Category: Covid19

05/18/22 – What Is The Apple Card?

I paid $4.59 for gas yesterday.  According to a major bank, the average may be $6.20 by summer.  A discount grocer I shop at used to sell eggs for $1.19.  They are now $2.45.  I don’t think these issues are going away any time soon.  The valleys of life sometimes entail living with the consequences of others’ (poor) decisions.  2022 is going to be one of those times.

but there are — Stories of Hope

My 89 year old great aunt and 94 year old grandmother recently have recovered from Covid 19 after getting infected about 1 month ago.  Recovery is possible, common, and likely.  Both took the new anti-viral medications.  I believe early treatment is essential, whether you take conventional or unconventional paths.  Once again you are able to order 8 free tests for your household. It takes a minute to fill out the form.  Here is another tool for your tool bag.  

COVID.gov/tests – Free at-home COVID-19 tests

Computer Speed Up Specialist

Do you have a 3 to 7 year old Windows computer that is starting to get a little slow?   Are you put off by the supply shortages and the cost of buying a new computer?   I think I may have an answer for you.   Unlike modern Macs, that have all soldered in unremovable parts — most Windows systems have a replaceable hard drive.  If your system seems that slow, you can likely benefit from a replacement with a solid state drive (SSD).  I make sure your files are backed up and then re-install Windows and your essential programs and copy your files back on to the computer.  This is a real jolt in the arm for your PC and it likely feels faster than when the computer was new.  These jobs can take as  little as 2 hours.  I just did one last week for a client that was 3 hours.   When choosing your next computer, only get one with an SSD in the future.  The Windows and Mac operating systems are meant for SSDs, in fact it is not possible to buy a Mac without one. 

Apple Card

Welcome to the world of high tech finance, I suppose.  For years, customers have always been able to finance an Apple product and get a certain number of interest free payments, at least on their first purchase.  Most recently, shoppers were offered a Barclays Apple Rewards Visa.  However, in 2019 Apple decided to take things in house and offer their own Mastercard called the Apple Card.  Apple is putting their name on it and demanding certain standards, but the banking back end is provided by the consumer division of Goldman Sachs. 

Why might someone want the Apple Card?

Well you get a card made out of titanium that is heavy and makes you feel important.  (Come on, that’s not a valid reason!) OK, getting serious here — the Apple Card seems like a valid choice for customers that regularly shop from Apple.  There is 3% cash back on all Apple purchases.  Interest free financing can also be used with all Apple purchases.  Furthermore, the card is automatically added to the Wallet app on the iPhone.   For any “tap to pay” situation, there is 2% cash back.   (There is also 1% cash back whenever you use the physical card).  The card can be used wherever Mastercard is accepted.  The full card number is not printed on your card.  It can be looked up in the Wallet app and a new number can be issued in the event of a security issue.

How to apply?

You apply using the Wallet app on your iPhone.  It’s very simple and takes about 5 minutes.

Who is this not for?

The Apple Card is not for someone who wants paper statements or to send in a check every month.  You really need an iPhone to be a card member.  You will make your payments through the Wallet app or by logging on to a website on the computer with your Apple ID and password. 

The End of June Is Upon Us

Life Hacks

I started doing something in January that I don’t regret — I began shopping at “off price” or “generic” grocery stores. I don’t know how else to describe them.  I think in other parts of the country — California perhaps — these are much more common.   Around here, I have been shopping at Aldi and Price Rite.  I feel like I have saved at least a couple hundred $$.  The food tastes the same.  Sometimes the brands are the same. There’s less markup.  I am over the pretense of thinking I have to shop at certain stores. 

Your Favorite Masked Man

Mask wearing might become popular once again.  I’ve received a lot of compliments on the masks I’ve worn and I have typically ordered from 3 places.  Whether you want N95,  KN95 (Chinese / Asian equivalent), or KF94 (Korean standard) – I would be happy to order for you.  I prefer the KN95 or KF94 because of the ear loops.  N95’s have straps that wrap around the head.  The choice is yours.  Black masks are available.  Spice it up.  Let me help you get dressed for success.

