Computer Won’t Startup – Freezes on Bootup

You may have a problem with your Apple or Windows computer where you startup the computer and it will hang on startup. With Windows computers, this may happen immediately after the POST (power on self test screens). With an Apple computer, this may happen before you see the Apple icon at startup.

This problem can be caused by a faulty USB device or USB Hub. For example, some connected hard drives may result in the system hardware attempting to identify the drive, or possibly scan the drive to determine its configuration. Multi-function devices can be perceived as external drives of they have memory card readers.

Try unplugging all unnecessary USB devices, then startup the computer, and then connect the devices again. This may speed up the startup process.

Something else that may slow down the startup process are synchronization applications for services like Dropbox, Box, Google Drive, and Microsoft OneDrive. Try configuring these mini-apps to not load at startup. That will likely speed up the startup process. You may want to choose just one synchronization drive service.

Advertisements

Interview with KWWL About Heartbleed Security Exploit

20140413su-heartbleed-640x300

Today I had an interview with Justin Andrews of KWWL. We discussed the Heartbleed security exploit and what consumers can do to protect themselves. Click here to view the interview and read the KWWL story. If you have questions about this and other computing security concerns, feel free to contact me.

“Considering the long exposure, ease of exploitation and attacks leaving no trace this exposure should be taken seriously.” ~ CodeNomicon

I’ve written a more comprehensive article on my technology website. Click here to read that article.

Neat Scanner Software Update to 4.0.3 for Apple Mac – “The update is locked with a password.”

If you’re updating the Neat scanner software to the 4.0.3 version, you may receive a message stating “The update is locked with a password.”

This message is misleading.

On Apple computers, sometimes software installations or updates will require the username and password of an administrator account. In this case, the password being requested is your computer user password (the password you might type to login to your computer).

So, the software update isn’t locked as the error message suggests. It simply needs authentication and permission to install.

Apple Mac – Using iCal or Microsoft Office 2011 Outlook Calendar to Open Another Person’s Shared Calendar and Share Your Calendar

Microsoft Office 2011 Outlook Calendar

If you’re using Microsoft Office 2011 on an Apple Mac computer, and want to open a calendar that someone else has shared, or share your own calendar, you’ll find that the menu options and user interface are somewhat non-intuitive.

Here are the necessary steps to open a shared calendar:

  1. You don’t need to be viewing the Calendar or in the Calendar module to proceed. This works from within email or anywhere else in Outlook.
  2. From the File menu, choose Open > Other User’s Folder
  3. For Folder Type, choose Calendar. Outlook will default to the Exchange server you’ve connected to as the source for names and shared folders.
  4. Type in the person’s last name, then first name, or username, or search on any part of their name. The resulting list may be long if you are in a larger institution, business, organization, or enterprise.
  5. Click/highlight the person’s name and then press the Select button. This will add their calendar under Shared Calendars and synchronize their calendar events to Outlook, assuming they have given you rights to view their calendar.

Here are the steps to sharing your calendar:

  1. Go to the Calendar view/module.
  2. Under My Calendars, right click on the calendar name associated with the Exchange server account you’re using.
  3. Click on Sharing Permissions.
  4. From the resulting menu, you can click Add User, then search for available users. Make sure the person has already followed the instructions above to share their calendar with you.

Apple iCal Calendar Software

If using Apple iCal calendar software, the Delegates are selected in the Accounts menu.

Note: The iCal calendar software has two Account menus. If you go to the Calendar menu and click on Accounts, this will take you to the System Preferences Accounts settings and not the preferences for the iCal accounts. Instead, follow the instructions below.

Follow these steps to share your calendar with someone else:

  1. Click on the Calendar menu, then Preferences, then Accounts to adjust the Delegates and shared calendars.
  2. To share your calendar with others, use the Edit button found below the “Accounts I can access” list of users. Then add users to the list with the plus sign, then enter their name.

Follow these steps to view a calendar someone has shared with you:

  1. Click on the Calendar menu, then Preferences, then Accounts to adjust the Delegates and shared calendars.
  2. Use the Plus symbol to add the users who have given you rights to view their calendar.

__________

This article was developed by MG.

External Hard Drives and Software for Computer Backups

20131121th-external-drives-software-computer-backups-960x540

Windows Backup Software. The backup software included with Windows 7 will backup your data files as well as making an initial image backup of the computer if  you need to restore from a complete system crash. Purchase one of the hard drives listed below, connect it to your computer, then start the backup software by going to the start menu and searching for backup. If this is the first time you’ve run the software, you’ll be guided through the setup. If you’ve already configured the backup previously to another drive, click on the link to change settings, and choose your new external drive as the backup drive. If your computer crashes, you can restore your programs, settings, and files with a full Windows backup.

