AdBlock for iOS

 

This may be the best tip since using iCloud on Snow Leopard.

There are hundreds, maybe thousands of apps in the iTunes app store, those apps specifically for iOS devices – iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch – that are great, but… they have ads all over the place. Very annoying and distracting. Many of those apps allow one to turn the ads off by paying a fee – typically somewhere from 99₵ to $2.99. Some apps, I’m thinking TVGuide in particular, have ads and don’t allow one to turn those off at all. So what I think may be the best TV listings app for iOS is either deal with the ads or find another app. For me, for years, it was the latter. No more.

AdBlockFor 99₵ one can purchase AdBlock for iOSThis turn the ads off for nearly every app having them. With tax, I can say, so far this has been the best $1.07 I’ve spent. Now, TV Guide – NO MORE ADS! Songza, same. Friendlya nice replacement for Facebook, same. In fact, it was Friendly giving me the idea to search for such an app. It’s called Friendly with AdBlock and the author wants $2.99 to turn off the ads. Enter AdBlock for iOSa third the price with the same results.

The way the app works is to setup a fake VPN. Then, when the ads go to connect they can’t, so no more ads. Other internet options work just fine. I think, depending on how the app is written determines whether you’ll see a blank bar where the ad should be or nothing at all. For TV Guide, there’s nothing. For Songza, there’s a bar, which for me is still better than the ads.

Caution: There’s a free app called AdBl0ck. It however, sets up a real VPN and connects back to Baby Blue Wireless. It sends some information back to them. It might not be any worse than say, Facebook, but doesn’t the web have enough info on you already? Here’s the Baby Blue Wireless Privacy Policy. Also, because it’s a real VPN, when I was out for my normal morning walk, I was disconnected from the AdBl0ck servers. Result? Nothing worked. Ditched immediately. Save yourself the headache and the privacy invasion. Spend the 99₵.

How to use ComplyFoam 500 series with Backbeat Go2

I kind of have a fetish for headphones. Perhaps not as bad as some folks, but I have four or five pairs of earbuds, the kind that go in your ear and a couple of pair of over-the-ear headphones. On the latter, I have to admit, one pair is quite old and started falling apart last summer (and, they’re very cheap; the other are a recent purchase which I’m hoping to use more in the winter when it’s cold outside, sort of a combo good sound and ear muffs.) During the warm months, and at the gym, I use the earbuds.

Recently, I thought I’d give some wireless bluetooth ones a try. At an Apple Store, another admitted headphone addict recommended the Plantronics Backbeat Go2.These run anywhere from about $53 on Amazon to $99 at the Apple Store. I gave them a try. Sound was good, but I’ve never been a fan of the silicon tips more earbuds come with. And, my favorite third party vendor for foam earbud replacements, ComplyFoam doesn’t make any specifically for the Backbeat Go2. So, after a week or so, I gave up on them and returned them.

Then, an online company had a sale on the Backbeat Go 1s for $19.95. Couldn’t resist. And, ComplyFoam 200 series fits them. I liked them. Trouble is they were only staying charged for a couple of hours and they were supposed to last four or so. Called Plantronics, one of my new fav companies for standing behind their products. They agreed even though these were refurbs and I had bought them from a third party the Backbeat 1s should stay charged for at least four hours. There aren’t a lot of companies that stand behind their products. Plantronics joins my list of Osprey Packs and Camelbak as consumer oriented vendors. They said they would send me a set of their Backbeat Go2s to replace the faulty Backbeat Go1s!

After I received the BB Go2s, and using them for a few days, I was back where I started. The silicon tips didn’t stay in my ears, even the large, and I was getting disappointed all over again. I wrote to ComplyFoam to ask WHEN they would come out with some foams specifically for the BB Go2s. They said they didn’t have any plans to but they “have seen on some online forums that some customers have been able to use our 500 line of tips for this earphones. It just really needs to be stretched in order to fit around the nozzle.” And that’s where this post fits in.

I searched and searched, and yes, there were online forums where users said they had used the ComplyFoam 500s with the BB Go2s. Problem: Nobody was explaining HOW they stretched the ComplyFoams to fit. I tried several different ways before finding the “correct” way, at least for me. Here’s what finally worked: I used the chuck-end of a 1/4″ drill bit to stretch the ComplyFoam TSX-500. Here’s what it looks like: CF500onBit

You only need to leave it on for a minute or so; just long enough to stretch the inner core so it will slip onto the BBGo2. If you don’t happen to have drill bits, you can also try the backend of a Papermate BIC-type pen; the throw away kind

PapermatePen

After you get the ComplyFoams on your Backbeat Go2, you can enjoy your music and the comfort of the foam tips versus the silicon ones. Of course, some may prefer the silicon, but for me, the foams are better.

