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The Heat is On!!

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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

Email:

support@technologysimplified.net

 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. 


APPLE HAPPENINGS

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. 

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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!

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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. 


UPCOMING CLASS

iPad Mastery in Windsor

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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

  1. Click on this link
  2. Select "Senior Programs" from choices on the left
  3. Scroll Down the list of Course Categories on the Right to: 

    "Senior Computer - iPad", click "Show Courses"

  4. This page will have all the information you need to sign up.

Apple's Big Announcements!

June has swept in with glorious weather and a bit of green remains on our golden hills. Local schools let out last week and traffic is already lighter - hurray!! June is the month the world seems to melt into summer mode - a slower pace, longer days and permission to be lazy. All of which I classify as a good thing in this crazy, hectic world today. I'm doing my best to comply which is often easier said than done.

This newsletter is a bit late because I elected to send it AFTER Apple's World Wide Developer Conference (WWDC) which kicked off this week. Jillian has some highlights of the WWDC keynote below, and there will be more information and news in our July Newsletter. The tech world of course never seems to slow down which is a good thing. I always feel that the benefits of technology outweigh the drawbacks. My personal love is teaching technology to my clients - helping people learn to use and enjoy their technology is fun! With all this new tech I'm thinking business looks good.


APPLE'S BIG ANNOUNCEMENTS

By Jillian Dorman

At their annual Worldwide Developers Conference on June 6, the opening keynote was full of exciting news! It was the biggest display of product advances that I can remember in a long time! Apple announced new operating systems for both computers and mobile devices that will power new and more advanced iMacs, Mac Book Pros and iPads/iPhones. There was also fresh information about the Watch, Apple TV, and a robust new iMac Pro.  Also, the HomePod, a totally new and exciting device was introduced. Below you will find just a few highlights of the products announced and we will offer more details soon to come. The HomePod, Apple's home smart speaker with Siri, warrants an article of its own, so look for an article from our tech John Wentworth next month!

MAC OS 11

MAC OS 11 will be the force that takes Apple into the augmented reality work of the future. But there are improvements we will enjoy now in the aptly named follower of Sierra, High Sierra. One of the most welcome updates will be the addition of a side bar in Photos for greater ease of use. There are changes to Safari that will help with ad spam, and a more efficient way to store video data, just to list a few.

For our mobile iPads and iPhones, iOS 11 will similarly be full of improvements in cluding a new capabilities for the "dock," a redesign of the Control Center, and a brand new App Store that should make searching for or learning about apps a cinch, and finally, I know many of you will welcome the ability to organize and store files in a spiffy new app. You will use it like files and folders on your computer. This article tells you more about the tips and tricks coming your way. 

Both iOS 11 and MAC OS 11 are now in beta test. Apple is predicting a fall release for both, but we'll keep you posted as they near availability, with our usual recommendations on upgrading.

iMAC

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The new version of the iMac will benefit from more powerful processors (Intel 7th generation), better built-in graphics, the ability to expand RAM (21" to 32GB, 27" to 64 GB) and 27" displays up to an impressive, brighter, 5K resolution with up to a billion colors. These machines will have outstanding performance and will smoothly run High Sierra. These new computers are built for the imminent work ahead in virtual and augmented reality. It is exciting to know the machines are available for order now. You can learn more here. The MacBook and MacBook Pro line received similar improvements.

iPAD

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Have you been waiting to get a new iPad? The 10.25 iPad Pro looks amazing. A great size, it can double as a note pad because the ability to write with the pencil is very much like the real thing. In fact, the on-screen keyboard is the size of a conventional keyboard. It is powered by the same chip as the larger iPad Pro. It is faster that previous iPads in processing and graphics, has four speaker audio, 4K video recording, and optical image stabilization to improve your photos. Ronnie has already ordered hers and she will provide a complete review in the months to come. 

Again, this is just a brief of some of the announcements from a very big collection of news. If you'd like to read more comprehensive information about everything, here is more information if you want to look it over. Check out this article, too. 

Finally, although a full compliment of changes were announced across almost the full line of Apple products, there was not a peep about an new iPhone. Apple traditionally announces iPhones in the fall, so we'll have to wait and see about the iPhone 8.


