How do I cancel Apple Music Auto-Renewal?

AskDaveTaylor - Fri, 10/02/2015 - 11:35

That’s a great question because we’re just about at the three month mark post introduction of Apple Music, so I think a lot of people are going to be darn curious about how to check their Apple Music auto-renewal settings and possibly turn them off. Here’s the good news: If you turn it off you can still pay on a monthly basis for Apple Music manually, or just for those months you think you’re really going to be listening to a lot of music. There’s also a family plan for just a few dollars more: perhaps your friends can get together and you can divide and conquer that pesky price tag? (then again, it’s cheaper than buying one CD/month)

To start, Apple Music is all controlled within iTunes, either on your iOS device or, as I’ll demonstrate in this tutorial, within the iTunes program on your Mac (or Windows PC) too.

To start, get to the main iTunes Window and click on the tiny silhouette icon:

As you can see, choose “Account Info” to proceed (though some of the other entries are worth exploring if you have a few minutes).

A click on Account Info and you’ll be prompted to enter your password – which is good!

On the assumption you have correctly entered your password, click on “View Account”.

You’ll need to scroll down a bit to find “Settings”, as shown:

Notice the entry for Subscriptions. That’s where your Apple Music account is set up. Not very overt, is it?

Hint: if you have “subscriptions: 0” then you’re good to go, never having turned on Apple Music’s auto-renewal.

In any case, click on the Manage link adjacent to the Subscriptions field.

Here’s the first useful bit of information: Our Apple Music subscription is active, it’s the “Free Trial” and it’ll be free until Nov 19, 2015, almost 6 weeks from today! You can let it ride, but even if you turn off automatic renewal of your Apple Music account, you can still enjoy it until that date, right?

In the middle you can see the two options: $9.99/mo for an individual membership in Apple Music, or $14.99/mo for a family membership, which gives you up to six accounts that can share a single membership (which means that it turns out to be about $2.50 per person/mo if you wanted to share it with your own family).

We’re going to turn off automatic renewal for Apple Music by clicking on the “Off” button in the “Automatic Renewal” section of the window. A click on “Done” and, well, it seeks confirmation:

I always read these as “awww, come on, won’tcha just keep it on so we can bill you automatically?” but you might see it slightly less skeptically

Click “Turn Off” if you’re sure you want to disable auto-renewal for your Apple Music account.

That’s it. No renewal, just options to pay for more time.

Hope that helps you out!

The post How do I cancel Apple Music Auto-Renewal? appeared first on Ask Dave Taylor.

Categories: Technology

Upgrading a Nest Learning Thermostat to the 3rd gen unit!

AskDaveTaylor - Thu, 10/01/2015 - 14:10

Like to stay on the cutting edge with technology? Me too! In fact, I was one of the first people in Colorado to install a production Nest Learning Thermostat with its bright touch screen and fast wi-fi capabilities. Since the install, Nest was bought by Google and they’ve released two newer versions of the wi-fi thermostat. Thanks to SimpleEnergy and Xcel Energy, I got a 3rd generation Nest and here’s how easy it was to upgrade:

It’s really nice, with a brighter and easier to use screen and more capabilities. And you can do it yourself!

Better yet, if you’re a Colorado customer of Xcel Energy, you can save $50 with an instant rebate through

The post Upgrading a Nest Learning Thermostat to the 3rd gen unit! appeared first on Ask Dave Taylor.

Categories: Technology

Does Netflix really need me to reset my billing info?

AskDaveTaylor - Thu, 10/01/2015 - 09:37

Kudos to you for checking on the site directly rather than just trusting an email that’s shown up, whether it looks completely clean and legit or whether it’s a bit sketchy! In this particular case, if this were a legit Netflix email notification, it would be duplicated in your Netflix account information that you can access by going directly to in your Web browser and logging in to the service. It’s not there? Then the email’s a scam. Easy.

