Mac Doc News – Winter ’24

Greetings, Mac users!

It certainly has been a long time since I last posted. Time sure can get away from a person when they wear as many hats as I do though. Anyway, I’ll make my oft-repeated pledge to post more often, and work on doing better going forward. Regardless, I thank you all for being patient with me. I’m grateful for each and every one of you!

To start with, I have iPhone Photography class news!

I have one class scheduled at the Ah Haa School in Telluride for next Sunday, Feb. 25th, but it’s already full! So I went ahead and scheduled another one for Sunday, March 24th, 1-4 pm, again at the Ah Haa School in Telluride. Here’s the link to sign up. Here’s the class blurb as well:

“Learn the art of capturing truly compelling photos with your iPhone.

Are you a recent iPhone convert, or do you simply struggle to take decent photos with your “iDevice”? As photographers have been discovering for years now, the best camera is the one you have with you. In recent years, the quality of the cameras in smartphones like the iPhone has simply exploded, and as the camera specs improve with each new version (not to mention the addition of multiple lenses!), you always have an amazingly capable camera with you. This class will help you learn the art of capturing truly great photos using your iPhone. (Lesson 1: Stop treating it like a point-and-shoot camera.) This class will include both technical instruction and outdoor experimentation, followed by an indoor critique session. As a bonus, we’ll spend time learning about some of the best alternative camera apps available for your iPhone as well.”

I hope to see some of you there!

Next up, I have to remind everyone again about the ever increasing prevalence of scams.

I simply can’t put it more simply and succinctly than this:

You cannot trust ANYTHING you receive these days, whether it’s a phone call, text, email or popup on your computer. No matter how real/legitimate it appears, you simply can’t trust it.

You need to resist the urge to respond or click on anything in the message, no matter how urgent it appears. In fact, the more urgent and/or threatening it appears (“you’ll lose all your photos” or “you’ll damage your computer”), the more likely it’s a scam! If you need to reassure yourself that it’s not real, visit the actual website of the entity that supposedly sent the alert/message, and see if there’s any sort of alert there. And when you do that, make sure you don’t use Google or any other search engine to look up the website/email/phone number of the entity, because search engines are often loaded with scam ‘ad’ search results at the top of the list. In other words, some scammer has paid Google to list a phony site, pretending to be,,, etc., right at the top of the list and they’re just another version of the phishing scam you’re trying to avoid in the first place. I’m afraid this is just how bad things have gotten in the past few years. Unfortunately, it’s only going to get worse, now that AI is taking off like it is. Again, that’s why I have to keep reminding everyone not to trust ANYTHING they get on their devices that they can’t confirm independently.

And not to scare you, but AI is also going to make it so we’ll have to be even more vigilant, as they’re already starting to create ‘deep fakes’ of people’s voices, so that they can attempt phone scams like pretending to be a family member claiming to be in trouble and needing money wired to them immediately. Some sites are recommending that we all create a “safe word” for our family members (and do it in person, not via phone, text or email) so that when presented with something like this, you can ask, “what’s the safe word”, and if the person on the other end doesn’t know it, you know you’re being scammed. It obviously needs to be something that only the family knows, and isn’t something that would be in our social media anywhere, like a pet’s name or something. A favorite book title from our youth, or the middle name of a distant relative, something like that.

I know this all seems more than a bit crazy, or sci-fi, but that’s where we’ve come folks, so get ready for it. I imagine I’ll be getting even more calls than I usually do after you all read this, but so be it. 邏

I’m only repeating these examples so much because I do get so many calls, several a week, from people wondering if something they’ve received is legitimate, and it almost never is! Seriously, over 99% of the time, it’s not, no matter how real it looks.

Some of you may have read about the Colorado State Public Defender system being hit by ransomware a week or so ago. My younger daughter, Louisa, graduated law school last year and became a PD in Ft. Collins in January. According to her, everything in their system is still locked down, and there’s no estimate for when they might get it back up. It’s really something…

I wanted to find something positive to wrap up with, but this has gotten so long that I think I’ll just stop here. I’ll post again soon, with something other than bad news about technology!

Take care, all! John

Mac Doc News – July ’23

Greetings everyone, and happy summer!

