A timely reminder to beware of suspicious emails in your inbox

Windows Live Mail client-based email interface

Slow down when you check those emails so you are safe

Increasingly people are receiving emails that are becoming very dangerous to their personal or business security.

This happens during November and December, especially between when the American community celebrates Thanksgiving (last Thursday in November) to Epiphany / Twelfth Night (January 5), where there is a lot of Christmas-driven communications and most, if not all, of us are thinking about Christmas. This includes responding to the shopping offers that are being made available through this time. Here, these emails are being sent in a manner as to “get at” the user and take control of their computing equipment or data..

Over this past weekend, some friends of mine from church had approached me about email issues and I had found out that the husband fell victim to a phishing attack against his Outlook.com Webmail account with it ending up being used to send spam messages. Here, I visited these friends on Monday night for dinner and to help him change his account’s password and report it as being compromised. Then a close friend of his rang him about receiving the Australia Post phishing emails and I suggested to that friend to delete that email immediately.

One example is to supply  malware as an attachment typically obfuscated as a compressed “file of files” or a malformed document file; or direct users to pick up the questionable software at a Web link. The idea is to get users to install this software of questionable provenance on their computer so that it makes it become part of a large botnet that is intended to wreak havoc on other computer users, steal your personal or business information, or extort money from you.

Another example is a link that send users to a forged login or other customer-interaction page for a Webmail, banking, Social Web or similar online service to steal their personal details. This is typically to steal the user’s money or identity, create a bank account or similar financial account for laundering ill-gotten gains, or use an email mailbox and contact list to send further spam to computer users.

The email is suspicious if

It is out-of-character with the sender

This may be reflecting a situation that you know the sender is not in, such as them or their business being in financial dire straits. It may also simply be an email of a kind the don’t normally send.

Contains nothing but enticing “click-bait” text

You may find some enticing text written in the Subject line or in the body of the message that gets you to either open the attachment or click on that link.

Implores on you to open it or click on the link under pain of losing service continuity or something similar

Looks very official and has copy that threatens you that you will lose access to your funds or continuity of a service you use, or something similar; and requires you to click on a link in that message to take action to remedy the situation. This may also be about the pending arrival of a parcel or some funds and you have to click on a link or open an attachment to print out a “claim form”.

What to do?

Do not click on the links in that email or open the attachment

Under no circumstances should you click on any links in the suspicions email or open any attachment that is part of that email.

Check the email out

In the case of a personal email, check the email address that purports to be in the name of your contact to see if it is one that you and your contact regularly use. Here, some people may operate a business email address alongside a personal email address and you need to confirm these addresses through conversation, business collateral that they supply, amongst other things.

In the case of a business email, check to see if the email looks as though it genuinely represents that organisation. If the email is requiring you to do something to assure “continuity of service”, access to funds, etc. contact that business directly using their customer-service number or email.

One obvious red herring would be if you receive a contact from a bank or other business you don’t do any business with. Another red herring is an email that isn’t addressed to you personally, rather it uses a generic “all-call” salutation like “Dear Customer”. Yet another red herring is the quality of the document. Here, you look out for whether the email represents the company’s current “trade dress” such as current logos, colour schemes and the like. As well, you look for the quality of the document to see that it reflects what is expected for a business document coming from the company’s location of business, such as spelling, grammar, punctuation, etc.

Sometines, what may appear in the “To” list may be contacts, including “virtual contacts” which represent a cluster of email address, whom you don’t have anything to do with. This is also a sign of a suspicious email.

Check with the sender

If you receive an email from a contact of yours which appears to be out-of-character with them, contact them about that email. You must do this not by replying to that email but by either calling them on the phone, sending an SMS or instant-messaging message to them or sending a separate email to them.

If it is business-related like correspondence from your bank or other organisation, log in to the business’s Website yourself using its commonly-publsihed or commonly-known Web address. Here, you type the address in to your Web browser’s address bar or, if you do regular business with the site, go to the bookmark or favourite link you have created for it. As well, it may also be of value to contact the organisation on their published phone number to check the veracity of that email. Here, you may find this in the regular business correspondence that you have for them or use the common telephone directory or the organisation’s Web page to find that number.