TECH TIPS

I am using this email from our local bank, Redwood Credit Union, for this month's tips-- both computer and iOS. We are still getting several calls weekly about folks who have been compromised. The indicators are these attempts to cause havoc in our computing life is only going to increase. The is a great article with easy to follow steps. 

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Improve your online security with a digital spring cleaning!
Spring is here, which means it's time to clean up those digital dust bunnies and keep your information safe online. Here are some helpful online security tips:

Change your passwords
Update your login information for sites you use frequently. Long, complex passwords that use a combination of letters, numbers, and other characters are best. Don't use your kids' names, birthdays, or any information that can be readily found on social media. Read more tips on creating a strong password

Declutter your device
Review your apps and delete the ones you don't use. Then review the privacy settings of the apps you do use to ensure you're only sharing the information you choose.

Purge your digital files
Take stock of your online files, including those in the cloud. Delete documents you no longer need that could contain private information.

Tidy your privacy settings on social media
Assume anyone can see your social media posts. Remember, your personal information can help hackers uncover your passwords, so you may want to limit sharing to friends and family.

Give your software a safety makeover
Software updates are critical because they fix flaws that make your devices susceptible to hackers. This applies to not only your computer's operating system, but also popular browsers and media players. 

Following these steps will help ensure your online privacy and keep your accounts safe! For more security tips, visit redwoodcu.org/security.

redwood credit union

Spring Forward - It's Upgrade Time

Thank you everyone for all your well wishes!! It feels good to be back in the swing of things. Spring has definitely sprung here in our beautiful county, I cannot remember the last time everything was so lush and green. Of course Sonoma County is known for roses and mine are blooming like crazy. Having spent the better part of the last five months indoors much more than usual I am reveling in being out and about enjoying our beautiful weather. This would be a wonderful time to visit the Luther Burbank Home and Gardens or the Russian River Rose Company.


APPLE'S LATEST UPDATES

Apple hasn't been sitting still either. In March they released a more basic version of the venerable 9.7" iPad called simply the "iPad." It replaces the iPad Air2.  The most significant thing about this new iPad is the lower price point and more limited storage options. A 32 GB iPad will with wi-fi only will cost $329 - $280 less than the same size iPad Pro. It also has an option for 128 GB of storage for $429. A real bargain.  These are perfect iPads for those folks who want a tablet but have never been happy spending a large sum of money on one. Here is the comparison chart on Apple's website.

Over the last few months Apple has also released some significant updates to the iOS system and is now offering iOS 10.3.1. Starting with 10.3 Apple made some major changes to both the visible interface and to how the underlying (invisible software) works. The most recent 10.3.1 update itself is focused on security improvements and bug fixes. 9 to 5 Mac has good video on all the changes. We are recommending everyone with an iPhone 6 and newer upgrade to 10.3.1 as soon as possible. Be sure you've backed up your iPhone before upgrading. If you need help with backing up, here is Apple's directions

Read more about upgrades and updates below.


WHAT OPERATING SYSTEM ARE YOU RUNNING?

An operating system is the underlying software that controls how your computer or iPhone/iPad behaves.

THIS IS HOW YOU FIND OUT WHAT SYSTEM YOU ARE USING

On your Computer
Apple Menu > About this Mac - the first line will tell you, i.e. Sierra 10.12.4.

On your iPhone / iPad

Settings > General > About - scroll down to Version, i.e. 10.3.1.

This is the time of year when Apple's World Wide Developer Conference - WWDC - is getting close (June 5-9). Typically this is when Apple will announce any new systems for computers and/or iOS devices, due before the end of the year, officially. Sometimes, but not always, they also make upcoming hardware product announcements. 

For you this means now is the time to be sure you are running a current version of the Mac OS - El Capitan - 10.11.6 at minimum, ideally Mac OS Sierra - 10.12.4 on your computer. Or on your iPhone or iPad the above mentioned iOS 10.3.1. Once WWDC happens Apple will typically drop support for older OS's such as Yosemite - 10.10.5. 

