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.
New Versions of IOS and the Mac OS
A. Privacy: GDPR and Oath. You may have received a bunch of notices recently detailing the updated privacy policies of various services that you use. The European Union’s new privacy laws take effect on May 25th. These regulations are known as GDPR. They are taking customers’ data a lot more seriously than we are on this side of the pond. International companies such as Facebook and Google are adhering to these standards even for their American customers. It’s a solid business practice. Did you know that you can download all of your Facebook (or Google) data in a single file? Did you know that you can control how Facebook advertises to you? GDPR = Good. To find out more http://money.cnn.com/2018/05/21/technology/gdpr-explained-europe-privacy/index.html
Additionally, some of you who have a Yahoo or AOL account may have received notices about policies from an organization known as Oath. (My joke is — “zero authorization to violate your privacy,” but I’ll get back on topic.). Oath is a division of Verizon that oversees both Yahoo and AOL. Yahoo users may have even been asked to accept the new terms. You really don’t have a choice if you want to keep using the account. As a quick primer for those new to the VIP Computer Care family — my favorite free e-mail accounts are Google and Outlook.com. Customers may choose a paid e-mail account if they want to get actual customer support. My favorite choices here are Fastmail ($20 per year), G (G Suite a paid Google account, $5 per month), or Office 365 (a paid e-mail account from Microsoft, $5 per month).
B. Windows: I’m still compiling reports of horror stories from users that had bad experiences with the latest version of Windows 10 (version 1803), released on April 30th. Whenever possible, I have set your Windows computers to a 120 day delay schedule. Unfortunately, I had to help a customer last weekend who couldn’t delay Windows version upgrades. He purchased a consumer grade Windows desktop. I offered the next best thing. I managed the upgrade for him. It took 2 hours, which is about what I expected. With fingers crossed, there were no hiccups. I am not recommending that I do this proactively for others, at this time, if you have already been set up for a delay. Ultimately, Microsoft will iron out the wrinkles. After all, hundreds of millions of business customers rely on Windows. Version 1803 should be ready for prime time in a few months. In August, lets talk about upgrading your computer.
C. Mac: Apple’s big annual event, the WWDC, is happening on June 4th. While it’s not specifically a new hardware event, Apple has been known to release new Macs at this event. We can only hope that they offer a mea culpa on the Mac Book Pro and their awful keyboards. At the very least, they could update the Mac Book Air with 2018 innards. (The 2017 Air, while still my #1 choice at this date and time, features 2015-era parts.) Additionally, the Mac Mini needs a major refresh. It has not been updated since October 2014. Apple needs to keep a $500-600 Mac on the market to welcome new customers into the family.