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How to export saved passwords from Chrome to a CSV file

This process shows you how to export your passwords stored in Chrome into a CSV file, so that you are able to import your account credentials into a password manager. However, there’s one big caveat.

At first blush, you may think I’ve lost my mind. Wouldn’t exporting passwords to a text-based CSV file be insecure? Although that may be true, when you want to migrate your passwords from Chrome to a password manager (especially when you have a large number of passwords), the last thing you want to do is rely upon your memory to recall all the URLs, usernames, and passwords. And if you’re migrating away from Chrome—which you might be so inclined to do after reading this piece—you’ll want to export those passwords, such that they can be imported into your password manager of choice.

I’m going to walk you through the process of exporting your password information from Chrome. How you then import that information into your password manager will depend upon the tool you use. Fortunately, many of the better password managers are capable of importing CSV files.

With that said, let’s take care of this.

What you’ll need

You’ll need a working version of Chrome. That’s it. As long as you’ve stored your passwords with that browser, you should be good to.

A word of warning (IMPORTANT!!!)

This exported CSV file stores all your information in plain text. The idea here is to export the file, import it into a password manager, trash the exported CSV file, and then undo the process. If you leave that CSV file on your hard drive, you run the risk of leaving yourself exposed. If you don’t undo Chrome’s ability to export, someone could come along and export the file (more on that danger in a bit). Because of that, it is very important you delete that file after you’ve imported it into your password manager. Or you can always save that file to a USB drive, and then lock that drive up in a safe. Either way you go, make sure to protect that file at all costs.

Exporting

The first thing to do is enable password exporting. To do that, open Chrome and type chrome://flags/ in the address bar and hit Enter. In the resulting window type Password export in the search field. When the search result appears, select Enable from the drop-down.

You will then be prompted to restart Chrome. When Chrome restarts, click on the menu button (three horizontal lines in the upper right corner) and click Settings. In the Settings window, click Advanced and scroll down to Manage passwords. Click the three vertical dots associated with Saved passwords and then click Export.

When prompted, click the EXPORT PASSWORDS button and save the .CSV file.

You can now import that newly downloaded file into your password manager.

Undoing your work

First off, remember to delete that file or tuck it away for safekeeping. Once you’ve done that, go back to Chrome, type chrome://flags in the address bar, search for Password export, and disable the feature (set to Default). Relaunch Chrome and the feature will no longer be available.

THE BIG CAVEAT (IMPORTANT!!!)

Unfortunately, Chrome no longer allows the browser to use a password for profile locks. Because of this, you might consider deleting Chrome from your desktop, if you are migrating to Firefox for example and aren’t planning on using Google’s browser. Otherwise, someone with the understanding of how to export passwords could gain access to that data by following the above process.

In the end, the last thing you should do is allow Chrome to save your passwords. If you do, and a malicious user has access to your browser, there’s nothing keeping them from exporting your passwords to a file and using them to gain access to your accounts. Lock those passwords away in a password manager, and remove the passwords from chrome (Chrome | Settings | Advanced | Manage Passwords).

Consider this a word of warning.

Wallen, Jack. “How to export saved passwords from Chrome to a CSV file” TechRepublic, March 22, 2018

Posted in: Security

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Here’s how to check which apps can access your Facebook account – and delete them

If you’ve been on Facebook for a while, you’ve probably installed games or given sites permission to log into your Facebook account. You may even use Facebook to log into services like Spotify, Netflix, or Tinder.

But if you’ve been following the news around Cambridge Analytica, the data consultancy firm hired by the Donald Trump campaign for the 2016 US election that harvested the data of up to 50 million Facebook users without their permission through data collected from third-party apps, you may want to know how to make sure that something similar isn’t happening to you.

Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Go to Facebook.com (it’s easier on a computer)
  2. Click the little arrow all the way on the top-right of the screen:
  3. Click on Settings
  4. Look for the Apps button on the menu on the left-hand side of the screen and click on it:
  5. This page will tell you how many other apps have access to all or some of your Facebook data. I had 192 connected apps, and others I’ve seen had a few dozen, and some had over 1,000.
  6. Click the Show All button about halfway down to see every app.
  7. Here’s the fun part: You have to click on the little “x” that appears when you hover over an app to delete each one of them, one-by-one. This will take time.
  8. Start with the apps or sites that you don’t use (or perhaps don’t even remember using—Facebook is 14 years old, after all), and then move on to the newer ones.

Once you’ve spent all that time deleting apps, there’s one more thing you need to do. Below all the apps, you should see a set of four grey boxes. Click on the Edit button for the “Apps Others Use” one:

This very hidden menu actually controls what apps that your friendsinstall can see about youThis is important: When they install apps with very invasive permissions, much like the one at the center of the Cambridge Analytica debacle, those apps can browse Facebook like the user can, seeing what you share with your friends, even though you never consented to let that app (which is acting like an extension of your friend) see and take your information. It turns out I’ve been sharing a bunch of information about myself—much of which would be very useful for people who wanted to build a profile of me to target ads or political messages—without knowing:

Uncheck all the boxes that are checked and press save.

There’s also a nuclear option above this box—the one labelled “Apps, Websites and Plugins”—if you click the Edit button on this one, you have the option to block any app or game from using Facebook. But then if you use Facebook to log into any other service (like Netflix or Spotify, for example), you may lose access. Facebook has inserted itself into the web in such a way that the same ways it’s become so useful to us are the ways it uses us to sell our information. There’s no way to turn one part off without the other.

There’s one more problem with all of this that you probably noticed when you clicked the first app to delete it above. Even if you revoke all these apps from accessing your Facebook account, there’s no way of knowing what data they’ve already harvested, and what they’re doing with it.

Facebook rather flippantly says the apps “may still have the data you shared with them,” and to contact that company to remove the data for you. Even if companies were to actually do that for you (who would you even reach out to ask to delete your data?), this would require as many emails as you have apps installed. And what about the companies or apps that have gone out of business? Did they diligently delete your data as they should’ve before they shut the lights off, or did they sell it to someone to try to make a few bucks?

