Monday, April 20, 2015

Email Woes

Email can seem like a tyrant. If you don't read it the messages pile up until it will take you hours to catch up and you might miss an important message. Even when you read it regularly it can take over. 

I decided to go one whole week without reading my email.... and without sending a message or newsletter. Anyway today I am starting to read again and I have 602 messages in my personal account and 32 in my business email account. It is not like I shop online or subscribe to lots of lists. So what is in my email?

  • Facebook
  • Meet Up
  • Pinterest
  • Professional Organization
  • Austin Business Journal
  • Children's Defense Fund
  • Environment Texas
  • Change.org
  • Long Center for the Performing Arts
  • Advertisements - New Egg
  • A few personal messages from friends
  • Messages from my doctor
email lists in Facebook
Here is what I did with my 602 messages.
  1. First I scanned the content to see what I was receiving.
  2. Then I did an email search for the FROM line of messages that I no longer wanted to receive. Sometimes it came up with exactly what I wanted.  After found the messages that I didn't want used the checkbox at the top to choose all of the messages to trash and then clicked the trash can and they were thrown away. You can do this without marking them unread. Just delete them. It is so satisfying!
  3. Finally, I emptied the trash in my email. 
I know that everyone has different email programs that look a bit different and use different words, but all of them can do something similar. It may just take some searching to find out how it is done in your program. I use Gmail.

LEARNING ABOUT UNSUBSCRIBE
What I learned is that some organizations have MANY LISTS. Facebook is a good example. I learned that if I just searched for FACEBOOK I got all kinds of email in my list, but when I searched for Facebook birthday I only got back results when FACEBOOK was notifying me of someone's birthday. When I went to the message I unsubscribed from the FACEBOOK Birthday list, but I still have email from Facebook.  I guess as I go I will find the different lists and unsubscribe from them. I finally found all of their lists and unsubscribed from them. See the list above. I found it in the Settings on Facebook under Notifications.

Another interesting thing is that I get email regularly from TED talks. The FROM line says "This Week on TED". I tried searching using TED, but that returned email about a friend named Ted and other things. So, I put the whole phrase in - this week on TED - and I still got all sorts of results. Then I added quotation marks - "this week on TED" and up came a whole list of ONLY "This Week on TED" email. I was able to mark all of them and delete them easily.

I now plan to do this every 6 months to a year. I am not sure how I get added to all of these lists. Most of them are things I am interested in.  Maybe I signed a petition or put my email on a list for something else. Maybe they got bought my email from someone. For a few of them I know I have purchased something from their company. The point is that they keep increasing, but they are NOT what I define as SPAM. They are good organizations trying to communicate. It is just that I cannot take in that much communication and don't want to.

MARKING THINGS READ
I like the option of marking messages as read. That allows me to easily see what is new. On a daily basis I go quickly through my email using the right arrow at the top right of my inbox to scan each message. Most of them can be scanned and then discarded, but there are some that I want to read more carefully or respond to. I click on the star next to the messages that I want to keep. Each time I open a message it is marked as read. In Gmail and (I am pretty sure) in most email programs that means that the message goes fromBOLD to regular font. I can then easily go back to my inbox and put checks in the box next to the ones I have scanned avoiding the ones with stars and click delete or archive. Then, theoretically, once a day or once a week I spend more time taking care of the starred messages.


Sunday, March 29, 2015

Why Should I Tweet? Or Even Read What Others Tweet?

I am regularly asked why anyone would use Twitter. This is because I work mostly with people aged 40-80 who have not used technology much. I always try to respond with my own experience. Sometimes I have used it and sometimes I ignore it for months. I don't feel like I have to read what everyone I follow says. If I don't like what someone I follow writes about I can stop following them without any hurt feelings. I can choose to only follow people who write and share what I think are interesting things. Once a friend I knew shared about the Egyptian Spring AS IT HAPPENED! 

When I share it is because I have found an interesting resource. Or maybe I have had a universal and interesting experience. Maybe I retweet something I think is really important that someone else tweeted. Also, many teachers I know have found that it is a great way to connect to like-minded people across the globe and support one-another's teaching. It makes meeting at a conference somewhere really exciting. 

This morning though, I read a terrific article in the New York Times Week in Review Section about why Scott Simon of NPR tweeted his Mother's last hours. It was the best description of why someone tweets that I have come across. I cannot do it justice here, but here is a quote.