Report the email then delete it

If you are using your Webmail provider’s Web-based user interface, you may have an option to report that email as spam, hacking, fraud or something similar. If you are using a client-based email setup, forward the email as an attachment to your ISP’s or email provider’s email address that has been set up for reporting email abuse or fraud.

Business users who work for a company that has an in-house or contracted IT team should let that IT team know about the suspicious email. This will also apply to those of us who study at a school or university which has its own IT team.

As well, if the email appeared to be in the name of the bank or other organisation, look on the organisation’s Website for a “report fraud” link or email and use that to report the fraudulent emails that you received. Here, they can engage local or national law enforcement to take further action especially if the behaviour is consistent.

Then delete the fraudulent email immediately.

Security tips

  • Keep the computer’s operating system and application software up-to-date with the latest patches
  • Make sure you are running a good anti-malware utility and that it is updated frequently and regularly. It may also be a good practice to run a full scan with this software
  • Make sure that you have strong and preferably unique passwords on your online services
  • Make sure that your home network hardware is on the latest firmware and has strong non-default passwords.
  • Consider using a password manager program or service. As well, it may be worth it to implement a two-factor authentication setup on your online services with your smartphone showing a key number as a “second factor”.
  • As well, you may find that if you have an account with a major online service like a Microsoft service or one of the popular social networks, you may have the opportunity to implement a single sign-on. This may be worth using especially with games, forums, comment functionality, online music or similar services so you don’t have to work out extra passwords.
  • Back up the data you created yourself using your computer to a NAS and/or USB hard disk and preferably make a separate copy of this backup in a separate location
  • Only visit Websites and online services that are known to be reputable
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Alaskan fables now celebrated as video games

Article NeverAlone screenshot courtesy of E-Line Media

Native Alaskan fables are now an endearing video game | Mashable

From the horse’s mouth

E-Line Media

Never Alone

Product Page

My Comments

As the indie video-game scene gains more exposure and opportunities, there is an increasing amount of room for more folk tales and fables to be expressed in an interactive form. This has been brought about by studios who want to offer a standout title that will attract new interest rather than the “same old same old”, some I had noticed when I visited PAX 2014 where a lot of games that were “out of the ordinary” were being showcased.

NeverAlone screenshot courtesy of E-LineAn example of this are the Alaskan fables that have been part of the Iñupiat people, one of the indigenous tribes that existed in that state. Here, as these tribes become urbanised, there is a fear that such folklore could be lost.

But an independent games studio had worked with the Cook Inlet Tribal Council to develop “Never Alone”which is a game that has a story centred around the tribe’s folklore. Here, the storyline is based around Nuna, a girl who is searching for the cause of a terrible blizzard that affected their village. The tribal leaders saw this as a way to convey the stories and provide a positive image to the indigenous people in Alaska.

It was also based around E-Line Media, an entertainment group founded by Alan Gershenfeld, who were trying to find out why games with serious or educational roots weren’t gaining ground. This studio had found that some newer games that had this kind of quality were successful and there was an interest ot see what themes could be explored.

There was a goal to make the game a good game and faithful to the Iñupiat culture such as representing Nuna’s animal sidekick as being a fox who was helping her solving the puzzles.

It is in the same context to the increased interest in “non-Hollywood” film and TV content, especially foreign-language content in English-speaking countries. This is exemplified especially by the Nordic thrillers like Borgen or Wallander.

They are making this available through the PlayStation 4, and the XBox One consoles along with regular computers via the Steam platform. This is a promising sign that the console platforms are becoming more “indie-friendly” and opening up paths to games made by more people for different tastes.

