“Dear CEO” scam is still hanging around

“Dear CEO” scam is still hanging around

If you own a website, chances are high you’ve received the Dear CEO scam email:

A scam letter trying to trick the user into replying

This scam has been hanging around for over years.

It reads: 

Dear CEO,

(It’s very urgent, please transfer this email to your CEO. If this email affects you, we are very sorry, please ignore this email. Thanks)

We are a Network Service Company which is the domain name registration center in China.
We received an application from Hua Hai Ltd on May 14, 2019. They want to register ” _______________ ” as their Internet Keyword and ” _______________ .cn “” _______________.com.cn ” ” _______________ .net.cn “” _______________ .org.cn ” ” _______________ .asia “domain names, they are in China and Asia domain names. But after checking it, we find ” _______________ ” conflicts with your company. In order to deal with this matter better, so we send you email and confirm whether this company is your distributor or business partner in China or not?

Best Regards

**************************************

Mike Zhang | Service Manager

Cn YG Domain (Head Office)

This one came via a customer last week. It’s a bog standard scam designed to trick the reader into responding out of fear.  The “Dear CEO” scam appears to be warning the web owner, they may have issues with their domain name. The sender buries the reader in a bunch of useless information making it difficult to parse what the message is actually saying. In fact, it’s just one more piece of junk hitting your inbox. I posted a podcast covering a few details about it here so, give it a listen.

But, the short answer to your question “should I be worried” is “NO. Delete it and move on with your day”.  Email scams are a dime-a-dozen, but they are getting far more sophisticated, so use a lot of caution when dealing with any unsolicited email.  If in doubt, don’t respond and ask for a second opinion. You can always copy and paste the message into Google to see if it pops up as a reported scam. 

Mouse scrolling disabled in Win 10 – last ditch fix

Mouse scrolling disabled in Win 10 – last ditch fix

I’ve been plagued by an irritating problem for the past 2 weeks. After a Win 10 update, the mouse scrolling was disabled. I did a deep dive into settings and couldn’t figure out why a second HID device kept popping up. No new mouse had been purchased or installed but there it was.  

Screen capture of mouse drivers installed

Hey, where did the second mouse come from?

No matter how many times it was uninstalled, the driver popped right back.  When the second driver auto installed, the scroll feature stopped working. I upgraded the driver, installed new ones and nothing. In a fit of desperation I decided to disable it to see if that helped. Bingo – the scroll feature worked.  So, if you’ve hit the end of the line with ideas, give this a try:

Hold the Win key down and press X to open a quick access menu and click Device Manager 

Screen capture of a menu

Double click on Mice and other pointing devices. If there are two mouse drivers, right click on the second entry and choose Disable device. Wait a couple of seconds and then test the scroll feature. It should work. 

WeatherCan – Environment Canada’s weather app now available

WeatherCan – Environment Canada’s weather app now available

Enviroment Canada's WeatherCan iconEnvironment Canada’s new app WeatherCan is a must have for Canadians. Last week  the app moved out of beta testing and is now available in the Apple Store and Google Play. A quick note: this is an app geared towards Canadians and not applicable outside of our borders. 

I’ve been using WeatherCan for a few months now, since it was in beta. It’s run on two phones – both budget smartphones –  and worked flawlessly.  I’ve played around with dozens of weather apps over the years, usually tearing them out quickly because they are resource hogs or heat the phone up (on two occasions, dangerously so). I’m pleased to say this one does neither.  It’s fast response time, even on a low end phone, was a surprise. Another positive, WeatherCan doesn’t drain the battery, even when allowing notifications and real time updates.  

 There isn’t a lot to be said about the app – it works, it doesn’t crash, and it’s pleasing to look at. The visuals are crisp and easy to understand. If you’re familiar with the Environment Canada website it’s pretty much the same. The big bold images, and lack of clutter makes WeatherCan one of the better weather apps out there. 

Screen capture from Enviroment Canada's WeatherCan app showing current temp

Screen capture from Enviroment Canada's WeatherCan app showing hourly temp changes

WeatherCan packs a lot of information on each screen. 

Screen capture from Enviroment Canada's WeatherCan app Screen capture from Enviroment Canada's WeatherCan app

The only flaw I could find is the lack of ability to turn off weather notifications for other regions/provinces. For a few weeks, I was hammered with weather alerts for Sask. On the upside, I learned to appreciate how truly bad Sask. winters can get. Maybe it’s part of Environment Canada’s cunning plan.  

Look for the WeatherCan app in Google Play and the Apple Store  or go directly to Environment Canada’s page   –  WeatherCan. If you download the app, drop a note in the comments and let me know how it runs on your phone.

Still using Google+? Going, going, gone

Still using Google+? Going, going, gone

Google+ logo

Are you still using Google+? Hopefully you received the note about it’s pending demise.  Google is putting an end to their social media experiment on April 2nd.  G+ has limped along for years, never really taking off with the public. Forbes magazine ran an article back in 2015 titled Five Reasons Why Google+ Died. It’s taken another 4 years for Alphabet to bury the corpse. 

Google Plus, the company’s social network, is like a ghost town. Want to see your old roommate’s baby or post your vacation status? Chances are, you’ll use Facebook instead. Feb 14 2014 The Plus in Google Plus? It’s Mostly for Google by Claire Cain Miller behind a NYT paywall article. 

The New York Times was right. People may have signed up for an account, but they weren’t visiting it on a regular basis, like they do Instagram or Facebook – people just didn’t take to the platform. I played around with Google+ for a bit but quickly gave up because it was just too messy to work with. I didn’t enjoy posting or looking for new material. And quite frankly it was more bother than it was worth. I saw very little return for my effort. 

So what does this mean?

