Security

Springing Into Summer

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Whew! I'm not sure how but this Spring has just flown by. We are now basically done with all the work to our home and I have unpacked the boxes that were packed during October's evacuation - it feels amazing. I am still in a state of wonder that our home and neighborhood are here. Yes, it's still hard to drive around but seeing all the homes under construction is life affirming. We are also grateful to be able to help our clients who have had major losses get back up and running. All of these things help me to stay in a state of profound gratitude each day as I wander this amazing road called life. 

It also seems hard to believe that it has been two months since I reached out to you - my amazing clients! However I am now ready to once again begin regular communication via my newsletter. This newsletter will be for June and July, then in August I will begin to send out regular monthly news and and important updates I feel can benefit you. This newsletter has lots(!!!) of information so feel free to use the links at the side to jump to what interests you the most. 

Apple's World Wide Developer Conference happened in early June and Tim Cook and his team talked about all the upgrades coming later this year - thoughts and recommendations are below. There has been an uptick in scams via web browsers, robocalls and email so once again security is at the forefront of our minds. Another area that is taking off is home automation - look for more on this topic as we move through the year. We have also been helping many of you migrate to new computers so I will talk a bit about that and why it's important to keep your technology upgraded (both hardware and software).

Ronnie

Holiday hours: Phones are closed on the July 4th Holiday - you are welcome to leave a message that will be returned on Thursday July 5th. 


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. 

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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. 


APPLE WORLDWIDE DEVELOPERS CONFERENCE (WWDC)

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Apple's WWDC happened in early June and they showed off the upcoming software upgrades in the pipeline for later this year. Mainly, they introduced macOS 10.14 MojaveiOS 12, and for those of you with an Apple watch, watchOS 5. Each of these updates are focusing on a better user experience and are seriously focused on security and privacy - especially via Apple's Safari and watch OS. There are too many individual updates to talk about in a single newsletter but here are some of my favorites:

macOS Mojave

  • Desktop stacks, which group together related icons into piles, auto-tidying your desktop, and expand with a tap. You can also scrub through a stack with gestures to scroll to an individual file that you're seeking out. 
  • Your desktop image can be set to change over the course of a day too. New Apple-designed options of, say, a desert panorama, will change from morning through to noon, evening, and the dead of night as time in your local location changes. (Note: in a much older OS, there was software that did this and I loved it!)
  • Safari is getting some major privacy features - unsurprisingly, given the year's Facebook scandal and Europe's newly introduced GDPR requirements. They will be shutting down cookies that track you across websites, making sure Safari asks permission before it allows the cookies any kind of access to your browsing data. These Safari features will carry over into iOS 12, too.
  • macOS will ask for permission for more features, now including the camera and microphone. It will also provide more robust protection to your file system.

iOS 12
 

iOS 12's main focus is on improved performance (especially for older iPhones/iPads -  hurray!) There will also be some tweaks to the Photos app and a more robust Siri integrated with the ability to build 'shortcuts' to group a series of commands. 

If you are interested you can watch a repeat broadcast of the keynote from WWDC here OR just read through the announcements. 


Of course for both OS's all these features are in the current BETA developers releases and we won't know for sure until the actual release what features made it to the final release. Apple hasn't given us a firm release date for any of this software but we expect it to be this fall.  

See below for how to prepare now.


OPERATING SYSTEM STATUS
(iOS and Mac OS)

In my April newsletter I sent out Mac and iOS recommendations and I have updated the information and recommendations based on the announcement of both a new macOS and iOS. Please read below to see what you should do now!

Mac OS
See below for hardware recommendations before considering upgrading your software.

Mac OS High Sierra (10.13.5)
YES, with CAUTION

I am recommending upgrading to High Sierra now BUT please read the cautions below. IF you have already upgraded, intentionally or not, OR you have a new computer that shipped with High Sierra, please be sure to install any security updates offered by Apple immediately and be sure that your OS is at 10.13.5 (released recently). NOTE: if you are updating to 10.13.5 you will be asked to 'store documents and data in iCloud" - just uncheck this option. 
 

IF you haven't installed or had us install High Sierra, I am recommending a 'cautious' upgrade. By this I mean that the OS is pretty solid now for most users BUT - and this is a big one - IF you have a lot of older software that needs to keep running DO NOT upgrade. With each new OS, Apple is dropping support for more and more older software.  