"Tweets are not compulsory reading. I did not pass on medical details, or rattle family skeletons. And I never suggested - my mother would have insisted on this - that her death was a tragedy. She lived a long, full, fascinating life, and died with her son by her side. I posted messages in which I admitted some of my anxieties and shared some of my mother's wit and spirit as we went though an intense experience that, one way or another we will all have."

If you want to know more read the article. "Tweeting Mom's Goodbye" New York Times Sunday March, 29, 2015.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Confused by Events and Projects in iMovie


I like iMovie and I have created movies using it, but I never really understood the Event window and the Project window. The whole idea of Events was confusing. I also closed the Project window once and could not get it back. So, finally I have done a bit of sitting and learning and this is what I found.



EVENTS AND PROJECTS

One of the most confusing things about iMovie is the difference between Events and Projects and how they work with each other.

Events

Events are just collections of clips and pictures. When you start a project you may start out with a NEW event and then import all of the clips and pictures that you want to use for that event. 

Projects

Projects are actually movies that you are making. They are not finished and published yet. iMovie calls them both projects and movies.

STEP BY STEP 
    screen shot import media
  1. When you create an Event by choosing FILE>NEW EVENT from the menus above the event is named the date that it is created. Then a window opens up with a big arrow that says IMPORT. You can import clips and photos from your camera, folders on the computer, or even from iPhoto
  2. Next you start a project to use those clips and photos. Choose FILE>NEW MOVIE.  Once you choose New Movie, choose a template and give your movie a name the working panel opens up with the name of your movie on it. This is where you can drag clips, transitions, sounds, etc…. to create your movie.



Think of Movies (Projects) and Events separately. The square on the top left shows the clips and pictures in the event. It also shows which movie project you started using the event. 

The Event and the Project do not have to Match.
Changing the event does not make the project change.


If you click on a different Event on the right the project window DOES NOT CHANGE. 

The project window at the bottom does NOT need to match the Events window.

So, an event can be associated with more than one movie project AND a project can take clips or photos from any event. Clips can be selected from one event and dragged to the side and moved to another event. Projects can also be moved from one event to another. If you just want to see what projects you have started without looking at events you can click “all project” on the left side.  
The Event is taking the Project space because there is no Project open.

If you close a project window the Event window just moves down into the empty space. In order to get a project window back just click twice on the project that you want to work on.

ORGANIZATION

You can replace the dates that name each of your Events with words. Click once on the date. Count to 5 and then click again. Wait 5 seconds or so. The date will be highlighted and you can type something else into it. 


Now it is possible to drag and drop both projects and clips into the folders that make the most sense to you.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Comparisons of Samsung Galaxy 5S with my iPhone 4S

With the New Year came a change of phones. I wanted a chance to try out a Samsung Galaxy since so many of my customers had them and I wanted to change service providers. I have had ATT since I have had my first iPhone. It was required in order to get an iPhone at the time. 




Here are my first impressions

  1. I hate all of the different - proprietary - plugs that each phone has!! My iPhone has a plug which is the same as the one on my iPad.  Now the Samsung Phone has a different one. My husband updated to an iPhone 6 and so he also has a different one.
  2. The cord is not as smooth for the Samsung Phone. I am guessing that Apple has some patent on the cords it uses. They are so wonderfully smooth.
  3. The plug into the phone for the power cord is not as smooth on the Samsung as on the Apple.
  4. I learned the hard way that Samsung has a removeable battery that needs to be put in before you can start it up. I thought that maybe my Samsung was bad and I would have to send it back. Clear proof that I am not a Geek.  After a call to the help desk, all I had to do was to put the battery in and the Samsung started.
  5. Now that it has started up I like it. The screen is bigger and the picture is so clear. It feels like it floats, it is so light. My husband got the iPhone 6. I think they are similar.

Just a cool side discovery was that I could take one picture that did BOTH a "selfie" and a picture of what is in front of the camera.

SYNCING
What I have learned is that whereas the iPhone, the Mac and iPad all use iTunes to sync their information using iCloud, Samsung uses various things. The first thing I had to do was to download an app onto my Samsung phone called Smart Switch Mobile. With that app and an updated iCloud back up of my iPhone I could transfer most of the content from my iPhone to my Samsung phone.