It’s safe to say that the only surefire way to ensure that you’re no longer being profiled against your will on Facebook is just to delete Facebook entirely (which you can do here)—but how many among us are that strong?

Murphy, Mike. “Here’s how to check which apps have access to your FB account-and delete them” Quartz, March 20, 2018

Posted in: Social Media Marketing, Tech Tips for Business Owners

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4 Ways to Control Outgoing Email in Outlook

Outlook doesn’t have to control when your messages go out. Take charge and send emails when you want.
Out of the box, Outlook sends emails immediately, which probably isn’t a great idea for most of us. There are many reasons not to send email immediately, but here are a few:

  • Allowing an email to sit for a few hours, or even a few minutes, gives you a chance to review the content with (sort of) fresh eyes. You’ll catch errors you didn’t catch before.
  • Some conversations go back and forth too quickly, so you might respond before you have all the information or ask questions that the next message answers. Slow down and avoid playing email tag.
  • It’s easy to fire off an angry response in the middle of a heated discussion. Give yourself some time to cool off. Most likely, you won’t send an angry message at all.

That last one has saved me more than once—I have a hot temper (but I’d like that to remain a secret). I’ve never had a knee-jerk reaction serve me well. Never.

If you’d like to take control and decide when messages go out, you can. In this article, I’ll show you how to manually send messages or schedule messages to delay the sending.

I’m using Outlook 2016 (desktop) on a Windows 10 64-bit system. Most of these tips will work in earlier versions, but the route to the options might be significantly different. There’s no demonstration file for these techniques, and they don’t apply to 365 Mail.

1: Disable the default

As I mentioned, Outlook sends email immediately. The easiest way to determine when email goes out is to send it yourself, but you must disable this feature first:

  1. Click the File tab, choose Options, and then choose Advanced in the left pane. In the Send And Receive section, click Send/Receive or press Ctrl+Alt+S.
  2. In the resulting dialog, uncheck the three options under Setting for Group “All Accounts” (Figure A). You could also select individual groups, if they exist.
  3. Click Close and the click OK.

Outlook won’t automatically send email once you uncheck these options.

The options might need a bit of explanation. The first and third options allow you to customize your send tasks a bit.If you want to continue to use F9 to send messages, don’t uncheck the first option. Uncheck the third option if you do not want to send messages when exiting Outlook. Definitely uncheck the second option to disable automated send tasks—that’s what you’re trying to do!

By default, Outlook includes all accounts in the All Accounts group; you won’t see individual accounts listed. So, it’s an all-or-nothing option as is. If you want to remove accounts from the group, click the Edit button. Doing so allows you to leave the automated default setting in tact for only those accounts that remain in the group. Any account you remove will need your manual attention. Then you can create new groups and change those options as needed—or not.

You might notice that you still receive mail. For better or worse, you might not be able to control your server. Most likely, nothing is wrong. If you can’t control where your email sits until you download it, you might have to live with this inconsistency.

With this feature disabled, use the options in the Send & Receive group on the Send/Receive tab to control when messages go out. If you want a bit of control, check out the dropdown options for the Send/Receive Groups. Using these options, you can send mail for one account or all accounts.

2: Delay all outgoing mail

Outlook routes outgoing messages through the Outbox. Once there, by default, it immediately sends the message. Disabling the automated send feature might be too much control; after all, you must remember to send the mail. Whether you’re forgetful or interrupted by meetings, phone calls, and so on, this option might not work best for you.

If you don’t want to disable the automated send feature but you’d like a little bit of a delay, you can set a rule on outgoing messages in the Outbox. While messages are waiting in the Outbox, you can edit or even delete them. To set up a rule that delays all outgoing mail, follow these steps:

  1. Click the File tab and double-click Manage Rules & Alerts. Or choose Manage Rules & Alerts from the rules dropdown in the Move group on the Home tab (in Mail).
  2. In the resulting dialog, click New Rule.
  3. In the Start From A Blank Rule section, select Apply Rule On Messages I Send (Figure B) and click Next.
  4. In the following wizard pane, don’t check any options; the lower pane will display Apply This Rule After I Send The Message. Click OK without changing anything. When Outlook asks you to confirm that the rule will be applied to every message, click Yes.
  5. In the next pane, check the Defer Delivery By A Number Of Minutes option.
  6. In the lower pane, click the Number Of Minutes link, enter the number of minutes (Figure C), and click OK. The link will now display the number of minutes you entered. Click Next.
  7. At this point, you can check exceptions, or not. For instance, you might want to bypass the delay if you’ve marked a message as Important. For this example, don’t check any exceptions. Click Next without changing anything.
  8. In the final window, give the rule a name, such as 10-minute delay. If necessary, check the Turn On This Rule option. You can also select Create This Rule On All Accounts, if that’s your intention. Click Finish and then click OK when you’re ready to create the rule.

Launch the Rules wizard.


Enter the number of minutes you want to delay each message.

If you edit a message while it’s in the Outbox, Outlook doesn’t reset the timer. It’s possible that you might decide to rescind the delay, and fortunately, Outlook has an option to do so:

  1. Open the delayed message (you’ll find it in the Outbox).
  2. Click the Options tab.
  3. Click the Delay Delivery option.
  4. In the resulting dialog, uncheck the Do Not Deliver Before option (Figure D).
  5. Click OK.

You can change your mind and send a delayed message at any time.

It’s counterproductive to disable the automated send feature (#1) and set a delay rule. Outlook ignores scheduled delays if you’ve disabled the automated send feature.

3: Delay a single message

If disabling the automated feature or delaying all messages is overkill, you can always delay individual messages, as needed. Fortunately, the process if easy and flexible. To delay an individual message, do the following:

  1. Click the Options tab in the new message window.
  2. In the More Options group, click Delay Delivery.
  3. In the Delivery Options section, set the date and time Outlook should send the message. The default settings (shown earlier in Figure D) are for 5:00pm on the current day, and I don’t know of anyway to change this default setting.