HARDWARE RECOMMENDATIONS
Even though Apple's requirements allow both Sierra and High Sierra to be installed on machines from 2010 (in some cases 2009) and later, we do not recommend doing so!! These upgrades will drastically tax older hardware and you will not be happy with the results. We are recommending computers have at least 8 GB of ram, ideally an SSD (solid state drive) and be no older than 2013. Please see the article below about why it's important to keep your hardware current. 

As always - Please call us for assistance with your upgrade if you have questions or concerns. We are seeing a few issues with the install of High Sierra - it is a slow upgrade and requires some patience. Please plan to let the upgrade process proceed uninterrupted. Also - BE SURE TO HAVE A CURRENT BACKUP before you start.

You can check which version of the Mac OS you are running by clicking on the Apple Menu and selecting 'About This Mac'.

COMPLETELY SAFE AND RECOMMENDED Mac OS: 

Mac OS Sierra (10.12.6)

Sierra is very stable OS for your computer. It has been updated enough to have the majority of the bugs/glitches out and third-party support is very widespread. BUT you can only obtain it through us - it is no longer available through the Mac Apps store. 

Mac OS El Capitan (10.11.6)

Apple will most likely stop supporting this OS in the next few months. BUT in the meantime they just released an important security and Safari updates to address the Intel vulnerability. Please be sure to install it!!! We are already seeing issues with web compatibility under 10.11. This means that web browsers and email in 10.11 or earlier are now vulnerable to all that nasty stuff out there.
 

iOS for iPhones and iPads
 

iOS 11.4

YES!  Assuming your device is either new(er) OR IF your device is older (iPhone 6, 6s, or iPhone SE) and you have taken advantage of Apple's battery replacement program, be sure to update to 11.4 to get the most important security update addressing the Intel issue and give you more control of your battery life and encompasses several bug fixes.


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.  

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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 somewhat more 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 10.10 (Yosemite) and we expect them to drop support for 10.11. (ElCapitan) soon. We are already seeing issues with web compatibility under 10.11.  This means that web browsers and email in 10.11 or earlier are now vulnerable to all that nasty stuff out there. 


Apple has not really changed the hardware requirements since the  release of Sierra in 2016. BUT this does not mean you should install 10.12 - Sierra OR 10.13 High Sierra on a five +  year old machine. In fact attempting to can cause all kinds of issues, none of which are easy to fix!! If you have a computer that is five years old or older it is truly time to consider new equipment. 

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. Apple is dropping support for 32 bit apps with the release of Mojave this year. This means that users of Microsoft Office will need to be running Office Mac 2016 or Office Mac 265 (subscription.) Users of Quickbooks need to upgrade to 2016 in preparation for a new version next year. Quicken 2007 is also showing some issues under High Sierra - please let us know if you have questions about alternatives. 

So how to think long term?

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The time to make a decision about how long to keep a computer is when you buy a new  one. When we help a clients decide what computer to buy, we 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, we 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 our Tune Up Special! (Read on for details.) 

During your tuneup we can offer advice on how to get your computers running Mac OS 10.12 (Sierra) or Mac OS 10.13 (High Sierra) or advise on a new purchase. 


SUMMER TUNE UP SPECIAL!! 

$30 off a 90 MINUTES TUNE UP*      

Your Summer Tune-Up includes:  

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  • 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 and  consultation about your backups.
  • Verification of syncing your iOS devices.
  • We are also happy to discuss software upgrades or new computer options
  • Each appointment includes approximately 30 - 45 minutes of time for questions and/or training. 

Call Today
707.573.9649
to book an appointment with John, our Technology Simplified Tech/Trainer. 

  * Offer does not apply to troubleshooting / diagnostics or major Mac OS upgrades. Appointments must be booked by 7/21/2018 and completed by 7/31/2018. Limited to the first 20 appointments.


UPGRADE SPECIAL

15% OFF YOUR MAC OS UPGRADE TO SIERRA OR HIGH SIERRA    

Your appointment includes:  

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  • Verification your backup is current and complete
  • Verification your hardware meets upgrade system requirements
  • Quick computer diagnostic / verification 
  • Upgrade installation
    (NOTE: you will have time during installation to ask questions about your other devices - iPhone, iPad, etc.)
  • Post-upgrade verification of everyday software: e-mail, printing, web browser, word processing, etc. 

NOTE: If you have software specific concerns please have a list of questionable software ready for John before the upgrade.  

 

Call Today 707.573.9649

to book an appointment with John,
our Technology Simplified Tech / Trainer. 

