Amazon Smile – Never Forget to Use Again

I really loved the idea of all my Amazon purchases raising money for a charity I select by donating 0.5% of every dollar I spend. Their Amazon Smile program was perfect for someone like me who orders almost everything on Amazon. For anyone who uses Amazon and hasn’t enrolled in this program, just visit smile.amazon.com and it will ask you what charity wish to have donations be made to.

The problem has been that I often forget to use the special url, smile.amazon.com which means my purchases don’t generate any income for my favorite charity.

This is where browser extensions become super useful. I have found extensions that will automatically redirect you to smile.amazon.com even if you only type in amazon.com. Then every purchase will generate income for your chosen charity without you having to think about it every time.

Since I use Safari as my everyday browser, I found an extension called SmileAllDay that performs this automatic redirect. The process has become simpler for installing this extension as it’s now available in the Mac App Store.

I can’t vouch for them but you can also find extensions available for Chrome and Firefox. I couldn’t find one for Microsoft Edge but let me know in the comments if you know of one.

Smile Always for Chrome
Amazon SMILE! for Firefox
SmileAllDay for Safari

Why We Still Need Paper

I’m not sure if it’s just me, but as I’ve attempted to close down the year financially, it seems as if every technology solution I’ve needed has failed. It has prompted me to write this blog on how it is still essential to have your own copies of essential documents.

Digital copies are good, but paper is still the most reliable.

The first outlet that failed me was our insurance company’s website. Normally I’m able to look up EOB (Explanation of Benefits) documents going all the way back to when I first became a customer, but this time I was not able to. Without that reference it made it exceedingly hard to complete our FSA (Flexible Spending Account) claims. It was like a game of dominos with one falling and knocking over everything.

To make matters worse, we tried to contact the insurance company through their online contact form but were informed that we didn’t have a valid email address on file. So, I went through the steps to add an email address with the website telling me the changes were saved. It didn’t look like the email address was added but I gave it the benefit of the doubt and tried the contact form again to no avail. It still said I didn’t have an email address on file.

This resulted in a call into the insurance company to find out what was going on. The agent who answered the phone gave us the scripted answers at first before admitting they were having issues with the website. We were then transferred to another company that takes care of the website. This person told us he couldn’t do anything about it but would add it as a ticket to be looked at by the developers with no indication of how long that would take.

Having worked as a web developer myself I understand the non-commital response, but as a customer it is quite disheartening when you’re trying to complete financial tasks that have deadlines.

Then literally the next week I’m trying to pay our car insurance bill and their website is down. I have tried multiple browsers and from different locations but it seems as if their web server is just not working. With the payment due today I’m reduced to the option of phoning in our credit card number to avoid late charges. Now paper copies of the bill may not have solved this, but the paper copy reminded me of the due date, provided account numbers and the phone number to call. The online solution failed me.

We’re being pushed towards paperless options more and more, but if you’re relying completely on technology you run the risk of running into dead ends when you need it the most. I recommend at the very least saving a digital copy of important documents so that you’re not relying on a third party service. It’s even better to print them out and file in case your own hard drive crashed wiping out those copies.

The convenience of online solutions is amazing, don’t get me wrong, but they are prone to failure. If you want to be sure that your destiny is in your own hands and not that of a machine, you still need paper.

One Setting that Fixed Apple Airplay with my Airport Extreme

AirPlay is one of my favorite features about owning Apple products. To be able to simply send music from my Macbook or iPhone to my stereo has been the Holy Grail of music playback since I ripped my first CD to MP3s. But at some point through a software update of my Airport Extreme, Apple TV, Macbook, or iPhone, AirPlay has been spotty at best and frustrated me to screaming bouts with my devices.

The Problem

For months I’d been having issues playing music from my computer through my Apple TV. It would play for a minute or two before losing connection and I’d have to start the process all over. It would act like it couldn’t find the Apple TV and then all of a sudden it would start working again.

I finally found someone who was having the same problem AND had a solution (there were lots of reports of this problem with no solution). It came down the Airport Extreme confusing IPv6 and IPv4 messages.

The Solution

Steven Sande at Appleworld.today gave the easiest instructions on how to solve this problem. Basically from your Airport Utility app, tap Edit > Advanced > IPv6 and then disable Share IPv6 Connection button to disable IPv6 sharing.

I’m still watching with baited breath to make sure the problem doesn’t rear it’s head again, but for the time being it seems to have been fixed.

How to clear Netflix watched list for shows and movies

If you’re anything like me, you have TV shows and movies that you watch over and over. I always found it annoying that once you were through a series and wanted to re-watch that it appeared as though every episode was already watched. Well now you can change that.

Clear Viewing Activity

By clearing the viewing activity for a particular TV series or movie, it will appear again as if you haven’t watched it. To do so follow these steps:

  1. Login to Netflix in a web browser (this can’t be done from an app).
  2. Select the profile that you wish to clear activity from.
  3. From the menu in the top right with your profile name, select Your Account.
  4. The last section on this page is called My Profile. Click on Viewing activity.
  5. Click on the x to the far right of the movie or a single episode from the series you wish to clear viewing activity from.
  6. You will be then given the option Remove series?
  7. Click Remove series to reset the played status for every episode.
  8. Watch from the beginning all over again!

Logos Bible App: Separate Note Document for Every Book

One Notes File for All Highlights?!

The highlighting feature of the Logos app on the iPad and mobile devices is a great way to remember passages that you would like to return to for greater study. But I was always frustrated with the fact it would dump them into a single notes file called “Solid Colors.” After reading three or four books, the amount of references in this document became unruly. There had to be a better way.

Resource-specific Note Document

That’s when I found “Document for Highlights” option in the main app settings (find out where this is on your device). By setting this to “Resource-specific Note Document,” each book would end up with it’s own notes file. This was so much more preferable to me as a default action as it’s closer to the workflow of paper books.

You can also set this to “Most Recent Note Document” if you’re collecting passages for a sermon or research project and want to keep notes together.