Now you know how.

1Password

Occasionally, I’ll write about great apps here. 1Password by Agilebits is one of them.

With so many websites, programs, apps et. al requiring accounts with passwords, many persons will choose to use the same password over and over. THIS IS DANGEROUS! Why? Because if a bad guy ever gets ahold of that password, you could be ruined – financially, and otherwise. But, you say, it’s hard to remember different passwords for all these various entities, let alone make them secure as 12 or more characters with mixed cases and other characters. I agree, it is difficult. So here’s my question: How about just remembering ONE password? If you can do that, you’re life is about to become more secure and hopefully, your peace of mind will be increased as well.

Here’s just a few things I use 1Password for every day: When I need to create an account on a website, say Amazon, I simply go to the site (my browser of choice is Google Chrome, but 1Password will also work with Safari and Firefox) and get to the form page to start my registration. Having already populated my Identity in 1Password, all my info, my name, address, etc. can be filled in automatically. Next, and here’s the best part, when I need to create a password for my new account, I just have 1Password generate a 12 character password like 6pbzDjXjqGB8. There is no way on heaven’s green earth I will ever remember that password. But, 1Password will! In order to use that password later, all I have to know is my ONE password to unlock 1Password. Sound good? We’re only just getting started.

How about when I’m out and about and all I have is my iPhone or Android device? There are separate programs for Mac and those other devices. For iOS 8 and above, 1Password is now free for basic use and costs under $10 if you want the premium version. If I keep my encrypted, 1Password file on Dropbox or iCloud, all my devices will sync seamlessly so if I’ve just created a new password on my Mac, and go out, my iPhone now has that same secure password on it!

What about all the times you go to purchase something online and you have to hunt for your credit card to enter that information? Well, 1Password will store that information securely as well. Then, when you go to make a purchase, you just engage 1Password and it fills in all the necessary information – including your three or four digit secure code!

1Password can keep track of your software licenses, email configurations, wifi configurations if you need to store something securely, 1Password is the program to do that for you. I was talking today with some computer friends. We began the conversation talking about software we use on a daily basis and couldn’t live without. For me, 1Password is one of those programs.

Here’s to safer computing.

Mail coming in from gmail automatically marked as read

For a couple of weeks or maybe more, new email messages coming in from my gmail accounts were automatically being marked read before I ever opened them. It was maddening.

I’ve spent a couple of days looking into this and there seem to be several things which might contribute to this happening: (the suggestions all are under the Settings, upper right of the Inbox which looks like this Screen shot 2014-07-16 at 11.47.09 AM

  1. Check your filters. This will be in Settings –> Filters. If any of them are purposely setting a ‘Mark as Read’ this might be the problem.
  2. For me, this was under Settings –> Accounts and Imports –> Other Google Account settings. On the next page, click Security at the top of the page. Then, on the lower right, in the Account permissions section, next to Apps and websites, click View all. On the next page, look at the Apps and websites which have access to your account. I’ve been looking for the ‘ideal’ gmail client for my iOS devices so there were were quite a few Apps which were no longer on my devices. I clicked each one, then over on the right side, clicked Revoke access. In all honesty, I don’t think it was the now gone Apps. There was also an item for Amazon, and I have no idea why I would have granted Amazon access to any email other than the one I use to order stuff. After revoking the Amazon privileges, the problem seems to have disappeared.

Why this suddenly began, I don’t know. But it appears to be gone now. If this helps you, consider the hours it took me to solve this; consider making a contribution via PayPal.

 

High CPU Usage in Google Chrome?

Ever had the fan on your MacBook Pro just run continuously while Chrome was open? Me, too! I knew it was Chrome because I opened Activity Monitor and sorted the CPU column. When I did this so the highest CPU usage (which is what causes the fan to kick in) was at the top, it indicated Google Chrome Renderer was the culprit.

So, how can one tell what page is causing the high CPU usage? It’s actually pretty simple.

Switch over so Chrome is front running application. Once you’re there, click on the three horizontal lines in the upper right hand corner. Like so:

1-Memory Usage in Chrome

When you click that a menu will open. Select Tools, then Task Manager, like so:

Now, you can see the pages you have open. You can sort this by CPU by clicking on that column head. When you do, you should see the page that’s rocketing your CPU and thus your fan. For me, it was a page on box.com

Close that page and the fan should crank down. That’s it!

