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Thursday, January 24, 2013

Facebook-Constantly Changing

I guess Facebook has to keep changing in order to be responsive to all of their customers. It can be frustrating to think that all your privacy settings are set up and then to find out that Facebook has changed around how it works. Recently, it seems to me that they have been trying to figure out how to make your experience using Facebook more secure without losing all of the possibilities for networking that is the central purpose of the program.

I just read an article from USA Today (a paper that I usually do not take too seriously) at 
It was sent to me by a friend and the article did have several good recommendations. One overall suggestion is that it is good to check your privacy settings every once in a while to be sure they are how you want them to be. 

Facebook has added a new link to the right of your name at the top that looks like a lock with three lines next to it. When you click on it and the window opens up you can answer three questions. Who can see my stuff?, Who can contact me? and How do I stop someone from bothering me? Under these three questions is the link to See More Settings. When you click this it will bring you to a place where you can go into each one of your privacy setting areas and make changes. To make a change to them you click on the EDIT link, type in your changes, and then close the window. 


There is also a link here for looking at your own profile so you can see the way it looks to someone else who comes to your page. That is really helpful because you can get a feel for what people are seeing about you and decide whether you want to be more private or more public. 

To get there go to your privacy settings and look for the words "view as" in this view you will be able to see what people coming to your page see and also check if it is different for the public, your friends and friends of friends.

I suggest you take some time to click through these things and see what you think about the way your Facebook is set up. If this does not make sense to you or you have more questions please do add them as comments to this post and I will get back to them.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Tips on Working with Windows 8

First a quick review of Windows 8 after about a month of use

I like it. It is not intuitive (easy to figure out), but when you have figured out how to do things it works quickly and smoothly. I like the look of it. So far I have been able to download the apps that I need, but I really don't need many. It comes with Microsoft Office 2013 which is only out in trial form right now, but when it comes out it will automatically be updated on my Surface and I will have it without having to pay huge fees. 

The keyboard takes some getting used to and I am much better typing on my MacBook keyboard. I think with practice I can get used to it and not make so many mistakes. It is easier to use than the screen keyboard on the iPad or the screen keyboard that pops up on the Surface. I do not have an iPad keyboard, so I assume that if I did it would work like this does for the Surface. 

So, how does it compare to the iPad? They are just different, but both of them are great. The Surface does not have the camera quality that the iPad does and so it does not work well for taking picures or even for just looking at them, but it is OK.

Here are some tips for things that have baffled me that I figured out:

1. Closing programs

I am in the habit of closing programs that I have been using so that I do not have too many open at the same time. On most computers having too many programs running at the same time can cause the machine to run really slowly. For this reason it bothered me when I kept opening different things in Windows 8 and did not know where they went or how to close them. Here is what I learned:

Windows 8 is not like most operating systems. It has a way of keeping programs open without using a lot of the memory. It does not matter how many programs you have open. 

When a program is open it shows up in the top left hand corner when you put your mouse there. You can then click on it and it will appear in place of the program you were on. Another way to switch is to use the touch screen if you have one and swipe to the right or left and if you have several programs open you can switch between them easily. If you do this slowly and do not slide the whole way across you can create two programs that are open next to each other.

I really like the way that you can close programs with a touch screen even if it is not necessary. All you need to do is using one finger and swipe from the top to the bottom. First the program shrinks to a small rectangle and then you can get rid of it by swiping clear off of the screen at the bottom. 

2. Shutting down the computer

According to Windows website (there is other helpful information on this website.) 

"In Windows 8 and Windows RT, there's really no need to shut down your PC completely—put it in sleep mode instead. This uses very little power, your PC starts up faster, and you’re instantly back to where you left off." 

They say that if it runs out of power it will automatically save everything and then shut down so you don't lose any of your work. If you just close your lid the Windows 8 chooses the sleep mode automatically.

The Shut Down Menu is still available by sliding your touch finger from the right side toward the left or putting your mouse pointer to the top right corner and then sliding down to the Charms Menu (that is what Microsoft calls the bar that shows up at the right side.) Then click on or touch Settings, which is the Gear at the bottom of the Charm Menu. You will see the familiar Power Symbol and when you touch it you will have the choice to sleep, shut down or reboot. 

3. Filing email

I have been using the Mail Client that comes with Windows 8 for reading my email. It was not hard to set it up so that it downloads my Gmail. When it was set up it added all of the same folders that I had created on Gmail, but it was not clear at all HOW I could get my mail into those folders. This is also fairly easy once you figure it out.

When you are in Mail and want to file a message, slide up from the bottom with your finger or the mouse. Click on the icon that says MOVE and then click on the folder that you want to move it into. It has to be one of the folders that you have already set up in your email program before.

