On Mac OS 10.15–Go For Mac OS 11

I know a lot of you are on Mac OS 10.15.  You have a “late model” Mac and you have held off on upgrading to Mac OS 11 pending my recommendation.  I have had the chance to do some of these installations and while they can take SEVERAL HOURS if you are on an older version of the Mac OS — they are pretty painless if you are already on Mac OS 10.15.

If you have a backup of your Mac already, you can probably do the upgrade yourself by going to the Apple Menu, System Preferences, and Software Update.  Depending on your internet connection the process will take 60 to 90 minutes.

You’ll want to have Mac OS 11 by September, in my opinion.  During the fall, the next Mac OS will come out and I will have you wait a few months again before it is installed.   New OS’es never have to be installed on day 1, but eventually you want them because they provide CRUCIAL security fixes.

Odds and Ends

TV Time:  Blue Bloods

Up until a year ago, I regularly watched four TV shows.  Unfortunately, one of them got cancelled for reasons I’m not going to get into here.  For the last few TV seasons (usually running from Sept to May), Blue Bloods has been my favorite show.  There is just something wholesome about watching Frank Reagan (Tom Selleck) and his family run integral parts of fictional New York City.  On Friday May 14th, the Season 11 finale aired.   It spanned 2 hours.  I don’t want to spoil it for any of you.   It is available On Demand as Episode 15 (The End) and 16 (Justifies the Means).  It’s a great mini-movie of sorts and it would be perfect for you to jump right in if you haven’t watched Blue Bloods in a while.  To set the table for you, all you need to know is that Frank has a grandson in the NYPD and he has been “missing” for several months.  It was very emotional viewing for me and I loved it.

Additional Thoughts on Car Buying

I just wanted to add a couple more notes to my last newsletter…

-People buy used cars all the time.  Maybe you like the deal or it is a discontinued model.  Please get the car inspected by an independent mechanic.  If the dealer or seller won’t let you get it inspected, move on.

-This might be more for your kids than you — but if you have an unstable income / career prospects, buy rather than lease.  I helped someone last year on a car deal.  She made all of her lease payments, but the rest of her credit got trashed over the 3 years of the lease.  I had to put on my A-Game just to negotiate with the dealer to get an 8.7% loan rate to buy out the lease.  We could have easily been looking at 15%. 

YouTube Premium

I don’t know about you but my family watches way more You Tube than TV.  It is still my sincere goal to be done with traditional cable TV by the end of the year.   If you like You Tube and you like music, you may want to consider You Tube Premium for $12 a month.   It gives you ad-free You Tube viewing and also unlimited music from the You Tube Music app.  You Tube Music is very similar to Apple Music.  You can download your music to the app, listen offline, stream in the house or play in the car.  It’s on my radar to check out.  One thing I have noticed recently is that my ad blockers on the iPhone and computer no longer block You Tube ads. 

New  M1 Macs — Truly Are That Fast

I have finally set up some M1 Macs for clients.   They are night and day better than even recent Intel Macs.    The Mac Book Air starts at $999 and the Mac Book Pro is $1299 (if you need more than 256 GB hard drive you will pay a little more).  Need a desktop?  Apple’s got you covered.  You can select either the Mac Mini or the brand new M1 iMac.  I sent out an update a few weeks ago on these Macs.  I want to mention that the upgrade in price for the iMac is not just the beautiful design but you are also getting a Retina Display.   If it were me, I think I would probably still choose a “business quality” monitor with the Mini but if you want to most pop in the picture, then the iMac is for you.

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.

Mac Is Back–Ordering Macs Correctly

Before I go out and get a cup of coffee that doesn’t make my head spin (lol), I want to report to you that business is brisk in the Mac world.   Macs are selling well.  2016 to 2019 were dark times for Mac users due those terrible keyboards in the Mac laptops.   A comeback started to be made in 2018 with the Mac Mini.   Then Apple brought the old keyboard back with the 16 inch Mac Book pro in late 2019.  (However, my clients were not typically buyers of the 15 / 16 inch laptops.)    Then in 2020, the good keyboard returned to the 13 inch Mac Books. It was a major victory for frustrated Mac buyers.

