What You Missed - February 26, 2020

February 29, 2020

What You Missed

 

It was an unusually warm February evening and we had a good crowd tonight. Everyone was enjoying the warm weather. There was an iPad, a solar powered keyboard and three $25 iTunes gift cards in the raffle and sales were brisk. Ken Spencer was our speaker tonight with the topic of Apple Mail and more.

 

Ken greeted us with “It’s good to be back” as he had missed the January meeting. Ken had been on a long skiing trip. He first was in Innsbruck, Austria, then to Alta, Utah, skiing with his high school friend, then to Jackson Hole, Wyoming. He left on Super Bowl Sunday, hitting a snow storm (no trouble in his Tesla), on his way to Sun Valley, Idaho, where he hooked up with his ski club — all 35 of them. Ken showed pictures of his time in Austria where his hotel had only 20 rooms and about twenty staff members. He had photos from Alta where he ran into a man from Sacramento who is 87 years old and skis the number of days equal to his age each year. Ken showed a picture of his ski group having a meal together (all 35 of them) in the dining room of a 9600 square foot house (one of three houses they needed). Ken had gone on a sleigh ride and met gentleman of 94 who was going on the sleigh ride for the first time having lived in Sun Valley most of his life. The gentleman was someone Ken knew from his time in the ski industry. He was the inventor/manufacturer of some items Ken had sold in the past. The gentleman had just retired but was a cross country skier and a triathlete. He usually wins his age level in triathlons because he is the only one in his age group to participate.

 

Ken had some Tesla news for us (Ken is very proud Tesla owner). Tesla has announced the Model Y which will be available this year to those who have made reservations (there is still time to get on the list). Tesla had hopes to spell “SEXY” with the model names of their cars but Ford has the rights to Model E, so they have the model S, model 3, model X and now the model Y. The Model Y can be configured to hold up to 7 people. Ken thinks it is the best snow car in its all wheel drive version. To discuss questions about about range and charging, Ken put up a map of his drive from Sacramento to LA, showing the two places he stopped to charge the car, how much time it took at each location (15 minutes) and what level of charge he had when arriving at the station and what level he had when he left. He calculated the cost of the two charges and got $0.04/mile, which he compared to $0.15/mile for a conventional car. His total cost for electricity was $17.09. On another trip of 843 miles, his total charging time was about 2 hours, but the charging times where mostly done during meal breaks so he wasn’t just waiting around for the car to charge. He did point out the car has a large screen and, while parked charging, you can log into your Netflix account. He did point out that the car works best if you use the built-in navigation system when traveling as it will show you the charging stations to stop at so you will always have a charge in the car. A member asked what happens when you run out of charge; Ken said it is just like running out of gas. The car is loaded on a flat bed trailer and taken to a charging station. Another member asked about insurance; Ken said the cost is comparable to a regular car of similar value. Ken noted that when he travels he tries to stay at hotels that have charging stations so the car charges overnight, usually for no additional cost.

 

Ken had three trivia questions tonight:

  • In 1976 where did Steve Jobs cofound Apple? Answer: In his childhood home on Crist Drive in Los Altos.

  • Who were the cofounders? Answer: Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak and Ronald Wayne (who sold his shares back to Jobs and Wozniak).

  • Where was it first shown to the public? Answer: At the Homebrew Computer Club.

 

Next up was the volunteer raffle, which Bob Becker won tonight. 

 

Tech Q&A

What is the benefit of “Mesh” networks vs “Regular” networks? A mesh network has units that work together to give you the full coverage and speed of your Internet WiFi connection throughout your home. A regular WiFi network with a router with extenders usually reduces the available speed and communicates on one band at a time. Mesh networks usually communicate on several bands at the same time to blanket the entire home.

 

A member asked if they should have two password managers in case one of the companies goes bankrupt? Ken suggested using iCloud Keychain, which Apple provides with the operating system, as Apple is a large company who will work hard to keep your passwords secure and will not disappear one day.

 

A member was doing drafts of emails and putting her name in the To field when she saved them. When she opened them up again often they would have another name in the To field. Ken pointed out that you can save drafts without anything in the To field but the member could check her card in Contacts to see if her email address is associated with another person. (Editor note: It wouldn’t hurt to also check Previous Recipients.)

