Juan's Family Help Desk


As you ask me questions, I will post them here for future reference.

AnyDesk: Remote Help from Me

If you are having a complex issue and need my help... it is very likely that I am going to ask you to download AnyDesk and let me remote-in to your device.

Learn more about AnyDesk here. Just download and install/run it, and provide me with the 9-digit number. Works on Windows, Android, Apple-garbage and Linux.

By default it will install requiring you to be present and grant me access. Please do this with me on the phone. Never enable unattended access or allow remote access unless you have me on the phone, live.

Unarchiving conversations in WhatsApp 📲



Open WhatsApp and Press on Magnifying Glass (upper right)


Type the name of the conversation to unarchive and it should show up in the list with a little “Archived” flag. In this example, Karen.


PRESS and HOLD on the name of the conversation (e.g. "Karen"). In the menu that shows up, press “Unarchive”


Press the X and Back arrow to get out of the search screen

Avoid Malicious Attacks: Ad-Blocking 👿


Remember that NOTHING in your device IS URGENT. If you get a pop-up to do something urgent, LEAVE by going back, or at worst, turn OFF and ON again.

Ads are not just annoying, but they can be dangerously misleading (for example "URGENT INSTALL THIS THING OR YOR DEVICE WILL BLOW UP") usually to get some sort of malicious code installed or steal information (your contact list). The consequences go from simply slowing down your device, to more serious ransomware and identity theft attacks. Some strategies to block ads are listed below:

  • Do the minimum: Get an ad blocker for your browser. The preferred one is uBlock Origin.

    • Works great on Chrome and other chromium based browsers. Not so much in Android/iOS

  • Go further: use a browser designed for privacy. My preferred one is Brave. This is not as intuitive as Chrome, but does a good job blocking ads.

    • If you want to sync passwords across devices but you use different browsers (i.e. Samsung Internet on you phone, Safari on your iPad and Chrome on your desktop) you will need a password manager. My tentative (still evaluating) preferred one is BitWarden.

  • Go nuclear ⚛: block ads with a private/filtering DNS. My preferred one is AhaDNS.

    • Works device-wide e.g. in a phone, it will block ads in the browser, within apps, emails, etc.

    • DNS is essentially what translates a name like microsoft.com into numbers for the network to be able to find the site corresponding to that name. A private DNS with filtering, essentially translate the name to a wrong (null) address. If the code requesting the ad goes to the wrong address, the ad never loads.

    • This is not for the faint of heart: Will add latency to your internet surfing (short delay) so you need to select the server wisely (close to you), toggling this protection ON/OFF is not straight forward, some sites will break or not work and connection might be impossible in specialty WiFi networks (like airplanes or some stores).

  • Tear subspace 🌌: use all of the above. This can have lots of unintended consequences.

🧘‍♀️ Philosophical Note: I am not against ads. If it weren't for ad revenues, we would have to pay for lots of things that we take for granted, like WhatsApp, Facebook, email, etc. I am a strong proponent of ad blocking because of the wide spread abuse in both their frequency and rampant deceitfulness. Full disclosure, I am a Snapchat employee, but this was my position before I ever worked there.

Powering your Devices while Traveling Abroad ⚡


Outlet Adapters/Converters 🔌

I prefer all-in-one travel adaptors in which you push different sliders and you have the different prongs for the different countries. Also, I like the ones that include USB ports for charging (one less thing to carry).

This example accepts any country's device and converts it into any country's outlet, AND has 3 USB A and one USB C charging ports with high amperage (>2.4A for fast charging of large devices). I travel with this one even domestically because of the generous USB charging features.

Will these convert the voltage? NO. But: most modern devices are rated for automatic switching between 100 to 240V AC and 50 to 60 Hz. In other words, they will automatically detect and adjust. Check by looking at the input rating of your device.

Additional Batteries 🔋

I like to carry an external additional battery that can double up as a wireless charger. Anything above 20,000mAh works. My current battery has 3x USB-A, one USB-micro and one USB-C outlets. I just leave it in my bag with a retractable cable. Keep in mind that charging one of these behemoths could take several hours, so when traveling, make sure you plug them in over night to charge.

⚠ Warning: I have tried ones that have solar cells, but the trickle charge from the Sun is not worth since it takes fffooorrreeevvverrrr to charge (days). Also, the temptation to leave them in a 🚗 car, charging under the Sun on the dashboard or any other hot environment is too great. This is a fire hazard as the battery warms up and can electrically short. 🔋 + 🚙 + 🌞 = 🔥

Always check batteries for signs of bulging, an indication of a short and potential 🔥 hazard.

Charging in Planes ✈

If you have a powerful laptop with an AC adapter the size of a small baby (like rated 90W+) plane, bus and train outlets will refuse to power them. Make sure your AC adaptor is less than 90W. Your computer will complain that the charger is slow... but it will at least stop the bleeding during flight.