As we rolled into last fall, Apple came out with Mac Books sporting their new M1 processors.  This will be their infrastructure going forward.  A new mac Mini was also released.    They could very well release M1 iMacs at their event on April 20th.  I know some of you are waiting for those. 

On these new M1 Macs — the hard drives and RAM are an integrated system.  There is no replacing them when things go bad.  Like any solid state drive (SSD), they are limited to a certain # of read write cycles over their lifespan.  I read a report recently that if you order one of the new Macs with a larger hard drive — it actually gives it more room to read and write over time.   

So my advice here is — don’t take the standard 256 GB hard drive.  Upgrade it at the time of ordering to at least the 512 GB model.   Also — I would strongly suggest that you may want to consider the 3 year Apple Care warranty.  This is all new technology.  If one component on that logic board goes bad, the whole computer practically has to be replaced.   I am never opposed to buying Apple Care on iPhones, iPads, and Macs. 

For most consumers that I deal with I think that the Mac Book Air would be a fine choice over the 13 inch Mac Book Pro.  You can save a couple hundred $$ there.

Mac OS 11 (Big Sur)–Sooner or Later

I do keep getting asked by my Mac clients — should I allow my Mac to upgrade to OS version 11 aka Big Sur?   As you know I’ve told you to delay and stick with Mac OS 10.15 (Catalina) up until now.

If you have  a 2015 or later Mac laptop or one of the newer iMacs or Mac Minis — sooner or later you are just going to have to do it.   I am not giving a 100% endorsement but I am saying that it is going to be the Mac operating system you want to have before the Fall.   If you wait too long — then we are going to go through this all over again when Mac OS 11.1 (or 12 or whatever it’s called) comes out.  I will probably have you delay that one for a few months as well. 

So here is what I am saying — if you have a newer Mac that is problem free — go ahead and do the upgrade with the understanding that a few out of a hundred may have a problem or require a follow up visit from me.  If you have an old slow Mac — even if it’s Big Sur compatible — I have probably told you that you are looking at buying a new Mac within the year so don’t bother.    Generally speaking this Mac OS 11 is compatible with Macs 2013-14 and newer.  2012 and older Mac laptops are not compatible. 

If you have a specific concern about your Mac, please ask.  If you would like to make an appointment for an “assisted upgrade”  we can do that.

It is a good time to be a Mac owner — in general.

Important Security Update

For iPad and iPhone

If you have an iPhone or an iPad (even an Apple Watch) – there is an important security update that I just got notice of on Friday.   It is known as iOS / iPad OS 14.4.2.   This update fixes a critical flaw in Web Kit.   Web Kit is the engine that powers Safari (all the website browsing you do) on those devices, along with any apps that might render parts of websites.    Without Web Kit, the iPad / iPhone does not function. This update covers the iPhone 6s and later and iPad Air 2 and later.   Even though Apple is not updating the iPhone 6 and original iPad Air anymore, Apple did you a real favor.  They have issued an OS 12.x update for these 2 as well so that you have the Web Kit fix as well.

Settings >> General >> Software Update.    Get Updating!


Alternate Methods

You may need to do something right away and can’t get the help you need that hour or even that day.  I’ll try to get there as soon as I can.  However, we all have situations where it just can’t wait.  I want to let you know that there isn’t only one way to surf the Internet, check your email, or type a document on your computer.  You must understand — and perhaps this is new learning territory for you than we can cover in depth in our next session — that there are at least 2 ways to skin a cat.  Exploring the options can get you out of a jam and open mental pathways.    Here are just a few scenarios……

– Comcast or Gmail e-mail:  Your account can be set up in the Mail app (or Outlook) but you can also visit Gmail.com or My.xfinity.com to access a fully functional mail system in your web browser.

-You prefer to go on the Internet with Safari or Chrome:  What do you do when they don’t work or become corrupted?  You need a second browser at your disposal!! This could be Firefox, Edge, Vivaldi, or Brave.  Chances are that the second browser is going to work.  Get familiar with it.

-Time to type a document — Oh no!  Microsoft Word is not working.  Did you know that you can type and save basic documents in Text Edit (Mac) and Word Pad (Windows).  For letters and basic writing with paragraphs they are just fine.

