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Friday, April 15, 2016

Allowing your Computer or Keychain in Mac to Save Your Passwords

Passwords are the bane of our existence when it comes to technology. So, anything that makes them easier is hard to turn down. What should you do when you are on a site and the question pops up, "Do you want to save this password?" or "Save this password in your Keychain?" YES or NO??

I did some searching and found several good reasons why you might want to say NO to this question and why Keychain and other Browser password savers are not as secure as Dashlane, 1Password, LastPass or other password managers.

First of all, let's clarify where this information is coming from. Browsers have their own password savers.  For example in Firefox under the Preferences you can see this window:


If you put a check in the box next to Remember Passwords for sites you will always get that question. Then you can click on Saved Passwords to see what you have saved. When I clicked on Saved Passwords there were 9 saved there! At first they were hidden, but then I clicked on SHOW and there they were. Anyone could have done that!  I deleted them all right away because I didn't even know that they were there!



One thing that would have made it more secure is if I used a master password. You can see above that there is a box next to that which you can check. If I had created a master password then someone could not get into my passwords so easily. 

Chrome, Internet Explorer and other browsers have similar password savers.

Keychain (the Apple built in password saver)  is a little different because it is actually on your computer and not connected to a browser. If you choose to activate Keychain in your iCloud account it will also sync to any other Apple Devices you have.

Most password managers will generate strong passwords for you. That is one thing that saves a lot of time when you are at a new site. You do not have to think up one more password that is really difficult, but that you can remember. The password management software will remember it so it can create really long difficult passwords and you will never have to even know them.

NOW FOR THE PROS AND CONS

PROS


  • It is much better than having the same password for everything.
  • If you create a master password it is more secure.
  • It works well (with a master password) for someone who never has someone else accessing their computer.
CONS
  • If you do not put in a Master Password (and many people do not) then all of your passwords can easily be found.
  • Keychain only works on the Safari browser and does not work with every single site. Use of Keychain is not supported by Banks, Credit Cards and some other places because of security issues. Other password managers each work on their own software (Safari, Internet Explorer, Chrome, Firefox, etc...)
  • Keychain does not generate the strongest passwords.
  • Easier to hack than a Password Manager like LastPass or Dashlane. With these password managers your master password NEVER leaves your machine. It is not stored anywhere else. 

On some of the sites I read it said to NEVER use the password savers in browsers or Keychain. It is just not as safe as the other tools. 

And now for one more free tip. To find all of this out I just typed my question into Chrome (my favorite browser and here are some of the sites that I read to learn what I shared with you. It does take some time, but you can do that too. Maybe it is how you found this blog!




Que Publishing

Gizmag

HOW TO SET IT UP - FROM APPLE

iMore

Ask Leo

Step by Step how to access the Password Saving Feature of Browsers

More about Password Managers

I have now used Dashlane for a few years and LOVE it. Other people swear by different password managers, so I doubt that there is one that is the best, but it is definitely worth finding and using a password manager!!

Friday, February 26, 2016

What is Home Share on the Mac, iPad, iPhone and Apple TV?

A client recently wanted to sync her music from her Mac to her iPhone. Since I am not a Geek and don't keep up with my iTunes Music much I assumed that it was automatically syncing just like my contacts, calendar, mail and photos.

I was wrong. (shocking I know!) My explanation for what things sync and what is treated a different way is ownership. I own my contacts, calendar, mail and photos. I do not own the music in my iTunes. In many cases I purchased the CD's that I copied onto my computer or paid for downloaded albums. Someone else owns the copyright, so Apple handles it differently. You are allowed to have 5 authorized computers. This allows you to put the same content on 5 different devices.

First you have to set up Home Sharing on all of the devices that you want to share. This involves going to the setup and putting in your Apple ID and Password. On your Mac open iTunes and go to FILE>Home Sharing. For some reason mine was already set up and it said Turn off Home Sharing. I don't remember setting this up, but was glad that it was already on. 

