Category: updates

How To Make Your Technology Less Frustrating and More Fun This Year

“It’s that holiday time of year again, and that means it’s over the river and through the woods to…well, fix my family’s Wi-Fi and other tech problems.”  From: The Complete Guide to Giving Better Family Tech Support  by Jason Fitzpatrick
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Do you have someone in your family who takes care of your techie problems for you?

I was that person for my mother. In fact, she was the one who suggested that I start this tutoring business to help other retirement-age adults.

I often laugh and tell people, “I’m your person, when you don’t have access to any techie relatives or you don’t want to impose. ; )

I recently read a fun article by How to Geek. The Complete Guide to Giving Better Family Tech Support  and I realized that it’s time to remind you that, “a few times a year someone needs to make sure computers are up to date,photos are backed up, and the tech is humming along as it should, so you won’t be in a in a position to have people exploit your computers, lose your photos to a hard drive crash, or otherwise be miserable because you just didn’t know any better.  After all, you aren’t out there keeping up on all the tech news and reading how-to guides.”

image of computer with 2019 on the screenAnd, there’s another great article for the New Year… Lock Down Your Tech With These New Year’s Resolutions by Justin Pot.  It urges people to:

  • “Use a freaking password manager
  • Lock Down Important Accounts With Two-Factor Authentication
  • Backup Your Computer (Seriously)
  • Update (or Upgrade) Your Router
  • Clean Out Your Browser Extensions
  • Remove Unused Third-Party App Access From Google, Facebook, and Other Accounts
  • Encrypt Your Computers and Phone”

As I often say, “using technology is like driving cars, they need check ups from time to time, and you have to know the rules of the road for your safety and security.

sparkler-839831_1280No Worries…There Are Easy Ways To Get It All Done:

  • Read the two articles and follow their very clear instructions or
  • Send these tips to your “Family Tech Guru” so he or she can do it or
  • Hire me to teach you how to do it or
  • Hire me do it for you

Whatever you decide is fine, but  please make a decision and “get ‘er done” so you can have less frustration and more fun.

Wishing you a very happy new year and may your techie world be simple, easy and fun this year!

Enjoy!

Mardi

P. S. Please share this with your loved ones so they can get the help they need too.  Thanks!

What Happened to Your Windows 10 October Update?

screen shot of notice of issues on Microsoft's websiteMicrosoft has paused the roll-out of its October Update (version 1809) because it was causing numerous problems.  It’s been over a month and there hasn’t been any word as to when it will be re-released.

The new feature update will eventually download and install automatically, based on your Windows Update settings.  It may be some time before you get the update because Windows 10 is running on more than 700 million machines! (It took more than six weeks for the April 2018 Update to reach 250 million Windows 10 devices — about 36 percent, and that was a record pace.)

The October 2018 Update is officially version 1809, build 17763. You can check the version information on your PC by going to Settings > System > About, and looking under the Windows Specifications heading. There, you’ll see the details for the currently installed version and build. (The number after the build number indicates the most recent update version.)

This example shows a PC running the previous version 1803.

Screen shot of Settings Menu

If you are using Windows 10 Home edition, you don’t have an option to defer the update until bugs and compatibility issues are revealed and fixed, but you, as a home user, aren’t on the top of the list either.  This deferment actually protects you.  

People who run a business edition of Windows 10 can change some things in the settings to control when they allow updates, but I’m not going to go into all the details here because it’s not relevant for you.

In any case, I trust that you have heeded my previous warnings about OS updates.  You have a backup system in place, and you know your passwords, right?

I know all this negative news and confusion makes you nervous.  It’s been been very damaging to the credibility of the Microsoft brand too.  Tech news reporters have suggested that Microsoft’s development process is broken, and that they should focus on fundamentals rather than new features. 

Microsoft’s “broken development process” is hurting the entire PC industry.  It’s almost the holiday shopping season.  Computer manufacturers are having to ship computers without the latest version of Windows.  Consumers, troubled by all the negative news stories, are likely to consider Chromebooks, MacBooks, or the new iPads. Who wants to deal with all these problems unless they have to?

