How to fight unsolicited texts if you have AT&T iPhone service

Have you ever received an unsolicited text on your iPhone from some scumbag trying to sell you something?

01 Text Scumbags IMG_7701

There’s a great way to fight this if you have AT&T. Forward it to their unsolicited legal department! When AT&T receives enough notices about a specific phone number or text block, they will take action on behalf of their subscribers!

First, PRESS DOWN on the original scumbag message until a pop-up appears and choose COPY.

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Now to back to your main text listing and make a NEW TEXT MESSAGE to the number 7726

03 Text Scumbags IMG_7703

Click and HOLD DOWN in the field you usually type things and choose PASTE and then SEND the message. In a few seconds, you will receive the confirmation AT&T has received this message and needs just one more thing to apply the big boot of justice to these internet roaches.

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Now go BACK to the scumbag text message and choose DETAILS in the upper right corner.

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Once this window opens up, click on the I icon in the upper right corner.

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Press and HOLD DOWN on the scumbag’s phone number and choose COPY when the pop-up appears.

07 Text Scumbags IMG_7708

Go alllll the way back to the message sent to 7726 and PASTE the phone number.

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That’s it!! You have just helped take one more dirtbag off the internet!

On a related note, since I have started doing this about three weeks ago, my unsolicited text messages on my AT&T cell phone have gone from about three per day to ZERO.

How to remove the Windows 10 upgrade icon in the taskbar

If you have the big Windows icon for the upcoming Windows 10 upgrade in the lower right corner of your taskbar and want to get rid of the icon…

  • Press CONTROL-ALT-DELETE to pull up the Task Manager
  • Click on the PROCESSES tab
  • Highlight GWX.EXE and press the END PROCESS button. 
  • If you have GWXUX.EXE in the process list, highlight that as well and press the END PROCESS button.
  • Close Task Manager

Dear Microsoft : In the future, add a simple right-click EXIT or REMIND ME LATER option. People didn’t take too well to forced U2 albums, and I expect this wont go over any better.

A suggestion for White House drone security

On the FCW Federal Technology website, there’s a story about Congress looking for inter-agency cooperation on drafting a drone policy. 

The reason for this sudden concern on drones is because a few weeks ago, some idiot crashed their drone on the White House lawn. The best part is that the secret service had no idea it happened and had nothing in their tactics to prevent it from happening again.

So now congress wants the Department of Homeland Security to come on down and make a “comprehensive strategy to combat the potential threat of domestic drones” and pull in “the Defense Department and, perhaps, the Energy Department” into this mess as well.

Here’s my favorite part of the article…

Todd E. Humphreys, an assistant professor at the University of Texas Cockrell School of Engineering, offered one possible remedy.

“For especially sensitive sites like the White House, we could deploy a network of infrared cameras set up to detect and track an incoming drone by looking for the thermal signatures of its warm batteries and motors,” he said. “And this network of sensors could be used to guide an always-ready squadron of interceptor drones that could capture the intruder in a net and carry it off.”

Seriously. Capture a flying object. In a net. That’s the plan.

All we need now are a few Scooby Snacks and we’re good!

How about this real cheap and slightly more-effective three-step solution… First, bring in a dozen more Secret Service agents with military sharp-shooter backgrounds specifically as White House perimeter security. Give them all VEPR-12s. Have them WALK around the White House lawn with these 10-12 round semi-auto AK-style shotguns and the standing authority to shoot down anything that flies near the White House. As an extra bonus, they can double as ground support to prevent any fence-jumper from making it all the way into the FRONT DOOR of the White House. You know… that whole “protect the president” merit badge the Secret Service gets to wear every so often.

Second, infrared isn’t going to pick up diddly-squat in the DC summers. They need to go with sonics – set up a wide perimeter “gunfire locator” around the White House. These things are pretty cool and are already in place in DC. Add to the gunfire detectors the RPM of drone engines in the list of things to report and triangulate. Once the system picks up the sound of a drone engine, the exact location and direction can be relayed to the ground security and the target can be eliminated if necessary.

Third – since that one particular drone made it all the way to the White House lawn, GPS and WiFi blockers need to be set up as well. I’m talking zero WiFi and GPS signals in a very VERY wide area around the White House to keep drones out and/or confused long enough to take them down.

