Dale Dietrich
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Category — small office

Best iOS 7 Enhhancement – DYNAMIC TYPE

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For years iOS has had a ‘system-wide’ font size option that allows you to set a font size of choice. Apps that support it will use the larger font size. Of course virtually no apps ever did support it and my aging eyes have been yearning for the larger screen Android’s out there.

I have had iOS 7 since August but didn’t know about its ‘new’ Dynamic Type option until today. Many apps have updates to be compatible with iOS 7. Flipboard recently included a feature that allowed the user to set a preferred font (Yay! Made it usable). Well, when Flipboard updated itself, it popped up a message that said “We see that you had set a font preference, from now on we will be using your system wide Dynamic Type preference”. Say what? I kinda ignored this until I noticed that my AnyList app (best grocery list app out there by the way) does the same thing. It now supports the system wide Dynamic Type choice. So, I looked it up in settings. In the past iOS gave you a choice of, maybe 6 or 7 font sizes – but, again, the only apps that ever supported that were email and messaging. The new Dynamic Type setting (see image) gives you a much broader array of font sizes to choose from. So, I set it to quite large.
CONTINUE READING →

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Fine Tip–Tip Calculator

Categories: developmentiPhonelifemobile apps
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Buy in the iTunes App Store – $0.99

I’m delighted to announce that the Apple App Store accepted my first iPhone app, Fine Tip – Tip Calculator, on my first try. You can use Fine Tip to quickly calculate your next restaurant bill’s tip and grand total. It’s fast and easy to use. Take a look at the demo/tutorial:

Fine Tip, Tip Calculator Tutorial

Features:

  • image_thumb5Fast, Elegant, Accurate, Full-Featured, Yet Easy to Use
  • All Controls on One Screen
  • Calculate Tip Based on Subtotal or Total: Calculate the appropriate tip on either the pre-tax subtotal amount (shown in image on right) or the after tax bill total.
  • Easily Adjust Tip Amount: As you slide the ‘Tip %’ slider up and down, the tip and grand total amounts adjust on the fly.
  • Round the Tip: Make it easy for the server to receive their tip. Use the + / – buttons to successively round the tip amount up or down in 25 cent increments (eg: to $12,00, $12.25, $12.50 etc.). The grand total (Total + Tip) amount and effective tip rate indicator adjust on the fly.
  • Round the Grand Total: Alternatively round the grand total (Total + Tip) amount up or down in 25 cent increments. In the example to the right, down to $100.00 even or, say, up to $101.00 even). The tip amount and effective tip rate indicator adjust on the fly.
  • Split the Bill: Use the ‘Split’ slider to split the bill between multiple parties and the applicable per person tip and grand total (Total + Tip) amounts will be shown.
  • Personalized Multi-party Tipping: Pass Fine Tip around to other people in your party so they can bump their personal tip or grand total amounts up or down as they choose.
  • CONTINUE READING →

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    Apple’s New ‘Podcasts’ App a Disappointment

    Categories: iPadiPhonemobile appssoftware
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    imageYears have passed with no significant changes made to the podcast functionality built into the iTunes (now Music) app.  As a daily consumer of podcasts, I had high hopes for Apple’s newly released (June 26, 2012) ‘Podcasts’ app.

    While some improvements were made – namely the ability to directly subscribe to podcasts from within the app – for several reasons, I will remain loyal to Downcast:

    • Direct Updates, But No Wi-Fi-Only Updates: The most important new feature of Apple’s new ‘Podcasts’ app is its ability to directly subscribe to podcasts from within the app without the need to physically connect the iPhone/iPod to a computer. Inexplicably, Apple provides no setting to limit such updates when connected to Wi-Fi only. Without this feature, Podcasts users will quickly see their monthly bandwidth allotments eaten up by podcasts downloads. This is a major fail!
    • 30 Second Skip & Instant Replay, But No Ear-bud Control: Finally Apple built-in the ability to skip forward 30 seconds. Instant replay has been built-in for years. But, surprisingly, you cannot trigger this functionality with the ear-bud controls. I listen to hours of podcasts every day through my ear-buds. While walking dogs, carrying a baby or out in the winter, I do not want to have to reach into my pockets every few minutes to skip forward or rewind a podcast. And there is no Siri control of podcast playback either.  Grrr!

