Category: Current Events

Fax Is Back and T-Mobile Update

Here are a couple of Bonus Features for you today.

Fax Is Back

With one company in particular and actually a couple of parties, I have been doing a lot of faxing lately.  I haven’t had a true home phone with the phone company since 2012.  From 2012-2016, I had a service called VOIPo for my home phone.  Basically I plugged an adapter into my router and then positioned a couple of cordless phones throughout the home.  At some point in my time as a customer, they allowed me to upload scanned documents (or computer created documents) and they would fax them out for me.  In mid-2016, I decided that I didn’t really need the fax perk anymore and changed to a well known internet based home phone called Magic Jack.  As I have shared before, I pay a whopping $40 per year for my home phone and use it for all of 5 minutes a month.  Ultimately, I cannot fax with Magic Jack.  So what did I do?   I signed up with Humble Fax for $10 / month and no long term contract.   This service gave me a local fax number.  It allows me to scan documents to the computer and upload them to my Humble Fax portal.  I can then compose a little cover page and send the fax out.  It’s awesome.  I can also receive faxes and get them delivered to my e-mail. 

Still Rockin’ With T-Mobile

The subject of T-Mobile came up with a client recently and I just wanted to say that I am pleased to report that my wife and I still love them, 14 months later.  They are the best big tech / telecom company I have ever dealt with.  We are on the 2 for $70 / unlimited age 55+ plan.  Only one person on the plan needs to be 55 or older.  Our price includes all taxes and junk fees.  As for the promises delivered on, here are the major ones.  When we ported in from Verizon, they promised to pay off our phones.  We each had a year remaining and about $600 total left on our phone loans.  Within 14 days, I got a virtual Mastercard with the exact payoff amount loaded so that I could pay off Verizon.   My wife is a big fan of the Samsung Galaxy phones and not an iPhone user.  When the Galaxy S20 orders started in February, she was all in.  The prices went up this year and the S20 was $999.  However, it became more palatable when T-Mobile (through some kind of arrangement with Samsung) promised to give my wife $500 for her 2 year old Galaxy S9+.  That phone only has a street value of about $150, approximately.   About 3 weeks after receiving the phone in early March, T-Mobile delivered.  $95 was given to us as a Bill Credit.  $405 was put on a pre-paid Mastercard.  I was then able to take that Mastercard and pay it all on my wife’s phone loan, knocking it down by 40%.  Promises made, promises kept!   If you are interested in that 2 for $70 plan, I can talk with you about it.  It may not be for everyone and if you have the right iPhone (2018 models and later), I think I can set you up with a “bridge the gap” strategy to make this work optimally. 

Small Business In The Pandemic

Small Business in the Pandemic

I am sure you got e-mails from just about every company you deal with over the past week regarding COVID-19, the coronavirus that is currently impacting our world. I will not go on a long spiel about how much I care because you know I do.  If you would like me to wipe your keyboard, phone, or tablet with a disinfecting wipe when I am there, I certainly will.   Thank you for your continued support of my small business.  I really appreciate the appointments we’ve had whether they’ve been in person or virtual.  While most of my appointments are close to the Hartford area, my travels took me to the CT Shoreline this weekend. ( I do charge a travel surcharge, but I definitely will take on clients in the New Haven or Springfield areas, for example).  As the situation has intensified and fears have grown, I have definitely noticed a drop in business.  I predict that March will be 40 to 60% less in terms of revenues than this January.  I wanted to provide that as a real “Main Street” report.  It may be logical to expect a decline for a period of time. This business is really all I have.  If there comes a point when I need to supplement this income stream, I could not easily be an I.T. professional for a large company or government entity.  I often joke with myself and say, if I wasn’t doing this business, I would be a cashier at WalMart – maybe – if they would take me ūüôā I will say that every traditional “job” I have ever had has been a failure.  If I do have to diversify in the future, it would be something entrepreneurial and likely outside the field of I.T.  Given the run on toilet paper lately, if I had any plumbing skills whatsoever, I’m sure I could make a killing installing home bidets right now. Unfortunately, that is outside my skill set. Humor aside, I appreciate your continued business and referrals. The VIP Computer Care family has plenty of room for growth. 