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Public phone booths becoming public Wi-Fi hotspots

Articles

Telstra public phone booth

One of the public phone booths that is becoming a wireless hotspot

150 free Telstra Wi-Fi hotspots go live today | PC World

Pay Phones in New York City Will Become Free Wi-Fi Hot Spots | New York Times

My Comments

Increasingly public payphones are becoming more irrelevant in today’s mobile-phone society, simply serving as access to telephony for those who can’t get a mobile phone service or as a failover solution if your mobile phone’s battery dies or you run out of uesable credit on a prepaid mobile-telephony service. Other than that, they become a shelter from a sudden downpour or to talk quietly with one another or “fix oneself up quickly”. They are even mentioned in that Men At Work song “Touching The Untouchables” (Spotify link) as a quiet space for the homeless – “Spend My Nights In The Telephone Booth / I Make Sure I Leave The Phone Off The Hook”.

These are being seen as a waste of money for incumbent telcos or cities who are charged with maintaining these payphones. But incumbent telcos like Telstra are charged with having to provide these phones as part of providing the universal telephony service.

What is happening now is that Telstra and the City Of New York are integrating Wi-FI hotspot finctionality in to the phone booths. Telstra, as Australia’s incumbent telecommunications provider responsible for the universal telephone service, is adding this functionality to its phone booths which have the fully-functional public payphones while the City of New York is replacing existing phone booths with the hotspots. These will offer an IP-based speakerphone function to allow calls across the USA as well as a charging station for smartphones that run out of juice. Their cost will be covered by outdoor advertising that is attached to these booths.

One group that these services will benefit are those of us who are on mean mobile data plans and have to use the public-access Wi-Fi with our smartphones or other mobile devices to apply for a job through an online form or find out material online. With some of us, we have to use Skype or Viber VoIP services to make free calls between correspondents who have the same service on our phones to save money.

This could be seen as a way to help establish a universal Internet service especially if the service provider is involved with using the public payphones as part of their commitment to the universal telephone service.

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How is the Internet affecting Pay TV?

Articles

Pay TV market becoming more segmented; service providers can take advantage | V-Net

My Comments

The connected home and ubiquitous Internet access is placing the traditional Pay-TV marketplace at a crossroads. More and more people are using tablets and laptop computers to view content that is streamed from the Internet when they want to view it in a personal setting while TVs and video peripherals like Blu-Ray players are serving as integrated endpoints for viewing various Internet-hosted video services.

Here, a few content packages with many channels that is delivered by the service provider’s own infrastructure and viewed via equipment supplied by that provider doesn’t cut it anymore. In North America especially, where the customer deals with pay-TV providers who primarily offer a content-carriage service, younger people are “cutting the cord” on pay-TV service and watching either over-the-air content or content delivered “over-the-top” by independent “over-the-top” TV services like Netflix.

The traditional pay-TV companies are having to take a few different paths to gain and retain customers.

Service offerings

TV Everywhere

This is sold in conjunction with a traditional pay-TV service like Sky Go or Foxtel Go but has the content delivered over “two paths” – the traditional cable or satellite infrastructure along with the Internet. This is primarily to allow the customers to view the same content content on their computers or their mobile devices.

Typically this is furnished using an app or Web page for most desktop and mobile computing platforms where you can watch the content, and you typically authenticate with the service provider by providing your account details to that app. Some providers may allow you to view this content only in your own home while others may allow you to view it anywhere in the country that they operate in. Some of these services may offer a “download now, view later” option where you can download content to view at a later date especially if you may be in a position where you don’t have reliable Internet access.

Over-The-Top Pay TV 

Another direction is to provide an “over-the-top” pay-TV service which works with your computer, tablet, games console like NOW TV or Foxtel Play, Smart TV or similar device. These services are typically provisioned over the Internet without the need for a set-top box to be delivered to you and provide for increased package flexibility.

For example, they are provided by-the-month rather than on a multi-month contract and allow for increased segmentation of content. In this case, we are starting to see the availability of separately-branded “lightweight” or “budget” content packages pitched at this form of delivery or for people to choose packages based on a personally-selected mix of genres or other factors that appeal to them.

On-demand content

The pay-TV provider is now entering a position to run an Internet-based on-demand content service which has a larger content library than what was available on their “video-on-demand” or “pay-per-view” services that were furnished via their traditional cable or satellite infrastructure.