    CONTINUE READING →

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    I Was Eligible for the Free 25GB SkyDrive Upgrade

    Categories: cloud computinginternetiPhone
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    image

    Yay, I was eligible for the free 25GB Skydrive upgrade (vs 7GB for new users). To see if you are eligible for the free Skydrive upgrade click here.

    Because I used Windows Live Mesh in the past (or maybe because I tested out Skydrive in the past, I don’t know), I was eligible for the free upgrade. Without this free upgrade I probably wouldn’t have used either Google Drive or SkyDrive because their free storage options (5GB and 7GB respectively) were not quite large enough to contain all the contents of my pictures (7.5GB) and key files (2.5GB) directories.

    While I was an enthusiastic early user of Dropbox, I prefer SkyDrive over the new Google Drive and DropBox primarily because I can sync any number of disparate existing folders from my PC. Google Drive and Dropbox limit your sharing to only one dedicated folder.

    [Update: After reading the Paul Thurrott piece listed below, I discovered that, unlike Live Mesh before it, Sky Drive does not yet allow you to sync multiple disparate folders Sad smile . It appears to have the same dedicated folder limitation that Google Drive and Dropbox have. Alas, while I’m happy to have the 25GB upgrade, it won’t be used until I can use SkyDrive to sync multiple folders.]

    CONTINUE READING →

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    How to Get Rid of the Annoying Warning Message When Opening Attachments in Outlook 2010

    Categories: geekhow-toresolving tech problemssmall officesoftwarevistawindows 7
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    image

    If the warning above annoys you as much as it does me whenever you open an attachment in Outlook 2010 (or outlook 2007) the video below shows you how to get rid of it.

    [Note: This is a reprise of an earlier post where I showed how to do this in the context of Outlook 2007.]

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    Easily Rotate iPhone 4S Videos with Freemake Video Converter

    Categories: geekhow-toiPhoneresolving tech problemssoftwareutilitieswindows 7
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    image

    There is a known video rotation issue when importing videos into Windows 7 that were taken in landscape mode with the iPhone 4 and 4S . In Windows, iPhone videos will be upside down if, when you took them, you held the iPhone horizontally with the recording on/off controls at the top. Turns out that if you want your video to be right-side-up when importing them to the PC you will need to hold the iPhone upside down when taking the video.

    Also, all videos taken in portrait mode on the iPhone will appear sideways when imported onto the PC. There is no way to take portrait videos on the iPhone 4 and 4S without them appearing sideways on the PC.

    In the video below I show you how to use the terrific free ‘Freemake Video Converter’ app to solve this problem by rotating your imported videos to the proper orientation.

    CONTINUE READING →

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    Easily Rotate Locked iPhone 4 and 4S Photos in Windows 7 with the Free JPEG Lossless Rotator

    Categories: geekhow-toiPhoneresolving tech problemssoftwareutilitieswindows 7
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    image

    There is a known Windows 7  rotation issue with portrait photos taken with the iPhone 4 and 4S. Unlike with the 3G or 3GS, photos taken in portrait mode on the iPhone 4 and 4S do not auto-rotate when imported in to Windows 7. This is the case: (i) whether you sync your photos via iCloud; or (ii) whether you physically import them via USB; even when you explicitly set the Windows import utility to auto-rotate them on import. The issue is being discussed here, here , here and here on the Apple support forums and here on the Microsoft support forum.

    To make matters worse, a good portion of these photos end up locked in such a way that you cannot subsequently rotate them with the various photo rotate tools built in to Windows 7 (see error message in the image above).

    CONTINUE READING →

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    Bought a Doxie Scanner – Really Like It

    Categories: gadgetshardwaresmall office
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    imageAs part of my ongoing move to a ‘ paperless’ office, I purchased a Doxie scanner. It’s small, easy to use and does exactly what I need – scan to an app or the cloud.

    The key benefit of this scanner is that I can scan into any app that accepts images or documents. Most importantly for me, it scans directly into Evernote. I’m finally able to ‘easily’ get rid of any number of rag-tag pieces of paper that collect with odds and sods of information.

    I have a Brother copier, printer, scanner but its too difficult to use. To scan documents on it I have to, place it in the scanner, close the lid, press a whole bunch of buttons, open the archaic Brother ‘Control Center 3’ software, scan in the document (at a glacial speed) where it store the document somewhere on my computer. From there I have to find it, sort it, open it and do something with it.

