Category Archives: Computer Bytes

Clever and Useful

by Bill Scobie

Is Siri or Alexa better for voice commands from your smart phone? If you have an iPhone, you can install Astra and find out. This would be especially useful if you already have an Echo connected to an Alexa account and need another way to command your Echo. Astra is available through the iTunes store, not free but just 99 cents.

You Lookin’ at Me?

It is amazing what designers come up with to foil facial recognition software. In the CV Dazzle project, designers come up with facial makeup and hairstyles to confound face-recognizing software. They are now working to create fabric to foil attempts in stores to track you and your shopping habits via facial recognition. It is not yet a product to purchase but it is useful news to see that privacy options may exist to foil information gathering in quasi-public places.

Everything’s On My Phone

Not always do you have a thumb drive with you, but you do likely have your smart phone. And, it, whether an iPhone or Android, can be used like a thumb drive or external drive, so long as you have your USB charging cord. For an iPhone, you’ll need to install the File Manager app from TapMedia before you can copy files from your computer to your iPhone as you would with a thumb drive. To use an Android device, you can install Android File Transfer (; more help for that at

Skip Those Ads

I know ads are the way many free websites support themselves, but there are times that they really distract from the reading experience, especially on those sites that insert ads into the middle of the text. There is another option for Chrome: Mercury Reader will strip those ads with a click of a button, making the article much easier to read and even print out. Go to the Chrome store on your Android device and search for Mercury Reader from

Jungle Guide for Microsoft Office

Trying to get up to speed with the latest Microsoft Office is a bit easier with quick start guides from Microsoft. They cover Office 2016 and the subscription Office 365 and even Office 2016 for Mac. I wish their web address were a short one but if you go to, scroll down to the topic by category section and click on Getting Started with Office 2016m, then you can find their Quick Start Guides.

Do It Now!

I waited long enough, and now a great online paid course on dealing with procrastination is free and on YouTube. Rather than put that really long link here, I would suggest you search on YouTube for “how to stop procrastinating full design” and make sure the video is by “Successful by Design.”

Questions? Call Bill Scobie of Scobie.Net, fixing computers and networks for small businesses and home. 628-2354 or