If you decide to send the message before the scheduled time, simply uncheck the Do Not Deliver Before option.

4: Send after connecting

If you leave messages in the Inbox when you exit Outbox, Outlook can send them when you next launch, if you like:

  1. Click the File tab, choose Options, and click Advanced.
  2. In the Send And Receive section, check the Send Immediately When Connected option (Figure E).
  3. Click OK.
Send when launching Outlook.

This option isn’t a catch-all for forgotten messages. If you’ve disabled the automated send feature, it won’t work even if you select it. If the scheduled time for a delayed message hasn’t arrived, this option won’t send that message. This option doesn’t add much to the mix.

Additional insight

You can do everything right and not get the desired results; your expectations probably don’t fall in line with Outlook’s reality. If you disable Outlook’s ability to send messages waiting in the Outbox, you may or may not receive a prompt to remind you when you exit. It depends on cache settings and even an add-in can usurp this option. In addition, Outlook doesn’t send messages when closed, regardless of what you might have scheduled. Anything sitting in your Outbox when you exit will still be there the next time you launch Outlook. If a scheduled send time has lapsed, Outlook will attempt to send the messages upon launching. Don’t schedule send tasks if you’ve disabled the automated send feature; these two features don’t work together.

If you schedule messages and you’re sure that the automated feature is enabled, but Outlook never sends the scheduled messages, talk with your administrator. If you don’t have one, it’s possible that an add-in is interfering. Disable all add-ins and see if the scheduling feature starts working for you. If it does, enable the add-ins one at a time until you find the culprit.

Harkins, Susan. “Four ways to control outgoing email in Outlook” TechRepublic, MS Office, January 28, 2018

Posted in: E-mail, MS Office Tips and Tricks

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Never Miss an Important Email on Your Smartphone

In today’s always connected world, it’s expected that you will get an email as soon as someone has sent it. But with all the junk, spam and unimportant messages from people you know, it’s too much of a hassle to sort through it all every time you check your mail app.

Fortunately, you can set your phone’s email apps to flag emails from certain senders as important and notify you immediately. Read on to find out how to set your smartphone to keep you on top of important emails.

For iPhone or iPad Running iOS 11: Use the Mail app

Your iOS device comes equipped with a default email app called Mail. You can set it to check your incoming email from many popular email services such Gmail, Yahoo and Microsoft Outlook.

  1. Open the Settings app
  2. Scroll down until you find the “Accounts & Passwords” option and tap it
  3. Under Accounts, tap Add Account
  4. You will see a list of popular email services to choose from. Pick one or, if you don’t see yours, choose Other.
  5. Follow the directions for each service you want to add, but generally, you’ll have to provide the name the email is registered under, the email address (john.doe@gmail.com), the password and a description so you can identify it in a list next to other email accounts you may have set up in Mail.
  6. Once set up, open the Mail app, choose the email account from the list that appears and make sure it has synched.

Once it’s set up you can then use Apple’s Mail app to set up a VIP list.  A special message tone will sound off so you’re well aware of every important email that comes in that is flagged as from a VIP. To add email addresses to the VIP list:

  1. Open the Mail app
  2. Find an email with a sender that you want to mark as a VIP
  3. Tap on the email address of a sender
  4. Tap Add to VIP

Alternately:

  1. Go to the Mail app’s home screen
  2. Select VIP (if you already have contacts designated as VIP, tap the i in the circle next to VIP )
  3. Tap on Add VIP…
  4. Choose a name from your contact list

Make sure any mail from a VIP appears as an alert on your screen, a notification on your Lock screen and as a custom alert tone:

  • Launch the Settings app
  • Select Mail
  • Tap on Notifications
  • Tap on VIP

Under Alert Style, choose whether you want Banners, which automatically go away or Notifications, which require you to act before they disappear. Then select from the following options:

  1. “Show on Lock Screen”
  2. Select Sound for a custom auditory alert (or choose none for a silent alert)
  3. “Show Previews” to see part of the email in your notifications

For Samsung devices: Use the Email app

Your Android device comes equipped with a default email app called Email. You can set it to check your incoming email from any email service that supports POP3, IMAP or Microsoft Exchange, which means just about any service. To set up your email:

  1. Open the Email app
  2. Select Menu
  3. Select Settings (the gear icon)
  4. Add account
  5. Input your email address and password. The app will try to set up your email automatically, which should work for most email providers. If that fails, you’ll need to manually configure it with your POP3, IMAP or Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync settings. Your email provider will be able to provide those.

To add VIP

  1. Go back to Settings and select Notifications
  2. Turn on email notifications for VIPs
  3. Tap on “Notification Sound” and “Vibrations” to customize the alert
  4. Go back to the main menu
  5. Select VIP
  6. Select the + button
  7. Enter the email address for anyone you want to add to the list or select the person from your Contacts address book
  8. Now when a contact you’ve designated as a VIP emails you, you’ll receive an alert.

For other Android devices: Use the Gmail app

Gmail allows you to set up filters so important emails that come in are auto-labeled and auto-starred, say emails from your boss. Once you set that up, you can then tell your phone to only notify when an email with a certain label arrives and ignore the rest.

The first step is setting up the important email to be auto-labeled and you can’t do this on your phone. You’ll need to access Gmail on a desktop or laptop machine.

  1. Point your browser to gmail.com and sign in.
  2. Find an email from someone you want to be alerted about and open that message
  3. On the upper right-hand corner of the email to the right of the date stamp of the email, you’ll see a downward pointing arrow. Click on that and choose the “Filter Messages Like This” option.
  4. The sender of the message will autofill into the form. Click the “Create filter with this search” link at the bottom of the box.
  5.  Check the “Apply the label:” box.
  6. Click on the “Choose Label” drop down and choose “New Label”
  7. In the pop-up box that appears, give the label a name such as “The Boss” and click on “Create”
  8. This will bring you back to the “Apply the label:” box. At the bottom click Create Filter.

