Category: Macs

Mac OS 10.15.7–Supplemental Update 2

I told you that I would keep you informed if there are supplemental updates for Mac OS 10.15 (aka Catalina).   Of course, you are still holding off on the big upgrade to Mac OS 11 — Big Sur.   Unfortunately, Apple is not going to notify you when updates are released for those staying with 10.15.

One came out last week.  Please download and install it.  Depending on the speed of your internet connection, I would expect this process to take 30 to 45 minutes (but could be less).

https://support.apple.com/kb/DL2071?viewlocale=en_US&locale=en_US

Mac OS 11-Big Sur–Hold Off Just A While Longer

We are getting closer to a point where I think it would be OK to install Mac OS Big Sur — version 11.  I have told you to avoid it since it came out in the Fall of 2020.  There is no reason to install a brand new operating system on day one or even in the first few months.   Therefore I have told you to stick with Mac OS 10.15 for a while.  This means however that you have to install the incremental patches or minor updates yourselves.  I have pledged to notify you whenever one comes out.  The last of these updates came out on Dec. 16, 2020. 

(Of course, some of you have older Macs which cannot update beyond OS 10.13, 10.14 or 10.15.  This message is not for you.)

Two days ago, Apple released Mac OS 11.2 which is the second significant update to the new operating system.   At the point when they release Mac OS 11.3 I think it would be fine — though no need to rush — to proceed with the “Big Sur” installation.  

At that point I think Big Sur would be fine if you are the “Joe and Jane Consumer” type that browses the internet, checks email, and uses Microsoft Office.  (Big Bold Print Emphasis) DO NOT INSTALL A MAJOR UPGRADE OF YOUR OPERATING SYSTEM WITHOUT HAVING A BACKUP OF YOUR COMPUTER.  MOST OF YOU SHOULD HAVE AN EXTERNAL HARD DRIVE PLUGGED IN MAKING REGULAR TIME MACHINE BACKUPS.  ALSO DO NOT INSTALL MAC OS 11 BIG SUR IF YOU ARE USING SPECIALIZED SOFTWARE INCLUDING WORK SOFTWARE THAT IS NOT YET COMPATIBLE. 


If you have specific questions about 3rd party software and its Big Sur compatibility ask me, ask your job, or check with the developer. 

The bottom line is — Mac OS Big Sur / mac OS 11 is going to be a fine compatible operating system for newer compatible Macs.   Just give it a little more time and you won’t have to avoid it any longer.   It will be ready for prime time.

Erasing Product Mistakes

Don’t you just hate it when technology companies remove features or services that we like?  It is so frustrating.  There may be some hope.   The 2015 Mac Book Pro and Mac Book Air had such a solid design.  These were reliable machines.  They were a joy to type on.   However, when the Mac Book Pro was updated in 2016 (and the Air in 2018), there were only two to four ports to plug things into (one used for charging) and the keyboards were flat as a pancake.  On the higher end Pro models, they added a stupid Touch Bar with animated keys instead of the traditional Esc, F1, F2, etc, etc.   Awful!!

As I have previously shared, they corrected the keyboard with the 2020 laptops.  Rumors are swirling now that Apple will remove the Touch Bar in the 2021 models and (drum roll please) bring back a Mag Safe charger.   If you recall that pre-2016 charger, it would easily disconnect if you walked into the cord — saving your laptop from damage and flying off the desk.    Apple is going back to the old paths.  I like the old paths. 

Apple also reverted to old design cues and features with the iPhone 12 models.  You should strongly consider one for your 2021 iPhone purchase.   Remember the flat edges (sharp in a good way) of the iPhone 5, 5s and iPhone SE (2016)?   Apple went back to that design with the 12’s that came out last fall.   Furthermore, they are using only Qualcomm modems once again after using inferior Intel modems for a few years. Customers are reporting better signal performance in many instances. 