**Many time we have clients who do not want to upgrade because "it changes things." While I understand and can empathize with how hard change can be; the reality is, in this age of hacking, cyber security breaches and device interconnectedness it is too dangerous or problematic not to keep your computer upgraded the most current system. Remember the longer you wait to upgrade the more complex and time consuming = expensive the process can be. 


CAN MY SYSTEM BE UPGRADED?

Sierra has been out for almost a year (September 2016).
We are recommending upgrading to Sierra IF you meet the following requirements:**

1. At minimum an i5 Processor and 8 GBs of ram. (You can check via Apple Menu > About This Mac - both pieces of information will be there.)

2. Ideally** your computer is from 2011 or newer.

3. Ideally** your computer has an SSD (Solid State Drive), Flash drive (non-moving), OR a Fusion drive. Most recent laptops and now many iMacs have this type of hard drive. Sierra is truly designed to run on an SSD drive and performance noticeably suffers on a traditional spinning hard drive so you would want to add more ram (memory).

4. You have verified that all your non-Apple apps are compatible - you can check here: http://roaringapps.com.

** NOTE: Apple's requirements are drastically lower than what I have listed above - BUT it is our experience that folks who upgrade with less than what is listed above are not happy with the speed and performance of the upgraded system. 

So what if your computer doesn't meet "Ronnie's recommended" configuration?  

All is not lost - sometimes we can assist in getting your older machine upgraded in such a way that running Sierra is possible OR you can choose to run El Capitan which is a perfectly fine system that will run a bit faster. 

Remember if you are in doubt, just ask!!!


UPCOMING CLASS

iPad - Beyond the Basics Class in Windsor

**LIMITED SEATING!!**

Wednesday, June 7th and Wednesday, June 14th

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

  1. Click on this link
  2. Select "Senior Programs" from choices on the left
  3. Scroll Down the list of Course Categories on the Right to: 

    "Senior Computer - iPad", click "Show Courses"

  4. This page will have all the information you need to sign up.

TECH TIPS

How to Spring Clean Your E-Mail Addresses

Often we have someone in our addresses / contacts who gets a new email address but when we try to email their new address we get their old one or both. This brief tutorial shows you how to get the new address into your Contacts and how to remove the old address from Contacts AND from Previous recipients in Mail. 

Instructions

1. On your computer open the Contacts App. 

2. Find the name of the person whose contact information you need to update and select it - their contact card will show on the right. Then at the lower right of their card choose Edit.

3. Now you can highlight and change the wrong / old address or add another address.  

4. When you have finished be sure to click on Done.

5. Next open the Mail App on your computer.

6. At the top of the window in the Apple Menu bar look for the word "Window" and click on it. From the dropdown that appears choose "Previous Recipients".

7. You will see a window similar to the one below. You can search for the name you want to correct in the search field. Once you find it you can delete the old address using the "Remove From List" option at the bottom left. 

Cleaning Up Using the Previous Recipients

The Previous Recipients list is a great way to keep your contacts emails up to date while at the same time cleaning up all those 'bad/mistyped' addresses that appear when you are typing in someone's email address. 

Instructions

1. Open the Previous Recipients window as above. 

2. In the Previous Recipients window you can click on the words - Name, Email or Last Used to sort / re-sort your list. 

3. If you see a small 'card' icon to the left of someone's name, that means that name and email address are already in your Contacts. IF you remove them from this list they will NOT be removed from your Contacts App. (this is why we started our corrections in the Contacts App.)

4. Go through and delete any addresses that are incomplete or you know are wrong

5. IF you find a name of someone you email all the time and they do not have a 'card" icon to the left of their name you can highlight / select the name and click the 'Add to Contacts' button at the lower right of the window. 

Practice!

Please take a few minutes and practice this by updating my Contact information and email address!!

Ronnie Roche
ronnie@technologysimplified.net
1585 Terrace Way #310
Santa Rosa CA 95404

Remove from your Previous Recipients list these addresses: designsolutions@mac.com and designsolutions@me.com

Please add Jillian's email new address support@technologysimplified.net and remove her old email jillyd2000@icloud.com

There you now have our current contact information - congratulations.