Saturday, November 15, 2014

In-app Purchases Restore Missing, Strange Gray Icons and Billed for Apps I Didn't Authorize: Faith Restored in Apple

I am not an unconditional Apple fan but I do think they have some nice products and a good customer service. The last few weeks I got many problems which could easily have changed my mind about this company...

First thing first: I bought the ipad2 when it went out (was sold out in Norway so I had to buy it online). My son who is now 4 has never really realized that electronic devices can be fragile and has stepped on it, jumped on it, thrown it accross the room. And despite this, this ipad is still working.

So when I was in New York last month and thought it was time for us to get a new tablet, I decided to go for the new ipad air 2. I was pretty confident that I could restore things I wanted myself and didn't looked into any kind of restore services.

1st problem: in-app purchases missing

How on earth was I supposed to transfer my in-app purchases from my old ipad to the new one? Purchased apps are available on itunes store but things I bought inside an app? Looked on the net, saw I was not alone to ask me this question. Apple help page was not very clear with the only conclusion that if there wasn't a restore button I had to contact the developer. The developer answer was even less clear. I had to use the same iTunes username otherwise they couldn't help me. I *was* using the same username, so how could I get the in-apps purchases again?

No more answers from the developer so I took contact with Apple support. The first few answers were general and did not help. The latest include this sentence:"you are free to redownload the non-consumable content without incurring any additional charges." It was then a "leap of faith test.

Solution to 1st problem: you just need to ignore the message saying you will be billed

After I got the message "Confirm Your In-App Purchase / Do you want to buy xxx for yyyy?" I pressed "Buy" and got the message: "You've already purchased this. Would you like to get it again for free?", ie you just have to ignore the billing confirmation message.

Had I known this from the beginning, I wouldn't have wasted my time in mails to the developer of the app and to the itunes support. Believe both should have known this and informed this of it and most importantly, Apple should have FIRST checked whether the purchase had been made or not and only IF NOT asked for a confirmation that the user was ready to spend money on it.



2nd problem: strange grey app icons

A few days after, I had another issue where I couldn't download apps anymore. Any try would lead to a strange grey app icon with circles and lines and nothing more would happen. Would happen for any app and removing it and downloading it again would not help


In the picture above, you can see this for two apps.

Solution to 2nd problem leading to 3rd problem

This is where things got a bit tricky. I just thought this was a refreshing bug of some sort. I restarted the ipad entirely (pressing the on/off button long enough for the powering off screen to display and swiping the turn-off-slide).

No more strange icons but suddenly out of nowhere tenth of apps appeared on the dashboard and started downloading. The screen before I turned it off only had 2 grey-icon-apps. Not 10-15 of them. And when my ipad restarted, it asked my itunes login/password and I gave it as I wanted these two apps. Not to allow 10-15 apps to suddenly appear out of nowhere.

Supposedly those new apps had been in some sort of downloading queue. The problem here?

3rd problem: billed for apps I didn't authorized

Some of those apps were not free! I DID NOT authorize these purchases. I entered my login/password when asked at the ipad start but was never asked to confirm apps purchases. Not before the icon issue, not after, ...

I did not know some of these apps charged me for anything (as I was still confident I would be asked for my password to purchase anything or at least get a purchase confirmation message). The day after, I got 3 mails, each with a receipt for apps purchases. A total of 9 non-free apps.

Solution to the 3rd problem... almost

In the mail, I had the option to "report a problem" with the purchase of the apps. I pressed it and quite quickly came into contact with Apple support by chat. After the usual "apps do not get there by themselves, are you sure you didn't buy them? You did not forget about it?", I got told I would be refunded but that for security purposes my account would be closed and that I would need to talk to the security support of Apple (by telephone) to get it open again.

No problem (I thought). I arranged a time where Apple would call me. Strangely, the call came late (wasn't sure it would come at all and was afraid at one point that the system was not working and that I was just wasting my time waiting for them). When I finally receive the call, I was put in a queue... Not sure why you need to agree on a time then. And this was not over. When I got someone on the line, I was told that this person could not unlock my account and had to contact someone else and there was a 10 minute queue for this. And no, I was not able to simply deal with it themselves, I had to be on the line... So I decided to call back the day after as I was in a rush that day.

3rd problem bis

Still following? Remember my account had been closed for security purposes. Well it did not help much as the day after, I got again a receipt for apps I had apparently purchase (with a locked account). By the way, the first mails came at 06:41, the mail the day after came at 06:47. When I make a purchase in itunes, I generally get the mail in the following 5 minutes. And I don't download apps at 06 in the morning...

This time, the problem was worse. Without an itunes account, I was unable to get in touch with the support by chat and simply had to wait for the support call I had planed (and where they would have to call someone else).