Black Canyon Mac User Group folds

A big piece of news in my world recently is the demise of the local Black Canyon Mac User Group, which I’ve been a part of for close to two decades. Unfortunately, the attendance at our (virtual) meetings had gotten pretty thin, and we weren’t engaging with more that about half a dozen members at any given time. It was a lot of work for me, deciding on a topic and presenting at the meetings, plus writing a twice-monthly newsletter and managing a minimal website. I finally decided about a month ago that I just couldn’t do it anymore, so the club leadership decided to fold up the tent. I’m hoping that some of the ~100 subscribers to the club newsletter might switch over to this one to get their Apple info fix, and as such, I hope to be able to write these more frequently. (Especially given that I don’t have the BCMUG responsibilities any longer, which always competed with this.)

Avoid this annoying bit of adware going around!

In other news, security issues in the tech world continue to dominate the headlines. The following is courtesy of Randy Singer, author of the popular website He recently shared this info about an maddening bit of adware going around (I’ve already had one client that had been hit by it).

“It constantly shows you notifications that your McAfee anti-virus software subscription is up. It will even show these notifications outside of your web browser:

In almost every case, the users who become infected say that they have never been McAfee subscribers.  It also appears that only Safari users are effected.  (I’ve not heard any reports of this adware from users of other browsers.)  Attempts to get rid of the pop-ups by running Malwarebytes, DetectX Swift, or VirusBarrier are unsuccessful.

It turns out that the reason that the above are unsuccessful is because there is no malware infection per se.  The culprit is a notification that users are tricked into agreeing to.  The user visits a Web site, and clicks on a window that asks if the user wants notifications from that Web site. (These seem to have become very popular lately.) In some cases simply hitting Return on one’s keyboard to clear the window sets the notification in the user’s browser.  It’s also possible that the user is tricked into clicking on something that on the surface doesn’t appear to have anything to do with notifications at all.

What this adware is trying to do is to funnel you to a fake McAfee Web site to get you to give them credit card information (ostensibly for the purpose of renewing your McAfee subscription).  DO NOT agree to anything in this notification or on the associated website.  Otherwise, fortunately, this adware doesn’t harm your Mac in any way.

It’s easy to remove this adware, but even easier to avoid it completely:

To avoid it, if you use Safari, in Safari open Preferences in the Safari menu. Click on Websites. Click on Notifications in the column on the left. UNCHECK: Allow Websites To Ask For Permission To Send Notifications.

So far I’ve only heard of this adware effecting users of Safari.  However, if you use Brave, click Brave menu-> Preferences-> Privacy and Security-> Site & Shield Settings-> Notifications-> and set ‘Don’t Allow Sites To Send Notifications’.

Now, go back to Site & Shield Settings-> Popups and Redirects-> set ‘Don’t allow sites to send pop-ups or use redirects’.

Getting rid of this adware, if you are hit by it, is actually quite simple, and it doesn’t require one to download any utilities:

1.) While in Safari, open Preferences in the Safari menu. Click on Websites.  Click on Notifications in the column on the left.  Delete all notifications that you don’t recognize.  (For most folks, this is probably all of them.)

2.) Still in Safari Preferences, click on Privacy. Then Click on “Manage Website Data”. Click on “Remove All”. 

3.) Still in Safari Preferences,  click on Extensions.  Uninstall any Extensions that you aren’t 100% sure that you installed on purpose.”

That’s it for now. I hope you’re all having a great summer, and I’ll be back with another newsletter soon. Hope to see some of you at my iPhone Photography class too!!

Take care, John

Mac Doc News – Jan. 16th, ’22; iPhone/iPad class next weekend in Telluride!

Belated Happy New Year everyone! While 2022 isn’t starting out a lot better than either of the last two years, I’m hopeful that things will turn around before the year is out. Who’s with me on that?!? 😁🙏🏼

First off, I want to let you know that I’m teaching one of my favorite classes at the Ah Haa School in Telluride next weekend. It’s Saturday, Jan. 22nd, from 1-4 pm, and it’s titled “How to Make the Most of Your iPhone and/or iPad”. The fee is $65. Here’s the class blurb:

“Learn how to make full use of your iPad or iPhone, including tips and tricks to make these devices hum, plus the latest and greatest apps to explore. You’ll even find out how to make an iPad do the vast majority of what a full computer will do, so you can get real work done! This class will cover all aspects of the iPad/iPhone, from a complete tour of the hardware (as well as useful accessories) to an in-depth tour of the software interface, including how an iPad improves on the iPhone/iPod Touch interface. The class will focus primarily on iOS 15’s new bells and whistles, but devices running older iOS software will still be relevant. For seasoned iPad users as well as those just now considering an “iDevice,” this class has something for everyone.

