The November 19, 2019, meeting of Strait Macintosh User Group focused on file management using macOS. The meeting was held at the Sequim Library, 630 N. Sequim Ave., Sequim, WA. Notes by Secretary Kathleen Charters.
Lawrence Charters brought the meeting to order at 7 p.m. President Sabrina Davis is out of the country for three months. She has reserved the Library meeting room through January 2020. Treasurer Annalis Schutzmann reported the treasury balance as of last month was $402.59. Four new memberships have improved the balance to $498.59.
Lawrence mentioned that bbPress has been released after a six-year development (https://bbpress.org/blog/2019/11/bbpress-2-6/). bbPress is a piece of forum software that integrates with WordPress sites, such as strait-mac.org.
Good news: it should work with SMUG’s WordPress site. This would allow SMUG to have ongoing conversations online about Macs, iPhones, iPads and related topics, similar to the old SMUG forums, http://www.straitmac.org/phpBB3/. (The old forum service will probably disappear by the end of 2019).
Bad news: SMUG would have to pay more money to host the forum. Our current level of service doesn’t allow SMUG to use WordPress plug-ins (i.e., extensions to WordPress), and the amount of server space to support forums would need to be increased. SMUG members need to give some thought to this subject, and decide if the group wants to set up a new forum service.
An alternative is to use a free, if less integrated (and clunkier) service on groups.io. We’ve set up an initial page, https://groups.io/g/strait-mac — use of the service requires members to sign up and be approved.
Please give this some thought; we’ll discuss it at a future meeting.
As discussed at the October meeting, a guide to installing macOS Catalina has been posted. Because of its complexity, the guide is an independent article: https://strait-mac.org/articles/securely-configuring-macos-catalina-10-15/, separate from the meeting minutes, https://strait-mac.org/2019/10/19/october-2019-configuring-macos-catalina-10-15/
Question & Answer session
Q: I have installed MalwareBytes (https://www.malwarebytes.com). It is asking for access to all my drives. Is this a legitimate request?
A: In general, you should be extremely cautious (and suspicious) of any request to install software, and even more suspicious to a request to give access to your drive. But in the case of MalwareBytes (and other anti-virus and anti-malware software), the software requires such access in order to search out malware, and protect your computer from malware attacks. Being very cautious is proper, but in this case, the request is appropriate.
Q: I got an email from Apple saying my account has been frozen.
A: Apple doesn’t send out messages like that. Instead, Apple will send you messages notifying you if you’ve subscribed to things, it will send receipts for things you’ve purchased, it will send out (if you’ve subscribed; https://lists.apple.com/mailman/options/security-announce/) messages about Apple security updates, etc.
Apple has published an article on how to identify legitimate messages from Apple: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201679
If you have any questions about your Apple account, you should visit https://appleid.apple.com/
This particular email was a scam. Current estimates estimate that for every single valid email message, there are over 100 pieces of scam, spam (unsolicited commercial operations), and outright malware. Apple’s iCloud service and Google’s Gmail service have outstanding tools for flagging “junk” mail, encrypt mail from end-to-end (to keep mail from spying eyes), and are highly recommended for helping stem the onslaught. Use the controls in Mail and Gmail to flag suspicious messages; this helps Apple and Google improve their filtering.
You should also strongly consider moving away from mail systems with limited scope and resources, or long histories of problems. If you want to retain an old Yahoo or AOL or some other address, set up that account to auto-forward all messages to an Apple iCloud or Google Gmail account.
Q: I gave my old iPhone to my spouse, but left my contacts on the phone. We soon find our contacts mixed in with one another’s. I tried deleting their contacts from my phone, but this deleted them from both phones. How do you fix this?
A: Anything you give away a phone, even to a spouse, you should completely erase it. Apple has instructions: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201351
Why the contacts are disappearing: since the phone was not erased, both phones are tied to a single Apple ID account, and Contacts is doing what it is designed to do: deleting contacts from that Apple ID account.
Since Apple ID accounts are free (up to 5 GB), erase the phone, set it up with a new Apple ID account for your spouse, and then they can maintain their own contacts, independently. If you need more space, Apple offers Family plans, allowing you to share storage across multiple Apple ID accounts, and still maintain things like Contacts independently.
Q: How do you share messages with your spouse if you have different email accounts?
A: If you want to share an incoming message, just forward it to your spouse’s email address. To share an outgoing message, cc (“carbon copy,” only without carbon paper) your spouse.
Q: What does “in the cloud” mean?
A: “Cloud” refers to the fact that small (or large) “clouds” of servers are set up to provide Internet services, and to store user information across multiple machines. This allows the service to respond faster to users, and safely store user information across many machines, protecting data from failures of individual machines or groups of machines.
When it comes to clouds, Google is not only the largest cloud service but the largest thing ever constructed by humans. Composed of millions of servers scattered across the planet, it is the most expensive, complex, and vast “machine” ever built. Apple’s more modest iCloud service is still vast, with server centers in North America, Europe, and Asia.
Q: Is there any easy way to clean up an email message that has been sent back and forth, through multiple replies?
A: In T.H. White’s The Once and Future King, the novel explains how Merlin lives backward in time, born old and gradually growing young, remembering the future and not the past. There is no easy way to read these long message strings, but you have a trick not available to Merlin: start at the bottom of the message string and read upward.
A page on the main topic, File Management, will be posted as an article when done. It is a bit too long to include as part of the meeting minutes.