Apple recently released its newest MacOS operating system, MacOS Ventura. Ventura has a few new tricks in its bag, such as better search, new email "unsend" and "schedule" capabilities, and the ability to recover recently deleted text messages. Click here to check out what's new in Ventura. Most Macs from 2017 and newer can upgrade to Ventura.
As with each annual MacOS release, it's usually a good idea to wait a few months after its initial release to upgrade, especially if you use 3rd party programs such as audio/video editing software. Our recommended safest path for upgrading your existing Mac is to perform the upgrade in January, ensuring that you have backed up your Mac via a Time Machine external hard drive or cloud backup "just in case," and checking that each of your non-Apple apps is certified as compatible with Ventura before making the leap.
From the outset there have been security-related issues with Ventura, with many folks having to tinker with their antivirus software to get it working again after the upgrade. It turns out that this is a MacOS bug that affects many security-related apps, and while it's a quick fix for those who know, not all people will be aware of the issue, and it's problems like these that lead us to recommend caution when upgrading.
One of our most commonly received questions related to alternatives to Google for search, often for privacy-related reasons. Check out this article for a rundown on the different search engines and browsers you can use.
Did you know that we offer tutorials and setup for smart TVs? Whether it's getting hooked up to the internet, installing apps, or making sure the entertainment you want is available for you to watch, we make it as easy as possible to get your smart TV, Roku, or Apple TV hooked up to the internet and streaming.
Many clients have been replacing their traditional cable TV boxes, and we're always happy to have a conversation - remotely or in-person - and help you discover the best next step for entertainment and movie-watching as we approach the cold months of snuggling on the couch.
Our operating system manufacturers are at it again, with a new batch of updates.
Apple has just released iOS 16, which brings highly requested features like the ability to undelete a text message or look up your wifi password. It also contains a Safety Check to review what info your phone is sharing with other people, along with a Lockdown Mode for folks who feel that they are at a higher risk of getting hacked.
Microsoft recently released its first major update to Windows 11 that improves the security of the system. We continue to urge caution for folks considering an upgrade to existing Windows 10 computers, though most new computers sold today now come with Windows 11. Windows 11 tends to work well for computers that were built with that operating system in mind, but folks who upgrade older systems sometimes run into problems that do not exist in Windows 10.
Click the links below to find out more about the latest updates.
iOS 16 for iPhone - out now
iPadOS 16 (coming in October)
MacOS Ventura (coming in October)
Want to know if your device can run the latest updates? Check out our last newsletter.
Windows 11 version 22H2 - out now
These days, people spend the majority of their time on the computer inside of a web browser, whether that's Chrome, Firefox, Safari, or Edge. Here are some quick tips for you to get maximum speed so that you can take care of computing tasks and get back to enjoying the great outdoors!
The pandemic has caused issues with supply chains across the globe, and we are reminded just how complex the computer creation process is, how much human power it takes to create a computer, and the need for rare earth metals mined and refined from Mother Earth.
Both Windows and Mac manufacturers have been affected by delays, with some new computer orders taking weeks or even months to deliver. Computer repair part availability has also been affected. The new computer supply crunch is especially tough right now because of the combination of covid lockdowns and the recent Chinese New Year in February, when Chinese workers took multiple weeks off from work.
It's still possible to walk into a store like Best Buy and walk out with a new computer, but build quality should carefully considered. Many lower-cost, consumer-grade PCs have shown increased defect rates. For increased reliability, consider investing in a business-class PC that has higher quality components to stand the test of time. Examples of reliable computer lines include Lenovo ThinkPad, Dell OptiPlex, and Apple Mac.
Considering a new computer and want expert guidance? We can help you every step of the way.
It's become tougher than ever to find free high-quality antivirus apps for Mac & PC, as both Sophos and Bitdefender discontinued their free offerings at the turning of the year, and are now asking for payment to continue providing antivirus protection.
Sophos Home Antivirus in particular is an app that we have been recommending to clients due to its simplicity and effectiveness, but that protection now costs $60/yr (though it is often on sale). If you have previously installed the free version of Sophos, you can click on the shield icon in the menu bar at top of your screen (Mac) or in the lower-right corner of the taskbar (PC) to check your protection status. If you decide to say goodbye to Sophos, here are instructions on how to uninstall for both Mac and PC.
An alternative is the highly recommended Malwarebytes. Just keep in mind that while the free version gives you the ability press a button to scan for and remove malware that is already on your computer, active scanning to proactively protect your computer from viruses requires a paid license (typically $40/yr, though often on sale).
At this point, we do not have a recommendation for a free antivirus that provides active scanning capabilities on Mac. We used to recommend Avast, but their misleading sales tactics led us to withdraw the recommendation. For Windows users, the built-in Windows Defender provides a basic antivirus with active scanning capabilities.
We will continue evaluating the market so that we can provide quality advice on protecting your computer and personal information.
As I take stock of the year, even with all of the hardships surrounding covid and the challenges of keeping community strong when it is so difficult to be in physical presence with each other, I am grateful for the gifts that this year has given. This month marks 9 full years since I launched Asheville Digital Lifestyle, and I am grateful to have a stable, successful business that has allowed me to take a passion and use it to make a positive impact on so many people in Asheville and beyond.
