LinkedIn Privacy Settings

Linkedin have very quietly introduced some new settings that affect your privacy and your ability to prevent unwanted emails. These new settings are ON by default and include allowing LinkedIn to use your profile information, names and photos in third party advertising.

These settings are pretty hard-to-reach so please see the links below if you want to opt out:

Manage social advertising

Manage enhanced advertising

Data sharing with third party applications

Partner InMail

iPhone 3G slow after iOS4 upgrade

You may find that your iPhone 3G is slow, unresponsive and, if it’s as bad as mine, basically unusable after upgrading the firmware to Apple’s new iOS4. I’m afraid this is just a case of new software demanding more of old hardware than it is capable of providing.

We have tried a number of the solutions that are floating about there on the internet but I’m afraid we have concluded that the only solution is to free up memory, and on the iPhone that means just one thing: delete stuff.

So, you are going to have to think long and hard about which applications and how many photos, albums and podcasts you really need to carry around with you. Every bit of space you clear will result in an immediate improvement in performance.

Please, please, please remember to perform a backup via iTunes before deleting anything.

Blurry pictures in iPhone iOS4 (aka iPhone OS 4.0)

If you have already upgraded your iPhone or iPod Touch to iOS4, you have probably noticed that all your pictures have gone blurry, grainy, look pixelated or have just generally lost quality. Don’t panic, the solution is easy and reasonably quick:
  1. Connect your iPhone or iTouch to your computer via USB.
  2. Launch iTunes and click on your iPhone / iTouch which will be listed under Devices.
  3. Select the Photos tab.
  4. Un-tick the box labelled Sync Photos from …
  5. Important: You are now asked if you want to remove the sync’d photos from your device, select Don’t Remove Photos.
  6. Immediately re-tick the box labelled Sync Photos from …
  7. Now click on the Sync button on the bottom right-hand corner of your iTunes window.

iTunes will now go through the process of optimising your photos for your iOS4 device. This could be a quick or slow process, depending on the number of photos you sync. Basically, the larger the number of photos, the longer the optimisation process will take. When it is finished, hey presto, your photos are displayed in all their glory!

Repair Windows MBR with Ubuntu LiveCD

If something happens to your Windows Master Boot Record (MBR), here is a very quick and easy way to restore it with nothing but an Ubuntu LiveCD

WARNING: You are working with your disks in a very direct manner throughout this process. As always, having thorough and recent backups is essential.

  1. Boot into your Ubuntu LiveCD on the offending machine.
  2. Once Ubuntu has started up, go to System > Administration > Software Sources and enable the Universal Repository.
  3. Open a terminal session (Applications > Accessories > Terminal) and type sudo apt-get install ms-sys
  4. Now you need to figure out which partition is the one hosting your Windows operating system. Start by typing sudo fdisk -l in to Terminal window.
  5. From the resultant list of available partitions, you are looking for a partition that says something like:

    /dev/sda1 1 8619 94723115 81 NTFS

    The two important bits are the /dev/sda1 which is the partition label and the NTFS which tells us it is a Windows formatted partition. So, in this example, your Windows partition exists on the drive sda and it is at partition 1.

  6. We nned to fix the MBR on /dev/sda so type sudo ms-sys -m /dev/sda. You will need to change the sda text if your results from step 4 are different.
  7. Remove the LiveCD from the CD drive and reboot the machine. Windows should come back to you.

Of course, you could do this by inserting the correct Windows CD and booting into repair mode but the Ubuntu way doesn’t care about versions and is actually a bit faster.

Changing the icon order on Apple menu bar

If you have Apple OS 10.5 (Leopard) and want to move the icons around on your Apple menu bar, for example you want the volume icon to the right of the clock or the time machine icon on the left of everything, you can move them about just holding down the Command (apple) key while clicking on the icon in question and dragging it to the desired position.

It’s as simple as that.

Removing the Links folder from Internet Explorer Favourites

Does it irritate you that Internet Explorer insists on showing you its Links folder in your Favorites (I know, American spelling but that’s just how Microsoft make it)? Sure, you can remove the Links toolbar by simply right-clicking an area of the Internet Explorer toolbar and de-selecting it from the popup menu.

However, the Links folder will still appear in your Favorites menu. You should NOT just delete this folder as it can cause problems. Instead:

  1. Open your Favorites menu and right-click the Links folder
  2. Select Properties from the popup menu
  3. Click the check box to make the folder hidden
  4. Click on OK and close Internet Explorer

Next time you look in your Favorites menu there will be no Links folder!

Email address auto-complete in Apple Mail

Apple’s Mail application has this great feature that completes a recipient’s email address as you start typing it in the To field of an email. This is a useful time-saver but, if one of your contacts changes email address, Mail reliably but stubbornly continues to auto-complete the old, defunct address even if you have updated your Address Book.

There is however, a way to delete old or unwanted addresses from the auto-complete list. Once the old address is removed and you subsequently use the new one, it will be remembered and the auto-complete feature is again as useful as ever.

