November 15, 2022: macOS Ventura and a bit of accessibility

In November 2022, we gave a brief overview of macOS Ventura, which had just been released. The focus was on some new goodies, some redesigned elements, and accessibility.

Several members had asked that the meeting, held via Zoom, be recorded, and it was — but not until the presenter remembered to turn on recording. Thus, the video, below, is incomplete. It covers most of the meeting, but not the Question and Answer session.

Also, after the recording was started, the presenter remembered that Zoom offered real-time captioning, and turned it on. The captions do not appear in the video, but Zoom provided a transcript of what was recorded. That has been pasted below the video.

Some things about the transcript: the times shown are the local time (in 24 hour format) during the presentation. The transcription started at 19:5o:33, which is at 7:50:33 p.m. There is a note in the video showing when the closed captioning (and transcript) started. The transcription was done via software, and there are errors. For example, it states that Lawrence used to work for Noah, the patriarch of all humanity. In reality, Lawrence worked for NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), and that happened a few thousand years after the deluge. The transcript is provided both because it is sometimes funny but also possibly useful.

If you want a larger version of the video, click on the YouTube logo. That will take you to the YouTube site, where you can select something much larger.

The transcript of the Zoom session (once it was turned on) follows. This was automatically generated by Zoom during the live captioning.

19:50:33 as i'm talking. it'll actually put down below what it is I'm saying it'll put it down at the bottom of the screen, and it got very very very good Well, Google had see a closed captioning and it
19:50:49 was terrible. We had a scientific presentation. we could agency.
19:50:55 I work for Noah. we had. We produce a lot of videos to tell people about climate change and title waves and currents, and whatever is a rip type.
19:51:05 All this sort of stuff, and we wanted to use closed captioning and we wanted to use Google's glows captioning.
19:51:13 Well, Google's closed captioning at the time was crowdsourced, and we soon found out that that when people contribute crowdsource transcripts to things, it was usually there were an awful lot of sexual terms and
19:51:25 obscenities and other things that we really didn't want being inserted into in a government webcast. so we painstakingly had to put in our own captions.
19:51:34 And it might cost us sometimes $10,000 to make a video and another $10,000 to have the transcription embedded in the video.
19:51:44 It was very expensive. Google has vastly improved their closed captioning.
19:51:51 They're built in closed captioning I was watching I was trying to diagnose a problem.
19:51:56 I put video up for my church and I was trying to diagnose a problem, and I turned on closed captioning because I didn't want to hear what i'd already heard 30 times.
19:52:06 So I turned on close captioning. It was very, very accurate.
19:52:13 So not only has zoom up the bar for Zoom, it's also up to bar for
19:52:20 Google. So Google's close captioning is much better and apples closed.
19:52:25 Captioning is much better. You can actually be in a conversation with someone over facetime and turn on close captioning to get a transcript of what you people are saying.
19:52:34 So it Accessibility is not just for handicap people it's for people who are trying to learn English.
19:52:42 It's for people who they don't fit whatever mold a particular event is set for as an example.
19:52:52 We had an accessibility feature in our home in Columbia.
19:52:56 When we moved into the home. Our daughter was Columbia, Maryland.
19:53:00 When we moved in. our daughter was 6, and when she went into the bathroom she said she couldn't see see the mirror, and we thought about putting a steps duel, but then she might fall off the steps. duel.
19:53:10 So what we did is we got a mirror and We placed it down just above the level of the sink, so she could see herself in that lower mayor, and then, when she was like 12, she said, You can take that other mirror
19:53:23 down. I don't need it anymore. so accessibility is to make it something more accessible to you in the context.
19:53:32 That's not the norm for a particular event or subject or our context, so it has.
19:53:37 It's not age-related it's not it's, not illness related.
19:53:41 It's just has to do with with the context in which you are in, and there are all kinds of accessibility controls build into the Mac, including this live captioning for things with facetime So it's it's
19:54:00 It's well worth the effort to find out about these things.
