tech tips

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

Screen Shot 2017-06-09 at 12.34.18 PM.png

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

Screen Shot 2017-06-09 at 12.37.21 PM.png

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. 

---

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. 

System Upgrades, Computer Updates, and Tech Tips

Wow!! It is so green outside!! I LOVE IT!!! 

Now that I am well on my way to getting my mobility back (still in process but better everyday,) I am loving the beautiful green hills that are Sonoma county at this time of year. When I look around and see the green hills, the daffodils and yellow mustard weed I just get happy - don't you? It must be the Irish in me. The amount of rain this winter has pretty much banished the drought in most parts of California but I sincerely hope everyone remembers that water conservation should still be a priority in this changing world of ours. 

It has become apparent to me over the last month, while we have been doing a lot of security audits, that many folks are still confused or unsure about the upgrade cycle of their computer(s) in relation to both hardware and software. Below is an article that helps you understand the reasoning behind and the process of keeping your computers upgraded. 

We are now looking towards Apple's spring announcements - a March event where we are expecting to see new / refreshed iPads and possibly iMacs and laptops is the rumor. I will keep you posted as more information (not rumors) is available.


UPCOMING CLASSES
SAVE THE DATES!** 

*NEW* classes at Shutterbug Camera in Santa Rosa

iPhoneography

Wednesday, March 29th from 2pm - 5pm
-and-
Monday, April 17th from 10am - 1pm

  • Do you want to know how to work with your photos on iPhone or iPad? How to shoot, import, acquire, organize, share, and edit.
  • Having photos on your iPhone/iPad is great fun, but...
  • How do you delete the ones you don't want?
  • How do you share with friends and family?
  • What about organizing...Can it be done?
  • What is the difference between your iPhone/iPad camera and the photos app?
  • Can you print from your iPhone or iPad?
  • How do you print iPhone/iPad photos using Shutterbug's printing services?

This class will answer these questions and show you how to set up your iPhone/iPad so you are ready to have fun with your iOS.

#30094  Min. 6 Max.10
Cost -   $69.00

**Registration is not yet open. I will e-mail you when it does.


UPGRADING YOUR MAC OS

I am currently recommending very strongly that anyone running ANY OS earlier than and including 10.9.5 to upgrade to either El Capitan - 10.11.5 (you will need help to acquire this) OR Sierra 10.12.3. IF you are running Mac OS 10.10.5 Yosemite, you will want to plan to upgrade before the end of this year. 

You can check the compatibility of your non-Apple software apps here at RoaringApps and the hardware requirements here. Please know you can contact us for an evaluation and help with this. 


HOW LONG SHOULD MY COMPUTER LAST?

First a basic term clarification: 

  • Upgrade refers to a major system (software) or hardware change. 
  • Updates are the ongoing patches, versions, security updates, etc. That are offered throughout the year for all your software. 

Many people consider buying a new computer a pretty large financial outlay and expect their purchase to last a long time. 

The reality is the average lifespan of a desktop computer is about three to five years. Laptops slightly less if they are used as designed and truly mobile - if your laptop sits at your home/office most of the time then the three to five year rule applies. There are many variables that can reduce the life span though, such as how much you use it and how hard you push it, environmental heat and humidity and dust. So while you might have had, or know someone who has, a computer that has been working longer, this is the exception not the rule. For most of us, two things drive the need to replace a computer - it fails in some way and repair does not make financial sense OR more often we need new software or hardware to be able to do what we want/need to do.

 
Hardware is pretty basic.

If you treat your computer well by keeping it and the plugs and the area around it dust free, having the hardware work for more than three years is pretty typical. IF however you allow dust (enemy number one) to build up, your computer will slow down and potentially fail sooner. If your environment is unusually hot, cold or very damp you will also see issues with a computer before the four to five year mark. Hard drives (where your files are stored) - can fail or can get full but this is often a repair that is worth the few hundred dollars it costs. However this upgrade is much harder and often not an option for the newest Apple computers. Most computers can have the RAM - memory upgraded after a few years for a reasonable cost - BUT this too has changed with Apple's latest product releases. IF you are buying new, be sure to check and buy as much RAM and storage as you can afford because many new machines cannot be upgraded later. 

A note about hard drives: Also it is important to note that all iMacs today offer a choice of a standard HDD (spinning) hard drive, a Fusion drive (combines standard and SSD drive) or an SSD (solid state, doesn't spin) drive. The newest laptops only offer SSD drives. Why do you care? Simply put: SSD is faster. HDD (spinning drive) is bigger and "may" fail sooner because is spins. Fusion Drive uses both, and gives you a mix of speed and size. Apple's current OS's all run much better on an SSD drive BUT SSD drives are still quite expensive so if you need a lot of storage and still want speed go with a Fusion drive. 

