Streaming Video Specialist
I just wanted to remind you or make you aware that I am your streaming video specialist. You may be looking to looking to cut the cord — cancel traditional pay TV and use a live channel replacement service like You Tube TV or Hulu TV or piece together streaming services like Amazon Prime, Netflix, Apple TV + or others in lieu of channels. You may be looking just to supplement your traditional TV subscription with those streaming services. I can help. I can also set you up so you can watch all of your Comcast / Xfinity live channels on your computer, smartphone or tablet. I can set you up with streaming players like the Apple TV, Roku player, Amazon Fire Stick, or the software baked into your Smart TV (which usually isn’t as good). I always prefer one of the streaming players that gets added to the TV. They can be as low as $50 or less. Of course you will pay monthly for the streaming services you want to use (with the exception of plain You Tube or rentals). Amazon Prime Video is included with your Prime membership. I have helped clients open up new dimensions to their video viewing. You know who to call.
I do support some out of state clients through “screen sharing” software that allows me to view and in some cases control (with permission of course) their computer. I have also been receiving referrals to Connecticut clients outside the Hartford area. I am very appreciative. I do charge more for example on a job “east of the river” or “down by the shore” but I will still gladly help those clients. I will disclose rates to a client before beginning work so there are no surprises. A basic statement of rates is found on my website — westhartfordtechsupport.com . I also have a 1 page complete statement of billing policies, which can be provided to you at any time upon request.
iOS 13 Frustrations Continued
You should all have iOS 13 (known as iPad OS 13 on the iPad) on your Apple mobile devices by now. Last week an important update, 13.2, came out. A client brought a concern to me — that saving pictures from a text message / iMessage has changed in iOS 13. I looked into it and found that there may be just one method available for older iPhones. Previously, you could press and hold on the picture and press SAVE or you could tap to “open” the photo and then press the share button (the square with the upward arrow). While both methods still work for me (iPhone 11), on the client’s iPhone 8 only the press and hold method worked. Please be aware of this.
iOS 13 Lessons
Given that there are these changes that seem a bit jarring in iOS 13, I want to offer the opportunity of having a few lessons with me in the new operating environment so that you can function at your full potential. One thing I did with clients 2 years ago, when iOS 11 came out, was work through a “field guide” together. The current version of the e-book we used is called “Take Control of iOS 13 and iPad OS 13”. Even if you did not want to work through a few chapters with me to improve competency, I would highly recommend the $15 e-book. https://www.takecontrolbooks.com/ios-13-ipados-13/
I was thinking about how far we have come with technology. These days we are using pocket sized phones and tablets as the computers we spend the most time on. Everything is so digital. A few nights ago I felt like I was being forced to file an insurance claim online. I just wanted to talk to a live person. Finally, I was able to. I began reflecting on how far I have evolved in the area of phone technology. Going back to my earliest days with the computer, I would dial into the internet on the home phone line (tying it up so no other calls could get through). Talk about a way to cut down on scam sales calls! Later on as I was starting my first business, and about 2 years before my first cell phone, I had the need to make cheap long distance calls. I subscribed to a quarterly billed phone called “Phone Tel” — not to be confused with other companies with the same name. I think I was a customer until about the year 2000. Working in healthcare, my father was a regular pager or “beeper” user. I got one when I turned 18 but ultimately didn’t find it that useful. AOL Instant Messenger or AIM and AOL e-Mail were my messaging tools of choice for several years. My first cell phone was a Motorola Star TAC. This was the phone to have 20 years ago. If you don’t remember it — https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Motorola_StarTAC
Thought of the Week: I am not a Russian asset, but I will help you fight technology scammers from Russia, India, the U.S. or wherever. I am going to say this again because new clients have gotten on board and it’s been a while since I made this announcement. The real Microsoft, Google, Apple, Yahoo or Facebook are not going to pop up on your screen with a phone number with a person on the other end of the line asking for money. You have an intrusion on your computer and you are one step away from being scammed. Do not call the number! Do not make a $500 – 1000 mistake plus open yourself to identity theft. If you can’t get rid of it call me and I will solve it.
Small Business Spotlight: As you know I am in business to serve sole proprietors and small businesses, along with residential consumers and non-profits. From time to time I like to highlight unique small companies and non-profits. This week I would like to introduce you to Skrewball Whiskey. They are unique in that they sell one product (available for order online and select locations), a peanut butter flavored whiskey. A husband and wife run this operation and there is a really positive immigration related twist to their vision. The husband hails from Cambodia, grew up poor, and never had peanut butter as a kid. Peanut butter was one of the first food items he learned to love in his new American life and thus inspired this venture. Check them out at https://www.skrewballwhiskey.com (Unsolicited)
Apple, Why Did You Do This To Us?