    With the Doxie, on the other hand, I just place the paper in the scanner, press the Doxie button, it scans (faster than the Brother) then it asks where I want to send it (to Evernote, Flicker, Paint.net, Google Apps, most any app on my PC) and then it sends it to where I want it stored/used.  It’s so much easier. There is no file where the document/image is stored on my PC unless I want it.

    The only issue I have with it is that I still have not found a way to scan directly into OneNote. For now I scan into Paint.net, then copy it over to OneNote.

    Bottom Line, it’s fast, easy, and exactly what I need.

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    Free Mobile Hotspot Tethering on Rogers with Nexus S

    Categories: androidNexus S
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    imageBefore I purchased my Nexus S, I was sure that I had heard/read somewhere that it can natively (ie: without rooting the device) provide mobile hotspot tethering to other devices – ie: set it up so that other devices, like my laptop, iPod Touch or iPad, can connect to it as a hotspot, to share my Rogers 3G data account with all my non-3G, Wi-Fi enable devices.

    When I purchased the Nexus S at the local Rogers store a couple weeks ago the sales people assured me that this was not possible –that I’d have to pay Rogers a separate, extra $5 fee each month to turn tethering on. Turns out the  Rogers guys were wrong – at least in the case of the Nexus S. No doubt this is true for all other non-Nexus branded Android devices. I bought the Nexus S primarily because it is a stock Google Android phone with no carrier-futzing limiting what it can do.

    imageDespite being told it wouldn’t work, I got around to testing it out today. I set up a portable hotspot on my Nexus S called ‘Dale’s Android Hotspot’ – see instructions below. I turned on my iPad, opened the Wi-Fi settings and, voila,  it saw the ‘Dale’s Android Hotspot’ (see image on the right). I typed in the password, fired up mobile Safari, and had full Internet access through my Nexus S hot-spot. Email worked too. Wonderful!


    This means that when I’m out and about with my laptop or iPad, I can access the Internet from anywhere I can get 3G access (subject, of course, to Rogers wireless data caps and overage fees). Heck, I can even use this hotspot to connect my now SIM-less iPhone 3GS to the Internet.

    I’m very happy about this.  I’m love’n my Nexus S more and more every day!!

    How to Setup the Nexus S as a Portable hotspot:

    • Go to the Android’s Settings screen
    • Select ‘Wireless & networks’
    • Select ‘Tethering & Portable hotspot’
    • Click the checkbox beside the ‘Portable Wi-fi hotspot’
    • Click on the ‘Portable Wi-Fi hotspot settings’ item
    • Click on the ‘Configure Wi-Fi hotspot’ item
    • Name the hotspot in the ‘Network SSID field’ – I named mine ‘Dale’s Android Hotspot’
    • On the security pull-down menu select ‘WPA2 PSK’
    • Type in your desired hotspot password
    • Click ‘Save’

    That’s it. Now turn on your iPad, iPod touch, laptop, whatever, search for the named hotspot, type in the password and you are off to the tethered races.

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    Hotspot Shield Works in Canada Again–With Some Annoyances

    Categories: broadcastingcanadainteractive mediainternetsoftwaretv
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    hotspot shield logoBack in May, 2009 I reported that Hulu had managed to defeat Hotspot Shield. As of September 9, 2010 the latest Hotspot Shield seems to be effective at defeating Hulu’s anti-circumvention measures.

    At this moment I can access each of:

    • Hulu: I can access full episodes of shows on Hulu now. Below, for example, is Episode 2 of Season 1 of MasterChef:

    masterchef on hulu via hotspot shield

    • Pandora: I had happily used Pandora for a long time before they cut off access to Canadians. I’m delighted that I can access it again.

    CONTINUE READING →

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    iOS 4.0.1 Fixes iPhone 3G Performance Problems Somewhat

    Categories: gadgetsiPhone
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    Since upgrading to iOS 4 a couple months back my iPhone 3G has ran as slow as molasses. So frustratingly slow that I have been considering replacing it with an Android (though Android handset choices in Canada are few).

    Today iOS 4.0.1 was released. As you can see below it purports to include iPhone 3G performance fixes.

    iOS4 update

    After futzing around with my updated iPhone 3G for an  hour I can report that the update has fixed the problem somewhat. Apps do start and function quicker than they have recently. But the device and its apps still run noticeably slower than pre-iOS4.

    I’m still considering an Android but, for the time being,  am unlikely to completely abandon the iPhone. I’m  hoping future iOS updates continue to fix 3G performance issues. But, I’m not holding my breath.

