That isn’t Dropbox

Written: May 9, 2017

This morning in my email was an official looking message from Dropbox stating, “You have a new document sent to you via Dropbox due to the large size of the file.

Dropbox email message

Email message

So the grammar looked OK, the Dropbox logo was included, a pleasant line border made it look pretty, but still there were a few things odd about the message that caught my attention:

The clincher that this was a phishing scam and not to be trusted were two points:

From address

From Address

from address

PDF link

So please don’t trust every email that you receive from Dropbox, do a little detective work like checking the From address and the PDF link, along with trusting the Subject line. Don’t be fooled by these latest phishing scams because they want you to download an attached file that is either going to infect your computer or direct you to some shady web site.

Nest Thermostat – Not So Friendly

Written: April 30, 2017

My wife exclaimed, “Our thermostat won’t do what I want it to anymore. It’s time to replace it.”

She was referring to our 20+ year old Honeywell thermostat that came with our home. I agreed and had already researched the new crop of “Smart Thermostats”, deciding to go with the chic Nest unit, now owned by Google. My local Home Depot store had it in stock, although I had to visit the Service Desk to actually get the unit because they don’t keep them out in the open, just in case a thief wants to walk out of the store with one.

Nest Thermostat

Nest Thermostat

Removing the old thermostat and mounting the new Nest was straight forward, however during the setup process the Nest device tried to connect or our WiFi called PAYNE. First attempt to connect was met with the error message, “Failed to connect”. OK, so I re-type the password, still no connection. Next I tried a second network named PAYNE-5G, same issue of “Failed to connect” for two attempts.

I visit the Next web site, find the support page, and give them a phone call. The recorded voice says that I have to wait about 10 minutes. No problem. On the web I visit their FAQ section and click around on WiFi issues, where they have six recommendations, none of which helps my unit to connect. After 10 minutes my support phone call is abruptly disconnected, having never reached a live person. Huh, this is not going well today.

Then I started to wonder why the Nest device couldn’t connect to WiFi, maybe I could change something on my WiFi router to make it all better, so I login to my router and notice that I can choose which Channel my WiFi is using. So I change from channel 3, to 4 to channel 5. Bingo, because now I could finally connect the WiFi on the Nest device to my home network. No thanks to the Nest phone support system or their web site FAQ, I had to figure it out myself and that took about 60 minutes of sleuthing and trying various combinations of settings.

Now that the new thermostat is installed and working I’m supposed to achieve some energy savings as this system learns our heating and cooling habits and preferences. I also applied for $50.00 cash back from the Energy Trust of Oregon, so that will help sweeten the deal a bit. Our family can also use an App on our Android phones to view the thermostat settings and control it remotely, kind of cool. We have officially started to build our Smart Home, so let’s see where this journey takes us.

Eco mode for energy savings

Eco mode for energy savings

Tags: ,

Fingerprint For Login on Laptop and Phone

Written: April 28, 2017

My new MacBook Pro laptop has a nifty feature that at first I thought was a gimmick – the fingerprint scanner. Throughout my work day I may be on the phone, or leave the room, then when I return my screen has been locked for security purposes and I must authenticate to get back to work. With a simple press of my right index finger my identity is validated and I’m back to work on the laptop, quite convenient for me saving time and effort of typing a password on the keyboard and pressing the Return key.

MacBook Pro

MacBook Pro

My youngest son has been urging me to turn this fingerprint scanning feature on with my Galaxy Note 4 smart phone, so yesterday I finally agreed and started the process. I basically had to swipe my finger across the Home button for 10 strokes, and click the Done prompt to get things all setup.

Fingerprint scan setup

Fingerprint scan setup. Source: Androidcentral.com

My phone screen locks way faster and more often than my laptop screen does, so now I get to save even more time and effort to unlock the phone quickly with a stroke of my finger. All is well, but wait. Within several minutes of turning on this new fangled feature I started receiving emails that three of my credit cards saved on my phone for Android Pay had been disconnected. Uh oh, I hadn’t consciously removed those credit cards, or had I?

It turns out that Android Pay on my phone wants to be ultra-secure, so when the the security mechanism on my phone was changed from a password to a fingerprint scan it decided to be overly cautious and remove the cards. It was a simple matter for me to launch the Android Pay app and re-add my three cards, they really weren’t deleted from the device just disabled until I added them back again. So within a minute or so I had all three of my credit cards working again in Android Pay. I use Android Pay every week and it’s so convenient to not carry my wallet every place that I need to shop, I just wish that the retailers would update their POS terminals to accept Android Pay and it’s competitor Apple Pay.

Android Pay

Android Pay

Many companies accept Android Pay (McDonalds, Jamba Juice, Apple, New Seasons) and even banks are starting to accept it. So I’m hopeful that in my lifetime I will no longer have to carry a wallet, rather just a fully charged smart phone with all of my cards connected to Android Pay.

Tags: , , ,

What to do when your email message gets bounced back

Written: April 4, 2017

I use LinkedIn every day and recently I connected with a new person living in Europe. We sent some messages back and forth using LinkedIn, then he sent me a direct email. When I replied to his email message then it quickly got bounced back. Have you ever sent an email message to a person that you know, however you quickly received a bounced back message telling you that you message wasn’t delivered? What should you do to remedy this situation?

Here’s the bounced email reply that I received today:

bounced email reply

Bounced Email Reply

Reading this email I discovered why my email didn’t get delivered:

We all hate to receive spam email messages, so our web hosting companies that provide email services have banded together to identify the spammers, and they do this by subscribing to lists of suspected or known spammers. A blacklist has the IP addresses where spam emails are coming from, so in this case the IP address of 74.208.4.197 has been known to send out spam emails.

My web hosting company is 1and1.com, and they offered something called a shared hosting plan to keep their costs low. What that means is that when I sign up for a shared web hosting plan that there are maybe 100 or more other customers using the same email server and web server that I am using. So even if I am not personally sending out spam, there is certainly another customer of 1and1.com that is also using our shared server and they are the ones sending out the spam.

Well, these blacklist companies cannot discern between email senders, so instead they just note the entire IP address, which in this case is now blocking email from 100 or more shared hosting customers, like me. My recourse is to phone up the technical support folks at 1and1.com and alert them to this blacklist issue, then they contact each of the blacklist companies and assure them that the real spammer has been identified and stopped, so please update your blacklist and remove the IP address of 74.208.4.197

This is a process and can take hours or days to get resolved, so my options to work around this issue for my one email address going to this one recipient are to:

The Internet is a complex place and sometimes our email messages will be bounced back, so take hope, call up your web hosting vendor and explain what has happened and get them to go and advocate on your behalf and get your IP address off of the blacklists.

Tags: , ,

Blog Tags

Recent Posts

Blog Directory & Business Pages at OnToplist.com