Written: March 11, 2019

Blocking Unwanted Phone Calls

As your business grows the number of unwanted phone calls seems to also grow, so when I upgraded cell phones to a Samsung Galaxy S8+ I was so pleased to find a new built-in feature to block a number. The most annoying call I receive is from an automated system that sounds like, “You Google business listing is not verified, please press 1 to setup your free…”.

Sure, the recording promises that if I press 9 or some other number that they won’t call me again, but I didn’t want them to contact me the first time so why should I trust that they won’t keep pestering me again?

After I hang up, then I look at my recent phone calls and select the latest spam number. At the bottom right corner there’s a new link, “Block number“. I just click that link and then that ensures that I will never receive a call from that annoying caller again. What relief.

Thank you Samsung for adding this helpful feature to my Android phone.

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Dealing With Annoying Telemarketers

I love to answer the phone when it’s a client or prospect with questions, however when I get a call from a telemarketer it is simply a wast of my time and sanity. What is a business owner to do?

Well, one action that is easy to take is registering your phone or mobile numbers with the National Do No Call Registry.

Only reputable companies will check this list first before phoning you, so it will still not stop the annoying telemarketer that has no regards for our Federal Laws. What I do is make certain that the telemarketer can never phone me again. It is a simple two step process.

  1. Find the Number in Your Call Log

On my Android phone I click the icon for phone, then choose the Log button, find the phone number and click it:

Telemarketing phone number

Telemarketing phone number

2. Add to Auto Reject list

In the upper-right corner there’s a menu icon with three dots, click on that and choose: Add to Auto Reject List

Add to Auto-reject List

Add to Auto reject List

Well, there you have it. That telemarketer cannot dial your number ever again because you have rejected them. By doing this simple step you may cut down on the volume of your telemarketing calls, and thus have more time to run your business.

Have a fantastic week.

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Android Woes and a Fix

The two largest cell phone operating systems are iOS from Apple and Android from Google, so you’re probably using one of these for your own cell phone. Both Apple and Google provide updates that provide new features and fix things like security bugs. The latest Android release was dubbed KitKat, or version 4.4.2 and it came out about a month ago or so. My oldest son had read up about the new features and encouraged me to upgrade, so I did.

KitKat 4.4

My upgrade to KitKat was flawed, because all of a sudden my bluetooth headsets started to crackle and disconnect. The only way that I could make my bluetooth headsets work was to hold the phone two inches away from the headset, so that was certainly not practical. A quick Google search revealed that hundreds of other cell phone users were experiencing the identical issue as me, Android 4.4.2 had effectively killed their bluetooth capability. I phoned the 800 AT&T support and they suggested, “Oh well, just wait for another release to fix this issue.”

Samsung Galaxy Note 2

What, and in the meantime, how do I operate hands-free?

Not satisfied with that answer, I phoned up the local AT&T Customer Service on Barbur Boulevard in Portland. They told me to come visit the store for diagnosis. The local tech asked some questions, then decided to re-image the phone by installing their master version of 4.4.2, and as a side effect it would remove all of my Apps. I signed the consent form, and waited maybe 12 minutes.

He handed me the phone back, and then paired my bluetooth headset, it now worked just fine.

I was so glad that my local tech support guy at AT&T knew what to do in order to make my phone work again, because I always use my bluetooth headset and it allows me to keep my hands free for typing or driving. I learned not to always follow the advise from the 800 number.

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Windows 8, My First Impressions

Today I read an article about Nokia, the one-time world leader in cellphones and how they are now rated as “Junk” by the financial world, and it got me interested in Microsoft because their OS runs on the newer Nokia phones. Apple has two operating systems iOS for mobile devices and Mac OS X for laptop and desktop, while Microsoft has merged their mobile (Metro) and desktop OS (Windows) into the upcoming Windows 8.

My first step was to double check that I could run Windows 8 Beta on my MacBook Pro using the Parallels virtualization software. Yes, according to Parallels this can be done.

From Parallels I went to my Virtual Machines list, then clicked the + button to add a new virtual machine, then clicked the Windows 8 choice in the lower-right corner. The 3.3GB download said about 4 hours of waiting. At the end of the download was a lengthy “Validating” phase, followed by “Your download is corrupt, try again.”

My second download ended in exactly the same state as first, failure.

Since the Parallels auto-install wasn’t working I just looked in my download directory, located the 3.3GB file, renamed it windows8.iso, then asked Parallels to install from an ISO file. Installation was straight forward after that. A bit of Microsoft humor shows up in the install because this is a Beta release they used a beta fish icon:

While waiting for the Windows 8 install to complete there’s an animated swirl of five stars to mesmerize you into a hypnotic state and forget about time passing.

