Monday, September 22, 2014

Vacation

Recognizing the enormous (some might say, Herculean) effort the staff has made in getting this blog up and running and publishing over 1,200 posts, the staff has earned and deserves not only a rest, but indeed a reward. So, in recognition of and as a concrete way of saying thanks for all they have done, the entire staff and any family member any staff wishes to take are being treated to an all-expense trip to Athens and a cruise of the Greek Isles. So, during the next two weeks or so, there will be no new posts or emails from this blog. Provided the staff is not abducted by Aegean pirates, the blog postings and emails will return when the staff returns.

Law Firm Shows: The Good Wife (Newest Episode)

LA Law was terrific until it became just plain goofy. Ally McGraw started out quite good and became just plain goofy. The Good Wife was an excellent show. Alas, with the latest episode, it's now not just goofy ... it's stupid. Not only does the premise of the major plot not make sense, worse, the director cannot fill the 42 minutes with actual stuff--so inordinate time is spent filming walks down prison halls and other such instances of nothing happening.

DocuBank

DocuBank is a service that creates a "safe" where you can store just about anything, but most importantly, anything related to your estate plan and medical directives. It is not free (it costs $45/year), but an excellent estate lawyer will enroll you and upload everything you need as part of the flat fee for doing your estate plan and medical directives--even when that flat fee is no more than that of lawyers who do not bundle in this service. In all events, it is pretty cool. You get a card, and then, if you are ever hospitalized, just present the card and the facility can access anything you then authorize, including your allergies, your meds, your medical power of attorney, your living will, etc. etc. Here from the DocuBank website is a summary of its services:

Instant Access to Vital Documents
The DocuBank Emergency Card helps to ensure that your medical wishes are known and respected when it counts.  DocuBank SAFE allows you to upload and store those documents that you want quick, convenient, access to online.  
Keeping documents within reach.  Around the clock, around the world.
The Emergency Card 
Access is key in an emergency situation.  When you store your healthcare directives (living will, health care power of attorney) with DocuBank, you receive a personalized DocuBank Emergency Card that makes all of your emergency information and critical healthcare documents available in two convenient ways: 
A Call:    By placing a toll free call to 1-800-DOCUBANK hospitals can have your emergency information and advance directives immediately faxed to them
A Click:  Simply by clicking the Hospital Button, or using the pop up box on the DocuBank home page, hospital staff can view and print documents immediately
Medical Alerts
The DocuBank card lists important medical conditions and allergy information so that it is immediately available at the hospital. The name and contact information of one emergency contact also appears on the face of the card. A complete list of your current medications can also be stored.
DocuBank SAFE: Life. Securely Stored.
DocuBank SAFE is a complimentary part of every DocuBank membership.  Once your DocuBank membership is active you can log in to establish your encrypted SAFE password.  You can begin uploading documents immediately from your personal computer.  COMPLETE memberships include 2GB of SAFE storage FREE. 
Sharing Access
DocuBank COMPLETE includes the creation of SAFEShare Users for friends and family so they can view only those files members elect to share.  SAFEShare Users will receive an introduction email providing the information they need to log in to their personal SAFEShare DocuBank account.
Organization is Key
SAFE storage is set up into categories so you can keep your files organized.  You may also find that your providing professional has already uploaded files to your SAFE on your behalf.  If so, you will also be able to allow your provider to view files you upload by clicking the “share with provider” button when you upload a file.  Only those files you select will be viewable by your provider.
 

Auto-Email Responders

Different email providers handle auto-responder (vacation) emails in different ways. For example, Gmail lets you designate that such auto-responses go only to people in your Contact list. That way, you will not have to worry about sending responses to persons from far-away lands wanting to give you enormous sums of money. Cox, on the other hand, does not appear to have any such option. However, it does allow you designate whether to send an auto-response every time or only once to each sender. Bottom-line: Take care in deciding whether or not to activate an auto-responder and in selection of the options.

Changing the Display Timeout and AutoLock Feature

The biggest battery drain for any cellphone or tablet by far is the display, i.e., the screen being on. On an Android device, you can set the time for the display to automatically turn off (go to sleep) if there is no activity by simply going to Settings/Display/Screen Timeout and pick the time you want, and you can override that with the Always On widget if you want the screen never to sleep. You can also go to Settings/Lock Screen and choose to have or not have an autolock feature.

