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Mac and iPhone News, Reviews, and How-Tos.

Built-in Siri Tip Sheet

iPhone 4S users: if you have trouble remembering what Siri can do for you, try bringing up Siri's built-in tip sheet. I don't know why it took me so long to find it but you know me-- as soon as I find something, I write it up so you can know too.

All you do is start Siri by pressing and holding the Home button. You'll hear the two beeps, indicating that Siri's listening. If you look at the screen you'll see, to the right of "What can I help you with?", a tiny gray-on-gray lower-case "i" in a circle. Here's what it looks like (big red arrow added by me):

Tap that little gray-on-gray "i" in the circle and you get this:

Scroll down to reveal more:

And more.

That's cool already. But wait, there's more! If you touch an item in the list, you get a bunch of related examples. Here's what you get when you touch "Call Jason."

Here's what you get when you touch "How many calories in a bagel?" (Note: there are a LOT of examples in that category-- scroll down to see them all.)

Super stuff, and it's built right in, available where and when you need it.

By the way, there are 207 calories in a bagel.

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Don't Fall for this Phishing Scam

Phishing refers to a technique by which someone or something pretends to be something trustworthy in an attempt to get you to voluntarily give up important information such as passwords. Here's a story about a phishing scam that I've seen three times in two weeks. Don't let it happen to you!

I received an email this weekend that appeared to be from my friend Pat. It definitely came from her email account, and it had her usual email signature at the bottom. The body of the email read:


Check out this Foreclosed properties good for investment, CLICK HERE and log in with your email.

Pat xxxx
xxx xxxxxxxx x
xxxxxx xxx xxx, xx
xxx-xxx-xxxx (office)
xxx-xxx-xxxx (fax)"

(Here, I've replaced Pat's real info with a bunch of x's to protect her identity.)

Because I'd seen that same email from someone else earlier this week I was instantly suspicious. I checked out the link and found that it led to what looked something like the Remax real estate site, but as you can see from the picture below, there were clues that this wasn't the Remax site at all. (Note: in this screen shot, I've already clicked the "Gmail" button near the bottom of the web page.)

The first clue is in the URL. The thing to notice is that the ".com" part is preceded by something called "matchellen" rather than "remax". That means that this is "" and not "". It doesn't matter that the word "Remax" appears in the URL. What matters is the part attached to the .com. So, that's clue number 1.

Another clue is that the titles of the page is "Remax - Secure Login". Any site that claims to be "secure" should start with "https" rather than just "http" so you can see that this is not a secure site. There are plenty of sites that ask you to sign in without being secure, but the fact that this site claims to be secure when it obviously is not tells you there's something funny going on here. Another clue is the lousy English-- Pat's better than that.

There's one more big clue: "Remax" is asking for my GMAIL PASSWORD. Why would Remax need that? The answer, of course, is they don't. Remax does have its own username-and-password requirements for logging in, and it happens that the Remax username is your email address... but when the Remax login screen asks for a password, it's not asking you for your actual email password. They're asking you for the password you created when you signed up for a Remax account. They ought to be different.

Unfortunately, Pat wasn't as suspicious as I am and she "signed in" and gave the bad guys her email address and her email password. And then the bad guys sent out hundreds, maybe thousands of pieces of mail, using Pat's account, telling us about the "foreclosures" asking us to "log in with your email." Pat may as well have handed the bad guys the keys to her house. "Come on over and rob me! You won't even have to break in. Just use the key."

You might wonder why anyone would go to the trouble of trying to fool Pat this way-- after all, what's to be gained by reading her email? Turns out that reading her email gave the bad guys a pretty good idea of who Pat is, who her friends are, and who she banks with. The bad guys found a chain of correspondence that Pat had had with someone at the bank, and they sent him an email-- from Pat's account, with Pat's email signature-- to wire some money out of Pat's account and into their own. Fortunately, the bank was suspicious and didn't send the money.

The first thing to do in a case like this is to quickly change your email password, and "quickly" is the key. If you're slow about it the bad guys may change it to suit themselves, locking you out of your own account. They don't usually do this because a password change is something you'd notice because your Mac, your iPhone, and your iPad would not be able to get mail and you'd probably figure out that something was up. The bad guys would rather you remained unaware.

The second thing to do in a case like this is to contact me so we can go over what happened. Connecting the dots, I can figure out whether you were hacked surreptitiously or simply made a mistake and handed someone the keys to your email (as was the case here).