Cloud Backup Services. An inexpensive alternative to running your own backups is to pay about $60 per year for Carbonite backup service. This will backup all of your data files over the Internet to an off-site remote service. They can be retrieved on another computer if yours crashes. This isn’t a full image backup, so restoring your computer and software will take more time if you only have a data backup.

Cloud File Services. If you’re primarily concerned about having your critical data files backed up, a service like Box.com can synchronize a folder on your computer and store it in the cloud. They can then be accessible from multiple computers, including mobile devices. The cost ranges from $60 a year (100GB) up to $180 a year (1000GB) or more depending on how much data you want stored in the cloud.

Third Party Backup Software. Many hard drive manufacturers offer backup software such as Western Digital Smartware or Seagate Backup Plus. It’s also possible to purchase backup software such as Acronis or download free software such as EaseUS Todo Backup.

Apple Computer. For anyone using an Apple computer, setting up a backup system is fairly easy. Simply purchase an external drive, plug it in, and respond “Yes” when prompted if you’d like to use the drive for backups. If needed, the drive will be formatted (erased) to be optimized for working with Apple. The included Apple Time Machine backup software automatically configures itself.

Hard Drives

The following drives are good choices for backing up computers. Choosing a drive that doesn’t require an external power supply (power cord) is wise because this reduces the chances of a component failure. The Western Digital drives come with backup software. However, you may choose to use the Windows software instead. The prices listed are current as of the time of this article.

BusyCal Calendar Software for Synchronization Across Multiple Accounts and Systems: Google, Apple, Exchange

20131019sa-busycal-640x360

BusyCal has the ability to view and manage multiple calendars across multiple accounts and systems such as Google Calendar, Apple iCloud Calendar, and Microsoft Outlook Exchange.

One of the biggest advantages of BusyCal is that it lets you move all calendar entries from one system to another. For example, if you decide to migrate from Google Calendar to the Apple iCloud Calendar, you can easily click, drag, and copy all calendar entries from Google Calendar to the Apple iCloud Calendar.

__________

Source: ResourcesForLife.com – BusyCal Calendar Software for Synchronization Across Multiple Accounts and Systems: Google, Apple, Exchange

Disable TeamViewer From Loading Automatically When Starting Windows

20100304th-teamviewer-iphone-remote-access-control-computer-support-training

TeamViewer is one of the world’s most secure and trusted remote access programs. Yet, with any remote access software, unless there is an ongoing need for regular maintenance and support, it’s best to only use the software when needed.

The instructions below will guide you through ensuring that TeamViewer is not configured to automatically run when you start your computer. These instructions are for Windows computers.

1. Start TeamViewer if it isn’t running already. Once TeamViewer is running, you should see the small blue TeamViewer icon in the system tray as seen in the middle below.

2. Right click on the TeamViewer icon to display the context sensitive menu as seen below.

3. Click on Options from the menu. In the resulting window, remove the checkmark (if it exists) to the left of the Start TeamViewer with Windows option. This option is for unattended access. Once done, click the OK button.

4. Right click on the TeamViewer icon again, and this time choose Setup attended access.

5. The following window will appear. Click Next.

6. In the password window, make sure no password is entered (unless you’re planning unattended remote access). Click Next.

7. A confirmation window will appear. Click the Skip password button.

8. The following window will appear. Choose the option I don’t want to create a TeamViewer account now. Then click the Next button.

9. The final window will show the computer’s unique TeamViewer ID. This number remains the same. The password will be randomly generated each time the software is started. Click the Finish button.

10 The TeamViewer software will still be running. To close it completely, right click on the TeamViewer icon in the system tray and choose Exit TeamViewer.

Update: 31 March 2015

Recent versions of TeamViewer may not have the ability to disable it from loading on startup. In such cases, removing the software might be the best solution. Then, install the TeamViewer QS version for occasional use.

Worldwide Interest

Due to many people having questions about how to enable and disable the autorun feature, this article has been very popular. The maps below show recent visitors to this page. Click any map for a larger gallery view.

Getting Around the Box.com Upload File Size Maximum Limitation

20130805mo-box-dot-com-cloud-storage

Problem. For users at the free “personal” level, Box.com has a 250MB limit on the size of a file you can upload using their web interface. You can upgrade your account to the $15 per month plan to upload files of up to 2GB in size. However, those lucky enough to have received the 50GB of storage free-for-life plan will want to avoid getting locked into paying $180 a year just to upload the occasional large file.

Solution. If you use the Box.com synchronization feature, the 250MB limit isn’t an issue. So, you can upload those occasional large files and retain your free membership level.

Update. The above work-around was previously an option. However, as of August 2013, Box.com will not synchronize files of a size that exceed your plan’s upload file size limit.

FCC Shortwave Ham Amateur Radio License Renewal Online

20130803sa-fcc-amateur-radio-license-online-renewal-instructions

Within a few months prior to expiration, it is possible to renew a shortwave radio license (also known as amateur radio or ham radio). The FCC has a Universal Licensing System (ULS) that permits online renewal and updating of license information. Follow these steps to perform a renewal.

