It was a drizzly December night, a week before Christmas and a small, but lively crowd made its way into the last MacNexus general meeting of the year. Ken Spencer was up front with his Christmas sweater on. It had working Christmas lights (multi color no less) with the caption “So Tacky I Twinkle”. There were twelve bags for the raffle, two with iPads, two with Apple TV’s and eight with $25 iTune gift cards, so raffle sales were brisk. There were Christmas cookies on the snack table adding to the cheerful feeling of the meeting.
Ken greeted us with “Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas!” Then he realized he still had one of his AirPod Pro’s in his ear — noting they were more comfortable than the original AirPods and therefore easier to forget you were wearing them. Ken was the only one at the meeting who knew what was in which bag, so he told us all that since he had bought tickets, if his numbers were drawn he would get the last bag standing. In member announcements, Rudy Villa came up to talk about working for the 2020 Census which will start in April next year. It is the constitutionally required census of the country that happens every 10 years to make sure districts are approximately equally sized and to gather empirical data about the country. People who work for the Census will work either on-line or in the field to follow up on incomplete forms or confirmation of addresses, etc. They are starting to look now for people because the unemployment rate is so low these days. In mid-March, the first notice will go out with a reminder towards the end of March. April 1 is the actual start day, which is the day you designate where you are living for the Census. The Census will need people to work probably from May through mid-July. In Sacramento County, the positions pay $21/hr and 58¢/mile for travel. The work can be part time (usually afternoons, evenings and weekends) to catch people at home. The Census is trying to get about 4,000 workers so they can try to have people work in the area in which they live, to cut down on travel. The amount of work is dependent on how many people fill out the forms and how many workers they are able to hire to follow up. You can apply online at https://2020census.gov/en/jobs.html. Census information is not shared with other government agencies and there will be no citizenship question on the census. (Ed. note: True as of Dec 18th but there is further court action now in process.) Rudy has done this three times and says it is a good way to get some extra income.
No new members tonight, but Ken did remind the group that MacNexus can always use volunteers to keep all the club functions going and working smoothly. Jim Park was the winner of the volunteer raffle for a $25 iTunes gift card.
Ken showed us pictures from his last trip to Cambodia, Vietnam and Seoul, Korea. He had been surprised by how many Christmas displays he had seen and by a group of people in Vietnam wearing native costumes playing Christmas songs on local instruments. He also got worried when he saw, at the boarding gate for his flight from Cambodia, a message that said “15” Mac Book Pro 2015-2017 banned on aircraft”. He has a 2016, which did not have the problems the 2015 model had with batteries, but really wanted to make sure he made it home with his MacBook Pro. On this flight, he left it in his back pack and it went through with no problem. He then decided he would make an “About this Mac” screenshot showing he had a 2018 MacBook Pro — which he did in his hotel room the next day. He offered to share it with MacNexus if anyone wanted it. His MacBook Pro made it through security with no problems for the rest of his trip, without his having to use it, but he was ready. Ken showed a few more pictures from his trip including one of him in a chefs hat making his own spring rolls. He also showed us a Tesla Model Y (a new model coming out next year) that he spotted coming out of a charging station in Roseville. He had looked into an extra day in Seoul Korea when he was planning his trip but it would have been an extra $2000. As it happened, his flight was delayed enough that he was able to reschedule for a flight the following day and he was able to see Seoul. The airport offered free tours to the city which he took and he was also able to get a free ride to the marketplace in Seoul — both of which he highly recommended.
Ken announced that the General Meeting will be at the Board of Realtors on the 4th Wednesday of the month through July, as the renovation of the meeting space was delayed until then. The Board is looking at alternative locations after that, as the renovations at the Board of Realtors space could take up to a year.
In Tech Q&A, a member said his wife’s iPhone 6S could no longer be connected with a cable and the member was wondering if it made sense to get it repaired or get a new iPhone. Ken asked if the iPhone didn’t charge or if the cable couldn’t be physically put into the phone jack. It was the latter. Ken then suggested taking a wooden toothpick and seeing if there was lint blocking the jack. Lint can keep a phone from charging when it is plugged in. If that didn’t work, Ken suggested, since the iPhone 6S is about five years old, that replacement might be the way to go. Getting an estimate of repair costs to see what might be the best choice. If the phone is still working, it might be eligible as a trade in on a new iPhone.
Another member asked with a new iPhone 11 should they get AppleCare+ or AppleCare+ with loss replacement? Ken said he wasn’t going to say either way as, if he said no, something would happen to the iPhone the next day or, if he said yes, nothing would happen to the iPhone for the two years Apple Care covers. He did say that he gets AppleCare+ for his iPhones as a required part of his Apple purchase plan. He did recommend not getting the insurance offered by most carriers as they typically have high deductibles.
Someone just got a new Mac with a 5K monitor and noted that the fonts were small and hard to read and asked what the options were to make the fonts bigger. Ken suggested going to System Preferences, Displays and checking to see if resolution was set to Default for Display or to Scaled. If on default, try scaled and see if it makes a difference. Another question was about how to record actions on an iPhone with a Mac. Quicktime is an option when the iPhone is connected to the computer with a cable or you can record actions on the iPhone directly. Use Google to get the steps required. A member had a question about sending emails to a bunch of people without having them being regarded as spam at the recipient’s email provider. Ken suggested getting a free account at MailChimp (https://mailchimp.com ) as it will let you send emails to up to 1,200 people without problems.
