Google+ March 2012 ~ High Tech House Calls

Do Dogs Really Miss Us?

Monday, March 26, 2012

Tired of Reading the Same Email Message Over and Over Again?

You are one connected person. You have access to email on your laptop, desktop, iPhone and iPad. Unfortunately, you are "seeing" the same emails over and over again on all these devices. How do you "fix" this?

There are two major ways of accessing email:
  • IMAP - email that is deleted from one device, is not downloaded to the other devices.
  • POP3 - all email is downloaded to all devices regardless of being deleted on one device or another.
POP3 is the default protocol for email. The majority of email providers support POP3. Your email probably has been set up this way on your various email devices and is why you keep seeing the same email over and over again.

IMAP is not supported by all email providers, nor on all email devices and email programs. You need to do your homework and search your email providers website to see if the IMAP settings for your email program (Outlook, Apple Mail, etc.) or email device, (iPhone, iPad, etc.) are supported.

Here is a list of common email providers and whether they support IMAP or not:
BellSouth IMAP is not well documented, but I have implemented IMAP
Gmail IMAP supported and documented on Gmail website
ATT IMAP supported and documented on ATT website
Comcast IMAP support is not documented
AOL IMAP supported and documented on AOL webiste

Downsides to IMAP:
  • Synchronizing IMAP folders using Outlook can be slow. You may need to shutdown and restart Outlook occasionally to get this to work.
  • Outlook will not show one integrated view of all your email accounts. Each IMAP account will have a separate inbox and user created folders. Your POP3 email accounts will share one IBOX and the same set of user created folders. This can make finding an email difficult if you are not consistant on how you file emails.
  • Make a mistake and delete a message that you want, that message is gone and cannot be retrieved. The POP3 protocol is much more forgiving. If you delete a message and empty your wastebasket, that message is probably available via webmail.
  • IMAP may not be supported on all your email devices. Unless all your email devices support IMAP, it may not make sense to implement it.
Carl Thorne
Expert Computer Consulting 

iPhone, iPad or Mac Book Stolen? Now what?

We hope this never happens to you, but preparing for this event beforehand will make things a little bit easier after the robbery.

Recovery of the device:

Record all the serial numbers for your devices and keep them in a safe place. If you devices are recovered by the police, they can identify them as belonging to you.

Deny access to your personal data:

Find Me
Is the "Find Me" function set up and turned on for your device? A while back, there was controversy concerning your privacy because Apple knew where you were by knowing where your device was. Many people saw this as an invasion of privacy and turned the function off. If you want to find your missing device, simply turn the function back on. Remotely, you can lock the device, wipe the device or send a message to be displayed on the device.

It is not hard to turn this feature off. Once the theft has occurred, you need to act fast while you still have remote control over your device.

Passwords to Access Device
Did you create a passcode for your iPad or iPhone?  Do the user accounts on your Mac Book require a password to access them?

The only way to use an iPad or iPhone without knowing the passcode is to reset the device to the factory settings. This process will wipe out your personal data.

If you have an installation disk for your MacBook, you can reset the password for a user account. Once the password is reset, access to your personal data is not restricted. Unless your data is encrypted, anyone who has access to your computer can read your data. The Mac Operating System has built into it, the means to encrypt data. Details on encrypting data will be covered in a future blog.

Did you create a document called passwords that contains all the username and passwords to your online accounts. The thief now has access to that list. I hope you backed up the password document so that you can access a copy. As fast as you can, access all your online accounts and change the passwords.

  1. Record serial numbers of all your devices and store them in a safe place.
  2. Turn on "Find Me" for all your devices.
  3. Create and use a "Passcode" for your iPad and iPhone.
  4. Create passwords for all user accounts on your Mac Book.
  5. Encrypt sensitive personal data on your Mac Book.
  6. Store your online access passwords in more than one place so that you can change those passwords quickly if your accounts have been compromised.
Carl Thorne
Expert Computer Consulting 

Survival Tips for College Kids Computers

Here are some time tested suggestions on getting your college student's computer to survive the school year.

  • Buy a Apple Mac laptop instead of a Windows laptop. Mac's currently are not a target for viruses and the Mac Operating System is more stable and reliable than Windows 7. 
  • Buy a Mac Book Pro instead of a Mac Book. The case is aluminum and protects the display better. As laptop computers get lighter in weight and screens get larger and thinner, it is more likely that the lid of the laptop will flex causing the screen to shatter. The aluminum case of the Mac Book Pro is less likely to flex than the Mac Book.
  • If you are using a Windows based computer, buy Norton Antivirus. This is one of the best preventative measures against virus infection.
  • Buy an external hard drive. Use the external hard drive to store iTunes and as a backup for pictures and photos that are stored on the built in hard drive of the laptop. iTunes music libraries grow like kudzu and will consume all free space on the built in hard drive. If no free space is available, your laptop will not boot. Move the iTunes library to the external hard drive. Here is a link with instructions:
  • Never stuff a laptop into a book bag. Books packed next to a laptop will cause the screen to flex and shatter. Buy a back pack that is made to protect the laptop with cushioning or simply carry it around separately.
  • Backup all your personal files with the external hard drive on a regular basis. Use cloud backup programs like DropBox as another means of backup; two backup methods are better than one.
Carl Thorne 
Expert Computer Consulting 