4. Creating new Folders

This was one of the most puzzling things for me. There did not seem to be any way to set up new folders and I searched and searched online for the answer and could not find it. I finally learned that you cannot create new folders or even delete folders in the Mail program on Windows 8. All folders must be created, reorganized or deleted using the email program that you normally use. For example, I have a address, so I have to log into my Gmail account online and make any changes to my folders. The changes are made also in your Mail program on Windows 8.

You Ask, "So, why not just use the Online program like Gmail?"

Sometimes (like when on an airplane, riding in a car, or at a location without WiFi) you may want to keep up with your email. If you open your Mail program in Windows 8 all of your email is downloaded to your computer and then you can look at it and respond even when you are offline. The responses do not get sent until you are online again, but at least they will be saved and waiting for when they can be mailed.

I know that there will be other things that come up as I use this operating system. If you have any questions let me know and I will see if I can figure them out and post the answers I find. I would also love to hear from you if this blog has been helpful to you. It is hard to know if people are reading unless I hear back from you!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Freeing up Memory on your iPhone

In order to write this post I looked on line at several pages and I have tried to note below the URLs of the pages that I consulted. You may find more information at these places, but here is a summary with a few additional thoughts from my experience.

Check your usage

Before you start it is helpful to actually know how much memory you have and how much is used. 
  • Open Settings and tap on “General”
  • Tap on “Usage” and look for the storage available and storage used data points at the top of the installed app list.
Before clearing anything off mine says 2.3 G available, 11.3 G used (the example I show is from the article). I think mine is OK. One of the articles I read said that you should always have more than one G available. if your available amount is in MB you need to clear off some stuff.

Scrolling further down you’ll find how much space individual apps use. This is really helpful because you may find that apps you do not use take up a lot of space. Any apps that you delete from the Phone can be reinstalled for free if you want them back. 

1. Delete Pictures

Make sure first that you have downloaded any  pictures that you want to save to your computer. If you have a Mac with iPhoto it is easy. You can just plug in your phone and choose iPhoto. It will show your phone on the left side and then you can download any photos that you want to keep by choosing them and then choosing "download selected". You will be asked if you want to take them off of your phone. OR you can choose "download all" and all of your photos from your phone will be downloaded. It helps me to download them in groups because I don't do it often enough and so there are usually several events with pictures. I give them a name, choose the photos and click download selected. I choose delete from iPhone because I do not want to have all of those photos on my iPhone. Later I create albums of certain photos on my Mac and then put them onto my iPhone.

If there are photos on your iPhone that you do not want to have there you can go to Image Capture in your Applications Folder with your iPhone plugged in. It will show all of the photos that you have on the phone. You can choose the ones you do not want OR all of them and press the circle and line icon to delete them. 

You also may have something called a PhotoStream turned on. This is a record of all of the pictures that you have taken. To turn it off go to SETTINGS and choose PHOTOS. In the Photo settings you can turn on or off the PhotoStream. If you turn it off it automatically removes all of the pictures that were in the PhotoStream in the first place which saved me LOTS of space.

I am not including instructions on how to do this on a PC because there are so many different ways. You may use Flickr, Picasa, or some other software. These are all free and are great ways of saving your photos.

2. Change the format of the music you have

"A little-heralded feature of iTunes 9.1 (My addition: The version of iTunes on your computer is the same that is downloaded to your device, so to find out the version go to your computer and look under iTunes>About and it will tell you what version. Mine is 11.0.1.) is the ability to convert higher bitrate songs to 128kpbs AAC files for iPhone or iPod Touch sync with iTunes. How do you do it? It’s a simple check box option in the Summary tab when your iPhone appears in the iTunes source list. When the box is checked, on the next sync, all your songs on your iPhone that are not 128kpbs AAC files will be removed and then re-added, being converted on the fly.
The first time I did it, about 400 songs on my iPhone needed to be converted. It took about ten minutes to do the conversion. Once the first large conversion is done, the iPhone syncs your music as fast (or slow) as it ever did (unless you’re refreshing your iPhone’s library every time you sync). If you keep “convert higher bitrate songs to 128kpbs AAC files” checked, any new songs added to your iPhone will automatically be converted.It’s important to note that this on-the-fly conversion does not alter your original files inside your iTuneslibrary — those will remain at whatever bitrate and in whatever file format you had them in.How well does this work? I saved a whopping 1.5GBs of space on my 8GB iPhone. Others here at TUAW saved between 2-5GBs. Of course, how much space you save will be dependent on what bitrate and file type your songs are now."
Make sure to click on APPLY on the bottom of the screen after you make the changes. On mine it did take a while to download the new versions. I had 352 songs. Now I have 2.6 G available and 11 G used. I saved .3 Gigabytes or 300 Megabytes... not a lot, but some.

You an always just delete the Music you do not listen to temporarily. It is stored in iTunes and can be added back easily.

