How to: use iOS Mail’s auto unsubscribe feature

 

 

By Charlie Sorrel of Cult of Mac

If you find yourself on a mailing list that you either never signed up for, or just got sick of, then iOS Mail has you covered. The app has a built-in feature that detects emails from mailing lists, and offers to unsubscribe from them right there, without you having to visit the sender’s site and hunt for the unsubscribe option yourself, like some kind of spam-lackey.

Using Mail’s auto-unsubscribe feature

When Mail detects an email from a mailing list, it adds a banner at the top of the email offering to unsubscribe for you:

“This message is from a mailing list,” it says, with a blue Unsubscribe button underneath. Tap that, ands Mail goes to work:

 

It achieves this amazing feat by sending a reply to the sender. If everything works as planned, and the sender of the newsletter is a good internet citizen, you will be removed from their list.

As you can see from the various screenshots around this post, the trick works on both the iPhone and the iPad. It doesn’t currently work on the Mac, at least not on mine.

Manual and automatic alternatives to unsubscribe

Even if Mail fails to spot a mailing-list mail, you can often take care of it yourself. Just scroll to the very bottom of the email in question, and look for the word “unsubscribe,” usually written in teeny-tiny letters, and in pale gray on white (or an equally invisible color combo). Tap it, and you will usually be taken to a page which tells you that your attempt to unsubscribe was a success.

Sometimes, you’ll need to check a box to actually unsubscribe, which is going to far in my opinion. Either way, be aware that if a genuine spam mail got through, then tapping an unsubscribe link might verify you as a live human to the spammer.

The other option is to use a third-party service to manage your mail for you.

SaneBox

If an email newsletter keeps coming back, or if you’re getting spammy mails from PR folks who refuse to let you unsubscribe, then you could try SaneBox or something similar. Sanebox automatically files your mails into sensible categories, and filters out the real crap. It also has a great feature called Sane Black Hole. It shows up as a regular mailbox in your email client, but when you add an email to that folder, SaneBox takes note and nukes any future email from that address. It’s a kind of email blacklist, and it’s 100% effective in my experience.

I get almost no spam these days, so unwanted newsletters are the biggest annoyance in my inbox. Or rather, in my Sane Later mailbox. Having a way to quickly unsubscribe is golden. Hopefully it’ll come to the Mac in a future version of macOS.

How do you manage your unwanted email? Tell us your best practices in the comments below!

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T&T: Tips for keeping strangers off your Wi-Fi network

 

Give digital trespassers the boot.

By David Nield of Popular Science

You don’t want neighbors or passers-by stealing your Wi-Fi any more than you want them stealing your water, electricity, or carefully curated collection of Blu-ray movies. In fact it’s more serious than that—if someone can hook on to the same network as you, it becomes easier for them to snoop on your browsing and your locally stored files.

So how do you go about locking things down? Thankfully, keeping unwelcome visitors away from your Wi-Fi isn’t difficult and doesn’t need an IT qualification. Here’s what you need to do.

Keep changing your password

By far the easiest way to boot freeloaders off your wireless network is to change the Wi-Fi password. You need to do this through your router’s settings—either dig out the manual or run a quick web search to find the instructions for your particular make and model.

Change the password to something very hard to forget (for you) and impossible to guess (for everyone else) and you’ve got a clean slate as far as access to your wireless network goes. You do have the inconvenience of then reconnecting all of your devices and computers, but it’s a small price to pay for a clean Wi-Fi slate. Pick something that’s important to you, like a date or a name, but that no one else would think of, so it’s both simple for you to enter and secured against unwanted visitors.

 

The router’s initial password is often printed on a sticker that’s attached to the device itself, so changing it will prevent guests like party goers from spying on the security code. If the password’s only in your head or somewhere secure then no one else can connect up until you tell them what it is.

Actually, that’s not quite true—some routers feature one-touch WPS (Wi-Fi Protected Setup) connectivity, so connecting to Wi-Fi can be done with a push of a button on the router itself. If you’re worried about someone doing this to get on the web, you can usually disable it through the router settings.