Skype on Mac

I shared previously that the ability for me to do remote assistance sessions is already baked in to Windows 10, however on the Mac you will need Skype (or another application) installed for you to share your screen with me. I don’t need to do video chat.  Installing Skype is quite easy for Mac users.  If you don’t have it in your Finder >> Applications (folder) already, you just need to go to skype.com in your browser and download it.  Double click on the file that downloads (you will either see it on the screen or you can go to your Finder >> Downloads folder).  And then just follow the prompt to install Skype.  You can then open it from the Applications folder by going to your Finder (remedial step:  Finder is the “face” icon in the lower left of your screen).  Sign in with your Microsoft account.  If you don’t have one you can create it, no cost involved.  You will then be ready for a future Mac remote session.

Who Builds Our Gadgets?

Technology Built with Slave Labor?

https://apnews.com/3f9a92b8dfd3cae379b57622dd801dd5

I only read this one story by the Associated Press so far and I am looking to confirm this against other sources.  However, if it is really true that gadgets made by Lenovo, Apple and other companies are being made with forced Muslim slave labor — I think we need to change how we shop for technology.  It’s a sickening feeling.  Do we really know what it takes to make our high tech gadgets?   I will report back when I know more.

Expected Delays

There are some products relevant to many of you — such as a low cost iPhone and new Mac Books with the GOOD 2015-style keyboards — that were expected to come out as early as the end of this month.  Given the disruption to the Chinese supply chain, it is now expected that you will have to wait a little bit longer.   If you wanted one of these items, try to hold out a little bit longer.  If your tech goes kaput before then, you will just have to choose from a product currently available. 

Carrier Cell Phone Stores – Shopping Advice

I think I may have shared on this before, but I promised to touch on it again.  There is nothing wrong with shopping at an ATT or Verizon store to buy your new smartphone.  However, if you choose to go this route as opposed to buying online or buying at the Apple store, make sure you buy a couple of accessories from your salesperson.   Some customers will go into the store and be insistent on just buying the phone only.  Also, they may “shop” in store, buy online and then come into the store and expect the salesperson to set up the phone.  I used to think it was no big deal, but then I heard from some real in-store sales staff.  If a customer comes in a store and buys a phone without accessories, the sales rep can get fired for that. It’s a reality. These sales jobs are good middle class jobs.  With this said, I offer you the option of buying your online with me and let me set up your phone for you.  However, I know that you may ultimately want that in-store, hands on experience.  If so, try to make it a sustainable transaction for all parties involved.

Where We’ve Come In A Decade

As we come to the end of the year, we also come to the end of the 2010’s.  (Whether or not it’s truly the end of the decade, may be a technicality.  Some of my elementary school teachers would have said that the decade is 2011-2020), but for all intents and purposes many in the technology community are looking at how far we have come in the last 10 years.

I will just give you a few of my thoughts. I  will also ask you, how has your use of technology changed in 10 years?

-The iPhone was not Apple’s bread and butter in 2010.  In the USA, it was still an AT&T exclusive.  Verizon users were being pushed to get a DROID, which was special branding put on Android phones made specifically for Verizon.  Big iPhone competitors that year were the Motorola DROID, the DROID X, and the HTC DROID Incredible.  As a Verizon customer, I could not get an iPhone.  My first smartphone was the Incredible.   Everything opened up in early 2011 when Verizon came to an agreement to sell the iPhone on their network.  I got my first iPhone in the fall of 2013 and haven‚Äôt looked back.

