Sunshine, Spring and Moving Forward

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Rain, sun, flowers, and spring teasers. All the rain this season has been wonderful - our rainfall totals are close to normal and the reservoirs are full. Even better news is that the Sierra snowpack is at 141% of normal and is already over the minimum as measured yearly on April 1st. This is great news for us, drought or no drought. Of course as I write this we have another beautiful sunny day so I am enjoying this spring teaser before the rains return. My favorite spring occurrence is the blooming of daffodils! They are sprouting up all over the county and always make me smile. 

In the Apple computing world we are seeing rumors of spring releases of new AirPods (wireless ear buds), maybe the long awaited refresh to the iPad Mini, maybe new laptops and of course more. These are all rumors but it bodes well for a fun spring for technology fans.
I am finally giving a 'qualified' okay to Mojave - please see below for details and an upgrade special. IF you are looking to get a new iPhone, the iPhone XS has an amazing, amazing, amazing camera!! Pricey but in my opinion worth it for the camera alone. 


MOVING ON TO MOJAVE! 

Upgrade time has arrived! Apple has recently released MacOS Mojave 10.14.3 and we feel that enough of the bugs have been worked out. As such, we are finally ready to recommend Mojave to clients who have qualified computers. See below to check if your computer qualifies for the upgrade. Mojave has some very strict security controls designed to prevent many of the recent scams and malware issues we have been seeing and by now, most if not all third party software developers have updated their software to be compatible.


System Requirements to Upgrade to Mojave
Technology Simplified has recommended requirements for the Mojave upgrade that are much more stringent than Apple's very general requirements. 

Important note: Mojave does best when running on a computer that has a Solid State Drive (SSD) or Fusion Drive. In fact we are NOT recommending you move to Mojave if you have a standard spinning drive**. With a standard drive you should be running High Sierra (macOS 10.13.6) - Apple is still releasing security patches for High Sierra.

1. Computers must be no older than 5 years.

* MacBook (Early 2015 or later)
* MacBook Air (Mid-2013 or later)
* MacBook Pro (Mid-2013 or later)
* Mac mini (Late 2015 or later)
* iMac (Late 2015 or later)
* iMac Pro (all models)

2. Minimum RAM of 4 GBs required WITH Solid State Drive (SSD) or Fusion Drive.  

3.   Mojave absolutely requires the user also upgrade all their third party software.
This includes but is not limited to Microsoft Office (to Office 365 or Office 2019), Adobe Creative Cloud - Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator and Lightroom (to CC 2019 or the absolute latest version if you use the apps standalone), Quicken 2007 (to Banktivity 7 or a more recent version of Quicken - be aware that Quicken 2019 is subscription only now!) and 1Password 6 (to 1Password 7.) There are other many, less common apps that may or may not run on Mojave.

Mojave does disable older versions of Apple's Aperture (no longer made or supported by Apple), The new versions of Apple's software is fine, such as Pages, Keynote and Numbers. If older than 2013, these apps MAY NOT run. NOTE: some folks are successfully running some older apps on Mojave BUT there are definitely expected issues.

** To see what type of computer - model, ram, and storage you have do this: Apple Menu >  About This Mac. The first screen will give you model / year, current Mac OS and RAM / memory.

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Then touch on Storage at the top to see this screen - look at the left you will see either Fusion (iMacs) or SSD - which will read "Flash Drive."

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As always call us IF you have a question about whether or not to upgrade. 


For updates, all iOS devices should be at iOS 12.1.4 or iOS 11.4.1 on older devices.


TECH TIPS

iOS 12 tip - Magnifier

Did you know you can use the camera on your iPhone or iPad as a magnifier?? It's easy to do and it's free! Bonus: the screen magnifier has a light and the ability to adjust contrast and color. Follow the steps below. 

1. Turn on this feature: Settings app >

2. General > Accessibility > Magnifier > Turn it on (green)

3. To use the magnifier - Press your iPhone or iPad's side button 3 times (iPhone X, XR or XS or new iPad Pro) OR the Home button 3 times for older iPhones and iPads. 