Check your router settings

While we’ve got your router configuration page open, a few other settings are worth looking at. First, change the default password used to access the router settings page to something else—this stops anyone who might gain access to your network from changing the Wi-Fi password themselves. As you’ll have realized when you accessed your router settings for the first time, you need a password to get into the menus, and a separate one to connect to Wi-Fi, so changing them both gives you maximum protection.

It’s also worth applying any pending firmware updates, which ensures your router is running the latest and most secure version of its own basic operating system. Again, with so many router makes and models on the market we can’t give you instructions for each one, but it should be simple to do—find the instruction booklet or a guide on the web for your device and it will only take a couple of minutes.

Elsewhere in your router’s settings you should find a screen listing the devices connected up to your Wi-Fi: Is there anything there you don’t recognize? You often have the option to disconnect a device, depending on the type of router you’ve got, though you might need to do a bit of detective work to identify the devices your router lists.

Finally, you should be able to find a setting that ‘hides’ your network (the technical term is the SSID or service set identifier) from view, so it won’t appear when your neighbors or visitors scan for Wi-Fi on their devices. If you need to connect a new device, you need to enter the SSID manually. It’s not a huge improvement in Wi-Fi security, but it’s a neat trick that can help you stay under the radar of hackers and Wi-Fi freeloaders.

Other security tips

If you want some extra help spotting who’s on your network who maybe shouldn’t be, beyond what your router offers, try Fing for Android or iOS, Acrylic Wi-Fi for Windows, or Who Is On My Wi-Fi for macOS. All those apps are free (for non-commercial use), and are easy to navigate around no matter what your level of networking know-how. Various other apps are available to do the same job too.

Installing a VPN on your computer doesn’t do anything extra in terms of stopping people from connecting to your Wi-Fi, but it does add an extra layer of encryption between you and the web—so that anyone who does manage to gain access to your network is going to have a much harder time trying to snoop on your activities (which websites you visit, the data you’re sending and so on). While a VPN might slightly slow down your connection speed, it keeps you a lot safer—just be sure to choose a reputable, paid-for service.

Finally, if your computer is close enough to the router to wire it up directly, and you’ve got strong cellular reception on your phone, you could turn off Wi-Fi on your router every once in a while, which can be done through the router settings on all modern boxes. No one’s going to be able to hook up to your Wi-Fi network if it’s switched off.

Do you have any tips for securing your home wifi network? Share them with us in the comments below!

Weekly Round Up – 7/28

 


Kenya – 1. America – 0

How Kenyans are using Tech to stop election fraud and violence.


Because Fake News, that’s why.

Why we need the liberal arts in Technology’s age of distraction


Does this new tech impact my discount as a Yelp Reviewer?

The Risk of Restaurant Tech

If Vegas offers odds on this, I’d make an effin’ fortune.
The tech skills gap will test Foxconn’s new Wisconsin factory


What?! No more Jitterbug?!

Best Buy bets on tech for monitoring elderly parents

Healthcare is the new digital frontier and Amazon already has a leg up on it’s competitors.
Amazon has a secret health care team called 1492 focused on medical records, virtual doc visits

We used to joke that The Orchard had us all fitted with implants called the iSliver.
Tech company workers agree to have microchips implanted in their hands

 

App of the Week: Nebo; the handwriting app is like paper, only better.

 

 

BY CHARLIE SORREL of Cult of Mac

Nebo is an alternative to Apple’s upcoming iOS 11 Notes app. Like the Apple app, Nebo lets you use the Apple Pencil to draw and write in notes. It also recognizes the words you write and lets you search on those terms. Unlike the native Notes app, however, Nebo also converts your longhand scrawls into actual, editable text, which can be copied and pasted anywhere.

In fact, I used Nebo to write this entire article. My handwriting isn’t as fast as my typing any more (my hand still hurts), but the app is fantastic.

Nebo is like a smart piece of paper

Nebo is absurdly easy to use. That comes, I think, because it works so well. At no point during writing this piece did I get frustrated, or find the app doing something I didn’t want it to do. Quite the opposite, in fact: Nebo works just like paper, only better.