-The 2010’s were also the decade of the iPad.  I acquired my first iPad in 2010. To be honest, I didn’t see much use for it in the beginning and I sold it in about 6 months.  Today, we see the iPad as the tablet done right.  It does not run a full, traditional computer operating system (now called iPad OS) but it gets the job done well enough for quite a few folks as a primary computing device and nearly everyone else as a “secondary screen”.   Want to use it in the hand?  You can check email, shop, bank, read books, and watch TV / video.  Want to use it with a keyboard?  It is a near laptop.  When Apple came out with the iPad Pro a few years back — they really blurred the lines between Mac and iPad. I don’t think it’s a bad thing, though I would still prefer a full Mac / Windows computer as my #1 device.  There was a lull in the iPad market in 2015 and 2016.  It seemed like it wasn’t going anywhere.  But then, Apple lowered the price of the “standard iPad”  (9.7 inch, now 10.2) to $329 in 2017 and sales have gone up like wild flowers.

-10 years ago — many people thought the PC (personal computer) would soon be dead.  Remember when netbooks were a big thing?  These were small – 9 or 10 inch — very underpowered Windows laptops that were meant for travel and quick browsing or e-mail.    I fondly remember — hacking a Dell netbook and putting the Mac OS on it.  It ran well for a while.  The keyboard on that netbook was excellent, though cramped.  Fast forward to 2019 and the PC is not dead.  The industry has innovated.   In late 2010, Apple released a timeless design with its 2nd generation Mac Book Air.   This Ultrabook design helped change Windows PC’s for the better.  No longer did a powerful machine have to be a big clunker.  Microsoft also got into the market in 2012 by releasing its own line of tablet computers called Sufrace.  The original Surface concept (which ran a limited version of Windows RT) was a flop, but the Surface Pro (which runs full Windows) has been a huge success.  This 12 inch tablet, with keyboard has aged with conservative design changes and is really the gold standard for small, sub-13 inch computers.   Consumers with simpler needs have moved to the smartphone and the iPad, in some instances ‚Äď exclusively, but the PC market is still here.  The premium PC market is strong.

-During the past 10 years — especially 2016-19 — Apple lost its perch in the laptop market.  Beginning in 2016, they wanted to get so thin and light in order to shave a couple of millimeters that they released a horrible keyboard design.   Many claims of defects were made and lots of warranty work had to be done.  The problem became so bad that in 2018, Apple decided to give all owners of the new Mac Book Pros a 4 year warranty on the keyboards.  This special warranty now covers the late 2016 to 2019 13 and 15 inch Mac Book Pros and the 2018 and 2019 Mac Book Airs. Good news! Apple has seen the error of its ways and recently came out with a new 16 inch laptop with the old 2015 style keyboard.  Hallelujah! We can only hope that Apple will revise the 13 inch Mac Books (models my clients would be most likely to buy) accordingly next year.

-On a personal note, I just want to say that I have learned over the course of 10 years that not everything online is better.  10 years ago, I was actively pursuing my Bachelor’s degree online (with a few on campus courses mixed in).  That evolved into an exclusively online Master’s for the academic portion, with some in-person internship or practicum experiences.  It was a colossal $60,000 mistake.  Some day, I should write an article or short guide about online college studies.  Ultimately, what I learned is that online education is not appropriate for all learners and career objectives.  Just because it’s more convenient or you are a technologically savvy person or you can express yourself more freely by typing — does not mean an online degree is appropriate.   Online education would be appropriate for someone who is already established in an industry, even in an entry level way, and they are aiming for their degree (hopefully with the encouragement of management) in order to advance in that field.  Online degrees are right for someone with an established network that is using that degree to get a bump in pay due to that accomplishment (ie. a teacher getting a salary increase for a Master’s).  Online coursework would not be appropriate for someone looking to blaze a new path in a field where they have no relationships.   That is where I got lost in the maze.  I also believe formal college education is not right for everyone and that trade schools and apprenticeships are a very sustainable path for our young workers.  It makes me think of a picture that you have problem seen passed around in chain e-mails depicting two “learners.”   Jim — 4 year degree in Philosophy – $100K in debt, no job.   Joe — 4 year paid apprenticeship. No debt. $80K a year salary.   Today, Joe works for the electric company and cut off Jim’s lights for non-payment.  Sad, but could be very true.  