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    Flipboard’s Twitter Integration Makes it a Game Changer

    Categories: iPadsoftware
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    flipboard

    I’ve been waiting patiently for my Flipboard invite since its launch last week. I received my invite earlier today and have been playing with it ever since.

    The generic Flipboard interface is nice, but, for me, its killer feature is its Twitter integration. I feel almost as excited about Flipboard as Robert Scoble Smile.

    At the moment I follow 74 terrific Twitter users. About 75% of their tweets contain links to interesting articles on topics dear to my heart. Flipboard turns this curated feed of news stories and blog posts into a beautifully personalized eZine. As I flip through Flipboard, instead of links to the stories in my Twitter feed, the first few paragraphs and accompanying picture from most of those linked stories are attractively and interactively displayed on my iPad. If I want to read the full story, I tap it and am instantly taken to the underlying story on its originating website.  Another tap and I’m back to my Flipboard eZine. See the demo below:

    Twitter integration is the raison d’etre for Flipboard

    CONTINUE READING →

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    How to Avoid The Adobe Download Manager Firefox Extension

    Categories: how-toresolving tech problems
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    image

    Having recently updated my Adobe Flash Player software for the umpteenth time on two different PCs, I discovered that if you download and install it in the normal way, you end up with a new and unwanted Adobe Download Manager Firefox extension that cannot be removed.

    Here’s how to avoid this:

    On the Adobe Flash Player download page, uncheck the “Free McAfee Security Scan Plus” option (who knows what that will add to your machine), then click on the yellow “Agree and install now” button:

    clip_image001

    CONTINUE READING →

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    New iOS 4 (formerly iPhone OS) Features

    Categories: iPhonemobile
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    iOS 4 on iPhone 4 devices As with the rest of the world, I have upgraded to iOS 4. Straight from the update install screen itself, below is the list of new features included in this update.

    See Also: TiPb’s terrific iOS4 Walkthrough.

    * Requires iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, and iPod touch 3rd generation
    ** Requires iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS, or iPhone 4

    Be Warned: Downloading and installing the update takes awhile. It took iTunes and my 16 GB iPhone well over an hour to be updated.

    —–

    This update contains over 100 new features, including the following:

    • Multitasking support for third-party apps*
      – Multitasking user interface to quickly move between
         apps
      – Support for audio apps to play in the background
      – VoIP apps can receive and maintain calls in the
         background or when device is asleep
      – Apps can monitor location and take action while
         running in the background
      – Alerts and messages can be pushed to apps using
         push and local notifications
      – Apps can complete tasks in the background
    • Folders to better organize and access apps
    • Home screen Wallpaper*

    CONTINUE READING →

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    How to Sync only Selected Outlook 2010 Contacts with Google Apps Sync

    Categories: cloud computinghow-toiPhonemobilesmall office
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    Google Apps Sync (see video below) for Outlook is a Godsend!

     

    Until recently I was using:

    Until Google Apps Sync I had no way of syncing contacts between Outlook and Gmail. When iTunes version 9.1 crapped out and stopped syncing contacts and calendar with my iPhone (this was fixed in iTunes 9.2 by the way) I made the decision to pony up the $50 a year for Google Apps Premier which includes Google Apps Sync.

    It was worth every penny. I am rid the sync hodge-podge described above. I now have an end-to end, email, calendar, contact sync solution across my PCs, Google Apps Gmail, my iPhone and my iPad.

    The Problem – How to Sync Only Selected Contacts

    I only want a relatively few current contacts synced from Outlook to Gmail, my iPhone and iPad – about 250 or so contacts. But, I have accumulated some 800 contacts including historic clients and colleagues from prior law firms, restaurants from when I lived in different cities, old friends I no longer keep in touch with and so on. I don’t want to lose these contacts but I also don’t want them cluttering up my Google Apps Gmail, iPhone or iPad contact lists.

    While you can segregate contacts within different contact folders inside the Google Apps Sync account in Outlook, all contacts such segregated contacts continue to sync into the unified Gmail, iPhone and iPad contact lists – regardless of the contact folder structure you set up inside of Outlook.

    CONTINUE READING →

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    Resolving “OLMAPI32.dll is incompatible” Error When Upgrading from Outlook 2007 to Outlook 2010

    Categories: resolving tech problemssoftwarewindows 7
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    outlook 2010 splash screenYou cannot/should not, it appears, retain Outlook 2007 installed on your PC after upgrading to Outlook 2010.