As you write, Nebo converts your words to text, and shows them at the top of the paragraph. This gives you confidence that it’s doing a good job. The handwriting recognition is uncanny. After a while I stopped trying to be clear, and just wrote in messy “joined-up.” Nebo got almost everything. Even better, you can make corrections like you would with pen and paper by writing over the word you want to replace. Nebo recognizes this and corrects the word for you. It’s not perfect, although the level of imperfection depends on how bad your handwriting is.

To erase a word, just scribble over it. To add and remove spaces, or split and join paragraphs, just draw a vertical line up or down. Then, when you’re done, simply convert to text or export text via the standard share sheet.

More than words

In Nebo, you can also sketch, add images and diagrams, and even do math. This last feature is pretty neat — you write an equation, then Nebo converts it into fancy math symbols. Better still, it’ll work out the answers for you, which paper will never do.

You can also search your notes (the search terms will be highlighted) and write bulleted lists just by starting each new line with a dash.

Sketches and diagrams are done in boxes, but they remain in-line with the body text. This is already an improvement on iOS 10’s Notes app, which shifts you to a separate mode for drawings.

Apple Pencil required

To use Nebo, you need an Apple Pencil. (The app actually requires you to prove you own one on first launch.) But if you have one, and you like handwriting, you’ll love Nebo. It’s not quite the same as the iOS 11 Notes app — in some ways it’s actually more powerful than Apple’s app, which is currently available in beta only.
If you’re hankering for a handwriting recognition app now, Nebo might be perfect for you.

Nebo will cost you just $3.

Download Nebo for iPad.

Nebo is also available for Android and Windows 10.

Do you have a favorite handwriting App for your tablet? Tell us in the comments below!

How to: Scan Documents Using the Notes App in iOS 11

 

By Michael Potuck of 9to5 Mac

Apple has been improving its Notes app each year, and this time around one of the main updates is the ability to scan documents within the app in iOS 11. Follow along after the break for a look at how this useful feature works.

Apple has done a nice job implementing document scanning seamlessly into Notes, and from my testing so far, it works well and is quick and easy to use. I love having my scans synchronized across all of my Apple devices and it’s super fast to share scans with or without marking them up.

How to scan documents in the Notes app

1 Open a new or existing note
2 Tap the + icon and tap Scan Documents
3 Place your document in the camera’s view
4 Use the shutter button or one of the volume buttons to capture the scan
5 If needed, adjust the corners of the scan by dragging, then tap Keep Scan
6 Tap Save when finished scanning or continue on to add more pages

 

This feature works really nicely for any size document, but is especially handy for large documents that can be goofy to scan with a traditional scanner. It seems to be easiest to adjust the frame of the scan by tapping a bit away from the magnifying glass in each corner and then dragging.

You also get the option to use the camera flash and filters when scanning.

You can also edit your documents after you’ve scanned them. Tap on your scanned docs to bring up the editing toolbar to add more pages, change the filter, rotate, and crop.

Tapping the share button from within the scanned docs will allow you to markup, markup as PDF, print, copy, and share. Check out our how to guide for more help getting the most out of your Apple devices.

What’s your current favorite Scanning App? Tell us about it in the comments below!

App Of The Week: Path Guide

Microsoft’s new app guides you through indoor spaces without GPS

 

By Abhimanyu Ghoshal of The Next Web

GPS is great for finding your way around, except for when you’re indoors, where walls and ceilings make it difficult for satellite signals to accurately pinpoint your location. Thankfully, Microsoft has been thinking about a better way to help you navigate large malls, hospitals, office buildings and parking lots effectively.

Over the past two years, a group of specialists at Microsoft Research Asia have developed Path Guide, an indoor navigation app that doesn’t rely on GPS or Wi-Fi and radio signals to help you get around. Instead, it works by having a human ‘leader’ record paths through the indoor space to various destinations simply by walking with their phones in hand, and allowing other users to follow those paths with on-screen directions.

To achieve this, the app uses the sensors in your phone to trace your paths accurate down to the number of steps needed to get someplace. Path creators can also add text, audio and image annotations for things like getting past locks and entering room key codes. Once you’ve traced a path, you can share it publicly and make it available to others, who can look it up using Path Guide’s search tool. It’s a clever idea that works well enough for the most part, though the path tracing process could be simplified a bit.

