What You Missed
It was a brisk January evening and people were warmly dressed as they came in. The coffee and snack table were popular as was the raffle sale table. There was an iPad, an Echo Dot, a Logitech mouse, a USB-C hub, two USB flash drives and three $25 iTunes gift cards in the raffle and the odds were good tonight as it was a small crowd.
Pete Lozzi greeted us with a “Happy Wednesday general meeting everyone and thanks for having me.” Pete joked that the meeting tonight would be on everything and it had been extended until 11:00 pm so he had time to cover it all. There wasn’t much news in current events, which may mean that Apple is working hard on new products for us. Pete says it is good to talk about things when Ken isn’t around so he can state his opinion without getting the death stare from Ken. They occasionally disagree about some things.
Pete had been talking before the meeting about hacking and noted that con jobs are probably a much greater risk today than hacking. Cons happen both on the phone “We have a warrant for your arrest unless you contact immediately” and in email, “Click here to protect your bank account.” There is a website fakenamegenerator.com which will generate a fake name which includes a fake address, social security number, etc. for websites you are not sure of and a fake email generator fakemailgenerator.com which generates a fake email you can use to verify your email address as some websites require without giving your real email address out. On your iPhone, you can go to Settings > Phone and turn on Silence Unknown Callers to make calls from unknown people go directly to voicemail. You can block a number if you do get calls from a number you don’t know.
Pete noted that he unsubscribes from emails from stores and other similar websites. You can usually scroll to the bottom of the email to find the unsubscribe link (which emails like this are required to have). Often you will be directed to a website where you actually unsubscribe. If you unsubscribe and still get emails, check the email address that is being used. Companies might have several different emails to send from.
Pete did an informal survey of the members asking how many were not Netflix subscribers. To his surprise, about 1/3 of the members weren’t. While Pete is a Netflix subscriber, he said he probably watches YouTube more — noting that you can almost always find a video to show you how to do something or fix something just by doing a search. One of his favorites currently is the Kitboga YouTube channel which has videos of stringing along phone scammers. Kitboga creates a virtual machine on his computer and will watch as the scammers explore his virtual machine.
According to Pete, streaming started off with Netflix — joined by Hulu and Amazon Prime. Now Apple and Disney have a service and the major networks either have a service or are developing one. What once was $8 per month for one service has become, for many people, $80 per month as they add more services to “Cut the Cord.” The cable companies have caught on to this so that if you call to drop your television from the cable company, your Internet only service may be just as much as TV and Internet were together. Pete noted that anyone who purchased an Apple device recently gets a free year of Apple’s streaming service.
Tech Q&A: A member asked what to do when an email is always going to junk. Pete explained that several systems may be involved in determining what is considered junk as an email makes its way to you. Pete has had the best luck by adding the sender of the email to his contact list. If it is a business, you can just put the name in the business line without putting anything in the first name and last name lines. You can also make a rule for that sender in your email program that will automatically move it to the Inbox. Rules are specific to your device; if you have a second Mac on the same AppleID, the rules will sync but will be inactive on the second Mac until you check them on. Rules are not available in Mail on your iPhone/iPad.
The next question was about a way to organize downloads by the newest to the oldest. When you open a folder, you can choose which view to use. In List View (designated by three lines), you can choose which columns you want to show and sort the files by that column’s type of data by clicking on the column header. You can adjust the size of the column by hovering your mouse over the dividing line between the columns and dragging it to change the size or by double clicking on the header to fit the column to the largest item.
One member had a list of apps from their Mac, mostly 32 bit, and asked which would be safe to delete. Pete noted that he could see some of the apps listed were probably parts of other apps and choosing which should be deleted would take some study. He had the analogy of opening your car hood and starting to pull out wires that weren’t ascetically pleasing. Chances are your car wouldn’t run after doing that. He suggested making a list of the non-Apple programs you use and seeing if Apple makes something you could use to do the same thing. (Editor note: Go to roaringapps.com for 32-bit information on nearly all Mac apps.)
