Note to iOS Clients

As you may nor may not know — Apple released the latest new version of its mobile operating system iOS 13 on Thursday.  

However, don’t be in a big rush to manually seek out the update right now.   In fact, if you get prompted before 1 PM ET on 9/24 — delay the upgrade.

A revision to the new version iOS 13.1 will be available then.  Furthermore at that time the software on the iPad will be known as iPad OS

Bottom line:  It’s really good to keep your iPhones and iPads up to date — but why don’t don’t you go to Settings > General > Software Update — some time after 1 PM on 9/24 when you are back home on WiFi.   No need to be an early adopter before then if you can at all avoid it.   And as always make sure your devices are backed up to iCloud, the computer or both, before installing a major new version of iOS / iPad OS.

Be Careful Before Clicking

My advice for you this week is to be very careful about clicking links or attachments that come in an email or other form of electronic message.   If you are expected these items, that is one thing.   But if the attachments or links seem out of the blue — this is a red flag!  They can easily create a malware infection on your device.    In terms of links, one thing that you can often to depending on the email program or devices is point to the link or press and hold on it (iOS) to reveal the true websites.  You may be able to right click on the link (computer) and copy the link address.  Then you could paste the address in Word or another word processor so that you can see it in print before clicking on it.  Not a bad idea.   If the true address doesn’t match what you are looking for — steer clear.  

Additionally, decide very carefully whether you want to click on ads you see in your browser.   You shouldn’t really see that many of them because I have installed an ad blocker in the browser for nearly all of you.   Go to a well known technology news site — cnet.com .  Unfortunately, they are known for displaying a ton of ads.  If you see a lot of ads on their page, it means that you do not have an ad blocker installed.  Being properly protected against malicious ads should be something to add to your list for our next visit.

Special Review of Apple’s Sept 10 Event

I wanted to give you a special review of Apple’s Big Event on Tuesday September 10 and make you aware of their new products and services.

As a reminder, I am ready to be your iPhone upgrade specialist. I can help you order your iPhone 11 model and help you get set up – as I have done for years. I will ensure data isn’t lost in the transfer by doing a FULL ENCRYPTED BACKUP via iTunes and restore to your new iPhone. No shortcuts here.

Apple Arcade: Apple is launching a video game service with unique titles – aimed at all ages. Games can be played across iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Apple TV. $4.99 / month for the whole family.

Apple TV Plus: This is Apple’s answer to Netflix and Hulu (for now and may become bigger). Apple will have original shows and movies. There will be add-ons available. This service will not include free access to the thousands upon thoughts of titles available in the iTunes Store already. It launches in November – at a very friendly $4.99 / month for a family subscription.

iPad: Apple’s basic iPad is still $329 and it is getting a bump up in screen size to 10.2 inches. If it’s been 3 or 4 years since your last iPad – you may really want to consider it. It’s better than ever and if needed it supports the Smart Keyboard for the first time.

Apple Watch: The Apple Watch 5 may have been the star of the show. It is getting more sophisticated at tracking our health and helping us improve our lives. An emphasis was really made on older adults in the presentation and how the heart rate monitor and EKG feature can help save lives. Pricing starts at $399, if you don’t mind the rubber strap (I don’t). Apple also wants to make sure that Apple Watch technology is available to all. Therefore they are selling the Apple Watch 3 for $199, a great alternative to the Fit Bit Versa. However, just remember – you will need the Apple Watch 4 and later to get the EKG feature. Perhaps a deal may be available on the Apple Watch 4 – where models are still available.

DRUM ROLL PLEASE — HERE ARE YOUR NEW IPHONES

iPhones: Apple really wowed on their base iPhone – the iPhone 11 – which is a replacement for the iPhone XR. Not only does it have 2 cameras and come in more color options – but they dropped the price from $749 to $699. Way to go Apple! This the iPhone that most customers will be buying and will be the one most appropriate for my clients.