Treating Referrals Right and Importance of Backups

I want to thank those of you who have sung my praises on the Nextdoor website for your neighborhood.  A new client contacted me on Friday.  I did a bit of phone triage with her and allowed her to thoroughly explain her issue with a series of follow up questions on my end.  It seemed like this client was working from home and regularly typed up Word documents which were carefully saved on the Desktop and another location.  All of a sudden these 2 documents that were there day after day (seemed like a continuing work routine) were gone.   Not in the Recycle Bin (or Trash as a Mac user would call it).  Gone!  They seemed like really important files.  By asking some very specific questions – I determined that there were no backup copies of these files online or on external media.   When I charge clients for a session — I don’t promise a guaranteed outcome.  Clients pay for my time, for the consultation.  However, I want to operate with the utmost integrity.  When I go to see a client I want to make sure there is a likelihood of success.  I told this new client that I don’t think I can help her and I’m not one to make false promises just to earn a sale.  She thanked me for my honesty and said she would certainly call back when other technology needs arose.   Thanks how I do business folks. A straight shooter.


I don’t know if the caller recently had a Windows update, but I will note that I recently dealt with a client that had a major update (or what I like to call an upgrade) to their operating system and lost all of their applications, but not their files.  Major updates are a potential peril.   Whatever the danger — if you have files you can’t afford to lose on your computer — you need a backup system and ideally more than one.  You may want to employ a cloud based backup system such as Carbonite or Backblaze.   A lot of you incorporate cloud based storage such as iCloud Drive (very popular with my Mac users), Microsoft One Drive or Dropbox.  One thing I like about One Drive is that it will save multiple versions of a Word document you are working on and they can later be restored.  Keep in mind that the iCloud, Dropbox, and One Drive are more accurately described as “file synchronization services” rather than bakcups — even though they do backup your files.  I say this because if you delete the file from one device it will be deleted on the others.   Finally, a physical backup is very important as well.  With my clients, this takes the form of an external hard drive plugged into the computer.  Using Time Machine on the Mac and File History (or Macrium) in Windows, you can have a physical backup that can be restored from in times of crisis. 

What is your backup plan?  Let me know if you need help coming up with one.

T-Mobile 23 Months and Counting

It was right around this time in 2019 when my wife and I moved our personal cell phone lines to T-Mobile.  I wanted to give you an update as to how it is going nearly 2 years later.  The summary version is — we have no regrets.  I will explain some potential pitfalls, however.  As you know I have never tried to oversell T-Mobile to clients.  I’ve always said — the choice is yours.  When we first signed up with them, we got in on their standard 2 line plan — $120 / mo — no taxes.  This was a small savings over Verizon (which would have been $150 per month plus tax). The other key factor was that their international plan was $5 / day vs. $10 / day for “Big Red.”    T-Mobile paid off our phones as well.  I have shared all of this before.   A few months into the whole deal, we realized that we could sign up for their Magenta 55 plan by putting my wife’s name on the account (she is over 55 y.o.). At that point it became a steal — 2 unlimited lines for $70 and no taxes.  I do think there have been situations where Verizon or ATT would have had better cellular internet, but I don’t think it’s 2x the price better. 

I can’t say that there have been few instances where T-Mobile calling was lacking.  In October 2019, I made a trip out to the airport via the local roads.  There was a cellular dead zone at the state border for about a mile.  I remember on the way back I made a phone call while I was traveling for about 25 minutes on a state road through rural and sparsely populated areas.  There were no issues.  There have been numerous instances such as on side streets, in large big box stores, or other random areas when my cellular internet seemed slow.  I may not have been able to do a Google search, check or send email, or download a podcast — which is something I do regularly.  These are typically just momentary inconveniences. 

The 2018 and later iPhone models allow for a second phone line.  On my iPhone 11, I also have my business line.  I have made sure to have it set up with a provider that is not T-Mobile.  This way I have the best of both worlds.  Trouble calling with T-Mobile?  No problem, call with the other line.  Trouble accessing cellular internet on T-Mobile?  I just switch the cellular data to my other line in the Settings.  I rarely have to do this, but I am glad I have the second line a backup.

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