But in this era of increasing phishing attacks, it’s astonishing to me that so many companies are still sending email with clickable links embedded. What are they thinking? Instead, send the notification email and then explain how people can go directly to the site and address the problem without including a clickable link. A bit more hassle, but a lot harder to scam if you’re a bad guy.

Still, let’s have a look at this phishing email message, because I got one too. Mine looks like this:

Looks pretty legitimate, doesn’t it? The two tiny clues that make me suspicious right off the bat, though, are that it’s to “undisclosed-recipients” (why plural? I thought it was just my problem) and that it’s “Reply-To: noreply” (why isn’t it “” or maybe even “” or similar?)

Still, modern email systems give you a tiny preview of embedded URLs if you have the patience to hover the cursor over the link without clicking:

Okay, so “.tr” is Turkey. Pretty darn sure that Netflix isn’t using a billing system hosted at, somehow!

But lets say that I wasn’t really paying much attention at all and clicked on the “Sign in” link. Here’s what I’d see:

It does look legit! But, without the Netflix database behind it to check passwords, you can actually log in with any two words. Try “eatme” and “scammer” as the email and password.

If you do, you’ll end up here, which shows that they’re targeting Canadian Netflix users for this particular scam:

The fact that they have information on the page about “Secure Server” is, of course, adding insult to injury.

The simple fact is that you should never click on a link embedded in an email message, whether it’s from your bank, a shopping site you like, an auction site, or a streaming movie service. Avoid that, and you’ll be safe forevermore.

If you do fall for a scam like this, immediately – and I do mean IMMEDIATELY – go to the real site (like and change your password. Do it. Now. Then if you shared banking information it’s smart to call your bank’s fraud department and ask for them to cancel your credit card and issue a new one.

Good luck and be careful out there!

The post Does Netflix really need me to reset my billing info? appeared first on Ask Dave Taylor.

Categories: Technology

Bring virtual reality field trips to your school with Google Expeditions

GoogleBlog - Wed, 09/30/2015 - 14:24
At the Bronx Latin School in New York City, teacher Katrina Roman says the topic of ancient history doesn’t usually set students abuzz. But this week, they took a field trip to ancient Aztec ruins using Google Expeditions, a virtual reality teaching tool built with Google Cardboard. Normally, their assignment would involve poring over photocopied photographs, but instead, they stood at the top of Chichen Itza, then examined detailed carvings at Tenochtitlan. Amid “oohs” and “aahhs,” the students shouted out details they noticed and shot hands up to answer Ms. Roman’s questions.
Katrina Roman’s class at the Bronx Latin School fills out their assignment after visiting Aztec ruins with Expeditions. The class is part of a history and geography pilot with New Visions for Public Schools.
Starting today, we’re bringing this experience to thousands of schools around the world with the new Expeditions Pioneer Program. During the 2015/2016 school year, we’ll be bringing “kits” containing everything a teacher needs to run a virtual trip for their class: ASUS smartphones, a tablet for the teacher to direct the tour, a router that allows Expeditions to run without an Internet connection, and Google Cardboard viewers or Mattel View-Masters that turn phones into virtual reality headsets. Although nothing replaces hopping on the bus for a field trip, there are some places that are just out of reach (hello, Chichen Itza!). Virtual reality gives teachers a tool to take students places a school bus can't.
To help teachers learn how to use Expeditions, we’ll be visiting thousands of schools around the world and bringing the kit for teachers to use in their classes for the day. Up first: Australia, Brazil, New Zealand, the U.K. and the U.S., followed by more locations as the school year progresses. At each school, our team will show teachers how Expeditions works and help set it up before class.