4. Slide the yellow dot right (increase) or left (decrease) on your iPhone or iPad's magnification. Tap the lightning bolt to add light.

5. Tap the 3 overlapping circles at the right to get to color, lighting or contrast options. Once you have any options set touch the Lock icon to save them as a default. 

macOS tip - Switch between applications

This one has been around for awhile but I use it daily. Often we have multiple applications running on our computer at the same time. You can quickly switch between open applications by:

1. Press and hold down the Command key 

2. Now tap on the Tab key > this brings up the Application switcher. Each time you touch Tab you will move to the next application in the line. This is a huge time saver!

New Year - New Possibilities

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Once again we find ourselves at the beginning of a New Year and hopefully we feel excitement at the idea of a fresh start and the potential for wonderful things happening. I also start my New Year with intentions as opposed to resolutions. I took some time over the holiday break to sit and ask myself what I would like my New Year to look and feel like. Then I created intentions of a more general sort, i.e feel stronger (from here I can make decisions on how that will happen). I love moving into the New Year feeling good about the possibilities. 

However for some (especially in this sometimes challenging world we live in!) it can be hard to look forward with a positive mindset. If you are that person, I invite you to look at the New Year from a perspective of curiosity about what is and what might be possible. I learned the technique of curiosity from my friend and colleague Janet Caliri.

On the technical side of things - Apple released several new products in the last half of 2018. 9 to 5 Mac has a great end of year round up article.

This newsletter will be our January and February news since my wonderful Virtual Assistant Nicole is taking herself on an adventure at the end of January. I will be sending out some class reminders and, of course, if there is anything critical I will send an e-blast out right away. 


UPDATES GONE WRONG AND UPGRADE FEARS 

About two weeks ago, Apple released an update to iTunes (12.8.1) that basically made their own web browser, Safari, unusable, but only if the computer was running in Yosemite (10.10.x). While this was disturbing in the sense that Apple's own update broke their own software it is also a very strong indicator of why I always take a cautious yet proactive approach to software updates and upgrades. I have also been asked several times recently why I am still not recommending Apple's latest macOS Mojave. I hope this article will help explain my thinking and guide you towards understanding the choices you have. 

First, terminology clarification:

Software Updates

These are the updates that are regularly offered when you first open an app (third party updates) or via the MacApp store or Apple Software update (the notifications that show up in the upper right corner of your computer screen or on your iPhone/iPad screen). They are typically patches, bug fixes, or enhancements to existing systems and/or software. Typically these updates are valuable and improve performance however my standing rule is to say 'no thanks' the first time or two this type of update is offered just in case there is a problem. This is the type of update to iTunes that broke Safari - more about that later. Once this type of update is installed you may not even notice any changes. 

Software Upgrades

These are the upgrades that are offered about once a year via MacApp store or Apple Software update (the notifications that show up in the upper right corner of your computer screen or on your iPhone/iPad screen). However this type of upgrade will often say "New macOS." 

The key to look for is the word 'new' in the offering on both Mac or iOS. These are major upgrades that will definitely change the way your computer or iOS devices look and works. It is these upgrades that I am most cautious about because they will affect any third party software you run and they 'may' affect features you use and like in your current OS. 

How and why to 'update' your software (always have a current backup in place!)

Note: The following information is pretty in-depth. If you prefer, here is the short and sweet status of upgrades and updates on both the iOS and macOS:

For updates on the macOS the version should be - macOS Sierra 10.12.6

(NOTE: this is the absolute oldest macOS I recommend!!) OR macOS High Sierra 10.13.6 (Current recommended macOS) or IF you have already updated to Mojave, macOS 10.14.2. So, yes, please install available updates!! 

For updates all iOS devices should be at iOS 12.1.2 OR iOS 12.1.1 if offered, or iOS 11.4.1 on older devices. 

On the macOS, the prompt for updates will look like the image below. Sadly Apple has made it virtually impossible to turn off these notifications so all you can do is say "remind me tomorrow." I recommend doing this for about a week so you don't get caught with a rare but possible bad update. If the update requires a restart be sure to close any open programs before allowing the update to install. Also know that if an update requires a restart it will most likely enhances the security of your macOS or fixes a bug.