  1. Visit the Universal Licensing System page.
  2. Click on the option for Online Filing Log In.
  3. You will need your FCC Registration Number (FRN) and password to login. If you’ve lost these, you can click the Forgot Password link on the ULS page (see step #1 above) to be walked through the process of password recovery. It may require waiting for a reset letter in the mail from the FCC. More is explained on the Online Filing Log In page.
  4. Once logged into the License Manager (from step #3 above), you should see a message stating “This License Is Eligible For Renewal” and a link to Begin the renewal process.

Note: Your browser may at some point get stuck during the process of going from one step to the next. If this happens, you may need to clear your browser cache and cookies to start over fresh.

Why URL Shortening Services Like TinyURL and Bitly Sometimes Don’t Work

Services like TinyURL.com and Bitly.com work most of the time. However, here are a few rules to remember:

  • Account Specific Pages. There are many websites for which, once you login, you will see information specific to your user account that won’t show up for anyone else unless they are logged in as you.
  • Amazon. When on Amazon, if you’re looking at a product, the address for that page is much longer than what you’d actually need to share. Here’s an example of an Amazon link without the extraneous text. The number at the end (B0077L8YOO) is the unique product number. http://www.amazon.com/Fitbit-Wi-Fi-Smart-Scale-Black/dp/B0077L8YOO/
  • Magazines. Some magazines won’t allow non-registered visitors access to much of their online content.
  • Newsletters. When looking at online newsletters, the URL may include your subscription information. Similarly, when you forward an email newsletter, you may be forwarding secure links that allow you to adjust your subscription details or unsubscribe. This includes RSS Feed Readers services.
  • Newspapers. Some newspapers won’t allow non-registered visitors access to much of their online content.
  • Real Estate Website. If you’re on a real estate website and want to share the link to a property you’re looking at, you may be inclined to copy and past the address as the basis for the short URL. However, if you’re logged into the real estate website, then the link you have may only be a temporary link or search result. The link may have ‘session’ information (like temporary random numbers) embedded in it. So, instead, click on the little bird icon for Twitter. This will open a new window preparing to post a generic universal link on Twitter. You don’t need to actually post on Twitter, just take the resulting link and use that. If there’s a Facebook or email sharing option, these will work in a similar way.
  • YouTube. Often when you’re looking at a video on YouTube, the URL address for that video is much longer than needed. It may include playlist information, and information about what page you were on previously. The link may also force the video into full screen mode (which isn’t always the best view). So, with YouTube, it’s best to use the shortest link possible. Usually you can get this by clicking on the share option below the video.

Network Solutions Email Client Settings for IMAP, POP3, and SMTP

20130802fr-network-solutions-email-client-settings-configuration

Users of Network Solutions email may experience problems if they don’t have their email client settings configured properly.

Network Solutions Recommendation

Additional Instructions

Here are some additional instructions you may want to try. As of August 2013, the settings are as follows.

INCOMING MAIL SERVER (IMAP)

  • username: your full email address
  • password: your email password
  • incoming server: mail.yourdomain.com
  • port: 110 (POP3) or 143 (IMAP)
  • SSL: yes, use SSL can be enabled for security and this will change the port to 993

OUTGOING MAIL SERVER (SMTP)

  • outgoing server: mail.yourdomain.com
  • authentication: yes, requires authentication
  • username: your full email address
  • password: your email password
  • port: 2525 or 587 (for pop3 and imap)
  • SSL: yes, use SSL can be enabled

Apple Mail Client Default Folders

If you’re using the Apple Mail client on OSX or iOS devices, the client will create its own folders on the IMAP server to use. This is confusing since folders already exist on the server. If you’re exclusively using Apple devices, then it might be easiest to just use the folder system that Apple has devised. Then when you look at the Drafts folder or Sent Messages (for example) you should see your drafts on all devices.

  • Apple Mail Folders Created by Apple Mail Clients
    • Deleted Messages
    • Drafts
    • Junk
    • Notes
    • Sent Messages
  • Network Solutions Mail Folders
    • Draft
    • Sent
    • Trash

Note that emails sent from the Network Solutions web mail system will end up in Sent, not Sent Messages, since the Network Solutions system is configured to use their default folders and not ones created by Apple.

Also, it’s very important to note that your iOS device may default to saving sent messages on your device. This means that you’ll have no record of your sent messages on any server, and if your phone is lost or damaged, you’ll lose all those messages. Also, if you delete your email account and install it again (perhaps as an attempt to fix an email problem), you’ll lose any messages that were stored on your phone and not on the server. You may want to change the default setting to save sent messages (and drafts) on the server so they are accessible from other devices.

Global Page Visits

Recent page visits are shown below and illustrate the geographic locations of readers. Click the map for a larger view.

