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In this issue: Sentinel to the rescue; Sentinel improvements; Apple releases OS X 10.11.3 El Capitan; Apple event March 21; Apple and the FBI; a personal note.
March 2015 Newsletter

Sentinel to the rescue

We are passionate about the Sentinel service. One example of why:

“THANK YOU! Got your email when Sentinel alerted you to my hard drive's imminent failure. Made immediate Apple Store appointment. Hubby took it in. 1 TB Hard drive fried, they will replace with 3 TB drive….It will take them a couple of days to fix, they say. Replacement drive $300, I think, but AppleCare plan saved the day!...I'm a happy camper.” — Janet Long

If your hard drive is failing, you don't want to find out too late. Learn more about Sentinel and Sentinel+

 

Sentinel improvements

Sentinel's Monitoring system has been updated to 6.4.5. With this release, we can now monitor and report corrupt Backblaze installs and we've added additional malware checks as well. We recommend Backblaze for offsite backup. The backups are encrypted locally before they're sent and you can get unlimited data storage for as low as $5 per Mac per month. 

Sentinel's malware monitoring is fairly rudimentary compared to that of Sentinel+, but it's significantly better than nothing and we're always looking for ways to make it better. As you may know, Sentinel+ not only does a full disk scan for malware, it will also quarantine many malware variants. (We see this a lot.)
 

Apple releases OS X 10.11.3 El Capitan

The bricked Macs of the OS X 10.11.2 El Capitan install now a hazy memory (perhaps thanks to alcohol consumption), Apple has released 10.11.3 which seems...pretty good, actually. We've been running it on a couple of Macs (including Ty's MacBook Pro), and in terms of stability and reliability, the ".3" release seems to be doing well. If you're already running El Cap (even though we told you to wait (ahem)), you should definitely upgrade to 10.11.3, and we've pushed it out via Sentinel+ for those subscribed to that service. 

If you're running an earlier operating system in the range of OS X 10.6, 10.7, or 10.8, you should upgrade immediately. As we've said before, these systems are not secure, and as much we loved some of them—here's looking at you, Snow Leopard—it's past time to move forward.

With the ".3" release of El Cap, our advice changes for users of OS X 10.9 Mavericks and OS X 10.10 Yosemite: Users of these systems should feel free to update if they wish. You don't have to do so immediately, but you should plan on making the move before this fall when Apple is liable to release the next version of OS X. In the meantime, the ".4" release of El Cap is in late beta; we expect a mid-March release.

Before upgrading your Mac, make sure to (1) have a current backup of all important data and (2) run Disk Utility to verify your hard drive. After that, you can go to the Mac App Store and download and install El Cap.

As always, if you would prefer assistance with this, we remain eager to assist you. Please call (503) 507-0410 or email support@macatoz.com to schedule an appointment. 
 

Apple event March 21

Rumors are that we'll see a new iPad, a new smaller iPhone (the size of the iPhone 5 but with upgraded internals), and some software updates (like WatchOS, iOS 9.3, and OS X 10.11.4). If you're considering an iPad or an iPhone purchase, you may want to wait a couple weeks to see what Apple's got cookin'. 

 

Apple and the FBI

Rather than rehash the particulars of the case in question, we refer you to Apple's open letter which summarizes both the case and their position. 

At MacAtoZ, we believe that people have a fundamental right to security. The personal liberty to which every person is entitled is impossible without it. This is not an extreme position. It has been codified in the US Constitution's Bill of Rights, the UN's Declaration of Human Rights, and other documents throughout history. That Apple must work to remind and convince the US government of this, not to mention a sizable portion of the citizenry, is unfortunate. 

Technologically, it is impossible for only the "good guys" to have a key to a lock, and this fact renders the FBI's position both impractical and indefensible. Either we all get security or nobody does, and we fully support Apple in this matter. If they lose, we are all imperiled. 
 

A personal note

As some of your know, my father, Ed Davison, 77, passed away unexpectedly on February 29. I am very grateful to everyone who's reached out to me during this time, and I especially appreciate Brittany, Dynée, and Kim picking up the slack in my absence. I hope you will understand and forgive any delays of service or communication you may have experienced in the last few days. Thank you.

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.

At $120 an hour, MacAtoZ offers one of the lowest Apple certified on-site rates in Oregon. Our Sentinel and Sentinel+ services offer home users 24/7 Macintosh monitoring, maintenance, and security. 

Quick Links

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

Amazon via MacAtoZ: Shop at Amazon via our referral link. Help us to help you. 

Offsite Backup: You should have one, and we recommend Backblaze. Only $5 a month for unlimited data. Get your 15-day free trial here. 

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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