Alternately:

  1. Click on the gear icon in the upper right corner of your Gmail inbox and choose Settings from the drop-down
  2. Click on the Filter tab
  3. Scroll to the bottom of the Filter list and click on “Create a new filter”
  4. Type in the email address from the sender you want to be flagged. Click the “Create filter with this search” link at the bottom of the box.
  5. Check the “Apply the label:” box.
  6. Click on the “Choose Label” drop down and choose “New Label”
  7. In the pop-up box that appears, give the label a name such as “The Boss” and click on “Create”
  8. This will bring you back to the “Apply the label:” box. At the bottom click Create Filter.

Now to set up your Android phone to notify when an email comes in that falls under that label.

  1. Open up the Gmail app
  2. Tap on the upper left corner and then on Settings
  3. Select the email account where you’re receiving important email
  4. Make sure Notifications is checked
  5. Scroll down and tap on “Manage labels”
  6. Scroll down your list of labels to find the one you just created and tap on it
  7. You will be asked to Sync the mail for that label to your phone to enable notifications. Tap the sync message, then choose 30 days from the list of sync options.
  8. After it is done syncing, you will see a notification screen. Tap on the “Label notifications” check box.
  9. On this page, you can also customize the sound, set it to Vibrate and enable the phone to play sound/vibrate when each new message arrives.
  10. Hit the back button and check your other labels to make sure notifications are not turned on (“notify once” will appear under the label). By default, your Primary inbox at the top of the list is synced to notify, so you’ll want to tap that and then uncheck the “Label notifications” checkbox.

Congratulations. You are now set up to be alerted as soon as an important email arrives!

Kantra, Suzanne. “Never Miss an Important Email on Your Smartphone” Techlicious, Phones & Mobile, Productivity, Tips & How-To’s. March 19, 2018

Posted in: Mobile Computing

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Hidden Gems in Windows 10

There are a few items sprinkled throughout the OS that tend to not get the headlines or perform any functions that are earth shattering but they deliver capabilities that can be very useful to many Windows 10 users.

I have seven items that I want to share with you today. Now, it is likely you know about some of these if you have been using Windows 10 for some time now but I am also sure that there is at least one of these you have never heard about.

So, in the spirit of discovery let’s take a look at these hidden gems in Windows 10.

 

If you are not a fan of the Start Menu with all the Live Tiles spread across your screen there is a way to return to Start Menu that is similar to the one we had in Windows 7.

First step is to open the Start Menu and right click on each Live Tile and select Unpin from Start – repeat this for each individual Live Tile.

Note: Unfortunately, there is no options for removing an entire group of Live Tiles at once, so the individual removal is necessary.

Once they are all removed exit the Start Menu and head into Windows Settings > Personalization > Start and make sure Show app list in Start menu is toggled on.

Now when you open the Start Menu you will see the minimal view just like the image above.

Bonus Tip: If you go back to Windows Settings > Personalization > Start and click on the Choose which folders appear on Start you can place shortcuts on the left side of your fresh Windows 7 style Start Menu to quickly access system and user folders such as Documents, Music, Videos, and Pictures. In addition, there is a shortcut for File Explorer.

Calculator Modes

Many users do not realize the capabilities that are built into the default calculator app in Windows 10 as it does much more than just addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division.

There are three main modes in Calculator:

  • Standard (Default mode)
  • Scientific
  • Programmer

Then there are the 13 converter modes:

  • Currency
  • Volume
  • Length
  • Weight and Mass
  • Temperature
  • Energy
  • Area
  • Speed
  • Time
  • Power
  • Data
  • Pressure
  • Angle

There is also a Date Calculation mode so you can quickly count the number of days between two dates on the calendar.

Quick Assist

Many of you, just like myself, provide tech support to many family and friends. In previous versions of Windows you had to use Remote Assistance to connect to distant devices and at time that could be challenging for some users however, the new Quick Assist app in Windows 10 makes this connecting process very simple.

You begin as shown above with just two choices once the app is open – get assistance or give assistance.

When you select Get Assistance you are asked for enter a code to facilitate the remote connection and that code comes from the person who selects Give Assistance.

Just pass the above code to the individual waiting for assistance within the 10 minutes shown and the connection between the two devices will be made.

Once that is done the user receiving assistance grants permission for the person giving assistance to access their device remotely and you are on your way to helping sort out issues with the remote system.

Windows 10 Tips App

The Tips app in Windows 10 is updated after each feature update is released so the latest information is reflected for users who want to learn more about Windows 10.

It is broken down into two main sections. One is the Recommended tips as shown above and then there is the Collections.

Each are laid out by categories to group things together in logical lists of tips and assistance. The tips are provided in text and video formats to accommodate the different learning methods that individuals use.

Virtual Agent

This app brings a little Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence to Windows 10 assistance and uses natural language searches to retrieve help articles from the Microsoft support website and other documentation repositories at Microsoft.

You just type what you are looking for and the assistant will give a response along with links to further steps and directions.  If the assistant does not understand a question just rephrase it. Even one word inquiries will work with the Virtual Agent.

Snipping Tool

This is one of my favorite tools in Windows 10 because it allows me to capture elements of the screen using four different snip modes:

  • Freeform
  • Rectangular
  • Window
  • Full Screen

You can set a delay up to 5 seconds, which allows you to capture an item that shows up after your initial click on the screen. This is handy for snipping images of sub-menus that do not remain on the screen for very long.

Once you have grabbed a snip from your screen, there are also tools built in that allow you to ink on the image to highlight a certain item or area of the capture.

The resulting snip can then be pasted into other apps or you can save the image for later use.

In fact, all of the images in this article were captured using the Snipping Tool.

Hay, Richard. “Hidden Gems in Windows 10” Windows Secrets, Best Utilities, March 13, 2018

Posted in: MS Office Tips and Tricks

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8 Tips to Deep-Clean Your Android Phone

Does your Android phone feel sluggish? Is the camera refusing to take pictures because there’s no more space to save them? Or maybe you’ve had to resort to a one-in-one-out policy when it comes to downloading new apps.

