Help! I Forgot My Apple Password

December 15, 2014 at 9:09 am (1Password, Apple, Applications, How-to, iPhone/iPod Touch, security) (, , )

Back in the old days when I worked at Apple, there was hardly a day that went by when we didn’t get at least one person at the Genius Bar who had forgotten their Apple ID or Password.  They would frequently swear up one side and down the other that they knew what it was, it had always been that, and Apple was just wrong.  Uh-huh.  Right.  But, things happen, and sometimes it happens to the best of us.  Like my dad.  He is a pharmacist, one of the most intelligent men I’ve ever known.  But, bless his heart, he is not the most tech-savvy guy around.  Don’t get me wrong, he tries.  Oh, how he tries.  But, as much as I’ve tried to gently guide him and help him, I still end up going over about once a week to provide a little tech support (usually just to reset the router).

Not long ago, I was doing some routine upgrades when the box popped up for the Apple ID and Password.  I entered it, and immediately was informed that I was mistaken.  Frowning, I thought I must have entered it wrong.  I re-entered it, and got the ‘no dice’ message again.  “Dad”, I called out over the balcony, “have you changed your Apple Password without telling me?”.  He responded that he had not, so I opened my all-around favorite app, 1Password (I know, you’re shocked). I pulled up Pop’s info, only to find that the password listed was the same one I’d tried without success.  So, at this point, what to do?

There are a couple of things that one can do in this instance.  You can always contact Apple support.  This might be best for folks who are not tech-savvy.  Had I not been around and available, I would have sent Pop this route.  To get in touch with Apple’s support team for Apple ID issues, you can use this link:  https://getsupport.apple.com/Issues.do
You click a selection to let them know if your issue with your Apple ID is related to iTunes, iCloud, or “other”, where “other” includes Apple ID and password issues, as well as issues related to your security questions, game center, face time, messages, and more. When you select your issue, you’ll then be given a choice to schedule a call with Apple support.  You can call them or they will call you.  This cuts down on a long hold time for you.  A schedule is displayed, and you choose your preferred time, in fifteen minute intervals.  For instance, if I wanted to call this morning, it shows me that there are 6 appointments available between 9:45am and 11:15am.  I select the one I want, enter my contact information, then sit back and wait for them to call me.  You can call them as well, but during times of high call volume, you might have to hold for a bit.  Letting them call you is definitely the easier option.

If you have an iDevice (iPhone or iPad), you can easily recover or reset your account information.  Simply open the Settings app, then scroll to iCloud and tap it. At the top of the iCloud settings, you’ll see your name and email address.  Tap on the email address.  A box will appear for you to enter your password.  Underneath the box, tap on the blue text that says “Forgot Apple ID or Password?”  You will then have two choices:  If you don’t remember your Apple ID, tap the blue text that says “Forgot your Apple ID?”  Boxes will pop up for you to enter your name and email address to recover your Apple ID.  If you know your Apple ID but don’t remember your password, enter your email address then click “Next”. Then tap whether you want to reset your password by email or by answering your security questions. After that, you should be able to reset your password and log in to your account as usual. 

My Apple ID

You can reset your password from the “My Apple ID” site using your web browser.  Under the blue “Manage Your Apple ID” link on the right side of the page, click on the option to “Reset Your Password”.  You will have to enter your email address and correctly answer the security questions to complete the process and have your password reset. 

There is a little-known secret that allows you use your web browser to search multiple email addresses to try to find an Apple ID that you may have forgotten after changing your email from one account to another. Go to Apple’s iForgot site, enter your name, your current email address, and up to three former email addresses.  Answer the security questions to verify that you are really you. This should be enough to find your Apple ID.  You can follow the other steps to reset your password if needed.  Now you can log in as usual. 