Calendar, Contacts and eMail use Google
The Smart Switch took care of my calendar, my contacts and my email. Now I keep all of these synced using Google. My email was a gmail account, so that made it easier. If you don't have a gmail account you can easily create one for free and have your current address forwarded to it so that you get all of your email through gmail. You don't have to switch email addresses or tell your contacts that you have changed, because your mail is all forwarded.


Now my contacts are synced to the phone through Google rather than through the Contacts app. When I add an address to my computer under contacts it does not show up on my phone, although it does show up on my iPad. If I add it using Google it shows up on my phone. Another way to say it is that the Samsung does not talk with my Contacts on my Mac or Apple devices and they do not talk with the Samsung. I guess, for me, that means that my up to date contacts will now be on gmail and I will have to export them from gmail and import them to my Mac contacts every once in a while if I want that updated.

Pictures
The pictures are another issue. Before, using the iPhone and iPhoto, I plugged the phone into my computer it opened iPhoto. I could name and download the photos on my phone to my computer. The Samsung can be set up to use different methods. Mine is set up to use Dropbox. The photos I take are automatically loaded to Dropbox. I do not have to plug my phone in for that. 

To set it up this way I had to enter my Dropbox username and password into my phone. Now any picures I take on the phone automatically go to Dropbox. I can then move them to whatever photo organizing program I want to use. Some common ones are iPhoto, Flickr and Picasa.

A warning about using Dropbox. In dropbox you can share your folders or files with someone else, but you need to remember that if you take anything out of the Dropbox it is no longer available to the other person. I think that what I will do is to always copy the photos I have in Dropbox to somewhere on my computer so that even if they are deleted from Dropbox I still have them.

FREE OPINIONATED EXPERIENCE: SWITCHING PROVIDERS


For me ATT always worked. I don't have complaints about their service. At first (5-6 years ago), getting good help on the phone was impossible, but that has changed. Recently I have noticed that they have bent backwards to make sure your needs are met. The main thing is that I don't think that they, in general, support the same issues that I do and SO much of their money is going to make a few people rich. In years past ATT has compensated its five top executives (with equity, cash, and benefits) at about $47 million dollars a year. Credo Mobile, who I switched to has given $78 million to charities.

I chose Credo for those reasons. I am happy about that, however, the connection has not been as good. We have had bad connections and dropped calls. It has been easy for me to talk to a person and get help at Credo and the last phone call they said they were going to send out an AirRave Access Point for us to use for free. We will see how that goes and hopefully not have to switch to another company.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

End of the Year - most Popular Posts


As I go into the new year I thought I would do a little research and remind myself about what works on this blog. I have written posts to this blog 22 times this year. That is a lot less than I was thinking. I mean to write once a week which would be 53 times. 




2011  17 (5 months starting in September) 
2012  19
2013  37
2014  22

It looks like I should try to increase my frequency of writing this year if possible. 

The most popular post of all time with 75,717 hits is:
Freeing up Memory on your iPhone 

The top 5 for this year
1. Should I use 2 Step Authentication?  402 hits
2. The End of Windows XP 211 hits
3. Password Management and the Heartbleed Bug 195 hits
4. Arranging the Icons on your iPhone or iPad 190 hits
5. 5 Things You Can do to Make Being Online Meaningful (3-5) 178 hits

It is interesting to look at these statistics. What I am seeing is that most people are finding this blog by searching for help on something. I think this makes great sense. It is exactly what I do when I want to find something out. I "google" whatever I want to find out and learn from other people online. The other thing I see is that people continue to find the post on Freeing up Memory on your iPhone helpful. In my statistics I can see that even just today the page has 90 hits. A hit means that someone clicked on the page. 


If there is anything you are interested in having me research and write up let me know. I am always open to new ideas!


Friday, November 21, 2014

How does Apple Pay work?

If you are like me you watch with interest whenever Apple introduces something new. That is not because I want to buy every new thing, but lately it seems like their new products and ideas change how things are done everywhere.

So, I have been curious about Apple Pay. I keep reading articles and seeing things on it, but none of them tell me how it really works. I want a down to earth, Not A Geek, explanation. 

Here is what I have found out and want to share with you in the way I understand it best.