They can offer these services to their existing customer base as an adjunct to the pay-TV services that they are offering or simply provide them to other people as a standalone “over-the-top” service.

Other offerings

Another service that could be evolved would be the so-called “multi-room” or “multi-screen” options which are typically offered by some pay-TV providers on a “per-room” basis. In a lot of cases, this could encompass an integrated TV Everywhere service.

Thanks to DLNA’s VidiPath technology which I covered previously, they could be offered simply as a “per-household” basis which or even as part of the regular content package for a regular pay-TV service. It could mean that the extra TV would be equipped with a Blu-Ray player, network media player or games console that is VidiPath-certified while the main DVR-equipped set-top box is a VidiPath content server. TV manufacturers could even roll out Smart TVs that have this feature. Not sure if you have such equipment? The pay-TV provider could sell a cost-effective VidiPath-certified network media player to connect to your regular TV and home network to benefit from this service.

Trends

But why are they offering these services?

Young people and the connected lifestyle

One reason is to court the younger consumers who are Internet-focused and device-agnostic. Here, they see the large-screen TV serving as a display for other devices like games consoles or Blu-Ray players; or they see regular and mobile computer equipment as something they can watch video content on.

As well, they live on the Internet with a desire to have their video-content viewing linked with other interactive activity. For example, they want to use the Social Web or online knowledgebases in conjunction with what they are viewing. As well, we are living a time-poor lifestyle where we wouldn’t have time to spend on poor-quality TV content.

The traditional pay-TV business model that is focused around dedicated infrastructure and the set-top box doesn’t cater for this readily especially as Internet-based technology marches on very quickly. A

Content providers are offering “direct-to-consumer” packages

In North America particularly, content providers who used to provide their TV content via a pay-TV service are now offering their content on a “direct-to-consumer” basis. This is following trends in other industries where product manufacturers and distributors are setting up online and other storefronts to provide their wares direct to the consumer in addition to having retailers sell them.

This has come about due to the “cord-cutting” trend that is occurring there, along with an increasing number of situations where a content provider who had pay-TV presence across the whole of the US is not likely to have this same level of presence. The latter situation has been brought about due to arguments and fights between the content provider and the cable-TV or satellite-TV provider about content-licensing terms.

Conclusion

I reckon that as the bandwidth improves, it could be come another path for delivering multichannel TV content in a highly-flexible cost-effective manner. Let’s hope it doesn’t become “101 channels and nothing on” – many channels and content providers that provide nothing but worthless content.

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Devolo marries the latest HomePlug and Wi-FI standards in an access point

Article

Devolo dLAN 1200+ WiFi ac (Continental Europe (Schuko) variant) in action - press image courtesy of Devolo

Devolo dLAN 1200+ WiFi ac (Continental Europe (Schuko) variant) in action

devolo détaille son dLAN 1200+ WiFi ac | EreNumérique (France – French language | Langue Française)

From the horse’s mouth

Devolo,

dLAN 1200+ WiFi ac

Product Page (German Language – Deutsche Sprache / English language)

Press Release ( German Language – Deutsche Sprache / English language)

My Comments

Devolo, a German network-hardware manufacturer, has done the most incredible act with their support for HomePlug technologies.

Here, they have released in to the European market a simultaneous dual-band 802.11ac Wi-Fi access point which can work with HomePlug AV2 MIMO powerline network segments. Here, these use the three AC wires to achieve a media-level power-line network speed of 1.2Gbps for the powerline backbone. This is in addition to using the three wires to create a highly robust HomePlug AV2 segment that could work in difficult environments like commercial premises where there are motors that can create a lot of electrical interference.

Devolo dLAN 1200+ WiFi ac access point - Continental (Schuko) variant - press picture courtesy of Devolo

Devolo dLAN 1200+ WiFi ac access point

For the wireless segment, you have a single stream for the 5GHz band which goes to 866Mbps and two streams on the common 2.4GHz band which goes to 300Mbps. There are two Gigabit Ethernet sockets which come in handy with a lot of sessile devices like Smart TVs, desktop computers as in those “gaming rigs” and printers.