20140215sa-network-solutions-email-client-settings-for-imap-pop3-and-smtp-global-page-visits

QuickBooks Online Payroll by Intuit

20130730tu-quickbooks-online-payroll-intuit-357x500Summary. If you ever get setup with the QuickBooks Online Payroll service you may have some difficulty canceling the service.

The only subsequent communications you’ll receive from the company will be in the form of a monthly invoice from this email account:

  • QuickBooks Online Payroll Support Team <QBOPayrollNoReply@intuit.com>

Poor Business Practice. Unfortunately, the invoices for the service have no contact information. This is, of course, poor customer service and also a violation of Federal laws governing the sending of emails. It’s also unprofessional. They are text-only emails without any recognizable logo or branding. Most financial institutions, businesses, and organizations will include unsubscribe and cancellation information in all their correspondence. Intuit intentionally seems to be leaving their customers in the dark to make cancellation a difficult process.

Cancellation Process. To cancel the QuickBooks Online service and Payroll service, follow these instructions.

  1. Call Customer Support at 1-888-537-7794, weekdays, from 6:00 am to 6:00 pm PT.
  2. Request to cancel QuickBooks Online. The sales/support person will most likely ask you to login.
  3. You will need to login at https://qbo.intuit.com
  4. Click on Your Account, and choose Your Account from the drop-down menu.
  5. Click on the Cancel Subscription link.
  6. Fill out the survey.
  7. If you request a refund, you’ll only get 60 days refunded, even if you’ve been billed for many months and not used the service. The QuickBooks Online Simple Start is $6.47 monthly if you get the special discount. So, your maximum refund would be $12.94. This will cancel your QuickBooks online service. However, the credit/refund may take a week to show up.
  8. Now you need to cancel the Payroll module which requires that you be transferred to the Payroll services group at Intuit. You may hear a recorded message stating, “We are currently experiencing high call volume and unusually long wait times. … You can reach us online…” Don’t hangup. They won’t let you cancel the service through any online means. So, the extended wait times are designed to be a further deterrent to people wanting to cancel.
  9. If you get disconnected after waiting an extremely long time, call QuickBooks Payroll at 1-877-202-0537. The sales person can arrange for a refund.
  10. You will probably need to login to QuickBooks Payroll at http://payroll.intuit.com
  11. Continue to wait forever to get a sales person to help you. While you wait, keep in mind that you were entrusting your entire business to these people who can’t even pick up a phone.
  12. In this particular example, it took over 40 minutes before reaching this step.
  13. The Payroll refund will be $42 for two months (at $21 per month). The credit should show up in about a day or two.
  14. This concludes the cancelation process.

You’ll get a survey based on the above experience. There is no survey for “How did you like how Intuit does business?”

Best Buy Reward Zone Premier Silver Membership Benefits

20130728su-best-buy-reward-zone-silver-189x167The Premier Silver membership is the highest level that Best Buy will award. This level is achieved by spending $2500 or more in a calendar year at Best Buy® and BestBuy.com®. These are the benefits:

  • MORE Points. 25% point bonus1 and more flexible redemption options. And remember, points add up even faster with the Reward Zone Credit Card with standard credit financing. Choose to have your reward certificates issued automatically, or choose point banking to let your points build until you want to redeem them.
  • FREE Helpline. We’ll help you with basic product setup, purchase recommendations and Reward Zone account questions by calling 1-866-RZ-PREMR (1-866-797-7367).
  • MORE Time. We want you to ensure you love every purchase. So contact the Helpline for help with setup. Or, get a recommendation on an exchange that better fits your needs. Best of all, you have plenty of time to decide with a 60-day return and exchange policy on qualifying Best Buy and BestBuy.com purchases. Enjoy 180 days to use your reward certificates.
  • FREE Expedited Shipping and FREE Delivery. Online and in-store. For online purchases, simply add your Reward Zone number to yourBestBuy.com account.
  • PREMIER Access. Get some of the hottest new technologies in store or at BestBuy.com as well as Premier access to iconic sales.
  • FREE Gift Guidance. Find the right gift for anyone, yourself included, with our personal shopper service, available at personalshopper@bestbuy.comor 1-866-923-6190.
  • FREE House Call from a Geek Squad® Agent. To schedule, call 1-866-RZ-PREMR (1-866-797-7367). We’ll help you make the most of your technology with your choice of one of the following services per year:
    • TV Calibration – Having an HDTV is one thing. Having it personalized to your exact needs is another. Our ISF-certified installers will come to your home and calibrate your HDTV so you’re seeing it the way it was meant to be seen.
    • Setting up your home wireless network (or upgrading your current one) so that you’re able to safely and securely surf the Internet at blazing fast speeds. (router hardware not included; Agent will connect up to 2 devices).
    • Personalized training for one hour so you’re able to harness the full power of your devices.
    • Customized programming of your Harmony TV Remote, giving you the convenience of controlling your entire home theater system with one remote.
    • Home Theater Consultation A Geek Squad agent will design and lay out a system that captures your home theater dreams, and works within your budget. Our agent can also help you choose products that work best with your design.