Well well, I have gotten an earful from clients about Apple’s new iOS 13 software (and its sister iPad OS 13). The new versions and subsequent minor updates are hard to avoid. They bring new features and stability and security fixes. However, they bring CHANGES. I work with an older client base. Remember I am the I.T. Guy that specializes in age 55 + at home, at work, and in non-profits run by people in this age bracket. Older adults can be quite resistant to change. It’s not good or bad; it’s a fact of life. I’ve been doing this for 22 years.
I know many of you enjoy putting your photos in the Photos app into albums. These albums will synchronize between iPhone and iPad, as well as the Mac, with iCloud Photo Library turned on. You can also see all of your photos and albums by logging on to iCloud.com from any computer, including a Windows computer. From the iPhone, in iOS 13, the process of adding a photo to an album has changed. Please make a note of this and try this out
In the Photos app
-the Photos tab at the bottom has changed a bit — you now see sub tabs for Years — Months — Days and All Photos. All Photos is still a good place to see all of your photos.
-But if you want to add photos to an existing album, you must click on the Albums tab
-Press the + to create a new album, name the album, from there you can add photos
-However, to add photos to an existing album, you must go to Albums, and open the album
-Then press Edit in the top right, then Add in the bottom center, then choose photos
Rinse and repeat, you will get it!
Song of the Week: (Haven’t done this in a while) Ludovico Einaudi – “Experience” https://youtu.be/91sFlP6aa5Q . A You Tube video will open.
Concluding remarks: Remember, when you choose a small business, you are choosing someone who cares. You are choosing someone who will not cave to corporate pressure. When you choose to patronize someone like me, you are voting with your dollars, stating — I want someone like you to live in my community. Thank you all.
Do I need to do the updates? is a common question I get from clients. Well, they are pretty hard to avoid in many instances. Software updates to our devices bring us feature improvements (or new features), security and stability fixes. Due to the fact that I deal primarily with an older client base, new features don’t tend to WOW “Bobby from Southington” that much. However, one new feature that I think is pretty cool is that iOS 13 now offers a light mode and a dark mode. It can even automatically switch between the 2 at night which is very easy on my eyes. The Mac and Windows operating systems had a dark mode previously. Primarily, I think updates are important because they patch holes that attackers can use to penetrate your system. I try to be consistent in the language I use with you. Updates are the little fixes that come out all the time, for example 13.1.2 that just came out for iOS and iPad. Upgrades are the major new versions of the operating system. For Macs and iOS devices — these come out once a year. Windows has been rolling out 2 new versions of Windows per year since 2017 — which is one version too many. I usually put my Windows clients on a delay when possible. In general, I like the idea of setting devices to update automatically. Set it and forget it (no I did not pay for the trademark!).
Updates Can Wreak Havoc
Though Windows 10 has generally been very stable for my clients since it launched in July 2015, there have been more than half dozen new upgrades / new versions of Windows 10 released since then — all called Windows 10. HOW CONFUSING RIGHT? I think that a Windows 10 upgrade has only trashed a client’s computer three times and two of those times were with the same client. Sad, but true. I think their PC was never really meant to be supported by the manufacturer for Windows 10 in the long haul. I am not a commissioned salesperson, but that is why I always recommend letting me order a business class Windows computer for you. My wife has been using a Dell Optiplex desktop — purchased in 2008 — with upgrades to hardware over the years — to this day. It has gotten all the new versions of Windows 10 since 2015. Minor updates can cause problems too. On October 4th, Microsoft pushed out an update for Windows 10 that was supposed to improve Internet Explorer (who uses that anymore?) and printing functions. Unfortunately, it blocked printing for a small but ticked off percentage of Windows users including one of my clients. An update to the update was put out on October 7th to fix this. Are you keeping score at home? Good, because I’m not. 🙂
Be Careful About the New Version of Mac OS Released Yesterday
Mac OS 10.15 – code named Catalina – was released yesterday. I often tell my Mac clients, with compatible Macs (2012 and newer in this case) to upgrade. It doesn’t have to be right away but within the first couple months is fine. I also make myself available to clients to manage the upgrade for them and make a backup of the installer. Things can go wrong and most feel that a 2 hour appointment for this is well worth it. However, for 10.15 I am pumping the brakes and telling you to do the same — IF — you have a lot of software on your computer dating back years. Mac OS 10.15 does not support 32-bit Mac apps. These are usually apps that are more than 5 years old that have not been updated recently. Those apps may be very important to you. If so, hold off on 10.15. Microsoft Office 2016 will be fine. All current Apple apps are fine. However, your case may be the exception. Reach out and ask for help if you think you may have an issue. OS 10.15 will be great, but you may want to give yourself time to work out alternatives.
