Technology is supposed to help us, lower stress, and make life more enjoyable. However, is there such a thing as too much tech? An Atlantic reporter visiting the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas came away with that feeling. There are so many gadgets out there, to ostensibly help with virtually any problem you may have, but where is the line between solving a problem and adding additional complexity to your life? From smart toothbrushes, to computer aided meditation, to smart toilets, there is a gadget out there for every need. But, how do we find balance between the latest in technology and the things that will actually improve your life while keeping it simple and easy?
I have been keeping up with computers and their associated gadgets since age 5. I was one of the first users of the Palm Pilot, which brought handheld computing to everyday people (my first Palm perished in my pocket during an especially intense Coney Island roller coaster ride). I am always interested to understand the latest technological advances and how they can help our everyday lives. However, there is a lot of “beta” (low quality/not ready for mass consumption) technology out there, and there are plenty of devices that simply don’t do enough for us to justify the expense, inevitable effort spent troubleshooting when it doesn’t work, and rare earth metals that are necessary to build computers of all shapes and sizes.
I consider it my responsibility to keep up with the latest technology and use my understanding to guide people regarding what’s worthwhile and what’s not. It’s based on each person’s values as well as the quality and design of any given device. For example, many people are seeing value in smart speakers and assistants such as Alexa or Siri, which they use to ask questions without having to sit at a computer, or control the home temperature and lighting. However, some people see these assistants as intrusive and invasive to privacy. Anytime I give a recommendation to a client, I always combine my knowledge of technology, with my understanding of each client’s personal preferences, to give you the most valuable advice possible.
ADL Tech Tip: Windows 7 is obsolete – Your computer may be, too
If you're still running Window 7 on an aging PC, it's time to get a new machine.
By now, you've no doubt heard about the demise of Windows 7. Does this mean your old Windows 7 computer will stop working? No. What it means is that Windows 7 is no longer supported by Microsoft.
Don't get "bewitched" by the lure of Black Friday deals too good to be true!
If we could give you one bit of advice as we go into the holiday season, it would be to keep your wits about you when it comes to technology sales. Especially where Black Friday is concerned. Oh, and don’t be in a hurry to adopt the “latest and greatest.” Unfortunately, consumers become the beta testers for new technology (at their own expense), and when things go awry, the results can be time-sucking tech support headaches with device manufacturers. Better to wait, we like to say.
Here’s a great New York Times article about why waiting is the best approach when it comes to new gadgetry. Here at ADL, our goal is to provide level-headed advice to help you get the most joy and productivity out of your technology. Often, this means helping clients make decisions about which tech to use that is going to work reliably, and has been tested by many others before you to ensure it is as easy to use as possible with a lower chance of frustration. Generally, we take a cautious view on recommending a product that has just leaped onto the market with little use in the real world.
Of course, if you’ve already gone out and purchased the latest in interesting gadgets, we are happy to support you in that journey! Just watch out for Black Friday, because that’s often a time when the computer industry takes its worst functioning, least reliable products, and discounts them to bargain basement prices to get rid of excess inventory. If a Black Friday deal looks too good to be true, it may be!
Be particularly wary of:
The bottom line: Don’t be in a hurry to own “the coming thing.” Chances are good it will get you both coming and going!
Need help with new (or even old) tech gear? Click here to make an appointment with Jensen.
ADL Tech Tip: Content at your fingertips
Here’s a great tip for “cord cutters.” Roku Channel provides a rotating selection of live news and other entertainment. You don’t even need a Roku player to try it out. Click this link from your computer to find out what's on the Roku Channel.
Your wireless printer is like a canary in a coal mine for your wifi system.
Wireless printers like a canary in a coal mine. It will be the first thing to act up if your wifi router is not working well. If your wireless printer is not printing, a quick reboot of both the printer and wireless router may help. The printer has its own little operating system, so be sure to understand how to check for firmware updates and do so on a quarterly basis or when the printer is having an issue. If you have an inkjet, understand how to clean the print heads and perform other maintenance that is required to ensure the printer will print with high quality.
Asheville Digital Lifestyle can do a checkup on your printer whenever we come out to help you. An on-site checkup is always the best way to troubleshoot a recalcitrant printer. However, if you are looking for remote help for your printer, the manufacturer may be able to guide you through some basic problem solving at no cost.
