Saturday, March 17, 2018

Facebook notifications appear even though nothing is open.

On an Apple Macbook Air Facebook notifications appear by popping out in the top right corner. At first this was a bit perplexing. Nothing was open and yet these notifications appear. These notifications appear because of the Google Chrome browser.

To stop the Facebook notifications appearing open Google Chrome.
Click on the three vertical dots at the top right.
Select Settings
Select Content Settings
Select Notifications
In the Allow section you'll find the Facebook address. Click on the three dots at the right.
Click Remove to remove the notification.
Alternately you could also click Block so you don't receive any requests to allow notifications.

Kelvin Eldridge
IT support.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

The Gmail Team - Update to Gmail app and get the most out of Gmail.

One person received the below email from The Gmail Team and asked if they should start using the Gmail app. The person was using an iPhone 6S.

Based on my experience using the Gmail app on a cheap Android mobile phone, and using and supporting Apple's email clients on iPhones and iPad, I'd suggest the Apple iOS email client is already a better email client in general than the Gmail app. If you have an Apple product their email client is better than Gmail's email client so there's no reason to switch.

Google are always promoting their products such as the Gmail app and Google Chrome browser to the users of their services, but often there's no reason to use their products when the existing products you use are as good or possibly better.

As an example, using the Gmail app on my Android mobile phone, even after I've deleted emails on my notebook, they still appear on my mobile and take quite a while before they disappear.  After deleting emails they reappear for no apparent reason and need to be deleted again. This behaviour of the Gmail app is confusing, annoying and a waste of time. I should add however this is using an IMAP service and not the Gmail service.

If the email client you are using does everything you need to do and works well, I'd suggest it may be best to continue to use the email client you already have. It can take a lot of time and effort to evaluate another email app, which could simply be a waste of time. If you know of a benefit a new email client will offer, then you have a reason to evaluate using the new email client. Just because Google suggests their app will "get the most out of Gmail" doesn't mean it will make any difference, and in some cases you may be worse off and simply waste valuable time and energy.

Kelvin Eldridge
IT support.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Can't open Instagram on iPad. Error "Safari cannot open the page because too many redirects occurred."

A person had a problem opening Instagram on their iPad. There had been no problem but then for the previous couple of days they couldn't open Instagram using Safari on their iPad. The error message they'd receive was, "Safari cannot open the page because too many redirects occurred."

If you receive this issue there's two solutions that will let you open Instagram on the iPad.

1. Install Google's Chrome browser. The Chrome browser had no problem opening Instagram when the Safari browser couldn't.

2. Close Safari and then go into Settings -> Safari. Click on Clear History and Website Data.

Both of these approaches fixed the problem and Instagram could again be opened using either the Safari or Chrome browser.

Kelvin Eldridge
IT support.

Friday, March 9, 2018

Gmail emails not appearing in inbox. Have to select All Mail to see the emails.

A couple of people have mentioned recently they've lost their emails in Gmail. On further investigation for one person it turned out their emails had been marked important and only appeared in the Important folder and not the Inbox. Totally confusing.

The problem appears to be that Gmail is deciding what is important or not to you and sometimes filtering out email so it doesn't appear in the Inbox but only under Important. This leads to considerable confusion as now people have to check Inbox, All Mail and Important. Add that some emails from people you've known for years ends up in Spam and Gmail is a bit of a mess.

The good news is you largely fix the issue (not the spam filtering) of emails not ending up in your Inbox. To do this you need to open Gmail using a desktop or notebook computer. Select Settings and Inbox.

Towards the bottom of this screen you'll see the options for Importance. The way I work is I simply want all emails to come into my Inbox (excluding any real spam that can go to the spam folder) and then I know I have all emails. If I want, I can then mark messages as important, star them, or add labels, although I'd rarely use those features if ever. I just want a simple easy to use email client.

The following is the settings I've enabled for the person having problems.

Show markers is turned off. Most emails come into the Inbox as important and this shows up on mobile phones as a yellow marker on every message. There's really not point unless you are really using the importance feature, and most people probably don't.

Don't use predictions. We've seen Gmail is really screwing up people's emails and they feel they can't find or have lost emails. This is a poor problematic feature so best turned off.

Override filters is selected as you don't want some emails to not appear in the Inbox for no apparent reason.

Google's Gmail automation in this case is creating confusion and additional work for Gmail users. Turning the importance features off for most people will make their email experience simpler and cause less confusion.

Kelvin Eldridge
IT support.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

A useful table showing SD card speed classes. Utility to test card size and speed.