 

Is there a way to see what is on my Apple Card? You can see some information in the Wallet app but the bank that “provides” the card is still working out what is available in Wallet. Apple is working with them to make the information better. (Editor note: In late February, it became possible to download transactions as a “.csv” file.)

 

Ken liked the last question “I’m asking for a friend” it started. The friend is ready to get a cell phone (they don’t have one now) and was wondering what to get. They didn’t want to spend $1,000 but did want a phone that they could see pictures on. Ken suggested checking out what the cell phone providers had on offer for getting a plan and a “free” phone. Of course, he suggested getting whatever version of the iPhone that you could get.

 

There are rumors that there’ll be an iPhone 9 coming out this spring, if the Coronavirus doesn’t interfere.

 

We had no new members tonight so remember you can invite someone to come check us out at a General meeting. It was pointed out that there are donation cans on the snack table and members were encouraged to make a donation to cover the costs of providing all the beverages and snacks. It looked like the message was received as the cans had several dollars in them at the break.

 

Ken left up a slide for Catalina, the latest operating system up during the break.. He is still not recommending Catalina, as it has caused some of his customers problems. About 90% of people that upgrade have no problems and it comes preloaded on all new Macs. Ken feels that if there is no compelling reason to upgrade why do it.

 

After the break it was time for “Apple Mail Live.” Ken first showed several scam emails that appeared to be from Apple, iTunes or Google. He pointed out that you should never click on a link in emails that look spurious or that ask you to reset your password or provide access to your computer. You can always hover your mouse over the email address or link to see what the address is, it will probably not be an Apple or Google address. You might get pop up windows making similar requests; if they don’t go away, you can reboot your computer and they should disappear.

 

Ken then gave a brief lesson of his scheme to develop a password. He used a base of “macnexus1” for all the passwords (It is important to end it with a number so on your iPhone you go to the number page of the keyboard and you’re done) but added at the front a capital letter then a lower case letter based on the website. For example: The Apple password would be “Apmacnexus1” and for Google it would be “Gomacnexus1”. You can add a special character like !,$ or? all of which show up on the number page of the iPhone keyboard. If you write down your passwords, include a date so you can know when they were first used. Don’t copy your passwords to another piece of paper to avoid transcription errors when copying.

 

Ken also showed us a 7 minute way to “Combat Email Overload” The steps are:

  1. Minute One - Scan your email quickly to see which emails are the most important and flag them. In Gmail, you can star them with a quick click. Most email apps provide a way to quickly flag messages. Don’t spend more than 60 seconds flagging. This step is mostly about getting a picture of what you are facing. You can size up the amount work involved before digging in to tackle it.

  2. Minute 2 - Purge. Your next step is to delete emails you don’t need. Try to do this as quickly as possible in one minute. You can “select all” or Ctrl-Click on messages to remove them quickly. The goal here is to leave yourself with just your flagged messages. Move quickly you are being timed!

  3. Minute 3-5: Short answers to a few important messages. Before you start this next step, choose one or two emails that should be addressed by phone or by some other message format (like text or instant message). Keep those in your “in box” as a reminder. There are times when email is not the best way to communicate. Then, you will spend the next three minutes answering the most important messages in the time frame you have. If you don’t get to the messages that’s OK - answer as many as you can. By purposefully restricting yourself to three minutes, you should try to be a succinct as possible. It’s surprising how quickly you can become at answering emails when you restrict your time period. It’s OK if you don’t reply to all of your flagged messages. Just answer the ones that are most urgent. Make sure you quickly scan through any newly composed messages to check recipient names.

  4. Minute 6 - Send longer replies - Spend one minute answering emails with a bit longer response. Make sure you only pick a couple of recipients. It’s OK if you run out of time. If there are any messages you want to send that will require more than a few quick sentences, use a task manager and make that a separate task. It’s amazing what you can say in one minute if you know that you have limited your time. Don’t get too wordy.