3. Change email settings:

Download Fewer Emails
You can limit the number of emails that your iPhone downloads for each email account you have configured. Needless to say, the fewer emails downloaded, the less disk space they’ll take up.
  • To set this limit low, tap “Settings” from the home screen.
  • Tap Mail, Contacts, Calendars.
  • In the Mail part of the page that shows up, choose "Show".  In the “Show” line, you can set the phone to show only your most recent 50, 75, 100, or 200 messages. The lower the number you use, the less disk space the emails will take up.
Mine was already set to the lowest, so that is not somewhere I can get space on my phone.

Delete Emails Sooner

When you delete an email on the iPhone, the disk space isn’t immediately freed up. Instead, that happens when the iPhone periodically clears deleted content from its memory.
You can free up disk space by making sure that those messages are actually cleared after being deleted. 

Once you get it set up here is how your iPhone works:  
1. When you click on the Mail program and then get to the INBOX the mail that you have received is downloaded from an email server somewhere to your phone. In SETTINGS>MAIL, CONTACTS, CALENDARS choose your email address. If you then go to ADVANCED you can set up your phone to download 50, 100, 150, 200 messages. I recommend that you download 50. That will give you the 50 newest messages and not take up as much space.

I have a lot of folders for my mail and so if I do not open them the messages that are in those folders on my computer are not downloaded onto my phone and so they do not take up space. If I download them by opening the folder and then want to remove them I have to delete them.

2. You can also set up where your messages go after they are deleted. This is also in SETTINGS>MAIL, CONTACTS, CALENDARS>EMAIL ADDRESS 2X>ADVANCED. I changed mine to go to the Trash. Now when I go to the TRASH folder it shows me all of the mail that I have deleted and I can choose to delete all of them at once. Unfortunately for me, and maybe for you. I have not been doing this for a long time so I have hundreds of messages in my Inbox that I have to move to the trash one by one before I can actually clear them from the phone.

4. Delete Voicemails
iPhone voicemails aren’t fully deleted until they’re cleared. Sure, you can mark the voicemails as deleted, but they’re still on the phone — taking up disk space — until you clear them.
I usually don't delete my voicemails just because I might want to look at them again sometime. I know how silly that is. Actually there are two steps to deleting the voicemails from the phone. If you don't do the second one, clear the deleted messages, you will still have them on your phone and you can restore them if you want to. Here are steps to fully delete your voicemail.
  1. Tap the Phone icon.
  2. Tap the Voicemail icon in the bottom right.
  3. If you have deleted messages that haven’t been cleared, the Visual Voicemail list will include an item at the VERY bottom of all of the messages called “Deleted Messages.” Tap it.
  4. In that screen, tap the “Clear All” button to permanently delete the messages and free up that valuable disk space.
When I did this my usage changed to 2.6G available and 10.9 G used. I guess that .1 G is not worth enough to open up more useable space.

5. Delete Apps that you do not use

iTunes keeps track of all of the apps that you have purchased (including the free ones). Even if you delete them from your iPhone you can download them for free again later. The list you first saw when you checked your usage told you what size different apps are. I found out that I have Pages on my phone. It takes up 289 MB (that is a lot!) I do not use my iPhone for writing, so I will take it off. There are other apps that I have downloaded to try (especially for free!), but don't use, so I can delete them. 

I could delete apps right from the Usage screen. If you click on an app it takes you to a screen with a DELETE button at the bottom. Click DELETE and it is removed from the list.

This made the most difference for me so far.  I now have 4.2 G Available and 9.4 G used.

6. Delete past Chat discussions

Maybe that is not such a necessary tip. It did not change my numbers at all. Maybe it was less than a MB, so it did not show up at all. I am not a big texter, so that may be the reason.

7. Remove watched Videos

In order to delete a video that is on your iPhone you first get to the list of videos and then touch the one you want to delete and drag to the left. The red Delete button appears and when you click on it the video is deleted. 

This is a video that shows how that works.

8. Prefer Standard Definition Videos

In the explanation above about changing the format of movies I also checked that I Prefer Standard Definition Videos. When there is a choice between Standard and HD it will choose the Standard. This should not affect the way it looks on the iPhone since the screen is so small.

In writing all of this up I came across a software called Tune Up My Mac that goes through your Mac to see what it has on it that is extra and may be causing it to run slowly. My computer has been running slowly, so I thought I would give it a try. For free you get a scan where it finds those extra files and then in order to remove them you have to purchase the software at $39 for a one year license. I decided to purchase it because I wanted to see how it would work.
Here is a link to it incase you are interested.
Tune up my Mac

P.S. After writing most of this and giving you my final total I found more mail that I could delete and learned about the PhotoStream. My final usage is 5 GB available and 8.6 GB used! I still have mail to delete and remove. It has been great figuring this all out. I hope it is helpful to you.