Communication With College Students Tips

Here are some truisms regarding how college students communicate:
  • They do not leave voicemails. A missed call on your cell phone from a college student indicates they want you to call them back. 
  • Nor do they listen to voicemails. Don't bother leaving one. 
  • They never answer a phone call from a parent.
  • They do not read emails nor do they send them.
  • If you are not up to speed on text messaging, you will not be communicating with your college student much. 
Arguing with a college student that the world uses voicemail and email will not move them to use either. This is a problem because your college administration will be using both to signal them that something is wrong and requires their attention. I have not yet devised a way to get your college student to use email and voicemail except after a negative consequence. The day you and your child have a meeting with the dean and the dean asks why your child did not answer the repeated voicemails or emails, may be the day your child starts to check this voicemail and email.

Text messages are very hard to communicate complex subjects, as well as very hard to keep track of. I suggest one text message per topic. Once messages have gone back and forth, get out your day timer and make a reminder to follow up on your college student on the commitment they made to you via text. So far this is the only way I have come up with to ensure that to do's committed to by my college student are done. Withholding money ensures completion of to do's. Text messages on the iPhone can be copied via the cut and paste function. I suggest copying text messages and dropping them into an appointment in your calendar. On the Blackberry Smartphone, the Cortado SMS2 Desktop application software will send your text message to your email. Here is the link for this software:

In this age of privacy and personal rights, you as the parent have no access to information such as whether the tuition has been paid or if there is an outstanding balance because of a change in the meal plan or parking tickets for parking violations. Your student needs to grant you access to the student's account dashboard for you to see these things. During the parent orientation class you attend, do not leave the campus until access has been granted by your student to the student's account.

Getting your college student to call you when they have a problem is key. They don't want a lecture when they ask how to get their towed car back. Take a deep breath and tell them how to solve the problem without making other comments on how you have never had your car towed.

College is a learning experience for both the student and the parent of the student. Enjoy the ride.
Carl Thorne
Expert Computer Consulting 

Monday, March 19, 2012

March 2012 eNewsletter

To Do's Managed Across All Your Computing Devices

My memory isn't the best. I am always looking for a methodology or tool to help me capture tasks and to make sure they get done. With Windows and Apple Laptops, an iPhone and a Nook Tablet, I was looking for a way to be able to access and maintain a task list across all these platforms.

Wunderlist is the application I have been using the for last month, successfully across all my computing platforms. Click here to go to their website:

Adding, changing or deleting a task on one platform automatically adds, changes or deletes the tasks on all the other platforms. The tasks themselves are not created as events on your calendar, but the application does allow you to display all tasks with a particular date.
Carl Thorne
Expert Computer Consulting 

Your Summer Vacation at the Beach: Reading ebooks From the Library on Your Kindle

You are the proud owner of an eBook reader such as a Kindle or Nook. Previous vacations at the  beach involved buying paperback books to read that got donated to Good Will after you finished reading them. Now you can download eBooks from your library onto your eBook reader for free. Think of all the money you will save!

Here is the reality check: remember when you tried to check out books for the beach and found out that book was not available at the library or was only available after waiting three months when you were put on the waiting list. You will encounter the same situation with eBooks at your library.

Once you are at the top of the waiting list for an eBook from the library, how do you download the eBook to your eReader? Download the eBook to your computer via some software you need to download and install. Once the eBook is on your computer, connect your eBook Reader via the sync cable and drag the eBook from your computer to your eBook Reader. Here is a link to directions on getting eBooks from the library to your eBook Reader:

I think the eBook Reader is a great idea, but like anything else, the more you pay for something, the more the item is easier to obtain.
Carl Thorne
Expert Computer Consulting 

Sunday, March 11, 2012

New: Software Organization Servce

Spring is around the corner. Are you ready for High Tech House Calls to help you with a little spring cleaning?

If you need to reload your computer from scratch, do you have all the software required?

Buying a new or replacement computer? How much of the software you currently own can be used on that new or replacement computer?

How long would it take to go through all the software stuffed in that drawer or box and find the right software for your computer?

Let us organize your computer software for you.  We will identify the current software for your computer and software you can throw away. We will also identify missing software you need to reload your computer.

This service is free to existing clients! 

Carl Thorne
Expert Computer Consulting 

Thursday, March 1, 2012

February 2012 eNewsletter