    

*Offer is good through end of July. Discount applies only to major OS upgrades and requires a two-hour minimum appointment.


PRIVACY, SHARING, AND MORE

What does GRDP and the European Union have to do with you?

You may have recently been inundated with a flurry of email requests to confirm your desire to continue to receiving communication from various businesses. This is due to new regulations - GRDP - for any entity doing business in Europe. 

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) (EU) 2016/679 is a regulation in EU law on data protection and privacy for all individuals within the European Union (EU) and the European Economic Area (EEA). It also addresses the export of personal data outside the EU and EEA areas. The GDPR aims primarily to give control to citizens and residents over their personal data and to simplify the regulatory environment for international business by unifying the regulation within the EU.
Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/General_Data_Protection_Regulation

The US hasn't made moves towards any requirements such as this yet but at some point don't be surprised to see discussions about this. In the meantime IF you are getting requests to stay on a mailing list from a company you know and do business with, it is okay to go ahead and say yes, keep me on your list. OR if you do not want continued contact with the company just use the unsubscribe link at the bottom of the email. I am honestly still undecided on how I will handle this and we are researching the best / easiest way -  but please know we have always valued your privacy and we do not share any information with outside companies and never will. 

Quick Updates and Keep Your Computer Safe!

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If you have been reading my newsletters for a while, you know that we (my husband and I) are in the process of getting the last of the fire related cleanup / repairs done to our home. In fact I am writing this from a hotel room. All is going well and we hope to be done in less than a month. Fingers crossed! 

Life's journey is a path that often contains more curves than straightaways. It seems that since the fires, our roads have more curves and even switchbacks than ever before. Each day I'm grateful that I am moving forward on this road of life. 

In this issue, I have addressed the move to High Sierra, iOS 11, and included some helpful notes on security.

Ronnie


OPERATING SYSTEM STATUS
(iOS and Mac OS)

Mac OS

iOS High Sierra (10.13.4)

OK, with CAUTION; but I prefer Sierra 10.12.6

IF you have already upgraded, intentionally or not, OR you have a new computer that shipped with High Sierra, please be sure to install any security updates offered by Apple immediately and be sure that your OS is at 10.13.4 (released recently).

IF you haven't installed or had us install High Sierra, I am recommending a 'cautious' upgrade. By this I mean that the OS is pretty solid now for most users BUT - and this is a big one - IF you have a lot of older software that needs to keep running DO NOT upgrade. With each new OS, Apple is dropping support for more and more older software. 

As always - Please call us for assistance with your upgrade if you have questions or concerns. We are seeing a few issues with the install of High Sierra - it is a slow upgrade and requires some patience. Please plan to let the upgrade process proceed uninterrupted. Also - BE SURE TO HAVE A CURRENT BACKUP before you start.

You can check which version of the Mac OS you are running by clicking on the Apple Menu and selecting 'About This Mac'.

COMPLETELY SAFE AND RECOMMENDED Mac OS: Mac OS Sierra (10.12.6)

This is my current recommended, very stable OS for your computer. It has been updated enough to have the majority of the bugs/glitches out and third-party support is very widespread.

Mac OS El Capitan (10.11.6)

Apple will most likely stop supporting this OS in the next few months. BUT in the meantime they just released an important security and Safari updates to address the Intel vulnerability. Please be sure to install it!!!
 

iOS for iPhones and iPads

iOS 11.3

YES!  Assuming your devices is either new(er) OR IF your device is older (iPhone 6, 6s, or iPhone SE) and you have taken advantage of Apple's battery replacement program, be sure to update to 11.3 to get the most important security update addressing the Intel issue and give you more control of your battery life.


UPGRADE SPECIAL

15% OFF YOUR MAC OS UPGRADE TO SIERRA OR HIGH SIERRA 

Your appointment includes:  

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  • Verification your backup is current and complete
  • Verification your hardware meets upgrade system requirements
  • Quick computer diagnostic / verification 
  • Upgrade installation
    (NOTE: you will have time during installation to ask questions about your other devices - iPhone, iPad, etc.)
  • Post-upgrade verification of everyday software: e-mail, printing, web browser, word processing, etc. 

NOTE: If you have software specific concerns please have a list of questionable software ready for John before the upgrade.  

Call Today 707.573.9649

to book an appointment with John,
our Technology Simplified Tech / Trainer. 

*Offer is good through end of May. Discount applies only to major OS upgrades and requires a two-hour minimum appointment.


SAFE COMPUTING

Here are some excellent links to keeping yourself safe when browsing the Internet OR handling your email. 