If you’re tired of dealing with Windows issues, or you need a new computer, or you’re planning to buy a computer for a loved one, you might want to consider other options too.  Most of computer problems and frustrations can be avoided by choosing the right computer in the first place and I want to help you keep your techie life simple, easy and fun!  I’ll be happy to answer your questions about the best choice for your unique needs, free of charge. 

Love Apple’s New macOS Mojave

Image of macOS Mojave Dark Mode Theme

The new macOS Mojave was released on September 24 and “the coast is clear” to install it now, if you haven’t already. It’s a free software update in the App Store.

Before you do that, you need to:

  1. Check that your computer is compatible
  2. Make a backup
  3. Check that you have enough free space

No worries…all the instructions are clearly explained on Apple’s website How to upgrade to Mac OS Mojave   If you need a little hand holding or want me to do it for you, let’s set up a time.

Apple has created a beautiful web page that describes the new features.  It even has animations to show what they do.  See it all here…

The features I think you will really love are:

  1. The Dark Mode Desktop theme and the time-shifting images to match the time of day. It’s really pretty!
  2. The Stacks feature that cleans up messy desktops by automatically organizing files into neat groups.
  3. Quick Look in Finder that lets you work on a file without even opening it!  You can perform actions specific to the file type — without ever launching an app. You can mark up a PDF, rotate and crop an image, trim audio and video and even share files!

And too “technical” to “Love” but hugely helpful…

  1. macOS Mojave requires apps to get your approval before accessing the camera or microphone, your messages data and mail database.
  2. Enhanced Tracking Prevention — When you browse the web, the characteristics of your device can be used by advertisers to create a “fingerprint” to track you. Safari now thwarts this by only sharing a simplified system profile. Intelligent Tracking Prevention keeps embedded content such as social media Like buttons, Share buttons, and comment widgets from tracking you without your permission. 
  3. Safari automatically creates, stores, and autofills strong passwords for you. And it flags existing passwords that have been reused in Safari preferences, so you can easily update them. Security has never been so user friendly!

I’m eager to know how you like it.  Let me know your favorite features in the comments below.

My Bad….I Should Have Warned You!

Never let your computer know that you are in a hurry. Computers can smell fear.

Recent Microsoft and Apple Updates – Causing Stress And Confusion

I’ve had a rash of calls from people complaining that Windows Update is tying up their computers for hours and hours, or that their iPads or iPhones are suddenly looking and acting very differently. Don’t feel bad, I’ve had the same issues!

I knew changes were coming but I didn’t anticipate the upset they would cause. It might have been easier if I had warned you beforehand. You still would have had to deal with the inconvenience but it might have been less shocking. Next time I will give you a heads up.

The Windows 10 Anniversary Update

Microsoft

The Windows 10 Anniversary Update stalled and locked up my computer on two different days. I had to “pull the plug” so I could reboot. On the third try, it tied up my computer for more than six hours! It took over my PC at 6:00 PM, wasn’t finished when I went to bed at 11:00 PM. Fortunately, my main computer is a Chromebook!

Window Update Locking Up Your Computer?

If the Windows update gremlins have taken over your computer and it seems to be all locked up, check to see if the hard drive light is blinking. If it’s blinking, the update is working and you just need to be patient. If it’s not blinking, the system is locked up. You will need to hold down the power button to turn it off. Then turn it back on.

pc-working-lights

PC Running Slow?

If your PC is running slow, be sure you are up to date on your maintenance tasks.  If you are using Windows 10, you can turn off the “live tiles”, and disable Cortana. (Use right click on your mouse to see the options.)

Windows 10

New Features in Windows 10

I didn’t find any of the Windows 10 “new features” to be particularly exciting, but I like things simple.
Microsoft is trying to be more like Apple and Google products. This started with the Windows 8 debacle. Big Mistake! They are way behind and don’t do it well.   Let me know what you think in the comments below.

The Edge web browser still isn’t as good as Google Chrome or Firefox.

On the positive side, Windows 10 is a more stable and secure operating system.

If you need help with the update, new features or maintenance, just let me know.