JimandJoe

Review of Apple’s Big Event | Time for New Phones and Tablets?

This event has already been reported in the mainstream media, usually in snippets and soundbites. Clients have already asked me to clarify the confusion. I wanted to break their “state of the state” address into a very specific focus for you — 1) What it means for your Macs, 2) What it means for your iPhones / iPads, and 3) What it means for iTunes. Feel free to print this out or save this e-mail or share with your Mac / iOS using friends. This info will still be valid in the fall and ongoing.

Apple held their WWDC keynote address on Monday. Aside from a new Mac Pro desktop (which is intended for designers, people in video production, and engineers — users outside my typical client demographic), this event was all about software. Like clockwork, Apple is coming out with a brand new version of iOS and macOS. These are the BIG annual upgrades that I often tell you about. They will be available in the late summer / early fall. These will be known as iOS 13 and macOS 10.15. Apple is essentially “forking off” the software for the iPad and calling it iPadOS. This will be coming out in the fall for existing, compatible iPads as well. As I told one client today, ALL OF THE NEW SOFTWARE WILL BE FREE. These new editions of the respective operating systems offer guidance as to which Macs and iOS devices will no longer be supported.

For the Macs that you need to know about — macOS 10.15 will support
Mac Book Pro – 2012 and later
Mac Book Air – 2012 and later
iMac – 2012 and later
Mac Mini – 2012 and later
*Usually my rule of thumb is, when it’s the first version of the macOS that does not support your Mac — you have a little time.  Once its the next full year and it’s that second version of the mac OS that doesn’t support your system — you really need to get a new Mac.  (For example, if you have a 2011 Mac Book Pro (and some of you do), macOS 10.14 (2018 version) was the first one your Mac did not support.  If this Mac is still in operation, you should be thinking about a new Mac once the new software comes out in the fall. Take a deep breath, you don’t have to make a purchase exactly on that date.)  Of course, this only applies if you are going to stay with a Mac.  Alternatively, you can upgrade to a new computer whenever you want.  If your Mac is getting slow or if it fails, you may not be waiting until the end of its software life cycle.
 
As for the iPhones and iPads 
iOS 13 / iPad OS will support
iPhone SE and later (the 2015 iPhone 6s and 6s Plus are not included).  iPhone 7 and 7 Plus are OK.
iPad Mini 4 and later
iPad Air 2 (2014 model) and later
*With the iPhones and iPads, you can see they are not supported as long as the Macs.  This is just my personal opinion, but I think that when these device are no longer supported it’s time to get an new device.   So, you can see essentially, that the iPhones and iPads are 4-5 year devices (from initial release).  They may break; you may be unhappy with the performance, so in that case you can upgrade on more frequent intervals if needed.   From this compatibility / obsolescence schedule, I hope you can see that there is no point in buying a 2 or 3 year old iPhone.  That’s why the carrier or Apple are offering them for next to nothing.   I think it’s a sin that Verizon stores were recently offering the 2015 iPhone 6s for “0 dollars”. They are selling paperweights!   I know many of you have iPhone 6 or 6s models or even the original iPad Air.  It’s time to start thinking about upgrading.   And, you can certainly wait until one of the new models comes out in the fall.

iTunes is Going Away – Sort of 
One of the other big announcements was that Apple is replacing iTunes in macOS 10.15 with 3 apps — Music, Podcasts, Apple TV.   Most of the music synchronization, purchasing, organization, and iOS device management will take place in the Music app on the Mac.  Windows users — do not fear.   iTunes will still be available and remain your destination for all of these tasks on the Windows platform for the foreseeable future.