Once you recover your Apple ID and password, please put the information into your 1Password app.  If you aren’t using it yet, there’s no better time to start.  Check it out at their 1Password website. Start using 1Password and have all your user names, passwords, login info, secure notes, and more right at your fingertips.  Best of all, you only have to remember one password (you know you wondered where the name came from) from now on.  The app remembers the rest. It’s accessible anywhere, and syncs across all your devices. Get it now, and never have to fill out another form to recover ID and password information.  Think of all the time you’ll save! 

If you have any trouble, you can always refer back to the link to get in touch with Apple’s support team.  They will help get you back on track in no time. 

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Doggie First Aid: It Really Matters

August 15, 2014 at 11:55 pm (How-to, pugs) (, , , )

As a follow-up to my post about canine heat injuries, I’m sharing some information about how to properly take care of your fur-babyf  You never know what might happen.  But, if the unthinkable happens, and your fur-baby has a minor accident or injury, you’ll be equipped to handle it, even if it’s just to stabilize your pet and get to the vet’s office (or doggie ER, depending on when it happens). 

You can purchase ready-made kits, but they are ridiculously expensive.  You can make your own for a fraction of the cost, especially if you pick up a lot of the supplies at the Dollar Tree (or similar store where everything is $1). So, let’s get started.

First, you need something in which to place everything, preferably with some hint at organization.  If you just toss everything into a bag or pack, you won’t be able to get it quickly when you need it.  My first doggie first aid kit was made from a small tackle box that I picked up from Wal-Mart for less than five bucks.   Now that you have a container, you need to add the equivalent of your pet’s demographic information.  First of all, make sure your pet’s ID, recent photo, microchip info (if applicable), vaccination information , along with your vet’s name and address, is noted prominently.  That way, if you are out somewhere and have an issue, you won’t have to look up the info.  You can drop the info into a baggie and tape it inside the lid. Another option is to use the stick-on document “pouch” that is used by USPS, FedEx, and others to display shipping bills.  

Now, let’s get it stocked. Obviously, how much you can add will depend on the size.  You don’t need a dozen of everything.  Remember, this is just for basics, to take care of the moment, until you can get to the vet.  Start with basic: scissors, tweezers, flashlight/penlight, gloves, eyedropper, bulb syringe or small meat baster (to irrigate wounds), tongue depressor (to examine mouth or use as a splint), nail trimmers, styptic powder (for bleeding), rectal thermometer, disposable razor (safety kind, in case area around a wound needs shaving), brush, towels, emergency thermal blanket (I got one at Dollar Tree), bandanna, hemostat, tick key (for removing ticks), Krazy glue (for small skin lacerations), and anti-bacterial wipes (or  make your own with a bottle of antibacterial liquid and gauze pads).

Next, we’ll add in the mostly disposable supplies that you will want to replace after using them, so your kit stays well-stocked at all times.  You will want the following: sterile gauze pads, roll of gauze, coban (self-adhesive wrap that sticks to itself but not to skin or fur), hot/cold pack,  activated charcoal tablets, Betadine (antiseptic), antibiotic ointment, hydrogen peroxide (for wounds or to induce vomiting), rubbing alcohol (multiple uses, but especially good for cooling the body in instances of heat exhaustion or heatstroke), doggie socks (can use baby socks, used to cover paws for protection or to cover a wound).  Q-tips, sterile saline for eyes (to flush debris from eyes), artificial tears, eye ointment (no steroid), epsom salt (to draw infection and to help itching skin and paws — 1 tsp. in 2 cups warm water), udder cream/bag balm or equivalent (for paw pads).  

Now that you’ve got a great kit put together, you still need to know what to do with all those goodies.  Here is the link for first aid procedures from the Royal Canin’s site:  http://breeds.royalcanin.co.uk/health/diseases-of-the-dog/first-aid-procedures

Familiarize yourself with the basics and you’ll be able to take good care of your fur baby should the need arise.  What else do you need in your dog’s first aid kit? Let us know in the comments below.  