The Apple iOS 10 update (A much better experience than with Microsoft)  photo.apple vs. windows

A message appered, letting me know that an update was available and giving me choices of “install now” or “remind me later.” (I always wait a couple of weeks, until I’m sure that any glitches have been fixed.)

In the software update screen, above the “Install Now” button, there was a brief introduction with an explanation of the reason for the update and a complete list of all the new features–in plain English!

I agreed to the terms of service and the update screen showed me a brightly lit screen with the Apple logo and a bar indicating the progress of the update. (No wondering what’s going on, no locking up.)

Things look a little different but there are some very practical and useful new features. The best one is that my fingerprint on the button works much better and I don’t have to swipe to get past the lock screen. I have to laugh because I’m still swiping after several days. Old habits die hard don’t

Let me know what you think in the comments below. I’ll tell you my faves if you’ll tell me yours….

Why are there fewer problems with Apple?

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One main reasons there are fewer problems with Apple products, is that Apple controls both the hardware and the software, whereas Microsoft is in control of only the software.

Microsoft’s new operating system has to be compatible with hardware from many different manufacturers, machines that are very old, and machines that have software from other companies that can cause conflicts.

When Apple’s operating system becomes a problem for their old hardware, they just let you know that your device has become obsolete and you’ll have to buy a new one. This is not good news, but it prevents you from limping along and being constantly frustrated.

It’s not your fault

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These issues are not the result of anything you have done. Technology is a full time job for me and I can barely keep up myself! My mission is to keep things simple, easy and fun for you in spite of the constant changes. Please let me know if you are having trouble.  If you have any questions, need tech support or moral support, I’m here for you.

You Can Help Others

Please share this to others so they can get help too.

If you received this from a friend and would like to receive all my Techie Tips directly, you can sign up here.

Journey together PictureLooking forward to knowing what you think.

Enjoy!

Mardi Boettcher

760 3 4tutor

 

Windows 10 Update

Windows 10

You may remember that, back in July when Windows 10 originally became available, I recommended that everyone wait until “the bugs were worked out.” Now that Windows 10 has been available for five months and “the dust has settled,” it’s time to give you an update.

I recommend that people who are running Windows 7 on older machines do not upgrade to Windows 10.  Updating to Windows 10 has caused some computers to lock up or crash, and I have had to refer several clients to a computer technician for expensive repairs.  I recommend that people with Windows 7 wait until it’s time to get a new computer. (If your computer is 4 years old…it’s time to get a new one!)

People with Windows 8 on their machines can probably update to Windows 10 without problems. They will find that it is much less confusing.  (They might want to have me tweak the settings so so it looks like good ‘ol Windows 7.)

People who are are making the transition from Windows 7 to Windows 10 because they survived the update or got a new computer, may want to have me tweak the settings so it looks like Windows 7, and take them on a tour of the new features.

 For many reasons, that I won’t go into here, I have been very disappointed with Microsoft and its products and recommend avoiding them if possible. (You probably don’t want all the gory details but if you do, just ask.)  There are other computers systems that are easier to use and more reliable.  I have been using a Chromebook for almost 2 years and it cost less than $300!  I also highly recommend Apple computers and tablets.  Of course the choice depends on how you use them and your budget.

When it’s time to make a purchase, please consult with me first.So many problems and frustrations can be avoided by choosing the right equipment for your individual needs, and I can often save people a lot of money.

I also do free presentations on “How To Choose The Right Computers and Gadgets for Your Needs”.  If you know a group that would like me to speak, just let me know.

4 Simple Apple Computer Maintenance Tips

Did you know that your computer needs some regular maintenance, just like your car?

Just like your car, your computer is a substantial financial investment and causes major inconvenience when it doesn’t run properly so it’s important to keep it in good shape. In both cases, you can learn how to do the maintenance yourself, or you can pay someone to take care of it for you.

If you don’t want to deal with it, I’ll be happy to take care of it for you…one time or on a monthly basis via remote connection.

I hope you find this information helpful and that you will forward to others so they can more fully enjoy the benefits of computer technology.