Solution to the 3rd problem: Apple reopening my account and refunding me

Fortunately, this call was pretty good. The guy on the phone told me he was sorry about what was happening, that the new purchases had probably happened when my account was not closed yet and just had not been processed. This makes sense IT-wise but I have a hard time believing it. 

For a clearer view of the time:
- Day X 06:41 I am billed for 9 apps through 3 mails. I am sleeping and don't notice it
- Day X about 09:00 I see the mails and contact Apple support. They refund me and close my account
- Day X+1 06:47 I am billed for 2 apps 

So basically, someone is supposed to have downloaded these two apps between 06:41 and 09:00. Very unlikely.

Anyway, the support takes the action to reimburse me for these two apps and after some security questions they reopen my account.

Remaining problems?

The only minor thing remaining is that those paid apps are still in my icloud. I don't want them as I didn't pay for them and would like to remove them but Apple does not give this possibility to users. Would probably contact them again about it but for now, I have spent enough time with mails, chats, and on the phone.

Conclusion

After all this, many would jump to the conclusion that Apple is bad but if you look at it objectively, I will get my money back, it wasn't that hard either (there was a button on the mail to complain about a purchase, the chat was easy to access, etc...), especially the first time when I still had an itunes account. And the support did apologize for it.

About in-app purchases, they are easy to restore, you just need to know that you have to ignore these scary "purchase confirmation" messages.

Hope this helped for those of you with these problems.

NB: The info in this blog is for information purpose only. I am not working for Apple and won't be able to reimburse you in case of any Apple charges.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Not All Photos Are Displayed When I Connect My Phone to My PC

I have a Sony Ericsson phone with Android 2.3.4. I take pictures with it and when I want to get them on my PC (to use them on my blogs, etc...), I just connect it to the PC with a standard USB cable and go to Computer-Phone-DCIM-100ANDRO.

Never had any problems with it until recently. A month or so ago, when doing it, I got 10-20 photos displayed in the directory while my phone had several hundreds of them. I tried many things like restarting my phone, restarting my PC, I even deleted some photos to see if it would help. Maybe there was too many of them... to no avail. some photos simply did not show up in the 100ANDRO folder.

I googled the problem a bit, found many people having the issue, no matter the phone (even some with the iphone had it) and the only solution I found was to change the transfer protocol which did not help me at all. I played with the phone settings and... I wasn't able to transfer anything anymore.

At the end, the only solution I found was to use dropbox. It lets you transfer pictures from your phone to your dropbox space which is available from your PC.

Maybe not the perfect solution as it takes some time to upload the photos I take from my phone but retrieving them from the PC is immediate and available through normal web browsers.

I still use the traditional cable solution most of the time but when some images are missing, I use Dropbox.

Just thought I would write this post to help those in my case. You will notice that I don't even include a link to Dropbox. My aim is not to advertise a particular app/software. But this saved my day (well my photos at least) so they deserve to be mentioned.

Good luck with your photo transfers!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Enabling the 'Conservation mode' on the Ideapad

Today, I got the following error message:

"The Battery is charged to a high capacity
Staying above 70% capacity for a long period of time is adverse to the battery's health. Enable 'Conservation mode' in settings."

And personally, I don't find it obvious how to do that, namely to enable the Conservation mode in the settings. I wasn't even sure where the settings are... (sorry got to get used to this operative system).

After a bit of research, I found how to do it and thought I would share it with you guys. So here is a step-by-step guide about how to do that:

1) Use the Microsoft button (the four squares/rectangles). It will give you the metro interface

2) Type "Energy Manager" anywhere in the metro interface. This will activate the search. After you enter a few letters, you should get the "Energy Manager" app show up.



3) Launch the Application "Energy Manager". It will give you some information about energy use on your PC

4) Click on next until the end (take your time if you want, I just skipped it to the end). At the end you should get a button to start the app.

5) Find the extended mode button (or whatever you want to call this button)


6) Under settings, you can enable the Conservation Mode



And here you go, that's what you were looking for (hopefully). Enjoy!

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Adsense Current Balance Reset to 0 After Being Moved to the New Payment System

This morning, I was notified that I was moved to the new payment system, where a couple of words have been changed (Unfinalized payments changed to Current Balance, etc...). The problem? My current balance is now showing 0.00!

I had money on my account and was actually close to the redemption. I hope this is a bug and my current balance will show soon. I have also notice that the form of payment is missing. No more bank account information.


I will update this post as soon as I get more information myself.