I recently purchased a very inexpensive 32 GB micro SD card from eBay. It was $6.99 which is possibly up to a fifth of the cost if purchased from an Australian retailer. I really had two concerns. The capacity being actually 32 GB and not faked. The second the speed is Class 10.

With the speed a bit of research on the internet enabled me to come up with a quick cheat that I could remember. There's a number of standards. There's C, U and now V. If an SD card has a C class followed by a number e.g. C4, the 4 directly relates to the megabytes per second. That is C4, C6, C10 are 4, 6 and 10 megabyte per second write speeds. With U there's typically U1 and U3. In this case we multiple the number by 10 so U1 and U3 are 10 and 30 megabytes per second write speed. The V class is similar to the U class where you multiply the number by 10, thus V6 and V9 are 60 and 90 megabytes per second.

The following link provides a chart which shows what you can use each of the classes for. In my case I wanted to record HD video so the C10 device was sufficient.

The second concern was to test the actual capacity of the micro SD card to what I thought I'd purchased. You can't just insert the card and read the capacity as it is possible for card to fake that information. The best way is to have a utility write to the card and then verify the data that has been written. I was able to find the following utility to test the micro SD card which also performs a speed test of the card.

The site is a German site but using Google translate it is easy to download the program. The program has an option to display information in English. For a 32 GB micro SD card you can expect the test will take around two or more hours for a 32GB memory card. Also before installing any software you're sure of it is best to use a site to run malware scans on the file. The site I use to test files I access by going to my search site, type virus and then click Search. This site owned by Google tests the file for malware against dozens of well known software products.

After receiving the micro SD card I immediately ran the test software. The result below shows the micro SD card only had 112.8MB of 32GB memory that wasn't faulty and the speed did not meet the minimum Class 10 speed of 10MB/s. In other words I'd bought a dud

Test results

Warning: Only 31992 of 31993 MByte tested.
The media is likely to be defective.
112.8 MByte OK (231031 sectors)
31.1 GByte DATA LOST (65288585 sectors)
Details:4.5 KByte overwritten (9 sectors)
0 KByte slightly changed (< 8 bit/sector, 0 sectors)
31.1 GByte corrupted (65288576 sectors)
4.5 KByte aliased memory (9 sectors)
First error at offset: 0x00000000070cee00
Expected: 0x00000000070cee00
Found: 0x00eaacb0c0f30657
H2testw version 1.3
Writing speed: 7.59 MByte/s
Reading speed: 9.56 MByte/s
H2testw v1.4

This is a good lesson when it comes to buying cheap memory cards on eBay, or the internet in general. Make sure you test the memory cards when you receive them using test software. You can't just copy files to the card as the card will appear to work. It's only when you go to retrieve or use the files that you'll know the card is not what it should be. For example I copied a video file onto the card and no error was reported. I started to watch the video and after a short while the video froze. No error was reported.

Hopefully this experience will provide you with the knowledge and tools to check your memory cards.

Kelvin Eldridge
Online Connections
IT support

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Apple Store subscription for Magic Piano by Smule a fake

Today I received an email for an Apple Store subscription for Magic Paino by Smule. Since this is a scam variation I'd not seen before I thought I'd share.

The email is a scam designed to get you to cancel by clicking on the link. The email is not real. It isn't from Apple. It's a fake.

Remember, often the only thing that is protecting you from you from these scams is how willing you are to click on the link. Don't do it.

Kelvin Eldridge
Online Connections
IT support.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Watch out for bait and switch which is very common on eBay

You're looking for a product on eBay but what can make it harder, is the old bait and switch technique. For example if you search for "earbud bluetooth" and then sort by "Price + postage - lowest first", you'll see quite a few low priced items.

Let's take the following item.

As you can see, there's a price range of $1.00 to $9.49. The $1.00 is to get you to see the listing by getting their item listed higher in the list. The $9.49 is for the black or white coloured bluetooth earbud. The $1.00 it is a set of cheaper wired earphones. Nothing to do with bluetooth at all. A fudge to get the listing higher in the list if the list is sorted by price.

I'm a bit surprised that eBay tolerates this bait and switch tactic of sellers. It really is annoying and such a time waster. Since eBay is unlikely to do anything about these types of ads (they're often included in their suggestions section as well) then I suppose it really is up to buyers to choose a  different supplier that doesn't use the bait and switch tactic. The good thing is it's easy to do. Just use the heading information to do another search query. There's usually quite a few sellers selling the same product.

Of course at some point I suspect the ACCC should get involved as this isn't the type of behaviour we expect from retailers in Australia.

Kelvin Eldridge