Software is more of a moving target with every developer, including Apple, having different requirements.  

Mac OS - Apple releases a new operating system about once every 12-14 months. Once they release a new OS they typically drop support for an older OS - i.e. Last year Apple stopped releasing Security updates for Mac OS 10.9.5. This means that web browsers and email in 10.9.5 or earlier are now vulnerable to all that nasty stuff out there. We fully expect Apple to drop support for Mac OS 10.10 within the next few months.

Until the last few years this also meant the the newer OS's would require the newer hardware. This changed way back with 10.8 (Mt. Lion). Since Mt. Lion was released in July of 2012 Apple has not really changed the hardware requirements UNTIL the current OS release Sierra. BUT this does not mean you should install 10.12 - Sierra or even 10.11 - on a five +  year old machine. In fact attempting to can cause all kinds of issues, none of which are easy to fix. 

Third Party Software.

As you would expect, third party software ranges from software that runs on many generations of hardware and versions of the Mac OS - think Microsoft Office, Firefox, Flash, Adobe Reader to software that often requires a relatively new computer OR at least the latest Mac OS - most often this is financial software / web sites or the Adobe Creative Suite type software.

So how to think long term?

The time to make a decision about how long to keep a computer is when you buy a new  one. When I help a client decide what computer to buy, I ask many questions  about how they use the computer, how long they like/plan to keep a computer and what is on their wish list of how they might use the computer in the future. Then we look at options, factoring in budget, total storage, RAM (memory), and processor (speed) and I make the best recommendation. However, I always say that planning for a three to five year life is the best - think ahead like this and you will avoid many issues that crop up when using an older computer and have the budget in place to replace your computer in a timely fashion. A bonus? Moving from a three to five year-old computer running a relatively current OS is MUCH, MUCH easier and LESS EXPENSIVE than moving from a five + year old computer that has never been upgraded.
 

Another way to ensure the longevity of your computer is good maintenance -- We are once again offering out Spring Tune Up Special! (Read on for details.) 

During your tuneup we can offer advice on how to get your computers running Mac OS 10.11 (El Capitan) or 10.12 (Sierra) or advise on a new purchase. 


SPRING TUNE UP SPECIAL!! 

90 MINUTES FOR $90 ~ SPRING TUNE UP*   

Your Spring Tune-Up includes:  

  • Basic verification and repair (as possible) of your Mac OS operating system and hard drive. Updates to the same.
  • Updating any third-party software you run. Removal of any questionable / outdated software.
  • Verification andconsultation about your backups.
  • Verification of syncing your iOS devices.
  • Each appointment includes approximately 30 - 45 minutes of time for questions and/or training.

Call Today
707.573.9649 

to book an appointment with
Rob or John, our Design Solutions Tech/Trainers. 

* Offer does not apply to troubleshooting / diagnostics or major Mac OS upgrades. Appointments must be booked by 3/10/2017 and completed by 4/30/2017. Limited to the first 20 appointments.


TECH TIPS 

iPhone - Saving Photos from Messages

If you take a photo using the camera icon within Messages (texting), it isn't automatically saved to your iPhone. If you take a photo you really like, you'll want to manually save it. It's nice that iPhone doesn't automatically save those photos so that you aren't accidentally taking up too much space or saving private photos meant only for the conversation. But if you send a photo you like, here's how to save it to the Photos app.  NOTE: you can use this same process to save an image someone sends you via Messages. 

- Once you send your photo touch and hold on the image in the Messages window for that conversation and you will see these options - choose Save

 

Mac OS - Stopping Automatic Audio in Safari

In Safari the default settings allow for some video to start playing as soon as a web page fully loads. This can be nice for some content BUT really annoying when you want to read an article and the video content is an ad. You can quickly stop the audio portion of the content by going to the address bar in Safari and touching on the blue speaker icon.

It is possible to completely disable any video from playing automatically in Safari - however - this will make is more complicated for you to get the video you do want and for most folks I do not recommend it. 

Upgrades, Policy Reminders, and More Tech Tips

TO UPGRADE OR NOT?

Sierra has been out for several months.
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!!!


POLICY REMINDERS

At least once a year I like to publish our basic policies related to both home/office visits and phone/remote support appointments. 

 1. Home and Office visits require a one hour minimum charge and then are billed in 15 minute increments for the remaining time. 

2. There is a flat $25 travel charge for all service outside of Santa Rosa city limits. Distances of over 45 minutes one way drive time may have an increased travel charge. 

3. Tech support phone calls / remote support appointments are billed as follows:

  • 5-15 minutes: $25 flat fee
  • 16 to 30 minutes: $50 flat fee
  • Anything over 30 minutes will be charged at the regular hourly rate. To serve you best we prefer to schedule these calls in advance unless it is an emergency. 