Clients Improve My Practice

I become better at my craft by learning from clients and observing how they use technology.  I did some work recently for a client who had an extensive collection of bookmarks in her browser.  Not many of you do a lot of bookmarking.  I think I have well over 1000 pages saved.  This client had over 900.  Ideally they should all be all sorted into folders, but that takes time and not everyone is that organized.  My client wanted them on the screen all the time so they can easily be scrolled through and selected — the way they were in Internet Explorer (there’s a name from the past) in Windows 7 and earlier.  It turns out that this is not possible in Google Chrome or Microsoft Edge.   It is only possible in Safari (Mac) or Firefox (Mac and Windows).   A Firefox user she will be!

Final Covid 19 Update

This topic has been the focal point of all of our lives for the past 14 months.  It’s been an all consuming fire and a whirlwind at the same time.   To many of you, my wife and I were the only people you knew that had Covid 19.   There are multiple ways of looking at our lives in this era and varied viewpoints on the policies, remedies and messaging.  Whether necessary or not, I am going to keep wearing the high quality masks I’ve been wearing to jobs.  And when not dealing with sharp objects, I will wear gloves.  It’s business equipment for me; it’s part of my routine.  I have been operating – business as usual – since May 17, 2020, one year ago.  Today, I am declaring a new day.  For my own state of mind and well being, I am leading by example and changing the subject.   Going forward, I am not going to be engaging in any “Covid or Vax talk” in this newsletter or at appointments.  I would most sincerely appreciate it if you could do the same, at least around me.

Simplifying Routines

Technical Tip

Don’t put your gear on top of other devices that are charging.  If your laptop is charging at night, don’t leave your phone or anything electronic on top of it.  I think this would apply to other mechanical devices as well. I developed a bad habit of placing the Seiko watch I got for my Big Birthday earlier this year on top of a closed laptop at night. Well well, the watch became demagnetized.  It’s in the shop now. 😦 

Biz Briefing

I am trying my best to weather the Covid 19 storm and also prepare for possible changes in operations once the weather gets colder.  I am doing about 2/3 of appointments in person right now, but if we have to go mostly remote, let’s make sure we are prepared.  With the vast majority of you, we are already set up to do Quick Assist (Windows) or Team Viewer and Zoom (Windows or Mac).  If for some reason you think you are not set up to do a remote session with me, I can help you get set up at no charge by phone or when I am in the area. 

Simplifying Routines

I describe myself as someone who provides I.T. consulting and tutoring  with a teacher’s heart.  After all, I was once a certified teacher and have a Masters in Education.  (And would you believe I am getting calls to come back in for school based positions? I told them, no thanks! I am not working in a classroom and jeopardizing my clients’ health.)  I try to incorporate a teacher’s spirit in what I do. This makes me so different than the I.T. Guy from the big box store or some nerd driving around in a VW Bug. 

I have gotten a great feel for how older adults learn and process information.  The teacher in me believes in high standards and expectations.  I want to take you into expanded portals of possibility.  You might think your potential is at ground level.  I have my sights set on the stars.  I think if we end up somewhere in between, you will be able to get a lot out of your technology. 

One of my goals going forward is to help you simplify routines through sequences of brief, memorable steps.  When working with a client recently, I broke down emailing scanned documents to

-Scan

-Save

-Attach

Keyboard shortcuts are another way to simplify tasks. 

Want to create a new folder for your files?

In the File Explorer (Finder – Mac), create a new folder by pressing Ctrl (Cmd – Mac) Shift + N

Zoom–Buggy On The Mac? Yes.

I know a lot of you are Zooming these days.


Unfortunately I’ve received reports and also personally participated in troubleshooting zoom problems with multiple clients.