I checked with "" to find more info on "" I found out where that site was hosted and contacted the people providing the service there, and they shut the site down quickly. Here's what it looks like if you click the CLICK HERE link today:

(Click anywhere on the picture to go to Google's explanation of phishing. Worth a read.) Note that while a warning has been placed on the "" site the bad guys will simply move to a new server. And, keep in mind that the warning doesn't keep you from clicking "Ignore Warning" and going to the site, even now. Advice: if you see a warning like the one above, leave that site. If on a Mac I'd go as far as restarting it. If on a PC I'd shut down completely and then turn it back on. Take these warnings seriously!

If I Were You
I would not use my email password for anything but my email account. If I had two email accounts I would use different passwords for each. I know it's a pain but so is giving someone a master key to everything-- email accounts, shopping sites, online banking, etc. It will take some work to change your passwords but it's for your own good and it's definitely worth it.

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Macworld|iWorld 2012 Wrap-Up

I'm back from Macworld|iWorld, and apart from the awkward name change the show was great. This was the first show in the "Apple isn't here" era where the feeling was more about who was there than who wasn't. It's not the same as it was when Apple had a giant booth but that doesn't mean it wasn't good.

(Click here to listen to my brief Macworld|iWorld report on the radio show "Digital Village." Worth your time.)

Awkward as it is, the name "Macworld|iWorld" represented the show better than just "Macworld" would have. This would have been true last year and the year before, as first the iPod, then the iPhone and iPad, began to dominate the show. This year's show had fewer iPod accessories and more for the iPhone and iPad, including plenty of choices in cases, accessories, and anti-glare screens. I especially liked the cases and accessories from Moshi and the anti-glare screens from PowerSupport. You should check them out.

iPhone and iPad apps were everywhere, of course. Macworld|iWorld had a large "Mobile Apps Showcase" that took up about 20% of the floor and it was jammed with smaller developers demonstrating their apps. I especially liked Beat The Traffic's app, which helps you to... beat the traffic.

App development is getting more sophisticated, and tools to help make better apps are starting to appear. One that I liked-- Heatmaps-- tracks how people use your app: where they tap, how often, and so on. If you know how to use Xcode, you'll know how to add this functionality. Then, after releasing your app and then seeing the usage data, you can improve your app so it's easier to use. Neat idea, and done really well.

On the Mac side, I really liked a small program called "Cobook." It puts a little menu item into your menu bar, up by the clock, your Time Machine menu, your Airport menu, etc. giving you quick access to your Apple Address Book no matter what else you're doing.

You can trigger Cobook by clicking the icon in the menubar, or with a short-cut hot key if you'd like. Quick and easy, with lots of clever features, it's currently in a beta-testing phase, and during that time it's free. Here's a link to the Cobook website where they'll show you a video explaining the ins and outs of the program. I'm using Cobook here on Macs with 10.6.8 and 10.7.3 and it works equally well. (Screenshot shows Cobook's founder Kaspars Dancis, who came all the way from Latvia to show his stuff at Macworld.)

I also liked a service called "FileThisFetch" which delivers your online statements from the phone company, the bank, the cable TV company etc. to your Mac automatically, without you having to go to each website and sign in and download them yourself. It is as secure as can be, with your information encrypted at all times, so don't say "no" based on security concerns. The amount of time and trouble saved by this service will more than make up for the tiny $2/month (or $20/year) that it costs. I encourage you to check it out. The service is currently in beta testing. As is pretty much standard at Macworld, the company's CEO was there, so I got my information first-hand. That's something I really like about Macworld-- you get it straight from the horse's mouth. Or, in the case, the duck's.

The developers of Dolly Drive (the in-the-cloud Time Machine people) apparently spent the year working very hard because the next version of Dolly Drive is going to be a lot more than just online backup. I can't tell you everything it does because some of it isn't public knowledge, but let's just say they want to be Dropbox, iDisk, and a few other things in addition to backing you up to the cloud. I'd keep my eye on these guys-- they're doing great stuff.

QR Codes were everywhere-- you could scan a code with your iPhone to download an app, to get more product information, or to get a discount code. Looks as if QR Codes might just be the next big thing. Here's one to practice with.

I gave a talk on how to use the iPhone's Maps app as part of the Macworld|iWorld "RapidFire" session (five-minute talks by different speakers, back to back to back). Here's a link to the handout in case you need it. I learned a few new things from the other speakers and will be writing about some of those things in a future blog post. This was the first year of the RapidFire session but it went so well that I'm sure it will be back next year. So, if you're going to the show, plan on going to RapidFire.

Speaking of planning, next year's show runs from January 31st to February 2nd, 2013. Yes, it's true: you can celebrate Groundhog Day at Macworld! Here is a bonus cartoon, from the excellent comic strip "Mutts."

Check out my other posts-- there are more than 400. Need more help?

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