Finally, not everyone likes using the Face ID on the iPhone 10 and later models.  It can be a royal pain with a mask on.   On the most recent iPad Air (the middle model), Apple re-introduced a Touch ID sensor.   We can only hope they offer this on the 2021 iPhone models as well.

Mac OS 10.11 Big Sur–Do Not Install Now

It’s been a while since I did one of these.  As with many technology concerns, I want to achieve a balance between hyping something new and ignoring it completely.  With that said, I don’t want clients to be taken by surprise. 

Facts:  A new version of the Mac operating system was released a few days ago.  It is known as “Big Sur” — aka mac OS 11.  Make no mistake about the numbering.  if you recall the versions of mac OS for about 20 years have been called 10.x.   Most recently we’ve had 10.15 that came out last year (Catalina).  By calling Big Sur version 11 and not 10.16, Apple is signifying the future is here.  They are as committed to the Mac as ever, but they have built the platform for the next generation.  If you are just using Mail and Safari (or Chrome) you won’t notice major changes.  There could be little quirks that trip you up, however.

Starting anytime now you are going to be bothered / prompted to install Big Sur (mac OS 11).   As it just came out a few days ago, I’m still considering this experimental software even though Apple would beg to differ with my assessment.  Big Sur is compatible with most Macs 2013-14 and later, depending on the model.   DO NOT INSTALL MAC OS 11 / BIG SUR RIGHT NOW. 

Once we get to version 11.1 or 11.2 or even later — a couple ++ months from now, then it probably will be safe to install.   It was a good 6 months or more when I finally urged clients to install Mac OS 10.15.   As always, I am available to assist with these major upgrade jobs. 


Last year and into this year — I was able to program your Macs to ignore the last big upgrade until it was an appropriate time to install it.   With a small update earlier this year — Apple took away your ability to do that.   (There are some Business utilities that could be installed to do the blocking but most consumers are not going to go that far. )   So sadly, the Mac has gotten a little less friendly to use.  It seems like they are forcing you to take software that is not ready for prime time. 

Just remember — no need to travel to Big Sur today.  I’ll let you know when you should get your boarding passes ready. 

Mac-Not Going Anywhere

Happy Veterans Day.  Thank you to all who served.


Fruit of the Week

I think I have found my new favorite fruit, but you’ll be hard pressed to find it in a conventional grocery store. I am talking about the Japanese pomelo.  I have to confess I am a bit of a grapefruit snob.  The Japanese pomelo has a lime green outer skin and is about the size of a large grapefruit.  It’s color gives a false impression that it’s very sour but my taste buds would put it somewhere in between a pink grapefruit and an orange.  I’m glad I bought 6 when I could.


New Macs Are Out — To Be Delivered Soon

Apple did it again.  They had their third major product unveiling in as many months.  As I mentioned last week, they are in the process of releasing Macs with CPUs (and GPUs — graphics processing units) that are created totally in-house.  Apple has done this for years with the iPhones and iPads.  Since 2006, Apple has sold Macs with Intel CPUs.   Welcome to the new era of “Macs with M1 chips”.   New Mac Book Airs, Mac Book Pros, and Mac Minis are available for pre order.  They will run Intel Mac software without a major performance hit.  Apple seems to be as committed to the Mac as ever.  Pricing starts at $699 for the Mini (a desktop),  $999 for the Mac Book Air, and $1299 for the Pro.  These represent the same pricing on the 2 laptops and $100 less on the Mac Mini.  Born in 1984, Macs are not going anywhere.

Update 11/03/2020

Small Biz Spotlight

(Unsolicited)  If you don’t believe in Chiropractors, you have my permission to skip this section.  I realize that some in the profession have made dubious claims.  However, many of us out there  feel that chiropractic care helps us feel better and move our joints more freely. If this is how you feel, please let me introduce you to Dr. Rick Araya of West Hartford, CT.  Dr. Rick is a straight shooter. He doesn’t try to rope you into some $5000 treatment plan with a bunch of gimmicks.  He runs his business like I run mine.  If you want to pay by the visit – you can pay $45 per visit (even less if you are 65 and older).   He doesn’t waste your time by doing massage, lighting candles, or any of that stuff.  Most follow up visits are 5 to 10 minutes – in and out.   As an advocate for senior consumers, I can’t think of a better chiropractor — if that’s your thing.  To learn more – http://goodchiro.net and if you go let Dr. Rick know I sent you.