Don’t forget to bring your iPad and/or iPhone with chargers”

Visit this link to sign up, and I hope to see many of you there!

Mac Doc News – October 10th, ‘21

Greetings Mac users!

Happy Fall to you all. 🍂🍁🌤 I hope you’re enjoying the glorious color displays being put on for us right now; I know I sure am!

It’s early October, and Apple just held its annual iPhone introduction a few weeks ago. I received my iPhone 13 Pro last Friday, and I’m happy to report that it’s definitely a worthy upgrade, especially if you haven’t upgraded in a few cycles.

While you may have read that the 13/13 Pro/13 Pro Max are just “incremental” updates, I beg to differ. Of course, where the real upgrades are most apparent is in the camera modules. Again, many tech reporters are describing the camera upgrades as nothing special, but to me, they’re significant. On the base model, the plain ol’ 13, there are two lenses, as on the 12’s, but they’ve been reconfigured into a diagonal arrangement. This is because the lenses are significantly larger than the 12’s, as they are on all the iPhone 13 models. The iPhone mini lives on as well, at least for another year, in the iPhone 13 mini. For those of you who like a smaller smartphone, the mini is definitely worth a look. Where the camera upgrades really shine, of course, in in the two “Pro” models, the iPhone 13 Pro and the iPhone 13 Pro Max. In fact, a lot of the features that were exclusive to the Pro Max model in their iPhone 12 iterations are now available in both Pro flavors of the iPhone 13.

In both iPhone 13 Pro models, there are the usual 3 camera modules, and they’re all pretty major upgrades from the previous versions. There’s the standard “wide” module, the telephoto, and the “ultra wide”. The standard wide lens is a serious upgrade to the previous versions, with a larger sensor and a faster f1.5 aperture. The telephoto lens goes from a 65mm “2X” equivalent to a 77mm “3X” equivalent, but it also has a slower f2.8 aperture. You’re going to get the best quality images out of that lens in strong light, but for most of us that will be fine, since we’re primarily using it for landscapes outdoors. Lastly, the ultra wide lens has three great upgrades: it goes from a f2.4 aperture in the 12, to a f1.8 in the 13, it goes from fixed-focus, to auto-focus, which in turn allows it to gain a macro feature for super close-ups, with a minimum focal distance of 2 cm!

In last year’s models, only the Pro Max model had “sensor shift” optical image stabilization, which provides much sharper images in most circumstances, but especially in low light. This year, they’ve included the feature in both iPhone 13 Pro models, which is a major plus for those of us that don’t want to have to carry around the much larger Pro Max.

Another feature that’s getting a lot of press is the new Cinematic mode when shooting video with either of the two Pro models. Cinematic mode automatically adjusts the aperture, or f-stop, to change the depth-of-field effect of your video while shooting, and allows you to edit it after you’ve shot your video. It also automatically changes what’s in focus (rack focus) from one subject to another based on things like a subject glancing away from the camera. It allows you to edit all that after-the-fact as well. Google some examples online; it’s pretty amazing. And while far from perfect, it does portend a huge advantage for videographers in the next few years as the feature evolves and improves, much like Portrait Mode has improved over the last few years.

Other improvements this year include a brighter OLED display on all models, as well as a feature called Pro Motion which makes for a much more responsive display for scrolling and other effects, due to its ability to dynamically adjust the display’s frame rate. If that’s all g(r)eek to you, don’t worry, you can either google more details about the feature, or just know that your new iPhone 13 will feel a lot more responsive, especially if you’re upgrading from an older model like a 7 or an 8. HDR playback has also been much improved across the iPhone 13 model line. For more on that, check out this video.