On your iPhone and iPad you do this through settings. Click on the Settings Icon and then Find Music in the list of things to set up. At the bottom it says Home Sharing and again mine already had my Apple ID entered in that space. On my Apple TV I also went to the Settings Icon. Then under General and Accounts I found Home Sharing. Again it already had been set up with my Apple ID

At that point I really wondered why my music lists were not the same on the different devices.  I was just missing one step. On each of the devices except for the computer I  had to find the place that listed what I wanted to listen to. On both my iPhone and my iPad there was a pull down menu that said Artists, Albums, Songs, Genres, Composers, Compilation and what I had not seen before Home Sharing!  Once I switched to Home Sharing the devices connected to my computer and now I can play the same music on all of them. Once I had done that magically all of the music was added to my list on the Apple TV.

Buena Vista Social Club
Right now I am listening to one of my favorite albums through my Apple TV and surround sound!

Monday, February 22, 2016

Making Labels using Mac

MERGING ADDRESSES WITH ENVELOPES, LABELS OR LETTERS

This document is created with a Mac and so the screenshots in it will be from the Mac. However, the process is the same with a few changes in the names of menus for other computers.

It helps to understand the concept first. You need two documents to start. 

THE FIRST DOCUMENT

This document is a spreadsheet or a .csv file. It is the data that you want to use for your letter, envelopes or labels.

You can get this document from your contact list program on your computer. Look for the word EXPORT and choose as a .csv file. Save this file somewhere that you can find it and set it aside. 

THE SECOND DOCUMENT

This is the document that you will use to create your envelopes, labels or letter. 

    • If it is a letter you can type the letter and just leave space wherever you want something filled in by your computer. 
    • For both envelopes and labels the computer will walk you through the formatting of the labels.

PROCESS

While you have the second document open (it will be a blank document if you are making envelopes or labels) choose the TOOLS menu and look for Merge Wizard or something similar. This will walk you through these steps:

  1. Identifying the document that has the data (it will probably be a .csv file) To get this file you may need to export your address from your contact list or create a spreadsheet with the information you need and save it as .csv. The top row of your CSV file should be the names of each column (ie. first name, last name, street address)
  2. Choosing what you want to create (labels, envelopes or a letter)
  3. Placing placeholders in the right places. The placeholders are the names of each of the columns in your spreadsheet. <first name>, <last name>, etc….  You will insert them in the places that you want them to show up. While doing this you can also add spaces, commas and format the text. If you create a label it will look like this:

<first name> <last name>
<street address>
<city>, <state> <zipcode> 


If you are using Word for Mac here are the steps with screenshots to show what you will see. First open up a blank document.

  1. Find the Mail Merge Manager by going to the TOOLS Menu at the top of the screen  


It will open up with step by step instructions on how to create a merge document. Pull down the triangle next to the words “Create New” and choose what type of document you want to create. 


If you choose Envelope this is what you will see.  To create the envelopes just click OK. If you want your Return Address to print on all of the envelopes you will need to enter it into the information about you in the Preferences under Word. The computer will use this information to fill in the Return Address information. This is where you can change the font that will be used for the addresses and your Return Address. 


When you click OK you will need to move on to step 2. Select Recipients list. Here you will click on the binoculars to find the .csv document you have saved with all of the addresses you want to use.


You can see that I am searching or a file that I know is on my desktop. It is called test.csv.  





This will move you on to Step 3 Insert Placeholders. Your computer will take from your list the information on the First Row of your .csv file. You will drag each one to the place that you want it to show on the envelope. Things like commas and spaces need to be typed in between the placeholders.



You can filter the recipients and preview the results if you want to. I like to go on to the final step and Complete the Merge. 





When you complete the merge click on the middle icon which will make the addresses print on to documents. 







That way you can see what the envelopes will look like before you actually print them. A new document will open and your envelopes will show like a list of pages. You can also choose to merge it directly to the printer. If your envelopes are ready in the printer when you choose this they will just print out!


How do I get all of those photos from emails that people sent to me?

I have heard this question more than once. Are you one of those people who gets pictures in their email and doesn't know what to do with them and so just keeps them in the message and never deletes their email?

The BEST solution to this problem is to decide right away if you want to keep the image and download it to your computer. You can keep all of your photos in your Pictures folder on your computer, or use the program already on your computer to organize them (Windows has Windows Photo Gallery, Mac has Photos) OR you can download a program that will help you organize them. Many people like Picasa and it is a free download. Another program is Flickr and there are many others.  But that is when you are downloading your pictures one at a time....