It is a mystery why manufacturers do not pick up competitors' phones to see what features they are competing with and how others might do things better--but it is precisely the kind of hubris that brought down Shakespeare's tragic features as well as companies like AOL and DELL. In that vein, it is clear that Apple has not looked at Android phones except to see what patents might be violated that can be sued upon. Specifically, to change the time-out duration, one needs to go to Settings/General/Auto-Lock and then pick the time you want the screen to go to sleep or you can pick never. But, there is no way under the iPhone settings to over-ride the Auto-Lock feature.  

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Samsung Support

If you have a Samsung device of any kind (cellphone, tablet, tv, washer, dryer, etc.), Samsung now has a fabulous support site. Just put in your product and you can easily find the answers to just about any question as well as do a simulation to try a fix before doing it for real on your device. If you call Samsung (or even your carrier for help if dealing with a cellphone), the rep likely will just be giving you info that he or she looked up on this site while on the phone with you.

Samsung Support Site Link

iPad Tips and Tricks

This article from Gizmo's Freeware gives excellent and concise overview of tips and tricks for iOS 7 and iOS 8 users: Gizmo Link

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Alphabetizing Apps

When new apps are downloaded on an Android device, especially in bulk such as when you are doing a factory reset, the downloaded apps will appear in seeming random order after the pre-installed apps. To integrate all the apps together and put them in alphabetical order, just tap on Apps/Settings/View Type and with one click they will be in alphabetical order. There must be a similar setting for Apple devices.

Factory Reset of a Mobile Device: Not Your Grandfather's Horror Show Any More

My phone (Samsung Galaxy S3) lost a critical function today. No fix seemed to work leaving  the dreaded factory reset as the only alternative--dreaded because all one's apps and other downloads, data, photos, music, videos, settings, preferences, etc. will be lost. As it turns out, at least with Samsung devices, the process no longer is to be so dreaded. All you need to do is download Samsung Kies (which is free) to your computer and in seconds you can back up all that stuff, including your apps, settings, etc. etc. and even your ringtone and other preferences. The Kies program also enables one to keep the computer and phone synced. Other manufacturers might have similar services. There is a download of Kies for Macs. Finally, if you decide to switch from an iPhone to a Samsung, you can migrate all your Apple stuff over to the Samsung automatically through Kies.

PS: Perhaps even more astounding, it appears to be hit or miss whether or not your carrier's tech rep has even heard of Kies.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

This Blog Now on the Twitter

In view of indescribable popular demand, and the inspiration and perseverance of a brilliant social media marketing guru, this blog will now be on the Twitter. Here is the link to sign up for Twitter feeds: Link to EDC Tech and Consumer Tips Twitter Feeds

Coal Miner's Daughter (1980)

It's not a bad movie and Ms. Spacek and Mr. Jones turn in decent performances and the story is worth telling. The problem with the movie is that it gives no explanation or insight as to why Ms. Lynn degenerates as she does, which one might think would be the sole if not at least the principal reason to make this movie. The background provided by IMDb and elsewhere does fill in this missing hole, but that makes it all the more baffling why the producers, director, and writers just to ignore it.


Complete Guide to iOS 8

This article covers everything from how to update your existing iPhone as well as iPad and iPod Touch, to all the new features of iOS 8: Complete iOS 8 Guide Link

Here is a detailed guide on the two ways to install iOS 8: Installing iOS 8

Here is how to free up space to make way for iOS 8: Freeing Up Space for iOS 8

New Features in iOS 8

With iOS 8 (pre-installed in the iPhone 6's and downloadable to iPhones running iOS 7), Apple has taken some significant steps to catch up to Android phones. Thanks to Extreme Tech, here are some key new features:

Widgets

iOS 8 widgets
Widgets in the iOS 8 notification center
At long last, your darling iPhone (or iPad) is finally capable of displaying widgets! Or, well, something at least resembling a widget! If you swipe down from the top of the screen, the Today panel of the notification center will be revealed. Apps will now have the ability to display whatever they like in the Today tab. Most apps will probably use this to display some helpful information, but they can also provide utility — such as quickly adding an item to your to-do list, bidding on an Ebay auction, or otherwise controlling an app without having to actually open it up.
Apps will have to be updated to show a widget in iOS 8, but I’m sure most of your favorite apps will be widgetified in short order.
(And yes, in case you were wondering, this is nowhere near as powerful as Android’s ability to put widgets on the home screen — but hey, one step at a time, right Apple?)

