Monday, March 27, 2023

Forcing Blogger to Display Your Favorite Language

Blogger was acquired by Google in February 2003.  Like Google, it always uses IP address to identify viewers' geographical locations for language display.  It doesn't offer language selection for viewers.  If you own a blog under blogger and have already logged in, you will be able to control the language display via the blogger settings.  For others, they could see foreign language as per their IP locations.  In order to force blogger to display your favorite language,  you can simply append a query string (a key-value pair) to the end of  URL along with a question mark (?) prefix .  This method applies to Blogger URL without parameters.  Otherwise, replace the question mark (?) prefix with an ampersand (&).

This technique also applies to Google Search and most Google related products.

No URL Parameter
(Blogger URL usally doesn't have query string)
Sample LanguagesAdd Query String Portion
including question mark (?)
English (United States)?hl=en
French (France) - ‪français (France)?hl=fr
German - ‪Deutsch?hl=de
Chinese (Hong Kong) - ‪中文(香港)?hl=zh-HK
Japanese - ‪日本語?hl=ja

When URL Parameter Exists,
use ampersand (&) instead of question mark (?)
Sample LanguagesAppend Additional URL Parameter
English (United States)&hl=en
French (France) - ‪français (France)&hl=fr
German - ‪Deutsch&hl=de
Chinese (Hong Kong) - ‪中文(香港)&hl=zh-HK
Japanese - ‪日本語&hl=ja

Wednesday, March 8, 2023

Mega Account Recovery

While attempting to sign up a 20GBs free storage account with Mega ( or, I found that I had previously created an account with them.   However, I could not recall my password and was unable to find an account recovery option..  Instead, Mega offered me the option of creating a new account with the same email address, while deleting all files from the previous account.  They assured me that the files would be retained for 60 days in case I recalled my password and required further assistance from their support team.

In my situation, creating a new account and deleting the existing files is not an issue.  However, I can understand that some users may prefer to use a different email address for a new account.  While I personally find this process convenient, I can empathize with those who may find it difficult to part with their important files.

 Let's review their so-called account recovery by losing existing files if any.  At the end, I will also point out a few things about Mega for your reference.

Go to Mega login page and then click "Forgot your password?" which will forward you to the account recovery page.

Or directly go to the recovery page via this URL,  Then enter your password to proceed.

Before Mega create a new account for you, they would try and help you to recover your account in destructive ways as possible.  

The first one is the recovery key to see if you may happen to have it.  

The second one is to check  if you may still have an active session with Mega such as browser session or app session.  Check all boxes if you confirm there isn't one and then click the NO option to continue.

Then Mega will warn you about the potential risk of this recovery which will lose all your existing files.  However, they also inform you that you will have 60 days to recover your files if you happen to recall your password at a later time.

Finally, you will receive a password link via your email account for account creation if you still insist.  

Use the provided link from your email account for further setup.  Then Mega will give you a final warning. 

As you proceed with "Start new account", you will be presented a new account for access.  That's.

Technically I believe Mega has a way to reset your password and then recover your existing account without losing files.  Otherwise, how could Mega firmly retain your files for 60 days?  It looks to me that they are able to know which files are associated with your existing account.  Since no account recovery is one of their policies to begin with, they follow the rule by kindly setting you up a new one instead.

Mega seems to encourage you to do more link sharing with friends and others so that you may indirectly introduce new users to them and then in turn earn commission.   However it is not as simple as it said when you look into their fine texts.  You and your referred users at least make one purchase with them.  See the details.

For safety, Mega will prompt you to export your recovery key or retest your password to ensure that you can log back in later whenever you attempt to log out.  Of course, if you don't want this reminder,  you can turned it off by checking the box of "Do not show again" in the bottom of this popup below.

In addition, Mega will impose transfer/download speed limit on files based on your IP usages in the past six hours to prevent their network from being overloaded, especially it is a free account.  I believe that not many people like this restriction but a lot storage accounts do the similar throttle to control the network traffic.  You can read this to find out more about Mega's traffic throttle.

So far I've only highlighted a few policies that you should be aware when you sign up an account with Mega.  To learn more, please go to Mega and explore yourself.

pCloud only 3 to 4GBs free storage by default

I only used pCloud for its free big file transfer because it can send a file up to 5GBs and doesn't require registration.  pCloud transfer is also stable and fast. And there is no speed limit control for download.  Today I would like to get more free storage so that I can transfer a file beyond 5GBs.  Since pCloud advertised 10GBs free storage, I decided to sign it up.   It turns out that these 10GBs free come with strings attached.  By default, only 3 or 4 GBs are free.

After having signed up with pCloud,  I was asked for email verification to complete the process so that I could have 3GBs free storage.  