There are four simple maintenance tips that will help you keep your computer in tip-top shape and running at its best.:

Run Apple Disk Utility1) Run Disk Utility

Running Disk Utility every month or two is a good for: repairing permissions, and more importantly, verifying and repairing the hard drive.

Disk Utility is included on all Macs and found in the /Applications/Utilities folder, under the “First Aid” tab and can be run one after another.

Repairing permissions is a good procedure to run, especially after installing or uninstalling a lot of applications.

Repair Disk s probably the most important thing to do with Disk Utility. Be sure to run Verify Disk not only on the drive itself (physical drive name), but also the boot partition (Macintosh HD). If any errors are found, they’ll appear in red, and thankfully Disk Utility is usually more than capable of handling such repairs on it’s own.

The best way to repair the boot disk is to boot from the recovery partition by holding down Command+R and running Disk Utility from there. This will be necessary if bad blocks are found or if the drive is corrupt.

Mac Software Update2) Keep your Mac Software Updated

Keeping your software up to date is vital. Periodically run Software Update from the Apple menu, and periodically check the Mac App Store for updates of your apps too.

Updates contain bug fixes, feature enhancements, and security fixes. and it’s so easy to do there is no excuse not to.

Software Update will check for updates once a week by default, but the Mac App Store has to be manually checked for updates in OS X Lion.

With OS X Mountain Lion and newer, Software Update moves to the Mac App Store so this whole process will be automated for modern OS X users, including El Capitan, Yosemite, and Mavericks.

Mac Desktop Clutter3) Clean Off the Desktop

Having a lot of files on the desktop will actually slow down your computer because each file and its icon preview take up RAM and resources.

The less RAM you have the more you’ll notice the sluggishness resulting from a cluttered desktop.

It is more efficient to get in the habit of filing things into appropriate folders instead of on the desktop; but if you can’t be bothered to do that, just grab all the files and move them into the appropriate folders from time to time.

If you can’t remember to do it yourself, there are apps that will automatically clean it for you by moving files and folders to a designated place at a regular interval.

Set Up Time Machine4) Regularly Back Up Your Computer

Performing regular backups is essential for you to be able to quickly recover from potential disasters.

The simplest back up solution for Macs is Time Machine. You’ll need an external hard drive, but once you set up Time Machine, automatic backups occur without any effort.

If you haven’t set up Time Machine yet you really need to do so. Get a large external hard drive and configure Time Machine through System Preferences.  I’t’s easy to do and you’ll be very thankful you have a back up in the event of a hard drive failure.

You should also do a manual back up before allowing system software updates. I’t’s rare, but things can go wrong, and it’s best to be prepared.

“Listen to your Mother” and do your maintenance so you won’t have regrets later ; )

Enjoy!

Wait Until The Bugs Are Out!

With new technology, it’s best to wait until the bugs have been worked out…to wait until the “early adopters” have found the major problems and the company has had a chance to fix them.  We’ve seen this recently with the release of the iPhone 6 and the Apple watch. Now, Microsoft is offering PC users the opportunity to upgrade their operating system (OS) to Windows 10 for free and people may be wondering if that is a good idea. It’s not!

Microsoft’s wants it’s Windows 10 operating system to be installed on 1 billion devices within three years so it’s giving it away for free.  I doubt that this is going to be enough of an incentive for people to change. Even though Windows 10 will look very similar to Windows 8.1, people who use Windows 8.1 vividly remember how traumatic that change was, and will be hesitant to trust the new one. Windows 7 users are determined to avoid going through that.

People running Windows 7 or Windows 8, should already have had an invitation to “reserve” a copy of Windows 10.

If not, they can run Windows Update to see if any updates are available for their PC.  The one to they want is KB3035583.  This puts a small white Windows logo – the GWX, “Get Windows 10” app – in the system tray on the right hand side of the Taskbar.

Alternatively, they should be able to find the invitation by going to Windows Update in the Control Panel (via System and Security)

The point of “reserving” the upgrade

The point of reserving the upgrade is to allow Microsoft to download Windows 10 – probably 4GB or more – to PCs in the background over a period of time. It doesn’t want to download the code to 400 million PCs on the same day.   Even if someone reserves Windows 10 now, they may not be invited to install it for days or weeks after the official launch on July 29.

