Automatic SMS / text message to email forward

Sometimes my clients send me messages as SMS or “texts” on my mobile phone. That might be relevant for an urgent matter but often is being used instead of mail. From my clients view, they just see it as another, non-intrusive, way of sending me a message instead of calling which is polite as a phone call can be more interrupting than a text message.

A problem with SMS or text messages is that when they arrive I must read it to be able to decide if it is urgent and need immediate attention or if it can be responded to later. Once read, the “new message” notification on my phone is gone and I must remember to handle it later. There is a risk that I might forget.

My clients are also the reason I’m in business so I’m not complaining about my clients contacting my in any way (well ok, I might complain if they call me at 3 in the night wanting to discuss some non critical issue 🙂 ). Instead I find solutions and make things work better.

So one way of handling the problem of forgetting matters sent to me via SMS or text was that I installed an app in my phone that automatically forwards any incoming SMS as an email to my inbox. That way I can sort it into my normal work handling queues or even my ticket system.

There are many apps available for this, some free, some paid, with different amount of features in it. Some has advanced filtering and some can forward only messages from specific senders (or vice versa, forward all messages except from specfic senders).

In my case the best solution was just a simple app that forwards all incoming SMS as email so I use Relay Me (yes, I use Android) which works for me. There are probably similar solutions on other, non Android, platforms.

The best solution is to set up a specfic email account for the app (like yourphonenumber@somedomain.com for example), not using your normal email account, because the app works both ways. If you reply to an email on your inbox that originated as a SMS via Relay Me, the reply will be picked up by the app and sent back as SMS to the sender.

For obvoius reasons the app will need data connection to the Internet to be able to send emails, so having a data plan on your mobile subscription is a good idea. The reason I liked Relay Me was, apart from other things, that it works directly with my own email servers, so there are no intermediate servers handling my messages.

How to disable iCloud sync on Mac while on mobile data

When you are connected to the Internet through a network with limited bandwidth or restricted data plan it is desirable to reduce the data consumption. In this case, disabling iCloud sync is something you want to do.

In Windows, you can easily mark a wifi network as limited by data plan and this will automatically inhibit Windows updates to download and it will also make cloud services not to sync.

In the world of Apple and Mac OSX, it seems like Apple assumes that when you are on a wireless or wired network, bandwidth is unlimited. Period. If this only was true, what a great world to live in! The news is that this is not how it works in the real world. Unfortunaly, because of this there is no function to disable or pause iCloud syncing at all. A simple feature present in all other cloud services like One-drive, Dropbox etc.

The solution, which works excellent is called TripMode. This piece of software gives you the control you want over any application using your Internet data.

 

Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities – what to do?

Meltdown and Spectre are two vulnerabilities present in hardware making it potentially possible for programs to steal information, like passwords etc.

Meltdown affects only Intel processors while Spectre, which is more complex, also partly affects AMD and ARM based processors.

It is not yet known if these vulnerabilities has been exploited by anone. It can affect personal computers, servers, tablets and mobile phones, i.e. more or less any device containing a processor.

More information on: https://spectreattack.com/

What can you do?

  • Check your operating system for updates the upcoming weeks (this is normal good security practice, but make sure you do it frequently)
  • Install and update your virus protection. Even if the antivirus program can’t protect you from the attack it might be able to inform you that your device has got malicious code onboard

You can find security bulletins, security advisorys, faq:s etc for your operating system here: https://meltdownattack.com/#faq-advisory

How to combine multiple .vcf files into one

If you have your contacts exported into .vcf files, they can easily be imported into for example iCloud, Google or your email program. However, if you have a couple of hundreds or thousands of contacts, and equally amount of .vcf files it will be very inefficient to import each contact one by one.

A solution is to combine all contacts into one single .vcf file. By importing the combined .vcf file all your contacts are imported at once.

To combine all .vcf files into a single one can easily be done using a Windows command prompt (cmd).

cd directory-path-where-your-vcf-files-are-located
copy *.vcf allcontacts.vcf

Now import the file allcontacts.vcf into iCloud or similar.

My mobile phone has been stolen – how do I find it?

Track and find a stolen mobile phone is often done in vain. If you forgot it somewhere there is a chance to locate it, but if it was stolen for example by a pick pocket, they usually know to turn it off immediately and then wipe it before it has a chance to report it’s location. But it is worth a try.

Apart from that, call your provider to lock your SIM card and the phone IMEI numer (makes it unusable with other SIM cards). Change passwords for all the apps you had installed, like Facebook, email etc.

Android: Use Android Device Manager and login using the same Google account you used to initially set up the phone. Click on Locate device.

iPhone: Use iCloud and login using your Apple ID. Can be used to find your missing Mac, iPhone or iPad.

Windows phone: Use Microsoft and login using your Microsoft Account (former Windows Live ID). Go to Find my device.