To get more free storage up to 10GBs, the following conditions must be fulfilled.  I'm personally not much interested to get them all.  Instead, I feel to be fooled to sign up.  

The first step is to upload a file to pCloud and it is easy.  

After this step, I have 4GBs free.  That's.  I am unwilling to do the rest.   My purpose to sign up is to send a big file larger than 5GBs.   Now my current free storage is 4GBs even less than the free 5GBs without registration. 

Anyway I will continue to show you the rest of the screenshots of what pCloud ask for so that you get an idea and decide if it is worth to sign up. 

The following are the screens after a file has been uploaded.

Download pCloud Drive onto your PC - add you 1 GB

Install pCloud onto your Android or IOS device - add you 1 GB

Turn on sync for your photo and videos upload from your mobile device - add you 1 GB

Invite 3friends -  - add you 3 GB

To me, it is not worth to go through this by being a freeloader!

Actions / ConditionsGetTotal
Sign up pCloud account successfully with email verified (default free GBs)3 GBs3 GBs
Upload a file successfully to your pCloud account1 GB4 GBs
Download, install and use pCloud on PC1 GB5GBs
Install pCloud onto your mobile device (Android or IOS)1 GB6GBs
Enable auto-upload photos and videos from your mobile devices1 GB7 GBs
Invite 3 friends (each one brings you 1GB)3 GB10 GB

Thursday, March 2, 2023

Review and How to Log in their New Help Center

The following is my brief review on (near the bottom) and show you how to get onto their new Help Center for request ticket submission.

Issue with Sav Help Center

Sav is migrating their support system to Zendesk.  As an existing customer, I got confused how to submit a ticket for help.  If you are running into the same issue, the following may assist you.

The new Help Center of Sav setup on Zendesk currently is outside your Sav account.  Your Sav credential won't be auto-forwarded to Zendesk.  You need to set up a new Help account on Zendesk before use. The login between Sav and Zendesk are completely separate and independent.  Unlike the past, logging onto Sav doesn't mean you are also on their help system.  Currently you must log in separately for Sav account and Zendesk help system.

As usual, you can proceed to for help.  If you are an existing Sav customer and it is your first time to use their Zendesk help system, you may encounter the following error after you've provided your Sav credential.  I guess, for security or technical reason, Sav don't migrate your password into Zendesk but your login email.  Thus, you need to set it up yourself.  Unfortunately, the login screen is quite confusing.

Email address / password combination is incorrect, try again

How to submit a ticket (existing customers)

  1. On, click "Sign in" link on the right top of the page.

  2. You will be forwarded to Zendesk for login whether or not you've already logged in onto Sav account.

  3. Click "Get a password" link.
    Sav do not directly publish their support email address.  It could be difficult for you to contact them for help when you get stuck the login.  
  4. Enter your Sav login email in the Email box and then hit "Submit.
  5. Check your mailbox.  Zendesk should send you a password link for password creation for your help account setup.
  6. Follow the link found in your mailbox to create your password on Zendesk.  The password could be completely different from your Sav account.
  7. After this step, you should be able to log in Sav Help Center on Zendesk to submit a ticket.

  8. Scroll down the help page or search for "Submit a request." 

  9. Click on "Submit a request" to post your help request.

About Sav

Sav is one of domain registrars.  They offer all-inclusive budget pricing for all cases such as first-time registration, transfer and renewal.  Most importance is that their prices for all TLD domains excepts for .us include free WHOIS privacy protection.  

You may find a good deal by transferring your domain(s) to another registrar for the first year but you may be ripped off in the subsequent renewals.  Unlike most registrars, Sav publishes their price sheet at a glance including the current prices of renewal.

Previously, I used 1&1 which also included free privacy protection.  Since 1&1 was merged with ProfitBricks and later rebranded to IONOS, their renewal pricing are getting expensive.  IONOS also no longer offer toll free number 1-800 in the USA.  Thus, I've gradually moved around my domains from one to another until I use Sav.

Although Sav has the lowest pricing, their support is not available 24/7, and it also intensively relies on their online Help System.  As per my past experience, their support hours are limited within office hours while IONOS (or previously 1&1) do provide 24/7 support via multiple channels.  I am not sure if Sav will have a better support after having moved onto Zendesk.  As of this writing, Sav only provide help/technical support during office hours.

The user interfaces on IONOS are quite clear to guide you every single step.  With Sav, you are on your own and possibly read their online documentation available from their help system.

One more thing, I am not sure when this policy began that Sav now won't allow their customers personally to remove their previous setup payment method.  It means that there will be two or more entries if you switch one card to another.  For security reason, you may want to remove the ones you don't want to use. In this case, you have to submit a request for removal.  It is very inconvenient and I personally don't feel comfortable either.