What is in Juan's Electronics Survival Pouch? 🏥


Note that all the USB cables are Gay (male to male) unless otherwise stated.

Airport tips and tools: Surviving Airportmageddon Summer 2022


Get thru security FFFFAST:

TSA Wait times, FREE

this app works well for me. No need to sign-up. Grant location permissions and the app will figure out what airports are near you.


Global Entry $100 every 5 years (long 6+ months processing times for new applications)

Lets you expedite passage thru customs and immigration into the US

Includes TSA Pre Check with shorter lines, and no need to remove liquids, laptops, tablets, shoes and coats thru airport security.

IMHO getting TSA Pre-only is not worth it, better go with Global entry for extra $15 and get both.


Clear $150/year (done almost instantly online or at the airport itself)

This lets you "cut in line". Representative at the airport walks you to the front of the line you are eligible for (regular or TSA Pre). Biometric identification (eyes or fingerprint) so you don't have to get your ID out of your pocket.

Not every airport has Clear but the big ones almost all do. Some venues have Clear (concerts and sports arenas) but that has no practical value for me.


FYI that some credit cards include Global Entry and/or Clear (via statement credit).

Lounge Access

Have you ever showered in an airport? I have. It feels great to get off the plane after a transatlantic flight and shower during your layover... does wonders to get over jet lag.

Business and first class tix

Usually these tickets have access to a lounge (seldom, but not never, budget airline premium economy too). Ask your airline counter agent.

Day passes:

United https://www.united.com/ual/en/us/fly/travel/airport/united-club-and-lounges/access.html

Lounge Buddy https://www.loungebuddy.com/

Lounge Pass https://www.loungepass.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=home.home

Note that day passes may be refused if the lounge is full and they are prioritizing pax with premium tix (Business, First class, etc).


Priority Pass https://www.prioritypass.com/en/join-prioritypass (also some restaurant reservations)

Some cards include some of the above memberships or their own lounges (Like Amex Centurion Lounge)

⚠ Before getting a membership or a credit card to have access to lounges, do your research to make sure the airports you frequent have eligible lounges.

Note that lounge access is a "day of departure" benefit, i.e. you must have an outbound ticket (sometimes departing within x amount of hours) to gain entry.


Southwest is probably the best airline to travel within the U.S. for flights <5 hours. Positives:

  • Lots of direct destinations including HNL, and PVR... more if you are willing to use small airports (i.e. instead of LAX you fly into SNA or LGB).

  • Seats are relatively comfortable and Tom fits with room to spare in front of his knees (he is 6'1")

  • Acceptable points to dollars value on Rapid Rewards points and relatively easy to get to A-List tier (the best thing about "status" is you get to board early and pick whatever seat you want and have virtually guaranteed overhead bin space; also if you call they pick the phone up right away)

  • A lot less (or none) nickel and diming:

    • Free bags (2 checked, 1 carry-on and one personal item)

    • No cancellation fees, even at the lowest fare: If you cancel for ANY reason up to 5min to boarding you get at the very least a credit for future use that now DOESN'T expire.

    • No weirdness of paying extra for a specific seat

    • No hidden city BS. Pricing is simple: Two One Ways = Price of a round trip.


  • To search, get pricing, and buy the tickets directly thru their website (so no Google Flights, Kayak, Expedia, etc.).

  • Lack of food for purchase on the plane (but there are booze and snacks).

  • Lots of multi-stop flights, so your flight can be late because of weather in the opposite corner of the U.S.

  • Once... they landed me in Las Vegas instead of Long Beach!

  • The more North East you want to go... the less flights you will find.

Phone SIM Swap and Phone Number Port exploits 👿


WTF is this? This exploit consists of stealing people's phone numbers and then using them to get into bank accounts, etc. by receiving verification text and phone calls.

How can they do that? Either the attacker calls your wireless provider and reports your phone stolen and gets a new SIM card; OR they port your number to another provider or account. While you figure it out, they hack into as many accounts as possible using the phone access to confirm 2FA verification prompts.

What should I do to protect my phone? I recommend you enable Number Lock (Verizon) or equivalent ASAP. This prevents automatic porting or swapping of sim cards:

  • Verizon: Log into your account on verizon.com or by using the My Verizon app. Then click on “Account,”, then “Account Settings” and “Security,” and enable a setting called “Number Lock.”

  • T-Mobile / Sprint: Follow the “Add Takeover Protection” instructions on this page.

  • AT&T: Follow the instructions on this page to add a “wireless passcode” that will be required in order to make changes on your account. Please make sure to write down the passcode and store it in a safe place at home.

  • All other phone plans/Overseas: Please follow documentation provided by your mobile carrier on how to protect yourself from SIM swapping attacks.