In this issue: iOS 8.1 & OS X 10.10 Yosemite: Time to upgrade yet?; Missing or Blocked Plug-in warnings; A MacAtoZ fraud warning; Apple Certified Support Professional OS X 10.9; Correction or no?
November 2014 MSS Newsletter

iOS 8.1 & OS X 10.10 Yosemite: Time to upgrade yet?

As Apple is busy sending persistent notices encouraging upgrades to both iOS 8.1 for iPad and iPhone and OS X 10.10 Yosemite for Macintosh, we are receiving a lot of inquires about whether it's time to pull the trigger on either of these.

For iOS 8.1, we think the answer is a qualified "yes." We have tested iOS 8.1 successfully with the following models: iPhone 6, iPhone 5S, iPhone 5, iPad 4, and iPad 3. (We don't have an iPad Air or Air 2 to test, but iOS 8.1 should be fine on those models as well.) Certainly, if you've already moved any of the above devices to iOS 8 or 8.02, you should feel free to go to 8.1.

We have NOT tested 8.1 on the iPhone 4S or the iPad 2, and there is a fair amount of evidence online that 8.1 is too slow to be useable on these devices. Rumor has it that Apple is beta testing 8.1.1 which should offer some speed increases for these models, but as there is no downgrade path once you take the 8.1 leap, I would be very hesitant about moving to 8.1 for an iPhone 4S or an iPad 2. 

As you may know, the iOS 8.1 upgrade is free. It offers neat new features like HomeKit, HealthKit, ApplePay, and more. You will want to make a backup before you upgrade (either to your computer via iTunes or to iCloud via Settings > iCloud > Backup). You will also want to give yourself time to acclimate to the new features and look. Personally, I've liked both, but the latter is certainly subjective. 

Since 8.1 is still a relatively new operating system, there are bugs, and you can certainly forgo dealing with those by waiting for 8.1.1 or later upgrades. In giving our qualified endorsement, we are not saying that 8.1 is bug-free or that you don't run the risk of experiencing issues. But our own experience has been generally good, and with an over 50% adoption rate at this point, millions of devices are running it. If there were a catastrophic problem with 8.1, we should have heard of it or experienced it by now. 

As part of the upgrade you will be asked if you wish to upgrade to iCloud Drive. No, you do not. Doing so is irrevocable, and it will render any data and documents saved in iCloud Drive inaccessible by your other devices and computers until they too are using either iOS 8.1 or OS X 10.10 Yosemite. Until all your computers and devices are moved to these two versions of their respective operating systems, you want to use the old iCloud not iCloud Drive. 

We have installed and tested OS X 10.10 Yosemite and like it very much. Except that its initial incarnation has a horrible wifi bug that randomly kicks Macs offline until they're rebooted, it's got a lot going for it. Lack of internet connectivity isn't a problem for anyone, is it? We continue to advise not upgrading to Yosemite. 

That said, it appears that Apple's massive, 1 million user beta program has paid dividends, because Yosemite is otherwise quite nice. We've not encountered too many problems at this stage compared to, say, OS X 10.9 Mavericks. Yosemite is a stylistic departure from previous OS X systems but one we rather like. (We are not nearly so fond of the recently released iTunes 12.) Although our general advice has long been to wait for the ".3" update (in this case 10.10.3), we're hopeful that we may be able to recommend Yosemite earlier than that. 

Missing or Blocked Plug-in warnings

Recently, a number of Mac users have reported "missing or blocked plug-in" warnings when they try to browse various web sites. Here's what's happening: 

Adobe has again updated their terribly insecure Flash software. As you may recall, Adobe previously rushed patches to their Flash software to fix the take-over-your-Mac bad security holes. (We issued Newsflashes on these events last year.) Many of us—including, I suspect, Apple itself—believe that the genie is simply out of the bottle when it comes to Flash and security. Apple no longer ships Flash on Macs, and of course, iOS devices have never run Flash because in addition to offering Swiss cheese-like security, Flash is also an enormous resource hog.

If you run Flash on your system—and we're this close to advising that you don't—Apple's XProtect anti-malware system will force you to upgrade rather than allow you to traipse across the internet using a browser plug-in that screams to malevolent web sites, "Please take over this machine." In other words, until you update to the latest version of Flash you will see a "missing or blocked plug-in" warning where heretofore there was Flash content. 

The fix for this: Either remove Flash following these instructions and miss out on whatever content the web sites are offering, or upgrade the version of Flash that you have. To perform the latter task, go to System Preferences > Flash Player and under the Advanced tab, Check for Updates. If there's one to be had, download it and follow the instructions. 

That will keep things working until next time. 

A MacAtoZ fraud warning

We had a disturbing development recently wherein one of our clients was tricked into believing that someone from our staff was calling and asking for his banking information. The situation had a happy resolution in that no funds ultimately changed hands, but the client did have to get a new bank account number and stop payment. 

To be clear: We will never ask for your bank account information. You are welcome to pay with cash, check, or credit card. We do not do bank drafts. We have no need of your bank account information. And in the case of credit card, you can make a secure payment yourself at You don't need to give us any financial information over the phone. 

At present, any one of three people may contact you from MacAtoZ: Ty Davison (technical support), Brittany Palmer (administrative support), or Kim Overfield (accounting specialist). If you call our main number (503-507-0410), you might also speak with one of our receptionists, but they will not call you except in extraordinary circumstances and even then they will never ask for payment information. 

If we add staff—and we hope to do so in the near future—we will not be quiet about it. Even then, no one will call you and ask for your bank account information. If someone purporting to be from MacAtoZ does, our advice is to hang up and call us directly.

Apple Certified Support Professional OS X 10.9

On October 25, 2014 Ty Davison of MacAtoZ added to his burgeoning collection of Apple certifications. He is now an Apple Certified Support Professional (ACSP) for OS X 10.9 Mavericks. In a nutshell, this certification is Apple's guarantee that a technical support provider is qualified to render assistance on a specific operating system.

As we're fond of saying, you wouldn't get legal advice from an attorney who hadn't passed the bar or a medical opinion from an unlicensed doctor. Why would you trust your most important personal information—for that's really what we store on our computers these days—to someone who wasn't certified by Apple? 

Correction or no?

In our last newsletter we said the following about upgrading to iOS 8:

"For right now, iOS 8 adoption has stalled out around 47%. If you're in the happy 63%, you should enjoy the sweet, sweet feeling of being utterly right about not upgrading yet."

Many readers were quick to point out that our numbers were wrong, forgetting of course that here at MacAtoZ we always give 110%. That, and basic math apparently eludes us. Regardless and with a touch more seriousness, we do appreciate your attentiveness. 
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, our senior technician, is the only Apple-certified, Apple Consultants Network 
member serving both residential and small business clients in Oregon's mid-Willamette Valley.

MacAtoZ also provides Social Networking consulting services, providing help to individuals and small businesses with FaceBook, Twitter, Tumblr, and more. 

MacAtoZ has been providing computer services for clients in the Salem area since 2006 (and since 1999 as 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.

At $120 an hour, MacAtoZ offers one of the lowest Apple certified on-site rates in Oregon. Our innovative remote support program, the MacAtoZ Service Suite (MSS), also provides a wide-range of remote support features at incredibly low-prices.


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