Sunday, 25 August 2013

Mystery of the Missing Email Using Outlook

Employers use Outlook for their email services, which handles company communication within the organisation securely. This means you have to be sitting in front of one of the company's computer to access your company email. However, there is a setting that can be set to forward company emails to other emails(like yahoo, google and others). This lets you read the emails from your home though you would not be able to send email using your company email address. 

Where are my emails at Outlook?


One of my friends who managed to divert her email encountered a problem. She can receive it from yahoo, but can't see anything from the company's Microsoft Outlook. A thought in my mind is already brewing with something but unsure about it. So I went in and took a look. And I found out that she made a rule to forward all company messages to her yahoo account! This made her messages bypass her company inbox. 

Here's how to forward it correctly.

Log into your Outlook account and click Options(1) at the top right of the screen then go to Create an Inbox Rule(2).


Then click create a new rule for arriving messages(3).



Next step is to set which emails you want to apply for the new rule,  choose apply to all messages(4).


Now you are ready to set the rule to redirect the message(5).


And here's the tricky bit that can result into an error, as you are telling the Outlook program to bypass your company email and send them somewhere else. The simple solution  is to add your company email with the list of emails you wanted your messages divert to!


You can check if your company email is at the rule list by going back to the first step. You will see the rule and the emails at the far right of your screen.


Saturday, 24 August 2013

Windows Top 6 Practical Tips and Tricks

Call me an old timer but even with the presence of portable and mobile computing, I am still stuck with my laptop for productivity reasons. And with the high price of apple notebooks, I am contented with my windows machine. Windows performance is not that bad in my opinion, although users encounter more problems than using an apple machine. From time to time, I encounter these too, from simple to complicated that are really annoying. Here are my top 6 annoying problems and the tips and tricks to get round these .

1. Long boot up period


From the moment I turn on the button until the time the machine is ready to use sometimes takes very long time. Anytime longer than 3 minutes is not acceptable to me. Something might be happening during or after the boot up period. In my case, many times the problem occurs at the end of the boot up. I say this because the desktop is showing, but it seems like the machine doesn't want to do anything and not responding to my clicks.  Here are the causes I have encountered.

Legitimate program activities

Sometimes even though they are legitimate programs, they can make themselves come to life, without the user knowing, when I power up my laptop,  like windows messenger logging in, real player readying itself to go online for update checking, anti virus is doing a scan and so on . There's nothing wrong with it but this process can delay the time before I can do anything. The solution to this is to get into the settings of the program and turn off the feature.

To stop my antivirus auto scanning(I use AVG) on start up, I need to open(1) it up and  and go to Options, Advance Settings(2), click Schedules then Scheduled Scans(3). then untick the Run On Computer Start Up(4) and also at the advanced scheduling options, untick(5) "run when computer  starts up when task has been missed".



I do not actually scan my laptop regularly, but I DO update it's virus definition every time.

Illegitimate program activities

Have you experienced a pop up window saying "scanning for viruses" then scares you afterwards as it says it detected some infections with your laptop? Most of the time, this warning is just coming from a scareware, tricking you into clicking and downloading a link that promises a cure and removal of threats. Don't fall to it as it can do more harm and good.


To stop this from showing up during boot time,or any other internet related pop up, goto start(1), type mscofig(2) at the search box, click msconfig(3), at startup(4) look for the program's name and untick it.  Better is to uninstall it totally(you can do this at programs and features). You can also disable other unnecessary programs (red boxed) by unticking them so they will not load during the start up. Do not forget to click apply button. To take effect, restart the computer.




2. If you own a laptop use hibernate instead of shutting down 

This is a power saving feature of laptops an a better way to exit windows. Instead of shutting down the laptop, just close the lid and the machine goes into hibernate mode, meaning the laptop puts opened documents and programs into the hard disk, and then turns off  itself. And the next time you press the power button, the computer starts quicker than powering following a shut down. The best part is, you can resume documents you have been working or can go to the same web site before you have closed the lid. It is also uses less power compared to sleep mode.

To activate hibernate mode, go to control panel, power options, control settings, choose what closing the lid does, then choose hibernate from the drop down menu. And do not forget to save the changes.




3. Other slow browsers and crashing chrome

Browsers are not made the same. As they are developed by different technologies, the speed of rendering a webpage is also different. Some are faster and others are slower. Others are prone to crashes as well. SO far I have tried several browsers when surfing, and I find that Chrome is still the fastest among the rest. It is also the easiest to operate.

