Up Your Media Apple Web and Tech Blog

Parksville / Qualicum Beach's only Apple Certified Macintosh Technician (ACMT) and Apple Support Professional, Dan LaRocque, posts semi-regular tips and blogs about his day-to-day experiences with Macintosh computer technology, social media, web marketing & design and other technology related developments.

Big News In Our December Email Newsletter

Some Pretty Big News From Up Your Media -
New partner, new workshops, operating systems explained

Welcome Rob Van De Weghe

After 12+ years as a strictly solo operator, I’ve partnered with someone who can add value to the team, in a very specialized field.  

Introducing Robert Van De Weghe, a newcomer to the Island, but someone I’ve known personally for over 20 years, and who was, in fact, my original inspiration for entering the Apple repair technician industry in the first place. He used to repair my Mac computers in the 90s and early 2000s until I grew tired of travelling to Vancouver for computer service, and took the training in 2008.

Introducing Rob Van De WegheHe comes with a ton of experience in high level technical computer repair. He’s been an Apple Certified Mac Technician since 1998, with an expertise in Apple help desk and support for hardware, OS and software. He spent the last 13 years as IT manager for Rethink, Western Canada's most creative advertising agency.

Rob is going to take on much of the hardware repair and in-home troubleshooting and training services I’ve always offered. He also has an expertise in smart home setup, home automation, and wireless networking for larger homes, so you should consider us for those services too. Having someone else trustworthy on board will allow us to extend our hours, extend our geographcal range and availability, and increase our range of services.

More Workshops for the New Year

Meanwhile, here’s a quick look at our workshop schedule for the coming new year. All classes will take place at the McMillan Arts Centre in Parksville, with the option to Zoom in. If there's one thing I've learned in the past 21 months, it's just how reliant we all are on our technology for just about everything. Digital literacy, and being able to roll with the constant changes coming down the technology pike, is crucial for all of us. 

February 17th 3:30-5pm - Intro To Mac Level II
March 3 3:30-5pm - iCloud for iPads and iPhones
March 17 6:30-8pm - Social Media for Parents of Teens
March 31 3:30-5pm - Intro To Mac Level I
April 21 3:30-5pm - Intro To Mac Level II
May 5 6:30-8pm - Using the Photos App

What is an Operating System, and which one should my computer be running?

The Operating System, or OSX, is the primary software that powers your Mac computer. Apple generally releases a new operating system every year in the fall. Your computer is limited by its age as to which Operating System it can run. In general, if your computer was built anytime after 2015, you can run the most current operating system, Monterey, but that doesn't mean your older computer doesn't still have plenty of life. 

2010 - If your computer was built before late 2009, you can't upgrade any higher than El Capitan 10.11. Computers running El Capitan have recently become more or less useless on the modern intent because of certificate and security issues. You can still check email and run your applications, but many websites have become unavailable to your browser. Apparently there is a workaround for this issue, but it might not be worth it for most users. 

Late 2009 to 2012 - These computers can run High Sierra 10.13. High Sierra is still able to power through the modern internet, for the time being. Note, all my home computers are running High Sierra. 

2013 - These computers can run Catalina 10.15. This is the oldest operating system that still receives security and other updates.  2014 computers can run Big Sur, OSX 11, and note, upgrading to Big Sur changes the entire file structure of your computer from the previous HFS+ to APFS, and can often cause performance problems and can require more preparation than normal. Most computers built post-2015 can run the most recent OSX Monterey, released just a month ago.

Here's a good list and description of all Apple Operating Systems going back to 2001 here. 

The definitive list as to your computer's maximum operating system is available here

Internet Speed Test

Interested in knowing how fast your interrnet is? Go to Speedtest.net and find out. Your speed is determined by your account with Shaw or Telus and the infrastructure hardware available in your area.  Measurements are in megabytes per second. For reference, I just switched to Telus to take advantage of their 900 megabytes per second fibre-optic special, In reality, I'm getting less than that. If your internet speed is causing you grief, it might be time to make a call to your provider. 

Support Local This Christmas

He won’t say it because he’s a humble guy, and praise isn’t why he did it, but Kevin Kinnear from Parks West donated 5% of his October sales to Forward House, to the tune of more than  $7000. He also singlehandedly sponsors more minor hockey and baseball teams than Amazon ever has. So when you’re thinking about Christmas gifts and stocking stuffers, photo printing and office supplies, save the drive and the money and head to Parks West at 114 Hirst Ave.  Let’s shop local this Christmas 
He also has an impeccable sense of style.  