These access points come with an integrated “pass-through” power outlet which means that you don’t have to forfeit a power outlet so you can use HomePlug AV2.

Lets not forget that the Devolo dLAN 1200+ WiFi ac supports WPS clone which is a simplified method to set up a multiple-access-point home network. Here, you press the “setup” button on the access point then the WPS button on the router or access point you are extending for it to learn the ESSID and security parameters of that access point so you quickly have it work as that extension access point.

Devolo have answered a need to allow users to quickly extend Wi-Fi coverage out to outbuildings, charming old caravans serving as extra living space and the like or answer Wi-Fi coverage difficulties yet be able to work with the latest HomePlug and Wi-Fi technologies. Try this device with handling Wi-Fi issues with that mas en Provence or other stone-built European building.

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MHL to work with the next-generation USB and HDMI specifications

Article

Mobile 4K video getting wired to TVs through USB 3.1, MHL | PC World

From the horse’s mouth

MHL Consortium

Press Release

My Comments

There are now plans afoot to link MHL and USB standards together to allow smartphones, tablets and laptops to show 4K-grade ultra-high-resolution video on the latest TVs using the latest iterations of these standards.

What is MHL

MHL, short for Mobile High-Definition Link, is a specification which provides a way for “open-frame” mobile devices to pass high-definition audio / video content, device power, along with control and data signals via a USB connection. Ideas that are being pushed for this application include viewing AV content held on your smartphone on the big display, or using a projector to show presentations and other video content.

This typically requires the use of a MHL cable which would be connected between the microUSB socket on the smartphone or tablet and a specially-identified HDMI socket on the TV or similar equipment. But you may connect the MHL-capable device to an HDMI-capable display device by using an active MHL adaptor which exposes the HDMI-capable video to the display device.

Here, it is primarily pitched at providing a wired connection for showing video content that you have on your mobile device on the large TV screen but is being used for some “dongle-type” devices that link your home network and online-video services to your TV. It is also being used as a method to share the mobile device’s display to the car’s dashboard courtesy of some “open-frame” automotive-smartphone link specifications.

This technology complements the Miracast specification by being a high-reliability wired specification that uses common connection types and established infrastructure for the same purpose of linking your mobile device to an external display.

The improvements that will come about

One main improvement that this announcement is about is evolving MHL to new expectations and technologies. Here, it is the use of the new small USB Type-C connectors which will be coming to newer smartphones and tablets through the next or subsequent model year.

As well, most of the 4K-capable display devices will work with HDMI 2.0 which is optimised for the ultra-high-resolution video that will be coming about on them. The new specification variant melds MHL in to the newer expectations that will be required for mobile devices in order to work with these displays.

What I see of MHL engaging in this improvement is that they are putting a step forward to integrated open-frame portable computing setups.

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Local Government to become an Internet provider option in Australia

Article

Watch out Optus and Telstra: local councils want to become NBN internet providers | The Age

My Comments

Tree on a country property

Local government could also improve the reality of proper broadband in the country

As the Australian National Broadband Network’s technology option changes towards something akin to BT Openreach in the UK which is based around a fibre-copper technology, another option for service provision is creeping in to the equation.

This is where some local councils are stepping in to become local retail Internet service providers with the NBN as a wholesale backbone. This kind of practice has been tried in Australia for some utilities normally sold by a larger government-owned or privately-owned entity that has a larger geographic remit. An example of this is the retail-level sale of electricity to the consumer by some local councils or entities ran by these local councils, one of which was the former City of Box Hill in Melbourne.

As far as Internet service is concerned, some local governments have provided free-access Wi-Fi hotzones in their towns’ central-business-districts in the USA. This was much to the ire of established incumbent telecommunications providers and cable-TV companies who see this “threatening their patch”. It also raised the ire of Republicans, especially those supporting the “Tea Party” agenda, along with various libertarian and pro-business think-tanks because this was appearing to be government having a strong hand in the provision of public Internet service.

