact list added to Facebook” (slightly different wording on the Facebook app) but here you will see all the advertisers that might be reaching out to you.

Windows updates, especially the semi-annual major upgrades they are delivering in Windows 10, can leave around many temporary files. If Windows fails to clean up after itself, then you can by opening up Windows 10’s Settings app, then the system section, and then the storage section. Scroll down to where you see an option that says “Free Up Space Now” and click. Here you can clear out many things, read carefully and proceed slowly. The “Previous Windows installations” choice is what will help with reclaiming major amounts of space. Check that box and click the “Remove Files” button. Wait and probably reboot the computer.

Time to remind you about how to see and adjust the information that Google keeps about your searches. Log into your Google account at https://myaccount.google.com/. Look for and click into “Manage your Google activity” and click through “Go To Activity Control” and also check the “Go To My Activity” sections to adjust and/or erase search histories kept by Google. If you sign out of your Google account on the web, then your Google-based searches aren’t tracked by Google.

To convert eBooks between the top common formats, you should look at the free program Calibre. Available for Mac, and PC you can get the installer at https://calibre-ebook.com/. It is also a rather good eBook library manager.

Wading through the smartphone choices every few years while not wanting to fall to the latest hype or teaser pricing from your carrier might be easier if you compare specs at https://GSMArena.com. You will find their comparison “Phone Finder” in the upper left of their website with many more choices than I usually think of.

Apple is another company that is letting users download a copy of all the data they have on you. Log into https://privacy.apple.com/ with your Apple ID and password to get to where you can select which bits of all the data Apple has on you. This is also a way to download documents, photos and videos in their original format, and contacts, calendars, and bookmarks in VCF, ICS, and HTML format.

If you want to poke around more in what Facebook advertisers have targeted you, Facebook makes it possible but a little hidden. This won’t tell you why particular advertisers are targeting you, just that they have some bit(s) of information about you from some other source and they are matching things like your phone number, email address, street address, etc. Log into Facebook and go to your Settings within Facebook, close to the bottom of that drop-down (on the left side if you are using a desktop web browser) there should be Ad Preferences. Click or tap into there and select “Advertisers you’ve interacted with” and then “Who use a contact list added to Facebook” (slightly different wording on the Facebook app) but here you will see all the advertisers that might be reaching out to you.

Windows updates, especially the semi-annual major upgrades they are delivering in Windows 10, can leave around many temporary files. If Windows fails to clean up after itself, then you can by opening up Windows 10’s Settings app, then the system section, and then the storage section. Scroll down to where you see an option that says “Free Up Space Now” and click. Here you can clear out many things, read carefully and proceed slowly. The “Previous Windows installations” choice is what will help with reclaiming major amounts of space. Check that box and click the “Remove Files” button. Wait and probably reboot the computer.

Time to remind you about how to see and adjust the information that Google keeps about your searches. Log into your Google account at https://myaccount.google.com/. Look for and click into “Manage your Google activity” and click through “Go To Activity Control” and also check the “Go To My Activity” sections to adjust and/or erase search histories kept by Google. If you sign out of your Google account on the web, then your Google-based searches aren’t tracked by Google.

To convert eBooks between the top common formats, you should look at the free program Calibre. Available for Mac, and PC you can get the installer at https://calibre-ebook.com/. It is also a rather good eBook library manager.

Check if your ISP is throttling Netflix by using Netflix’s FAST website (https://fast.com/) to test your internet speed specific to Netflix movie content.

Headphones, Updates, and Recycling

Apple wants you to think plug-in headphones are passé, as they no longer will include that headphone dongle with new iPhones. You will need to own or buy Bluetooth headphones or a Lightning-to-headphone-jack converter.

Microsoft Updates

You may have heard that Microsoft will extend support for Windows 7 beyond January 2020, but that is only for business clients with Professional and Enterprise customers with Volume Licensing. It will extend security updates for another three years. Of course, it won’t be free and the cost will go up each year.

In the (delayed) October 2018 update for Windows 10, you will find that the Disk Cleanup tool will now purge files in your Downloads folder. So be careful and immediately move needed files, photos, documents, and installer files to another location. You should back up your documents and such before updating any software.

The October 2018 update was deleting some upgraders’ profiles, thus deleting their data. When the update is re-released, this should be fixed. When installing the update, you may start seeing an alert when installing Firefox, Chrome, or other web browsers, saying that you already have a safer and faster browser called Microsoft Edge. Nothing will prevent the installation of those other browsers; just click through to the “Install Anyway” button.

Delete Your Account?

If you want to delete your Facebook account, don’t log back in to test if it really has been deleted. Facebook has recently lengthened the number of days (to 30) they will keep your account around. They claim they have seen a rise in the number of people trying to log in after 14 days, so this it to “help” those people keep their accounts. I think all those people were just making sure their account was deleted.

Recycling Safely

Some people are getting to the point where they are ready to recycle their Windows 10 computer, and they might be worried about erasing their hard drive. Windows 10 now has an option as part of its ability to perform a factory reset to let you “Remove files and clean the drive.” This does take time but is good enough for most people. And if you are recycling any other smart device, remember to at least do a factory reset on it before passing it on. Search Google for instructions.