However, there are 2 super premium Pro level iPhones also coming out – the iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max. They are priced at $999 and $1099 respectively (same as last year. A common thought is – the Pro is for users who want a PRO CAMERA. This is true. I really think if you learn to use one of these Pro iPhones– they can be as good as a $400-500 camera. Truth be told, I can think of 2 other reasons for the Pro. You would want the 11 Pro if you absolutely want the SMALLEST new iPhone. The 11 Pro is 5.8 inches diagonally vs 6.1 inches for the iPhone 11. Also, the iPhone 11 Pro Max is the one for you if you want the LARGEST new iPhone – clocking in at 6.5 inches diagonally. Keep in mind, you will pay $300 to $400 more for these size preferences.

Personally, speaking I am doing my best effort to get my pre order in for a regular iPhone 11 this morning. Pre-orders start today and shipments begin on September 20th.

Conclusion: I watched the whole event live. I think it was Apple’s best product / service event since the passing of Steve Jobs in 2011.

6 Months Into The Cellular Transition

Mac Security Woes

I didn’t want to bother all of my Windows clients with this update that I sent out late last week, but I thought you would be interested to know that all of the malware, browser hijacks, or whatever you want to call these intrusions I have dealt with this year have been on Macs (and in one case on a Chromebook).  None have been on Windows PC’s.  Here is a link to the blog post I wrote.  https://theacronym.com/2019/09/06/a-note-on-mac-security/

Doubling Down

You know you can get objective advice from me.   I got a good response to my “best computers” segment awhile back.   I think the best desktop for the kind of consumer that I serve is the 2018 Mac Mini, with a keyboard, mouse, and monitor (which need not cost more than $150), of your choosing.  The better Dell Optiplex and Lenovo Think Centre Desktops are close seconds.  The best laptops are the Thinkpad T490 and the Thinkpad X1 Carbon, with the Dell Latitude 7000 series being right up there too.  The Latitude 5000 series (which I am typing this on), Thinkpad L and E series are just a degree under that.   The 2016 – 2019 Mac Book laptops have not been up to Apple’s past standards even if failures are happening in 10% of cases or less.  The main problem is the keyboard.   I can type on it just fine.  I have grown warm toward the sound, but the concern is dust and debris getting underneath.   Apple has put out a warranty on these keyboards for 4 years including the 2019 models.  The Apple store will not tell you this.  I am being straight with you.  I am telling no one to junk their computers or switch, though I help  Windows to Mac and Mac to Windows switchers all the time.  Apple is expected to go back to the old style of keyboards next year (and possibly with a high end laptop model by the end of this year). 

Still Going Good With T-Mobile

My wife and I have now been with T-Mobile for 6+ months.  I have never had a major complaint.  I did take one trip into Litchfield County where I lost service for about 1.5 miles several months ago.  If I spent a lot of time in rural areas I may have more of a problem, but that is not representative of my travel patterns.  T-Mobile will be adding many band 71 (600 mhz) towers to the Hartford area which will help increase coverage, especially in buildings.  iPhone XR and later and the latest Androids support band 71.  Pricing was “a little better” than Verizon when I first reported to you on the transition but there were added benefits like higher data limits than the plan we had previously.  Earlier this summer, we scored a major coup.  Due to my wife being age 55+, we were able to change our plan to the Magenta Unlimited 55.  We got the same unlimited data at $70 per month, inclusive of taxes and fees, for 2 lines.  Wow!   The coverage from Verizon might be a little better, but it is not 2x the price better.  They are in our rear view mirror.  T-Mobile also offers Veterans’ plans, as do some of the other carriers.

A Note On Mac Security

I was thinking about you tonight.  I did not want to mix this in with my normal beginning of the week update because well — half of those readers have Windows

A striking thought hit me the other day. Out of all of the security breaches, malware, viruses (whatever you want to call them) that have happened to my clients this year — ALL HAVE BEEN ON A MAC (and in one case on a Chromebook).   None happened on the Windows platform.  Do I think the Mac is becoming less secure?  No.  I think more people are using Macs than ever before and the hackers are finding more of a reason to target the Mac because of sheer numbers of potential targets.

