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In this issue: Sentinel monitoring 6.6 update; Apple's updates and our recommendations; www.MacAtoZ.com update; Your Honor, a sidebar; Free VPN setup help; Tip of the Day.
August 2017 Newsletter

Sentinel monitoring 6.6 update

We've recently updated Sentinel monitoring to version 6.6 which squashes a few bugs, makes a few behind the scenes changes, and adds a few features. Sentinel monitoring will automatically update itself to version 6.6 because we're awesome like that. For Sentinel and Sentinel+ members, there's nothing you need to do get the benefits of this new version and ongoing updates like this come at no additional charge. 

This time around the Sentinel monitoring update involves CrashPlan offsite backup, False Mount reporting, UPS battery connections, FileMaker Server, RAID and SoftRAID support, and many additional malware definitions.

If all of that means nothing to you, no worries. All you really need to know is that Sentinel monitoring continues to actively monitor the health of your Mac 24/7, allowing us to proactively deal with any issues as they occur. 

If you not already a Sentinel+ member, you can read more about Sentinel monitoring at www.macatoz.com/sentinel.
 

Apple's updates and our recommendations

Apple has begun a trend of releasing a slew of operating systems at once. Given how much data is now shared between devices, that is probably a good thing, but it makes our testing a lot more difficult because instead of taking our time with one device and operating system, we have to ascertain the worthiness of four different operating systems. That's right, once again we've suffered so you don't have to. On to the results! 

macOS Sierra 10.12.6: Installed and tested successfully now on multiple Macs. Recommended for any users of Sierra. Will be automatically pushed out to Sentinel+ members. As a reminder, Macs running macOS Mavericks 10.9 are no longer secure and should be updated immediately. 

iOS 10.3.3: An important security update for iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch. We've had a few wifi/cell connectivity problems in the days following the update, but it's unclear whether the problem is related to 10.3.3. Given the importance of this particular security update, we're going to recommend 10.3.3 regardless. Note: iOS devices running iOS 9.3.5 or earlier should be upgraded to 10.3.3 immediately for security reasons. If the device in question cannot run 10.3.3 because it is too old, it's time for a new iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch. 

WatchOS 3.2.3: Works great. No issues.

tvOS 10.2.2: Occasional freezes using Netflix, but otherwise OK (in our limited testing). This may be a Netflix issue. Given the nature of AppleTV it's difficult to tell. Still recommend updating. 
 

www.MacAtoZ.com update

We've updated our website to use something called Secure Socket Layers, or SSL for short. This means that when you visit our web site you will see a padlock icon in the URL address bar and all data will automatically be encrypted. Third-parties (like Comcast and other potentially snoopy Internet Service Providers) cannot see what you're doing while you visit.

We've always encrypted our payment portal (www.macatoz.com/payments) so that any client paying by credit card can rest easy knowing that it's secure. We've just extended this notion of privacy and security to the rest of our web site. We believe your privacy is important. 
 

Your Honor, a sidebar

If your Mac resembles an absent-minded judge's office with files and folders strewn hither and thither, getting to the right spot to open or save a file may have become slow and clumsy. Sure, in an ideal world, you’d organize everything perfectly, but you’d also be flossing twice a day, calling your mother every Sunday, and eating more leafy greens. So let’s talk about a shortcut that lets you put off that big reorg for another day: the sidebar that graces every Finder window and Open/Save dialog.

First, make sure it’s showing. In the Finder, with a Finder window active, if the View menu has a Show Sidebar command, choose it. (If it says Hide Sidebar, the sidebar is already showing.) Or, when you’re in an Open dialog, click the sidebar  button in the dialog's toolbar to show and hide the sidebar.

Now, to make the best use of the sidebar, try these tips:
  • By default, the sidebar shows a lot of items you likely don’t use. Turn off anything extra to make the sidebar shorter and more useful. Choose Finder > Preferences > Sidebar to see four categories of sidebar items. Favorites generally holds folders, Shared items are networked computers and servers, Devices are hard drives and other storage devices, and Tags displays recently used Finder tags. Be ruthless here and uncheck anything that you seldom use or don’t understand.
     
  • To make the sidebar more manageable temporarily, hover the pointer over a category label in the sidebar and click Hide when it appears. That category’s contents disappear, making what's still in the sidebar easier to focus on; to get them back, hover over the label again and click Show.

    Sidebar-hide-category
     
  • Add your own frequently used folders to the Favorites category so you have one-click access to them in the Finder and when opening or saving files. Drag a folder from the Finder to the Favorites list to add it. The folder remains on your disk in the original location, but if you click it in the sidebar, its contents appear instantly in the Finder window.
     
  • Don’t be shy about adding and removing folders; there’s no harm in adding a folder for a few days while you’re working on a project, and then removing it when you’re done. To remove a folder, Control-click it and choose Remove from Sidebar. The folder disappears from the sidebar but stays on your disk.
     
  • Organize your favorites so they’re in an order that makes sense to you, whether that’s alphabetical or the most important at the top. To do this, simply drag them to rearrange.
     
  • Once you’ve set up your sidebar, make sure you use it! In the Finder, to open files, click a folder in the sidebar to display its contents. You can even drag files from one folder into another folder in the sidebar to move them—or Option-drag to copy them.
     
  • When you’re in an app and want to open a file, choose File > Open, and in the Open dialog, click sidebar items to jump directly to those folders. The same goes when saving a new file; choose File > Save and use your sidebar to navigate to the desired location.
 

Free VPN setup help

We continue to recommend that every Mac, iPhone, and iPad user start using a VPN. We've mentioned previously how federal law was recently changed to allow Internet Service Providers to have full access to your data, and how we were both saddened and incensed by this. We remain in this complex emotional state. 

As a refresher, a Virtual Private Network (VPN) is a software program that creates a private, encrypted tunnel from your Mac to the internet so that you can send email or browse the web without your ISP spying on you. 

The VPN we recommend is Private Internet Access (PIA), a link to which is available at www.macatoz.com/vpn. (We receive a small commission for any sales through this link.) The cost is $40 a year which supports up to 5 devices simultaneously. If you need help setting up the PIA VPN and you're willing to use our affiliate link above, you may contact us and we will help you at no charge.
 

Tip of the Day

When you find yourself in a list on the Mac, as in a Finder window, an Open dialog, or a set of auto-completion options, you can usually press keys on the keyboard to navigate within the list. Press M, and you’ll select the first item whose initial letter is M. If multiple items start with M, use the Up and Down arrow keys to move one item at a time. And rather than clicking an Open or OK button, try pressing Return to activate the selected item.

So if you assumed you had to use the pointer to scroll through lists and click list items, try the keyboard—it’s faster to type W than to scroll all the way down to Wyoming in a list of states.
 

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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!

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