IF you want to install these updates on your own - for all macOS's prior to Mojave - simply open the Mac App store and click on the updates icon - you will then see a list of available updates. I usually just click on Update All and follow the prompts. 

In Mojave Apple has moved Software Updates back into System Preferences (under the Apple at the upper left of your screen.) Then click on the Software Update pane. You will see a dialog similar to below and you can click on Update Now. 

NOTE: PLEASE avoid turning on "Automatically Keep My Mac up to date" or 'Turn on Auto Update' - this is truly just asking for problems. 

For updates on the macOS the version should be - macOS Sierra 10.12.6
(NOTE: this is the absolute oldest macOS I recommend!!) OR macOS High Sierra 10.13.6 (Current recommended macOS) or IF you have already updated to Mojave, macOS 10.14.2. So, yes, please install available updates!! 
On the iOS it can be a little harder to distinguish a simple update vs a major upgrade. First at any prompt say "remind me later" and then "Never." At this point you can open Settings > General > About and make a note of what Version of software your iOS device is running. i.e. 12.1.2. Now touch the word General at the top of the screen to move back one screen and this time choose General > Software Update. IF the first number (11, 12) is the same as what you already have you device needs and 'update' and it's okay to install it. IF however it show a higher number you will be "upgrading" to a major new version of software (see below.) Remember these smaller updates are a good thing - they keep your device running secure and often fix any bugs. You can also read the description in the Software update offering and look for the word new - this is another indicator of a major upgrade that you may or may not want. 

For updates all iOS devices should be at iOS 12.1.2 OR iOS 12.1.1 if offered, or iOS 11.4.1 on older devices. 

What about "Updates Gone Wrong and Upgrade Fear"???

Updates Gone Wrong

First the update that went wrong was an update of Apple's venerable iTunes software to a version fully compatible with their newest offerings. The problem occurred because the update broke Safari in a version of the macOS (Yosemite) that was released in 2014 and that Apple stopped officially supporting in 2017. I have been recommending anyone running Yosemite upgrade immediately and this is just one more reason why. IF you have run into this problem let us know we can help you. 

Upgrade Fears

Often clients will say they don't want to do major upgrades because too  much changes - they are fearful. I understand it can be hard to change the way you work with your computer and have empathy for those feelings. However these days in the world of computers and electronic devices it is actually dangerous to avoid upgrading your software. Apple only supports older operating systems for so long and once they stop releasing security updates you are actually more vulnerable to issues when you are using the Internet and email. Many of the problems we see with malware or supposed hijacks occur on machines running older software. Also the longer you wait to do major upgrades the harder it is for even us to get your system current. It also becomes more expensive because it is more time consuming. Remember we are always here to help you upgrade and navigate a new system. Read on for why I too am cautious about recommending new systems and what my current recommendations are.

I have been asked by a few clients why I am still not recommending upgrading to macOS Mojave. I have a few reasons why I am still not yet ready to recommend the upgrade. The primary one is that we support over a thousand users and my recommendations have to account for a large variety of situations. Right now the biggest issue I have with Mojave is that it absolutely requires the user also upgrade all their third party software - including but not limited to Microsoft Office (to Office 365 or Office 2019), Adobe Creative Cloud - Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator and Lightroom (to CC 2019 or the absolute latest version if you use the apps standalone), Quicken 2007 (to Banktivity 7 or a more recent version of Quicken - be aware that Quicken 2019 is subscription only now!) and 1Password 6 (to 1Password 7). There are other apps but they are less common. Also Mojave does disable older versions of Apple's Aperture (no longer made or supported by Apple), Pages, Keynote, Numbers (if older than 2013) the new versions are fine.

My current recommendation is macOS is High Sierra and if you haven't upgrade yet please give us a call. IF you have a new computer that came with Mojave OR you accidentally upgraded and there are no issues please don't worry. I expect to be recommending Mojave once Apple release 10.14.3 which is in Beta right now. In the meantime you can start to plan for and/or upgrade any third party software you use.