The same goes for discovering paths around you; it’d be nice to see the app pop up a notification if you’re nearing a large building that has paths already charted out.

And in order to gain traction, Microsoft would have to work hard to drum up interest among users across the world to adopt Path Guide and use it. It’s not impossible, and it’s been done before: plenty of the data on businesses and public spaces on Google Maps is crowdsourced and fairly accurate. Naturally, the company will want to wait and see if this is something that people actually find useful on a global scale before embarking on such a mission.

Path Guide is currently available only for Android; you can give it a try by grabbing it from Google Play.

How to: Use your Mac’s screen as an Apple TV

 

 

By CHARLIE SORREL of Cult Of Mac

You have a big 27-inch iMac sitting on the desk in the corner of your living room office, and yet you’re over there on the couch watching a movies on your iPhone or iPad. Wouldn’t it be great if you could beam one to the other, like sending video from an iPhone to an Apple TV? The good news is that you totally can, just by installing an app on your Mac. There are several available, but today we’ll use my favorite, Reflector.

AirPlay for your Mac

Reflector 2 is a media-receiving app which works with AirPlay and Google Cast, and is available for Mac, Android, and Windows. It has some other tricks, like allowing you to stream your iOS video live to YouTube, and to record video and audio using your Mac’s microphone and camera. But today we’ll be seeing how to do one simple thing: steaming video from your iPhone (or iPad) to your Mac’s big screen.

First, you should download Reflector 2. The full version costs $15, and the app runs as a free trial with a watermark over the screen. This trial is one of the reasons I like Reflector over other options like AirServer, because AirServer’s “free” trial requires you to give them your email address. Also, AirServer never works on my Mac.

After installing Reflector 2 (which requires a restart), you’re ready to go. If you ever used AirPlay or Apple TV to stream video or music, you’ll be familiar with using Reflector 2. That’s because it works by turning your Mac into an AirPlay receiver. Your iDevice requires no special software. Your Reflector-running Mac just shows up as a standard AirPlay device on the network.

Using Reflector to stream video

 

This is the easy part. To watch a movie or YouTube video on your Mac, just play it on your iPhone, tap the little AirPlay sharing icon (the triangle in the rectangle), and choose your Reflector-running Mac in the pop-up list. Because it is masquerading as an Apple TV, you’ll see an Apple TV icon, with the same name as your Mac. Then you tap this icon, wait a couple of seconds, and your video (and sound) will appear on your Mac’s screen. You can now sit back and enjoy a movie, or whatever. And remember, because this is AirPlay, it has other uses too. A visitor to your home can run a slideshow of their photos from their iPhone, for example, or make a Keynote presentation the same way.

That’s it — more or less. You may find that the window on the Mac is not running full screen, or that the name of your iDevice is displayed at the top of the window. This last — the name of the sending device — is there to help out in offices and classrooms. It tells you who is beaming to the device right now. This isn’t so useful at home, so let’s switch it off, as well as making the full-screen the default display.

Customizing the video

First, let’s switch off the pesky name displayed at the top of the screen. On the Mac, open up Reflector’s preferences
Reflector > Preferences…, or (Command-comma). Then, under General, change the Show Client Name popover to Off.

Next, we’ll tell Reflector to always open video in full-screen. Click on the next section in the app’s preferences: Connection. Here you can set the Default Scale to Fill Screen, and toggle Show Frame (which shows the video framed with a picture of an iPhone or iPad).

 

That’s about it for settings, but as you’re in here, click around to see what else can be changed. I switched off support for Google Cast, as well as support for related apps form Reflector’s developer, AirSquirrels.

Airplay apps

When researching this post, I looked into several other apps, but settled on Reflector because it works, because it looks good, and because the company behind it seems to be in the game for the long term. I’ve tried the main rival, AirServer, extensively in the past, even buying it (twice), but I could never get it to work properly. Video would fail to appear, or the iPad end of the equation wouldn’t work out. Between that and the aggressive trial mode, I’d avoid AirServer. Reflector, on the other hand, just works — even on my 2010-vintage iMac.

What’s your favorite way to stream? Tell us about it in the comments below!!