Chrome is good but sometimes it crashes too. It's good it shows you which plug in is crashing. You can change plug ins easy and can choose which one(1) to delete or keep. The built in(2) browser task manager is also very useful in determining which browser window is the most active and uses much of the resources. Ending this can free up memory and make chrome continue to respond.



 4. Video files not playing


Do you use Windows Media Player or Real Player to play movies? Sometimes they do not play certain video files and they ask for a plug in to be installed. I encountered a non playing movie file that has been given to me. It was a raw video file from a DVD disk on a memory stick. Itunes, windows media player and real player can not play it and are asking for plug ins.

I was not bothered to search for plug ins and do not have the time to experiment so I tried VLC media player. It worked on a VOB file with ease. It handles all video files at my disposal and has no problem with physical disc as well. VLC is now my default video player.

5. Unresponsive program whilst multi tasking


With higher computer specs of today,  most of the time I do multi task whilst updating my blog. I usually open two image applications and toggle between them, notepad, and different web pages rendered with different browsers. This overwhelms my laptop and makes it grind to a halt by a non responding page or a crashing application.  This will also leave the computer unresponsive with mouse clicks.

To get round to this is to terminate the unresponsive web page or application by pressing simultaneously ctrl-alt-del. This gets you into the task manager's page(1), you can see the unresponsive program(3)causing trouble under the application's tab(2). Highlight it then end the task(4). You might need to do this several times to a stubborn program. If it still not doing anything, try go to the processes tab (5) and end the program that is having a big bite on the RAM(6)(which is usually on top of the list). Do not forget to click the end processes button(7).




6. Sensitive files falling into the wrong hands

If you have heard in the news (Phil. news)  what happened to Chito Miranda and his girlfriend in the past, then this tip is relevant. You might have read advises from experts to encrypt your data or putting on passwords to your files so that nobody can access them specially when they are very private. But sometimes this is not practical. Hiding the file is another option but it can still be easily located.

A more practical way of preventing access to your files is to rename it's extension. This is "literally" changing the default program reader of your file. For example, if you have a picture file like pic1.jpg, change jpg into avi, this will become pic1.avi. The computer will try to open the file with a video program but the video application will encounter a problem because it is not a video file. This will result in error reading, and your file not able to load. You can revert this anytime by doing the reverse, changing the extension name.

You do need to let windows show the file extension, because it doesn't show it by default ( pic A).

To do this, make sure your computer shows the extension of your files. Check this at control panel, folder options, under view tab(1) scroll and untick(2) "hide extensions for known file types", then apply(3). This will now show the file extension (pic B).

Right click(4) on the file and rename(5) it. Point your cursor after the period and rename (6) the extension into any thing you want. A warning message will pop out(7). Don't worry because the file will remain intact.



Now try to open the file.


I usually use this technique at a shared drive at my work, so that I can open up my files who ever is logged in, without them being able to access it. The file is visible but unreadable. You can revert it back by renaming it into the correct file type.

With little imagination and practical thinking, it is easy to get more out from your computer without buying additional products.


Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Vectone International Call Scam

I was a fan of Vectone international sim card way back until 2011. In fact it's been my favourite international call provider for years until a negative experience put me into thinking Vectone is a dubious company after all. This all started when I fall into their country saver offer that gives 1500 minutes to call a single sun cellular number in the Philippines for £15 a month. This translate into 1 pence per minute. The first 6 days was ok, but the service encountered a technical problem on the 7th until the 29th day. On the 30th day, the service resumed and I was left with 800 minutes to finish. 

Is this scam?


A fraudulent business scheme is considered a scam. And I think this is what happened. They did not deliver the service I have bought and they did not give me a refund. Instead head ache of everyday chasing them through phone calls( thanks God it's free call). I understand that customer service can not do anything as they do not own the company, but when they told me that they tried to ring me and I wasn't responding made me angry as they never did.

Problems reported on using Vectone


Country saver problem!


This is the one that I experienced that made me quit Vectone, and it's not only me that had this problem, an anonymous reader had the same problem with the company's country saver promo the same year as I had mine.

Hi! I'm currently subcribed to vectone country saver. Can you please tell me how to call to phil? I tried 0063932**** and +63932**** but I still couldn't be able to call. I hope you can help me. Thanx.
- See more at: http://prakticality.blogspot.co.uk/2011/10/overseas-call-tip.html?showComment=1325105640861#sthash.Y7QMWTJV.dpuf

Missing credit!