Technology Appetizers

Welcome to this week’s installment of my Update.¬† Hope you’ve enjoyed the La Croix seltzer.¬† My servers will be around with the technology appetizers for you.¬† ¬†Oh, here comes the first one….
1. Samsung’s new S10 smartphones (S10e, S10, S10+) appear to be selling well.¬† As I mentioned before, if you are sick of the iPhone or want to try a phone of that caliber with a slightly different look and feel — this would be the one to grab.¬† In general, my clients are iPhone users.¬† However, there are some Android enthusiasts among us.¬† Others simply don’t want to get involved with Apple products or prefer an Android phone (like the Galaxy S) for very specific reasons.¬† The two that I can think of are — better voice dictation (no doubt) and better cameras in some instances.¬† ¬†I am glad Apple has followed their lead by offering promotions (either directly or through carriers) if you buy a new iPhone and trade an old one in. In a mature industry, Apple can’t sit on its hands.
Oh boy, this tray looks a little stale.
2. Password Problems:¬† I’m still coming across customers who are using weak passwords or who don’t take password security seriously.¬† It’s really frustrating after I keep bringing up this topic over and over again.¬† Passwords should be different for EVERY WEBSITE.¬† Sensitive passwords should be changed at least every 6 months.¬† If you have trouble coming up with one, start with a secure “base” for each website and add a unique ending to each one.¬† ¬†Think of something that is easy for you to remember but hard for others to guess.¬† A password manager (whether manual or electronic) is critical.¬† Some of you use browser based password managers — in Safari, Chrome, or Firefox.¬† The teacher in me will give you a passing grade for that.¬† Take advantage of the features offered, such as when they suggest a secure password.¬† Make sure you know how to look up the passwords in the browser.¬† Better yet, if passwords really matter to you, use a paid password manager such as 1Password or Last Pass.¬† ¬†If you are at the back of the class, you are using a paper based password manager.¬† At the very least — keep this organized.¬†¬†
Look here comes another round of…..
3.¬† Apple News:¬† Apple had their event on Monday.¬† Some analysts have called it a big dud.¬† One thing is for sure, Apple is getting deeper into the media business.¬† They are now offering Apple News¬†+ on iPhone, iPad and Mac.¬† ¬†It will cost $9.99 / mo after the free 1st month.¬† You will get access to leading newspapers like the WSJ and LA Times along with a library of major magazines.¬† Major papers such as the NY Times and Washington Post have declined to participate.¬† ¬†However, the real entree was Apple TV+.¬† ¬†This umbrella service will include Apple’s existing catalog of TV shows and movies for rent, plus original programming (similar to Netflix), plus easy access to cable channels and premium channels.¬† It will not only be available on Apple TV boxes (overpriced with a terrible remote if you ask me) but also on other streaming boxes like Roku (great) and smart TV’s.¬† ¬†It all sounds very exciting.¬† It could very well be the ultimate portal for cord cutters.¬† ¬† But — there’s a big but — what is the price?
They didn’t say. What?¬† That will be mentioned later.¬† ¬†And this was an Apple event?¬† ¬† It seems so half baked.¬† I think they are still making their content deals with the various channels and content providers.¬† It wasn’t all ironed out yet.¬† ¬†It will be very interesting to see how competitive they are with You Tube TV and Hulu Live TV — the leaders in the clubhouse that charge $40 to $45 per month.¬† ¬† One thing is certain, Apple wants to make this available to as many people as possible and not only those who own Apple hardware.¬† Let’s wait and see.
Hope you have a safe drive home.  Thanks for stopping by this little gathering.

The Ethics of Cell Phone Buying

New Year – New You

What would you like to improve in your technology picture this year?  How can I help you get more out of your devices and services?  What would you like to learn? Some areas that clients have mentioned to me already include:

-Using a password manager (finally)

-Breaking free of cable TV

-Learning how to use streaming video services (ie. Netflix + Amazon Prime)

-Upgrading the 4 or 5 year old iPhone / iPad to a newer model

-Upgrading to a new Mac now that Apple has released new consumer level models for the first time in years

Please let me know how I can partner with you on this journey.  I am ready and willing to be deployed. 