Pete does a “factory reset” on his computers about once a year by wiping everything and only reinstalling the programs he wants. He did point out that the iOS works differently and you can safely have many programs on your iPhone without seriously affecting the way it runs. Pete thought he had around 800 plus apps on his iPhone, the majority of which may not have been ever run after he downloaded them. It was now time for our break and Pete was reminded that we needed to run the volunteer raffle. After asking Siri to pick a random number, it was determined that Dick Warner won this months raffle, which led Pete to comment that Dick must have an in with Siri as he probably has won the most in the volunteer raffle.
“Today is Reddit Day” Pete greeted us after the break. There is a Reddit app on the iOS App store (look for the Reddit icon - a rounded rectangle with a face with one hair angling off to the left) that you can install on your iOS device or you can access Reddit at reddit.com on your Mac. It is a community of people who will post on a variety of subjects and who collectively vote up or down on the value of a post. Pete has been a member for 11 years and his sister is a Director at Reddit. Get an account if you want to post (Pete used his real name for his account name 11 years ago, something he does not recommend now). Unlike Facebook and Instagram, where you need friends to generate your “feed,” Reddit is more like a bulletin board service divided into different interests. Whichever interest you choose, you will find a community of enthusiasts willing to help. Pete is into 3D modeling on the computer and was making with his son a 3D model of Thomas the Engine. They were able to do most of Thomas (mostly basic shapes joined together) but got stuck on how to do Thomas’ face. Pete posted his problem on the 3D modeling sub-Reddit and a member there sent him a 2 hour video on how to do the face in the program they were using. You will want to think about what to focus on and how you will interact with Reddit when you go exploring.
The community votes up or down on posts to help eliminate trolls. If your posts are voted down too often, they become hidden. Reddit will on occasion have AMA (ask me anything) where someone, usually a celebrity or expert, will answer the questions asked in a defined time period. These can be interesting to read and follow along.
When you first open the Reddit app, after setting up your account, you will see an icon at the top (usually an image) for your account and a search bubble. Tap on the icon to get information about your account. Below the search bar are three tabs, News, Home and Popular. News is worldwide stories that are voted on by the Reddit community, the most “up voted” stories will be at the top. Home is where you see the communities that you have joined. Popular is the items being voted on at that time. Under the three tabs is a filter you can use to sort items per several options including new, controversial, best, etc. If you choose best posts, the number of up votes will be shown (it is the total of the number of up votes minus the number of down posts).
Communities in Reddit are designated as reddit.com/r/name of community. The “r” indicates what is called a sub-Reddit, a specific topic or community. When in the app and in a community, you can see a thumbnail each post, the number of comments and an option to share that post or give a post an award. You can give Karma points to a post and if your karma drops too low (you down vote a post that many are up voting), your posts can be hidden. You can purchase Reddit coins to give an award or thank someone for a very helpful post. (Pete did this with the video post he got back for Thomas the Engine.).
Pete showed a few communities he is part of: ATBGE (Awful Taste but Good Execution), DiWhy (you do it yourself but why did you do it yourself?) and Not my Job ( people who have done only what their job requires but no more). Someone asked about cooking and Pete showed the Food Reddit which has 17 million members so you can get some good information there. Poor Pete was having a tough time as the Internet at the meeting was not allowing him to load some of the communities. You can do a private message in Reddit. Reddit is free but ad based but the ads are clearly designated. Reddit is a community of real people who share interests and can give you real help. Pete was ready to stop but someone pointed out he was supposed to talk about Reminders per the email for the meeting. He had not planned to do much on Reminders because Ken had reminded him that not everyone would be on the latest version. But, in a few minutes, Pete noted some general things about Reminders and promised to do more on them in the future. The three things that make Reminders great are Siri integration, location based and lists. Siri integration lets you say “Hey Siri” remind me that Thursday is trash day. Location based means you can have a reminder that is “when I get home remind me that Thursday is trash day.” Reminders has lists that you can share. Pete has a shopping list that is shared with his family. When something runs out, anyone can say “Hey Siri add toilet paper to the shopping list.” Whoever goes to the store can call up the list and see that toilet paper is needed.
Last up was the raffle. All the prizes went quickly with Pete’s daughter calling out the winning numbers. Thomas from the raffle table won twice tonight. The iPad went to a very happy member at the end of the raffle.
I look forward to seeing you at the next meeting and remember to invite someone to come check us out. I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.