It was the first post “stay at home” meeting for MacNexus tonight and it was great seeing everyone (50+) on-line for our first on-line meeting. As people joined the meeting using Zoom, Pete suggested that everyone mute their microphone to avoid a lot of background noise. Another suggestion was to prop up the device you were using so the video stayed stable. It was fun watching Pete, using his knowledge as a Zoom expert, move his image around on the screen — pointing to the location of each control and guiding us through the initial set up.
Initial setup: Choose Gallery view, choosing Pete’s video and pinning it (using the ellipses in the corner of his video), muting the microphone and locating chat and most importantly reactions (you can give a round of applause or thumbs up to the presenter). You don’t have to have your camera on for the meeting, but Pete enjoys seeing everyone as they watch.
Pete started the meeting with “How is this for social distancing!” By 7:00 pm, we were up to over 50 people participating. Pete had his daughter acting as co-host and making sure all microphones were muted and relaying chat comments to Pete as he did his presentation. Pete was recoding the meeting and you can find it here , just click on the play button). Pete was asked about wiping a device. Pete and Ken said as long as you use a wipe with 70% or less alcohol, you can safely clean your iPhone/iPad screen and your keyboard/mouse. We had the usual agenda for the meeting with news and rumors, member/volunteer announcements, Tech Q&A, a break then the main presentation. We had some members of the board of the Lincoln Hills user group watching tonight with us.
News and Rumors: Apple announced a new MacBook Air and a new iPad Pro and a new keyboard (coming in May). Pete noted that the Apple news seemed eerily quiet before the virus hit. In a few months, we should be hearing about new iPhones if Apple follows their usual schedule. The World Wide Developers Conference (WWDC) will be entirely on-line this year. The new MacBook Air and the 16” MacBook Pro have a new keyboard, using scissor keys, which has been getting good reviews. There is a new version of iOS which adds support for a mouse on the new iPad Pro (and some slightly older models). The new version may allow folder sharing with iOS devices and a Mac running Catalina. A member had seen a story about uninstalled apps on an iPhone using cellular data even when they are “uninstalled.” Ken and Pete had not seen the story and could not comment on it but they were going to do a little research into the story. T-Mobile has announced a new plan with 2 gigabytes of data for $15/month (5 gigabytes for $25) for people who do not need a plan with a lot of data.
People were asking about what lights Pete was using for his Zoom presentation (He showed several from Amazon) and commented how easy it was to use Zoom. Pete suggested getting familiar with Zoom; it offers a lot of options. His kids are using it to keep in touch with their friends and some schools are using it for online classes.
In Q&A tonight, (All using chat in Zoom), a member had gotten a notice that Time Machine was no longer backing up their hard drive. Ken Spencer suggested rebooting the computer to see if that helped, but noted that hard drives do die and it might be time to replace the Time Machine hard drive. Ken can walk you through archiving some of the older backups if the hard drive is just full. Or you may need to archive all the old data and start with new hardware. Another member had a friend who only has Internet service using their cellular connection and was wondering how their friend would be able to get computer updates. Ken noted that things could get better when 5G is finally rolled out.
We weren’t able to have the volunteer raffle tonight (or the main raffle). Pete and the board are working on how to do them for future meetings online. No new members tonight either.
After a 10 minute break, Pete was back with his Top Ten Websites (some of which he may have mentioned in past meetings). Pete keeps these in a folder in Safari so they are easy to get to.
Wolfram Alpha ( https://www.wolframalpha.com/)
All things statistical and mathematical related. You can enter a zip code and get all kinds of data about that area or enter two zip codes and get a comparison of both side by side. They have example you can check out on the main page. You can also enter a name and see how popular it is. Pete entered his daughters name, Kaleia and found out there are 18 people who spell their name the same way. When Pete did his name, there were 27,000+ people who spelled it the same way. Siri can access Wolfram Alpha as reference for some of the questions you ask Siri.
ReelGood ( https://reelgood.com/)
Allows you to aggregate all the streaming services you use and search all of them for a particular movie or show. When you first go to the site, you click on all the services you use/have access to and what channels you watch on TV. You can sign up for an account which will give you more information/recommendations, but you don’t have to have an account to use the website. Once you have checked off everything, you can search for a show or movie and the site will show what providers have it and how you get it (rent/buy or is part of the free show/movies on service). You can “like” a show to get recommendations based on what you like.