Another Apple Event

Apple is really hitting it out of the park this year.  Last week there was a report of record Mac sales — powered by all models but especially the Mac Book Pro.  According to Bloomberg, Apple will be holding their 3rd big event in as many months next week.  They are expected to release new Mac Books this time with their own CPUs (just like the iPhone and iPad).  This will be the 3rd processor transition in the Mac’s history.  In 1995, they went to IBM Power PC chips and in 2006 Apple migrated to the current Intel architecture (just like PC’s).  Apple feels that they can deliver a better Mac when they control the entire manufacturing process and that is just what they are doing.   Are your Intel Macs junk now?  Of course not.   Even if you are buying a new Mac before early – mid next year you may still want to get an Intel Mac.  However, Macs with Apple silicon inside will be with us soon and are here to stay.   Rumor has it that Apple will continue to support current Intel Macs with updates for about 5 years from a certain date (to be announced).  I don’t think this will be a painful transition. 


Black Friday – Holiday Shopping

Black Friday is coming early this year. Traditional stores and online sellers are slow rolling their deals.   While the discounts on Apple products may be in the low hundreds of dollars, there are bound to be terrific deals on other items.  Just today I helped some clients order Thinkpad X1 and T laptops ( every bit as good as a Mac) that are normally about $2000 plus, for $999.  Those deals are going to be gone by the time you read this.  I will be your scout for other bargains.  Keep in mind, as long as there is no wall mounting required I can help you set up most TV’s as well.   For as rotten as the cable company can be, there is nothing quite like a new TV with an X1 cable box and voice remote from Xfinity.  You can speak and have it take to you any channel or available movie.

Fall Is Peak Season For Technology

5G – Here And Getting Closer

I outlined some basics on the new 5G towers a few weeks ago, but I wanted to simplify and add to it as well.  Basically there are two 5G technologies being deployed in this country at the moment, sub-6 and mmWave.  T-Mobile and ATT are going mostly with the sub-6, which will reach more people.  Verizon is going with mmWave, which is even faster but restricted to specific spots like stadiums, stations, or a place like Times Square.  Consequently, Verizon is way behind.  Ultimately, all of these carriers will deploy a mix of both types of 5G towers.  If you are due for a new phone, I am going to give you my opinion as to when 5G should mean something to you.  This does not mean give up on your carrier or that your carrier is bad or that you need to throw out your 6 month old phone to get a 5G phone.  I’ve uttered no such words.   I got a real life test of 5G on the T-Mobile network in Boston last week.   My wife’s 5G Samsung clocked in at double the speed of my iPhone 11.   Therefore, if you are a T-Mobile customer — I would say the time to buy a 5G phone (again if you are phone shopping) would be as soon as these iPhone 12 models come out.  Then you will have a mix of low end phones like the Revvl 5G, or the Samsungs, and the iPhones to choose from — all with 5G.   ATT is at the middle of the pack.  Their 5G is not as widely deployed as T-Mobiles, but they are getting there.  If you still want to save some money by buying that iPhone SE, go for it.  But by 2021, early next year, I think you should definitely be considering a 5G phone if you are phone shopping.   With Verizon, on the other hand, I think there is no rush to get a 5G phone — probably until the 2nd half of next year.  Ultimately, two years from now, Verizon may end up having the best 5G network.  Slow and steady wins the race?  We hope or they hope!  Rumor has it that only the super expensive iPhone 12 Pro Max model will even be able to communicate with Verizon’s mmWave towers.  The other 3 models coming out this fall will not.  If I were a Verizon customer, 5G wouldn’t even be a part of my thought process yet.  (And yes, you can still buy any of the other iPhone 12 models to use with Verizon’s existing network.)