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Cool Stuff that Siri can do for You

June 12, 2013 at 12:48 pm (Apple, How-to, iDevices, iPhone/iPod Touch, Productivity) (, , , , )

You may already be a seasoned professional when it comes to using Siri, but there are always more goodies you can add to your bag of tricks. When Siri first became available on the iPhone, one of the first things I asked was “What can you do for me?” and Siri tossed up a handful of suggestions. Back then, they were fairly simple things like calling people, sending texts, and setting reminders. Siri has evolved in the nearly two years that we have been using her assistance. There are a lot more things you can outsource Siri to do for you now. 

Here are just a few:

Say/Ask This:                                          To Do This:

Call (Mike / my brother)               Call a person (by name or relationship)

Launch ‘Facebook’                        Launch (app of choice)

Tell Malissa I’m on my way           Sends text to (person) with your message

Set up a meeting at 9am              Adds a meeting onto your schedule

Did the Broncos win today?         Checks and reports team scores 

Give me directions to Selmer       Gives directions to any named place

Tweet a message                          Tweets a message to post to Twitte

What movies are playing?            Tells what movies are playing nearby

Play brandi carlile                          Plays (singer) or (playlist) that you request

Remind me to pay bills                 Sets a reminder based on your request

Email Nik about the trip                 Sends email to (person) about (subject)

What’s today’s weather?                Tells you the weather forecast 

What’s apple’s stock price             Tells you company’s stock price

Wake me tomorrow at 9am           Sets an alarm for 9am 

What’s Nancy’s address?               Gets (person’s) address

Note that i need to buy milk          Adds a note to buy milk

Search the web for xxx                  Searches web for (chosen topic)

Define (word)                                  Looks up and gives definition of (word)

Find a good Sushi place                Lists nearby Sushi (or other) restaurants

In addition to the above commands, you can also have Siri help with punctuation and a few emoticons (oh, come on. You knew it was only a matter of time). 😉  Speaking punctuation such as “new paragraph”,  “new line”, “cap”, “period”, “full stop”,  or “(other desired punctuation mark)”,  will get the desired results most of the time.  Some emoticons  work, such as “smiley” or “smiley face”, “frowny” or “frowny face”,  and “wink face”. 

There is occasionally a glitch if Siri doesn’t understand you.  Get some practice by speaking normally, being sure to enunciate your words properly.  The more you use it, the more accurate your results will be.

Most of those listed above are, believe it or not, fairly basic uses of Siri.  She has evolved quite a bit in the past couple of years.  Some of the even more impressive tasks Siri can help you manage now include the following:  search other web browsers (Bing, Yahoo, Wikipedia) for information; update your social network status on Facebook, Twitter, or Google+ via SMS (must set up ahead of time);  see and set calendar appointments for a certain day;  tell you what actors were in a particular movie; set or delete alarms; list flight times;  restart springboard/finder;  and more.  Calculations and other “fact-type” questions are searched using Wolfram Alpha. It is also integrated with Remember the Milk and other applications, to make those apps even easier to use. 

Many folks are aware that Siri also has some nifty little Easter Eggs, as well as a rather wicked (programmed) sense of humor.  There are at least a few blogs dedicated to these chuckle-inducing experiences, along with some dedicated to funny “oops” moments when a word is misspelled or misunderstood, yielding some unpredictable and often hilarious results. 

I tried a few questions early on, several of them the same that many others have also tossed at our able silicon-based assistant. Just a few samples:

Siri StarWars 2

Q:  “What can you tell me about ‘Star Wars (1977)’?”  
A:   “It’s about a couple of really nice robots who get mixed up in a silly intergalactic war”.  

Q:  “Define supercalifragilisticexpialidocious”  
A:   “The sound of that is something quite atrocious”.

Q:  “Who is on first?”
A:   “Correct. Who is on first.”  

 Q:  “What is the meaning of life?” 
 A:  “All evidence to date points to chocolate” (“42” is another hilarious answer).