Cord Cutting Intro – Wrap Up

We had some substantial discussions about cord cutting over the past two weeks as a result of my Parts 1 and 2 e-mails on this topic.  Don’t hesitate to ask me about your situation.  I think the cord cutting movement will experience major growth in 2019.  One of our local talk radio shows, which usually has a political focus, devoted 3 hours to the idea of breaking free from these $200+ bills last week.   The bottom line is, I think it is possible to get down to an Internet + cord cutting TV service combination for about $110 a month (approx $70 + $40).  As for home phone — you may choose to go without, you can move it to a service like Magic Jack (as I have done $40 / year), or even move that number to the phone company.   And just remember, if you are not ready to be a cord cutter yet — you can always be a streamer.  Trying to drive a hard bargain and cutting features to save money on your existing cable package is another option.  Contact me for a cord cutting assessment. 

And on to this week’s feature —

The Ethics of Cell Phone Buying

You can buy your new smart phone from the Apple Store.  You could go direct through Android device manufacturers like One Plus, Google, or Motorola.  Buying an unlocked phone on Amazon may be an option too.  Best Buy sells a handful of unlocked phones and also ones connected with carriers like Verizon and ATT.  However, a significant percentage of customers (my clients included) go to one of their carrier’s stores.  If you might want to change your plan or take advantage of carrier specific promotions, shopping at an ATT Store, Verizon store, or T Mobile store may be the way to go.  I’m not telling you that you should or shouldn’t.  One thing I can say in their favor is that the salesperson jobs there are career positions.  These are not traditional retail (ie. Apple) or big box store jobs that pay at a level where the worker needs to work 2 or 3 jobs to possibly survive in the community where the store is located.  The sales professionals in carrier stores are commissioned.   You may have never known this, but if you purchase your phone there the salesperson will not make much of a commission unless you buy a few accessories with your phone.  It seems weird to me, because the acquisition of a customer who will pay bills month after month has to have value to the company.  However, this is the way compensation works.  Very often, we do purchase accessories with our new phones.   A case, car charger, and screen protector can be very helpful add-ons.    On the other hand, you may be like me.   You might be the type to buy your phone accessories from Amazon that they don’t have in carrier stores.  That’s ok too.  All I am saying is that this is food for thought.  If you shop for phones in your carrier’s store, it is a good idea to consider buying your accessories there.  You won’t have to wait for them either. 