A deep-clean could be the solution. Whether your phone sports 16GB, 64GB or 128GB of storage, it can be all too easy to fill it up, especially if you’ve migrated app data and settings from an older phone. Restoring a full backup of your device (to see if you’re backing up, check Settings > Backup & reset > Back up my data) minimizes the setup required when upgrading to a shiny new phone — but it can mean that you end up dragging along apps and data you no longer need.

Even if you’ve started afresh, photos can be another common storage hog. Not only are smartphones the de facto recorder of life’s moments, they also collect all the images and videos you receive from Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp and image files created in scanner apps, for example. All these images are saved to your device — but with Google’s generous photo upload policy (unlimited lower-resolution uploads for all Google users; unlimited full-res uploads for Pixel and Nexus users), it’s hardly necessary. Anytime you have an internet connection, you can view every photo you’ve ever uploaded via the Google Photos app.

Downloaded files from emails and web browsing can make sneaky demands on those GBs too, and if you’ve been using your phone for a while, it may be overstuffed with fragments of app data — cached files that apps create while they run to help keep operation smooth and slick.

Expunging unneeded apps, photos and other files from your phone is a must when you’re running low on storage, and can even provide a sizeable boost in performance. Here’s how to get started with your Android deep-clean:

The basics

1. Identify the biggest storage-hungry culprits.

Like laptops, smartphones use a solid-state drive for storage, and maxing out this drive can slow down performance (here’s a technical explanation of why). Tests have suggested that using no more than 75% of total storage of computer solid-state drives helps with performance. If sluggishness has been an issue, aim to delete enough files so you’re under that benchmark.

Head into Settings > Storage where you can see what percentage of your total storage you’ve used, and what types of apps are eating it up.

Photos often take up the most space, so if you haven’t already, here you can enable Smart Storage, which backs up photos and videos that are over 30, 60 or 90 days old to the Google Photos cloud service. This option means you can delete photos from your device, but still view them via the Google Photos app, whenever you have an internet connection. For Pixel and Nexus phones, doing this is a particular no-brainer as you get unlimited full-resolution photo uploads in Google Drive; for users of other Android phones who have enabled unlimited lower-resolution backups, it’s worth noting that this option will delete your full-resolution originals (from your device) unless you back them up somewhere else first (like an external hard drive or a photo sharing service such as Flickr, which offers 1TB of free storage).

Note: Deleting photos directly from the Photos app removes them from everywhere even if you’ve selected auto-backup — see below for how to delete backed up images and videos from your device only.

2. Free up space (easily).

An easy place to start is by deleting downloads, infrequently used apps and backed up photos and videos. For those running Android 8.0 Oreo, it’s as easy as going to Settings > Storage and tapping on “Free up space.” If your phone is running Android 7.0 Nougat (or earlier — which you shouldn’t be, because you should always install software updates) you’ll need to address each separately.

Since your photos and videos are backed up to Google Drive, deleting them doesn’t affect your ability to view them on your phone, as long as you have an internet connection. Go ahead and check these for deletion — I last reclaimed a pretty hefty 5GB of space. For Android 7, open the Photos app (not the Samsung Gallery if you have a Samsung phone) select Menu > Free up space.

Downloaded files can accumulate through email attachments or PDFs you open while web browsing. Here you can view a list of downloads in order of size, then delete what you don’t need. You may not claw back more than a hundred MB from download files, but go ahead and delete them anyway — every byte counts. For Android 7, go to the Downloads app, sort the files by size and then touch and hold to bring up the option to delete the file.

Infrequently used apps can easily build up on your Android phone too — whether you’ve migrated some outdated apps from a previous phone or you download apps on a tablet or web browser that remotely turn up on your phone too. Happily, here in “Free up space,” you’ll be shown which apps haven’t been used in at least 90 days — which may not mean you don’t want them, so run through the list before hitting delete. For Android 7, go to Settings > Applications > Application Manager and you’ll see a list of apps. If any don’t look familiar, tap and then select “Uninstall.”

Note: You can check “Free up space” regularly to see if there are photos or downloads you can quickly and easily delete with little impact.

3. Check to see what other types of apps and files are taking up a lot of space.

The storage manager also shows how much space various categories of apps take up compared with others. Do you have a ton of games, music apps or movie/TV apps? If so, tap on the category and run your eye down the list. Are many apps performing similar functions? If so, you could delete some of them. If you know which apps you want to delete, head into Settings > Apps and notifications > Show all apps for Android 8 (or Settings > Applications > Application Manager for Android 7), then tap the apps in question and hit uninstall.

If you need a little more inspiration for deletion, you can see which apps are getting the least playtime — and are therefore the ripest candidates for deletion — by heading to Play Store > top-left menu > My apps & games. Sort by “Alphabetical” in the top-right to filter by “Last used,” and head to the bottom of the list to check for underused apps, especially if they eat up more MBs than their neighbors. To delete an app, tap to open, then hit uninstall.

4. Manage music and podcasts.

If you use Google’s Play Music app for streaming music and podcasts, you may have inadvertently selected to download purchased or uploaded music to your device, or allowed the app to automatically download the three most recent episodes of subscribed podcasts.

That might mean you have a ton of media on your device that doesn’t really need to be there — after all, if you’re in a Wi-Fi or 4G zone you’ll have access to the tunes. Or, you may have doubles of particular songs if they appear in various collections. (Of course, if you’re embarking on a 12-hour plane journey, go ahead and keep these on your device.)

You can see how much storage space music and podcasts are taking up in Play Music > Settings > Downloading > Manage downloads, where you’ll also see how this compares to the storage usage of other apps. To clear out these downloads, tap on Music Library > Songs and manually delete song by song (or podcast episode).

To prevent future auto-downloads, in the Play Music app, head to Settings > Downloading and disable the setting.

Streamlining

You’ll most likely still have various bits of digital flotsam that have escaped the wide net cast above — this next stage is about streamlining the files that are saved to storage.

