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Monday, June 20, 2016

MY EXPERIENCE WITH TECH CONFUSION-Note to Microsoft

I am writing this because I am often thought of as an "expert" and I am a teacher of how to use technology. However, my business is called "I'm not a Geek.com" for a reason. There are times when I am amazed at how frustrating technology can be and think that if it is frustrating for me it must be 10 times as frustrating for other people I work with.


Dear Microsoft, 


A week or so ago I paid for MS Office 365. I downloaded and installed it to my computers both Mac and PC. Then I ran out of time, so that is as far as I got.

Today I needed to open something that was a Word document, so when I clicked on the Word icon (assuming I would be able to use it because it was already paid for, downloaded and installed),  the Word program tried to open for the first time. It asked me for a username and password. Right away I realized that I would not remember what password I put in, so instead of guessing and losing time trying to figure it out I put in my email address and chose "forgot my password".

I only had a certain amount of time before I had to be somewhere and things got muddled. It said that it was going to send me a code but somehow when the code finally came to my email, I could not find the window that I needed to put the code into. The window I was seeing said that there was no account with my email. I tried two other emails (one active and one old and closed) and they all said the same thing. I had to leave it to try again later and I never was able to open the program.

Now I am trying to open it again and it is taking forever. I put in my email address and this time right away it said that it had sent a code to my email. It took a minute, but I copied it and pasted it into the right space and it told me to create a new password, so I did and then it told me that I do not have MS Office 365 and so I need to pay for it or I can try it for free for a month.

Why is this so HARD.  I have already paid my $$$$$. I know it might be user error, but it is so frustrating and I feel so stupid. 

Here I go again with my other active email.

It worked. But both times I had to type in those weird long capcha codes. I understand the need for them, but they do add to the frustration because they are hard to read. 



It turns out that I signed up for it with my work email. Who knows what password I used?  For some strange reason Dashlane (my password manager that usually saves me lots of time) did not save the password and so it did not Auto-enter it. MS Word was going from the program into a website, but I do not know what website, so I don't know the URL. I guess this has something to do with Office 365 using the cloud. It is possible that my Dashlane did not register the URL because it was not from a website.

Then when it finally opened up it needed TWO updates which took a while. aaaaaugh. Then in order for the update to be complete I had to close Word. 

No wonder clients of mine are frustrated and confused when using the computer!!  I am guessing that the designers of MS products are high level users and they skip steps because the steps make sense to them and they think that people do not need them.

I can eventually figure this out…. but it frustrates me. Many of my clients cannot figure these things out and so after paying $99 for software and downloading it (which is huge, by the way) they give up when trying to open it!!

Microsoft you may need to employ some really basic users to give you advice on your error messages and processes for setting up passwords and that sort of thing.

Sincerely, Janice- I'm not a Geek.com


Saturday, May 14, 2016

My Experience with Google Photos

This week I have had more than one person talk to me about saving their photos. These days most of us have more photos than we know what to do with because we always have our Smartphones with us and we take pictures of EVERYTHING.

I usually organize my photos using Mac's Photo app. It works well for me. If you have a PC you can use Microsoft Photo Gallery which comes free with Microsoft Windows. Today I am going to try and also describe my experience using Google Photos.

external hard driveBefore I begin with Google photos I want to make sure that you are backing up all of your pictures on a hard drive or in the cloud somewhere (or both). The cloud is just a way to talk about a huge bank of computers that you can get space on in order to save things. iCloud is Apple's cloud. Dropbox is a cloud. Microsoft has OneDrive. If you use Google Photos you are backing up on Google's Cloud.

What I have learned is that in May of 2015 Google made a big announcement and began Google Photos. It was designed as a pain free way to store, organize and share all of your photos without having to do much of anything. The program does it for you. It is a single location for ALL of your photos from your computer, phone and any other devices you have. It works with Android phones as well as iPhones.

The first thing that you do is to download the Google Photo Autobackup App. This will search and find all of your photos from all of your devices and put them on Google Photos which you can find by going to http://photos.google.com. This process takes a long time, maybe a few days, but when it is done ALL of your photos are backed up and accessible to you on all of your devices. If you choose to save them as "high resolution" the space does not cost you any money. If you want the RAW original format you will have to pay for extra space after your allotment is filled up. Even the "high resolution" photos are formatted perfectly for most of us. If you are a photographer and usually print large copies of photos you may want to pay for the extra space.

Now for my experience using the app.
  1. It has pop out tools on the sidebar. There are three ways to look at your photos
    • view photos iconPhotos-This is the view that you first see when you upload your photos. It is organized by date that the photo was taken. You can view all of these photos on all of your devices. You can see them as individual pictures, days, months and years by pinching and unpinching the screen. They are located "in the cloud", so they are not taking up space on any of your devices. You can download them or send them to someone from here.
    • albums iconAlbums-Google Photos will organize your photos for you by face (It is amazing at recognizing faces even as they change through aging) and by places and things. This is also the place where you can view albums that you have created using the assistant. 
    • Assistant-This is where you can create your own albums and other creative things. To do this Click on "create new album". Then click on all of the photos that you want in the album. The album will appear with "untitled" at the top. You click on it and give the album a name. 
search bar
  • You can also search your photos for specific photos that you remember. The search is amazing. I tried searching for "snow", "food", and several other things. Even though I had not tagged or named the pictures a bunch of snow pictures and food pictures were found. A few of the other searches were not as successful (books, beach), but I am not sure that I had any pictures that fit these categories. Also, my pictures were still being downloaded.
In the agreement that you must sign in order to use their free services it says that they can "host, store, reproduce, modify, create derivative works, communicate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute these photos".
  • There is the issue of trust. What is Google doing with all of your photos? Google is a search and advertising company. They make their money by very precise advertising. Your photos make it possible for them to know you better and target advertising directly to you. They do this already, but your photos make it even better for them.  If this is a problem for you then it is better not to use it. Many people think that the value of using all of the free apps that Google offers is a fair exchange. Targeted marketing is a little creepy, but in some ways is better than constantly getting ads for things you do not want. One video said that being selective about which photos are stored on Google Photos can protect some of your privacy. 

CONCLUSION
Having tried it I am impressed with Google Photos. I tend not to be someone who is very private, so my experience may not fit you. The important thing to take away from this article are that YOU are in charge of your photos and backing them up somewhere is EXTREMELY important. I think that having an external back up on a hard drive is a good idea because even Google may change its business model and who knows what would happen to your photos then? 

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.