These are just the tip of the iceberg regarding things that Siri can help you do these days.  I suspect that with iOS 7, that list will increase exponentially. I love having Siri help me make quick work of my tasks.  That gives me that much more time to spend on things that are really important.  Those are just a few that I’ve asked, and I’ve heard of or read many dozens more.  I’m glad the programmers made it a bit humorous. It makes me think they thought even more of their end user. 

What are your favorite things about Siri?  Have you had any humorous interactions with her? What would you like to see in iOS 7?  Let me know in the comments.   

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Tips and Tricks: Some (Slightly Snarky) Google Help

December 23, 2012 at 12:40 am (Apple, Applications, How-to, Humor) (, , , )

Most of you guys know what it’s like to have family members always calling you with mundane questions about things.  They are usually along the lines of “How to I…..” or “I can’t figure out how to …..”.  Frequently, these involve their remote, computer, printer, iDevice, and so on.  They’ve obviously never heard of Google, or any other search engine since the days of AOL.  How many of you have a t-shirt (or want one) that says, “No, I will not fix your computer”? So, you know what I mean, right?

Folks always seem to call at the most inopportune times.  Do you help them with their issue, or tell them to look it up themselves?  Well, some slightly exasperated developers at Google have helped us out with this conundrum. LMGTFY to the rescue. “Let Me Google That For You” is a nifty little assistant that lets you show someone else how to use Google.  So, rather than outright telling them to look it up for themselves, you can let Google be the smart@ss and tell them to look it up for themselves. 😉 Nifty, no?

LMGTFY Stickers 1

Here’s how it works:

Go to www.lmgtfy.com.  There’s a box below the search box that says “Type a question, click a button”. Type in your query and submit. It then creates a link and the box tells you to “share the link below”. You can copy and paste it for sharing,  or shorten it or preview if you like. The resulting animation shows you typing the query into the box, shows Google’s search results, then the box says, “Was that so hard?”.  Gotta love it.

Here’s an example.  I searched for “LMGTFY”.  Here’s the results:

http://lmgtfy.com/?q=LMGTFY

Give it a shot and see what you think.  Of course, what they do once they get results is another story.  Good luck!

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Creative Caching

September 15, 2012 at 10:22 am (Geocaching, How-to) (, , , )

Most anyone who knows me knows how much I love to geocache. If you aren’t familiar with the term, *geocaching* is basically a high-tech treasure hunt. A container, or *cache*, is hidden somewhere (anywhere, from a park to a field to a parking lot) by the hider and the coordinates are recorded and published to a website. Then the seekers view the published listing and go searching for it, using a GPS unit or a GPS-enabled smartphone (iPhone, Android). When the cache is found, they sign a log inside the container, then log their find online. It’s loads of fun, largely because it can be done anytime, anywhere.

The containers are classified into sizes ranging from nano (tiny) to large (really big). Common examples include film containers (very popular for what’s known as *”park ‘n’ grab”* hides because they are usually very quick and easy to find), magnetic key boxes, lock and lock (Tupperware-type) containers, and ammo boxes (metal cans once used for storing ammunition are popular for hides in the woods).

So, with that explanation of introduction, I’ve been having a great deal of fun making my own geocache containers recently. Some call them “evil” caches. I prefer to call them “creative” caches 😉 These can be made out of just about anything. Before deciding what type of cache to make, and how to construct it, you have to answer a few important questions:

• Where are you planning to hide it? A hide in the woods might use a pine cone or a hollowed out stick, whereas a city hide might be more suited to a fake electrical switch, a retrofitted cable, or a bolt on back of a signpost.

• How devious, er, difficult, do you want it to be? Geocaches are rated in difficulty from level 1 (easy) to level 5 (difficult). The rating takes into account both the difficulty of the container as well as the likely amount of “muggle” (non-caching persons) traffic in the area.