5. Sort out your photos.

In Photos, hit the top left menu and select “Device Folders,” where you’ll see categories such as Screenshots, WhatsApp images, videos and gifs, Instagram pictures and other image files created in your various apps. You can delete folders here — for example, you probably don’t need to save all your WhatsApp gifs or items scanned on Office Lens — by tapping on the folder, then the top-right menu (or selecting All in Android 7 and tapping the trash icon). Here you can also turn off syncing to Google Photos; though they won’t count against your storage if they are less than 20MP image (which they should be), for the sake of a tidy cloud folder, screenshots probably don’t need to be backed up, for example. A cloud with a line through it indicates a folder is not being synced (and therefore if you delete it here, it’s gone forever). So make sure you sync your photos and videos before you purge them off of your phone.

6. Delete old offline maps.

Google Maps’ offline feature can be a godsend for navigating abroad without incurring roaming charges. However, those saved maps of Paris or Casablanca could be contributing to your phone’s dwindling storage. Open Google Maps and tap the top-left menu button to view — and delete — offline maps of places you’re no longer in.

7. Empty app cache or app data.

In the course of operation, apps create cache files — bits of data created as you use an app in order to make the app run faster. Depending on how much you use an app, cached files can build up to quite a size — but, thankfully, they can safely be deleted.

Head to Settings > Storage > Other apps to see a list of your downloaded apps (excluding music, games, and movie/TV apps) sorted by the amount of storage they take up. Click on the ones using the most storage to see how much of that is taken up by cached files. You can then click on “Clear cache,” which can help with storage issues as well as improve sluggish performance — for example, my Instagram cache took up nearly 1.4GB while the app itself took up under 100MB. If you’re using Android 7, you can clear all app cache data at once in Settings > Storage > Cached data.

If the phone is having performance issues — or if an app is glitching — you might even hit “Clear Data” on especially bloated apps, which essentially resets the app as if you had just downloaded it. You would then need to sign in again and any saved progress in the app (such as with a game) might be lost unless the app is saving data to the cloud (such as with Instagram — you could clear app data in Instagram without losing photos).

The nuclear option

The ultimate deep-clean, of course, cleans all of it out: your photos, apps, data and settings.

8. Do a factory reset.

With so many apps, including the photos and contacts book, capable of syncing to the cloud, this isn’t as explosive a nuclear option as it might be in a computer deep-clean — and it can be the best way to clear the junk from your Android trunk in one fell swoop, while potentially bringing your phone back to its early-days speed.

Resetting your phone means you can then cherry-pick the apps you want to reinstall. Check in Settings > System > Backup > App data that you’ve enabled Automatic restore so that when reinstalling these apps, their data and settings are preserved. (Alternately, you might disable this setting if some apps were glitching — a fresh install might sort out in-app performance issues.)

Finally, head to Settings > System > Reset options > Factory reset — and enjoy your spiffy like-new phone.

Stokes, Natasha. “8 Tips to Deep-Clean Your Android Phone” Techlicious, Phones & Mobile, Tips & How-To’s, March 7, 2018

Posted in: Mobile Computing

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5 Easy Ways to Keep you Cybersecure at Work

Here are some no-excuses tips that will protect your business devices from malware and data breaches.

For every business, it’s not a matter of “if” you will experience an attempted cyber attack or breach, but “when,” security experts warn. And despite an increasingly sophisticated cyberthreat landscape, organizations are failing to proactively update their security defenses: 46% of IT professionals and business leaders said that their organization’s security strategy rarely changes substantially, even after suffering a cyberattack, according to a recent report.

Even if your company doesn’t have the strongest cybersecurity measures in place, there are still things that employees can do to keep their individuals’ devices as secure as possible and protect both their data and that of any clients.

Here are five easy tips for keeping yourself cybersecure at work.

1. Be extremely wary of links and downloads received via email

“Lot of attacks happen today over email, and the attackers often use social engineering as the first step of a compromise attempt,” said Engin Kirda, professor of computer science at Northeastern University.

If you can, avoid clicking on any link that you receive via email, Kirda said. “If you need to check a link, if you use an anonymous proxy site to open that link, the risk of an infection would be reduced,” he added.

Attachments are also how infections get into your system, Kirda said. Loading attachments like PDFs or Word documents into Google Drive first and opening them there reducing your chance of getting infected, he added.

2. Take caution when installing apps

Be very careful installing anything new on your work or home machine, Kirda said. “Some ‘open source’ applications that are free might be bundled with Spyware,” he added.

3. Update everything regularly

Updating all of your systems regularly is key for staying cyber secure, Kirda said. Failing to update systems and software has led to a number of major breaches and attacks—including the Equifax breach—and excuses for failing to update must become a thing of the past.

4. Protect your home devices

If your home device is compromised, it puts your professional life at risk, according to Forrester principal analyst Jeff Pollard.

If your company offers home security products as a part of your employee benefits package, sign up for them, Pollard recommended. “The big security software players will often offer companies the option to offer employees anti-malware software for their home laptops and desktops,” he said. “Since so many of us log in, check email, and open attachments from work on non-work devices this makes lots of sense.”

5. Avoid reusing passwords

Making sure you don’t use the same passwords for different work and personal accounts is one way to limit your exposure to cyberthreats, Pollard said.

However, choosing complex passwords that you can actually remember and not reuse is difficult, he added. “A password manager—either an app on the endpoint or a browser plugin—is a great way to avoid the habit of repeatedly using easy to guess passwords,” Pollard said.

DeNisco Rayome, Alison. “5 Easy Ways to Keep Yourself Cybersecure at Work,” TechRepublic March 7, 2018

Posted in: Tech Tips for Business Owners

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11 First Sentences That Guarantee the Rest of Your Email Won’t Get Read

Even if your intentions are professional and sincere.

Imagine you get this email. You don’t know the sender, but you open it anyway. How long would you keep reading?

Dear Jeff,

I hope you’re having a great President’s Day! I definitely am. Even though I’m spending a little time at work right now, I plan to spend at least part of the day having fun with friends. We’re going snowboarding. I can’t wait!”