    If, as I did, you do not de-install Outlook 2007 after the upgrade you may find that you cannot run Outlook 2010. In such case you may get the following error message when attempting to run it:

    “The file OLMAPI32.dll is incompatible with Microsoft Outlook. Install Outlook again”

    It may be possible that had I uninstalled Outlook 2007 or had I never attempted to run Outlook 2007 after upgrading to Outlook 2010, this error may never have appeared. Nonetheless, once this error appeared I was not able to run Outlook 2010 again until I uninstalled Outlook 2007 as described below.

    Note: As always, before proceeding, I recommend creating a restore point in case something goes wrong.

    According to this Microsoft Answers post, the solution did not lie in ”Installing Outlook again’ as the error message suggested. Rather, the solution required uninstalling Outlook 2007 and repairing Outlook 2010.

    So, off to Add-Remove Programs from the Control Panel to Remove Outlook 2007 right? Not so easy.

    CONTINUE READING →

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    Seesmic Twitter App for iPhone Not for Me. Sticking with the Official Twitter App (aka Tweetie 3)

    Categories: interactive mediaiPhonemobilesocial networking
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    seesmic iphone app icon I tested out the Seesmic iPhone App today. Seesmic on the web is my current preferred method of viewing tweets on the Twitter iPhone app icondesktop. While the iPhone app is a terrific start, given the deal breaker points discussed below (not remembering where the user leaves off in the timeline, no landscape viewing modes and no ability to adjust fonts), I’m sticking with the new official Twitter App (aka Tweetie 3) on my iPhone – bugs and all.

    Seesmic Pros:

    • ITS FREE
    • NICE INTERFACE: It has a terrific and elegant interface.
    • CLASSIC RT: It supports classic ‘RT’ retweeting.
    • EVERNOTE INTEGRATION: You can now post a tweet to your Evernote database with the click of a button. I love this idea! I hope more twitter apps (iPhone or desktop) add this feature in the future.
    • UNLIMITED LOAD OLDER TWEETS: It supports unlimited ‘Load older…” tweets at the end of the timeline (something that the Twitter App also supports in theory but is often buggy)
    • WICKED FAST: It is surprisingly fast when loading those older tweets. It is faster than the Twitter app, Tweetdeck and Echofon.
    • ADJUSTABLE ‘TWEETS LOADED’ SETTING: I like the ability to set how many tweets it downloads at a time. I always set these to the max – usually 100.

    Seesmic Cons:

    • DOESN’T REMEMBER WHERE YOU LEFT OFF ON START: I try to read every tweet from the limited number of people I follow. To do this I want my Twitter app to start up where I last left off. The Seesmic iPhone does NOT remember where I left off when I shut down the app and restart it – even if I shut it down for just for a minute and come back. THIS IS A CRITICAL FLAW AND DEAL BREAKER FOR ME!
    • DOESN’T REMEMBER WHERE YOU WERE WHEN RETURNING FROM LINK: If you are, say, 5 hours down your timeline, and then you click on a link in a tweet to read a linked story within Seesmic’s embedded browser, when you return, you are returned to the TOP of the timeline – not where you left off. You must scroll down and find where you left off in the timeline. If you left off beyond the 100 tweets loaded, you have to reload the older tweets. VERY ANNOYING & ANOTHER DEAL KILLER!
    • NO LANDSCAPE MODE: It’s all portrait all the time. This is especially painful when viewing websites within its embedded browser. THIS WAS ALSO A DEAL KILLER FOR ME (Twitter App & Echofon do landscape – Tweetdeck doesn’t)
    • NO USER SELECTABLE FONT SIZE: My aging eyes need this!! Another deal killer for me. I note Tweetdeck also cannot adjust fonts whereas the Twitter app and Echofon can

    CONTINUE READING →

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    How to Get Rid of the Annoying Warning Message When Opening Attachments in Outlook 2007

    Categories: how-toresolving tech problemssmall officesoftwarevistawindows 7windows xp
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    grayed-out and checked 'Always ask before opening this type of file' box

    If the warning above annoys you as much as it does me whenever you open an attachment in Office 2007, here’s how to get rid of it.

    The Problem

    Microsoft has understandably made security a cornerstone of its recent software releases. Each time you attempt to open a possibly malicious attachment in Outlook 2007, a warning dialogue box like the one above appears. It presents an always-checked, always-grayed-out box that reads: ‘Always ask before opening this type of file’.