Simple and easy.

Now, get back to work :-)

If this was helpful and you’d like to make a contribution, click the PayPal link, below.

Home Shared iTunes not showing all music on iOS device

Recently, I’d been having a problem where my main computer’s Home Shared music wasn’t showing all the music in my iTunes Library when I opened it on one of my iOS (iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch) devices. After some research, this is the solution to fixing that misbehavior.

  1. On you iOS device open the Music app and make sure you aren’t connected to sharing. If you are, disconnect from sharing and return to the Home screen. Make sure the Music App isn’t running (bring up the multi-tasking bar at the bottom, tap and hold on the Music app and then click on the red X.) You may have to reboot your device
  2. Open the Settings app (grey, looks like a gear). Scroll down to the Music selection. Sign out of Home Sharing and exit the Settings app.
  3. Open the Music app again. Make sure sharing isn’t available.
  4. Back to Home screen and re-open Settings, Music. Re-enable Home Sharing (you’ll probably need to put in your Apple ID and password.)
  5. Finally, re-open the Music app. Go to More, then Shared. Select your Shared Library and if everything is right with the world, all your Music should be there now.

Hope this tip helps you! Consider a donation with the button below.

Use Google Calendar Delegation

With Google Calendars, you can have others in your business act as delegates, or a trusted representative, for your calendar.

Here’s the instructions, directly from Google:

To delegate your calendar:

  1. Sign in to your calendar at http://calendar.google.com/a/your_domain.com.
  2. Click Calendar settings at the top.
  3. Click Calendars.
  4. In the Sharing column for your calendar, click Share this calendar or Shared: Edit settings(whichever appears).
  5. In the Share with specific people box, type the email address of the person to whom you want to delegate your calendar.
  6. Click Add person.
  7. In the drop-down box under Permission Settings, select Make changes AND manage sharing.
  8. Click Save.

After you’ve delegated your calendar, your delegate can sign in to their calendar and manage your calendar. For example, your delegate can follow these steps to create a new event on your calendar:

  1. Sign in to Calendar (the delegate’s calendar).
  2. Verify that the delegated calendar shows up in the My Calendars list.
  3. In the drop-down list by the delegated calendar, select Create a new event on this calendar.

That’s it.

You can have your Google calendars sync with your iOS devices (iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch) and your Mac. Depending on which version of Mac OS you’re running, it can be easy or mor difficult. But typically it just involves setting it up. A couple of alternatives would be to use BusySync, BusyCal or Soho Organizer.

Typinator: How to re-type frequently used snippets easier

One of the other apps I use every single day is Typinator from Ergonis Software. According to my own use of Typinator, my stats look like this:

285 corrections, 5004 expansions
average saving: 49.6 keystrokes/expansion
saved time: 22.27 hours
(at 196 keystrokes per minute)

I’ve been using Typinator since 2007. I have perhaps a couple of dozen shortcuts defined, and realistically use maybe ½ that, but those I tend to use I use a lot. Many of them are multi-line items such as my signature. Some are just mail account names or such but it is so much easier to use Typinator for these.

The idea behind programs such as Typinator is there are things you type every day or at often can help to type these for you while you type just a few letters, usually called a ‘snippet.’

For instance, for special persons, and for fun on their birthday, I might post on their Facebook page:

♪♫♪ ♫ ♪ ♫ ♫
Hippo birdie two ewes!
Hippo birdie two ewes!
Hippo birdie deer Greg!
Hippo birdie two ewes!
And many boar!
♪♫♪ ♫ ♪ ♫ ♫

That was accomplished by just typing “fhbd” (without the quotes).

Or, something simple, but for ‘challenged’ typists like me it’s easier to type ‘shg’ to get: <sheepish grin>.

You get the idea. I use Typinator for all sorts of snippets. Give it a try.

Some other programs similar to Typinator include: TextExpander and TypeIt4Me. An advantage these two hold over Typinator is they have iOS versions, although they don’t function on those devices like they do on a Mac. And, if you use Windows, I’d recommend Jitbit Autotext. It works in Windows the way these others do for Mac. It will even import TextExpander snippets, a real plus. Read more at: http://www.jitbit.com/autotext/free-autotext/ © Jitbit

How to Move Google Calendars to iCloud

I’ve been really happy with Google calendars for a few years. Until recently.