For any reason, if you still want to get ahold with Sav via email, you can, please see below.  However, if you want further assisting your Sav account, using their online "Submit a request" via their Help System (currently on Zendesk) is required.

Sav Email Contact

Wednesday, February 22, 2023

Just renew magicJack for another 5 years

It's time for renewal.   I received their email notification about this good deal today.

The 5-year promotion plan is only offered for renewal, can only be used once and then is no longer available to add more years or reused.  The total charge for 5-year plan renewal is $150 order + $13.50 admin = $163.50 plus tax if any.

If your magicJack plan is going to expire soon and you consider to renew it, you may better check if your account offers you a special 5-year plan renewal.  

My experience with magicJack

I have been a magicJack user since 2009, and I am happy about it.  It has been already over a decade that my magicJack device is still working.   A few years ago, magicJack even made its mobile apps available for free without additional charges.  The mobile app can be used any time without the magicJack device plugging into a computer as long as the Internet connection is available.  It is a very good on-the-go or home office feature without carrying the magicJack device around.  The bad of the mobile app is that it always keeps popping up the new feature alert if the permission is not allowed on your mobile device's settings.  Hope that magicJack will improve it soon.  The current new feature is able to use Bluetooth for communication.  For security reason, I don't want to enable it by default.

Another good about the magicJack mobile app is that it can run on a very old android device with at least Android 4.4.  But there is no such an offer for Apple users.  It requires at least IOS 13.  It means your devices must be quite modern. 

Sunday, January 15, 2023

ExpressZip and Restoring Extract All Option

You may suddenly notice "Extract All..." option is missing  in return for "Extract with Express Zip" when you right-click on a ZIP file on a Windows system. 

ExpressZip is one of products by NCH Software.  It usually comes with any NCH Software product, e.g., video or audio software.   Your system may not have any installation content or trace of ExpressZip including the registry entries.  However, there is usually a registry entry associated with "Extract with Express Zip" command, typically inside a user profile subkey of the HKEY_USERS hive.  Surprisingly the open command for "Extract with Express Zip" is set to using 7-zip command if you have 7-zip installed.

If you are using any product(s) by NCH Software, uninstalling them will usually restore "Extract All..." option but a reboot is required.  Or you may try and go to NCH Software to install ExpressZip, and then uninstall it.

Saturday, January 14, 2023

Remove Alibaba PC Safe Service

If your Windows system has the uninvited Alibaba PC Safe Service resident and you want to remove it, the following info may help you to remove.  The service name of Alibaba PC Safe Service is called AlibabaProtect.  It is typically installed under C:\Program Files (x86) directory.  

You won't be able directly to stop AlibabaProtect from running via Services app (services.msc), or kill it via Task Manager or using the "taskkill /f" command.   AlibabaProtect does not show in the list of "Add or remove programs" App (appwiz.cpl) either.  

Under the installation folder (e.g., C:\Program Files (x86)\AlibabaProtect), you may find an EXE to uninstall but the EXE always refuses to run.

This article explains how  AlibabaProtect gets into your system and provides you a working solution to remove AlibabaProtect without the third party or additional software installed.

How or why will AlibabaProtect be installed?

Most likely you install AliWangWang.  As of this writing, AliWangWang is the only online messenger for chatting with China online marketers on Taobao if you are using Taobao Web version (on a PC or laptop). 

You may be able to bypass AlibabaProtect when you first install AliWangWang.  Unfortunately, AlibabaProtect will be still find a way to get into your system without your notice when you do subsequent update/upgrade AliWangWang.

With AlibabaProtect, most people will immediately notice the slowness on the system.

How to remove AlibabaProtect without additional app installed?

Before you start, you must have administrator rights to do the following.

  1. Open a command prompt with admin rights

  2. Type   takeown /f  "C:\Program Files (x86)\AlibabaProtect" /r /d y  
    Be sure this command runs successfully. If not, sorry you need to seek help from somewhere else.

  3. Type   sc delete AlibabaProtect  
    Be sure this command runs successfully. If not, sorry you need to seek help from somewhere else.

  4. Reboot your system.  If you don't want to reboot, it will be worth a try of either one option below.

    Option 1: End task via Task Manager to kill or stop "Alibaba PC Safe Service"
    Option 2: In a command prompt with admin rights, do the following:

               sc queryex AlibabaProtect  to find out the PID number, then
               taskkill /pid <pid number> /f  (e.g.,  taskkill /pid 11192 /f )

    If both methods fail or getting  "Access Denied" error, the only one solution is to reboot your system before going onto the next step.

  5. Up to here, you should be able to remove all files and directories of AlibabaProtect
    Type    rmdir /s /q "C:\Program Files (x86)\AlibabaProtect"  in the command prompt with admin rights.
That's all.  Hope the above removal steps may help.  Good luck.