Some people can easily see this as a “do-good” effort by local government to raise the digital-access standards in their neighbourhoods of remit such as by, for example, using council rates to cross-subsidise the prices charged to householders for the communications services. This could be targeted at households who are on limited means like pensioners or people looking for work, or could be targeted at community organisations and small businesses that the council is nurturing.

House that may be fixed up

Local government being involved with providing Internet could raise the value of a neighbourhood

Similarly, the councils could use their power as retail ISPs to pay the NBN to equip neighbourhoods with fibre-to-the-premises or equip rural settlements or townships not considered large enough to equip with a fibre-copper service with one of these services. This would be part of their effort to invest in their cities and towns by raising the bar for Internet service in these areas, thus bringing in one or more valuable employers or raising residential property values.  This same effort could also be about making it harder for NBN or a retail carrier or ISP to postpone setting up a neighbourhood for next-generation Internet because it is on the “wrong side of the tracks”.

To see this work properly, local government has to realise that they will be competing with other retail telecommunications carriers and Internet service providers when reselling consumer and small-business telecommunications and Internet service.

If the idea of a local council obtaining a carrier licence and setting up as an ISP doesn’t play properly, they can do what has been practiced in Europe. This is where local government, along with a local chamber-of-commerce actually pays NBN to install fibre-to-the-premises through the town as a way to raise the property values or draw in the high-value employers.

At least the local government in Australia are seeing the potential that the National Broadband Network has and are looking towards taking it further to improve that town.

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Nice camera and Android phone can work together

Article

You can use pictures from your good digital camera with your Android mobile device

You can use pictures from your good digital camera with your Android mobile device

Android customization – how to connect a USB flash drive to your Android device  | Android Authority

My Comments

I have a good Canon digital camera and have used it to take some pictures and, at times, place them on Instagram, MMS messaging or other services using my Samsung Android phone. But how do I do this?

Here, this is another virtue of “open-frame” computing which the Android mobile platform wholeheartedly supports. What I did was to purchase a USB “On-The-Go” (OTG) cable and a small SD card reader and used these to get at the pictures on my camera’s SD card. It may be easier to purchase this accessory online or through an independent computer, electronics or mobile-accessories specialist. You can use other memory-card readers with a USB “On-The-Go” cable to suit the memory card that your camera works with such as a CompactFlash card. You may also have to pay attention to the size of these accessories if you want to make sure you can stow them in your gadget bag or camera case.

USB On-The-Go cable

USB On-The-Go cable

Here, I may have to use an Android file manager like ES File Manager to discover the pictures in the camera’s DCIM directory on the SD card. There is even a special file manager pitched at USB OTG applications called OTG Disk Explorer Lite which can be the way if you don’t want to mess with a “full-bore” file manager app.

SD card connected to Android smartphone via OTG cable

SD card connected to Android smartphone via OTG cable

You may also have to look for a RAW or DNG file app in the Google Play Store which can export as JPEG if you are working with these ultra-high-quality “master” formats for your photos.

Here, I was able to share a good photo of one of Melbourne’s “art trams” via Instagram, simply by taking the picture with my digital camera, then using the USB OTG cable to share the picture on this photo-sharing service. Here, you would have to select the option as of you are picking photos from your image library on your phone, yet look for something like “USBStorageA” or something similar.

Digital camera card shown in ES Explorer Android app

Digital camera card shown in ES Explorer Android app

For MMS messaging, I would need to use an app to make “scaled-down” copies of the images to WXGA resolution to send these through that technology. The Android app I use is called “Reduce Photo Size” which makes a local copy of the reduced image so I can send it using MMS. I had used thsi technique when I went on a walk through a neighbourhood that had fond memories for a friend of mine whom I live with and wanted to share some pictures that I took with the Canon camera with those people via MMS which was effectively their “comfort zone”.

SD card reader small enough to stow in your gadget bag or camera case.

SD card reader small enough to stow in your gadget bag or camera case.