Making Sense of New Devices

3 Premium iPhones for 2018 – Understanding the Distinctions
I wrote my 9/12 update to you within 30 minutes of watching Apple’s live event last week.¬† I realize it was a lot of information, but I wanted to cover it like a true techno journalist as if I were there.¬† I also tried to include only the deals that were relevant to my client base — typically the age 60+ crowd.
The first thing I want to make clear is that the less expensive XR (10 R) iPhone is by no means a “bastard child” of the 2018 iPhone offerings.¬† ¬†It is a premium phone being offered at $749 with 64 gigabytes of storage.¬† ¬†The XR is the phone that Apple expects to sell the most of this year.¬† To meet that demand, ordering has been delayed until October 19 so supply can be ramped up.¬† The two premium priced models — the Xs and Xs Max are being sold starting $999 and $1099 respectively.¬† They are available now.¬† The major differences between the XR line and the Xs line are that the Xs models have two cameras which aid in portrait photography and a higher quality screen.¬† ¬†For my typical client, I don’t think these features are tipping point to justify the higher price.¬† However, as you will read below, other factors come into play.¬† ¬† For most American iPhone users, my clients included, the iPhone is purchased on a 24 month, interest free installment plan with the cell phone carrier.¬† The cost of the phone is simply added to the bill.¬† In some cases, the cost of the actual service is slightly less than it was 5+ years ago.¬† Typical pricing on the 64 GB models would be about $31 / mo on the XR, $41 / mo on the Xs, and $45 / mo on the Xs Max.¬† ¬†These devices are truly computers in your pocket and priced like them, for sure.
Real Life Ordering Decision – Size Matters
I was with a client yesterday who upgraded his 2016 iPhone 7.¬† The cameras and screen quality were not deciding factors in his choice of the Xs over the XR.¬† The price difference, though $10 a month, was not seen as unbearable.¬† ¬†Size was the key issue.¬† ¬†The Xs with the screen stretched to the edges is closest in size to his iPhone 7 (6, 6s, and 8 as well).¬† The iPhone XR would be slightly larger.¬† ¬†The iPhone Xs Max is very close in size to the previous Plus iPhones (6 – 8 Plus).¬† My client told me — I don’t want to go bigger.¬† So, the Xs was ordered on a carrier financing plan and should be arriving by the weekend.
Android
If you are of an Android persuasion, keep in mind that Google’s own phone, the Pixel will be getting a refresh in early October.¬† I certainly think it is the best Android in terms of promised regular updates to the software.¬† Samsung’s Galaxy S9 and Note 9 phones are also terrific.¬† Motorola G6 Plus is superb for a budget phone that can be purchased for around $230.¬† The One Plus 6 is a solid choice, competing with the best of Samsung at a lower price (but does not work on Verizon).
iOS
iOS 12 was released on 9/17.¬† It is a brand new version of Apple’s mobile device software.¬† Should you have an iPhone 5s or later or an iPad Air or later, you should be installing it within the next few weeks.¬† ¬†Please make sure you have a full backup of your device before installing version 12.¬† ¬†I’m still exploring its features, but so far I think the Measure app is very useful for around the house projects.¬† If you would like professional help with installing iOS 12, please let me know.
Mac OS
The latest version of mac OS — version 10.14 is coming out next Monday – Sept 24th.¬† From that point forward, I will be taking upgrade appointments.¬† Some of my clients choose to upgrade themselves, while others have me do it for them.¬† ¬†I make sure you have a full backup of your system in place and a copy of the install media should the software ever need to be reinstalled.¬† I also take great care to update your apps if necessary.¬† ¬†These appointments usually last about 2 hours.

Technology Update 9/12/18 – Apple Event Recap

New iPhones
Apple took the wrapper off of two premium iPhones today, the iPhone Xs (10 s) and 10s Max featuring Super Retina screens and better cameras than ever before.  As I shared previously, the phones feature edge to edge screens, with diagonal screen sizes of 5.8 and 6.5 inches.    Due to there being almost no bezel on the phones, the overall size of the phone is very comparable to the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus respectively.    Apple is also offering a brand new iPhone Xr, with a traditional LCD screen which also pushes to the edges of the phone. It is 6.1 inches diagonally and comes in multiple colors. The Xr offers a very good camera, whereas the Xs models offer magnificent cameras.  Pricing (64 GB models):  iPhone Xr $749,iPhone Xs $999, iPhone Xs Max $1099.   All new models do not have home buttons.  I think you can easily learn the basic functionality in a day.  However, if you demand the traditional home button, the iPhone 8 is still available at a reduced cost ($599).
Ordering opens up on Friday, September 14th for the Xs and Xs Max.¬† The Xr model can be ordered starting Oct. 19th.¬† As I mentioned before, I can order you new iPhone for you for delivery at no charge if you have me come out to set it up for you.¬† Please contact me.¬† I’ll be ready to place your orders starting on Friday.
Apple Watches
Apple announced the Apple Watch Series 4 today.  The new models offer large watch faces, while pushing the screen closer to the edges.  They will offer more accurate tracking of exercise including swimming.  Series 4 can also detect falls, enhancing your personal safety.  Furthermore, it is also designed to recognize atrial fibrillation (AFIB) and offers the owners the first over-the-counter ECG (electrocardiogram).  The new Apple watches start at $399 and can be ordered starting on Sept 14th.