    Because Word, Excel, PDF and other document types can contain malicious code, you should, as the box warns, only open attachments from trustworthy sources. But, if you have a modern Anti-Virus program such as AVG or Microsoft’s Security Essentials (both of which are free), attachments in your emails should already be checked for malicious code. When this is the case, this warning dialogue box is an unnecessary interruption that becomes increasingly annoying if, like me, you receive emails with attachments many times a day.

    The Solution in  Windows 7

    Warning: You should only do this if you have anti-virus software installed on your computer that checks for, and quarantines, all emails that contain attachments with malicious code. And, as the warning says, you should never open attachments from anyone that you don’t know and trust! 

    OK, you’ve been duly warned. Here’s how to do it:

    CONTINUE READING →

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    Bell’s Internet Usage Meter is Off by Up-to 60 Hours

    Categories: canadacloud computinginternetutilities
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    Bell Internet Max 16 logo Last March, I switched ISPs from Rogers to Bell’s fiber-to-the-building Internet Max 16 service. I made the switch at the same time I ‘cut the chord’ – dumping Rogers cable in favor of HD, over-the-air only, TV recorded on my Series 3 TiVo.

    Bell offered me a one year promotional deal for their Internet Max 16 service where I would receive (in theory*) download speeds of up to 16 Mbps and 1 Mbps upload for $41.90 a month. At the time, my theoretical 10 Mbps down service from Rogers (with a 95 GB cap) was costing me $59.95 a month.

    As with Rogers, all of Bell’s plans have data caps – much smaller than comparable U.S. ISPs I might add. The data cap for the service under the Internet Max 16 promotional offer is 100 GB. 

    Periodically during each month, I check my Bell Internet usage meter** (shown below, after the jump) to make sure I’m staying within the 100 GB cap. This becomes particularly important towards the end of the month where I am always running up against the cap.

    As you can see in the picture below (circled in red after the jump), Bell’s ‘My Internet usage’ meter contains fine print which reads:

    Note: Current total Internet usage activity shown may be delayed by up to 60 hours.

    CONTINUE READING →

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    Evernote Review – It Has Become an Integral Part of my Life

    Categories: cloud computingutilitiesweb apps
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    imageWhen I first purchased my Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet, several years ago, I dabbled with an earlier stand-alone version of Evernote. It presented a never-ending scratch-pad of sorts that I could write on with the tablet’s stylus. It was nice, even useful, but it didn’t supplant OneNote as my primary note-keeping software, until recently.

    Evernote is the latest of several cloud-based service that I have been experimenting with. See my prior posts on  Google Apps Gmail with iMap, xmarks (formerly Foxmarks) and Dropbox.

    The new cloud-based Evernote blows both the old Evernote and OneNote out of the water.

    Evernote Benefits

    • It’s free. Free accounts permit up to 40 Megabytes of new notes to be added / synced per month. I haven’t come close to using my monthly capacity in the two months I’ve used it (I have used, perhaps 1/4 of that).
    • More than Text Notes: With the free version you can keep text, photo, audio clip and handwritten notes (in my case, written with a stylus on my tablet laptop). You can also import PDF files into notes in the free version.
    • imageMultiplatform Syncing: These notes are continuously synced, accessible and editable across my three primary PCs (Thinkpad tablet, Dell XPS desktop and my iMac) and my iPhone.
    • Accessible from the Cloud: I can access and edit these notes through my Evernote account in the cloud.
    • Notes Backed Up: By virtue of its syncing across multiple platforms and a copy of all notes residing in the cloud, my notes are continuously backed-up across my systems and off-site.
    • e8fbda733b7f1ac3f333410a6e35dfe3Tagging & Search: You can tag notes, structure the tags in a hierarchy (if you like – see the picture of part of my tag hierarchy on the right) and sort them how you chose. Or don’t. Instead, you can rely on its formidable search engine to find your notes. Either way, notes I wrote years ago (imported from OneNote) are as easy to find as notes I wrote yesterday.
    • Indexes Text in Images: Surprisingly, Evernote can index text in images. If I take a picture of a bottle of wine, a business card, a plane ticket, or even hand written notes on my tablet, it will scan and index that text. That text then becomes searchable when looking for the note containing the image at a later date.
    • Clip From Anywhere: Evernote adds toolbar icons in Firefox and IE that allow you to clip webpage contents, text, columns or images into a note. You can clip entire pages or just a few paragraphs. Additionally, pressing Print-Screen on a PC (Control-Command-C on the iMac ) fires up a screen ‘Clipper’ app that can grab a screen shot of any running app or the entire desktop (or portion thereof). You can cut and paste from any app on an iPhone into the Evernote app.