If you have NOT been downloading them one at a time and have multiple photos in various email messages sitting in your email program there is hope. It will take a while, but probably less time than it would take you to open each of your messages and download each photo one by one. 


First go to https://www.mozilla.org/en-US/thunderbird/ and download Thunderbird. It is a free mail program that will take all of the mail that you have in a Yahoo or Gmail account and download it to your computer. Installing Thunderbird is quick.

Set up Thunderbird to be your email client. It will most likely ask for your email address and password and automatically connect to your server and set things up so that your mail will download. If it does not work try closing the program and opening it up again. D
epending on how much mail you have saved in your account it could take a while for all of the mail to download.

Next in Thunderbird find the place where you can download add ons. There is an addon called Attachment Extractor that will extract attachments from your email and put it into a folder on your computer. Find the extension and click to download it. You will have to restart the Thunderbird program before using it.
Next, go to All Mail. In GMAIL type 'has:attachment' in the search box at the top. Other email programs may have a place to click on a paperclip that brings all of the mail with attachments to the top.  

Select all of the messages with attachments and then right click on the selection and choose Export Selected Attachments to and you will get a choice of several things. Choose the first one that says Browse. 

Find the folder you want to put all of the pictures into or create a folder to use. Choose select and the pictures will start to move from the mail to the folder. This may take a very long time. You may want to try first with a few pictures and then if it works start the whole transfer. It will probably take hours.

Thanks to Lifehacker for the helpful information http://lifehacker.com/5156067/how-can-i-download-every-attachment-from-gmail

Friday, October 23, 2015

My Mailbox is Full - Now What?


Most email messages don't take up lots of space. What does take a lot of space is images which can be in advertisements or as attachments in messages from friends and family. 

One first step would be to create folders for the email that you want to keep and to delete the ones you do not want to keep. When you delete mail it goes into the TRASH folder of your email. Mine is set to empty automatically every 30 days, so that keeps space from filling up. 

Since every email program is set up a little differently here are a few tips to help you set up folders.

  • Look for the words "Manage Folders" 
  • In Gmail folders are called Labels and in order to make a new one you have to open an email message first. At the top of the screen next to the word "more" is a picture of a Label.
  •  When you click that it gives you an option of putting the message in a label already created or creating a new one. When you create a new one it shows up on the left side of the email page.
  • To check how often your trash empties or if it empties automatically look for a GEAR and click on it. Somewhere in the list that comes up you will see "settings"
  • Click on Settings and look for the trash settings. Change them to what you want them to be.
In Gmail folders are called Labels

This is a Gear. you can find Settings when you click the Gear.

One other thing you can do is to save email that you want to keep to your computer and delete it from your email. This is called Archiving your mail. In Gmail when you click to archive your mail you can find it again by searching or if you open All Mail. It is stored on the Google server and there is lots of space for it to go to.

In Outlook you can actually create a file to hold your archived mail. Right click on the "On My Computer" heading at the bottom of your folder list and choose New Folder. Name the folder Archived Mail or something like that. Now you can move messages into that folder or create a Rule that will automatically move messages to the archive after a certain time. 

Setting up a rule is also called filtering in Gmail. In some email setting up Rules is under the Tools menu. In others you will find the words "filter" or "rules" in the Settings. A rule is a sentence like  "When a new mail arrives"__________________ and then it gives you several choices for what to do with that message, like "move to archive folder" You also usually have to fill in a few more things like when it should be done (i.e. after 120 days) Once you have the rule created you usually have to click to enable it.

With Gmail archived messages can be found by clicking on All Mail. All Mail getspretty full, so you may have to search for the message that you archived using a word from the message or the email address of the sender. With Outlook you are moving your messages from the server to your own computer. You should be able to find the folder called Archive in your Documents folder.

If you have a lot of mail with photos that you want to keep it is better NOT to keep the photos in your email. When you get a picture in an email message you can right click on it and choose Save Image or Save Target. Your computer will open up a window and you can choose the Picture file for your photo to be saved in. Be sure to rename it because pictures are often named things like img566.jpg and you will not be able to tell by the name what it is later. 