Right now, teachers can choose from a library of 100+ virtual trips to places like Mars, the Great Barrier Reef and the Great Wall of China. But we’re constantly adding more trips with the help of partners like PBS, educational publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, British documentarian David Attenborough in collaboration with Alchemy VR, and the Wildlife Conservation Society. We’re also working with the Starfish Foundation to help students explore future careers by showing them a virtual day in the life of professionals including a veterinarian and computer scientist. And to help students achieve those career goals, we’re working with First Lady Michelle Obama to support her Reach Higher initiative by taking students on virtual college tours.
And if you see one of these cars on the road, that's us! The folks at Subaru, who invest in education as part of their Love Promise initiative, have created a fleet of Expedition Pioneer Program rides that we'll be using to bring kits to schools.

If visiting Mars, trekking on the Great Wall of China or exploring what it’s like to work at a veterinarian’s office sounds like something your class would be interested in, head to the Expeditions Pioneer Program site and sign up.

Posted by David Quaid, Software Engineer, Google Expeditions
Categories: Technology

Why “Wi-Fi Assist” is not your friend in iOS 9!

AskDaveTaylor - Wed, 09/30/2015 - 09:19

With so many companies working towards having a seamless transition from cellular to a local wi-fi network as a way to save on cell bandwidth usage, it’s a bit peculiar to find that Apple has moved in the opposite direction with a new feature that’s slipped into iOS 9 without much discussion at all. Called “Wi-Fi Assist”  it’s doubtless helpful if you don’t care about your cellular bandwidth usage or have someone else paying your bill.

For the rest of us, however, there are limits on our smartphone cellular plan and if you exceed the allocated bandwidth in a billing period, you get to start paying overage and excess usage fees, dozens or even hundreds of dollars. A really expensive way to test: Just binge watch a Netflix series and see what happens to your bill.

Hold on, I’m just joking! Don’t really try that!

More seriously, I like the idea of Wi-Fi Assist but would far prefer if in a situation where it’d kick in that the phone would prompt me “Would you like Wi-Fi Assist to switch you to cellular for faster Internet?” with a “yes” and “no” option. The “no”, of course, is what’s so important…

Let me show you how to find the setting on your own Apple iPhone, whether it’s an iPhone 5, an iPhone 6 or a shiny new iPhone 6s Plus. Simply go to Settings:

Now you’ll need to tap on Cellular, the fourth entry down.

That’ll get you here:

Notice that the iPhone does accumulate cellular data usage, but I’m not sure I’d entirely count on that figure: if you get into an argument with your mobile phone carrier, it’s not clear that this data will help you win. Still, if true, I’m only at 385MB out of my allotted 5GB so I have plenty of space to spare!

To find the “Wi-Fi Assist” setting, you need to swipe down. Down past all the individual apps and their cellular data usage options. To the very bottom of the screen:

You can see it there at the bottom. The text below the switch explains “Automatically use cellular data when Wi-Fi connectivity is poor.”

Me? I disabled it. And that’s easy to do: just swipe the switch so it’s white, not green.

Done. You’ll thank me when your cell phone bill is the same next month as it was this month, not dramatically higher from unexpected overages!

The post Why “Wi-Fi Assist” is not your friend in iOS 9! appeared first on Ask Dave Taylor.

Categories: Technology

S’more to love across all your screens

GoogleBlog - Tue, 09/29/2015 - 13:56
From your watch to your phone to your TV, we want to help you stay connected, entertained and informed across all your screens. Today we’re introducing a few new things that do just that: two Nexus phones, a tablet for work and play, updates to Chromecast and features for some of your favorite apps—all working together to make your day a little bit easier and more fun.
New Nexus phones
We made Android to be an open platform that anyone can build on, and today there are 4,000+ Android devices in all shapes and sizes. Android’s diversity is why it’s become the most popular mobile platform in the world, and the latest version, Marshmallow, takes Android to a new level of performance.