Now for a couple examples of the new features (as well as ones that have been fixed from previous releases) in iOS 15. Probably one of the most impressive is the Live Text feature, which allows you to copy and share text within photos and other images super easily. To access this feature, you’ll see a new icon in a lot of text input fields:

“Live Text” icon

…which will take you to a camera interface that allows you to capture text from pretty much anything that you can point your camera at! It’s actually the evolution of a long-standing feature on computers called OCR (optical character recognition), which began as a way to scan a document and turn it into editable text. Those of you familiar with OCR will remember how awful it was in the early days, even though it was a lot better than having to retype a page of text from scratch. Through the magic of AI and ‘machine learning’, Live Text is now extremely powerful and effective, and I think you’ll find more and more uses for it all the time. Another cool aspect of it, called Visual Look Up, is that you can now search through your Photos Library for any text that might appear in any of your photos; you can even use it to translate signs you saw on a trip you took years ago! Visual Look Up has its own icon, that you’ll see in the row of icons below a photo in the Photos app:

“Visual Look Up” icon

…which indicates, when looking at a photo in your Photos app for instance, that other data might be available about the content of that photo. When you click on that icon below the photo, if there’s an animal in the photo, you might see a little paw print icon on the photo. If there’s a plant, you might see a leaf icon. Click on that icon, and it will attempt to identify the plant or animal involved. For instance, when I tried it on a photo of some of our Virginia Creeper vine in full fall color, it correctly identified the plant! On the web, you’ll need to long-press on an image, then select “Look Up” to see the icons described above. I tried it on a web search for flower images and it worked quite well there too.

Here’s a couple of nice “fixes” in iOS 15: first, they brought back the little magnifier for when you’re moving your cursor around in a text field. As you may or may not know, for years you’ve been able to move around in a text box by press-and-holding and moving the cursor around from there. In iOS 14, they removed the little magnifier that helped you see where you were dragging the cursor, but in iOS 15, it’s back! That’s a welcome change, for me anyway, though I’ve noticed it to be a little buggy, in that it doesn’t always show up. [A related tip is that if you press-and-hold on the space bar when entering text on an iPhone/iPad, the keyboard turned into a sort of ‘trackpad’ that allows you to move the cursor around the text field. It’s a really handy feature!] Another fix is that they got rid of the awful time-selection tool from iOS 14 and returned to a variation on the tool that existed in most other previous versions, where you can drag up and down on the time selector to change the time for a reminder or an event, instead of having to type in the number. Another welcome reversion in my book!

Well, that’s about all I have time for this go-round. I hope I’ve given you some helpful info about the new iPhones and some examples of the cool new features in iOS 15. Stay tuned for more Mac Doc news, coming your way again soon!

Mac Doc News – iPhone Photography class next weekend (Aug. 21, ’21)

Greetings, and apologies for the late notice on this, but I want everyone to know that I’m teaching my popular iPhone Photography class at the Ah Haa School in Telluride a week from today. (Even more exciting is that it’s going to be held in their new Silver Jack Building at the corner of Fir and Pacific in Telluride!) Cost is $65 for the three-hour class, and you can register here. I’ll paste in the class description for you:

Learn the art of capturing truly compelling photos with your iPhone.

Are you recent iPhone convert, or do you simply struggle to get decent photos out of your iDevice? As many photographers have been discovering for years now, the best camera is the one you have with you. With the advent of good quality cameras in smartphones like the iPhone, and as the camera specs improve with each new version, you always have an amazingly capable camera with you. Learn the art of capturing truly great photos using your device. (Lesson 1: Stop treating it like a point-and-shoot camera.) This class will include both technical instruction and outdoor experimentation, followed by an indoor critique session. As a bonus, the class will spend some time learning about the thousands of camera “apps” available for smart phones, from Instagram to the more techy HDR realm, and lots in between.

I hope to see some of you there!

And don’t worry, I’ll post a longer update soon. (I know some of you were really worried… 😜)

Mac Doc News – Winter/Spring 2021; Security, scams & hoaxes. 🙄 (And some good news too!)

Greetings, friends & neighbors! I haven’t posted in awhile, mostly due to the a crazy year I’ve had (we’ve all had, I should say), and I thank you all for your patience. I’ve decided to focus this post on all the various security news of late (aka, lack of security!)

Any of you who have followed my newsletter/blog for any amount of time will be familiar with my urgings on this topic. I’m afraid I’ve just seen way too many people get scammed in one way or the other, and I’m sure what I’ve seen is truly the proverbial tip of the iceberg. And unfortunately, the truth is that things just keep getting worse. There’s so much to say on this topic, but I’ll try to keep it to a few highlights, ones that are good examples of why we need to be more cautious than ever.