1 – If you have a lot of photos on your G+ page, think about  moving them to a safe place because they will be deleted after April 2. Google will allow you to download & save your content  prior to the close date – see this article for help Download your Google+ data.

NOTE:  photos stored on Google Photos will not be affected. This is a separate entity.

2 – Using Google+ to sign in will no longer be an option after April. Any + sign-in button will become non functional. Google will be replacing the feature with a basic Google sign-in option. 

3 – Comments will vanish. Sorry folks, but any comments you left while signed in with your Google+ account will simply go away. This is already happening on Blogger sites, so if you are a Blogger user and start seeing comments disappearing, this is the likely culprit. 

If you missed the email notification, visit the Google page Shutting down Google+ for consumer (personal) accounts on April 2, 2019

** Evidently some people think Gmail accounts will be closed. This only affects Google+, the social media platform. It will not touch Gmail, Google drive, Blogger, or Google Photos. 

Presto Card has an app, but don’t get too excited

Presto Card has an app, but don’t get too excited


Image of a Presto card

Presto (Metrolinx) has an app now!

Finally.

But don’t get excited about it.

It lacks the one main feature we all wanted. 

I have a long standing love/hate relationship with the Presto card system (used by a number of transit systems in Ontario).  When it works, it’s excellent. When it doesn’t, oh boy. One thing that mildly irked me was the lack of an official app, so imagine my delight this morning when I discovered Metrolinx’s shiny new app.

Here’s what you can do with the app:

  • load funds and transit passes (instant load available on Android devices with NFC)
  • receive low balance/pass expiry reminders and email receipts for fare purchases
  • pay with Apple Pay and saved payment method
  • set up and manage Autoload and Auto renew
  • manage multiple PRESTO cards
  • check your PRESTO card balances
  • view your transaction history
  • buy a PRESTO card and create a PRESTO account
    r/f Presto App 

Spotted what’s missing? There is no tap and pay function. It’s handy for tracking your card balance, loading funds and seeing where your card has been used, but aside from that, there’s no overwhelming reason to install it.  Without the a pay and go function, it’s just a portable version of the Presto website.  I’ll leave it installed because it is nice to quickly see my balance without waiting in line to access the machines but otherwise, meh.  

On the plus side, the Presto interface is very clean and easy to use. The developers did a great job in creating a functional, uncluttered interface. If you are responsible for multiple Presto cards, you’ll be pleased to hear you can consolidate managing all the cards within the app, without the hassle of logging in and out with different ids.  With one app, you can manage all the family/business cards, checking balances and reloading with a few taps. 

Need a monthly transit pass loaded? No problem, scroll through the list of available passes, tap and pay with either debit or credit card. I applaud the inclusion of a debit card option, all too often this is left off. So well done Metrolinx. 

Hopefully Presto will include a pay and go feature in the near future, but in the meantime, some will find it useful, the rest of use will wait for the next upgrade.

FYI: If you decide to get it, make sure you download the official Presto app. Look for the Metrolinx name. Available for Apple and Android devices.

Sticky Notes from Microsoft – a nifty little app to tidy up fiddly bits of paper

Sticky Notes from Microsoft – a nifty little app to tidy up fiddly bits of paper

I have a habit of collecting random bits of paper scribbled with ideas, customer info, to-dos and websites I want to investigate. Invariably I forget them in my pocket and they are laundered, coffee stained or tossed  because they didn’t make sense, you get the idea. I used Microsoft’s Sticky Notes in fits and starts last year but its lack of portability meant it had limited usefulness.  When Microsoft updated their Launcher for Android recently that changed. Now I’m a power user. 

Screen capture of Microsoft's Sticky Notes app

Sticky Notes works the same as a little pad of paper notes without the mess.  Tap the little plus sign to begin a new note, pick a colour and start typing. Duplicated a note? Hover your mouse over the note and tap the garbage pail. 

Screen capture of Sticky Notes colour picking

When you write a note, tap the X and the it appears in the app window list. You can leave the notes free standing on the desktop, but after 4 or 5 notes, the clutter will drive you bonkers.  The list view doesn’t appear by default, you have to turn it on first by right clicking  the notes icon (in the start menu)  and tap Notes List.

View of Sticky Notes options to choose a list view

If you have an Android device, download the Microsoft Launcher to share the notes between your phone and laptop. In the Launcher window, tap Glance and scroll through all the notes. From Android, you can add new notes and edit existing ones. Synchronization is nearly instantaneous so you can have all your fiddly notes, neatly typed out, at your finger tips as soon as you close the sticky.  If you’re like me, all thumbs when typing on a smart phone, use the microphone icon on Notes to record your sticky and let the voice recognition do the job.  Voice recognition is surprisingly accurate, even if there is background noise, like a tv or radio.  One major oversight is the lack of voice recognition integration on laptops.  Nothing I tried could get Cortana to recognise Sticky Notes, which is a shame. 

Pros Cons
  • web and email address act as links
  • one tap to dial a phone number on your smart phone from a Sticky 
  • colour coded
  • synchronize with Android phone
  • voice recognition with Android notes
  • date stamped
  • portability
  • fully editable on both Android and Win 10 laptop
  • voice recognition doesn’t work with laptop
  • not enough formatting options
  • could use more colours
  • can’t delete a note from Android

Sticky Notes is a free app in the Microsoft Store. There are a number of Sticky apps listed so look for the Microsoft one if you want full integration with your phone.  Once installed on your desktop, go to the Google Play store, download the Launcher and set it as your phone’s default. I’m running a pretty low end phone – 8 gigs of memory and pretty slow – and haven’t experienced any issues with the MS Launcher. It works seamlessly with Android, even with a barebones phone.  

Great little app for Windows 10, a mini powerhouse for organising thoughts on the fly if you are away from your computer. 

Sticky Notes in the Microsoft app store