To cancel a reservation

Right-click on GWX, the white Windows icon on the Taskbar, select “Check your upgrade status” and then “Cancel reservation”.

How can People avoid Windows 10?

Nobody is forcing people to get Windows 10. If they don’t want it, they don’t have to reserve it or install it.

To remove the reminder, right-click on Start and select Properties. Next, go to the Taskbar tab, click the button that says “Customize …”, and find GWX, the Get Windows 10 app. The drop-down menu offers the option to “Hide icon and notifications”.

To go further, run Windows Update and click “View update history” to see all the updates installed. Look for KB3035583, select it, and then click to uninstall or change it. Windows will ask “Are you sure?” Just click “Yes”. It will never bother you again … unless you reinstall KB3035583.

Can they downgrade later if they don’t like it?

Microsoft aims to enable people to “roll back” to their old operating system, if required. However, I wouldn’t rely on this.  In any case, it would be wise to backup the old system before installing a new and use the option to create “recovery media” with the old system, so that they’re not totally dependent on the “roll back” working.  Remember, you, and you alone, are responsible for preserving your own data.

More details

The software which will begin rolling out July 29, will be offered as a free upgrade for all Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 PC and Tablet users.  (Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 operate 74.1 percent of all devices, according to NetMarketShare.)

Unlike Apple, who offers OS upgrades for free, the Windows free upgrade will only be available for one year…until July 29, 2016.

For those eligible for the free upgrade, the process will only grant you a comparable version of the software. If you had Windows 7 Home, you get Windows 10 Home. If you had Windows 8.1 Pro, you get Windows 10 Pro. For those who wish to upgrade from the Home edition to the Pro edition, a Windows 10 Pro Pack will cost $99.

Windows 10 will cost the same as its predecessor, Windows 8.  A copy of Windows 10 Home will run $119, while Windows 10 Pro will cost $199.  Copies of the software will be available online and in stores.  This option will be used by the minority of users who don’t have an eligible machine or wish to build their own computer and install Windows themselves.

Have you heard about Telikin?

Have you heard about Telikin?

A client asked me this recently so I looked in to it and I am impressed!  Telikin is a super easy to use touch screen computer.  It will be a great solution for many of my clients and I thought you might be interested in it for yourself or for someone you love.

My Mother saw it in the AARP magazine a few years ago and I didn’t pay much attention because she already knew a little bit about how to use a PC laptop and I didn’t think a Telikin would be the best choice for the price.  Now that she is 93 and having some vision problems, I think the Telikin would be better for her.  Even though she is my “poster child” for what “tech resistant” elders can do, (she has hearing aids that connect to her TV and iPod with bluetooth) I think she would enjoy her computer more and use it more if she had a Telikin.  They have easy payment plans so I just may be getting her one soon.

This week, I had an online meeting with Nancy Allegrezza, Director of Sales and wife of the inventor of Telikin.  Nancy is also a nurse, and her passion for helping seniors and providing excellent customer service is truly inspiring.

Nancy and her husband got involved because they had aging parents with disabilities, and wanted to help them stay connected via email, photos and video chat.  There weren’t any easy computer solutions.  The Telikin computer, its apps and customer service are all designed to make everything fun and easy.  

In my experience with clients to date, the best solution has been the iPad.  However, the screen is very small and the the apps have commands that are hard to see and sometimes hard to find.  I keep wondering why someone doesn’t come up with a better solution.
http://telekin.com/
Telikin may be the answer.  Everything is in large letters and the navigation buttons are clearly visible and well labeled.  There is nothing to open or close, you just touch the big buttons on the screen and you are where you want to be!  The price is just about right, too – $699 isn’t a lot to pay vs. a $599 for a Mac Mini without a monitor.  

You can try a Telikin for two months and get your money back if you don’t like it.  They provide VIP tech support (including remote access) to ensure that you have a good experience right from the beginning.  And it has a “tech buddie” feature so a trusted friend or relative, anywhere, can access your computer remotely and help whenever you want.

