macOS “Big Sur” tips

 Computer, General  Comments Off on macOS “Big Sur” tips
Mar 222021

While keeping your Mac up-to-date with the latest macOS system software generally is easier (and more reliable) for “mere mortals” than keeping up with all the Windows 10 updates on a PC, it’s still a chore. For some there’s no practical benefit for a new release (other than any security patches). But if you’ve got a Mac that supports the latest macOS – in this case version 11.2 with the moniker “Big Sur,” at some point the upgrade makes sense.

The first thing after a macOS upgrade is to check that everything looks okay and that you can do what you typically do as before.

Then, if you’re curious, explore new features.

• MacWorld > “Uncover macOS Big Sur’s secrets with these 11 tips, tricks, and hidden features” by Roman Loyola, Senior Editor (Mar 22.2021) – Big Sur is a monster release, and there are a bunch of new features you may have missed.

It’s been a few months now since Apple released macOS 11 Big Sur, and hopefully by now you’ve adjusted to its revamped user interface and the major new features, like the enhanced Messages and Maps apps. But operating systems are huge and there are always a few new features that aren’t obvious and you may have missed. Here are 11 tips, tricks, and hidden features in Big Sur that you need to check out. Give these a look and get the most out of Big Sur.

Essential iPhone tricks

 Computer, Phone  Comments Off on Essential iPhone tricks
Jun 092017

Lots of my clients use iPhones. I always encourage them to go beyond using such an expensive handheld computer as just a phone or camera. This PC World article “10 basic iOS tricks every iPhone owner should know” provides advice on this topic.

… some of iOS’s most useful features are, in fact, the oldest ones. They’re easily overlooked, particularly by new iPhone and iPad users.

Read on for 10 basic iOS features that every iPhone owner should know, like how to take a screenshot, the ability to long-press your way to draft Mail messages, a physical button that doubles as the Camera app’s shutter release, and more.

  • Take a screenshot
  • Unfreeze a frozen iPhone
  • Take a photo with volume buttons
  • Silence the incoming call ringer
  • Type in all-caps
  • Type characters with accent marks
  • Shake to undo
  • Jump directly to your draft Mail messages
  • Create an event directly from a Mail message
  • Put a website shortcut on your home screen


Windows 10 Feedback Part 2 — Pros & Cons, Likes & Dislikes, Hits & Misses

 Computer  Comments Off on Windows 10 Feedback Part 2 — Pros & Cons, Likes & Dislikes, Hits & Misses
Aug 262015

So, you generally like Windows 10. Good start, eh. But there are some things that bother you. Well, you’re not alone. PC World’s “How to cure Windows 10’s worst headaches” article summarizes some common tips.

Despite the many highlights of Windows 10—Cortana, virtual desktops, windowed Windows Store apps, the revamped Start menu, DirectX 12, among others—there are still some annoyances with the new operating system.

  • Forced updates and restarts
  • Peer-to-peer (PTP) networking
  • Navigating the all apps list
  • Default browser choice
  • Cortana Bing engine
  • Cortana disable
  • PDF viewer – Microsoft Reader (especially if you’re tired of constant Adobe patches)
Aug 022015

So, you upgraded a Windows 7 or Windows 8 PC to Windows 10 — for free. Cheers. What did you do next?

PC World suggests these explorations:

Here’s my checklist:

1. If you didn’t Customize your privacy settings (vs using Express setup) in the final setup stage of the upgrade, then consider revising those settings. What do you really want to share with Microsoft — Microsoft, Windows 10, and your personal data.

“Any information shared with Microsoft is at your discretion—we will not collect information without your permission,” says a Microsoft spokesman.

That’s good to hear, but many of Microsoft’s data collection systems are turned on by default. Opting out requires knowing where to look, and disabling some of the features in Windows 10.

What can you do about it? In addition to the above article, “Here are the privacy settings you should check in Windows 10.”

2. Check that your anti-virus app is still there and working okay.

3. Consider whether you really want Microsoft’s new Edge app to be your default web browser — rather than Chrome or Firefox, for example. If not, here’s how to change that.

4. Re-enable System Protection on your boot (C) drive so that Restore points will be created before Windows updates are installed.

5. If you intend to use Microsoft’s Edge browser, customize the settings — such as your home page and whether to show the home button and favorites bar.

6. If using WiFi, check that your local area network (LAN) still is designated as a Private network.

7. Review how to uninstall programs and apps in Windows 10.

8. Customize the Start menu — perhaps to make it more like Windows 7’s.

9. Uninstall MSN apps that are being discontinued in 2015 – MSN Food & Drink, Health & Fitness, Travel.

10. Perhaps you don’t want to use Cortana (maybe your PC lacks a microphone and the other aspects of Cortana aren’t compelling) or you don’t like Cortana or you’re concerned about privacy (sharing all that data with Microsoft); so, review how to disable Cortana.

Windows 10 Upgrade — Getting Ready FAQ

 Computer  Comments Off on Windows 10 Upgrade — Getting Ready FAQ
Aug 022015

Are you getting ready to upgrade your Windows 7 or Windows 8 PC to the newly released Windows 10? Did you reserve a copy?

Microsoft answers frequently asked questions about this upgrade on their “Windows 10 FAQ & Tips” page, such as:

  • When will I get my free upgrade?
  • How long does it take to install the upgrade?
  • What if I have more than one Windows device – can I upgrade them all?
  • What edition of Windows will I get as part of this free upgrade?

Another page answers the question, “Will my PC or tablet be compatible with Windows 10?” The basic system requirements are minimal. Even a 9 year-old PC running Windows 7 might qualify. But is that a good idea? Check the “Important Notes” regarding migration of existing applications and the section on “Additional requirements to use certain features.”

“You can check to see if it meets the requirements by using ‘Check my PC’ in the Get Windows 10 app. To open the Get Windows 10 app, click on the small Windows icon found at the right end of the task bar. … For certain third party applications, the Get Windows 10 app will scan for application compatibility. If there is a known issue that will prevent the upgrade, you will be notified of the list of applications with known issues.”

Absolutely can’t wait? You have a couple of options to get your upgrade sooner:
1. Visit a Microsoft Store for free upgrade services.
2. Use the Media Creation Tool to install immediately on one or more devices (recommended for tech-savvy users only).

If you reserved a copy of Windows 10 and are waiting … and waiting, in addition to Microsoft’s note above, PC World’s “Windows 10: How to skip the line and claim your free upgrade right now” article summarizes the steps.

Windows 10 is finally here! So why haven’t you been offered a copy even though you reserved your upgrade months ago? Simple: Because Microsoft only started rolling out Windows 10 on July 29.

People are taking advantage of the free upgrade at a blistering pace, and Microsoft doesn’t want to melt its servers. Because of that, the company’s rolling out upgrade prompts slowly—so slowly, in fact, that Microsoft recently warned would-be-upgraders that they may be waiting for a few weeks.

Fortunately, there’s a way to skip ahead in line if you’re impatient.

Are you going to backup your system before the upgrade, as recommended in “How to install Windows 10 on your PC?