Fall Is Peak Season For Technology

Fall is the busy season in my business and in the world of personal technology.  We will see new iPhones before the end of October, perhaps in two separate launches for the 4 models expected to be released.  New Apple Watches as well as iPads (possibly) will be coming out next week from Apple.   There will be brand new computers from Microsoft, including a reported “moderately priced” Surface laptop.  Wait there’s more!   Apple is coming out with a brand new macOS 11 which is supposed to be the biggest deal for the Mac in 20 years since OS X came out.  Finally, ioS 14 / iPad OS 14 will be here quite soon. Let’s make sure you have a backup first.  And for my students in the back of the class, if you have a 5+ year old Verizon flip phone (iPhone 5s or 5c too), it’s time to get a new one.  Verizon is retiring its old calling network on 12/31/2020.  Your old phone will be a paperweight.  What a season we can have together — I’m looking forward to being there for you, every step of the way!  Now you know why I get excited about the fall!!

Not Everyone Gets The Same Priority

Computer Picks

I represent about an equal number of Windows vs. Mac clients.  A few are iPad or Chromebook only.  I just wanted to say that if you are not absolutely locked in to particular apps on the Mac or you might be turned off by some of Apple’s decisions with the Mac or leery of the upcoming processor transition — you could probably do really well with a solid business class Windows desktop or laptop.   Excluding any possible discounts or outlet purchases, I think you can get a nice system for $800 to $900.  These computers cannot be purchased in stores. I know how to order them and have been doing so for years.   The kind of computers I have in mind are often repairable and upgradable — serviceable is the word I am looking for.  There is a reason why the State, the big hospital systems, and big insurance companies buy these computers by the hundreds (if not thousands) — they stand the test of time.  They’re not buying Macs.  It’s just something to keep in mind.    With that said, I have helped Mac clients switch to Windows and Windows clients switch to Mac.  I am a versatile provider of technology consulting services, with no preconceived notion that one platform is best for all clients. 

Not Everyone Gets The Same Priority

I am talking about data prioritization with your cell phone plan.  I have touched on this in the past, but I wanted to revisit it.  Did you know that some of you might have prioritized data with your carrier and some of you may not?   There is an order of data — when on a congested tower — where some users will be given preferred access and others may be slowed down or get slowed down to a crawl.   (Prioritization is different than being capped or throttled.   A cap would be — you get 5 GB of total data per month and you are totally cut off after that. A throttle would be — we limit all traffic to 5 mb/s even if you can get a faster speed in theory.  Some plans are throttled to a very slow speed after reaching the cap.)   But what I really wanted to address here is the idea of prioritization.   You might be out and about trying to book a restaurant order or launch the Maps app or even buy some clothing for quick online pickup — then your phone just slows to a crawl.  It’s possible that  you are being deprioritized.   There may be a lot of other users on that tower with priority over you.  There is a good chance that it won’t happen to you.  It might be congestion, however you just might not have the “top banana” priority.   I haven’t heard of it happening a lot locally, but there are definitely parts of the country that are oversaturated on Verizon towers, ATT towers, etc.   They have no choice but to route traffic with a certain order. 

Let me just state a couple examples to help you clear up the confusion.  If you get a monthly bill and you are on an older Verizon / ATT plan and you get like 2 GB of data per month, 4 GB, 8 GB — you are prioritized.    If you have the first tier of Verizon’s new unlimited plans known as Start or Go unlimited – you are always deprioritized.   Again, it may never be a problem for you. I just want you to know.   The next level of Verizon’s unlimited plans tells customers they can be deprioritized after 25 GB of use (which is probably a lot more than most of you would use in a given month).   Prepaid plans are generally always deprioritized, although ATT Prepaid has some exceptions. 

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.