While we love all the Android devices out there, every year we build Nexus devices to show off the latest and greatest, directly from the people who built Android. Today we’re introducing the latest Nexus treats, both running Marshmallow, sweetened by amazing apps and sandwiched by some cutting-edge hardware (see what we did there?):
  • Nexus 6P is the first all-metal-body Nexus phone. Built in collaboration with Huawei, this 5.7” phone is crafted from aeronautical-grade aluminum, with a USB Type-C port for fast charging, a powerful 64-bit processor, and a 12.3 MP camera sensor with massive 1.55µm pixels (hello, better photos!). The Nexus 6P starts at $499.
  • You’re not the only one who misses your Nexus 5. We’ve joined forces with LG to bring it back with the new Nexus 5X, which gives you great performance in a compact and light package, with a beautiful 5.2” screen and the same 12.3 MP camera and Type-C port as the Nexus 6P. Nexus 5X starts at $379.
Both phones include a new fingerprint sensor, Nexus Imprint, which gives you quick and secure access to your phone, as well as use of Android Pay (in the U.S.). They are available for pre-order on the Google Store from a number of countries, including the U.S., U.K., Ireland and Japan, and come with a free 90-day subscription to Google Play Music. In the U.S., pre-orders include a $50 Play credit to help you stock up your favorite music, apps, games and shows. And, finally, for you Project Fi fans out there, you'll be happy to know Nexus 6P and Nexus 5X will work on your favorite network. Request an invite to our Early Access Program at

Pixel C
We’re expanding the Pixel family by introducing the first Android tablet built end-to-end by Google. The Pixel C brings together the benefits of a full-size keyboard with the portability of a tablet. The tablet and keyboard attach magnetically (no docking mechanism FTW), so it’s easy to switch between typing and using the touch screen.

And if you’re familiar with the Chromebook Pixel, you’ll immediately see the family resemblance: the Pixel C has the same beautiful aluminum design, great display and USB Type-C port. The Pixel C will be available in time for the holidays on the Google Store.

Cast ALL the things
Today we’re introducing two new Chromecast devices. The new Chromecast has a fresh design, and is easier to plug into TVs with crowded ports. It supports the latest Wi-Fi standards and adapts more easily to changing Wi-Fi conditions in your home, so you get higher quality video with less buffering. Most importantly, we added two new colors. ;)

Chromecast Audio is a small device that plugs into your existing speakers, so you can stream your favorite music, radio and podcasts over Wi-Fi, similar to Chromecast. It works with tons of apps, including Spotify, Pandora and Google Play Music. Just like Chromecast, it works from anywhere in your home with your favorite devices, including Android, iOS, and laptops. And it’s available on the Google Store and other online retailers for just $35—way less than most Wi-Fi speakers today.

We’ve also updated the Chromecast app to make it easier for you to find great things to watch or to play, across the thousands of apps that work with Chromecast—whether you feel like browsing or want to search for a specific TV show or movie. For Cast-enabled apps that aren’t already on your phone, we’ll suggest one for you. The updated Chromecast app is rolling out on Android and iOS over the next few weeks.

Your favorite apps... for the whole family
All your shiny devices get even better when you have great apps to go with them. So we’re making a few updates to Google Play Music and Google Photos.

First, Google Play Music will offer a new family plan later this year. Up to six people will be able to use one account for a shared fee of $14.99 a month (instead of $9.99 per person). Get the dance party ready.

Sharing is a theme of today’s Google Photos updates, too. We’re adding Chromecast support to give you that old-school slideshow experience—dimmed lights optional. In the U.S., you can now add private labels to your photos to make it easier to search for specific pics of people with things, places or other people—say, that photo of Mom at the Grand Canyon, or of your daughter with her pet bunny. And soon you’ll be able to pool all your photos and videos with friends and family in one place, and get updates as soon as new photos are added. Best of all, there’s no setup involved, and you can use any device. So that dance party we mentioned earlier? Now it’s easier to gather all the memories from everyone who was there.