That's all for now. Many thanks for your continued support and trust. If you have time, please add a Google review of our services. Reviews help us build our business and improve our service. 

Our May 2021 Spring Up Your Media Newsletter

Smooth and Fast Technology Is More Important Today Than Ever.

Our First Up Your Media Newsletter since March 3, 2020!

This is our first newsletter since last March 3rd 2020. At the time, I was hyping our upcoming workshop schedule for March, April and May. Little did we know... 

It's been a very busy year for me, since computer services were declared essential right away, and all of a sudden everybody needed their technology working in tip-top shape. I've been doing repairs, upgrades, and onsite Apple training and troubleshooting since the beginning of the pandemic, and will continue to do so, using proper mask and sanitizing protocols. I've been diligent in my precautions, since many of my house-call clients are in their 70s, 80s and even 90s. I'm doing everything I can, at work and in my private life, to keep those clients safe.

PQBeat Digital Literacy Podcast

I was proud to appear on a recent edition of the PQBeat Podcast from PQBNews, speaking on digital literacy and internet security. We talked about how to spot online scams, effective password management, and how to protect yourself from Malware and phishing scams. You can visit and listen to the podcast here.

Passwords Passwords Passwords

From what I've observed, passwords continue to be the biggest hurdle for people in their day to day computer lives.  I can't stress it enough, and I've literally been saying it for over 10 years now, your best practice is to record your passwords on paper and keep that paper somewhere safe and handy. Paper and pencil are still the easiest, most reliable technologies for reliable password management. 

Yes, there are many good password manager applications out there, including Last Pass, 1Password, and iCloud Keychain, but for many of my clients, setting up and maintaining a password manager is as much, or even more trouble, as manually managing their passwords. 

Here's the simplest technique I can suggest for creating decent passwords. Remember that the longer a password is, the harder it is to hack.  I find most people use one or two base passwords, and then use variations of it on all their services. This is not the worst idea, as we must balance security with usability.  But, to be able to follow the security recommendations of having one unique password per account, consider using that base password string, and then adding the name of the service you're signing into.

For instance, let's say Bubbles is your dog's name, and it's what you use for most of your passwords (don't laugh). Using a password strength checker, we find that bubbles or Bubbles1 would be cracked by a robot immediately. Bubblesdog would take 6 months, and Bubblesdog1 would take 200 years. So, using the above solution, you would set Bubblesdog1apple for your Apple ID password, Bubblesdog1gmail for your Gmail password, and Bubblesdog1facebook for your Facebook password. It's just a suggestion, but whatever system you settle on, stick with it, and write those passwords down!

McMillan Arts Centre's New Creative Lab

We've been working with our friends at the McMillan Arts Centre on their new digital workshop studio. Thanks to some new Arts funding, they were able to upgrade their technology to include new computers, cameras and TVs to enable their Arts workshops to continue, by using Zoom. It's a very sweet setup, and we're looking forward to running some of our own technology workshops in a hybrid Zoom and in-person format in the very near future. Keep checking our email newsletters for details. 

Got Zoom?

Take a quick Zoom survey. We're trying to gauge the interest in running Zoom tech workshops, both through the MAC,  through the PQMUG, and independently as Up Your Media. The Mac Users Groups hasn't been able to meet since last February, and I know there's been a real lack in technology learning opportunities over the last year. As I said at the top, we're relying on computers and technology even more than ever, for shopping, communication, games, business meetings etc. How have you adjusted to the new landscape? 

Shaw Mail Capacity Issues

Anyone who's used Shaw email for any length of time has seen the warning email in their inbox that their email capacity has been reached. For whatever reason, Shaw hasn't upgraded their customer's email capacity since the 1990s. You max out at 1 GB of space, and once you've reached that limit, you will no longer be able to send or receive email. For context, Gmail offers 10 GB and Telus is offering 15 GB. 

I find that often it's the Sent mailbox that is storing all your archived emails, since most people regularly monitor and maintain their inbox, but rarely cull their Sent emails. Try that, if you're approaching capacity, and don't forget to delete your email trash.


Donate Your Old Macs

I'm still accepting your older Mac products to use and refurbish for charity. It's evident, now more than ever, that absolutely everyone needs access to computer technology for schooling, working, shopping and staying in contact with friends and family. Since last year, I've been able to donate a number of refurbished computers and iPads to people who had no computers at all, and sell other more modern machines to donate the money to charity. I was able to drop off $720 to the SOS Christmas fund, and some more to local anti-child poverty initiatives. I'm also open to buying your unused machines as well refurbish and redistribute, to keep them out of the landfill and ensure they're being used by someone who needs them. 