Foxfire Monitor ( https://monitor.firefox.com/)
This is a website that will tell you if your information has been part of a breach of a website or company and will tell you what information was “lost” in the breach. You enter your email and get a detailed listing of what was found by the website related to your email. The list can include name, password, physical address, etc. This site is not related to the Firefox browser.
Get Human ( https://gethuman.com/)
This site will show you how to get to a human being when you call customer service for a company. It shows you how to skip all the “press 1 for billing. press 2 for technical service, etc.” when you call. It will give you the current wait times and shows you the correct phone numbers and/or website address to use to get answers. They have an iOS app also.
Color Adobe Create ( https://color.adobe.com/create)
Pete really likes this site. It is a place on the web to get colors. You can “extract” a theme from a photo you drop into the site. The theme is a color palette based on what is in the photo. You can alter the palette once it has been generated by picking specific colors in the photo if you want. Each color will have a color code that you can use in other programs that understand the code. You can also generate a gradient based on your photo. This is one of the Adobe services that have altered Pete’s opinion of Adobe products (he also has altered his opinion on Microsoft lately). The website has an “Explore” button you can use for inspiration. Pete has fun coming to this site and playing around.
Pexels ( https://www.pexels.com/)
This is a site for “free” stock photos, photos you can use for a project without violating the artists/creators rights. They use a creative commons license and tell you what you need to if you use the photo for commercial purposes. The website gives you the option to contribute to the artist if you want or knowledge them on Instagram. They also offer videos under the same license.
Urban Dictionary ( https://www.urbandictionary.com/)
The place to go when you don’t know what something like LOL means (usually Laughing Out Loud). It does have some questionable content.
Gas Buddy ( https://www.gasbuddy.com/)
A website for finding the best gas prices in your area or as you travel (Ken Spencers comment, a Tesla owner, “Gas?” It does have an iOS app also.
Simple Wikipedia ( https://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/Main_Page)
A wikipedia with simple explanations for the items covered, if the main wikipedia page is to involved with an explanation, try here.
10 Minute Mail ( https://10minutemail.com/)
This website will give you an email address that is only good for 10 minutes, then it disappears. Useful for websites that ask for an email address to verify your account. Good when you have doubts about giving your email address out to a website, they can send the email to the temporary email address, you verify it, and then the email disappears so you will never get any junk sent to you via that address.
Snopes ( https://www.snopes.com/)
A website to verify/deny “facts” you find on the Internet. Not always 100% correct, but a good place to start.
FakeSpot ( https://www.fakespot.com/)
A place to go to research the Amazon “reviews” you find when looking for a product or service. Sometimes reviews have been paid for with free products to the reviewer or the company itself may post reviews. This site will indicate if the posted reviews are considered “real”. You go to Amazon, copy the link for the product you are looking at and the site lets you know if the reviews are considered good or doubtful.
CamelCamelCamel ( https://camelcamelcamel.com/)
Tracks the prices of items on Amazon to give you a price history. Good for checking the high and low price of an item and for checking the pricing trend. You can watch prices on items you are interested in and get alerts if the price changes. You paste in the Amazon link to get the pricing trends. They offer a web extension for Chrome and FireFox (not Safari). Honey is a browser extension that can do similar things and search for valid coupons for the item.
HowSecure is My Password ( https://howsecureismypassword.net/)
This website will evaluate the security of a password. It tells you how long it would take a computer to “crack” your password. It indicates by color as you enter the password how secure it is. One of Pete’s common ones was “OK”, his wife’s password would take some thousands of years for a computer to crack.
Web Archive -The Way Back Machine ( https://web.archive.org/)
You can put in the URL of a website and see it’s history, it will show you what the website looked like at a particular time in the past. Pete showed us Apple and Ford, but as he noted it is a slow website to load. Good in that it saves Pete from spending a lot of time checking things out.
Here are some of the links to other websites Pete didn’t have time to show us.
https://www.virustotal.com/gui/home/upload - a place to check suspicious files
https://www.isitdownrightnow.com/ - a place to check if a website is down
https://speedof.me/ - a place to check your Internet speed
Here are some other websites Pete talked about after I left meeting.
Honey Browser Extension for coupons and pricing
Pete did keep to the usual meeting schedule, we were done at 9:00 but Pete stayed on to answer some Zoom and other questions.
I look forward to seeing you at the next meeting (probably on-line) and remember to have a friend or family member check us out (easy to do if we are doing an online meeting). You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org.