First off, if you haven’t heard, the software known as Adobe Flash Player is now officially dead. It’s been on the way out for years, really since Steve Jobs famously said that Apple wasn’t going to support the technology on iPhones when they first came out. Flash was always problematic; it was highly vulnerable to exploits by hackers, and it was famously inefficient from an energy use perspective. Jobs said that he wasn’t interested in having it ruin the battery life of Apple’s new device, and the constant stream of updates required to keep it secure was just the final nail in its coffin. And it’s the latter that made it such a great vector for hackers in recent years. We all became so trained to click “update” whenever we saw the ubiquitous “You need to update your Flash Player plugin” messages every few weeks or so, that the hacking/scamming community realized that they could package their malware as a Flash update, and have an easy way to get millions of users to download and install their malware. To this day, when I work on a client’s computer, I often find anywhere from a few to dozens of such downloads on their machine, and Malwarebytes then finds at least a few things to purge from their system. Bottom line: don’t fall for that message anymore, as Flash is dead!

Secondly, I’ll link to an article at MacWorld that explains what you should do when you get those random Apple ID/iCloud sign-in requests. They’re way too common, and totally annoying, but you really need to deal with them in order to get them to go away. But first you should confirm that they’re legitimate. Read this article to learn more, and call me if you have questions about messages you’re getting on your device(s): How to check if an unexpected prompt for your Apple ID password is legitimate

Third, I’m still hearing of way too many folks falling for tech support scams. One very common vector for these is when your printer (or some other peripheral) starts acting up, and you google the number for that manufacturer’s tech support line. Unfortunately, depending on the search engine you’re using (but they all do this to on extent or another), it’s all too possible that you’ll get a paid ad which is actually a scam site. If, for example, you google the term “epson printer support phone number”, as I just did, one of the first links is for “”, and there’s a number there for you to call. [If you want a laugh, you really should read some of the text on that page; it’s so obvious that they’re not legitimate, it’s hilarious.] Anyway, were you to call that number, I can almost guarantee that you’d get a ‘support rep’ that will insist that he needs to get on your computer remotely in order to check your software. He will then show you a program called Console, that’s on every Mac, and which outputs odd sounding messages constantly. Software engineers use Console to troubleshoot their programs. Well this guy will tell you that those messages show that there’s something terribly wrong with your computer, and you need to pay him something like $350-500 in order for him to repair these problems for you. Sigh… I get calls from people who’ve just had experiences like that all the time!

The lesson is, make sure that you’re calling the manufacturer, not some imposter. Do whatever you can to confirm that. Hint: the site is almost certainly something like or, not! Secondly, don’t ever let someone connect to your computer remotely unless you’re absolutely certain they’re legit. I’ve been using Screen Sharing to help many of my clients remotely during the pandemic, but my clients know who they’re dealing with. 🤓 Apple uses the same tool, but again, you simply need to make sure you’re talking to Apple, by going to and starting the process there (or calling 800-275-2273, their real support line).

As the tech world continues to get crazier and more out-of-control, seemingly by the day, it’s increasingly important that we all remain vigilantly wary in our online interactions. Better safe than sorry, right?

On a happier and more exciting front, I have a goal this spring to provide more video content to you all (as much as I can find time for anyway) via my Vimeo On Demand page. Everything from short tutorials recorded on my iPhone, to more full-length classes on topics such as Pages, Numbers, Keynote, etc.

That’s about it for now. 😊 Stay tuned, stay safe & stay well!


Mac Doc News – Summer/Fall 2020; Classes, and Craziness!

Greetings Apple device users! It’s been awhile since I posted, but seeing how the last six months have been unlike anything we’ve ever seen before, I hope you can forgive me for the radio silence. 😳

The primary reason for my post is to tell you about two new classes I’m teaching through the Ah Haa School in Telluride this month. They’re both virtual, 3 hours long, and only $50 ea.