10 Things You Can Do To Improve Your Mac's Security

Things you can do Right Now to ensure better security on your Mac.

1 .Turn off login items in Users and Groups System Preferences - Login items are pieces of software that launch every time you turn on your computer. Sometimes expired or corrupt pieces of software are listed here, slowing down or exposing your computer.

2. Turn off Filevault in Security System Preferences - Filevault is an extra layer of security that most of us don't need on our machines, and can slow your machine down, and potential render it irretrievable if you lose or forget your password.

3. Turn on Firewall in Security System Preferences - Your firewall will help keep unwanted connections away from your machine.

how to clear your safari cookies4. Check Extensions in Safari Preferences - Some types of malware will install extensions into Safari, like search preferences and corrupt toolbars. Remove anything you don't remember installing.

5. Clear Cookies in Safari Preferences - Some say daily, some say less often, but you should delete your cookies periodically.

6. Do a malware scan with Malwarebytes free software - Malwarebytes is the only software I use to clear malware from clients' computers

7. Check that there are no proxy options in your Network settings - This is a recent one I've seen that can affect internet connectivity. 

8. Create better passwords and record them somewhere handy - Some people like password managers like OnePassword and Last Pass. I say paper and pen are also a technology, and there's less of a learning curve.

9. Create a redundant Time Machine backup and store it in a fire-safe box - Your data is the only thing that matters on your computer, 1 TB hard drives can be as cheap as $75. each, data retrieval starts at $1000.

10. Change your default browser to Firefox and search engine to Duck Duck Go - If your privacy means anything to you, try using more privacy oriented resources.

Using Multiple Photos Libraries On Your Mac

multiple photos librariesI'm regularly seeing Photos libraries of 10,000, 20,000, even up to 55,000 images (current record)! There's nothing wrong with that, though it can cause an organizational nightmare, and also bog down the computer due to the large number of image thumbnails it must load. You can create and use multiple smaller Photos libraries, organized by year or by topic of your choice. To do so, launch Photos while holding down the Option key, you'll be given a dialogue to either choose one of your existing libraries, or create a new one. Give it a name, import photos, and use it as normal. To switch back and forth from one library to another, you can either Option boot into the Photos program, or simply double-click on the Photos Library name in your Finder. 

Screen Shot 2018 02 28 at 12.46.23 PMAnother benefit to this, is you can create and designate a particular library as your iCloud System Photo library, the one that will sync and store your pictures in the Cloud, taking advantage of the convenience of the iCloud syncing feature without storing each and every photo you possess on the Cloud.  Simply designate that library as your System Photo Library in your Photots Preferences, and if you want to use iCloud to sync those photos between devices turn the feature on in your iCloud settings.

Testimonials

  • Hi Dan,What a difference!  My MacBook is working much faster now, and not getting hung up.  The newer OS and more memory really helped.Thank you.

    Yvonne

  • Your expeditious replacement of my hard drive is very much appreciated. I had a little trouble restoring the system, but it's now working perfectly (and it seems to be a little faster).In my excitement I forgot to ask about warranty. What do I do?Thank You again

     Trevor W Jackson

  • Hi Dan,

    I picked up quite a few useful things in class even without a laptop, and enjoyed the course. Do please let me know if you decide to offer an intermediate level follow up. Thanks,

    Paula

  • Hi Dan:

    Thank you so much for helping out with my urgent problem the other day, so promptly – and from the arena! I really did appreciate it (and was so impressed!).

    Ann

  • Hi Dan, thanks for the January newsletter. I added my vote to you for "outstanding customer service".

    Ambrose

  • Just a quick note to thank you again for coming by……this is working ever so much better. See you next month.
    Maggie
  • Dan retrieved the iPhoto library I had deleted from my boyfriend's computer from a Time Machine backup I didn't even know we had. Thank you Dan, you saved my bacon!

    Kerry
  • Hi Dan,

    It was great to meet you and thanks for your help, I love the dual screen and upgrades. I seem to have forgotten how to access the iphoto shots from the original iphoto and can only find the few new ones, can you re direct me.

    Melanie

  • Whoa .....fabulous ...wonderful ...fantastic ...beautiful......OMG ...thank you so much. I will look into the photos and see what I can do  ....touble is I don't actually know much about Marilyns life! I will make something up .....!!  wow Wonderful to what you have created...

    AJ

  • Just got home. plugged the router and computer in and its working!!!  Go figuure. You must have done something right.

    Thanks,

    Al Z