From Apple

How to identify legitimate emails from Apple

How to Avoid Common Scams

From Federal Trade Commission

What to know and do about scams in the news

From Intego
NOTE - I am NOT recommending the installation of their software at this time. 

Top 10 Online Scams to Watch Out For


UPCOMING CLASS

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iPad Just the Basics - updated for iOS 11

All ages

Wednesday, May 30th and June 6th

10:00am - 11:30am

This is a hands-on class that covers all the basic functionality of your iPad including what the icons on the screen mean, what the physical buttons do, and how to customize what is on your screen. We will also briefly cover emailing, contacts, and calendars. NOTE: This is a two part class. What we don't cover the first day will be covered the following week. This class includes a workbook so you can follow along. 

Please sign up online or at the front desk in advance. 

Windsor Senior Center

9231 Foxwood Drive, Windsor, CA 95492

Fees

$45 for residents / $50 for non-residents

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.

iPhone Slow Down, Intel Flaw, and HomePod

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Yes, this newsletter is later than planned but here it is! I am in the throes of insurance companies, contractors, and banks  - this is taking a LOT of my time - all positive though. For the next few months the newsletters will be a bit sporadic as my husband and I finish getting our home repaired and cleaned up. My plan is to send shorter newsletters and/or simple announcements until probably July when things should be back on track. As always I will send urgent notifications IF there are issues I feel need to be addressed immediately.


Life's journey is a path that often contains more curves than straightaways. It seems that since the fires, our roads have more curves and even switchbacks than ever before. Each day I'm grateful that I am moving forward on this road of life. 

The computing world seems to be following a similar path with all the news of vulnerabilities, hacks, malicious this and that... However it's important to know that when these type of things are made public, Apple immediately makes sure to address them. As for the non-Apple issues - being proactive on your own and watchful/cautious around your finances, accounts, and passwords should be your own "best practices."  

Note: I will be on my annual girlfriends retreat from March 11th through March 15th. Jillian and John will have your technical needs covered!! 

Thank you,
Ronnie


IMPORTANT NEWS

RATES ARE INCREASING ON MARCH 1, 2018

I'm proud to say that I have now been in the business of technology support/training for 20 years. In order to continue to help our clients step into success, I am implementing a modest fee increase, which is in keeping with the quality service we provide yet still very competitive. 

Beginning March 1st, the cost per hour of all our services will increase by $10. We enjoy working with you and love supporting your computing and technology endeavors. We truly value our business and personal relationship. If this rate increase presents a problem or brings up concerns, please don't hesitate to contact us. 

THE CLASS YOU'VE BEEN WAITING FOR!

iPad Beyond the Basics - updated for iOS 11

February 21st and 28th - see below for more information on how to register.


APPLE NEWS

iPhone Slow Down, Intel Flaw, and HomePod

This past month Apple has addressed two major issues affecting their hardware. Intentional slowing down of older iPhones and a major security flaw affecting Intel chips in most computers and phones (all platforms). To address both these issues Apple has taken some solid steps. It is important that you install any security updates that are offered on your Mac or iPhone / iPad. 

More information about updates below.

iPhone Slow Down

Apple has made changes to iOS 11 to address the issues with processor slow downs on older iPhones and will continue to do so in upcoming updates to iOS 11.
More information here

To help folks who have older iPhones (iPhone 6,  6s, SE, and iPhone 7), Apple will replace the batteries of out of warranty iPhones for $29 (normally $79). To participate you can call Apple support and tell them you want to participate in the iPhone battery replacement plan. 
More information here.

Intel Security Flaw

1. Mac OS Intel flaw
Apple has released security updates for all OS starting with El Capitan (10.11.5) and the Safari web browser. 
More information here.

2. iOS Intel flaw

The iOS 11.2.5 update for all iOS devices addresses this issue.

More information here.

HomePod

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Apple has finally released their music system / digital assistant product calledHomePod. You can buy one now.  We'll have reviews in an upcoming newsletter - but initial reviews from true audiophiles are mixed. Apple is somewhat late to this game and the competition is stiff.  


OPERATING SYSTEM STATUS
(iOS and Mac OS)

Mac OS

Mac OS High Sierra (10.13.3) !! DO NOT INSTALL !!

IF you have already upgraded, intentionally or not, OR you have a new computer that shipped with High Sierra, please be sure to install any security updates offered by Apple immediately. 

You can check which version of the Mac OS you are running by clicking on the Apple Menu and selecting 'About This Mac'.

