Summer is definitely here, foggy mornings, hot days, cooler nights, golden hills - all the beauty that is life here in Sonoma county. Amazing that we get to live here. Lucky aren't we? In late July I spent a weekend up in Clear Lake for my birthday - the picture to the right is a Great Heron on the dock at about 7am as the lake was waking up - early morning is my favorite time of day. This month I'll be taking some hard earned vacation time. When someone mentions vacation the first question everyone asks is "where are you going?" In my case this year will be another 'staycation' in Northern California with my sister. Not a bad thing considering how many thousands of dollars people spend to travel here for vacation.
After several major releases from Apple in June, July has been pretty quiet on the Apple front. Rumor has it that Apple is gearing up for something special - possibly a radically redesigned iPhone 8 - as they celebrate the 10th anniversary of the iPhone. We will have to see. See below for thoughts about Apple this year.
CONTACTING TECHNOLOGY SIMPLIFIED
is handled by Jillian and is the perfect way to reach her directly. It is also the email to reach Rob or John but the turn around for your questions to either tech could be delayed by a few days.
Ronnie@technologysimplified.net is Ronnie's direct email - keep in mind it may take me a few days to get back to you since I receive a high volume of email.
Phone: 707-573-9649 is the main office line. Jillian manages the phones and scheduling between 9 am and 1 pm - Monday - Friday. Ronnie and Jillian monitor the phones between 1 and 5 - Monday - Friday. We try to get back to everyone within 24 hours (excluding weekends and holidays). We do our best to respond to emergency request ASAP during business hours.
Ten years ago on June 29, 2007 Apple released the first iPhone and once again changed the way we use technology in our everyday lives. This fall they are expected to release a completely redesigned iPhone 8 alongside more minor updates to the regular iPhone in the form of a 7S and 7S+. IF you are curious about an iPhone 8 here is what the rumor mill has to say.
Of course each time Apple releases a new iPhone they also release a major update to the iOS system. Currently iPhone and iPad's run iOS 10.3.3. The next system will be iOS 11. iOS 11 is currently in Beta testing but here is list of new features. Of course when iOS 11 is first released we will let you know when we feel it is stable enough for most devices. Remember you do not have to be the first person on the block to install new technology!
We are also expecting a new Mac OS - High Sierra - it is looking like a very impressive upgrade - here is more info.
What do all these updates mean for you?
That it is time to get your computers, iPhone and iPads ready for new software later this year. IF your computer isn't already running Mac OS 10.12 - Sierra I am advising upgrading sooner rather than later. IF your iPhone or iPad is not already running iOS 10.3.3 you should also upgrade as soon as possible.
As always we can help you with any or all of these upgrades. Be sure you backup before upgrading any of your devices.
DO YOU NEED A PERSONAL ASSISTANT?
by John Wentworth
Over the last couple of years, several of the big tech companies have released products called "smart speakers." These devices are designed to respond to your voice, allowing you to ask questions, set timers, play music and more - all without typing!
Smart speakers listen for what's called a wake word. In the case of Amazon's Echo device, the word can be "Alexa," "Echo," "Amazon," or "Computer". (for you Star Trek fans out there!) When the speaker hears the wake word, it knows to start listening for your next command. In my home, that means I say "Computer, what happened in the Warriors game?" and it knows to tell me that Golden State won last night (again).
If this sounds like what you can do today with "Hey Siri" on your iPhone or iPad, you're right! "Hey Siri" is the wake word for those devices. So, what's the benefit of using a smart speaker? The microphones in smart speakers are designed to hear you from across the room, or even in other rooms! In my case, a single Amazon Echo can hear commands given to it anywhere in my home's second floor.
A concern that many people have is "does this mean that smart speakers are recording everything I say?" No, they are designed to only start listening when you say the wake word.
So, what is HomePod? HomePod is Apple's entry into this space, coming in December. It's more focused on the "speaker" end of things, with sound that Apple says will be significantly better than the others. It'll also be more expensive than the competition, in most cases.
Is a smart speaker right for you? It depends on how you'll use it. For answering questions, checking the weather, getting the news of the day, and things of that nature, smart speakers can be easier than typing into Google. I can ask my Echo what appointments I have today, and it will list who of you I'll be coming to visit! I also have "smart lighting" set up in my house, so I can ask the Echo to dim the lights in a given room, or turn on my porch lights from upstairs. Very handy, but that'll require changing out your lightbulbs for "smart" versions.
As always, Technology Simplified is happy to answer your smart speaker questions one-on-one, and discuss what they can do for you... and of course if you decide to purchase one, we can set it up and show you how to use it in your life.
WOW! IT'S HOT OUT THERE!
We have been having one of the hottest summers on record and the long range forecast calls for the heat to continue. Heat and technology do not mix well. Just like animals - any laptop, iPhone (cell phone), iPad or Apple Watch should never be left in a hot car, especially if they are exposed to the hot sun. IF you must leave your electronics in a car be sure they are powered down and put in the shade, i.e. under a seat - BUT be aware even when off - extreme heat can shorten the life of any electronic. This article is laptop specific but well written and easy to follow.
So are your electronics safe in your home? IF your home has air conditioning, static electricity from dry air is a bigger worry than heat. However IF you do not have air conditioning you need to use some basic guidelines. IF your home gets up to around 80 degrees you may find the fans on your computer coming on high (loudly) or the computer may slow down. Both of these are signs that you should probably shut your computer down and find somewhere to keep cool yourself. Small electronics fair a bit better when it's hot inside but can still suffer the ill effects of heat if you are not careful. Any exposure to extremes of heat can shorten the life of your electronics, especially batteries and hard drives. Play it safe and keep your electronics running longer.
iPad Mastery in Windsor
Wednesday, September 20th and Wednesday, September 27th
10:00am - 11:30am
Now that you know how to get around your iPad and use some of the built in Apps you are ready for more!! Topics covered will include an in depth look at customizing your iPad, tips and tricks for making your iPad easier to use. Take control of understanding iCloud and how it works with your Apple ID. See how Safari works as you learn to surf the web and find what you need. Learn how to take and share photos. We will also look at some favorite third party Apps that help in the kitchen, with travel, and more. This class will be taught in a lecture format as well as hands-on; participants are required to bring their own iPads to class. This class assumes a working knowledge of navigating your iPad, sending Mail, etc. Class content can be adjusted to the skill level of the attendees, based upon what works for the majority.
INSTRUCTIONS TO SIGN UP FOR THE CLASS
- Click on this link
- Select "Senior Programs" from choices on the left
Scroll Down the list of Course Categories on the Right to:
"Senior Computer - iPad", click "Show Courses"
- This page will have all the information you need to sign up.