First, this coming Saturday, Sept. 12th, from 1-4 pm, I’ll be teaching my popular iPhone Photography class:

Learn the art of capturing truly compelling photos with your iPhone. [Click that link to register. Cost is $50]

Learn the art of capturing great photos using your device. (Tip #1: Stop treating it like a point-and-shoot camera.) The best camera is the one you have with you, and with the quality of cameras and software improving with each new version of  iPhone, you always have a surprisingly good camera with you. Even so, do you struggle to get decent photos out of your iPhone, or would you  like to learn how to take your “iPhone-ography” to the next level? This class will include both technical instruction and outdoor experimentation, followed by an indoor critique session. As a bonus, the class will spend some time learning about the thousands of camera “apps” available for smart phones, from Instagram to the more techy HDR realm, and lots in between.

Next, on Saturday, Sept. 26th, from 1-4 pm, I’ll be teaching a class I’m calling:

Managing Your Apple Devices In The Wacky 2020’s! [Click that link to register. Cost is again $50]

Technology is changing faster than most of us can keep up with. As soon as you wrap your head around one system, everything gets updated again! Let John Clark, the Mac Doctor, help you get the most out of your Apple products, and learn how to keep everything organized. In this one-day workshop, John will help students make sure everything is syncing correctly, show them how to pick & choose what to sync, and detail how to manage their privacy settings, notifications and other functions. In the end, you’ll feel confident that your iPhone, iPad, laptop and iCloud are all doing exactly what you want them to do (at least most of the time)! [Registration for this class opens 9/17, but please call the school at (970) 728-3886 if you would like to pre-register.]

I really hope some of you will be able to join me for one or both classes!

Aside from those classes, and the general CovidCraziness™, there’s quite a lot of stuff going on. We’re at the time of year when new iPhones are just over the horizon, along with major macOS (Big Sur) and iOS (14) updates following closely. I’m sure there will be lots of changes involved with both, which will bring the usual frustrations. With any luck, those will be offset by welcome new features.

On the security front, things continue to just get weirder (and scarier). In general, my latest advice is to avoid clicking on anything that pops up while you’re using a web browser (Safari, Chrome, Firefox, etc). Flash Player is going away at the end of 2020, so if you’re still seeing those “You need to update your Flash Player plugin…” pop-ups, for instance, you should ignore them. Same goes for most everything else in the way of random pop-ups on the web, as I said. In truth, you likely can’t even trust Google when trying to research the validity of many of these things, unfortunately. And one of the primary scam sources these days is when you do a search for something like “HP printer repair”, when your printer stops working. Chances are, most of the top search results are scam sites. When you need something like that, go to the manufacturer’s website (,,, etc), and initiate your search there.

I could go on and on, but I doubt you want me to. 🤪 Suffice it to say that I’m hoping to post more regularly now that we know what the “new normal” looks like (HA!). Seriously though, I have some fun new plans in the works, so stay tuned! Don’t forget to check out my video links in previous posts, and let me know if you’d like to purchase the recent Photos class ($20, details in the previous “Winter 2020” post).

Thanks, and stay well!

Apple/Mac news – Winter 2020

Hello again, Mac Doctor followers, and a belated happy 2020 to you all! It’s been a while since I posted, due to my usual nutty over-committed life, but I hope you’ll find that your patience is about to be rewarded. ✋🏼🤓🤚🏼

I have great news; my long-awaited Photos for Mac video class is finally ready! This will be my first class with a fee: $20. If you’d like to download the class, you can pay me in any of the following ways, after which I will send you the link to download the class:

  1. Pay me in cash (always welcome 😜)
  2. Write me a check (payable to Mac Doctor, and sent to PO Box 53, Ridgway, 81432; include your email address.)
  3. Use a digital payment service like Square Cash, PayPal or Venmo

The class is 2 hours & 11 minutes long, and covers everything about Apple’s Photos class for Mac, from a detailed tour of the interface, to using the many included tools to manage your photos, to editing and sharing them. I’m excited for you to check it out, and to hear what you think!

Also, I’m happy to be able to share a deal on one of my favorite new accessories for your devices. I got my first Fuse Reel more than a year ago, and love it. Some of you may have seen mine at a Black Canyon Mac User Group meeting, or seen one around elsewhere. Their first product was simply called the Side Winder, and is a brilliant solution to the mess most of us make of our laptop chargers. They’ve not expanded into solutions for iPhone, iPad and Watch chargers & cables, and I gave a bunch of them out as stocking stuffers last Christmas! Anyway, the folks at Fuse Reels have given me a link to share that will get you 15% off of your purchase a Side Winder for your laptop charger:

(Full disclosure, I’ll get a small credit if/when you use that link to buy a Side Winder)

I’m not sure what I should take on next for my video class series, so let me know if you have requests.

