|June 2015 MSS Newsletter
Apple Watch First Thoughts
Apple Watch is the company's first foray into the so-called "wearable" market, and it's a good entry. Apple Watch requires an iPhone 5 or later to work. This necessarily limits its initial appeal, as not everyone has the latest iPhones, or, it should be said, at least $400 laying about to spend a watch, no matter how glorious it may be.
As a 1.0 product, Apple Watch is surprisingly good, much like the initial iPad. We will undoubtedly look back and wonder how we ever dealt with something so clunky and slow, but in the here and now, Apple Watch does a lot of things well. They're not essential things, but they are useful.
My favorite Apple Watch powers:
- Taking a call, Dick Tracy-style on the watch. The idea may have been around since the 1930s but it still feels futuristic and it works great. (Admittedly, this is audio only—no video phone watch yet.)
- Tracking fitness goals. I'm reminded to stand, to get exercise, and to move throughout the day. The Watch also tracks my steps and distance, not to mention my heart rate.
- Reminding me to drink water. I use a third-party app called Water Minder to remind me to drink water throughout the day. Although these notifications still appear on my iPhone, a light buzz on the wrist is far more effective at making me pay attention.
- Siri is amazingly helpful. Just press and hold the knob on the side—the so-called "Digital Crown"—and start talking. Works very much like Siri on the iPhone 6/6+, but the Watch is decidedly more convenient about 90 percent of the time.
There's a lot more here, of course, and like most Apple products, software updates and third party software will only increase the number of useful things that the Watch can do. Again, there's nothing here that's essential, but having worn one now for several weeks, I can't see doing without it.
9 Power User Tips for Apple Mail
Ty Davison, MacAtoZ's Senior Apple Technician, will be offering "9 Power User Tips for Apple Mail" at the June 9 meeting of the Salem Macintosh Users Group (SMUG).
As usual, this meeting will be held at Comfort Suites on Hawthorne Avenue. An informal Q&A will begin at 6:45 PM with a little social time, a club news presentation, and the main presentation following.
Visitors are always welcome, and should you be inclined to join, membership dues are just $25 per family per year.
Sentinel+ Maintenance & Security: Software Updates
Just this last weekend, Adobe issued the latest in their endless string of Flash Player updates. Flash is notorious for its Swiss cheese approach to security—that is to say, there are holes everywhere—so Apple's built-in xProtect system automatically stops users from running any version of Flash that isn't the latest.
If you've visited a web site with Flash content and seen a "Blocked Plug-in" notice, you know what I mean.
You may also know that you then need update Flash to be able to view the Flash content on these sites. Some people have no problem doing this update themselves, while other struggle mightily with this.
You can have Adobe Flash Player update itself, but the wait for Adobe's automatic updates to can be weeks, all while you see "blocked Plugin" on the site(s) you visit.
So one of the great things about Sentinel+ is that we automatically handle software updates for you. For most software, Sentinel+ waits about two weeks before installing. This gives us time to make sure that the developer hasn't made some egregious error (like, say, what Microsoft did with Outlook in the most recent Office 2011 update).
In cases of security updates—which by default includes Adobe Flash—we push those out almost immediately. In either case, worrying about software updates is a thing of the past for Sentinel+ users.
If you'd like to learn more about Sentinel or Sentinel+, visit our web site at www.MacAtoZ.com/sentinel or call us at 503-507-0410.
Tip of the Day
Sometimes it's really helpful to have the System Information report about your Mac. That report details all the hardware and the software of your machine.
The quickest way to get that System Information report? Go the Apple menu in the top left corner of your Mac's screen then hold down the Option key. Suddenly, you'll see the first item, "About This Mac..." change into "System Information...." Voilà!