​”I am writing to ask if you would be interested in…

Would you keep reading? Generally speaking, would you even have made it to the second paragraph? I know: The sender was trying to establish rapport. But still — do you care about the President’s Day plans of someone you don’t know?

Nope. Instead you were thinking, “Clearly you want something. Can you please get to it?”

Now imagine you get this email:

We would love to have you on our show to talk about your book. Our podcast regularly appears in the top 10 of ‘What’s Hot’ in the Business category of Apple Podcasts…

Would you keep reading? I know I did.

Here’s the thing. We all get cold emails, and we’re all incredibly good at sniffing out boilerplate openings and forced friendliness. Even if we do keep reading, canned openings negatively impact our impression of what is to come — and make it much less likely we’ll respond positively to the actual message of the email.

Think I’m wrong? Tell me how many times you’ve seen the following opening lines in an email and still kept reading.

“I thought I would circle back …”

Yes, because I didn’t respond the first time you emailed. But why will I respond this time… especially when the rest of your email is just copied and pasted from your original email?

In the same vein, this won’t work either:

“In case you missed this …”

Maybe I did miss this.

Or maybe I wasn’t interested.

Occasionally the recipient may have missed your original email. But know the person you’re targeting. If it’s someone who gets dozens of unsolicited emails a day, like, say, Tim Ferriss, then his lack of response doesn’t mean he missed it. He didn’t respond because he gets too many emails to respond to each one individually. If he’s interested, he’ll respond.

And just in case he really did miss it, find a more creative way to send another email. “In case you missed this” only ensures that even if he does see your second email, he’s not going to read it.

And that’s also true for:

“I’m just following up …”

Occasionally a follow-up is warranted. If I said I would do something, and I haven’t, by all means, please follow up. It’s embarrassing to admit, but I sometimes do forget.

But if you’re just “following up,” or “circling back,” or finding out if the recipient “missed this,” find a more creative opening line.

Look at what you wrote in the first email. In all likelihood it was benefit-driven — foryou. Find a way to benefit the recipient. Always give, long before you hope to receive.

“I hope this finds you well.”

I get this one at least four times a day. While I appreciate the sentiment, I immediately think two things. I first wonder when Dickensian greetings came back into vogue. But more important, “I hope this finds you well” screams “We don’t know each other.”

And while every new friendship has to start somewhere, “I hope this finds you well” is unlikely to be the place.

That’s also true for:

“I hope you had a great weekend.”

Fine if it comes from a friend (even though none of my friends ever open an email that way). Otherwise it’s just forced friendliness. Asking “How was the Rolex 24?” shows you know me personally. Asking “How is your next book coming?” shows you know me professionally.

Granted, “I hope you had a great weekend” is an attempt to be friendly. But really: Do you expect people to respond? Do you really want to know about their weekend? Nah. What you really care about is how they respond to the meat of your email.

In time, some professional relationships do also become personal. But when the initial contact is through email, the relationships always starts as a professional one. Work to establish that first. Then a friendship might follow.

But not if you pretend that we’re already friends.

“You might be surprised to learn …”

No, I won’t be, because I won’t read the rest of your email. Like fake friendliness, interest-starters feel canned and forced. If I might be surprised, shoot, go ahead and surprise me with your opening line.

The same is true for:

“Did you know …?”

Granted, asking a question can be a way to engage readers. But not in the opening line of an email since what we all do know is that whatever you claim we don’t know is something you will then solve for us, probably for a fee.

“Did you know” and, “You might be surprised to learn” are clear signals that a sales pitch is coming. Maybe that’s not your intent — but we’ll assume it is.

And a couple quick ones:

“My name is …”

I already knew that. Your name appears in the sender field.

“I would like to introduce myself …”

Sometimes introducing yourself first is OK, but in most cases the best approach is to say what you can do for the recipient (or what you want) first.

Then, if we’re interested, we’ll be willing to check out whether you’re the right person to provide it (or are someone we want to help).

“I know you’re really busy …”

This is always followed by “but …” (which is a lot like saying, “I know this is going to hurt your feelings, but …”), Acknowledging a situation and then choosing to ignore that situation is an off-putting way to start.

Instead, respect the recipient’s time by getting to the point: The less fluff, the better.

“I want to ask a quick favor.”

At least in my experience, a “quick favor” never turns out to be quick. And neither does the ask itself.

Here’s a better way to do it. I recently received this one-line email:

Daniel Coyle’s new book is about high performance teams, I would love to have him on my podcast, and I’m hoping you can connect us.

He clearly knows I know Dan, and the name of the podcast was in the sender’s sig. Easy ask, and I always try to help out people I know, so I forwarded his email to Dan with one line: “Want me to connect you guys?” (I don’t share people’s email addresses without asking.)

Dan said yes. That’s the kind of favor I’m happy to do.

But if the email had led with something like, “I am hoping you will do a quick favor for me. My name is John Doe, and in addition to running Acme Industries I am also the host of …”

Nope. Probably not — because I probably wouldn’t have stuck with it long enough to get to the good stuff.

And that, ultimately, is the point. Your may have great intentions. You may mean extremely well. You may only be trying to be friendly, courteous, and professional.

But if you start your emails with opening lines like the ones above, most people will assume the worst — not the best.

Find a different way to be friendly, courteous, and professional — especially if you want your emails to actually be read.

Haden Jeff. “11 First Sentences That Guarantee the Rest of Your Email Won’t Get Read” Inc.com March 2018

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14 Hacks to Improve Your Google Searches

In the 20 years since Google was founded, it’s grown into one of the biggest companies on earth—but its original purpose, search, is still as relevant as ever. How many times a day do you type a few words into that search bar and click on a result? For most of us, the answer is dozens, if not hundreds.

For a product that’s used so frequently, there’s a lot Google can do that you might not know about. With that in mind, we’ve rounded up tricks to help you get the most out of Search, from simple tricks for narrowing down your results to more advanced methods for finding hidden files and pages online.

