Lakeshore Mac E-Letter

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Shopping Around

Shopping Around is a great thing you can do once a year to make sure that you are not paying too much for your technology plans. So start the year right and start shopping now. Here's how...

Cellular Service: Cell phone carriers like AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and so on are always changing their plans. If you've had the same plan for the past couple of years, chances are that you are paying too much. Cell plans constantly change and usually get better and less expensive. I was paying $210 a month for 2 phones with AT&T. I didn't want to change because I had unlimited data but not unlimited phone or text. I called and asked them to check my actual usage. I never went over 2GB of data a month because I'm mostly on Wi-Fi. I changed my unlimited plan to 5GB a month, unlimited text and phone for $112 a month for 2 phones. That's a savings of $98 a month or $1,176 a year! I could have saved even more if I would have bundled my DirecTV but decided not to because I would have to get a new account and password and with 8 Apple TVs in this house that would have been a nightmare logging into each App on each Apple TV with my new User name and password. Also, if you can bundle your iPhones and your iPads, do it. It will save you $$. You had better call your carrier ASAP and start saving NOW!

Internet Service Provider: It could be Comcast, Frontier, Verizon, Wild Blue or any carrier that supplies the Internet to your home. Where I live I have the choice of Frontier or a Satellite provider and I would never go back to that. When I first signed up for Frontier DSL, it was $29.95, then they jacked me up to $50 when the honeymoon was over. I went on their web site to check things out a few months ago and noticed that they had 3 tiers of service. I checked my Internet speed on my Mac at to find out exactly what speed I was getting. I was getting the lowest speeds but paying the highest price. I called them and told them that since I was paying for the faster speed, I wanted it NOW! They said it wasn't available where I live and then lowered by bill back to $29.95 a month. That saves me $240 a year! You've got to watch these companies and make sure that you are getting what you pay for and if you aren't, then change it. Call your Internet Service Provider and ask for Sales and ask them if there are any promotions. Also, make sure you are bundling your services. That saves you a ton!

TV Services: Bundle, bundle, bundle! I know several of you that have Comcast for your TV and Frontier or AT&T for your Internet and or phone. I can tell you that you are paying too much. If you have the choice to have one carrier do it all, it will save you thousands a year! If you are already bundled, call them and ask for any promotions or savings. It doesn't hurt to ask and they sure as Hell aren't just going to tell you unless you call!

iCloud: Many of you signed up for additional storage on Apple's iCloud servers because you kept running out of space and getting an error. Some of the first plans were 20GB of storage for $10 a year. New plans have come out for 50GB of storage for 99¢ a month. That's $11.88 a year for 3 times the storage! If you have the old plan, switch now. On your iPhone, go to Settings > iCloud > Storage then tap on Change Storage Plan and choose the 50GB option. It's just a better deal.

Cutting the Cord: Are you ready to get rid of everyone except for your unlimited Internet Service Provider? That would save you a ton of money! With a Smart TV, Roku, Amazon Fire TV or Apple TV, and a few Apps, you can. In order to do this, you must have high speed unlimited Internet speeds of 5 Mbps or greater. This leaves out Satellite or Wireless providers such as Verizon which are not unlimited. Streaming video takes a huge amount of bandwidth. Comcast, Charter, AT&T Uverse, or Frontier DSL all give you enough speed and are unlimited. Before you cut the cord, make sure you get a good HD antenna to receive local free channels like FOX, ABC, CBS, PBS, CW, and NBC. You might also want to invest in a TiVo to record the shows you miss. The new Apple TV is great for getting content. You can subscribe to Hulu for $8 a month and see tons of TV shows. For about the same, you can get Netflix and watch movies. For $14 a month HBO Now gives you all their own shows and great movies. So for about $30 a month you can watch tons of stuff! If my husband wasn't addicted to TCM and the Western Channel, I'd do it! We pay DirecTV $163 a month for this privilege and we don't even have any pay channels like HBO or Showtime and we don't watch sports! Maybe I can convince him some day. I'll keep trying.

Drawbacks: Comcast and Charter are Cable providers which is a party line. At peak times, like in the evening or when everyone is renting cottages in the summer, speeds can drop preventing you from watching movies. Also, I just heard this morning that Comcast is going to start charging people who use more data more money. Sometimes, you just can't win.
Frontier DSL is currently replacing all it's rotten and aging infrastructure with fiber optic cable and it will not be completed until later this year. If you have Frontier some of you are only getting 1 Mbps speeds which is not sufficient to stream video. Wait until next year to cut the cord when everything has been updated.

I hope this information helps you to at least recoup a little money as I'm sure we could all use it.


Necessary Apps

Dark Sky: I love this $3.99 weather App because it is different, unique and scary accurate. Not only does it tell you the temperature, it gives you real time data of exactly when the rain or snow is starting or stopping. I'm looking at it right now and it tells me that rain will start again in 50 minutes. That means I've got almost an hour to get my butt outside and take my snow man christmas decoration down! It shows you temps, predictions and radar. When you enable notifications, it will ding and will tell you the minute it is going to snow or rain right on your screen. Awesome! Get Dark Sky in the App store on you iPhone or iPad.

Bank Apps: It doesn't matter where you keep your money, there's an App for that. I bank with Consumers Credit Union and I love their App! I can activate Touch ID so that now it has biometric security. There also a shortcut for quickly swiping and seeing balances without even logging in! I can also take a picture of a check at home and it will deposit the money for me. Most bank Apps do this. What are you waiting for? Get your Bank App in the App Store now and make your life easier!

What's your favorite App and how do you use it? I'd love to hear about it. 


 What Lakeshore Mac can do for you...

I specialize in many different things that some of you are not aware of. Here is a list of things that I can do for you...
  • Fix your broken Mac, iPad, iPod, iPod Touch or iPad.
  • Diagnose your home and tell you where you are Tech deficient and make recommendations.
  • Set up your Network and configure your router and make sure your Mac, PC, iPad, iPhone and everything else is connected.
  • Purchase your new equipment and set up your new devices.
  • Upgrade all your systems.
  • Set up your new Apple TV and home theatre system.
  • Set up your house to be a smart house with a Nest thermostat and home alarm system all controlled by your iPhone.
  • Set up iCloud syncing on your Mac or PC.
  • Upgrade your operating systems.
  • Create a Web Site for you that you can then manage yourself.
  • And of course, one on one training or group training on any topic of your choosing. 
  • I can also tile your floor but we won't go there :

Upcoming Events

South West Michigan Mac User Group Meeting.
No meetings in January and February because these months just suck! The next meeting is March 1st at 6:00 at the South Haven Library. Elections for officers will commince.

Mac, iPhone, iPad Help!

I contract with Evergreen Commons in Holland. If you are a member and need help, call Barb Visser at 616-355-5136.


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