I’d love to know what you think about it.  Do you think you might be interested in getting one?  Do you know someone who might like one?

Click here to see a video and learn more about the features and benefits and let me know what you think.

Looking forward to hearing from you!

In joy,

Mardi
“Helping people enjoy the many benefits of modern technology is my passion”

P.S.  Feel free to forward this to anyone you think might be interested.

Are you wondering if you should upgrade your OS?

There are major changes happening with computer and mobile gadget operating systems and it’s my mission to make it easy for you to keep up and enjoy the many benefits.

One of my clients received an email from Microsoft offering a free upgrade to Windows 10 and she wanted to know if I thought it would be better or worse than her Windows 8.1.
windows 10

I told her, that it’s too soon to tell.  I recommend that people wait until it has been on the market for at least a year to give them a chance to correct any problems.  There are always bugs and fixes that need to be done with any new software.

There are many improvements and some neat new features, but we’ll shall see….

If you are interested in knowing about the new features of Windows 10, Click here.

 Yosemite

Apple also has a new operating system for it’s computers. It’s been available for quite some time and Apple has issued several important updates.  It’s called OS X Yosemite and it has a lot of cool new features.  If you want to learn more about it click here.

Chromebook

I’m still really enjoying my Chromebook.  A Chromebook is a laptop of a different breed. Instead of Windows or Mac OS, Chromebooks run Google’s Chrome OS. These machines are designed to be used primarily while connected to the Internet, with most applications and documents living in the cloud and they are much less expensive than other computers.

If you are thinking about buying a new computer, smart phone or tablet, you might want to consult with me first. In my tutoring, I have the opportunity to play with many kinds of devices so I can give you some good information about their advantages and disadvantages.  I’m proud to say that many of my clients have saved a lot of money and avoided a lot of frustration by consulting with me before they purchased.
If you buy a new device, have me give you an orientation so you can get up and running quickly and easily. I read the owners manuals and take online classes so you don’t have to.  (“It’s a tough job but somebody has to do it.”  LOL)

If you found this information helpful, please share it.  

 

Enjoy!

Mardi

Phishing Alert: Watch Out For This!

I thought you should know about this right away.

After seeing my Techie Tip about phishing on Saturday, my daughter sent the following email about a phishing problem with Anthem Insurance.  Even if you don’t have Anthem Insurance, this will reinforce what I said about “phishing. ”

Heh Mom, Did you know about this?

Last week, Anthem announced that data might have been accessed about Anthem Healthcare clients.  Apparently, hackers are taking advantage and sending emails and making phone calls asking to verify information.

Here is the email from the Human Resources Department where she works.

“Anthem notified us today that members who may have been impacted by the cyber attack should be aware of scam email campaigns targeting current and former Anthem members.  These scams, designed to capture personal information (known as “phishing”) are designed to appear as if they are from Anthem and the emails include a “click here” link for credit monitoring.  Anthem DID NOT send these emails.  If you receive one of these scam emails like the one attached:

  • DO NOT click on any links in email.
  • DO NOT reply to the email or reach out to the senders in any way.
  • DO NOT supply any information on the website that may open, if you clicked on a link in email.
  • DO NOT open any attachments that arrive with email.

Further, Anthem is not calling members regarding the cyber attack and Anthem representatives are not asking for credit card information or social security numbers over the phone.

This outreach is from scam artists who are trying to trick consumers into sharing personal data. There is no indication that the scam email campaigns are being conducted by those that committed the cyber attack, or that the information accessed in the attack is being used by the scammers.

Anthem will contact current and former members via mail delivered by the U.S. Postal Service about the cyber attack with specific information on how to enroll in credit monitoring. Affected members will receive free credit monitoring and ID protection services.

For more guidance on recognizing scam email, please visit the FTC Website:http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0003-phishing.

Anthem has created a website (www.anthemfacts.com), and a hotline, 1-877-263-7995, for its members to call for more information.”

Please forward this to everyone you know so they can be safe too.
Thanks,
Mardi

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