Within the last year, either Google or Apple or both did something that was causing me more work (and aggravation) than I will allow. Either something works or it doesn’t and when it doesn’t, I get rid of it. I’m speaking of technology, of course. :)

I had been using BusySync for a number of years with my 11 Google calendars (brought over from my Palm days) up until recently. They were working just perfectly until some time this year (2012). Then, I would change an event in my iCal on my Mac, and a new calendar would appear, “BusySync Conflicts”. OK, I found out if I made the change on my Mac, in iCal as opposed to doing it with the Google Calendar interface through a web browser, I would have this problem. It got to the point where I really couldn’t use iCal because I’d forget and the stupid ‘BusySync Conflicts’ would show up.

I resigned I would have to stop using iCal, except for reference, and start doing everything through the browser interface. Then, a new glitch. I would log in to my Google Calendars and a number of them would be turned off indiscriminately. By the time iCloud was released full blown, around late July, I had had it. I queried business associates who likely were using iCloud, members of the ACN, and felt comfortable I could leave my frustrations behind by switching to iCloud.

Here’s how I did it, make sure your Google calendars are the most up-to-date as these are the files we’ll be working with. This is very important! Do not proceed if this is not the case. Shortly, you’ll be deleting most of your iCal calendars. By the way, this tutorial assumes you are only using Google and the iCal/Calendar app for calendars. If you are also using any other calendars, including iCloud, STOP! This tutorial is not for you and I won’t be dealing with how to deal with that situation.

First, I logged into my Google Calendars. Once there, on the right side I clicked on the gear and selected Settings. Then clicked on Calendars on the upper left under the ‘Calendar Settings’ header. Once there, I scrolled about 2/3 down to find the Export Calendars link. Click that, and all your calendars will download as ‘your google account name’.ical.zip. If you’re using Safari, as I was, it will unzip the folder in your user account Downloads folder and trash the zip file. OK. That’s the beginning.

This is the part you might get nervous about. Open iCal on your Mac. First, just in case, select the File menu then choose Export and finally iCal archive. (If you’re using Lion or Mountain Lion, substitute Calendar for iCal as this is the new calendar in Mac OS X.) Now that you’ve got a backup of all your calendars, it’s time to delete them. You can delete all but one. You might possibly want to create a new Calendar called Calendar and delete all the calendars but that one. We’ll delete that calendar later. Your iCal or Calendar should now be clean of all calendar info.

From the iCal/Calendar menu on that app on your Mac, choose Preferences, then Accounts. Now you’ll create your iCloud account. If using Lion or Mountain Lion, you’ll click the + sign below the sidebar. The Add an Account window will open. From the Account type window, select iCloud and fill out the appropriate information for your iCloud account. You should now have an iCloud calendar on your Mac. (If you’re still using Snow Leopard, See the post, How to get Calendar & Address Book with iCloud on Snow Leopard to create your iCloud account on your Mac.) Once you have your iCloud calendars setup in iCal/Calendar, you can delete any other calendar (such as the one called Calendar, suggested earlier) which you don’t want to keep.

Now, you’ll go into the folder which you downloaded from your Google calendars and under the iCloud calendars which appear in your iCal/Calendar you’ll create calendars with names to match the names of the calendars you had on Google. (You don’t have to name the calendars the same, it’s just a suggestion.)

After you’ve created the additional calendars, you can use the Import function from the File menu in iCal/Calendar to bring your data from the Google calendars in.

With the calendars now in iCal/Calendar and linked to iCloud, you will now have calendars which can sync with your iPhone/iPad/Mac by using iCloud.

 

How to have Mail, Calendar & Contacts all open in Outlook 2011

Back in the days of Entourage, one could open separate windows for Mail, Calendar & Contacts. With Outlook 2011, Microsoft has forced the use of one window with clicking on the options at the bottom left to change from Mail to Calendar to Contacts. Different even from the way Outlook for Windows allows inline folders. So what to do?

It turns out, you can open separate windows for Outlook 2011. Here’s how: While viewing Mail, instead of on Calendar, which changes the screen from Mail to Calendar, do this instead. Right-click on any other mail folder (it doesn’t matter which one). Outlook will open a contextual menu, with the top choice being ‘Open In New Window.’ With this new window open, click on Calendar (or Contacts) at the bottom. Now, you have two windows: One with Mail and the other with Calendar.

If you are on any OS since Lion (10.7), you can use Mission Control to put one or the other in another window. And, if you have a Magic Mouse, Magic Track Pad or any portable Mac, you can swipe from window to window. On Snow Leopard, you can put each Window in it’s own Spaces.