I pack these accessories in my camera’s “gadget bag” so I can share photos I have taken with it using Instagram, MMS or similar “mobile-only” services. This can even work with any of the mobile front-ends for the Social Web or cloud-upload services like Facebook, Google+ or Dropbox.

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A 9V battery that makes your smoke alarm a smart smoke alarm

Article

Internet-connected battery turns your old smoke detector into a smart one | Mashable

Roost’s smart battery will school your old smoke alarm | Engadget

From the horse’s mouth

Roost Smart Battery

Product Page

Press Release

Kickstarter Page

My Comments

Although Google’s Nest has released a smoke alarm that can tie in with your home network, a Kickstarter project is in place to develop a replacement lithium battery that gives your existing smoke detector or carbon-monoxide detector “connected” abilities. This is addressing a situation where a lot of these alarm devices have ended up with dead or missing batteries most likely due to user forgetfulness.

The Roost Smart Alarm Battery works as a replacement battery for your smoke or carbon-monoxide alarm and links to your smartphone via your home Wi-Fi network and a cloud service to achieve its “smart abilities”. This is facilitated through the use of a low-power Wi-Fi chip that doesn’t place much demand on the battery and capitalises on the fact that these alarm devices don’t call on battery current except during an alarm event.

The smartphone app lets you know of the battery charge status and alerts you if the battery is critically low before the smoke alarm’s “low-battery” audible alert kicks in. As well, it becomes an extra “alarm surface” for your smoke alarm so that if you are away from your premises and the smoke alarm sounds, you are notified on your smartphone. The only limitation with this battery is that it won’t give you access to the “test” or “alarm-mute” functions that these devices have.

The optimistic life-span for the battery is around 5 years in this application compared to a typical 9V alkaline battery which lasts for one year at best. As well, the goal price for these devices is US$35 compared to a new Nest smoke/carbon-monoxide alarm which would set you back US$99. Even if you do go for the Nest smoke alarm, you may want to “bump” your existing smoke alarm to a secondary application like a holiday home but want the smart abilities.

At least it is another attempt at retrofitting existing devices to become part of the “Internet Of Things” by working on their power-supply needs.

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You can deregister iMessage if you move away from your iPhone

Article

iMessage deregister Webpage

Deregister iMessage from your number without your iPhone

Apple finally offers an easy solution to its missing text message problem | Engadget

From the horse’s mouth

Apple

Deregister iMessage site

My Comments

If you are moving towards another non-Apple platform for your smartphone or have decided to change your mobile phone number, you may run into issues with Apple’s iMessage “over-the-top” message service which you used as your enhanced messaging service with iOS.

The default setup for iMessage is to route all your regular inbound and outbound SMS and MMS traffic via this service. This can cause problems with you or your contacts not receiving messages if you are moving off the iPhone platform or phantom messages coming through from your old number when you are changing phone numbers.

To deal with this problem, you would typically use the iPhone’s Settings control panel to deactivate iMessage and is something you may have to do before you move off to the other platform or arrange to have your mobile number changed by your carrier.

On the other hand, Apple has provided an answer for those of us who have done the switchover without deactivating iMessage on the iPhone. This can happen when you are in a hurry to switch over or have your mobile service immediately provisioned on your new non-Apple phone.

Here, you visit a page on their Website and key in your mobile phone number to deregister it from iMessage. You will receive a “confirmation number” on your new phone as an SMS, which you then subsequently key in to the Website to set this deregistration in stone. If this doesn’t work, you may have to contact Apple’s technical support to make sure this happens. You may also have to contact Apple’s technical support if you are not receiving SMS or MMS messages on your iPhone after a number change.

This doesn’t affect other iOS or Mac OS X devices that use iMessage because these work on your Apple ID (email address) as being your iMessage address. It primarily detaches your existing mobile number from your Apple ID as an iMessage address.

It could be improved by providing iMessage management through an Apple-hosted Web dashboard that allows you to do things like deregister your phone number or manually add, change or delete phone numbers associated with your iMessage service. This can be of importance with situations like travellers and expats who use SIM cards from providers local to where they are travelling in order to dodge roaming fees or have local-mobile-number presence.

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