4K TV Is Coming
Most of the TV’s you have bought over the past 2 years have been 4K TV’s. However, there hasn’t been much 4K live TV content. Netflix and Amazon Prime offer 4K video as does You Tube. I just saw the ad tonight — Comcast will be offering Notre Dame Football games this year on NBC in 4K. To make this happen with Comcast / Xfinity — you need 2 key components: 1) a 4K TV and 2) a cable box that supports 4K.
The Perils of Buying Used Smartphones
The following write up originally started as an e-mail to a client last week concerning a used smart phone issue we were dealing with. I polished it up a bit and realized it was good to share with all of you.
Used smartphones, especially iPhones and high-end Android devices can be a nightmare unless you know who you are getting them from. Take these 2 lessons to heart
1) Ideally they should be UNLOCKED. Locking is a nasty trick that carriers use on their phones to keep you on their service. After the phone is paid off or a contract is fulfilled –they are not automatically unlocked. A customer has to call up and ask for the unlock code and then go through some motions after the fact which are usually pretty easy. People can buy unlocked phones directly from Apple and that does happen in some instances. ** Verizon has always been the one exception with carrier financed phones, since about 2011 they have not locked their smartphones because they had to make a deal with the FCC. As of July 1 that policy changed with Verizon now locking smartphones for 60 days (to prevent theft they say). They have no power to go back and retroactively lock existing phones. Buying a carrier locked smartphone, with no ability to go back and contact the seller to get in unlocked, could mean that you are unable to use it with the carrier of your choice. FYI, Apple says that most iPhone models purchased through their physical stores or apple.com (with the exception of some ATT models) are unlocked.
2) The second concept I want to introduce to you is the idea of “financial locking” or blacklisting. Most customers finance their iPhones and expensive smartphones these days. On Craigslist, Offer Up, or other known sites for peer to peer sales — there will be many deals for “great phones” that seem way too good to be true. Think of an iPhone XS for $200. It is a totally fake deal. I have a good friend who got burned on the buying end of this a few years back. Let’s say the $900 phone has a couple scuffs on the back but is otherwise very operable. He sells it for $200. The buyer thinks they are the luckiest dude on earth!! The seller had insurance on the phone and puts in a claim for a STOLEN phone. The insurance company has the authority to blacklist the phone with all carriers — basically worldwide. The seller is shipped a new phone and the original is blacklisted — it is rendered in operable and cannot be activated. Maybe just maybe it could be used on WiFi only. Another version of the scam goes like this. A young kid (18+ of course) buys a $1000 phone. A maxed out iPhone 11 Pro Max with monthly payments is about $55 to $60 a month. He decides — Oops I’m over my head can’t make the payments. He does not go through the proper channel of having a buyer legally assume the contract on the phone. He sells it for a steal of a price — $200. The buyer is in heaven or so they think. Wow. 2 months later when the seller’s cellular account gets cancelled for non payment — the phone gets blacklisted under the same process. It is a paperweight.
Oh – the perils of buying used smartphones!
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.
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.
My first interaction couldn’t have been smoother.
There has been some chatter out there that Goldman Sachs / Apple Card has a provision (like most credit cards) that requires binding arbitration. However, the customer has X amount of time to opt out of it with Apple Card. I think I have been offered an opt out many times with other institutions and never done it. There have been articles out there in the tech press over the past week urging people to opt out. I gave it some thought.
I think arbitration could be good if someone is defending themselves against a lawsuit, but forcing it can be anti – consumer. I’m not positive but I think there are limitations on people representing themselves in arbitration. It is a private process outside the openness of the justice system.
Most of the the disputes individual consumers may have with a credit card are probably going to be an amount under the state limit for small claims court, ex. the bank would not recognize a $1,000 dispute as fraud. By opting out of binding arbitration, a customer can take that to small claims and represent themselves. So — I decided to opt out.
I opened the Wallet app on my iPhone. I tapped on the Apple Card — I went to chat – Messages opens up. I said what I wanted. An Apple rep transferred me to a Goldman Sachs rep all within the same chat. I was never asked for any personally identifying info. To quote the one hit wonder Silento “They already know who it is.” And it was done within 3 minutes. A good first impression.