Celtx Free Screenplay Film Script Writing Software with Storyboard and Cloud Support

20130722mo-celtx-screenplay-film-writing-software-with-storyboard-528x246Over 3,000,000 storytellers in 170 countries create in Celtx. Celtx is leading the charge to democratize filmmaking, with software and services that are free or affordable by all. The Celtx community gives back to communities with a Seeds program that rewards your great storytelling.

Celtx is the world’s first all in one pre-production system. It replaces ‘paper & binder’ with a digital approach that’s more complete, simpler to work with, and easier to share.

A few videos about Celtx are below. Learn more at Celtx.com.

Installing Celtx (below)

Synchronizing Celtx with the Cloud (below)

Uploading & Sharing from Celtx Edge (below)

Using Celtx in Full-Screen Mode

Starting a new Project in Celtx

Producer Reaction to Using Celtx

Apple TV: Using the Apple Wireless Keyboard

20130712fr-appletv-offerings

Summary. The Apple TV device turns a television into a computer-like device for multimedia content only. This means your interactions with Internet destinations are limited to a few content providers such as YouTube, Netflix, HBO, Hulu Plus, ESPN, and others. Content is also available through the Apple iTunes store, including movies, television shows, podcasts, and more.

Typing. Unfortunately, there’s no keyboard included, so one must navigate their way through this ocean of amazing content using a very time consuming hunt-and-peck on-screen keyboard (shown below) moving one click at a time to the letter, number, character, or button of their choice.

20130712fr-appletv-on-screen-keyboard

Using the Apple Wireless Keyboard

Most people will find it preferable to use the Apple Wireless Keyboard (shown below) with their Apple TV. Instructions to make this work are found below.

20130712fr-apple-wireless-keyboard-top-view

System Requirements for Using Wireless Keyboard

  • Apple TV (2nd generation or later)
  • Apple TV Software 5.2 or later
  • Apple Wireless Keyboard *

Third-party Bluetooth keyboards that use the Apple keyboard layout may also be compatible. Check with the keyboard manufacturer for additional information.

* The original Apple Wireless Keyboard (2003), that features a white case and uses four AA batteries, is not compatible.

Pairing your Apple Wireless Keyboard with Apple TV

To pair your keyboard with Apple TV:

  1. Turn on your keyboard and if necessary ensure that it is discoverable. A blinking LED indicates that the Apple Wireless Keyboard is in the discoverable mode.
    • When using third-party devices, check with the keyboard manufacturer for additional information.
  2. On your Apple TV, select Settings > General > Bluetooth.
    20130712fr-apple-tv-wireless-keyboard-setup-step-2
  3. Select your keyboard in the list.
    20130712fr-apple-tv-wireless-keyboard-setup-step-3
  4. When prompted, type the four-digit paring code on your keyboard and then press Enter or Return.
    20130712fr-apple-tv-wireless-keyboard-setup-step-4
  5. Apple TV will confirm that the pairing process is complete.
    20130712fr-apple-tv-wireless-keyboard-setup-step-5

Using your Apple Wireless Keyboard

You can use your keyboard to:

  • Enter text and other information (search, email addresses, passwords, and so on)
  • Navigate Apple TV menus using the arrow, Return, and Escape keys
  • Jump to an item, title, or name on the screen by typing the first few letters (for example, when viewing your music collection, you can type a song title or artist name to jump to it in the list)
  • Use media controls when playing music and video to play or pause content and select previous or next.

Volume, brightness, and other controls are not available for Apple TV. Apple TV uses the U.S. English keyboard layout regardless of the keyboard’s hardware layout.

Disconnecting the Apple Wireless Keyboard

If you want to stop using your keyboard or disconnect it from the Apple TV:

  • Select Settings > General > Bluetooth
  • Select your keyboard and then select “Forget this device”

20130712fr-apple-tv-wireless-keyboard-forget-device

Additional Information

Troubleshooting your keyboard

If you are unable to see your keyboard when you attempt to pair it with Apple TV, check that your keyboard is:

  • Powered on and in range of your Apple TV
  • Set for discovery or pairing
    • A blinking LED indicates that the Apple Wireless Keyboard is in the discoverable mode. If you don’t pair your keyboard with your Mac within three minutes, the indicator light and keyboard will turn off to preserve battery life. If this happens, press the On/Off switch to turn your keyboard on again.
    • When using third-party devices, check with the keyboard manufacturer for additional information.
  • Not paired or connected to another device

If your keyboard responds intermittently or cannot maintain a connection:

  • Ensure that the keyboard has sufficient charge or fresh batteries
  • Check for nearby sources of interference, including other wireless devices, Bluetooth transmitters, and so on
  • Try unpairing and then repairing your keyboard with Apple TV

Compatibility with other Bluetooth accessories

  • Bluetooth support on Apple TV is for keyboards only. Headsets, speakers, and other devices are not supported.
  • If you are having difficultly connecting or using a third-party Bluetooth keyboard, contact the manufacturer to verify that it is compatible with Apple products and Apple TV.