Runaway drones are a high-tech problem with a very low-tech solution. A decent drone costs anywhere from $2,000 to $6,000. A single 00 buck round costs $1. Make it permanent “drone season” around the White House, get the serial numbers from any of the parts left intact from a downed drone, track the purchaser through those serial numbers, and once they’re found, pop them with a $2 million “idiot” fine.

Of course there’s an option “B”… hire a buncha good old boys, set them up with some federal duck blinds and a couple of cases of beer around the White House and offer them a reality TV series… “Drone Dynasty”.

CloudOn merging with Dropbox

In a midnight press release, CloudOn announced they are merging with DropBox.

CloudOn was one of the earlier iPad apps for cloud storage, but it never really caught on like their competitors did. In the press release, CloudOn stated they are starting off 2015 by “joining the Dropbox team”.

The bad news is that effective immediately, no new accounts can be created on CloudOn, and on March 15th, “the CloudOn app and service will no longer be available.”

In an email sent to existing CloudOn subscribers there are two links intended for “any inconvenience caused by the discontinuation of our service”. One link is for activating an additional 1GB to DropBox storage for free, and another link is for 3 months free and 1 TB of space for DropBox pro accounts.

I chose the additional 1GB option and immediately saw my existing DropBox storage space increase.

CloudOn Dropbox Boost

 

Thanks CloudOn!

You can see the full press release on their website. If you are an existing CloudOn subscriber, check your email for the offers to switch to DropBox.

iPhone 6 not pairing with vehicle Bluetooth? Here’s one fix…

If you have a Tahoe, BMW, Mercedes or other vehicle that isn’t pairing over Bluetooth with your new iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 plus, there’s a workaround I found that can get them connected.

1. On your iPhone, go to SETTINGS – GENERAL – ABOUT – NAME.

2. Rename your iPhone something equal to 8 characters. Try your initials + “iPhone” (for example: REiphone).

3. Back out of that area by pressing ABOUT – GENERAL – SETTINGS

Now try pairing your iPhone with your vehicle. It should work fine now.

How to block “extra” installs on PC java updates

Have you noticed when java installs an update on your PC, it always tries to throw in an “extra” application? Unless you uncheck that “don’t add this extra application” option every single time java updates, your PC winds up getting loaded down with a lot of junkware.

There is an easy way to stop these constant “extra” installs.

First, if you’re using Windows 7 or 8, press the windows key on your keyboard and type in “configure” (no quotes). In the list of applications that appear, you will see one that says “Configure Java”. Click that.

JavaConfigure

In the new window that opens, go to the last tab titled ADVANCED. Scroll to the very bottom, and in the “miscellaneous” section is an option for “suppress sponsor offers when installing or updating java.” Put a check in that box to prevent any future “extras” from sneaking in during your java updates.

JavaPreference

Easy and done!

Where you can download Microsoft Office with an activation key card

Have you ever received in a bundled laptop package a piece of paper that says…

“DO NOT DISCARD – MICROSOFT PRODUCT IDENTIFIER. The manufacturer of your PC has licensed the Microsoft products listed in this document.”

…and a few paragraphs later…

“This card includes the ACTIVATION KEY for your MICROSOFT OFFICE product.”

It seems straightforward enough, right? There’s the serial number at the bottom (strategically covered by my “apparently plays in the dirt for a living” thumb), and a website link at the bottom to go download and register the software.

SerialCard

 
So here’s the happy happy joy joy part – the website listed on every one of these rat-bastard product cards say to go to microsoft.com/office

You go there, you swim in the abyss.

Microsoft.com/office takes you straight down into the “light don’t reach here” depths of Office sales, where you will be offered every iteration of Office 360, Office online, Office a-la-carte, Office with Cheese and dozens of other suites in every combination possible. Links to links to links to links, but nothing to take you to download your software or point you out of the maze.

Here’s what you need to do. If you have one of these activation cards for Office, go straight to Office’s other website…

office.com/setup

Once you’re there (and it automatically redirects you to officesetup.getmicrosoftkey.com) just type in the product key on that piece of paper in the “Enter Your Product Key” box and press GET STARTED.