Thank you to my clients who not only have enabled this business to thrive, but who are also the foundation for my ability to provide low- and no-cost services to those in greatest need in our community, in collaboration with the Buncombe County Council on Aging, Mountain Bizworks, and Helpmate.
There is so much need in our community right now, but also much opportunity for people to join together and give of our own resources to those whose basic needs are not being met. I have recently started collaborating with BeLoved Asheville on their innovative Street Pantry project, using repurposed newspaper boxes to provide essential resources. It was exciting to celebrate their 15th street pantry, on Charlotte Street across from City Bakery. Street pantries are now set up across Asheville and in surrounding communities at high traffic areas such as bus stops to provide basic necessities such as nonperishable ready-to-eat foods, winter necessities like hats and gloves, and basic hygiene and first aid supplies.
For this project to thrive, pantries must be filled every day by volunteers. While it's possible to volunteer directly with BeLoved to formally contribute to a street pantry, the genius of the idea is that anyone can take it upon themselves to be a "Random Filler" and spontaneously add their own gifts to a street pantry. It's a direct way to help those in greatest need. Check out this pantry supply list, and keep your eyes peeled for a street pantry near you.
Asheville Digital Lifestyle
It's a good time to update Microsoft Office, but wait a bit for Windows 11
On October 5, Microsoft officially released both Windows 11 and Microsoft Office 2021 (Home and Business versions). We’re here to break down the essentials of what to know. Windows 11 puts a new coat of paint on Windows 10, changes how the Start menu works, and provides some additional features for people who multitask and keep several windows open on the screen at once.
Windows 11 is now available for purchase on new computers, and is also available as a free upgrade for some computers that are about three years old or newer. Most people don’t need the features that Windows 11 offers, but it’s important to know that Microsoft has also announced that Windows 10 will receive security updates through October 2024. Three years sounds like a long time, but if you bought a computer with Windows 10 last year, you will need to upgrade that computer to Windows 11 at some point, or else your computer will stop receiving updates in 2024. At this point, nobody except the most curious people should be upgrading to Windows 11, since the operating system is so new and thus filled with unexpected glitches. But if your computers supports it, it’s probably a good idea to upgrade to Windows 11 within the next year. Best to give Microsoft a few months to iron out the glitches first.
Click here and scroll to the bottom for the PC Health Check (look for the blue heart symbol) to determine if your current machine will work with Windows 11.
If you’re buying a new Windows computer, and you buy one with Windows 11 pre-installed, you can rest assured that your computer will have many years of support to come, and not be limited by Windows 10’s 2024 deadline. As always, if you use older or custom apps on your Windows computer, double-check that those apps are designed to work in Windows 11 prior to upgrading to the new operating system.
Now, let’s look at Microsoft Office 2021. This is the new version of Office for both Mac and PC that is the “buy once” version of Office and will be supported until October 2026. If you have been waiting to buy a modern version of Office for your computer, now is a good time to buy as you will have five years where Microsoft will continue to provide fixes and security updates for the Office apps. Of course, if you are an Office 365 subscriber (if you pay monthly or annually for the privilege of using Microsoft Office) you already have access to the version of Office that has the same features as Office 2021, and upgrades will happen automatically.
Click here to learn more about Office 2021.
Buying a new computer? Upgrading your software? Asheville Digital Lifestyle is here to help!
Click here to book an appointment.
ADL Tech Tip: Lending Books
Did you know that you can loan your Kindle books to other Kindle users? That’s right, there’s a digital equivalent of lending your dog-eared copy to a loved one. It doesn’t work on all Kindle books, but give it a try! Click here to set it up.
And don’t forget about Libby, the app available for iPhoneand Android that can send loaned books to Kindle users, so you can take advantage of your library system even when using an electronic reader.
Help for domestic violence and cyberstalking victims
Announcing a new collaboration! We are now providing volunteer services for Helpmate, the nonprofit that helps people who may be in a domestic violence situation or who are concerned that they are being cyber-stalked. We are proud to do our part to provide answers to folks about their computers and smartphones, and help people to implement personal Cybersecurity best practices.
Eero offers Eero Secure to keep you safe from ads and malware.
A great wi-fi router not only has wide range and reliability, but can help protect you from viruses and ads.
Eero's routers offer a security service, Eero Secure, that provides ad blocking and malicious website protection. Ad blocking prevents ads from entering your computer, and blocks clicks on advertising links. Website protection automatically blocks malicious links that you may accidentally click on, and prevents redirects from hacked websites.
Experts recommend a layered approach to computer security, and Eero Secure, combined with a quality antivirus app on your Mac or PC, is a great example if you spend the majority of your web browsing time connected to your home wi-fi router. The service is offered for $30 a year with Eero wireless routers.
Want better security, range, and performance from your router? We can help!
Click here to book an appointment.
In memory of Muckaluck
Muckaluck passed away on a peaceful summer day.
Click here to see Muckaluck's memorial photo gallery.
Jensen Gelfond is the Founder of Asheville Digital Lifestyle. He helps people use their technology more effectively and joyfully.