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In this issue: A year of sadness and gratitude; Our latest OS recommendations;Sentinel Monitoring 6.5.7 update; iPhone 7 mini review.
December 2016 Newsletter

A year of sadness and gratitude

"My barn having burned
 To the ground
 I can now see
 The Moon."
                   — Mizuta Masahide

Part of what makes MacAtoZ the premiere Apple consultancy in the Mid-Willamette Valley is that we are deeply invested personally and professionally in the success and well-being of our clients. 

It's impossible, then, to reflect on the last 12 months without acknowledging the profound sense of loss we've felt in watching so many of our clients pass away. Including my father's death in late February, we've lost seven clients since last December 16—an average of more than a client every two months.

Surely if we'd opted for a career at BestBuy selling Apple products we wouldn't have been so emotionally traumatized.

The finite nature of existence in this reality forces each of us, at some point, to confront mortality. What will we do with the fleeting time we've been given?

For Brittany, Dynée, Kim, and me, MacAtoZ is part of our answer to this question. To the best of our ability, we help people with their technology, a sometimes mind-bending area where we have the expertise to make a big difference for a lot of folks. 

Every client we lost this year had been with us for more than 5 years.
We are humbled that from the point when they became our client they were with us (and we with them) for the rest their lives. 

We are so grateful for them, for the people we continue to serve, and for the the opportunities we get to make a difference.

MacAtoZ has exciting things in the wings for 2017—things that have the potential of allowing us to serve you both better and faster than ever before. We're looking forward to sharing those things with you in the year to come. For now, though, our best wishes for a wonderful holiday season. Thank you for allowing us to be a small part of your journey. We appreciate it very much. 
 

Our latest OS recommendations

Apple just released new updates for the Apple Watch, AppleTV, and iOS. As always, we recommend waiting a couple days on these. None are major releases, but you never know what slips the the cracks (and in this case bricks your Apple Watch).  

tvOS 4.1
Adds Apple's new TV app that in theory will unify all the source for the program or movie you want to watch. The reality is that Netflix has opted out of this, so the utility is questionable. Also, the TV app doesn't see any content available on your home network via iTunes Home Sharing. Still, free update. Seems to be working okay.

iOS 10.2
Emojis, gosh golly, the emojis. This update includes shrug, fingers crossed, face palm, and drooling face. Perfect for sullen teens. So hard to pick a favorite. Has run well in our brief testing

WatchOS 3.1.1
Big fixes mainly. Worked okay based on our initial testing, but a lot of reports of the update rendering the Apple Watch utterly unusable ("bricked"), unable to function at all. Apple has since pulled the update, leaving version 3.1 as the latest available. 

macOS 10.12.2 Sierra
We continue to advice clients wait until the ".3" update of Sierra before upgrading, but if you've purchased a new Mac with Sierra already on it or upgraded despite our advice, you should definitely do the ".2" upgrade for security reasons. 
 

Sentinel Monitoring 6.5.7 update

We've updated Sentinel Monitoring to version 6.5.7 which adds to the ever-growing list of malware that we can detect and which also now includes hard drive model numbers in the reports we receive. There are a couple small bug fixes as well. 

If you're a Sentinel or Sentinel+ member, there's nothing you need to do to receive this update. It will be automatically installed by the time you read this, because we're spiffy like that. 

If you're not yet a Sentinel member, you can learn why you probably should be at www.macatoz.com/sentinel. There, you'll see that for a low monthly fee you can get 24/7 monitoring of the health of your Mac so that when there's a problem we can work together to solve that problem as proactively as possible. If you'd like to speak to someone about Sentinel call us at 503-507-0410, and Brittany Stenger, our client relations specialist, can give you the deets (as the kids say—it means "details"). 

iPhone 7 mini review

In short, I love it and I didn't think I would. Having owned almost every iPhone since the original, I've witnessed first-hand the progressive improvement of each iPhone. In the iPhone 7, I've found a device that is as nice as anything Apple has ever produced in terms of hardware. 

I came to the 7 from an iPhone 6S+, which was an experiment for me. I was trying to determine if the larger size Plus would be capable of taking the place of an iPad. For me at least the answer was a resounding No. I still carried an iPad everywhere for its larger screen and though my aging eyes enjoyed the larger screen on the Plus, the size was very difficult to accommodate. I found one-handed operation of the Plus to be nearly impossible, for example. 

So the iPhone 7 is comparatively light and svelte and charming. I can use it with one hand—though not as well as an iPhone SE, of course—and the slim design makes it a pleasure to hold. I love that it is splash-proof and I appreciate both the beauty of the screen and the speed of the processor. 

I thought I would be annoyed by the Home button which was changed from the physical, clicking button in previous models to a solid, software-driven button on the 7. In fact, I now prefer the button on the 7. 

Similarly, the lack of a headphone jack was easily mitigated by the enclosed lightning to minijack adapter, and my next pair of headphones will be wireless anyway.

The camera and the flash are both superb. I don't take as many photos as perhaps the quality of the instrument warrants, but I can have no complaints as to the quality. 

In terms of upgrading, I think anyone with an iPhone 6 or earlier should seriously consider the iPhone 7 (or iPhone SE or iPhone 7+ if other sizes are preferable). If you're using the previous generation iPhone 6S, it's a closer call because the iPhone 6S is quite good in its own right. But for me, Apple's done it again: The iPhone 7 is the best iPhone I've ever owned. 

MacAtoZ LLC

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Apple Consultants Network
MacAtoZ LLC provides technical support, upgrade, installation, networking, training and tutoring, web design and hosting, and remote support services for Apple products like Macintosh computers, iPhones, iPods, and iPads.

Ty Davison and Dyneé Medlock, our Apple technicians, are the only Apple-certified, Apple Consultants Network members serving both residential and small business clients in Oregon's mid-Willamette Valley.

MacAtoZ has been providing computer services for clients in the Salem area since 2006 (and since 1999 as SiteRev.com). Our technicians are certified by Apple and carry $1 million in business liability insurance. We frequently present and are well-known at the Salem Macintosh Users Group (SMUG). You can count on us.

Our Sentinel and Sentinel+ services offer home users 24/7 Macintosh monitoring, maintenance, and security. Join today!

Quick Links

MacAtoZ LLC: The main company web site. You can find information about products and services as well as advice here.

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Salem Mac Users Group: Salem, Oregon-area Macintosh and Apple gear enthusiasts. Meets monthly. Visitors welcome!

Apple Consultants Network: If you need help, entrust your computer and your data to professionals. 
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