[Solved] Samsung Galaxy Note II (GT-7105) + Plantronics Voyager Legend bluetooth headset poor audio quality

I recently bought a Plantronics Voyager Legend headset to use with my Samsung Galaxy Note II phone. It worked fine for a day or two, then I started to experience poor sound quality. Especially the person I was talking to had real trouble hearing me. Restarting bluetooth in the Samsung or restarting the Plantronics headset did not help. But restarting the Samsung Galaxy Note II resolved the problem momentarily – after a day or two the problem returned.

Before returning the headset to the dealer I decided to have a look at Plantronics website and found out there are a firmware update procedure availible on their website. To get the update software running on my Windows 8 PC I had to run the installer as administrator. When returning to the update window in the browser (yes, the update procedure is done all in the browser), I found my headset was running firmware version 44 and an update would update it to version 93.

After updating the firmware all quality issues where gone. 

To update the Plantronics headset visit http://www.plantronics.com/us/support/myheadset/updater/

 

Switching from iPhone to another brand – don’t forget to turn off iMessage first!

A girlfriend to one of my friends recently decided to leave the dark side and replace her iPhone with an Android (good decision!). However when she was using the iPhone she also had enabled the iMessage texting.

After switching to her new Android phone her friends, that still was using iPhones, tried to text her. Because her iMessage account was still enabled the texts ended up in the Apple void and didn’t reach her. To disable it the SIM-card had to be put into an old iPhone 3 in order to turn the iMessage off. The iPhone she replaced was using micro-SIM but the Android had normal SIM:s so she had a new larger SIM that wouldn’t fit in her old iPhone. The iPhone 3 works with normal SIM cards so that is why a iPhone 3 had to be used to disable it. 

So, if you decide to convert from iPhone to another brand, remember to turn iMessage off in the iPhone first!

 

Android mail token files fills up my SD card

I use a HTC Desire HD android mobile. My 8 GB SD card was getting full so I removed photos and videos that had already been copied to my PC. But I became a bit curious because of the 8 GB, the images and videos where not consuming the entire space.

To investigate further I connected the android phone using USB to my PC and used the PC:s explorer to dig into the SD-card.

I found out that the mail program stores images and other parts of emails in the Downloads folder on the SD card. After 1,5 years of use there where a significant amount of files there.  

After deleting them i noticed there was a folder called .Mail (i.e. Downloads/.Mail) which contained >21.000 files consuming some 700 MB of space. The filenames began with "token". After some Googleing it seemed by the discussions I found that these are temporary files created each time a message is pushed to the phone. I decided to take a shot and delete them.

After deleting all files in the .Mail folder I opened the mail app on the phone. For a short moment a text was displayed "Preparing SD card". Then my inbox showed up and everything worked normal with the only difference that the mail app seemed a bit quicker now.

My conclusion is that it is probably safe to delete the content of the .Mail folder once in a while to free up some space.

 

 

Mobile internet broadband in Latvia

When I travel abroad I need to stay connected to the Internet, not just for fun but I have to be connected for my work. Relying only on Wifi is not a solution as I recently discovered the hard way on a trip to France. The Hotel advertised "WiFi internet" but this however, turned out to be a connection limited to only web and mail (all traffic forced through a proxy). I needed VPN to work.

The most convenient and cost effective solution is to purchase a prepaid mobile broadband from a local provider. That way I will have 3G Internet connection during my stay.

To not be forced to buy a USB modem with every prepaid mobile Internet, I purchased a Huawei E585 3G/WiFi pocket router which is not SIM locked (works with any provider). This little thing has a battery that last for a couple of hours and I only need to buy prepaid SIM-cards in the countries I visit.

I went on a trip to Latvia and my choice fell on Okarte Internet via computer. They are covering 92% of Latvia for the moment.

There are two choises – a SIM card bundled with a USB modem for Ls 9 or just the SIM card for Ls 4. It includes one week of surf (up to 50 GB) and can then be refilled. According to Okarte’s website it could be purchased on many sales points, for example Narvesen or Plus Punkt kiosks.

The first store I stopped by could only sell refills. The second store didn’t have the SIM card only so I actually bought the package with a USB modem for Ls 9, figuring Ls 5 was a cheap price for not having to run around more stores. The modem was never used, instead I put the SIM card in my pocket router.

Even though Okarte’s website is in Latvian, Russian and English nothing in the package speaks any English, only Latvian and Russian which is of little help for me.

The major problem I encountered was that there was no technical information in the package, especially regarding APN which is crucial. I looked at my network manager in Ubuntu which actually has preconfigured choises for Okarte and found out that the APN is open.lmt.lv.

With this APN set I could surf away from my resort location in Jurmala enjoying download speed at around 4-7 Mbps and upload 0,45-1 Mbps.

 

Dovado routers with ZTE MF820D 4G modems (Telia)

To be able to use the ZTE MF820D 4G dongle from Telia with Dovado routers, both units need to have updated firmwares. Unfortunately even in stores, those units seems to have outdated firmwares.

To upgrade the ZTE MF820D 4G dongle – follow this guide (Telia Sweden): http://www.telia.se/

To upgrade the Dovado router, visit Dovado’s homepage: http://www.dovado.com/firmware and follow the instructions in the firmware file.