QuickType

QuickType on iOS 8
QuickType on iOS 8
The iOS keyboard has never been the greatest thing in the world — but with iOS 8 it’s receiving some big upgrades, in the form of QuickType. Basically, the iOS 8 keyboard now offers you word suggestions, so you can (theoretically) type messages much faster.
The clever bit is that QuickType will keep track of your conversational style per person, and per medium — so it will offer up different predictions depending on whether you’re writing to your girlfriend or your boss, or composing a text or an email. The prediction algorithm does appear to be quite good — though, given how you still need to look at the prediction and run it through your brain, just typing might be faster in some cases. Which leads us neatly onto…

Third-party keyboards (and other extensions)

Perhaps the biggest and most important feature of iOS 8 is Apple’s decision to allow extensions — essentially third-party-created features that hook into iOS 8 itself, providing new, extended functionality.
Generally with iOS, if you want to open an app, you open it from the home screen. With iOS 8, apps can now hook into iOS and other apps. One example of this widgets in the notification center — but there will be other kinds of extensions, too. Share extensions will let you share (…) from one app to an online service, such as Tumblr. Photo editing extensions will let you use third-party photo editors (such as VSCO Cam) without leaving your camera roll. Storage provider extensions will let iOS pull files directly from your Dropbox or iCloud. Action extensions allow for direct manipulation of content within another app — for example, using Bing to translate text in-place.
Swype on iOS 8 on the iPhone 5S
Swype on iOS 8 on the iPhone 5S
And finally… custom keyboard extensions! Yes, you can now replace the default iOS keyboard with a third-party keyboard downloaded from the app store. A number of popular keyboards from the Android world have announced their intentions to release an iOS 8 version, including Swype, SwiftKey, and Fleksy. If you’ve got the iPhone 6 Plus, a gesture/swipe-based keyboard will probably be a lot easier to use than the default tapping-based iOS keyboard.
iOS 8 + OS X Yosemite, with the new Continuity feature
iOS 8 + OS X Yosemite, showing a phone call being relayed with the Continuity feature

Continuity

While you can’t use Continuity just yet (you need a companion device with OS X 10.10 Yosemite installed), when it does arrive it will be really cool. Basically, Continuity deeply integrates your iOS and OS X device, so that data and some functions can seamlessly travel in between. If your iPhone rings, and you’re sitting at your MacBook, you will have the option of answering the call on the laptop. If you are editing a document on your iPhone, it will automatically appear on your laptop when you get to the office.
Yosemite has an estimated release date of sometime in October.
iOS 8 battery usage
iOS 8 battery usage [Image credit: Macrumors]

App battery usage

In iOS 8, under Settings, you can now see how much battery each of your apps are using, either in the last 24 hours, or over the last 7 days. I don’t think I need to tell you any more about this one.

Lots of other awesome little tweaks

You’ll discover a lot more little things that make you go “ooh” over the next few days and weeks, but here’s just a quick list to get you started:
  • You can now set up notifications for specific email threads (swipe left, then click More)
  • There’s now a grayscale mode in Accessibility
  • If you plug your iOS 8 device into a Mac, it should appear as a camera, allowing for direct screen capture
  • Spotlight now searches your entire device for matching messages, emails, documents, etc.
  • Find My iPhone now has an option that forces your iPhone or iPad to send its last known location to Apple when battery life is at a critical level. If you lose your device, Apple should be able to use this to tell you where it is…

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Restaurant Noise Levels

If you avoid restaurants whose noise levels are such that conversation becomes difficult, consider writing any restaurant reviewer who fails to point such out as part of his or her review. It just could make a difference. In that spirit, here is the text of an email interchange between a concerned Phoenix resident and a newspaper reviewer:

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Dear Ms. XXXX:

Your review of Otro today was excellent. It was thorough and left the reader with a tantalizing sense of a most intriguing menu. And it was exceedingly well written particularly in light of the personality you gave it.

All that said, and I do not intend this as a criticism in any way but rather as a suggestion, it might have been helpful both to your readers and to the restaurant if you had covered the noise level. Perhaps Otro has changed since I ate there some months ago. I loved the food, but unless the noise level has changed, I shall not return. We arrived relatively early and the place was less than half full, but the music was quite loud. By the time our entrees arrived, the place was nearly full, and the music volume seemed to have been turned up to “compensate” for the additional “conversational noise.” From that point on, we just gave up talking because we could not hear each other across the table.