So there are 2 things that I want you to do.  Do them.  Clients, you can send me a simple reply if you notice something unusual after going through steps 1 and 2 and I will reply back.   (No charge for this brief e-mail checkup.)


1) In your browser (whether it is Safari, Firefox, Chrome, Brave – whichever you use) search from the address bar at the top.  Delete the http://www.whatever…..  and type in something you want to search for.   Hit Return.    The result should clearly be a GOOGLE page (or correspond to your default search engine.)   If it doesn’t, you have a problem!  Just let me know if you get a weird result.


2)  Go to Finder >> Applications folder.   Do you see any in there that you don’t recognize?  I am not really asking about apps you don’t use — those can always be deleted later but ones that seem suspicious.  (Apps you don’t need to report back to me on are — Word, Excel, Power Point, Outlook, One Note, Notes, Reminders, Pages, Numbers, Keynote, iMovie, Garage Band) 


Hopefully everything is fine but this is a good check up that you can easily do — and should do regularly to thwart browser hijacks and malware applications. If I don’t hear from you, I will assume everything is A – OK.

Fall Is The Season For Technology

A brief diversion for you — Are you sick of Pumpkin Spice? 

https://www.usatoday.com/story/life/food-dining/2019/08/28/pumpkin-spice-has-gone-too-far-and-we-need-to-draw-the-line/2122332001/

Fall Is The Season For Technology

Fall is high season for technology.  Major products relevant to the lives of everyday users of technology have just been or will be released soon. 

– Samsung just released its candidate for 2nd half of 2019 – iPhone Killer.   It’s called the Galaxy Note 10 — If you are thinking Android and want something of iPhone quality — it is an amazing phone.  https://www.samsung.com/us/mobile/phones/galaxy-note/

-Microsoft just announced its big event for October 2.  It is widely expected that they will come out with a new Surface Pro tablet + keyboard and Surface Laptop.  I led a client on a well planned and deliberative shopping trip just before Christmas last year.  When given a live and in person chance to try out the Mac Book Air and the Surface Pro, she chose the Surface Pro. Based on a few key factors, it wasn’t even close.   If you’ve never looked at the Surface, take a peek at the current generation here  https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/p/surface-pro-6/8zcnc665slq5?activetab=pivot:overviewtab

-Google will not be left out.  Since 2016, Google has released an annual iteration of premium phones in their Pixel line.  These phones aim for iPhone stature and naturally are priced like iPhones.  A lot of independent observers say that the Pixels truly have the best cameras.  Expect an October release.  And just remember, you don’t have to spend $800 to get a great phone.  A few months back, Google came out with a slightly less powerful and very reasonably priced Pixel 3a line of phones.  For a sub-$400 awesome phone, this is my pick.  https://store.google.com/product/pixel_3a  (Works with all major carriers)

….But Ladies and Gentlemen the event you have been waiting for….

-Last but not least, lets talk about Apple’s September Event.  The iPhone event is happening on September 10.  Pre-ordering is scheduled for September 13th, with deliveries beginning on the 20th.  As always, I will make my “upgrade service” available to you.  I will order the phone for you without any consulting charge (using your apple.com account or cellular account), if you have me come and set the phone up for you when it arrives.  This system has worked out well for years with my clients and I.  Whether I have to stay up late or wake up early, I will get that order in for you.  While rumors can be unreliable, possible model names may be — iPhone 11, iPhone Pro, and iPhone Pro Max.  It would not surprise me if pricing stayed at $749, $999, $1099.  Keep in mind again that most customers pay for their phones via the 24 interest free payment program through carrier financing or through Apple’s Upgrade Program. It is still possible to buy the phone outright.  iPhone 6 users — it is time for a few iPhone.  If you have another model that is getting old or slow or just want a new one —  I am ready, willing, and able to get you the phone you need.  

I appreciate your referrals  Be on the lookout for a mailing from me that is a “menu” of all the services I offer, including some that you may not be aware of.  Very share worthy!

Yours truly,