Category: Discontinued

Alexa Celebrity Voices: Discontinued

In 2019, Amazon offered the ability to change Alexa’s voice to that of a few popular celebrities. For a small fee, you could switch Alexa’s voice to that of Melissa McCarthy. Instead of saying, “Hey, Alexa”, you could say, “Hey, Shaq, tell me the weather.” Or you might have asked, “Hey, Samuel, how did all these snakes get on this plane?” If you enjoyed these, I am sorry to say that Alexa Celebrity Voices will soon be discontinued.

Alexa Celebrity Voices: Discontinued

Samuel L. Jackson’s voice disappears from all Alexa devices on June 7, 2023. The others will depart on September 30, 2023. I see no explanation so far, but we might guess that Amazon decided to stop paying the licensing fees for these voices. Or perhaps they’re planning something AI-related for Alexa’s voice, and it isn’t compatible with these celebrity voice files or contracts.

In any case, the good news is that you can get a refund for any Alexa celebrity personalities that you paid for. But you have to ask for it! Amazon will only grant you your money back if you speak up and request it. And I imagine the sooner the better. Try this Amazon support link, scroll to the bottom of the page and get started with the Start a Chat Now section.

Amazon Halo Trackers Have Been Discontinued

If you use an Amazon Halo fitness tracker, it will soon stop working. Amazon has decided to end the sale and support of these devices. Since these trackers are part of the Internet of Things, they will cease to function when their apps and services are shut down.

Other fitness trackers are alive & well and will be unaffected by Amazon’s discontinuation. If you are impacted, please know that Amazon will refund you on any Halo you’ve purchased in the last 12 months. They will also stop any recurring subscription fees you’ve signed up for. You’ll have until 8/1/2023 to move to another fitness tracker, at which time your Halo devices will be bricked.

If you need a replacement fitness tracker, please know that Google, Apple, Samsung and Garmin all sell such devices.

Windows Live Mail Keeps Breaking

I’m sorry to say it, but it is time that we move past using Windows Live Mail. Many of you still use it and love it, as your primary email client. But despite how awesome this program has always been, it is no longer reliable. Microsoft sunsetted this program back in 2012, but users were allowed to keep using it. Now in 2020, it is becoming clear: every time Windows 10 receives a biannual update, Windows Live Mail may stop working.

When Microsoft breaks WLM, you’ll know it because it will

  1. Not allow you to view your individual messages
  2. Not allow you to send/receive messages
  3. Claim you are low on memory or disk space

This breakage can be fixed, but I’m now seeing that the fix is short-lived. Because a repair on Windows Live mail may only last you 6 months, give or take, I must now a) recommend you move away from using Windows Live Mail and b) describe the fixes. I don’t want to “make work” for myself, and doing anything else would be unconscionable.

Since the fixes are more than many people can undertake, again, I encourage you to get ready to move to different email access. Instead of using Windows Live Mail, you could move to Mozilla Thunderbird or Windows Mail. But in many cases, switching to the Webmail site for your email is the best and most direct option. Please consider that option first!

The rest of this post describes the fixes for when WLM misbehaves. Please do NOT attempt these steps if you are uncomfortable or unfamiliar with the advanced techniques therein. BlueScreen Computer cannot accept any responsibility for any damages/data loss that occur from attempting the following repair tactics.

WLM Repair Option #1

Remove your Email Account and re-add it.

For this method, you will need to know your mail server names and other account settings. Comb through your email account screens and take notes before you proceed, or call your ISP or email provider afterwards for info and help.

Also note that this is intended for IMAP account setups. If you have previously setup your email in WLM as a POP account, you may irrevocably lose emails or folders in this process.

Open WLM and dismiss any error pop-ups.

Go to File -> Options -> Email Accounts.

Select your email account and click the Remove button.

Once your email address is gone from this window, use the Add… button to set it up again.

WLM Repair Option #2

Delete the App Data for WLM

As in Option #1, you will need to re-add your email account after these steps. Take note of your account settings in advance, or be prepared to call someone for help with the settings. And if your email account was set up as a POP, this may cause the loss of your current emails and folders..

Press the Windows Key and the ‘R’ key to open a Run window.

Type %localappdata% and click OK.

Enter the Microsoft folder, then enter the Windows Live Mail folder.

Delete all files and folders inside.

Reboot, reopen WLM and go to File -> Options -> Email Accounts to re-add your email account.

WLM Repair Option #3

Use a Windows Registry Reset

This option involves editing the registry, and you almost never see me recommending this to anyone. A mistake in the Windows Registry can harm your entire computer, and no one wants that. Do not attempt this unless you are uber-confident with your computer skills.

Press the Windows Key and the ‘R’ key to open a Run window.

Type regedit and click OK.

Drill down to Computer \ HKEY_CURRENT_USER \ SOFTWARE \ Microsoft \ Windows Live Mail

Right-click on the Windows Live Mail folder and (one at a time), create the following DWORD entries:

RecreateFolderIndex
RecreateStreamIndex
RecreateUIDLIndex

As you create each new entry, open it and change its Value Data to 1.

If for any reasons these values are already present, do not recreate them, but open each and change the Value Data to 1.

Reboot and reopen WLM.

AT&T Notifying Some Users to Buy New Phones

Some AT&T users are receiving emails and texts this week, telling them to upgrade their phones or lose service. Some people are asking if the messages are scams (because of the grammar and spelling). And others are getting annoyed because their phones are not that old.

These messages are legitimate. And yet, they are not clear on all the details. Here’s what AT&T cellular customers need to know:

In February 2022, AT&T will kill off their 3G network. After that, older 3G-reliant phones will stop working. Phones that are 4G-compatible (and support HD voice) will continue to work.

So, you don’t really need to do anything until February 2022. Don’t rush out to buy a new phone, if your current one is working just fine.

AT&T has put together a list of phones that will work on their 4G service here: https://www.att.com/ecms/dam/att/consumer/help/pdf/Devices-Working-on-ATT-Network.pdf If you don’t see your make and model of phone on the list, and you think it should be (because it’s a newer phone), contact AT&T to press them on the issue. And if you don’t like what you hear, then you have plenty of time to shop around for a new cellular provider!

Logitech Harmony Express Remotes Will Soon Stop Working

Last year, Logitech came out with these fab new universal remotes with Alexa built-in! But things didn’t go so well, and Logitech has decide to retire these remotes. Because these things are reliant on their links to the internet, apps & Amazon, they will stop working when Logitech shuts down their associated connections. If you have one of these remotes, it will be “bricked” on 9/30/2020.

These things were not cheap, so Logitech is doing the right thing: You can go to Logitech and get a Harmony Elite remote as a replacement, or you may ask for a refund of your original purchase price. The details for doing that are here:

https://support.myharmony.com/en-us/express-announcement

All other Logitech remotes are unaffected by this event. Unless your remote looks like the one below, your Logitech remote control devices should keep working as normal.

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