I do understand the “modern view” of raising the noise level (through music and a décor designed to elevate the sound level) to give the impression of being a “happening place.” And I certainly understand where many people might prefer that ambience. At the same time, however, there are others who will avoid any restaurant, no matter how outstanding the food, where the noise level is such that conversation becomes difficult (e.g., Barrio Café (the 16th Street location—the airport locale is fine)).

Putting aside whether or not the noise level was an issue for you at Otro, my one suggestion is simply this: If you would include a comment on noise and ambience in your review, that might be very instructive both for your readers and the restaurant.

Again, many thanks for a superlative review. And your attention to this suggestion is much appreciated.

YYY

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Hello YYY.
Thank you for your email and for the suggestion. You’re not the first person to bring the issue up. I agree with you about the open ceiling and design of new restaurants– it’s like an echo chamber sometimes. I’m trying to figure out a way to include a measure of noise levels in reviews, whether it’s an actual measurement of decibels or a ratings systems like the stars.  
Best,
XXX

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1. Thanks for getting back on this.

2. You raise an excellent point about “measurement.”  The scale used by OpenTable seems to miss the point—it goes something like “Quiet/Moderate/Energetic”-- so that reviewers cannot give a “bad mark” on that scale for the place being too loud. Decibels would be informative except many of us have no clue how to read a decibel scale so it would have to be “translated” into a rating system or descriptive term anyhow. Given that you have clearly given this more thought than I have and know much more about restaurant stuff than I ever will, I am hesitant to suggest anything. But I would think the simpler and more descriptive the better without concern about “rating” as such—while giving readers a warning if the noise level is such that it could interfere with the ability to converse. In that spirit, something such as this:

Noise Level:  ____ Quiet  ___ Moderate  ___ Loud (conversation could be difficult)

3. Alternatively, perhaps it’s not worth scaling the noise level as long as it’s not an issue. But where the noise level is such that it makes conversation difficult, just add a sentence to that effect in the review so that those who care about that are duly warned—which is what the review ultimately is about in the first place.

Again, many thanks … and take care …

 YYY
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You’re very right, YYY. Nothing is as straightforward as it would seem at first. I do appreciate your thoughts. Have a good one. 
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Sunday, September 14, 2014

Judgment at Nuremberg (1961)

Although a bit ham-handed in script (although Abby Mann won an Oscar for best writing) and in acting at times (Although Maxmillian Shell won an oscar for best actor), and quite long (3h6m but it seems longer, and best to keep your finger on the fast-forward button), the cast is reason alone to watch this. Specifically, you're not likely to again see in one film Spencer Tracy (rivaling his performance in the Old Man and the Sea), Burt Lancaster (rivaling his best performance in Local Hero), Marlene Dietrich (rivaling her performance in Witness for the Prosecution), William Shatner (rivaling his performance in TJ Hooker), Richard Widmark (rivaling his performance in the Alamo), Werner Klemperer (outdoing his performance in Hogan's Heroes), Judy Garland (eclipsing her performance in The Wizard of Oz), and Montgomery Clift (making you forget all his other performances).  And Stanley Kramer's directing makes you forget his and Spencer Tracy's participation in Guess Who's Coming to Dinner? But most fun of all, when supposedly speaking German, the English-speaking characters put on head-phones, but if you watch carefully, you'll enjoy how many times everyone gets mixed up on whether German or English is being spoken.

IMDb Link

Friday, September 12, 2014

Returned Mail You Never Sent

If you start getting emails such as appears below, and you never sent the email that supposedly was rejected and not received, it means someone got access to your email account and sent out a bulk emailing from it. Why this is done or what it accomplishes I have no clue. But if it happens to you, immediately change your password, and make it a strong one. If you try to access your webmail server, do not be surprised if you are locked out because of too many failed login attempts. Obviously, whoever hacked your email account tried to get in after you changed the password. If after waiting 30 minutes or so and you still cannot get access, call your ISP and they will reset a temporary password for you and you will have access and 7 or so days to put in a new password of your choice.
--------------------------

Mail System Error - Returned Mail

Your message was rejected by mta6.am0.yahoodns.net for the following reason:

     delivery error: dd This user doesn't have a yahoo.com account (lyricsublime@yahoo.com) [0] - mta1024.mail.gq1.yahoo.com

The following recipients did not receive this message:

 
 Please reply to <Postmaster@cox.net>

 if you feel this message to be in error.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)