That’s it.

You will then be prompted to download your Office Suite and tie it into one of your email accounts.

Just like that.

Who knew instructions on how to download and install your software should actually have a link so you can, oh I don’t know, ACTUALLY DOWNLOAD AND INSTALL YOUR SOFTWARE?!

Qik, one of my favorite apps, is gone as of April 30th

Qik was on the short list of apps I immediately loaded on every new iDevice I got.

Not only could I make audio or video calls to anyone I wanted, but whenever I saw something I wanted to capture on video, all I did with Qik was open the app and shoot away. I could choose anywhere from 320 to 720 resolution, shoot from either my front or back cameras, and as soon as I was done, I could edit the video right there.

Qik1

As soon as I was done with the video, it would appear on my own Qik page (private or public), I could send that video to anyone in my contact list, or I could send it direct and private to any other Qik user. Straight from my i-device.

But the best part? The best best best part? Live video.

Qik2

I could choose whether the videos would be for private or live viewing. I could shoot live video that I would immediately stream to a set of trusted contacts to let them know what’s up right then and there, stream live video my YouTube channel, and even send live video streams straight to this website!

Qik was a true “breaking news” app that was horrifically under-appreciated, so it was inevitable that one of the big 500 pound gorilla tech companies was going to notice it.

Unfortunately for Qik, and for all of us consumers, it was Microsoft that bought them out.

Pushing back all the fantastic design and technical progress Qik  had made, Microsoft announced Qik was just going to be shut down, and only their own rusted and busted Skype offering would remain.

If you can’t Innovate, Stifle-ate.

Qik was so much more than a call-another-user or send-a-text-message app. Did Microsoft bring any of these brilliant live-video abilities into Skype? BWA HA HA!! Please.

Now I’m going to have to get four or five other apps to do the job that Qik did perfectly all the time.

I’m gonna miss you Qik. Big time.

The official announcement on Qik’s shutdown and how to get anything you have left in their system out is here.

Last call for the Sony Reader store

It’s last call for the Sony Reader store.  Tomorrow (March 20th) at 6 PM eastern time, they’re pulling the plug for good.

In their press releases and in their reader FAQ, Sony says they will be sending out instructions on how to link all book and periodical purchases made in the Sony Reader store to a Kobo account, but only after the Sony Reader Store has completely shut down.

Why wait until a few days after the store has shut down to send these directions? Because they’re SONY, DAMMIT. They made Walkmans these young’uns with their newfangled iKindlePad thingamajigs don’t appreciate none!

You can read the “we’re outta here” post here, the Sony Ereader Store closure FAQ here, and the directions on how to download your previous purchases here (but no directions on how to move everything you might have bought to Kobo yet).

STAX6 (AKA: Texas Sales Tax Filing App) missing file upload fix

If your company is using the brand new state of Texas STAX6 application to upload monthly sales tax reports, the new default path for the pre-upload file is going to be in the C:\ProgramData\TexasCPA\Stax6 directory.

The problem is, C:\ProgramData\ is a hidden directory by system default.

Great location for a default save path, STAX!

Your accounting team isn’t going to find a C:\ProgramData\ directory when they fire up a browser and launch the state’s upload tool, and they’re not going to see it when they open the C: drive from Windows Explorer either. Panic isn’t a strong enough word for what will ensue.

To keep everyone’s blood pressure down, right click on the STAX6 uploader(s) desktop and create a NEW>SHORTCUT to C:\ProgramData\TexasCPA\Stax6 and save it right on their desktop. Instead of searching their C:\ drive for a hidden directory, have the STAX6 uploader(s) point the state’s upload directory tool to that Stax6 shortcut on their desktop, and from there the monthly tax files will appear in a list.

If they have already closed the STAX6 application, or don’t remember which .txt file to upload, you can search for the filename in the format ST(MONTH)(DAY)n(VERSION).txt (example: ST1217n1), or just search for .txt files modified in the last couple of hours (including protected and invisible files and folders).

One more thing – the new STAX6 is 64 bit only, so if you’re running on a old(er) operating system, you don’t have a choice on updating anymore.