3 tips broken by a cup of tea…

By | July 25, 2016
This content is 8 years old. Please, read this page keeping its age in mind. Thank you.

Well, today’s might be a short email as I’ve hurt my right shoulder. Nothing serious but it hurts to use my right arm and I’m rubbish at typing with my left hand. I did think about using voice recognition so I can speak this issue to my PC instead of typing it – and I might yet do that!

As it happens I’ve got a handful of short snippets for you today. Let’s dive in, in no particular order:

If you have an iPhone, please do this:
A few years ago, Apple used to promote their products by basically saying Apple stuff didn’t get viruses or other types of “malware”. It was more or less true but only because at the type Apple equipment was much less popular, so the people who wrote viruses didn’t bother with writing for Macs and so on.

I always felt they tempting fate by saying Macs don’t get viruses… it’d only take one bad guy to write one and they’d end up looking very silly indeed.

Anyway, they seem to have stopped saying that now. Maybe that’s just as well as there’s just been a pretty bad software attack on iPhones.

It doesn’t really matter exactly how it works – but in case you want to know, in a nutshell, when someone texts you a photo, the phone works out how to display that particular format of file, then does it. And some bad guys discovered a flaw in the way iPhones do this for the TIFF file format, that meant they could send you a photo in this format and use it to get your passwords – potentially including banking passwords.

Pretty scary stuff.

To be fair to Apple, they straight away brought out an update to the software that stops it happening. So the important thing is that if you have an iPhone you need to check it has the latest update.

Go into settings, then into general and then into Software Update. Then check that it says 9.3.3 (or later is fine if they’ve brought out another update since I wrote this). If it doesn’t, tap on “Download and Install” to update.

Once it’s done, you should be fine – that particular “way in” for scammers is then blocked.

If you’re worried about whether you’ve already been caught, well, it’s only if you have an iPhone and to catch you, the scammers would have had to send you a photo. So if you’ve never had a photo via text from someone you don’t know, it can’t have happened to you.

Reader mode on Chrome – an easier (and maybe better) way
Last time I wrote about the way to get at “reader mode” in various different devices and browsers. I included how to do it in Google Chrome on a PC< but I know people have had various problems with that – partly because it’s a fiddle to do and partly because as I said in the email, it’s still something Google are working on – they haven’t said it’s finished yet.

Luckily, I’ve heard of another way to do it in Google Chrome which might be easier. It’s a plug in add on to Chrome that has been created that adds a reader mode.

You can download it here.
And click on “Add to Chrome” to, well, add it to chrome. Then when you’re on a page that’s awkward or distracting to read, click on the little pair of glasses in the top right.

You can also then change the font size using Alt and 1, Alt and 2 and Alt and 3.

It might be worth a try if you find some webpages awkward to read. When I tested it it worked pretty well with most pages.

A little known more Google trick
Phew, well, it’s not turning into a short email after all – and I’ve got another tip to tell you about. Bear with me while I make a cup of tea first.
Ahh, that’s better. Right, let’s carry on.

There’s lots you can do in Google as well as searching for particular web pages. You can also get it convert units by typing “250 US dollars in pounds” or similarly with distances, weights and so on.

Or type in “Cat in German” for a quick translation.

But I learnt one more the other day.

On my shelf at home, I’ve got a book of word origins. I find some of them fascinating… and sometimes surprising.

But now if you type the word you’re curious about, then a space, then etyomology into Google, then click to search, it’ll tell you the origins of that word.

I admit, it’s not necessarily something you’ll use a lot, but it could be interesting if you’re ever wondering about a peculiar word!

Anyway that’s all for now and hopefully in a day or so my shoulder will be back to normal!

13 thoughts on “3 tips broken by a cup of tea…

  1. Avril Fyfe

    Thank you, Tim, for the tip on etymology. I’ve often wondered where to get information on this and now look forward to wasting many happy hours!

  2. Liz Menzies-Wilson

    Thank you for the tip on updating my iPhone. I’m in the middle of doing it right now. Also I may well use the etymology tip one day!

  3. Wenda Barker

    Thanks Tim for all your advice. Took it just now to check my IPhone was still secure. It is, so that’ a relief!
    I’ve still got an old Windows XP computer and was recently informed that my “Dropbox” (which I use quite a lot) will no longer support this version of Windows as from 29th August.
    I am considering getting a new computer but because I am about to go in hospital for an operation I won’t be able to get out to buy for another month or two!
    Can you possibly tell me that the stuff I’ve already got in Dropbox won’t disappear after the 29th August?
    I hope your shoulder gets better soon.

    1. Tim Post author

      yes, don’t worry, the things you’ve got on dropbox will still be there, but you just won’t be able to use the Windows XP PC to access it. It might be worth just making sure you know your username for dropbox (it’s probably your email address) and your password – then when you get a new PC, you can log in with those to get at all the things you’ve currently got stored there.
      The shoulder’s all better now, thanks! I think I must have just twisted it in my sleep.

  4. Chris

    Reader Mode for Chrome? I could not find any way to download this via your link. So I tried to go to the Chrome Web Store itself and got the extraordinary message saying it is not yet available for my Operating System, which is the very latest Google Android 6.1, Marshmallow. What are they playing at?

    1. Tim Post author

      The link in here is really for Chrome on PCs – Chrome on tablets have an experimental version that Google haven’t said is finished but does seem to work pretty well.
      You might have missed it, but if you have a look at this issue from a couple of weeks ago (http://helpfulbooks.co.uk/emailnewsletter/?p=945) and scroll down to “what about on a tablet” there’s how to do it on a tablet. But according to Google this is very much still under development, so you may find it works for you… or it may not!

  5. Dave Wright

    Just checked my wife’s Iphone 4 which is showing 7.1.2. but states that software is up to date and no further updates are available. Is this ok or is she still at risk do you know?

    1. Tim Post author

      You’re right – Apple have decided not to give the iPhone 4 the most recent versions of iOS. But I’ve had a look at when this particular bug was introduced and it looks like it only appeared after version 9 was introduced, so the good news is your wife’s one never got updated to the version with the problem, so she’s safe from it! Phew!

  6. Christine Vickers

    Hi Tim.
    FYI, it’s etymology, not etyomology. Good tip, though. Thanks.

    1. Tim Post author

      Whoops! Thanks for pointing it out – I’ll fix it in the online version now.

  7. edna

    Hi Tim, read this yesterday but have returned with querie, you mention frequently Google chrome, I’m wondering how safe it is as my late hubby, bless him thought it was poor so wouldn’t entertain it unless absolutely necessary, knowing as little as I do I turn to you for guidance. Thanks am enjoying tips, not used tablet so much since receiving it cheers

    1. Tim Post author

      With web browsers (Chrome, Firefox or Microsoft Edge are the main ones nowadays) I find which one works best seems to vary over time as they develop them – and sometimes as they make what I think are mistakes in how they develop them, then go back and fix them!
      At the moment, I tend to use Chrome most as it seems to run pretty well once it starts. There have been people recently finding it takes a long time to start up when you click on the icon, which can be frustrating, but not everyone has this and once it has started, it seems pretty good.
      But if you’re happily using Internet Explorer, Edge or Firefox, I wouldn’t particularly suggest you change – at the moment I’d say they’re all pretty much working as well as each other!

  8. David Cree

    Like many of the others I like your tip on etymology.


Leave a Reply

The name you enter will be displayed. We collect your email address but do not display it. Full privacy policy here. Required fields are marked *

The reCAPTCHA verification period has expired. Please reload the page.