The background color scheme can be selected among a dozen earthy choices:

The opening Metro screen uses tiles instead of icons, and you can make them wider, narrower, re-arrange, or un-pin them.

Microsoft has you login with your LiveID, so that it can remember your preferences in the cloud:

You can customize the lock screen with some beautiful photography included:

With the Parallels software on my MacBook Pro I now have many Operating System choices including Windows 8:

Just like Windows 7 you will find that Microsoft has many updates it wants to install, and with Windows 8 Beta I get failures to update for an HP Laserjet printer (never been attached, so unsure why it thinks that I need it at all):

Start Screen

As you setup accounts in Windows 8 the Metro UI becomes more personalized to your tastes and habits:

I setup accounts for:


I downloaded the SkyDrive app for Mac then added photos from a weekend trip, and my profile photo:

I found that the background color is constantly changing in Metro. The first time you visit the background is a style pattern and solid color, then in SkyDrive the background is white, but when looking at Photos on SkyDrive the background changes to black. Thank you Microsoft for the very liberal free storage capacity of 25GB for me, that is just wonderful.


In Metro you will notice that Apps need to be updated with a number inside of a circle, clicking Store shows you:

Once you’re in an App and using a Mouse/Keyboard it’s not real intuitive how to get back to Metro, so after a Google search I discovered that I had to move my mouse to the far right side and select Start:

Once in the App called Store you can scroll horizontally to the right to see lots of App categories and suggestions. I added the free Kindle App and it looked just like what I use on the PC or Mac:

Windows 8 adds every App and Program on your computer to the Metro start page, so it’s a hassle when I downloaded the Kindle App because it gets added to the farthest right of the screen, causing my to scroll about 8 pages to even find it. I would prefer that new Apps are pinned to the Start screen on the far left with now scrolling, not the far right. On the Android when I add a new App it gets added alphabetically, while on iOS new Apps get added to the farthest right screen (still don’t like it, too much scrolling).


From the Start screen you click Desktop and see something that looks just like the Windows 7 desktop.

The marketing folks at Microsoft want you to believe that Metro and Windows are now merged however I don’t drink that Kool-Aide because clearly these are two totally separate Operating Systems glued together, there is simply nothing merged about it. You are either working with the Metro UI or the old familiar Windows 7 UI. Honestly I am underwhelmed, but have no choice but to learn and use Windows 8 because my clients will be using it.

Microsoft documentation tells me to click the Windows button on my keyboard to switch back to Metro from the Desktop or App, however on my MacBook Pro the equivalent key is the right-hand Command button.

Finance App

Yes, the Microsoft folks went a little crazy for this App and provided maximum eye candy, charts, numbers, facts and figures:

[nggallery id=8]


Microsoft will certainly continue to extract their OS upgrade tax moving Windows 7 users into Windows 8. I’ve really just scratched the surface of what Windows 8 will do however I can say that this OS does have a learning curve, works OK with a mouse, and the Metro UI should work OK as a touch-based UI. Windows 8 works fast enough for me as a virtual OS under Parallels on a MacBook Pro, at least as fast as Windows 7 did.

Will your life forever be changed for the good after buying and using Windows 8? Uh, no.

Download Windows 8 Consumer Preview here, I would recommend on a PC to add a new partition and keep it separate from Windows 7, on a Mac get Parallels which will keep it separate from your other OSes.

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Email setup for laptop plus smart phone

With the recent growth of smart phone users (Android and iPhone) there’s an immediate question: How do I use email from both my computer and smart phone at the same time?

IMAP (Internet Message Access Protocol)

When you add a new email account to your smart phone you get to decide the type of account, you will want to choose IMAP. Make sure that your other computer is also setup for IMAP, and if it’s instead setup as POP then you’ll have to delete that account and then create a new IMAP account.

IMAP will leave your email on the mail server, so that you can have two or more devices simultaneously using the same account. This is perfect for when you have both a smart phone plus another computer to access your email using popular email clients like Outlook (PC) or Entourage (Mac).


Check with your web hosting company to find out how to setup IMAP because it involves setting up your Incoming Server and Outgoing Server with:

Most web hosting companies also specify that you use a Security Type of SSL and a specific Port Number for both incoming and outgoing messages. My web host is 1and1.com and they have posted online details.


Enjoy your new smart phone where you can now send and receive emails, just like from your laptop or desktop computers.

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