How to avoid upgrading to High Sierra for the time being

Apple is 'pushing' this upgrade so when you get the prompt at the upper right corner of your screen, click on 'Details' which will open the App Store and then simply Quit the App store. Nothing will install. IF you want to be very sure High Sierra doesn't install accidentally, you can go to your Applications folder and look to see if you have a file called "Install  Mac OS High Sierra," then drag this to the trash. Don't worry - you can download it again when it is safe to install. 
 

Recommended Mac OS: Mac OS Sierra (10.12.6) ~

This is my current recommended, very stable OS for your computer. It has been updated enough to have the majority of the bugs/glitches out and third-party support is very widespread.

Mac OS El Capitan (10.11.6)

Apple will most likely stop supporting this OS in the next few months. BUT in the meantime they just released an important security and Safari updates to address the Intel vulnerability. Please be sure to install it!!!

iOS for iPhones and iPads

iOS 11.2.5

YES!  Assuming your devices is either new(er) OR IF your device is older (iPhone 6, 6s, or iPhone SE and you have taken advantage of Apple's battery replacement program), be sure to update to 11.2.5 to get the most important security update addressing the Intel issue.


The Class You've Been Waiting For!!

windsor upcoming ipad class

iPad Beyond the Basics - updated for iOS 11

All ages

Wednesday, February 21st and Wednesday, February 28th

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. 

Please sign up online or at the front desk in advance. 

Windsor Senior Center

9231 Foxwood Drive, Windsor, CA 95492

Fees

$45 for residents / $50 for non-residents

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

iOS TIP

Find out Which Apps Are Draining Your Battery Life on iPhone

With all this talk about battery life and your iPhone, knowing what apps are using up your battery life is a good practice. Of course, if you use an app a lot it's always going to show up as the app using most of your battery. But sometimes an app running in the background or not working properly will drain your battery life too, and it's good to be aware of them. Here is how to check.
 

Settings > Battery

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Wait a few seconds and a list will appear. Now you will  see a list of apps and the percentage of your battery they've used in the last 24 hours or last 7 days, depending on which tab you select.

Remember that if you've used an app a lot, of course it's going to drain your battery. But check to make sure there aren't any apps on the list that you're not using enough to permit that amount of battery drain. Consider either deleting those apps and re-downloading them or getting rid of them altogether.

Finally, check which apps are using a lot of battery in the background. 

To do this,

1. Tap the clock icon on the right.

2. Under each app it will say time on screen and time in background. 

3. If apps are draining a lot of your battery in the background, I suggest turning Background App Refresh off in General Settings OR close the app when you aren't using it.

 

Mac OS TIP

Disable Autoplay Video

With Safari 11 (which you can get if you are running Mac OS Sierra or High Sierra) can disable autoplay video, so you will never again have to hear voices while you are browsing the web (especially prevalent on news sites)!

When you first click on a web site with sound, a small speaker / volume icon appears at the upper right of the URL (address) bar, you can touch it to stop the audio.

BUT next time you are on a site that is autoplaying a video, click on Safari > Settings for This Website.

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Once the Settings for This Website option is selected, you will see a pop up window with the option Auto-Play. Hover on the words besides that to see three choices:

        * Allow All Auto-Play

        * Stop Media with Sound

        * Never Auto-Play

Stop Media with Sound appears to be the default option, and it will essentially stop any video from starting if the sound is set to be on. If the video is set to play silently it will still run in Safari in High Sierra, but at least they won't suddenly blare out audio, scaring you because you had the sound on your Mac turned up.

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If you would rather not see the video at all, you can choose Never Auto-Play. This selection will apply to any autoplay videos on that site. If you visit a page with a video you will see a Play button in the middle of the video and you just have to click on that to start the video playing.

 

If you want videos to Auto-Play on a particular site you can choose to Allow All Auto-Play. Choose Stop Media with Sound if you don't mind them playing but would rather not hear the sound track.

You can also add sites you wish not to autoplay video to a listing in Safari Preferences. Go to Safari > Preferences and click on Websites. Click Auto-Play and in the section on the right you will see any currently open websites. As before, you can choose to:

        * Allow All Auto-Play

        * Stop Media with Sound

        * Never Auto-Play

2018 Has Arrived

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2018 has arrived and I am most definitely grateful to have a New Year to focus on. It seems as if many of us have had challenges over the past year and moving forward is a good thing in my opinion. Since I don't believe in resolutions, I will be focusing on what I want to expand and change in my life for 2018. These words feel exciting - hurray! I am going to keep this intro brief but please note there is a lot of information in the rest of this newsletter - you can use the sidebar at the left to jump to what interests you the most.

