But I Didn’t Even Order an iPad

Written: November 29, 2016

I just went through my morning list of emails and there was one message from Self Electronics about the shipment of an iPad. It’s a coincidence that I already own an iPad, however I didn’t order any new iPad.

iPad phishing

The senders of this email set a subject line as if we had been communicating before, adding a bit to the realism of the message. I was curious if there actually was a company called Self Electronics, so I browsed their web site:

self-electronics.com is a scam

So this company doesn’t even have a valid web site, that’s enough info for me to know that this email really was just another phishing scam where they want me to click the link for UPS tracking. The final test of authenticity is found by hovering over the UPS link:

UPS link

So the UPS link is really for some bogus web site, telling me that there is no need to be lured into clicking it.

Remember, a real company will know a lot about you and in their legitimate email it will include info like:

If this trusted information is missing from your email message, then it’s very likely that you are being duped by a phishing scheme or just some shady site trying to sell you something that you likely don’t even need. With a little precaution you can make certain that all of your emails are legitimate.

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Two New Email Scams to Avoid

Written: November 22, 2016

Each morning as I start my work routine the first thing that I do is read the Inbox of my email to see which messages require my attention for the day. Today I received two new email scams that at first blush looked almost legitimate.

Domain Abuse Notice

That email subject caught my attention, because the last thing that I want is a web site that is infected by something malicious, so here’s what the entire email looked like:

domain abuse notice

The English grammar looked OK, however the first clue that this was a phishing scam was their request for me to download something by clicking a link. Any legitimate email would instead be coming from my web hosting provider, and they would have specific details like:

This email is from a domain name called domaincop.net, and when you browse that site something comes up in Arabic letters, so this is not legitimate at all, you may safely delete this particular email.

Email Abuse Report

Ironically this second spam email has almost the identical type of subject line as the first email with a colon and a web site address in it:

email abuse report

The link in the Click Here is for a domain at abusemonitor247.com, which is just another junk content web site. Also notice the international phone number area code. Just like the first email scam notice this one has no customer details:

So the moral of this story is beware of warning email messages that prompt you to click or download a report without any account details. Be smart, be safe.

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What is Your Call to Action?

Written: November 2, 2016

Most business web sites have a purpose, something that the business wants you to do, like buy a product, make an inquiry, or simply pick up the phone and call them. Miller Insurance has been around since 1886 and when you browse their web site they want you to do a couple of things:

We already had the first item well covered because they have written lots of content to inform. Today we added the phone number and address to the upper-right corner of each web page:

Having a clear “Call to Action” is quite important for most web sites, so ask yourself if your site accomplishes this. If your site doesn’t have a Call to Action, then consider adding one.

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macOS Sierra, Is it a big deal?

Written: October 9, 2016

My MacBook Pro prompted me to upgrade to the latest OS, now named macOS Sierra, so I said OK and have been playing with the new features today. The installation process took maybe 30 minutes or so, and while that was happening I was able to watch some Netflix series on my iPad.

Siri

Users of iOS devices like the iPad and iPhone have long been able to chat with their devices to ask questions or control apps, so now we have that useful feature on the desktop. I first asked about the weather, but then quickly discovered that I hadn’t setup my location:

Oddly enough the icon for Siri is supposed to be in my Menu Bar, but it isn’t showing up, instead I have to find it in my Dock instead. The hotkey to invoke Siri is “command shift”, however that is already defined to be the Spotlight feature. Oops, Apple duplicated their own hotkey sequences and failed to notice that gaffe.

Universal Clipboard

This nifty feature allows you to copy from one device, say the MacBook Pro, then paste into an iPad. Sadly for me this feature requires that my MacBook Pro be a 2012 or later model, but I’m using the 2011 model so this doesn’t work at all, ugh.

Auto Unlock

This trick requires that you purchase an Apple Watch, then it will unlock your MacBook Pro. I’m not going to buy a watch just to do this task, but I understand how wearables could impact my laptop.

Apple Pay

You can be shopping on your Safari browser on the desktop, click the Apple Pay button, then use your iPhone or Apple Watch to make the payment. Since I own the iPad Air, this doesn’t work, it requires an iPad Air2 device.

Photos

Memories will arrange your photos into collections that are grouped by people, events and location. Worked OK on my MacBook Pro, but I couldn’t find it on my iPad device.

Messages

I can use the Messages app and add fun emoji. Most of my contacts use Facebook Messenger or regular text messaging.

iCloud Drive

Works across all my devices like iPad and MacBook Pro, kind of like Apple’s version of DropBox.

Optimized Storage

Clever feature to move infrequent files from my Mac into iCloud, leaving more space on my Mac. Haven’t tried it, but it does make sense should I run out of space.

Picture in Picture

In iTunes or some web sites on Safari you can start playing a video, then float that video to a corner of your screen while you work on other things. The only streaming that I do is on Netflix, so I haven’t tried this yet.

Tabs

Apps like Maps can have multiple tabs, just like in a web browser. I’m a Google Maps user, so seldom play with Apple Maps.

Summary

For how I use my MacBook Pro this latest OS is mostly eye-candy, so really won’t change my daily work and entertainment routines. It was free, so thank you Apple

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