Catalina is here! Don't hurry, some of your apps won't work.
Your 32-bit apps will not work in the new Catalina OS. Photo by Apple
MacOS Catalina has been released! As with all major Mac updates, it’s not a bad idea to wait a month or two to install the update. This will also give you time to check to see which of your apps may need an update to work in Catalina, since this release includes major changes under the hood. Some older apps are considered “32 bit” which means they will not work at all in the new Mac operating system.
How do you check to see which of your apps may not make the cut? Click here to find out. Some apps that are 64 bit may also have trouble in Catalina if they have not been recently updated by their developer.
Still not sure if your apps will work in Catalina? We can take the guesswork out of this via a remote or in person session. Click here to make an appointment.
ADL Tech Tip: Bring back a closed tab
Do you know how easy it is to reclaim an accidentally closed tab? On PCs, simply press Ctrl + Shift + T to reopen the most recently closed tab and get back to what you were doing. On Macs it's Cmd + Shift + T.
By now you must have heard that come January 14, 2020, Windows 7 reaches “end of life.” What does that mean? Essentially, it means no more updates or support from Microsoft after that date. Your operating system becomes “orphaned.” It will continue to work on your computer, but without support, it could expose you to serious security risks. It’s not worth it. Windows 7 has been faithful for more than a decade. That’s an amazing accomplishment in the Operating System Universe. Now it’s time to move on.
Many people have the misconception that it’s easy to upgrade an existing computer to Windows 10. Even when Microsoft was offering a free Windows 10 upgrade (which has long since been discontinued), there was a strong probably that a machine not built for Windows 10 would malfunction after the upgrade. Even in cases where a computer works okay after a Windows 10 upgrade, purchasing the license and the work to perform the upgrade costs hundreds of dollars that would be better spent on a new computer, designed from the ground up for the latest version of Windows 10.
Click here to read more about the Windows 7 “End of Life.”
If you’re ready to take the leap for parting with Windows 7 and purchasing a new machine, Asheville Digital Lifestyle is ready to help. Make an appointment to assess your needs and we’ll find the right system for you.
Change is in the air for Macs as well, with MacOS Catalina about to be released in October. Catalina supports Macs sold in 2012 and newer. We’d recommend that you wait a month or two for any glitches to be ironed out before diving into Catalina. It’s also important if you use any programs not made by Apple, to check whether they are fully compatible with Catalina before making the leap to the new operating system.
Time to Whoop it Up?
Photo by Whoop
We are testing a new fitness platform called Whoop! Many people are familiar with Fitbit, which has popularized the idea of fitness tracking, and the idea of getting to 10,000 steps daily. It turns out that while most people can get behind the idea of staying active, the 10,000 step idea was actually created by a Japanese marketing company!
Whoop takes a different approach, eschewing steps and focusing on Strain vs Recovery, giving advice on whether you should “push it” and work out harder, or take it easy to let your body recover. Jensen is testing the technology as an aid to building fitness and improving his soccer game as his team, Watershed Ale House, hits the next level of competition, after getting 1st place in their division and being promoted to the 3rd division in ABASA’s Open League.
Watch for future updates about Jensen's experience with Whoop.
At Asheville Digital Lifestyle curiosity SAVES the cat!
What’s an essential trait for a techie? Why, a heaping serving of curiosity! While there are plenty of times when simply having a baseline of knowledge can fix a problem, many clients come to us after a previous technologist (either paid or part of the family) has thrown their hands up in frustration, or explained that the problem is simply something you have to live with.
At Asheville Digital Lifestyle, we pride ourselves on being able to get to the root of the problem through a combination of curiosity and persistence that has paid off time and time again in the nearly 7 years that we have been in business. Curiosity is not something that can be trained. Either you have it, or you don’t…and with our passion for tech surfacing at the tender age of 5 and stoked throughout the decades, curiosity about technology and the tech hurdles of everyday people is what led us to found Asheville Digital Lifestyle!
So forget that other saying about curiosity and the cat. We believe curiosity and persistence can SAVE the cat!
Take note: We take notes!