More to love, for more people
From Nexus to Chromecast to Pixel C to Photos, these updates are more than the sum of their parts—they unite great apps with devices that are designed to support them. They’re built to work together, so they do—seamlessly, across all your screens.
Posted by Hiroshi Lockheimer, VP Android, Chromecast and Chrome OS at Google
Categories: Technology

Big ideas for an even better Bay Area

GoogleBlog - Tue, 09/29/2015 - 09:49
Converting a liquor store into a community-based learning and tutoring center. Providing millions of dollars of 0% interest loans to small businesses. Breaking the poverty- to-prison cycle by building a residential alternative to prison for young adults. This is just a sampling of the big ideas that local nonprofits submitted for our second annual Google Impact Challenge: Bay Area.

Today, after reviewing hundreds of submissions, we’re unveiling 10 finalists chosen together with our panel of advisors—a group that includes the San Francisco Chronicle’s Editor-in-Chief Audrey Cooper, The Golden State Warriors’ Harrison Barnes, The San Francisco Giants’ Hunter Pence, and CEO of the San Francisco Foundation, Fred Blackwell.

Representing San Francisco, Oakland, San Jose, Santa Clara, San Mateo and more, these organizations span the Bay Area. Learn more about these groups and their ideas for change:
This year, finding and funding new ideas will be just one part of the Google Impact Challenge: Bay Area. We are also reinvesting in a few of our 2014 finalists. The Ella Baker Center, Beyond12, Lava Mae, and Bay Area Community Resources in collaboration with Instituto Familiar de la Raza all were funded last year, and will receive between $250,000 and $1,000,000 in additional funding this year. We’re very pleased to continue supporting organizations focused on homelessness, youth employment, and racial justice—big problems that works to tackle with local organizations, year-round.

What happens next is in your hands! Anyone can vote for the new projects they think will have the most impact on the Bay Area. Again, the top four will receive $500,000 in grant funding, the remaining six will get $250,000 each. 15 additional organizations will each receive $100,000 and all nonprofits will be connected with Googler volunteers and coworking space in San Francisco. We’ll announce winners on October 21.

To vote, visit or check out one of our voting stations across the Bay Area.

When creative, socially-conscious minds and the Bay Area’s innovative spirit join forces, big things can happen. Congratulations to all finalists, and best of luck the rest of the way!

Posted by David Drummond, Senior Vice President of Corporate Development, Alphabet
Categories: Technology

How do I block someone from sending email on Gmail?

AskDaveTaylor - Tue, 09/29/2015 - 09:46

Ah yes, just because you can send email, doesn’t mean you should send email, particularly if the recipient doesn’t want to receive it. Problem is, asking doesn’t automatically make it so and as you know all too well, some people just don’t know when to take “no” for an answer. I can sympathize, I’ve been in that situation in the past too!

Fortunately modern tools like Gmail have a variety of ways you can deal with the problem, including my personal favorite of setting up a filter that lets you define exactly what to do when they send you anything, whether it’s to delete the message, forward it to a third party — or the original sender! — or whatever else you’d prefer.

To start, I’m going to pick on my buddy Christian. He’s sent me this perfectly innocuous GMail message:

I don’t see any reason to block him, but block him I shall!

It’s easy, too. Just click on the arrow menu button on the right and you’ll see it as an option:

That’s it. Now he’s on my blocked list:

What’s nice is that the sender doesn’t get any notification that they’re on the block list, so in this case, Christian has no idea I’ve thrown him under the digital bus!

Changed your mind, or your ex has promised to chill out and only email you when it’s mission critical? No worries, go into “Settings” from the gear menu on the very top right of your Gmail screen and choose “Filters and Blocked Addresses” from the options along the top:

I’ve omitted the 50+ filters I have in Gmail so you can see the top and bottom. If you’re like me, however, you’ll need to scroll down quite a ways to find the Blocked Addresses list.

To unblock them, simply click on unblock adjacent to their name.

So that’s the fast and easy way. I prefer using Gmail filters, however, because it offers much more flexibility, including the ability to list multiple addresses if your ex is canny in her use of tech.