*Update*

After I wrote this post, I  posted the question in the Google Adsense forum and the Current balance got fixed after a few minutes! Either it is a coincidence (most probable) or a tech admin or something was lurking in the forum and fixed it for me. In both case, I know have the proper amount shown on my Adsense account. My bank account info was still missing though and I had to re-verify it.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Getting a Wireless Router


I just thought I would let you guys know that a few weeks ago, I got fed up with the "Turn on Internet connection sharing" option missingproblem and I decided to buy a wireless router.

How does it work? It is actually quite simple. Instead of cabling the internet to your PC, you do it to this box and then this box will create a wifi zone. You can then connect to the internet through this wifi zone.

Here is the router I bought (NetGear WNR 1000, I see a v3 on my box, not sure if it is relevant):


I am happy with it, it cost me 30 bucks and I have not had any problems with it.

I would recommend thought to:
- update the software on it as soon as you install it (takes about 5 minutes and after that you are set)
- change the default password (to the web interface). You don't know how nasty some people are and how easy it is for them to get access to a box with a default password

If you are comfortable with internet configuration, wireless options, etc... then it is straight forward. If you PCs and you don't mix well, then you should probably ask a friend but really don't believe anyone would need more than 1 hour to set it all.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Problem with Asian characters in Skype (Chinese, Japanese,...)

Yesterday (16 October 2012), the problem happened again to me and I was actually happy about it as I was able to test a bit more about the solution I wrote here:
http://smallittips.blogspot.com/2012/09/how-to-solve-skype-japanese-characters.html

Here is an updated version of the solution.

1) Make sure you log out of the active user who has the problem. I tried by simply closing all the programs and going to the admin account but the problem was not solved. I really had to log out with the current user.

2) Log in as the admin user of the computer.

3) Delete everything inC:\Users\user-with-the-problem\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Internet Explorer
(change "user-with-the-problem" with the username of the user having the problem, ie the user you use when you have the problem)

This may be a bit tricky. First, why Internet Explorer? You may not even use this browser. Well, it seems that Skype is using some shared folders with Internet Explorer. Then, you may not see the folder AppData. Just type it after the username of the user with the problem.

4) Log back on the user you were using and launch Skype. The problem should be solved.

If the problem is not solved, please check the original solution here: http://smallittips.blogspot.com/2012/09/how-to-solve-skype-japanese-characters.html.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

How to solve: Skype displaying Japanese characters as boxes

Problem with Skype not displaying Japanese/Chinese/Korean characters? Here is the solution that worked for me.


Today, when I started Skype, I had something strange happened. The name of the contacts in Japanese were replaced by squares, ie Skype was not displaying Japanese correctly anymore. I could still type some Japanese text in the message but the name of the contacts were not supported. The menu was gone too (choice between square-square-squre and square-square-square).

The problem was only with Skype, the rest of the computer was working fine: notepad, the name of the directories and folders were fine etc...

I tried to reinstall Skype: did not help. I tried to Google the answer: did not help. Most websites would simply ask you to use another font (under settings, IM and SMS etc... and change from Tahoma to Arial Unicode MS) or to change the settings of your new PC). I still could not read Japanese characters! Just a bunch of boxes/Squares or whatever you want to call them.

Incredible test

I logged off the user I was using, logged on with the admin user and ... Skype was working! Completely fine, with Tahoma (?!!) and with the global settings of the computer set to Norway/Norwegian. How come. I logged again to the user that had the problem: it was still failing. So the problem was only happening for 1 user. It does make sense as many websites were saying that they had problems with some users only or some PC only.

Step-by-step solution

Update 16 October 2012: I have had the problem again and wrote a new post about it. Check it here:
http://smallittips.blogspot.com/2012/10/problem-with-asian-characters-in-skype.html

Of course, I was still not happy, as I wanted to use Skype for both users (admin and the one failing), so here is what I did:
  1. logged in with the failing user
  2. closed every program including Skype
  3. logged off this user (not just switch user, completely log off)
  4. logged in as admin
  5. opened a directory and went to C:\Users\failing-user
  6. added \AppData at the end of the address: C:\Users\failing-user\AppData
  7. deleted everything in
    • C:\Users\failing-user\AppData\Local\Temp (mind the "Local")
    • C:\Users\failing-user\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Internet Explorer (Skype uses Internet Explorer)
    • C:\Users\failing-user\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Temporary Internet Files (you have to type this one too)
    • C:\Users\failing-user\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Explorer
    • C:\Users\failing-user\AppData\LocalLow\Microsoft\Internet Explorer (mind the LocalLow instead of Local)
  8. logged again as the failing user
  9. it was working
I really hope this will also solve the problem you have with Skype not displaying Asian characters properly (only squares/boxes).

1000 thanks to Servermin for a post he wrote about Chinese characters not being displayed by Skype (had a hard time finding it but it was mostly the solution I described here).