If you've never seen Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid, it's a must to see--clearly one of the five best movies of all time. But even if you have seen it, it’s amazing to watch it again: It’s lost nothing! It’s just as good as the first time and in a weird way, even better, because it’s a blast when they actually say the lines you think they’re going to say. Everything about the movie from the cinematography, to the scenery, to the script, to the acting, to the directing, to the casting, to the humor, are first-class of the highest order. And best of all, if you're watching at home you don't have to stop the movie to go to the bathroom or if you're watching it in a theatre you don't have to worry about missing anything if you go to the restroom--just do so during the "Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head" scene, which without doubt, is the worst song ever to appear in a great movie.

Auto Accident Apps

Having an auto accident is bad enough, but having two apps can make the experience much easier on you. First, install the app of your insurance carrier. Second, unless your insurance carrier's app has these features, install an app such such as Auto Accident App. 


Auto Accident App offers instant, on-the-scene, live assistance to accident victims and also provides one-button access to emergency personnel and step-by-step guidance through the information gathering process to ensure that no critical information or evidence is missed. The app's Accident Recording System takes you through the steps to document every detail with pictures, audio witness statements, injury charts, car damage picture documentation and much more. Auto Accident App creates a comprehensive accident report, with attached pictures, and composes the information into a single email that you can send out to all necessary parties (such as Legal, medical insurance company etc). Registration is simple and quick – instead of manually entering all kinds of details about your driving info, simply take a picture of your driving documents (driver’s license, vehicle registration and insurance), and you are done.


PS: I have suggested to my insurance carrier that their app incorporate the features of the Auto Accident App. After referring the suggestion to the appropriate department, and it is adopted, I am certain they will remunerate me generously. Please feel free to make the same suggestion to your insurance carrier and to keep the remuneration for yourself.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Handy Travel App

I'm not a big fan of most travel apps, but Trover is one handy and superb app designed for on-the-go discovery. Besides the web version that you can try in a browser, Trover has a mobile app for Android and Apple iOS devices. It’s excellent for anyone with the desire to travel to any places in the world.
Load this app and right on your device, you can visually explore a list of best places discovered by those who have been there, with stunning photos and insights shared by them. This long list of discoveries is presented in order of the distances nearest to you. As you scroll up the list, you get to the places further from your location. If you have a city or an address in mind, just enter it in the search box to jump to it.
Besides finding places, you can follow your friends’ adventures, travel stories and tips around the world. Whenever you like certain places, arts or foods from the discoveries, you can tap and add them to a list of your own as dream spots or destinations to try during your next leg of the journey. Of course this app is also made for you to share a new discovery with others. When you travel around, just take a photo through Trover with auto geotagging, add some interesting or helpful details, and that’s it.
For Android

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

New iPhones

It is no secret that I am not a big fan of the iPhone, principally because: (i) it is far less customizable than Android devices; (ii) unlike Samsung phones, the iPhone's battery is not removeable (a removeable battery makes it easy to put a new one in if the battery dies, as well as to do soft and hard re-boots that can fix many problems); (iii) the Apple ecosystem is a far more cumbersome and claustrophobic than the Android ecosystem; and (iv) the iPhones are so teeny tiny. Well, the iPhone 6 and especially the iPhone 6 Plus have fixed the size problem and, while they have not fixed the customization or battery or ecosystem issues, they have many improvements over the iPhone 5 and 5S and older models. Undoubtedly, there will be a big rush for the iPhone 6 models, so here is some info on getting one:

Apple

Apple is scheduled to open its retail stores at 8 a.m. local time on September 19, however the launch of new iPhones usually results in long lines and massive crowds. The best bet would be to preorder the iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus directly from Apple's online store.

Carriers

Apple's website can quickly become overwhelmed by the thousands of eager customers looking to purchase a new smartphone. You may find it easier to preorder one of Apple's new phones from your wireless carrier's website or store.

Verizon

Verizon is running a promotion where you can get the 16GB iPhone 6 for free when you trade in an older iPhone. The nation's largest carrier is accepting the iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, iPhone 5C, and iPhone 5S. The fine print reads that all devices must be in "good working condition" and that the discount will come in the form of a $200 Verizon gift card. The company will open pre-orders for the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus later this week.

