Thursday, February 19, 2015

iPhone 6 Issues

I love my iPhone 6.  I got it in October after a three year long relationship with my iPhone 4s.  It was dying so I was ready for a change.

Unfortunately, I dropped it after only having it for six weeks.  I didn't have a protective enough case on it, so the screen shattered.  Thank goodness for the Apple Plus protection plan, because they replaced my broken screen quickly and for a nominal cost.  It was totally worth the $99 for the plan.  Please note - when taking in an iPhone for repair, it is always a good idea to do a full backup in iTunes first.  According to the Apple Geniuses, there's always a small chance that your data could be lost during the repair process (for example, if my replacement screen had not connected successfully to the unit).

I am sad to report that today, my iPhone 6 is now acting oddly.  I tried to use the camera earlier and it would only display a black screen.  When I tried to go back to the home screen, the screen went totally dark and has not come back on again.  If I hold down the home button, I do hear Siri's voice sometimes, so it is still working.  I was able to do a full backup to my computer also, so at least I haven't lost any data.  Looks like I'll have to visit the Apple store again and get another new screen.  Sigh.  This is not how I wanted to start my weekend.

Google Forms - A Testimonial

Over a year ago, I set up a Google form to accept applications for a youth camp on behalf of a client.  The setup was fairly straightforward and it was quickly working well.

After the application process was completed for the year, my client gave me feedback that it worked well for them to have access to the results of the form in Google.  We've used it for two seasons and have had to do only minor tweaks for the annual dates, etc. to keep it current.

Next I'm going to create a new Google form to replace a PDF fillable form for that same client to accept the details on donated items.  Fillable PDFs are great if you use Outlook for email, but unfortunately it is not so easy to use for non-Outlook users or those who are not tech savvy.  Non-Outlook users have to fill out the form, and print or save it to a PDF file so that they can then send it as an email attachment in their email program manually.  Google forms will be much easier both for those completing the form and those receiving the information.  Stay tuned for the results of this project in the near future.

Friday, February 6, 2015

New Year, Clean Slate

Feeling like you'd like a fresh start with your technology in the new year?  Here are some clean up tips and other things to consider for your life with technology.

Clean up Your PC - download & use these tools
CCleaner - to clean out the junk on your PC
DeCrapifier - to remove bloatware that might have been pre-loaded on your PC
SyncToy - to create backups easily to/from your PC or any flash drive
DriverMax - to update all of the drivers on your PC

Some of these are totally free, some have a nominal charge beyond a trial period, but all of them are worth using periodically to maintain the performance of your PC.

Organize Your Digital Photos
Organize your folders for photos by year, month and event, such as 201412 Xmas, 201404 Spring, etc. so that you can easily find the images you need.  Don't leave all of your digital images on the memory card unless you're actively going to use that card to print them at the local WalMart or whatever.  You need to copy them onto a PC or into the cloud - it is WAY too easy to lose those tiny memory cards and without a backup somewhere, you are screwed!!

Back up Your PC
You can use an external hard drive or flash drive, depending on the amount of data you have.  Tools like SyncToy or Ghost can create backups of selected files or of your entire computer.  It's definitely a good idea to have an image copy of your entire PC, just in case your hard drive dies completely.  Be sure to include backups of your photos, which may require a large amount of space.  You should store your backup drive in a safe place away from your PC if possible.  Ideally, keep it  in a fireproof safe in a different room of your house, so then you're likely to actually be able to recover from a fire or flood.  If you keep your backup and your PC together all of the time, you greatly increase the chances that if a catastrophic event occurs, you'll lose both.

Use a Password Manager
I can't stress it enough - you need to use different passwords on all of your most frequently visited websites, especially any that have your credit card details, your financial information or other sensitive personal information!  I know that is a LOT of passwords to remember, but password manager software is the key to keeping your sanity.  I recommend RoboForm, which is low cost, easy to use and has several useful features.

Turn on Your Router's WPA2 Password
Keep the bad guys out of your wifi network so they can't steal your data or your bandwidth.  Check your router's documentation to find out how to login to the admin function and set this up, and do it now.

Use Firewall and Virus Protection
Everyone should already know about these, but I would be remiss not to include them.  If you don't already use both a firewall and a virus protection software package, get them and start using them right away.  You are just asking for your identity to be stolen or for your PC to be compromised without these tools.