    See this ‘What is Evernote’ page for more details on what it does.

    CONTINUE READING →

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    I’m Using Dropbox to Sync Key Files Across My PC, Laptop and iMac

    Categories: cloud computingutilitiesweb apps
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    dropbox logo

    I have recently been experimenting with various cloud-based services. Among the best are EverNote, Google Apps Gmail with iMap, xmarks (formerly Foxmarks) and, now, Dropbox.

    As described in more detail below, among other things Dropbox: (i) allows me to securely sync office documents between my PCs and Mac at any location; (ii) unchains me from my office PC; (iii) liberates me from coding on a single PC; and (iv) allows me to draft and maintain my Windows Live Writer blog posts from any of my PCs situated anywhere.

    Dropbox Benefits

    • Sync: Dropbox synchronizes your key files between any number of Internet-connected PCs, laptops or Macs, effortlessly and instantaneously.
    • Access Your Key Files Anywhere: Synced files are also maintained on the Dropbox servers. You can login to your account from any web-enabled computer to securely access your files (download or upload).
    • Security: All file transmissions occur over an encrypted SSL channel. All files stored on Dropbox servers are encrypted using AES-256 encryption accessible only by you with your account password.
    • Backup: Because your files are synced across at least two PCs, your files are effectively backed-up.
    • Real-Time Offsite Backup: Because your files are also copied to the Dropbox servers, they are effectively backed-up, off site, in real-time.
    • Undo/File Recovery: Remarkably, Dropbox maintains a 30 day history of every change made to your files so you can undo changes or undelete accidently deleted files.
    • Shared Files & Folders: You can share files and folders with other drop-box users. For example, you could set up a shared folder of photos accessible only by friends and family through their Dropbox accounts.
    • iPhone App Coming Soon: You can view all your Word, PowerPoint, Excel, PDF, etc. files  using the free Dropbox iPhone App coming soon (see iPhone, Blackberry and other Dropbox mobile details here).

    Click here for a detailed list of Dropbox features.

    Dropbox Demo

    How I use Dropbox

    • Office Document Use: As a lawyer I access, edit and annotate Word documents and pdfs all day, every day. When I move from my PC to my laptop, I save the file I’m working on and by the time I shift to my laptop, the changes made to that file are synced to my laptop. Similarly any edits made on the laptop are instantaneously synced back to the desktop. No longer do I have to email the document to myself, save it to a USB key, copy to/from network drives. I simply open and save files on whatever PC, laptop, or Mac I’m using, and the latest version is instantly available on the other synced devices.

    CONTINUE READING →

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    How to Stop iTunes from Starting the Auto Picture Sync Wizard when the iPhone is Connected to a PC

    Categories: gadgetshow-tointeractive mediaiPhoneresolving tech problemsvistawindows 7
    Tags:

    Since purchasing my iPhone back in August 2008, every time I connected my iPhone to my PC (originally Vista, now Windows 7 RC), iTunes would automatically start the Windows ‘Import Pictures and Videos’ wizard (“IPVW”), regardless of whether or not there were any new pictures on my iPhone to import.

    image

    Since I connect my iPhone to iTunes every day (to update my podcasts, backup data, install new apps etc.), I had to cancel out of the IPVW every time I connected. This was a daily frustration!

    Along the line I had collected up some 30ish pictures in my iPhone’s ‘camera roll’ for the following reasons:

    1. Originally, I had not set the ‘delete from iPhone when importing’ option in the IPVW, so those pictures remained on the camera roll even after syncing; and
    2. For some good pictures, I just wanted to keep a copy on my iPhone for viewing.

    Strangely, there is no way to move  pictures from the iPhone’s ‘camera roll’ to an album in the iPhone’s native Photos app.

    Most of the time I want pictures to be copied off my iPhone when I sync. As a result I had set the IPVW’s Import settings (see link in picture above) accordingly. To my mind, the iPhone should only automatically pop-up the IPVW when there are new pictures that a user might want copied over to the PC. That is not how it works.

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    Firefox 3.5 Ticks Along Nicely

    Categories: small officesoftware
    Tags:

    firefox logoI upgraded my iMac and my Windows 7 machines to Firefox 3.5 (available here) today. 