Happy New Year!

Helping you get the most from your technology is our passion!

We provide the guidance you need to gain confidence, while learning to take advantage of everything your technology offers. It's as rewarding for us as it is for you!


1. OUR NAME

Technology Simplified is now officially the name of my company!  I am pleased the name better reflects what we do for you.

IMPORTANT

  • Checks or other payments need to be made to "Technology Simplified". 
  • All emails have moved to the new addresses (below) and we ask you to update your contacts.
  • Postal address for snail mail (below) is in effect also.
  • Phone number remains UNCHANGED.

THE DETAILS

Technology Simplified
1585 Terrace Way #310
Santa Rosa, CA 95404
707-573-9649

Jillian/John:   support@technologysimplified.net

Ronnie:  Ronnie@technologysimplified.net

Website:  https://www.technologysimplified.net

2. RATES ARE INCREASING ON MARCH 1, 2018

I'm proud to say that I have now been in the business of technology support/training for 20 years. In order to continue to help our clients step into success, I am implementing a modest fee increase, which is in keeping with the quality service we provide yet still very competitive. 

Beginning March 1st, the cost per hour of all our services will increase by $10. We enjoy working with you and love supporting your computing and technology endeavors. We truly value our business and personal relationship. If this rate increase presents a problem or brings up concerns, please don't hesitate to contact us. 

3. SPECIAL OFFER PRIOR TO MARCH

To ease the transition to our new rates we are offering a limited time special to help you get your technology in tip top shape. Appointments for our tune up special must be made prior to January 30, and all appointments must be completed before March 1st.  See below.

4. CLASSES

We are always being asked about classes and we are working on the details of tailored small classes available in Santa Rosa on an ongoing basis. If you are interested, please contact Jillian to be put on our list. In the meantime, Technology Simplified delivers iPad class at the Windsor Sr. Center. See below for details.


APPLE CALLED OUT ON SLOWING DOWN OLDER PHONES

In late December, Apple was called on the carpet by several news outlets for 'slowing down' older iPhones and iPads intentionally. The result of this is that Apple is stepping up taking public responsibility and creating a positive experience for users of older phones with older batteries.

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A Message to Our Customers

Click here to read.


HIGH SIERRA !! CAUTION !!
PLEASE DO NOT INSTALL

I have never recommended upgrading to a new OS before several months have passed and I am not yet ready to recommend High Sierra.

IF you have already upgraded, intentionally or not, please be sure to install any security updates offered by Apple immediately. 

You can check which version of the Mac OS you are running by clicking on the Apple Menu - and selecting 'About This Mac" 

How to avoid upgrading to High Sierra for the time being

Apple is 'pushing' this upgrade - when you get the prompt at the upper right corner of your screen click on 'Details' which will open the App Store and then simply Quit the App store. Nothing will install. IF you want to be very sure High Sierra doesn't install accidentally you can go to your Applications folder and look to see if you have a file called "Install  Mac OS High Sierra," then drag this to the trash. Don't worry you can download it again when it is safe to install. 


iOS 11

I feel that it's now safe to install iOS 11 if you have an iPhone 6S or newer. On any model older than a 6S it significantly slows your phone down. On an iPad I recommend you have at least an iPad Air 2.  

** Also see above note about battery replacement if you plan to upgrade an older device. 

Remember we're happy to help you with any of this should you need it and/or have any questions.

Check your iPad version here.

Check your iPhone version here


UPCOMING CLASS

windsor ipad class

iPad Beyond the Basics - updated for iOS 11

All ages

Wednesday, February 21st and Wednesday, February 28th

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. 

Please sign up online or at the front desk in advance. 

Fees

$45 for residents / $50 for non-residents

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: 
  4. "Senior Computer - iPad", click "Show Courses"

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

TUNE UP SPECIAL!! 

90 MINUTES FOR $90 ~ TUNE UP*   

 Your Tune-Up includes:  

tune up special
  • 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.
  • Scan for and remove malware.
  • Verification and  consultation 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 John, our Technology Simplified Tech/Trainer. 

 

* Offer does not apply to troubleshooting / diagnostics or major Mac OS upgrades. Appointments must be booked by 1/30/2018 and completed by 3/1/2018. Limited to the first 20 appointments.

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.