TECH TIPS

iOS tips: Keep Your iOS Apps Up To Date

The main article of this newsletter discussed iOS updates. However on your iPhone/iPad you also have a variety of third party apps that also need to be updated. As with the updates to the iOS these apps updates are often bug fixes or app enhancements and should be done regularly. While I don't recommend allowing them to update automatically these step will allow you to update them easily yourself.

On your iPhone / iPad look for the App store icon and see if it has a number in red at the upper right corner.

IF it does touch on it and then touch on Updates at the bottom of the window.

You will now see a list of all apps that need updating. The easiest thing to do is to simply touch on Update All. When there are no more updates you will only see the word "open" next to the name of an app. You are done!!

macOS tips - Spotlight

Spotlight is Apple's handy utility for searching for a file, a movie, converting units of currency, measures, and more. 

Access Spotlight on your Mac by looking for the magnifier icon the upper right corner of your screen and click on it.  

You will now see a window appear with a blinking cursor ready to type - type your inquiry and be amazed at the results!!

Warmest Holiday Wishes

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This year has been a wild ride on many fronts from weather events and violence, to elections and the "too close to home" horrors of the Butte fire. I find myself reaching out to friends, family, and the many support resources we have in this community. I hope that you will do the same if you feel a need to. Even with the many hardships of 2018, I am grateful that my business is slowly growing and I am feeling beyond thankful to be surrounded by the many sites and sounds of a neighborhood and city that is rebirthing. 

The winter solstice is on December 21 this year - a time for quiet and reflection before we re-emerge into the light. I am once again sharing this page of heartfelt readings if you are so inclined.

My wish for you this holiday season is all that is sweet and kind, loving and inspiring, joyful and heartwarming. 

We are so grateful to you, our clients, for your continued referrals and support of our business,

Ronnie, Jillian, & John


APPLE NEWS 

iOS 12 and Mojave

Mac OS Mojave (10.14)

JUST SAY NO!! 

iOS 12.1 for iPhone / iPads
A CAUTIOUS YES.

My recommendations and cautions from last month still stand - see here for the information. 

---

This was a busy fall for Apple:

In September, Apple gave us new iPhones, a great new iWatch, and a new operating system for iOS devices (12) and Computers (Mojave 10.14.) Each of these releases can stand on its own as very nice! But here's a quick summary:

iPhone XS, XS Max, and XR

The all new iPhone XR combines some of the features of the more expensive iPhone XS/XS Max (most notably, face recognition and an improved camera) at a more affordable price point. Interestingly enough, the iPhone XR is physically larger than last year's 'affordable' iPhone - the iPhone 8 and the iPhone X/ XS.  This website gives a great graphic of all the most recent iPhones - good info!! 

Santa brought me an early gift of an iPhone XS to replace my aging iPhone 7 and I LOVE it - the camera is phenomenal. Facial recognition is much smoother than I would have thought although I'm still getting used to using 'swipe' for everything. Apple has also integrated the use of 1Password into iOS 12 and now it works pretty seamlessly within apps and with facial recognition. 

iWatch 4

The biggest improvement to date for Apple's signature wearable. The two most notable additions are the ability to function as a single lead ECG device (this feature will be activated late this year or early next year) and fall detection. Here is a brief summary of the biggest changes. IF you were thinking of getting an Apple watch, the iWatch 4 would be a great choice.  

October brought a long awaited upgrade to the venerable MacBook Air line of laptops. The MacBook Air is Apple's lightest, slimmest computer and with this most recent update it is once again a competitor to the larger more expensive MacBook Pro computers. Santa brought John an early gift of a new MacBook Air and he loves it! You can read more about the new MacBook Air on Apple's website here

Apple also tweaked the top of the line iPads to have facial recognition and new charging ports (sigh.....don't get me started on connection port changes). The new iPad Pro's use the same USB charging / connection ports as all their computers have now. To go with the new iPad Pros, the Apple Pencil got some serious updating with wireless charging and better stability for everyday use. You can read about both here.