Once you have saved all of the photos from your email, delete the messages and it will create more space.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

PC vs. Mac

This is an old debate. I know that there are many places that you can read about it in blogs and all over the Internet. I have tried to be neutral on the PC vs. Mac debate. My main opinion is that it is what you are used to that is the best. Some people have only used PC and swear by it as the best Operating System. They are frustrated when they even try to use a Mac. It happens the other way also.

I have had to use both at different times and can see the value of either both. However this morning I am leaning toward Mac for what I do. I will tell you why.


I help people to be successful using technology. The people I work with in my business are not computer lovers. They have something that they want to do and must do it on the computer. Either they never had much experience using technology or they had extensive experience, but only in one area (maybe word processing) and need to know something else (spreadsheets?, websites?, social media?, working with photos?). They are not people who tinker with their machines and want to add more memory or a better sound card. They just want the computer to work.

It is hard to choose to buy a Mac because they are so much more expensive to start with. They are also not easy to tinker with. There are people who like to really KNOW their computer inside-out. They want to be able to change components and make a computer that works for them. PC's are better for that person. If you want to understand your computer, change it and keep it up to date a PC can be an excellent choice.

Here are my personal reasons for choosing a Mac:


from http://atom.smasher.org/error/gallery/ MAKE YOUR OWN!
My Mac just works. Almost all of the time. The few times it has problems the error messages that I do get on my Mac are for the most part pretty understandable. They are written for users. On my PC and on the PCs of people I work with the errors are cryptic for us non-geeks. It helps to have lots of experience in order to figure out what they might mean, but they are scarey. Today I got a Runtime error on my PC. Because I use computers all of the time I could figure out that it had to do with a certain program and I had to write their help people with the error message to find out what to do with it, but I know that for many people I work with it would be the end. They would turn their computer off hoping not to hurt it and say that it was broken.



Technology turn-over. It seems to me that the PC items I have purchased have a shorter life-span than the Mac products I have purchased. I have the second generation iPad. Even though Apple has come out with 2 more since I got mine and the new ones are better, mine still works well. Lots of people bought the first version of the iPad. They still work. They do not have a camera, which makes the others much better, but they do work.



I went out and got a Surface as soon as they came out. I usually wait for the second generation, but I wanted to experience Windows 8. It is mostly sitting unused on my shelf. Even Windows 8 was a passing thing.



I know that technology changes constantly, but with Macs when I have upgraded it is because I want a newer, faster model. When I have upgraded my old one still works and I am glad to pass it on to someone who can use it. This is not true of the PCs I have had. When they get old they are so slow that they are not worth using. My surface is not of much use to anyone (or maybe there is something I don't know and someone can suggest in a comment what to do).

I do have a positive PC story to end with, so that you won't think I am a Mac snob. A client of mine just came to me with a PC (HP) that she had purchased on sale. It was a GREAT buy and a fantastic computer. I am glad she found a good deal. She is used to using a PC and so the move to Mac, which she tried, was frustrating. So I never tell my clients what type of computer to purchase. 

So, you see, my feelings are mixed. I am assuming that many people who read this will have comments. It is an issue that people feel strongly about. I wrote out of some frustration with my PC experience, but I am sure that there are people who have had similar experiences with Mac. Bring it on!  I am interested to read what people have to say.

Monday, October 5, 2015

HELP - Dealing with Photos!

I know that I have written on this before, but it just seems to keep changing and being difficult. Apple updated its system for dealing with Pictures from iPhoto to Photos and it has taken me quite a while to figure out what to recommend to people.

First of all, I think it is always good to follow directions to update a program whenever you get that message. It will keep your computer running faster and keep you up to date. One of my clients had an iPhone with the new Photos program and still had iPhoto on her iMac because she had not updated to Yosemite. That was confusing. It is a bit clearer when you are dealing with the same program both places.


We, older people, have an outdated way of thinking about photos. Computers and digital photo taking has totally changed how it all works. It used to be that you had film with your originals and paper copies of your photos. You could hold them in your hand. You could lose them or they could get mouldy in the basement. You could put them into albums or boxes. You could pass them on to your children.