I hope your winter has been a good one so far, and that 2020 is shaping up to be a spectacular year for you all.

Take care, John

Apple/Mac news – Fall 2019

Greetings Mac Doctor followers!

It’s been awhile since I posted; I have been very busy! The good news is that I’m working on new video class content, starting with a “Photos for Mac Overview”. This video class will feature the 4.0 version of Photos, found in the latest version of Mojave. With any luck at all, I should have it available before Thanksgiving.

In other news, I continue to be discouraged by both the volume and variety of internet/email/phone scams happening these days. On top of that, hardware scams are even beginning to appear. For example, there was a report in a recent cyber-security email newsletter I receive, stating that a “nefarious hacker” was recently spotted at DefCon selling custom-made USB Lightning charging cables that look exactly like the ones that come with your iPhone. The problem is, the cables are embedded with special technology that allow a hacker to take control of your computer!*

From now on, you’re going to want to be sure the charging cables you buy are from a reputable source!

Then, on the data-breach front, it has recently come out that CenturyLink was one of the casualties of the “MongoDB” server breach, and for the last 10 months, more than 2.8 million customer information records, including names, addresses, emails & phone numbers, were left exposed. Apparently, the data was all locked down on Sept. 17th, and CenturyLink is assuring customers that “the data involved appears to be primarily contact information and we do not have reason to believe that any financial or other sensitive information was compromised.”*

*(Both of the previous two pieces of information come courtesy of the National Cybersecurity Center, whose newsletter I subscribe to.)

Appropriately, October is National Cybersecurity Month, and as such, I’d like to share a few other relevant links. First off, the Office of Homeland Security provides resources and toolkits to help improve awareness of online security and privacy protection:

And with the Census coming up next year, it’s important to be aware of potential census scams. In another recent newsletter, the Colorado State Demography Office shared a couple of good resources:

I really hate to focus on the scarier aspects of our technology-related lives in such detail, but I feel strongly that the only way to protect ourselves is to be educated and vigilant.

Here’s to a beautiful fall; hopefully you’ll hear from me again soon!

Cheers! John

Mac news – Summer 2019

Happy almost-summer, Mac Doc followers! Who knew that Colorado was going to become the Pacific Northwest? C’mon sun, you can do it!!

My big news, first off, is that I’m leaving the country on a much-needed vacation, for almost the entire month of June. Don’t despair, I’ve spoken to Chris Kennedy, of Apple Core Technologies in Montrose, and he’s more than willing to help cover for me while I’m away. His email and phone number are available on his webpage, but here’s his number if you just want to make note of it quick while you’re reading this: (970) 901-3051. Also, if you’re in need of help from an Apple-certified hardware repair center, I recommend Simply Mac in Grand Junction. Here’s a tip about Simply Mac though: if you call, don’t bother leaving a message for their service department, as they’re so busy that they rarely return phone calls (in my experience). Instead, call their main number and see if you can make an appointment through one of their sales people. Better yet, just make note of their hours and head to GJ with you know they’ll be open.

I’ll be back in the office on July 1, refreshed and ready to help with anything I can. Where am I headed for vacay, you ask? My wife Mallory and I are headed to Italy for more than two weeks of bike touring, followed by sightseeing excursions in Florence and Amsterdam! I am so ready for a vacation…

As for the rest of the summer, I plan to move into the phase of my recorded video classes, starting with the Photos program. I’ve gotten a ton of great feedback on my first video that I shared awhile back, and am excited about doing more!

In the meantime, keep being vigilant about avoiding all those phishing scams and other hoaxes flooding the tech world these days. In essence, don’t believe any alarming message you get about your computer, etc, especially if the message contains threatening language about “locking you out of your account” or “not being able to recover some of your data”. The scarier the claim, the more likely it is that’s is a scam. Maybe someday the powers that be will actually start trying to do something about all these scams, but in the meantime, be careful out there!

Thanks, as always, for supporting the Mac Doctor.