And one more thing.... 

The Mac Mini returns. We thought Apple had abandoned the Mac Mini several years ago but this upgrade is a brand new computer in the same small form. Apple used to position the Mac Mini as the low cost choice for consumers who already had a monitor, mouse, and keyboard. With this upgrade / new Mac Mini there is still a sub $1000 entry version for consumers and a slightly more expensive version for more serious users and / or businesses wanting to create groups of computers that function as servers (sharing data with many users over a network). Read more about the all new Mac Mini here. 


NON-TECHIE GIFTS

Gift a Stress Reduction Practice for Everyone! Even children!

The Daily Clean Your House Flow, an easy self-help acupressure flow that works for all ages.

Balancing your energy can make the difference when it comes to managing that "thing" called stress, letting go of overwhelm, having clarity and focus, increasing productivity and handling feelings. Sounds good for the holiday season right? Easy self-help acupressure can help you do all of that and more, no matter the time of the year. 

You can see the first 90 seconds of the animated video of the Daily Clean Your House Flow. Go here to see why kids, parents and teachers are finding it so useful. And discover why so many people are using it during work and at home. The video and companion books make great holiday gifts!

Deborah Myers, acupressurist and Jin Shin Jyutsu practitioner, is passionate about showing others how we can help our bodies be healthier and happier. You can also read about her work here
Ronnie says: "I use this process faithfully every day!!! It really works."

Greening our Planet - Trees For a Change     
www.treesforachange.com

Give a tree gift that will grow for years to come...

Help restore fire devastated forests and make a difference

Thankful Thoughts

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If you have been reading this newsletter for a while, you know I am all about gratitude - each and everyday. Thanksgiving just brings the practice of gratitude closer to my heart because I get to share it with friends, family and you, my dear clients. I am so grateful for your trust in us to take care of your computers and iOS device needs. Since both John and I also love to teach, thank you for the opportunity to work with you one on one. 


Look for our postcard right before Thanksgiving for a special thank you offer!


Speaking of family, for the first time both Jillian and I have children (young adults!) returning to spend the holiday with us. John and his wife also spend some special time with their family right after Thanksgiving. What this means is that for the first time, we will be closing the business for the week after Thanksgiving to enjoy time with our families. 


UPDATES for Computers and iPhones/iPads

Updates to Mac OS (Mojave 10.14) and iOS (12.0.1)

Apple has begun to "push" updates to both computers and iPhones/iPads over the last few weeks. This makes it harder to avoid upgrading and is not a practice I care for. Below find our current recommendations and how to proceed.

Mac OS Mojave (10.14)

JUST SAY NO!! We do not yet recommend Mojave. There are still a large number of glitches that Apple has to work out. In addition, some 3rd party applications have not been updated yet. Mojave also requires a relatively new computer and a lot more in the way of ram and hard drive to avoid major issues with performance. We will let you know when we feel this system is stable enough to recommend upgrading to it. In the meantime you can avoid upgrading to Mojave when the upgrade notification appears at the upper right of your screen by clicking on the word "Details" directly on the notification. This will take you to the Mac App store where you can simply quit or close the window and be fine. Annoying but easy. Please call us with any questions. 

iOS 12.0.1 for iPhone / iPads
A CAUTIOUS YES. 
Overall we cautiously recommend upgrading to iOS 12 for several reasons - one, it gives older phones a much needed performance boost. iOS 12 has also been a very stable upgrade from Apple and Apple has already released patches to fix the biggest issues. Most third party apps have already been updated to have compatibility with iOS 12. Keeping this in mind you need to be sure of several things before saying yes...

  1. Update all the third party apps on your iPhones/iPads by touching on the App store icon, which may or may not have a red number on it. When the App store opens, touch on the word Updates at the bottom of the screen. This list will show you available updates at the top. As long as you are connected to wi-fi you can just click on Update All - this insures ongoing compatibility for these apps. NOTE: IF YOU USE HEARING AIDS WITH YOUR IPHONE - Contact your hearing aid provider to insure that your iPhone stays compatible BEFORE UPGRADING!!