I don’t have all the answers right now, but I think Mac OS 10.15 (which is hard to avoid, as previously mentioned) may be a common vortex.  I’ve had clients with video and audio problems in zoom  with BOTH built in audio / video (a la Mac Book and iMac)  and separate audio and video — such as using a plug-in Webcam, microphone or headphones.


And the other quirk in this whole process is, what if the updates we do fix some problems but then create others?  I think both the Mac operating system and the windows operating system have gone the wrong way on updates in the past few years.   it’s this forced updating that is just killing us, in a metaphorical sense of course.


Why can’t we just have one version of the operating system for five years and get just minor security updates from time to time?. We don’t need features, we don’t need to reinvent the wheel.


now with this all said, there is apparently a new update for Zoom on the Mac coming out today. If you use them regularly, make sure you get this update because it may fix some of the bugs you were experiencing.   if you are not prompted to update automatically when opening zoom, you can click on the zoom.us  menu at the top and check for updates.  


We are learning and growing together. Sometimes there’s going to be some growing pains.

A Call For Creativity In These Times

What I have been so impressed by is the creativity that other businesses are showing at this time.  I’m really happy that smaller markets like Fitzgerald’s, Highland Park, Stew Leonard’s and others are stepping up and keeping the shelves stocked, when some of the more “big box” and corporate type stores have been perpetually cleaned out.  It just seems to me like $5 / 20 roll toilet paper, $1 hand soap, and $2 hand sanitizer are not sustainable during times of insane demand or hoarding.  However, stores that sell these items at sustainable prices have them.   One Hartford business that has really impressed me by how they have met a consumer need is Hartford Flavor on Arbor St.  They are known for producing fine hard liquor but these days they have used their capacity to make hand sanitizer.  They take one customer at a time up the stairs at their headquarters.  They have also donated a bunch of their product to front line workers.   As you probably know commercial food suppliers are really having a tough go of it.  Eggs and other staples are being trashed across the country.  Sysco, a company that provides food to many restaurants we love, is now offering personal pickup two days a week for individual customers at their Rocky Hill warehouse.  Some businesses have really been devastated and may never recover but I think it’s important to recognize those who are creating new supply channels during these wild times. 

iPhone SE Taking Off Like A Rocket

I discussed the release of this phone with you last week.  It is going to be a huge seller for Apple and depending on where you order from, the wait is already a couple weeks for delivery.  This phone is so much better than the 2016 iPhone SE.  It has a “normal” size screen that iPhone users have been used to since 2014 and of course at $399, it is priced to move. I will share a tid bit that I read in one of the tech publications this week.  They said that even though this phone is $399, it has a more powerful processor than just about any Android phone on the market, including those costing more than double.   Some of my clients have purchased this phone already and will do a remote setup with me (which I expect to take 1 to 1.5 hours if you are keeping score at home).  Others are purchasing and holding it for later so that we can set it up together under better circumstances.  Either option is fine by me with any device you want to purchase.  

I also want to answer another question that I have gotten — what’s the catch? I think it’s a great question.  Since Steve Jobs launched the iMac  in 1998, Apple has performed with near genius precision at the unveiling of one product after another.  They have had few duds.  Apple’s original intent with the SE was probably to capture buyers who for some reason have held onto their iPhone 6, 6s and 7 and possibly 8’s (for those who bought it early on as it was a fall 2017 phone).  They decided on this release sometime last year, not because of Covid 19, but the fact that it is happening now when a $1000 phone seems so out of sight for many laid off or downsized workers — makes Apple seem brilliant.  I think they will also win over some % of Android users because this is a can’t lose price point.   So who is the iPhone SE not for?  If you see yourself as a semi-pro photographer, you will likely want a phone from the iPhone 11 series, and probably a Pro model.  The camera on the SE is a single camera, definitely as good as the iPhone 8.  Another person who the SE is not for is someone who wants two cellular lines on one phone.   Starting with the 2018 models, all iPhone X series and 11 series support two lines.  This can be a very useful feature, especially in the case of business and personal.