Category Archives: General Technology

Phone Scams from Internal Revenue ServiceS

This article includes actual voice messages left on my answering machine by scammers implying an IRS or Treasury Department complaint has been filed against me.  If you listen carefully, one caller states he is from the Internal Revenue ServiceS, not our US governmental agency, the Internal Revenue Service.  Being curious, I returned one of these calls and spoke with a representative.  If you receive a similar call, just HANG UP THE PHONE. 

Despite everyone in my home having an iPhone, we still have a traditional land-line connected via Optimum.  The phone number associated with this land-line is available publicly – which means we receive a never ending stream of marketing, non-profit, and political solicitations (despite adding our number to the NO CALL list).

In addition to these unwanted calls, we also received a regular stream of SCAM calls.  Typically, the caller states that the Internal Revenue ServiceS  (yes, ServiceS) has filed a complaint against someone in my household – and I need to speak with their representative to resolve this issue.

For entertainment purposes, I offer a few of these SCAM voice messages:

Being curious, I returned one of these calls to speak with the Internal Revenue ServiceS:

What can you do?

Not much.  I have spoken to my local law enforcement officials about this.  Sadly, unless a crime is committed, there is nothing for them to do.

If you have older family members that receive relentless phone solicitations, discuss this issue with them.

What technology did I use to record and share these voice messages? 

The above recordings are voice messages left on my Panasonic answering machine.  To share these messages here, I placed my answering machine on SPEAKER, played the message while using the Voice Memos app on my iPhone to record the message.  I then saved the recording to my Dropbox account and created the above links.

If you need help making the most of your personal technology, please feel free to contact me.

iPhone, New Orleans, and All That Jazz

This article brings together the power of your iPhone, Dropbox, and a lot of celebrating in New Orleans.

Last week, my daughter Amy and I attended a family wedding in New Orleans.   In addition to the partying and celebration, there was a lot of digital recording with my iPhone.  Recording events like this becomes more enjoyable when you can share them – and Dropbox makes this really easy.

Do you like real New Orleans jazz?  Listen here!

The audio and video below were recorded using my iPhone and shared here using Dropbox.

Dropbox allows you to share a single fileClick here to listen to one of the songs I recorded that will make you smile.

Dropbox also allows you to share a folder with endless files: Dropbox link to a folder containing audio recordings from the wedding.

The above recordings were taken in Preservation Hall, a small playhouse in New Orleans’ French Quarter.  The musicians were terrific.  I was seated about 25 feet away.  The room was filled with people standing, sitting, and applauding loudly.  These songs will put a big smile on your face.

Below, I list the tools I used to capture and edit my recordings – and bring them to you in this article.

  • iPhone 5S
    1. Built-in camera and microphone – capture photos. videos, and audio
    2. Voice Memos – built in iOS app to record audio and save in m4a format.
  • Dropbox – copy files from iPhone to my PC
    1. Dropbox Links – provide online access to my files and folders
  • Camtasia – edit audio
    1. Convert audio files from m4a to mp3 format

This New Orleans wedding was like nothing I have ever experienced.  Instead of a traditional religious ceremony followed by a hotel or backyard reception, this event was several days of intense partying, jazz concerts, eating, drinking, and, oh yes, a blissful wedding ceremony – following by dancing in the streets, and then more partying.

Congrats.  You’re married.  Start the parade.

Second line is a tradition in brass band parades in New Orleans, Louisiana. The “main line” or … for any event which people think merits hiring a parading band for such a style of celebration, including weddings and opening of businesses.

Want to see a real party?  You’ve got to see this!  This is a Second line wedding.  I recorded these videos with my iPhone:

What does this have to do with my iPhone?  Well, my iPhone captured the sights and sounds of my visit.  While most of us use an iPhone to capture photos and videos, the iPhone has a terrific built in microphone that provides excellent audio recording.  My iPhone has an easy to use built-in app, Voice Memos, that recorded the above performed by a local jazz band at Preservation Hall.

Dropbox is a cloud based file storage service.  But, it’s a lot more.  Dropbox provides a feature that allows you to share the files and folders you store within your Dropbox account.  The links included above are provided by Dropbox using their Copy or Share Dropbox Link feature.

The audio files are stored using Apple’s m4a audio file format.  While most devices will play this file format, I used Camtasia to convert my audio files to the more common mp3 format.  Camtasia was somewhat overkill for this task, but it was available and did the trick.  Other, simpler software products are available for this task.

In addition to accessing these files, you can also download them.  Wow!

I specialize in helping you make the most of your personal technology.  If you want to learn how to capture your next family event and share them, please feel free to contact me.