To do that, when you’re viewing an email message from the offending party, click on “More“:

Choose “Filter messages like these” and you’ll have to step through a couple of windows. First:

You can choose words, subjects, whether it includes attachments, filter by size, etc. Very flexible!

Got a good filter, or just going with the default sender’s email address? Click on Create filter with this search to continue and you’ll get to the fun part, deciding what to do when an incoming email matches the filter:

As you can see, I’ve just marked Delete it, but there are a lot of different options, some of which can be a bit more nefarious than others. I suggest you just delete the email and leave it at that. She’ll never know, and you’ll never have to see her messages again.

Solved. Done. And you can get on with your life.

The post How do I block someone from sending email on Gmail? appeared first on Ask Dave Taylor.

Categories: Technology

How do I use “Pop” 3D Touch on my iPhone 6s?

AskDaveTaylor - Mon, 09/28/2015 - 09:29

After a lifetime of being taught that touch screens react to touch in a binary way — touch or not touch — the Apple Watch introduced what it called Force Touch, the idea that how hard you pushed on the screen changed the response produced by WatchOS. That took a bit of getting used to when I first got my Apple Watch Sport, but eventually I got the hang of a “hard tap” versus a regular tap, though not without the occasional frustration.

Enter the new iPhone 6s with its rebranded force touch feature now called 3D Touch. Okay, we can rename it! Same idea, though, now there’s more than one type of touch, it’s not just “tap” or “no tap”. Try it: On your phone push hard on the screen with your finger and leave your finger pushed down for a second or three to see what happens. If nothing else, you should feel the phone “shudder” with the haptic feedback engine kicking in, kinesthetic feedback that you did a force touch, not a regular touch.

Turns out that unlocks some really cool features on the iPhone 6s too, if you can figure out how to get to them. Let’s just focus on the “pop” feature which offers a mini “pop up” menu while on the main home screen to make working with apps faster and more efficient.

Here’s the home screen on my iPhone 6s, running on AT&T Wireless (though it’d be 100% identical with other carriers!):

Nothing exceptional about it, no lurking icons or anything else. Just my usual favorite apps…

But if I push down hard on the Photos app icon, look what appears:

As you can see, the rest of the screen blurs while the menu pops up and offers a few easy shortcuts, shortcuts that in many cases aren’t actually accessible in the application itself.

That’s pop. Easy enough. So let’s see how a few other apps are using this new pop feature in iOS 9 on the iPhone 6s Plus:

Here The Bloody Shot is the current track I’m listening to in iTunes from the excellent Skyfall original motion picture soundtrack.

How about Maps? Quite useful, actually:

These additions to Maps via the Pop menu are quite interesting, actually, and can completely change the way you work with Maps!

Camera won’t have much, right? Wrong:

My kids are thrilled by the new Take Selfie feature. Me, not so much. But again, very handy options.

The clock has some terrific options now too:

Not done yet, though! Third party apps are getting in on the fun too.

Here’s what Twitter offers:

Back to Apple apps, though. Even some of the apps that get a bit less love have nice updates for 3D Force Touch.

Here’s iBooks, showing two books in my queue, along with the audiobook (Seveneves) I’m enjoying currently:

And, finally, the new Apple News app offers the ability to pick a specific channel:

There are more apps I found that have the “pop menu” from a forced touch (3d touch? Not sure what to call it with the change in naming from the Apple Watch to the iPhone 6s Plus), best way to find them is to experiment with those hard taps. And more apps will undoubtedly add this feature over the next few months, so keep a sharp lookout for it!

And “peek”? Next time you’re viewing your email in the Apple Mail app on your iPhone 6s, try a hard tap (and hold down) over an email message summary. That’s peek. Useful, but not as useful in my book as pop, which is a great addition to iOS 9.

The post How do I use “Pop” 3D Touch on my iPhone 6s? appeared first on Ask Dave Taylor.

Categories: Technology

Wed, 12/31/1969 - 19:00

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