Sprint

Sprint announced on Tuesday that it will offer the iPhone 6 on a special "iPhone for Life Plan" that includes unlimited data for $50 a month. Those who sign up for the plan can pick up an iPhone 6 with 16GB of storage for $0 down and monthly payments of $20. The phone can also be purchased through the carrier's Easy Pay Installment plan for a one time fee of $58 and monthly payments of $30. Sprint will also offer the iPhone 6 for $199 when signing a new two-year agreement.

AT&T

AT&T has created a landing page for the iPhone 6 and invites viewers to sign up to be learn more. The carrier, however, has not yet announced any pricing or release information.
T Mobile  [nothing known yet]
* * * * * * * 



Data Recovery Tool

MiniTool are well known within the tech industry for the quality of their software. The free edition of MiniTool Data Recovery is my top pick for this category. Now, you have the chance to get the commercial Personal version of MiniTool Power Data Recovery for free! This software enables you to recover almost any data relating to servers, desktops or laptops, Windows operating systems and file types. The offer will run from 11th to 13th September, 2014 inclusive (PST Pacific Standard Time). The number of licenses they will issue during this period is unlimited.
MiniTool Power Data Recovery Link 

Friday, September 5, 2014

Fixing the "Small Print" Problem With Web Pages

If when you print a given web page it comes out in tiny print, which it never had done before, you are not alone. It turns out the problem of “small print” can arise in every browser although it seems to happen more in Chrome than in IE or Firefox and is not limited to any particular printer. Although no one seems to have a clue as the cause of the problem, or why it seems to just pop up at random, fixing the problem is not difficult. To fix the problem in IE or Firefox, one need only change the Print Preview or Print settings from Shrink to Fit to 100%. In Chrome, one need only change the zoom for the web page from 100% to 125% (note that changing the zoom for that web site will not change it for other sites, but Chrome will remember the 125% setting for the web site that has been changed). 

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Bluetooth Speakers

[From the New York Times]

BLUETOOTH wireless technology is helping take music out of headphones and back into speakers. But finding the speakers that best suit your needs means deciding among shape, color and extra features you wouldn’t normally associate with listening to music. These small boxes are nothing short of amazing in terms of ease of use, portability, and richness of sound.

Full Article Link


Latest Ways to Jettison Your Cable TV Service and Still Watch TV

[From the New York Times]

Get out from under that ugly cable bill by watching movies and television shows streamed over the Internet straight to your TV? Gladly. Deal with a tangle of tricky technology and give up a few programs that are on the personal must-watch list? No thanks. But I recently tested some promising new devices — two Roku smart televisions and a specialized TiVo made specifically for cord-cutters — that make life without cable possible and even easy. After years of complex Internet-to-TV setups and multiple streaming boxes, it seems the technology has finally caught up with the dream.

Full Article Link

Using Apple's Siri as Your Personal DJ

[From CNET]

Apple's voice assistant possesses many skills, and one of its coolest features is the ability to play and manage the music on your device. You can tell Siri to play a specific song or album stored on your iPhone or iPad, or play a random selection of tunes from a particular artist. You can tell Siri to pause or stop playing and to move ahead or back a track. And there's even more you can do. Let's look at how you can tap into Siri as your own personal DJ.
Play a specific song. You can tell Siri to play a certain song by title. For example, activate Siri and tell it to "Play 'Hey Jude,'" and Siri will play the popular Beatles tune.
Play a specific album. Rather hear an entire album from start to finish? No problem. Tell Siri to "Play 'Abbey Road,'" and Siri plays the popular Beatles album.
If the song or album contains a lengthy title, you don't have to speak the entire name. For example, instead of telling Siri to "Play 'Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band,'" you can simply tell it to "Play 'Sgt. Pepper.'"
Play a song or album. What happens if a song and album share the same title? How does Siri know which one to play? If you don't specify what you want to hear, Siri plays the album. For example, telling Siri to "Play 'Let it Be'" plays the album and not the individual song. If you want to hear the song instead, a little specificity on your part will help. Simply tell Siri to "Play the song 'Let it Be,'" and Siri will grant you your wish. You can also ensure that the album is played by saying: "Play the album 'Let it Be.'"
Play a specific artist. Want to hear songs from someone in particular? You can tell Siri to play music just from that artist or group. For example, tell Siri to "Play Carole King," and it will play a randomly shuffled selection of songs from any of her albums on your device.
Play a specific genre. In the mood for a little jazz or some rhythm and blues? Siri will take your request based on genre. Simply say "Play some jazz music" or "Play some R&B music."
Shuffle your music. Want to hear a particular album of songs but in no particular order? You can tell Siri to shuffle the album. Say "Play 'Born to Run' shuffled," and Siri will shuffle the tracks of the classic Bruce Springsteen album.
Play a specific playlist. If you've created playlists for your favorite music, Siri can tap into that as well. Let's say you've set up a playlist for your favorite rock tunes from the '60s called "'60s Rock." Tell Siri to 'Play the '60s Rock' playlist," and then sit back and listen.
Move to another track. Let's say you're listening to an album but aren't crazy about the current song. You can jump to the next one. Tell Siri: "Skip to next song," and Siri moves on to the next track. Want to hear the previous song again? Tell Siri to "Skip to previous song," and it goes back to the prior track on the album.
Pause and resume. Want to stop the music for awhile? Tell Siri to "Pause music." Want to pick up where you left off? Tell Siri to "Resume music."
Play iTunes Radio. Beyond playing the music on your device, Siri can also tap into iTunes Radio. Just tell Siri to "Play iTunes Radio," and it will start playing music from the station you last accessed or the first one on your list. Want to hear a specific station? No problem. Let's say you've added a station called "Classic Motown Radio." Tell Siri to "Play iTunes Radio Classic Motown Radio," and sit back to hear some Motown.
Find out what's playing. Not sure of the current song and want to know the title and artist? Ask Siri: "What's playing?" Siri will display and speak the full song title and the artist behind it.