After the break Ken was back with his “12 days of iPhone Apps” presentation. The apps were: Safari, Mail,Camera, Messages, Phone, Weather, Maps, Calendar, Contacts, Notes, Reminders and Podcasts.
Safari - To print from Safari, go to the share button, choose print and you will get a list of available printers. You can choose which pages you want to print. The overlapping squares icon will show all the tabs you have open. If you press and hold on the icon, you will get an option to close all the tabs (you can have up to 499 open tabs). If you are on a webpage and press and hold on a link, you will get the option to open it in a new tab. If you have 499 tabs open, this will close the oldest tab. Tapping on the overlapping squares icon will also let you choose private browsing — good for not leaving a trail. Reader mode, which you select by clickingTap on the aA icon in the upper left corner to choose Reader View causing everything but the article to be hidden. It is a good mode to use if you want to print a page or article. Some websites do not offer Reader mode.
Mail - Tap the circle with lines icon (lower left corner) to filter email by unread or read categories. You can use bcc (blind copy) without putting anything in the “To” line, that way none of the people you send the email to will see any of the other addresses. If you have set up groups on our Mac contacts or in iCloud, you can use them on your iPhone. For email strings you can go to Settings, Mail and go to the increase quote level and turn it off to reduce the indent for each email in the string. In Mail settings you can also set a default account for any mail you send.
Camera - When using the camera, choose the 1x or 2x setting on the screen rather than zooming with your fingers. If you zoom with your fingers, you are using a digital zoom while using the 1x or 2x does an optical zoom with the camera lenses. If you have an iPhone 11, at the top of the screen will be a bubble with a timer in it that is used for taking low light pictures. You will need to make sure to stabilize your iPhone when you use it. The iPhone camera does a better job than an iPad camera, but as the saying goes “the best camera is the one you have with you” so if an iPad is all you have go ahead and use it. Ken has a tether for his iPhone he uses, especially when skiing or traveling, so his iPhone is always connected to him.
Messages - You can use your voice with Siri to send a text. In a text message, you can tap on the icon of the person at the top of the message, then you can choose to do an audio call with that person, or a FaceTime call with them. When you click on the “i” button you can share your location with them for an hour for a day or always, handy when you have a group of people all in the same place. This works iPhone to iPhone only.
Phone - If you tap the call button (the green button with a handset icon on it), you will get the last number you dialed with the keypad. In recents, calls shown in red are missed calls. To save your battery in areas with poor cell service, turn the phone to airplane mode. Otherwise it will keep searching for a cell tower to connect to — using up your battery.
Weather - In the Weather app that comes with your iPhone, you can add places in the app by using the + icon. When in the add mode, you can press and hold on the temperature in a location to move it up or down in the list. Ken also likes another app, Dark Sky (a paid app) to shows the local weather in great detail.
Maps - Ken uses Apple Maps, Google Maps (more updated for businesses) and for in the car, Waze. In Apple and Google Maps, you can search for an area or a town and once you have it displayed, you can go back to the search bubble and put in something like Starbucks and it will show you all the Starbucks in that area. You can then click on one to get more information.
Calendar - Everyone that was here tonight uses it, so no hints tonight.
Contacts - To use groups you have to create them at iCloud.com or on your Mac. Messages will know what phone number to use from a contact if you label it mobile or iPhone.
Notes - Ken uses Siri a lot for Notes. The name of a note is the first line in the note. Ken uses it to make lists of things he needs to get at Costco for example. Using his voice, he has discovered that he needs to pronounce the T in Costco in order for Notes to work. Notes has become more capable with the ability to add whole web pages and scan documents into notes.
Reminders - Use them as location based or time based; you can give them a specific place or time to activate. Reminders will show notifications on all your devices. Ken did warn that if you are not running Catalina on your Mac, you should not upgrade to the latest version of Reminders.
Podcasts - They are free, there are a great variety of them on different subjects and you can listen to them on your devices. Your iPhone/iPad comes with an app to listen to them.
Other apps MacNexans like: - Overcast another podcast app, Kindle app, better interface than the version the Mac (Prime members can get a free book a month). Splash ID, a password manager, TPE (The Photographers Ephemeris) that gives you specific information about the sun and moons position in the sky and other information for photographers. Flight Radar to see planes locations. You can also ask Siri “What flights are overhead” and she will tell you.
It was then time for the raffle. Everyone that had their number called choose a bag and opened it up right away. The first few bags had the iTune gift cards, then the Apple TV’s showed up next, Ken had a couple of his tickets drawn so a couple of bags were left for him at the end. One member had three winning tickets going home with some iTune gift cards and one Apple TV. Ken went home with a iTune gift card and one of the iPads.
I look forward to seeing you at the next meeting and remember to bring a fiend to check us out. You can contact me at email@example.com.