1. GOOGLE SEARCH BASICS

You probably alread know some or all of thes, but it’s worth going over the basics in case you don’t.  If you’re searching for a specific series of words, like a quote, just put those words in quotation marks (e.g. “The moral arc of the universe bends at the elbow of justice.”) Alternatively, if you want ot rule out any search results that include a certain word, just add a minus sign beofe that word (e.g. “Martin Luther King -quotes.”) You can also search for results from a specific website with the format “site:mentalfloss.com” – or whatever you are looking for.

2. REVERSE IMAGE SEARCH

Google’s image search is a great tool for finding photos online, but you can also use it to learn more about a picture you’ve already found. Just right click on the image and select “Search Google for Image.” Google will offer up a definition of whatever you’re looking at, along with other web pages that use that image and a few relevant links.

3. USE AN ASTERISK FOR WORDS YOU CAN’T REMEMBER

If you’re searching for a specific quote but you can’t remember one of the words, just put an asterisk in its place. That tells Google there’s a word missing so you get the best results. This also works for song lyrics or article headlines that you can’t quite remember.

4. HOW TO USE OR AND AND

Adding a capitalized AND or OR to your search can help narrow down your results as well, thanks to a method called Boolean Search. Putting an AND in your search between two words makes it clear that you want to see results with both of those terms included. Meanwhile, using OR will tell Google you only want to see links that include one of those two words.

5. USE “RELATED” TO FIND SIMILAR RESULTS

If you’re looking at a specific website or article and want to find more information on the same subject, just add “related:” right before the URL. This works for general sites (e.g. related:mentalfloss.com).

6. HOW TO SEARCH WITHIN A RANGE OF NUMBERS

If you’re searching for numeric results inside a specific range, there’s an easy way to do that in Google. Just put two period marks in between the two numbers. It works with basic numbers (1..10), dates (1960..1970), financial figures ($500..$1000), and other units of measurement (40..50 miles per gallon).

7. SEARCH FOR SOMETHING IN THE TITLE, BODY TEXT, OR URL

You can narrow your search results to a specific part of a web page with a few different commands. To focus exclusively on headlines, just add “allintitle:” before your search. You can also do the same for body text (“allintext:”) or the web address (“allinurl:”).

8. CACHED WEBSITES

If the website or article you’re looking for no longer exists online, you can still use Google to track it down. Just click on the small downward facing arrow next to the URL in your search results and select “Cached.” That will pull up an archived version of the site.

9. SEARCH THROUGH OLD NEWSPAPER ARTICLES

If you’re looking for an older article that was never posted online, Google has a whole separate site set up for just that. Head to news.google.com/newspapers to look through scanned copies of old newspapers and search for specific topics.

10.  SEARCH FOR A SPECIFIC LINK TO SEE WHO’S SHARING IT

If you run a website or published an article online and you’re curious to see who’s sharing it, there’s an easy way to find out. Just copy the URL in question and paste it into Google’s search bar with quotations marks on either side. The results will reveal any other sites that are sharing your content.

11. LOCATION SEARCH

To narrow your search to a specific part of the world, just add “location:texas” (or wherever you’re looking) to the end of your search. Google will also automatically factor in your current location if you’re looking for something like nearby restaurants, but this is a useful trick if you need to plan for an upcoming trip.

12. SEARCH FOR SPECIFIC FILE TYPES

You can also use Google to search for certain types of files, like PDFs, audio files, and Powerpoint presentations. Just add “filetype:pdf” (or the extension for whatever type of file you’re looking for) to your search and Google will narrow down the results automatically.

13. GAMES AND EASTER EGGS

Beyond helping you find the information you’re looking for, Google is also packed full of hidden surprises. Over the years, developers have added various Easter eggs into Search, and most of them are still there. Try searching “do a barrel roll” to make the screen spin around in an homage to Nintendo’s Starfoxgames. You can also search “zerg rush” to launch a minigame, and search “bubble level” on your phone to create a virtual level tool that actually works.

14. GOOGLE SEARCH WIDGETS

Google’s also added dozens of useful tools to show you information right from the results page. You can search “weather new york” (or wherever you are) to get a forecast. You can also ask Google for stock quotes, sports scores, sunset and sunrise times, word translations, definition, movie showtimes, currency or unit conversions, and your public IP address. Google even has a widget to help you search for plane tickets, a built-in calculator, stopwatch, and countdown timer.

Kleinman, Jacob, “14 Hacks to Improve Your Google Searches” Mentalfloss.com March 5, 2018

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iOS 11 Tips & Tricks You Need to Know Right Now

iOS 11 is officially out, which means you can install it on your iPhone and iPad right now to experience some of the things Apple has been working on. If you’ve already tried the beta, then you’ve probably discovered all the secrets of iOS 11. If you’re experiencing it for the first time, however, you should know that many things are changed, while others are just hidden.

Control Center
Swipe up from the bottom of the screen, and there’s a new Control Center. It has a new design and comes with 3D Touch support. But the best part about it is that you can customize it to fit your needs. Customize Control Center from the Settings app.


Clearing Notification

Clear all notifications with a tap. Yes, you can, just hold onto that X until the Clear All Notifications menu appears.

Drag and Drop

iOS 11 does drag and drop. The feature shines on iPad, but you can also use it on iPhone in select apps including the Notes and Camera apps.

 

Annotate screenshots

You can now instantly annotate screenshots before sharing them. No longer will you have to open them in a different app to do it. Just click on the screenshot thumbnail in the lower right corner after you take one, and annotate it. Share it, and you can then delete it immediately from the same interface.

Indoor Maps

When your walking, Apple Maps will help you not get lost while walking in certain locations like airports.

Screen Recording

It’s finally here. Screen Recording is a great new addiiton to iOS 11, and it all “just works” directly from the Control Center.

I hope you find these tips useful!

Smith, Chris. The iOS 11 hidden tricks you absolutely need to learn right now” BGR

Posted in: Mobile Computing, Tech Tips for Business Owners

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