After a very successful beta test with lots of wonderful feedback, MacAtoZ is incredibly excited to announce the launch of two new services for home users: Sentinel and Sentinel+.
provides 24/7 Monitoring of your Macintosh, alerting us immediately when a problem is detected with your computer. This allows us to take a proactive approach to maintaining the health of your Mac and its data. If your Mac's hard drive is failing, if the battery is going out, if the RAM has gone bad, don't you want to know as soon as possible before
any of these things put your data at risk or leave you stranded without a usable machine?
If the answer to that is "yes," then Sentinel is the program for you. Aggressively priced at just $9.99 a month per Mac (plus a one-time $10 account set up fee), Sentinel checks and reports on over 100 different functions or components of your computer.
includes the 24/7 monitoring of Sentinel and adds Maintenance and Security to the mix. The amazing Sentinel+ service not only automatically updates your software—think about not having to do that
again—it also scans for malware, repairs permissions, purges user and system caches, verifies and repairs disks, checks for and removes adware, and more. Adding this Maintenance and Security functionality is just another $10 a month, or $19.99 a month per Mac.
We've also decreased the cost for those who want Sentinel+ to protect an additional Mac in their household. You can add Sentinel+ to another Mac for just $10 a month. In other words, you can get Sentinel+ on two Macs for $29.99 a month, three Macs for $39.99, and so on.
As an introductory special we are waiving the $10 account set up fee for anyone who signs up for Sentinel or Sentinel+ before Thursday, April 16
—sort of a 48 hour sale, if you will.
To read more about or to sign up for Sentinel and Sentinel+, visit www.MacAtoZ.com/sentinel
SMUG Presentation: Privacy and Security
In recent months, we've highlighted the security issues inherent in Java and Adobe Flash. Online privacy and security extends far beyond those two technologies, however, and it's become increasing difficult to keep your personal information both private and secure.
Tuesday night, Ty Davison of MacAtoZ LLC, will be giving a presentation on Privacy & Security at the general meeting of the Salem Macintosh Users Group (SMUG).
The meeting starts at 7 PM at Comfort Suites on Hawthorne Avenue in Salem, Oregon. Visitors are welcome—if you're not already a SMUG member—and the annual cost of a SMUG membership is only $25 per year per family.
We will hope to see you there!
Apple OS updates
Showing utter disregard for our newsletter production schedule, Apple released iOS 8.3 for iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch late last week. We've managed to install this system on iPhone 6 and iPhone 5S with good results. We put it on an iPad 4 and had to force restart the device (power button+home button at the same time), but since then everything has seemed fine. There hasn't been enough testing time to wholeheartedly recommend the upgrade, but so far the chatter online is promising. If we hear nothing major in the next week or so—and we'll howl about it if we do—anyone running iOS 8.x on their devices should feel free to upgrade.
To blow our newsletter deadline completely out of the water, Apple also released OS X 10.10.3 for the Mac. Anyone already running Yosemite (10.10.x) should feel free to upgrade. We've successfully installed it on a Mac Pro, several MacBook Pros, and a 2009-era iMac.
We'll need more testing time to know if this is the version of Yosemite that should prompt 10.8 and 10.9 users to definitely move forward, but traditionally it's been the ".3" upgrade where that happens, and early results for us have been excellent. We will keep you posted.
MacAtoZ phone issues
If you've called us in recent weeks and had a suboptimal experience—meaning your call went to voicemail—we are very sorry. Our stated goal is that every call, 24 hours a day, be answered by a live, human being and that we return your call by the end of the next business day.
The understatement of the year is to say that our call routing software has been flakey recently. What we want you to know is that we've taken definitive steps to solve the problem, and we believe that we've turned the corner. Specifically, we've hired a new reception service to handle our calls during regular business hours and relegated to after-hours work the secondary reception service where we had the most trouble with call routing. We wouldn't describe everything as perfect yet, but it is significantly improved, and we will keep going until everything is working as it should.
In the meantime, we again apologize if you've tried to call and didn't get the cheerful voice we endeavor to put on the other end of the line for you.
Tip of the Day
Adware on the Mac has been something of an epidemic in the last six months. This tip provides a free solution to that problem.
Adware is unwanted software that uses sneaky and dishonest methods to get installed on your computer, then changes the behavior of your web browser. Once installed, it does disagreeable things like injecting advertisements into web pages, causing pop-up windows or tabs to open to advertising sites, and changing your home page and/or search engine.
Although adware sounds similar to most malware, there is a crucial difference: adware on the Mac has never been documented to involve key logging, back doors, or any other such malicious activities...just unwanted advertising. As such, a lot of anti-virus software doesn't bother to detect most adware, and if it does, it doesn't do a very comprehensive job of finding it.
We recommend a free program called Adware Medic
to detect and remove adware. It may not catch everything, but the developer has been responsive in updating the software, and it's certainly an excellent go-to if you have an adware problem. If Adware Medic can't get the job done, you know who to call.