Fixing Many Android Problems

Sometimes your Android phone might start suffering from a new problem and your searches on The Google or other efforts to find a solution have been for naught. Just like re-booting a computer often cures what ails it, so too re-booting the Android device will do the trick, but it takes a little more (not much, just a little) and re-starting it. Here what to do (it's called a soft-reset and will not cause you to lose any data or anything):

1. Turn off the device.

2. Remove the battery, the SIM card, and any SD card.

3. Put back in the SD card, the SIM card, and the battery.

4. Restart the device.

Khyber Halal (Phoenix Restaurant)

If you've had Afghanistan/Pakistan food, you know how tasty it is; if  you never have, your are in for a treat. Focusing on lamb and chicken, although there are beef and vegetarian dishes as well, the meals are scrumptuous and the portions generous (plus they have excellent take-home boxes). The humus and samosa appetizers are excellent as well, and the kabli pulau (rice with raisins) is simply heavenly. While the prices are quite reasonable, the best bargain of all is the 4-kabob (4 different kabobs with rice) platter which the menu says is for 3-4 people, but it costs under $20, so even for two people, it's better than getting separate dishes if both of you want kabobs, and you'll have a meal or two left for home. The 1-lb lamb shank is a featured dish but, while it's quite savory, it's not for the hungry person and, worse, if anyone else in your dining parts orders a kabob, you will have definitely "lost" when grades are handed out for ordering.  Reservations are not needed and, if care about atmosphere, there's always the take-out option. The service is very pleasant and efficient. If you can't park right in front on 24th Street just South of Indian School, and the garage next door is still open, just swing back around the block and park in a space on the Indian School wing of the strip mall.

Khyber Halal Link

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Fixing iPhone Texting Problem

iOS 7 has a known texting issue where a text will not go through to the recipient and, instead, you will get an error message that reads "invalid 10-digit number or short code." Here is how to fix that problem:

1. Delete the Contact you are trying to send the text to.

2. Delete all message threads with that Contact.

3. Open a new message and start typing in the Contact's name. When the Contact's name appears in the drop down list, tap on the "i" in circle icon and tap "Remove from Recents."

4. Type in full 10-digit contact number and send a test text. If it goes through, the issue is resolved and you can add the person back into your contact list. If the test did not go through, call your wireless provider and ask for additional help.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Connection Watcher

For as long as internet access has been common, so has the level of concern over programs which "phone home". When you install software on your PC, does that program make silent connections over the internet, back to a server somewhere? If so, why? Is it purely for harmless purposes such as checking for updates? Or could it be sending your confidential data elsewhere?

If you suspect that such activity has been taking place on your PC, or you merely want some assurance that it is not, take a look at the Moo0 Connection Watcher. It's a free utility which tells you which programs are currently communicating over the internet from your PC, or listening for incoming connections. It also tells you the name or IP address at each end of the connection, and the number of bytes sent and received since you started the program.


Connection Watcher Download Link