• How much time and money do you want to put into your creations? Many creative caches can be fashioned with little more than some good glue and household items. Duct tape comes in many patterns and colors now, camouflage being one of them. A clean plastic jar, such as a peanut butter jar, covered with camo tape makes a great container for hiding in a tree stump or under some branches. Add a rotary tool, such as a Dremel, to the mix, and you’ve just upped the ante quite a bit in terms of what you can do. Making whizbangs (see previous post) is super-easy and costs nothing but a little time. If you have some money to spend, you can make some diabolical cache containers with things like PVC pipe, water hose and spigots, drain covers, and more.

Here are just a couple of examples that I’ll leave you with today.

Penny cache

The first one is similar to the Bottle Cap cache I detailed in my last post.  However, rather than using a bottle cap from a beer or soda bottle, this one uses a penny as the decoy.  .The penny is glued to the screw top or flip top of a small cylindrical vial. When dry, drop in your log and you’re good to go.  These work great as hides in neighborhood parks or parking areas near a convenience store where there is a little gravel mixed with dirt. Just dig up a little bit of dirt, slide it into the ground, and the penny is flush with the ground as if it was just dropped. Sneaky 😉  I recently saw it done with a small colored rock as well. It was glued in the same way, but was just a little different. Put your own individual touches on it.

BranchCache.jpg

The next one is still a work in progress. I hollowed out a small stick, and slid a bison tube inside. I was thinking about hinging the other part of the stump where I’d cut it, but I think I’m going to just glue the bison into the hollowed out portion, and leave it sticking out slightly. That way, it (hopefully) won’t go missing from the stick that houses it, and it won’t be too difficult to find. Then, the finders will simply have to unscrew the top of the bison container, sign the log, screw the top back on, and replace the stick.

What ideas have you come up with for your own creative caches? Let me know in the comments. Until next time, cache on!

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Make Your Own Whizbangs for Geocaching

July 24, 2012 at 12:08 pm (Geocaching, How-to) (, , , )

Making Whizbangs

Making Whizbangs

While we were at GeoWoodstock X for the annual geocaching convention, we saw a lot of really nifty, innovative caches.  One, in particular, is quite easy to make, and costs practically nothing, as it uses your discarded soda pop or sports drink bottles.  I’d seen this type of cache around here before, but always heard it referred to as, “two bottle tops glued together”.  I found out at GeoWoodstock that they actually have a name: whizbangs (sometimes seen as whizzbangs).

After we returned home, I started playing around with making these, and have come up with a pretty decent system. Here’s how to make them:

Start with your drink bottle.  I drink a lot of sports drinks, so there’s no shortage of those bottles. But, they come in various sizes, so whatever you use, just make sure you have two of the same size, because you need two bottles for each whizbang you want to make.  I usually make about a dozen at a time.  It doesn’t take a lot longer to do several than it does to do one.  Start by using a hacksaw or Dremel-type tool to cut the tops off the bottles.  I prefer a Dremel because it’s quicker and easier for me.  Also, I can use a cutting tool to cut the bottle tops, then switch to a sanding disc to tidy the edges a bit.

You need to cut them right below the ‘lip’, where it juts out a bit just below the little plastic ring that remains after you open the top.  You’ll see what I mean in the pictures if it doesn’t make sense.  If the cuts aren’t perfectly straight, don’t worry about it.  You can fix it by using a little sandpaper or your Dremel to sand it later.  Once you have your bottle tops, sand them a bit, if needed, to have the bottoms fairly smooth. It makes it easier to glue them together if they are more smooth. Again, it doesn’t have to be perfect, as the glue will take care of a little bit of it.