Do you want us to take notes during the session to document useful protocols?
Did you know? We can write down the steps to complete tasks that we teach you during a hands-on session. Please ask at the beginning of the session if you would like us to take the extra care to document protocols, and we can provide them to you at the conclusion of the session.
ADL Tech Tip
You can close mobile apps in the blink of an eye. On the iPhone, double click the Home button to bring up a list of apps, and swipe up on the app you'd like to close. Contrary to popular belief, this is not something you need to do regularly when you are finished using an app, and you can save battery life by only closing apps as a troubleshooting step if an app is not working correctly.
On an Android device, you can close all your recent apps. Double click the Home button, and choose the option to close all recent apps. This feature is only available on newer Android phones.
Get a Fall Tech Tuneup
Ready for Fall? Get a technology tuneup. We can make sure your devices are up-to-date, have antivirus protection, and are totally ready to be productive so you can run your life smoothly!
Click the button below to book an appointment.
What is your "style" when it comes to tech? We always strive to hit the right balance with each client of how much technical skills you want to learn in order to use your computer and smartphone effectively vs simply having us take care of it for you.
We always appreciate when you tell us if you have a strong preference for learning vs "just take care of it." And we're always happy to explain what we're doing anytime so you can help yourself... or we simply solve any problems you may have for a stress-free experience with your technology.
Apple announced that Best Buy has certified over 1,000 its stores with Apple for repair of Macs, iPhones, and other Apple products. While we recommend utilizing your local small business whenever possible for your technology service needs, this means it will be easier than ever to find a place to repair your Apple equipment no matter where you are in the USA. Click here for more.
New studies recommend using the speaker or headphones to avoid cellphone radiation.
I have had several clients ask me about cell phone radiation. It is a sensitive topic, as some people discount the idea entirely, while others fear a government conspiracy. Let’s explore this issue.
We live with radiation all around us at varying frequencies coming from radio and television stations, power lines, microwaves, and even light bulbs. We have heard concerns from clients about radiation coming from cell phones. New research from the US Government's National Toxicology Program has found evidence that large amounts of cell phone radiation has a health impact on lab animals.
There is much left to be studied, especially since the study looked at 2G and 3G cell networks, and we now mainly use 4G (LTE) phone networks. We’re even at the dawning of 5G, which is stirring some controversy across the Internet.
If you desire to reduce cell phone radiation as a precaution, the agency recommends you keep your cell phone away from your head by using the speakerphone or headphones, and store the phone apart from your body when the cell phone antenna is turned on.
Check out this fact sheet on radio frequency radiation from the National Institute of Environmental of Health.
Get more information here, and you can sign up for email updates at the bottom.
Tech Tip: Microsoft Office and Cloud Storage
Cloud storage lets you access your files easily from multiple devices.
Have you considered putting your files in the cloud so you can access them from computer or smartphone? You can use Dropbox, iCloud, Google Drive, etc.
For those who use Microsoft Office a lot, OneDrive lets you store your files, and also activate an “auto-save” mode in Microsoft office that automatically saves every change you make in office documents without having to hit the “save” button. It also lets you rewind any changes in case you make a mistake. Plus, since Office 365 subscriptions include 1TB of storage, OneDrive has become a solid value for our users who depend on Microsoft Office.
Need help setting up your cloud account? Asheville Digital Lifestyle is always ready to help. Click the link below to book an appointment.
Mountain Bizworks offers a host of talented coaches across all areas of business.
Did you know that Asheville Digital Lifestyle provides services as a business coach for Mountain Bizworks? With a host of talented coaches across all areas of business (technology, marketing, finances, operations), Mountain Bizworks coaches provide their expertise at discounted rates to qualified small business owners. Find out more at the Mountain Bizworks Coaching Program.
We also volunteer through the Council on Aging of Buncombe County(CoA) to serve older adults in need. If you know some elders in need who cannot otherwise afford technology service, please direct them to the Council on Aging at 828-277-8288 to qualify for free technology teaching and troubleshooting.
ADL tech Tip: Space bar double tap
Help Me...Help You!
Jensen Gelfond is the Owner Asheville Digital Lifestyle, helps people use their technology more effectively and joyfully.