    All went well. The total download/install time was about 4 minutes on my iMac – 2 minutes on Windows 7 RC.

    This isn’t a particularly important release for me. I was happy with Firefox 3.0.1. But they promised more speed so I gave it a whirl.

    • Snappier: With its new JavaScript engine – TraceMonkey, it does appear to be snappier, but not a whole lot more snappier as some had suggested.
    • New Tab Icon: I like the new tab ‘+’ icon. They are imitated  an IE feature here.  This is useful, especially for news.
    • Moving Tabs Between Windows: Now you can drag a tab out of the browser and a new window will open with that page. Or drag a tab from one window to another. For multi-monitor users like myself, this is a terrific new feature.
    • Addons – Extensions: All my extensions except 1 migrated nicely. I needed to do a manual update to my Tab Extensions 1 extension (discussed here and available here) but that was to be expected.
    • Open in Tabs’ Overwrite Bug: This ‘bug’ still persists in Firefox 3.5 (discussed here ). Alas, as long as the Tab Extensions add-on is available, this is not a problem for me.

    See also:

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    Steep Windows 7 Upgrade Pre-Order Discounts in the U.S. & Canada until July 11

    Categories: windows 7
    Tags:

    windows 7 home premium packagingWhile I am rather discouraged that Microsoft is not following Apple’s lead with aggressive Windows 7 pricing (snow leopard will retail for $29 U.S. in September), from June 26, to July 11, 2009, American and Canadian consumers can pre-order Windows 7 upgrades at deep-discounts (50% or more) off the retail price that Windows 7 will be selling for when it launches on October 22, 2009.

    Below are tables showing the preorder and retail pricing available to Canadian and American consumers with links to Amazon.com and Amazon.ca where Windows 7 can be pre-ordered at the discounted price until July 11, 2009.

    Note: See Paul Thurrott’s ‘Windows 7 Product Editions – A Comparison’ to see a detailed chart comparing the features of each. While I purchased the Vista ‘Ultimate’ edition in 2007, this time I will be purchasing the Home Premium edition for my PCs and laptops. I’ve been loving the Windows 7 beta and release candidate and heartily recommend it.

     

    U.S. Windows 7 Upgrade Pricing (with links to Amazon.com)

     

    Pre-order
    June  26 – July 11

    Retail Price
    After Oct 22, 2009

    Home Premium

    $49.99 U.S.

    $119.99 U.S.

    Professional

    $99.99 U.S.

    $199.99 U.S.

     

    Canadian Windows 7 Upgrade Pricing (with links to Amazon.ca)

     

    Pre-order
    June  26 – July 11

    Retail Price
    After Oct 22, 2009

    Home Premium (English)

    $64.99 Cdn

    $129.95 Cdn

    Home Premium (French)

    $64.99 Cdn

    $129.95 Cdn

    Professional (English)

    $124.99 Cdn

    $249.95 Cdn

    Professional (French)

    $124.99 Cdn

    $249.95 Cdn

    CONTINUE READING →

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    How to Get U.S.-only iPhone Apps with Hotspot Shield

    Categories: canadahealthy eatinghow-toiPhone
    Tags:

    hotspot shield logo With a few easy steps that take only minutes to complete, iPhone users the world round can get access to some (but not all) of the iPhone Apps that are only available in the U.S.. I’m surprised it took me so long to try this.  I just used it to d0wnload the Lose It! which was previously not available to me in Canada.

    [Note: Rogers is somehow still blocking Pandora and Skype even when I removed the SIM  card. Grrr! Here’s a Skype iPhone App workaround for Canadians – I haven’t tried it yet.]

    configuring a vpn on the iphone with hotspot shield Setup is a breeze. It took me about two minutes. You essentially set up a VPN connection to the U.S. through the HotSpot Shield servers. This, of course, would also be useful for safe surfing at coffee shops and other wifi locations.

    Once you have set up your account, configured and activated the VPN (see instructions below), navigate to the App Store on your iPhone. Search for the app you want and (if its there) download it. It’s that simple.

    Survives Desktop Sync

    I was concerned that if I downloaded apps this way, they would be wiped out after I synced my iPhone with iTunes to my desktop. Not so. The sync went fine and the apps remained on the iPhone.

    No Need to Keep VPN Turned On

    You only need to activate the VPN to download the app. Once downloaded, you can use the app with the VPN shut off.

    CONTINUE READING →

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