To remove an email address from the auto-complete list in Apple Mail:

  1. Open Apple Mail
  2. Click on Window then Previous Recipients
  3. Scroll to and select the desired address(es) from the list (you can highlight multiple addresses by holding down the Command key when selecting)
  4. Click on the Remove From List button

If you want to save an email address rather than remove it, you can do so from the same Previous Recipients window. On the right-hand side you will see the Add to Address Book button which enables you to add the selected email address to either a new or existing contact in your Address Book.

MacGuard + WiniGuard: Totally Bogus

There is a new trend emerging in the field of credit card scamming and it preys upon our efforts to protect our computers.

Macguard is bogusMacGuard, an entirely bogus piece of software, claims to clean up your system and remove adware, spyware, and trojans. It doesn’t. Not only does the software make no effort to protect your computer, but the companies that sell it are merely scamming your credit card details. MacGuard claims the following:

“Macguard’s high-tech system scanner will search your hard drive for malicious objects such as Adware, Spyware and Trojans, cleaning your files, eliminating the threats, and securing your privacy in just a matter of minutes. Its real rime smart protection will also ensure new threats will not even reach your desktop.”

It is interesting to note that Winiguard claims exactly the same thing … word for word. These are both totally bogus products. Do not visit their sites. Do not click the download links. Do not enter any credit or debit card information.

On the MacGuard site, nothing actually downloads when you click the product’s download link which is a big clue that something is wrong. Fortunately, like most virus vandals out there, they have not figured out how to break in to the unix-based kernel of Mac OSX. On the Winiguard site, a nasty virus does, indeed, download. WiniGuard hijacks your desktop and typically displays exaggerated or false spyware claims to frighten the user into paying for the program. This is digital terrorism, nothing else.

Aside from this, the real scam here is undoubtedly your credit card information. By purchasing this software you are happily giving your credit card numbers and billing information to a bunch of crooks. It is very likely that you will subsequently find additional charges on your credit card. Sadly, ArsTechnica report that more than 30 million people have already been scammed in this way.

Our advice is to avoid purchasing software from a company you have never heard of, or who has no references, or whose web site is vague and imprecise.

We all know that security and viruses are a serious risk when using a computer and especially the internet, but one should not blindly trust a web site just because it is out there. Putting up a website is pretty straight-forward if you know what you are doing. Before buying any software online, check it out with someone trustworthy: Mister Geek, a tech blog or magazine for example. You’ll find out more than you think with a good internet search. As the Roman’s apparently said: caveat emptor, meaning buyer beware. This goes for absolutely everything you purchase online, but even more so for anything claiming to protect you.

If you have found trouble in your computing environment and need advice or action, whether it be XP, Vista, OSX or Linux, please contact Mister Geek and we will be glad to help.

Configure iPhone for BT Business Email

If you are a user of BT’s Business Email Plus Organise & Share service, which is basically just their hosted Exchange, and you have an iPhone, I am sure you will have discovered that BT’s helpdesk have no idea how to get these two working together. Your iPhone must be running 2.0 firmware or higher and you need iTunes 7.7 or later.

  1. On the iPhone select Settings then Mail, Contacts, Calendars followed by Add Account…
  2. Select Microsoft Exchange
  3. Iphone add account

  4. In the Email field, enter your email address (e.g. first.last@btconnect.com or firstlast@yourdomain.com)
  5. Enter HE in the Domain field
  6. In the Username enter the first part of your btconnect.com email address (e.g. first.last) – if you entered an alias under email address in step 3, be sure to use the genuine btconnect.com username here
  7. Enter your password in the Password field
  8. In the Description field, enter anything you like that makes sense to you
  9. Click Next and the iPhone will try to auto-discover your Exchange server settings but because the Organise & Share platform is built on Microsoft Exchange 2003, this will fail and prompt you to manually enter the server name
  10. When this happens, enter email.btconnect.com and select Finish

Now open the Mail application on the iPhone and you will see your new account. Don’t worry if it seems to be taking some time to synchronise the first time, that’s perfectly normal.

Site search javascript booklet

You may have heard of a booklet or bookmarklet. These are simply snippets of javascript that are saved as bookmarks. They allow you to run a script within the context of the web page you are currently visiting. The following code allows you to perform a site specific search using Google’s search engine. Simply create a bookmark or favourite and replace the address contents with the following code:

javascript:Qr=prompt(‘Search%20site%20for’,”);if(Qr)location.href=’http://www.google.com/search?&q=site:’+encodeURIComponent(window.location.hostname)+’+’+escape(Qr)

Just copy and paste it all in one line, there are no line breaks or spaces anywhere in this script. Give the booklet an appropriate name, I call mine SiteSearch just because it makes sense to me. Now, when you are on any web page, select this booklet and you will be presented with a dialog box asking what to search for. Enter the text you are interested in, hit OK and Google will return the results for that site and that site only. This works with any javascript enabled browser including Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari and Opera.