HOW PEOPLE USE IT
  1. There are a lot of details, but basically, if you have the right equipment and are in the right store you can just take out your phone at the cash register and instead of swiping your card and entering your pin you can hold your iPhone up to the machine and put your finger on the finger print reader on your phone.
  2. The machine will register the purchase and charge your credit card just like it did when you swiped the card through the machine. 
WHAT YOU NEED TO DO IT

If you have a new iPhone 6 or 6 Plus, first you have to download OS version 8.1. If you have a phone older than 6 you cannot do Apple Pay. It will also work with the Apple Watch when it comes out in 2015.

You have to set up your credit card information in your Passbook application on your phone. If you want to use the credit card that is already associated with your iTunes account you can do that by just setting up a 4 digit pin. You can take a picture of the card and the phone will fill in the information!

It only uses cards like Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover. You cannot use your Macy's card. The information about payments made using Apple Pay can be found in the Passbook App.

The cash register that you pay at must be Apple Pay Enabled. You can look for that sign before you begin standing in line planning to pay that way.

It might be good to have a back up way to pay ready. Even though you hope to pay with your phone it is a pretty new technology and so the store may not be set up. 

MORE GEEKY EXPLANATIONS

Near Field Communication Symbol
A bit more "geeky" way to explain it is that Apple Pay uses NFC or Near Field
Contactless Payment Symbol
Communication to connect to the Apple Pay enabled device at the store. Look for the contact-less payment symbol. You may have seen these before because Google Wallet and some credit cards work this way already.


It will also work with the Apple Watch which is due out in January 2015

It is surprising that Apple will not make a bunch of money from this. The company will take a small cut from each transaction. Their goal is to sell phones and watches.

SHOULD YOU USE IT?

So, why use it?  Right now it is mainly a novelty. It might save a little time over swiping a card. Maybe you can carry a lighter wallet. We will only see in the future what it can really do.

BENEFITS OF USING IT

Security - Your credit card number is only entered once during setup. After that your phone sends a different number that is tied to your device when it makes a transaction. The cashier will NEVER see your credit card number and it is not stored anywhere but on your phone. If you lose your phone you can use the app "find my iPhone" to put your phone in LOST MODE so that no one else can get your info. Unlike when you lose your cards you will not have to cancel your credit card and get a new one because your card number was never stored.

Privacy - Apple does not transmit any information about you to the store. In this time when all of our information seems so public Apple Pay is actually anonymous. Some retailers are not happy about that because it does not help them to collect information about you. You will need to provide them with a loyalty card separately, rather than having that information transferred automatically.

Friday, October 31, 2014

How do I know that email sent to me is safe?

Have you ever gotten an email message that looked exactly like it came from your bank or eBay asking you to click on something? Often it is written in a way that makes you think it is an urgent problem. DON'T click. These messages are called "phishing". They are sent out fraudulently to learn information from you. They are NOT sent from your bank or eBay. If you click on the link you may be allowing a virus to have access to your computer. These messages also sometimes ask for private information (like bank account numbers).  

One common problem is that some virus steals all of the email addresses in your friend's contacts. The virus then sends a message to ALL of those people (including you) with a link to click on. It may say that it is from your best friend. It might say something generic in the subject line like "this is funny" or "you will like this". Even the URL may look innocent. Any mail that comes from your friend with only a link do not click on it is probably a scam. 

How can you be sure that it is not really your bank? 
Here are some steps to take that will protect you from accidentally giving away information or access to your computer.

1.  Read ALL email skeptically. Even if it says it is from your friend do not assume it is valid if it seems suspicious. Do NOT automatically, without thinking, click on anything.

2. Before you click call your friend, the airline, your bank or whoever it says it is from to be sure it is authentic. 


3.  Know that companies and banks are aware of these problems and will never ask for personnel information through email. Most of them have links on their websites where you can report any phishing attacks you have received.





4.  You can usually run your mouse over a link or an email address and in the bottom left hand corner of the screen a box will appear that shows what code is underneath the words you are seeing. The code should match the words you see if it is legitimate.




5. Look at the email address it was sent from. Often the email address is very close to the one that the company uses, but not quite the same. For example it might say that it is from help@aaglobalcommunications.com which would lead you to think it is from American Airlines, but their address is aa.com. 

Most email is legitimate. It is a good way to communicate, but it is wise to be skeptical. Don't let someone who is phishing catch you!