4. We request that you honor our 24 hour cancellation/reschedule policy. If you do miss a scheduled appointment we will invoice you for one hour's time.

5. Payment is due at time of service* and we accept personal checks and all major credit cards. Our credit card processing is done through Square. 

*IF you do need to be invoiced for payment later, please let the office know when scheduling the appointment. 


TECH TIPS 

iPhone - Searching for Objects in Photos

Photos in iOS 10 offers a way to search by the name of an object (just like the tip I gave for Sierra last month). 

To Search for Objects in the Photos App:

  • In the Photos app, navigate to any of the main pages: Photos, Memories, Shared, or Albums.
  • Tap the Search icon at the top right (magnifying glass).
  • Some suggestions will pop up, such as One Year Ago, Favorites, etc. In the search bar, type the name of the object you're looking for and then press Search.

This results in a list of choices. For example I chose "coffee" and this is my result!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mac OS Sierra - Autocorrect

 

For a long time we have had autocorrect built into the Mac OS and it works quite wellin native Mac apps such as Mail and TextEdit. With Mac OS Sierra, Apple tweaked the autocorrect with two new additions: 1. Capitalize words automatically and 2. Add period with double-space. 

 

In any OS you get to these settings via: 

Apple Menu > System Preferences > Keyboard > Text

Try it and see what options you have that you can control!

Update on MacBook Pro Review

REVIEW OF NEW MACBOOK PRO

Early last month my new MacBook Pro arrived - hurray!! It replaced my aging 2010 MacBook Pro and the timing was perfect. I love this new laptop. Apple has really thought out the design. While not massively different from earlier laptops at first glance, there are definitely major changes some of which are great, others not so much. I am not typically a fan of the 'first' generation or major revision of anything but I do think Apple has done a great job with this one. 

What I don't love

First let's get the "not liking so much" out of the way. Apple removed ALL the connector ports except the headphone jack and replaced them with USB C (Thunderbolt 3) ports. These ports are for everything from charging your laptop to connecting external devices (hard drives, monitors, projectors, etc.). This means that I had to buy all new adapters and of course add adapters where none were needed (i.e., to connect my Time Machine backup drive). Pretty much the pain in the neck it sounds like. But as more manufacturers begin to build USB C devices this will change.

My other big complaint is the price jump these devices took!!! Several hundred dollars - again, once we get past the first generation I'm sure we will see the price drop. 

What I love

What I love - the Touch Bar!!!! Wow!!! at first I was a bit skeptical that Apple was giving us a bar at the top of the keyboard instead of a touch screen but having used PC's with touch screens and now this Touch Bar, I'm in love. It makes so much sense to be able to type and simply reach a finger up to the Touch Bar to correct the spelling of a word, insert a smiley, adjust my volume up/down, send an email and so much more. I am still learning all the uses for the Touch Bar. Right now it is primarily only Apple Apps that use this technology but as more Apps are developed to take advantage of the Touch Bar, I believe it will become indispensable. Even better, it incorporates Touch ID so I can unlock my laptop or pay with Apple Pay using just my fingerprint. Slick! 

The keyboard is great but a tad noisy. I love the easy touch of the keys and find I am typing faster and with fewer errors (I am a very good typist). They do make a tapping sound as you type but it's not that bad. The trackpad is huge - I thought is would be real pain with errors caused by inadvertent touches but this is not happening at all. The extra "real estate" of the trackpad is great for using gestures when needed but honestly I'm using the Touch Bar more often. 

So to sum it up I think the new MacBook Pro is a great new laptop for Apple and definitely a buy IF you need one right now. However, if it is not critical that you replace or buy a laptop right now, I would wait for the next generation and hopefully lower prices. 


TECH TIPS

iOS 10 - Magnifier Short Cut

How often do you find yourself wishing that the text, numbers, or an item you are looking at was a bit larger? Especially the 'fine print' or customer service number on a card! This tip turns your iPhone into an easy-to-use magnifier. I love this and use it all the time.

Here's how:

  • On your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch open Settings > General > Accessibility. 
  • Scroll all the way to the bottom of Accessibility and tap on Accessibility Shortcut and choose Magnifier.
  • Now when you triple-click the Home button on your device, the Magnifier will appear.
  • Just point your camera at whatever you want to see better!

 

Mac OS Sierra - Searching Photos

In Mac OS Sierra, Photos got a substantial upgrade including a very robust method of searching by description, i.e., I can search my Photos library for beaches and almost all my photos of beaches show up - very impressive and somewhat scary in its accuracy.  You can try searching for pie, flowers, birds and so on. Whatever objects you think might be in your library. This expanded search is available due to what they are calling "Computer Vision" which is a fancy term for artificial intelligence or AI.