New Versions of IOS and the Mac OS

New versions of the operating system for the iPhone / iPad and Mac will be available very soon.¬†¬†¬†The release dates are as follows:¬† iOS 12 – Sept 17.¬† ¬†Mac OS 10.14¬† – Sept 24th.¬†If you are going to be doing the upgrade on your phone, please make sure you have a full backup.¬† I am available for upgrade appointments starting on Sept. 24th.¬† ¬† ¬†If you are uncomfortable with doing it on your own, I will ensure you have a guided and safe experience.¬† ¬†Let’s set something up.¬† ¬†The release dates are as follows:¬† iOS 12 – Sept 17.¬† ¬†Mac OS 10.14¬† – Sept 24th.
Macs
There were no new Macs announced today.¬† I expect a direct product release or another Apple event within the next month.¬† ¬†At that time we should see a new Mac Mini desktop (Apple’s least expensive Mac) and some lower cost “consumer”¬†Mac laptops.¬† ¬†As of right now, my recommendations are the 2018 Mac Book Pro 13 ($1799) and a custom ordered 2017 iMac ($1499 for one with a real SSD hard drive).¬† I expect my list of “VIP approved” Macs to expand when the new models are released.

Is That E-Mail Really From You?
I got asked this question by a client recently.  And it makes me think about trust in e-mails. We all have the right to question whether e-mails are authentic. I seek the same answers. I take the security of my e-mails and client contact information very seriously. This is an excellent topic and I wrote a blog post on it.    Please click the link to read more.  theacronym.com/2018/09/12/e-mail-authenticity/

Technology Update 9/4/18

New iPhones For Real – VIP Service
Apple’s iPhone event will be held on Sept 12th.¬† I believe pre-orders will start that Friday and shipments will commence a week later.¬† I mentioned the three sizes of the new phones in my last update — think small, medium and LARGE — with the medium being the least expensive.¬† I expect pricing to be somewhere along the lines of $700, $900, and $1100.¬† If its been many years since you’ve purchased an iPhone, you could buy the phone outright but what I think 90% of customers do is take advantage of the interest free financing with your cell phone carrier or Apple.¬† Take the phone price, divide by 24, and that’s your monthly cost.¬† ¬†I will offer my iPhone Ordering Service to you once again.¬† If you are going to have me set up your iPhone, I will order it for you over the phone at no extra charge.¬† ¬†I look forward to helping you get your new device.
 
Upgrading Computers
One of the nice things about 2012 (and earlier) Mac Book Pros and MOST Windows computers is that the hardware can be upgraded.¬† The hard drive can be replaced to give you more and faster storage.¬† Memory (RAM) can often be increased to allow smoother moment to moment operations.¬† Sold state hard drives (SSDs) are cheaper than ever before.¬† Contact me to find out if its possible / worth it to perform an upgrade to your existing machine and what the costs would be.¬† I will take great care to back up your data and then give you a “clean install” of the Mac / Windows operating system.¬† If you’ve had your computer for at least three years and want to keep it going, it’s just what the Doctor ordered.
Remote Support
I want to make clients, especially those new to the VIP family, aware that I offer remote support for simple Windows and Mac issues that may not require in in-person visit.¬† With Windows 10, I make use of the built in Quick Assist application.¬† With Mac users, I utilize Skype.¬† Do not worry, I’m not interested in seeing your beautiful face after you had a night of poor sleep.¬† I strictly use the screen sharing Skype feature.¬† For remote appointments, I bill in half hour increments. I will ask you to pay at the end of the session by directing you to my payment page or taking a credit /debit card from you over the phone.¬† ¬† Other remote services I have offered for clients in the past include comprehensive research and answering of questions in report style format, constructing / editing simple websites and social media profiles, and document / image conversion.