__________

Document Source: http://support.apple.com/kb/HT5633

Apple 17″ MacBook Pro Notebook Computer Battery Expanded, Swelling, Rupturing, and Bursting

According to Apple’s documentation on the 17″ MacBook Pro, the battery that comes with the notebook computer is designed to provide reliable service over about 5 years. The Apple documentation states that this single battery is so well constructed that a similar 5-year lifespan would normally require three batteries. Unfortunately, the real-world experiences of end-users demonstrate that the battery has a manufacturer defect of some kind that results in severe expanding and bursting. The images below are an example of what can happen with this battery.

“I called technical support and was told that batteries are expected to last for a year, and after that, this kind of expanding and rupturing of the battery cells is expected. Customers just need to purchase new batteries when this happens. That’s what I was told. Yet, I think it’s odd considering that I know of no other notebook products that have this problem with older batteries.” ~ Greg Johnson

Best Practices. For just about any notebook computer, it’s best to leave the battery disconnected while in storage.

Google Reader RSS Feed Alternatives

An RSS Reader automatically gathers website articles and posts from websites you subscribe to. Rather than visiting many different websites for your news, you can use the reader as an aggregate of all your news.

As of July 1, the Google Reader RSS Feed service will be no longer available (see the official announcement below). Because Google Reader has been one of the most popular readers, many people are looking for alternatives.

Two alternatives that seem to work well are Digg Reader and Feedly. These services are able to import all your Google Reader news feed information. Mobile apps are currently being rewritten to work with these other services. The Digg Reader service launched just days before the shut down of Google Reader.

* * *

Below: Announcements from Google about Google Reader

How can I download my Reader data?

Google Reader will be retired on July 1, 2013. If you’d like to download a copy of all your Reader data before then, you can do so through Google Takeout. You’ll receive your subscription data in an XML file, and the following information will be downloaded as JSON files:

  • List of people that you follow
  • List of people that follow you
  • Items you have starred
  • Items you have liked
  • Items you have shared
  • Items shared by people you follow
  • Notes you have created
  • Items with comments

Click here to start downloading your Reader data from Takeout. Once downloaded, your subscription data should be easily transferrable to another product, where you can continue to keep up with your online reading.

* * *

Powering Down Google Reader
3/13/2013 04:06:00 PM

Posted by Alan Green, Software Engineer

We have just announced on the Official Google Blog that we will soon retire Google Reader (the actual date is July 1, 2013). We know Reader has a devoted following who will be very sad to see it go. We’re sad too.

There are two simple reasons for this: usage of Google Reader has declined, and as a company we’re pouring all of our energy into fewer products. We think that kind of focus will make for a better user experience.

To ensure a smooth transition, we’re providing a three-month sunset period so you have sufficient time to find an alternative feed-reading solution. If you want to retain your Reader data, including subscriptions, you can do so through Google Takeout.

Thank you again for using Reader as your RSS platform.

Download Microsoft Office Professional Plus 2013

20130630su-microsoft-office-2013

Office Professional Plus 2013 includes Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Outlook, OneNote, Access, Publisher, and Lync. A 60-day evaluation trial version can be downloaded from Microsoft. [click here] The product can be purchased from Amazon in the pro or pro plus version.

The Evolution of Address Books and Contact Lists

20130627th-contacts-evolution

Summary. Technological advances and convergence has impacted how we think of and use address books and contact lists. The chronology below is somewhat of an oversimplification. Convergent devices and software existed early on, but were not as widely embraced and utilized as they are today. So, with a simple

1970s Address Book

20130627th-contacts-evolution-retro-vintage-address-booksIn the 1970s, prior to the wider use of computerized devices, it was common to have a single printed or handwritten address book.

This centralized address book would contain all the contact information needed for all people and businesses you frequently needed to contact.

One might even put their account number and other pertinent information in this address book as well.

Entries might be hand written or typed using a typewriter for those wanting a cleaner look.

1980s Address Book

With the introduction of computers and electronic address books, people began typing their address lists into electronic devices. For early adopters of online computing, this may have included a separate electronic directory of people’s contact information. Fax machines with internal memory would have an electronic directory of fax numbers. Telephones had their own built-in electronic directories. Because these different devices didn’t communicate with each other, it was common to have one’s address book scattered around various devices. If a person moved, and updated their email, phone, fax, and mailing address. It would be necessary to update this information on multiple devices.