I did not experience this (or perhaps did not noticed this happening) but an anonymous reader was disgruntled with it.


I've got another problem from vectone again.They charged me with £15 for the renewal of my account but the minutes remains zero.i called them a couple of times and they keep telling me to wait for 24 hrs.it's almost two weeks now and they haven't fixed it yet.it's so frustrating!i called again a while ago but I wasn't finish talking to him, he put the phone down.they answer calls for ages and that's what i got!the guy told me that he could not see the payment in their system!how come?it's in my bank statement!This vectone system is giving me headache!their customer service sucks!i emailed them already.i hope they will take action on this matter.
ReplyDelete - See more at: http://prakticality.blogspot.co.uk/2011/10/overseas-call-tip.html?showComment=1325105640861#sthash.Y7QMWTJV.dpuf

Charging too much!


I did forgot Vectone for a while but a reader recently commented at my 2011 post, about another Vectone problem. In fact he made a little clip to warn Vectone users and those who are enticed to try their product. See video below his post.

vectone completely scammed me at least 3 times now and i will never part my money with them again after the last time i topped up.. they had taken a total of £9 from me in a matter of 2 hours from topping up when i only made a 37 minute and a 3 minute call and 1 sms text to another vectone user internationally at a usual rate of only 1p per minute as was charged earlier and later on that day. the rate is and always had been only 1p per minute but several occasions they have seemed to charge whatever the hell they like and take masses of my credit! check this vid and spread the word!!! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fS17qoELocg
- See more at: http://prakticality.blogspot.co.uk/2011/10/overseas-call-tip.html?showComment=1325105640861#sthash.Y7QMWTJV.dpuf





Share this post if you happened to have been scammed in any way of the problems above or any other ways. You can also post your problem here and let's try to warn others on how they can be ripped off! 

Sunday, 4 August 2013

How to Use Apple TV to Stream Multimedia From Android Devices

If you have an appleTV, and want to stream photos and other multi-media files from an android device then you are at luck that it is now possible with paid application. But if you are not keen of coughing up more money for apps and do not want other physical contraptions then there are free apps than  can do this. Though it may not be a solution for those who want to stream HD contents specially videos because of bugs and limited functions.

I use Samsung S3 for this tutorial and a free AppleTV Airplay Media Player (Zappo TV). Here's how to do it.

The AppleTV Airplay Media Player (Zappo TV)


Installation

1. From your mobile, download the application from apple store. Search Airplay Media Player (Zappo TV)

2. Open the app and tap the upper right button(1) to create an account. You have an option to receive news letter from the developer when you click(2) yes, or just finish off with tapping done(3) at the top right hand corner.


3. You do not need to authenticate your registration, you can log in straight away with your credentials.  At the "Browse" page you can see the services  like "Video Podcasts", "YouTube" and etc. And at the bottom, you can see other pages like "Now Playing", "MyZappoTV" , "Devices" and "Help".








Pairing

Make sure the AppleTV and your android phone are connected to the same Wi-Fi access.

4. There is no complicated set up that is needed at the receiving end, just turn on appleTV and the telly.

5. On your android device with the application running, tap "Devices" (4) and under "Your Home Network", see if Apple TV  is detected. If not, check the connection of the AppleTV on your router.

6.Tap Apple TV(5) to select it. Once selected, it should appear at the "Currently Selected Apple TV Player"(6).


Your telly will output the logo of the application at it's screen.




Playing Media

7. Go back to "Browse" (7)and select the media you want to stream, at this point there is a video service for youtube and  others. To stream a file from the android device, go to "Android Gallery"(8) and from there, you can select your photo, music or video files.

8. Once selected an item (example here is a photo file), an icon saying "TV off " is shown, Tap(9) it to turn it on.



The android device will then be beaming the selected file onto your telly.




My thoughts

This app is good in streaming photos from an android device but after sometime it stops working. Streaming videos is also good, but struggles to output large files.  I am thinking of a bug that might need fixing in the future. Because it is free and if you are just looking for something to use your appleTV to stream photos, then this application is worth a try. 

Tip

Whilst waiting for an update to fix bugs(when it stops working), the temporary fix that I usually do(to android apps that stops working) is to clear it's data and cache. You can do this by going to the Android's Settings, Applications Manager, select AppleMediaTV, clear data, clear cache, then restart your apps.





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