Now, you’re ready to glue the tops together to form a single piece.  I generally use Gorilla glue for a couple of reasons:  it expands as it sets, which helps to cover any imperfections (like the bottoms not being completely smooth), and it makes it more impervious to the elements, since no one likes opening a cache and pulling out a wet log. Yuk. It also takes paint nicely if you plan to paint them. However, you can use any just about any kind of glue you want.  I’ve experimented a bit, and use different kinds depending on how my pieces ended up.  If I’m gluing together a couple of really smooth pieces, and I’m not going to paint it, then I might use a clear contact cement. It’s totally up to you.  I’ve noticed that some folks will put a couple of drops of glue on one end of their whizbang, on the bottle threads, so it only opens at one end. This is especially helpful if you’re running a small wire thru one end to anchor it to something.  Having it only unscrew on one end makes it easier to keep it all together.  That’s just personal preference as well, so just do what works for you based on where you plan to hide the cache.

Now, you can clamp the two glued caps together to let the glue set.  Depending on what you use, you might not have to clamp it, but I usually do, more out of habit than anything else.  It just seems that they get a better seal they’re clamped, even for a little while. One of the first ones that I didn’t clamp migrated just a little after I glued it and left it, so that when I returned a couple hours later to check it, I was surprised to find a very offset cache.  Now I just clamp them to keep the halves from wandering until the glue sets.

Once the glue is set, you can congratulate yourself on making your very first whizbang.  Now is the time to paint them, if you so desire.  I usually go with shades of brown, green, or black, or even all three for better camouflage. Sometimes I leave them unpainted, but not often. It just looks more finished to me, but again, that’s just my preference.  That’s one of the nice things about making your own…you can do whatever pleases you.

After the paint has dried, just add a log, and find the perfect place to hide it.  Congratulations!

Feel free to tell me about other homemade caches you’ve seen.  I’ll be sharing some others that I’ve been working on soon. There are step by step photo instructions in the snapshot here for those of you (like me) who do better with visual guides. Enjoy, and get caching.

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Try Clarify for quick “how to” instructions

August 22, 2011 at 4:06 pm (Apple, Applications, How-to, Productivity, shareware) (, , , )

There’s a new kid in town to make life easier when you get emails, texts, and phone calls from friends and family asking, “Hey, can you tell me how to do (task of the day) real quick?”.  It’s an application called Clarify from Blue Mango Software. You might be familiar with them for their terrific ScreenSteps application that’s been around for a few years and is invaluable for those who write technical instructions, software manuals, and the like.

Clarify is like a lighter version of ScreenSteps. In fact, the process is very similar, so anyone who has used ScreenSteps will be able to use it right out of the gate, and those who aren’t accustomed to it will be able to use it in mere minutes. It’s that easy and intuitive.

Blue Mango says they streamlined the application to be more of a screen capture tool and is primarily for “reducing round trip emails”. Rather than having to send multiple emails back and forth to re-explain, or clarify, your instructions, you can easily do it in just one email using this software.

I did a quick “How to create a how-to using Clarify” in about 2 minutes.

The following is what the user interface looks like within the software while you’re creating your document.

CreateHowToThis next screenshot is what the finished product looks like on the Clarify-it.com sharing site, where you will send folks to view the how-to information. It looks very nice and polished. It can also be exported as a pdf file.

FinishedProductThere is a free public beta available now so you can try it out. The price will be $29.99 when the application is released. It’s available here: http://www.bluemangolearning.com/clarify/ .  Give it a go then leave a comment and let me know what you think about it.  What other methods do you use for this type of communication? Email? Skitch? Something else? Let’s hear your ideas below.

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It’s Easy to Jott to a Blog…

June 29, 2008 at 3:53 am (Applications, How-to, Productivity) (, , , , , , )

It’s easy to use Jott to post to your WordPress or other popular blog. You just have to keep your post to under 30 seconds each. So if you think it will run longer, just string several of them together. Remember to speak slow and clearly. I’m using Jott now to post this message to my blog. The accuracy is really amazing. However, if something comes out really wrong, you can always go into your Jott webpage and correct it manually. I just Jotted this post!

Powered by Jott

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