  2. Make sure your iPhone or iPad is backed up. For most folks this happens via iCloud. (Check here: Settings > Your Name > iCloud > Backups - this screen will show you the  last time your device backed up.) You will also have an option to Backup Now and that is a good thing to do right before upgrading. 

  3. Plug your iPhone into power and be sure you are connected to a wireless network: Touch on Settings > General > Software Update. You will see either 'install now' or 'download and install.' Follow the on-screen prompts and you should be good to go. Your iPhone/iPad will restart and you will have to answer a series of questions. Then you can begin using the new system. 

  4. Here is Apple's list of the new features.

If you are at all unsure about upgrading we will be happy to help you through the process. Just give us a call. 

However  - IF you want to avoid the update when prompted to update touch on  

Later and then on the next screen touch on Remind Me Later. You will have to repeat this process every day or so. 


BEWARE OF SCAMS 

Recently we have seen a HUGE uptick in the number of compromised web sites offering bogus Flash installers and spoofing phone calls trying to trick you into giving out your personal info. The biggest difference in these scams and those of past years is the invasiveness and problems they cause. For many years there simply haven't been many malicious attempts to attack Apple computers but that is changing. Here are a few notes about what happens and what to do OR not do. 

1. Bogus Flash installers
Flash installers have always been a target for malicious software - the difference is that the current bogus Flash installers now install very malicious software on your computer that can be challenging to remove. While browsing the Internet, you might see a screen like this asking you to click to update Flash - just say NO!!Close the web page with the red button at the upper left and then quit and restart your web browser. Adobe has changed the default behavior of the legitimate Flash plug in and installer to handle it all in the background so you will NEVER need to update Flash because a web site tells you to. 


2. Phone scams
Phone scams have been around a long time - everything from bogus IRS calls, to someone telling you your PC is compromised. Now, however, scammers are "spoofing" legitimate phones numbers causing folks to believe that Apple or someone legitimate is calling. Spoofing is what happens when scammers hack the caller ID of their calls to fool you into picking up the phone. Recently we have heard of them spoofing the numbers of legitimate Apple stores. You may receive multiple calls in a row, one a day, they may continue for a few days or even a week. The important thing to remember is the Apple will NEVER call you if you did not ask them to - they have millions of customers - really, they will NEVER call.


TECH TIPS

iPhone Photos (iOS 11 and 12)

Search your iPhone Photos by location
Rather than scrolling through all your pictures to find vacation photos taken with your iPhone, you can just type in a search location and viola! Your photos will appear in a group.

You must have Location services on for both your Photos and Camera apps

To do:

Settings > Privacy > Location Services - touch on Camera and/or Photos and set to 'While Using'

Follow these steps to search:

  1. Open the Photos App and touch on the word Photos at the bottom left.

  2. For iOS 11 the magnifying glass is at the top, for iOS 12 it is at the bottom right - touch on it.

  3. In iOS 11 - In the search field type your location -  i.e. Michigan. You will see the results in the list - touch on your choice. 

  4. In iOS 12 - you will see Places at the top - you can scroll through them horizontally OR start typing your location to see a list.


TWO-FACTOR AUTHENTICATION

We've been getting a lot of calls on trouble with Two-Factor authentication. I hope this short explanation helps to clarify what it means. There is also a link to Apple's explanation and directions. Please remember we can help you setup two factor authentication OR troubleshoot any issues with it. 

Two-Factor Authentication

The latest method of adding extra security to an account is called "Two-Factor Authentication"Typically this means that when you log into any existing account from a new location or device you will be sent a code that you will need to enter on the website or device before you can sign in OR you may have to enter a pin number you created or answer a question. Be aware, the code may be sent to you in email, text or voice mail, depending on how your log in is set up. Most large services such as Apple, Google and Dropbox have offered two-factor authentication for a long time as have many banks and financial institutions. We are now beginning to see more and more websites that require logging in offering this method. This is how Apple implements two-factor authentication.