Now, they seem sort of ephemeral. Where are they really? How can I organize them and keep from losing them? It is so easy now to take pictures that we all have SO many of everything and often there are multiples or pictures that we don't want to keep, but who has time to go through them all?

SOME ADVICE

Use the 3, 2, 1 principle of saving pictures and videos that you really want to keep. Have 3 copies saved in two places and put one in a safe deposit box or offsite somewhere that you can access and update once a year, or on some regular basis.




Three copies of any picture that you really do not want to lose should be saved. One is your primary and two are back ups. 

Two copies should be on different media. Do you remember floppy disks?  Most computers today do not have floppy disk drives, so you cannot access them any more. The CD drive is going the way of the floppy drive, so it is possible that if all of your copies are saved ONLY on CD you may not be able to access them easily later. So, you could have one copy saved on a hard drive and one on a CD. Or you could save one on your computer and one in the cloud. I think I might keep one on my computer, but have two external drive backups. One of them would be my regular back up that I keep at home and one ONLY has photos and is kept in a safe deposit box at the bank or something.





One is kept offsite somewhere. If there is a disaster at your house and you lose your computer and your backup at least you will have a copy of everything that you last backed up in another location.



http://www.dpbestflow.org/backup/backup-overview#321 tells more about this and explains it as a way that ALL important files should be backed up. DP stands for Digital Photograpy and this comes from the American Society of Media Photographers, so it may be overkill for us home picture takers, but it is helpful information.

MAC
Like I said above you should always keep all of your devices up to date so that they are using the same software, especially if you want to sync between devices.

The new software called Photos does something interesting. It will hold up to 1000 photos and as you add new photos after that it drops off the oldest ones and only keeps the newest. When a photo is deleted from your phone it is deleted from all devices that are syncing to it. You can turn on iCloud storage if you want to keep photos. This will give you 5G of storage space for free. If you want more you can pay for it

What if you want to store your images forever (or as long as possible)? On the Mac help page it says:


iCloud Photo Library stores all of your original photos and videos in iCloud, but we always recommend you keep back up copies of your Library. You can download your photos and videos from iCloud to your computer and store them as a separate library, transfer them to your computer with iTunes, or store them on a separate drive.
You can go to http://icloud.com to see what photos are stored there. If you want to do something with those photos you can click on them. Once a picture is open you can share, delete or download it. If you want to do this to multiple pictures choose the word SELECT at the top right of the screen and you will be able to put a checkmark in the ones that you want to act on. 

If you don't want to spend more money on photo storage there are lots of options. You can download them to your computer and save them in the Pictures file. One thing lacking in the Pictures file is automatic organization. You have to put pictures in folders and organize them yourself. You can then save them to an external hard drive, or two. You can upload them to an online storage space. Amazon Prime offers unlimited storage space for free and so do many other places. See information on Picasa and Flickr below.

PC
There are many programs that store photos. The one that comes with your PC is called Windows Photo Gallery. Photo Gallery can find all of the pictures in your Pictures file and automatically store them in folders by date. You can then go in and do all sorts of things with your pictures. You can reorganize them into different files, edit them, give them tags or keywords so that they are easy to find.

There are other programs online and that can be downloaded to your computer that do similar things. Picasa is owned by Google and now works with Google Photos. It has an online feature and you can download a program for your computer that will sync with it. It gives you the ability to organize and edit your photos. Shutterfly, SmugMug, Flickr (which is owned by Yahoo and requires a Yahoo login).

Helpful article on Photo Storage
http://www.theverge.com/2015/4/29/8467289/cloud-photo-storage-comparison-dropbox-icloud-flickr-onedrive-free

So, what am I going to do?......  Someday when I have lots of time I am going to organize all my photos. I think I will get two hard drives. On both of them I will upload ALL of my photos. On my computer and my phone (and iPad) I will have the same set of the most current photos in the photo program so that I can look at them and easily use them. Then once a year... September?, January?, my birthday? I am going to get the second hard drive from the safe deposit box (or where ever I decide to save it) and update BOTH hard drives and keep just the current year on my computer, phone, and iPad. Someday..... but then I still have VCR tapes waiting to be converted and cassette tapes that need conversion.