1990s Address Book

In the 199s, the devices of the 1980s became more advanced. From decade to decade technologies changed, but the list below reflects the broader social use of these technologies.

  1. Fax Machine. Most of us have had Fax machines, and these have had an internal directory of names and fax numbers. Needless to say, no other information was contained beyond just the fax number and a name.
  2. Telephone. It was common to have a telephone directory either as a rolodex or address book near the telephone. At some point this printed directory moved to an internal listing inside our mobile phones. This list contained usually just a name and phone number. More advanced phones allowed for home and business phone numbers for an individual.
  3. Mailing List. Since most of us needed to communicate to a group of people by postal mail, it was common to have a directory in a computer with names and addresses. This could be used to print labels, print envelopes, and/or perform mail merge using Microsoft Word and Excel. The mailing list later became an email distribution list.
  4. Email Program. With the increased use of email, we began to develop directories of email addresses. These would usually have people’s names and email addresses only.

Microsoft Outlook 2000

Microsoft Outlook was one of the first widely adopted programs to integrate all of the above functions: fax sending, emailing, and mail merge. One could also print their telephone directory. Included with Office 2000 and subsequent versions of Office, Outlook became a commonly used program. Increasingly, electronic devices (like the Palm) would include the ability to synchronize with Outlook. So, you could take a synchronized version of your entire address book with you. This was helpful, for example, when traveling to someone’s home or business, you could double-check their address. Or, if needing to call someone, you’d have their information with you. Similarly, information entered into a Palm device, would later be pushed into Outlook on the computer when synchronized. People soon realized the benefits of having a single synchronized unified address book (as we’d had in the past).

PRESENT DAY…

With smart phones, now people are calling, emailing, and otherwise communicating in multiple forms with people. We expect our computer and phone to have email, phone number, fax number, and physical address (for mapping). We’re updating and adding data while mobile, to phones, tablets, and computers. The “cloud” makes it possible to synchronize without using wires, but in all other respects, the process remains the same.

Intel iMac Hard Drive Replacement Instructions and How To Steps (Video)

20090606sa-apple-imac-desktop-computerEarlier this year, a friend asked for help replacing the failing hard drive in her iMac.

If you’re familiar with Apple’s recent iMac computers, you know that their design makes them difficult to open. With past models, removing two screws provided access to the entire system. The newer design is much more difficult.

There’s only one screw on current iMac models, and that’s on the bottom of the computer holding the RAM cover-plate. To actually open an iMac computer requires suction cups and a set of tools that most people don’t own.

I don’t spend a lot of time fixing Apple hardware. Most Apple computers are new and under warranty, and even the old ones don’t break down. Generally what I see with Apple computers is that the hardware outlives the operating system.

20130312tu-themacdoctor-scott-nelsonSo, for this hard drive replacement, to get some advice, I called The Mac Doctor (Scott Nelson). Scott is really knowledgeable about Apple hardware and software. More importantly, he’s friendly. He’s also able to convey technical instructions and information in a way that meets people’s level of experience. His approach to computer support is that of an educator and trainer. He’s happy to fix things, but wants to also educate in the process — empowering computer users to be more independent. So, for these reasons, I admire his work since it parallels my own approach to consulting.

I planned to talk with Scott on the phone and get a few tips about opening the iMac. Instead, Scott offered to bring the tools and show me first-hand how to open the system and replace the drive. Well, I actually didn’t have the replacement drive yet. So, Scott also offered to pick up a compatible hard drive at Best Buy. The in-home mini-course went well. I had a lot of questions about specific components inside the iMac.

I’m grateful to Scott for his generosity and willingness to reach out and help a fellow computer consultant. This evening I had another iMac that needed a hard drive replacement, and having gone through the process once with Scott, I was much more confident this time in doing it myself.

I wish I’d created a video of the process, but for those interested in learning more, you can watch the YouTube video below which is very similar to what Scott showed me. It helped to have him present to answer some specific questions that aren’t covered in most online videos.

Transfer of Data, Programs, and Settings. An additional tool and step that I don’t want to go without mentioning will be needed for transferring the data from the old drive to the new one. An external drive case or USB connection kit will allow you to copy files to the newly rebuilt computer. Or, alternatively, you can perform a fresh complete Time Machine backup, and then when prompted, restore your user account, programs, data, and settings from that.