  5. Minute 7 - Review - Now, review your in box one last time. Just do a quick scan and enjoy the moment of relief if you managed to get to in box zero. Revel a bit in making email processing easier. And save all of those other messages for next time. That’s it. You spent seven minutes quickly dealing with your email. Guess what? Now you should move onto other tasks. Don’t drift back to email. You can do another session later, but the addiction issue is related to constantly checking. That’s what gives us that rush of excitement but also ruins productivity.

 

Ken suggested when traveling you have everything sent to a gmail address, then you can go to google.com/travel, login and google will put together your itinerary for you from all the emails.

 

Ken started out by sending himself a email, subject “Party of the Century” which had in the body of the email, the date, the time, an address and phone number and a password. Once it had been received, Ken opened the email and there was a bar across it the said Siri had found an event and did he want to add it to his Calendar? Ken also showed how you can click on the down arrow at the end of the message and get options for what to do with the information. When he clicked on the date, one option was to add to Calendar, for the address and phone number the option was to add to Contacts. Ken added the event using this method and the he went to his Calendar and clicked on the event, One option that showed was to see the original email. This was important as the password only showed in the email. A member asked what happen if you delete the email. Ken tried it, he selected the email in Mail and hit the trash can icon to delete it, but when he checked Calendar the email was still available. Ken pointed out that the email had just been moved to his trash folder, once he went into trash and deleted it the original email was no longer an available option when the event was clicked on in Calendar. Ken noted that he doesn’t delete emails as he knows once he does delete it, he will need it. (Ken has around 250,000 emails currently).

 

When you are doing a new message and start typing in the name that you are sending the email to and the wrong email address shows up you can correct it. If you click on the down arrow at the end of the address, in the drop down menu that shows up, you can choose to delete from previous recipient list. You can also go to the “Window” menu in Mail and choose the Previous Recipient List and edit the address there. Usually this happens when you mistype an address or have several addresses for one person. When in the Previous Recipients list, any address that is already in your Contacts will have a card icon in front of it. When click the down arrow at the end of an address, you can choose to add that address to your contact list or delete the contact. The Previous Recipients list will also show you when the email address was added to the list. In the “Window” menu you can also open an Activity window which will show you when and where you are getting mail from. Also under the “Window” menu is Connection Doctor, which when opened will show you what accounts may be having trouble connecting. An account that is having trouble will have a “ ˜ “after it and will say the account is offline when you right click on it. The Connection Doctor will show you if it is all your Gmail accounts or just some of them that are having trouble. IMAP is your incoming mail and STMP is the outgoing mail in Connection Doctor.

 

Mail preferences, on the Composing tab you can choose “Send new message from” so all your outgoing new mail is sent from the same account. If you are replying to an email, the reply will be sent from the original account used. Under Addressing, you can uncheck “Increase Quote Level” for emails that have several back and forth emails. Under the Junk Mail tab, you can choose how junk mail is handled. Junk mail is not the same as spam mail. In the Signature tab, you can add or choose signatures for your emails. If you change your email address, you can use a signature that includes “Please change your contacts to reflect my new email address” as a reminder to people. In the Fonts and Colors tab, Ken recommends going with the default settings, Changes here may not be reflected in the mail that is opened in another program. If you want a colorful email or email with different fonts it is better to do it in Pages and send it as an attachment. Under the General Tab, when searching all mailboxes, include results from Junk in case an email you are looking for has been moved to the Junk folder.

 

Search in Mail is a powerful tool, especially for Ken with all the emails he has. It will show you all the emails with the search terms you enter. It is possible to save searches, but Ken does’t know how you reuse them. (Editor note: The saved search goes into the Smart Mailboxes. In those, click on the name you saved the search as to repeat the search.)

 

If you get an email from someone where the lines of text are too small or extend way across the page, the best thing to do is select all the text, copy it and paste it into a new email message using (in the Edit menu) Paste and Match Style. This will make the text use the style you have set for your outgoing email and should make it much easier to read.

 

Ken will spend more time on Mail at the upcoming Saturday workshop — see the Macnexus website for the date, time, and location.

 

The raffle was up next, the keyboard and iTunes gift cards went quickly. The grand prize, the iPad, was won by a member who also picked up an iTunes gift card (he had quite a few tickets to look through when he won).

 

I look forward to seeing you at the next meeting and remember to invite someone to check us out. I can be reached at donob.macnexus@gmail.com.

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