Texting from iPad

You can’t send texts from an iPad right? Oh contrare!! I’ve discovered a workaround of sorts that might be useful, dependent on other gadgets.

I won (yes I won!!) an iPad Mini from @TechTVuk and have spent the last few evenings setting it up as half a Work iPad and half a Family iPad, so that the parents and children can all enjoy the new device. But not everyone in my contacts has an iDevice(!), so iMessage-only may be a bit limiting. So I started installing some other apps that I use and recommend for calls on iPhone.

To set up Viber & Vonage I needed a device to which an SMS could be sent in order to login. Enter my @ThreeUK mifi. Text sent to mifi. Code obtained. App set up. Very straightforward indeed. And Skype was of course easy too. (no text code required).

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I can now send texts via three different apps on the iPad, plus iMessage as well. Skype Vonage and Viber. Happy face.

My grateful thanks to the good folks of @TechTVuk for awarding me the new iPad Mini. They do creative video for technology companies. Tell them @pedrostephano sent you.

NB picture shows the text I had sent to my iPhone. Setting it up this way didn’t work. But via the mifi did – and it’s exclusive and thus separate to my iPhone which is the way I want it.

Update – learned that Viber also has an app for desktop in both Windows and Mac variants, as well as the mobile platforms.

NFC errors

For quite a while I’ve had concerns about the security of my personal details on NFC enabled bank cards, to the point that I carry my Barclays card in a RFID wallet. @Alien8 confirms that the infosec community is well aware of the potential risks, but mainstream consumers are not.

Tweet today from @FraserSpiers confirms the issues that exist, so I’m starting a little list which I’ll be presenting to my business banking manager.

Contactless ‘charging errors’ at M&S

Card errors

Getting rid oF CAPS LOCK ErroRS

I’m a lousy typist. I use two fingers sometimes three, and both thumbs. Often I accidentALLY KNOCK THE CAPS LOCK KEY WHEN I TYPE AN “A” and then I because I don’t touch type, I don’t realise until I reach the end of the sentence and look up. Then I curse, and backspace delete and retype.

Today I thought “I wonder if I can disable the CapsLock key?” after I found that particular function exists on my aftermarket Logitech keyboard on the house PC (which has SetPoint software that enables easy turning off of the Caps Lock key). I wanted to not have CapsLock on my main work laptop which I use most often.

Googled it and got http://www.howtogeek.com/howto/windows-vista/disable-caps-lock-key-in-windows-vista/ which allows you to download a set of registry hacks. I executed the “KillCapsLock” one after downloading them all (and storing all in DropBox for later reference).

Rebooted and restarted. And blow me down – it works! Ace. Now I haVE TO USE THE SHIFT KEY TO TYPE STUPIDLY. Much better.

BFF’s BT Yahoo email hacked

Email HackedMy best mate’s wife sent me an email this morning. From The Philippines. Interesting since I spoke to her only yesterday. She hasn’t gone anywhere!
In fact this is a phishing scam. Common on the internets. Treatment should always be “Ignore Delete”. But – I added a step – I phoned a friend. The owner of the email was very upset. She’d logged on to find her emails ALL GONE.
No folders, no inbox, nothing from three years.

First aid measures applied – password changed instantly to one that’s not used elsewhere. Now she’s contacting her ISP to find out if the emails can be recovered (I don’t hold much hope). Next thing we’ll do is get her a new email address, and institute a backup plan such as AutoForward to a gmail address.

I’ll get her to read this post from a few months back which outlines all the steps to undertake if you’ve been hacked, and some advice for prevention.

Don’t ask when you’ll get hacked. Plan for when you’ll get hacked (not if!!) and should you need any help, phone a friend *waves

Data abroad

Our holiday to Europe last year, with many connected devices present, was spoilt somewhat by lack of internets, firstly caused by Three UK failing to unlock my device in the promised timeframe, secondly by the hunting of SIMs that could give data (then replacing them!) and thirdly by public wifi (eg German McDonalds) not allowing foreign devices. Yes, I couldn’t believe that either. But twas true. So this year, I’m starting the solution hunt early.

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First knock was on the twitter door of @BenSmithUK of WirelessWorker.net – here’s  our convo with TruPhone and MaxRoam getting mentions.

Best recommendations? Have an unlocked device for abroad. Buy SIMs before leaving.

Thanks Ben.

Emails and backups

A neighbour asked me if I could pop in and help sort out her emails as one had sat in her outbox for three days and wouldn’t go. Turns out her scanner was generating 19MB tiff files of her documents which exceeded her 15MB server limit so this was easily fixed by converting the overlarge file into a jpg and resending the email. Changed the default settings on the scanner and job done.

Then I asked the standard question – “Whats your backup?” and after a few questions and answers to and fro, I established that freshly imported photos got to the 3TB external hard drive, whilst scans and PC-generated piks go into My Documents/My Pictures as per normal.

There was no backup. 15GB of photos from 2002 to present. Not backed up.

“But they’re on my hard drive!” she opined. I explained that if the hard drive fails, there is no backup. Then I proceeded to copy all onto D: then set up Windows Backup and schedule (not my first choice, but the WD software for the HDD would not install and it was getting a bit late). I left knowing that in about one hours time, there will be a backup.

Proof that “having an external hard drive” does not equal “having a backup”. What’s your backup plan?

Outlook – unsent emails remaining in Outbox

Outlook has an intermittent problem in that it sometimes fails to send emails that are in the outbox. I’ve spent a fair bit of time googling* a fix, but cannot find one that reliable and definitive, so I’ve developed a quick workaround that enables easy spotting of the issue, plus first aid that works. Screenshots used here are from Outlook 2007, but I’ve struck a similar problem on Outlook 2003 recently where this advice applies.

This shows before and after Send/Receive (F9) when sending works normally.

Basically it boils down to a lack of timestamps. If an outgoing email appears in the Outbox with a timestamp beside it, it will successfully send on next Send/Receive sync. But if it’s timestamped “None” it just will not go, no matter how many times you hit F9 or Send/Receive. It’s a frustrating bug, as the email will stubbornly sit on your outbox, and if you don’t know or can’t see it, you may mistakenly think the email has gone, and be waiting a darned long time for the recipient to respond.

Before send – no timestamp (or timestamp is ‘None’)- after send there was no change – it didn’t go

First thing to try is edit the email in Outbox. Open the email, add a couple of spaces or a return at the top, save and send. If this activates a time stamp you win. But if not…….

Copy and paste into a new email. Clumsy yes, but in my experience the only reliable way. Don’t forget to copy all the address fields, the title, and the body. Send.

Top email will go as timestamp is ‘Today’ whilst bottom email will not be sent.

And here’s the final step – change your Favourite Folders so that you can spot repeat unsents. They will likely occur! Make an Outbox shortcut there by clicking and dragging Outbox from Mail Folders into Favourite Folders, then right click that new Outbox shortcut and select Properties, then Show Total Number Of Items. This creates a counter beside your outbox fave that can easily become a visual identifier of the problem – if it’s not zero (i.e. not present) then there is unsent mail in your outbox, and it just might be lacking a timestamp. So now you can assess it. But at least you know. And knowing is power. Isn’t that right? 😉

Click and drag ‘Outbox’ from Mail Folders to Favourites. NB this just creates a shortcut, and does not actually move your Outbox anywhere.

*Googling suggests AV plugins, Windows fix and disconnection from email server as amongst many various causes, some of which I’ve tried with no effect.

This workaround allows one thing – getting on with your email, so you can do what’s next after that.

JaunterCreekICT helping you, helping your gadgets.