Apple Airport Extreme Wireless Router Uses a Beamforming Antenna Array

The new Apple Airport Extreme Wireless Router uses a Beamforming Antenna Array to achieve greater distance, speed, and reliability of wireless networking. By tracking the location of wireless devices, the signal pattern is boosted directionally. [More…]

20130612we-apple-airport-extreme

Finding and Using the University of Iowa (UIOWA) eBuy Website Login Page for Purchasing

The eBuy purchasing portal for the University of Iowa is available by following these steps:

  1. Visit https://hris.uiowa.edu and login using your HawkID and password.
  2. Click on the Administration tab.
  3. Under Systems click on the link for E-Pro(EVouchers & PReqs).
  4. On the One Stop e-Procurement page, click the eBuy link.
  5. You should be at the eBuy home screen and portal to a variety of vendors.
  6. Click the vendor (CDWG, for example) and choose Punch Out.
  7. It’s easiest to have a sales rep at CDWG create a quote, then at this point click on Iowa Quotes, then find your name/quote, then click the Add to Cart button.
  8. Click Checkout.
  9. On the resulting page, click the Transfer Shopping Cart button.
  10. You can Assign the cart to a designated supervisor.
  11. That person needs to review and approve the cart, adding the appropriate MFK accounting codes, then they release it to workflow.
  12. Once in Workflow, it needs to be approved by multiple individuals.

Apple Computer Sales Numbers, Data, and Trends Presented at the Word Wide Developers Conference

20130610mo-apple-wwdc-logoEach year at the World Wide Developers Conference, Apple reviews their progress over the previous year by presenting some impressive (and often mind boggling) data about software downloads, music purchases, and store sales.

Here are some of the numbers presented this year:

  • There are over 6 million registered Apple software developers with 1.5 million of those having joined in 2012.
  • The WWDC event sold out in 71 seconds.
  • Over 1 million people per day visit an Apple store.
  • Tens of thousands of school children visit Apple stores on field trips every year.
  • There are 407 Apple stores in 14 countries.
  • Over 50 billion software programs have been downloaded from the App Store is 5 years old.
  • There are 900,000 apps in the App Store.
  • There are 375,000 iPad apps in the App Store.
  • There are 575 million people with store accounts at Apple.
  • Apple has paid $10 billion to software developers, with $5 billion of that paid in just the last year. That’s 300% more than the revenue from Android and all other mobile OS systems combined.
  • There are 72 Million Apple Mac computers in use.
  • The iMac announced last year is the #1 desktop computer in the U.S..
  • The Macbook is the #1 notebook computer in the U.S.
  • Over the past 5 years, Apple has a 15% growth rate versus 3% for Windows. During that time, Mac has grown 100%, but Windows has grown 18% total.
  • Mountain Lion OS sold 28 million copies.
  • Mountain Lion is in use by 35% of users, but Windows 8 is less than 5% of Windows users.

New Apple Safari Internet Browser is Designed to Block Flash Advertising

Yesterday Apple announced that their new operating system (Mavericks) will come with a new version of their popular Safari Internet Browser. The new browser will include a feature that can block animated Flash advertising. The feature is similar to their Reader feature that extracts all advertising and presents a clean readable version of content.

Many websites display animations using power-hungry plug-ins that can drain precious battery life. But OS X Mavericks is watching out for you. The new Safari Power Saver feature recognizes the difference between what you came to see and the stuff you probably didn’t. If the content is front and center it plays as usual. But if it’s off in the margins, Safari Power Saver pauses it. You’ll see a static preview, and it won’t run until you click to play it. So if you don’t want to watch something, it won’t take a toll on your battery life. With Safari Power Saver, browsing websites with plug-in content will use up to 35 percent less CPU power.

20130611tu-apple-safari-flash-plug-in-controller-pause-preview-play-control

Data Recovery Scenarios Causes, Solutions, and Cost Estimates

20130409tu-data-recovery-situations

The graphic above shows the variety of causes for lost data and the general costs for recovery.

The prices shown are based on an estimate of $70 – $90 per hour, and going clockwise, the estimated time required for recovery increases.

When drives have a mechanical or circuit board failure, then additional equipment and time is required to perform the recovery. The extend of drive damage will determine the cost of recovery.

These are estimates only. The actual cost may be above or below these estimates.

For more information, visit Iowa City Data Recovery.

20120618mo-iowa-city-data-recovery-hard-drive-repair-header-woman-umbrella-on-right-with-dot-com-388x370

yWorks yEd is Free Flow-Chart, Workflow, Project Management, Network Design, Graphic Planning Software

20130409tu-yworks-logoSummary. The free yED Graph Editor software from yWorks is a a powerful desktop application that can be used to quickly and effectively generate high-quality diagrams. Create diagrams manually, or import your external data for analysis. Our automatic layout algorithms arrange even large data sets with just the press of a button. [more…]

20130409tu-yed-screen-shot

Microsoft Windows 7 Virtual PC for Windows XP Mode

Technology

Summary. Regardless of whether you use Apple or Microsoft Windows computing platforms, you’ve noticed that hardware and operating systems are marching forward hand-in-hand without much regard for legacy systems or software.

This means that regular costly upgrades are necessary, and sometimes older software is no longer usable. For example, a program written for Windows XP might not work properly with Windows 7. [More…]