19:54:04 Now I want to show you something that's not an accessibility feature, and that is something that is well where the heck, is it?
19:54:12 I don't remember stage manager so I click on stage manager, and it's under doc and desktop and Doc.
19:54:23 So now if I just go out here and I look at desktop and Doc, it says stage manager someplace and I just made it go away.
19:54:32 Okay, stage manager i'm gonna turn on stage manager and now that stage manager is going to turn on I'm gonna launch dictionary again.
19:54:39 So here's dictionary and you notice that the controls zipped off to the side.
19:54:48 What stage manager allows you to do is have multiple things open on the screen at one time and rapidly move back and forth between them without being distracted by the others.
19:54:58 So I can switch between the preferences and Bb.
19:55:03 Edit, which is a text editor and dictionary.
19:55:11 Look up something that dictionary and I can switch back and forth between them, and I can copy something out of
19:55:21 Huh! I can copy something out of a dictionary and go to my text editor and say, I want a new document
19:55:39 And paste way in what I had in dictionary.
19:55:42 Bye found in dictionary all while leaving all these programs open, but I'm not distracted by having them all open.
19:55:52 You've also. probably all of you have also run into the situation where you bring up a web browser, and you've got a web browser.
19:56:01 I've go open, and you've got like a zillion wind windows open in your web browser, and then you go to something else, and then you can't find your web browser because it's buried behind all
19:56:11 the other windows. Well, with stage manager you can just go back and forth, and one of the neat things about stage manager is you can customize it so.
19:56:24 Among other things, you can have it as a desktop items.
19:56:30 You can have it for that. You can show all. All the windows at ones are one at a time.
19:56:36 You can customize how it is that you use it and it'll appear up here in the top menu, bar so you can turn on and off without going to the preferences.
19:56:47 So I got to turn it off. Everything stacks up the way they were before.
19:56:51 Turn it back on, and I only have one thing in front, so it's a apple talked about nuts, and I thought this was really cool.
19:56:59 You can have virtual screens on your Mac already. but I found out from experience that a lot of people, if they only have one monitor, and they have 3 or 4 virtual screens.
19:57:08 They tended to forget what we're in the screens that they couldn't see, because they were off screen and with this way.
19:57:15 This is, I I think this is a a really useful way to do it.
19:57:19 You can also minimize things and put it down on the dock.
19:57:22 But again, when you minimize things and put them down in the Doc, it's not as useful because people would forget that they were down there.
19:57:30 I had this one person they've been writing a novel for oh, months and months and months!
19:57:36 And they were real proud, because the previous day they had written a new entire new chapter.
19:57:41 3,000 words, but then they couldn't find their document well, they had minimized it in the dock, and they just couldn't find it.
19:57:48 But it was. it was just hiding down on the dock.
19:57:53 And this is a a much more elegant way of of
19:57:57 Keeping track of that, and I gotta stop sharing and ask if there are questions.
19:58:04 There are lots of things about Ventura that I could talk about for a long time.
19:58:10 But yeah, I have a question. So I have Monterey or whatever.
19:58:15 So do I just go into software, update press the button, or do I have to worry about it and agonizing
19:58:22 I I would not worry or agonize about it. I will.
19:58:26 There are some things that I I went to encourage people to always use the latest and greatest, because it's it's safest way to use your Mac.
19:58:36 But some things that could be an issue I had a friend who she's an artist lives in Indiana.
19:58:42 She had this ancient scanner and when she updated when I say ancient it they stacked like 2,006, and how she managed to even get it to work with Macos 10 I don't know ventura she couldn't
19:58:58 see it anymore, and if I had been in indiana and and actually could physically play with it, I might have been able to get it to work.
19:59:09 But she decided that after right, almost 18 years, that it was time to get a new scanner.
19:59:15 And and and she said she said, You know I just hate to waste it last year.
19:59:21 How much did you pay for it? $400 it's difficult to even find a scanner that costs $400 anymore.
19:59:29 So it's been a while since she had it but If you have a if have an old piece of equipment like an old printer and old scanner that might be an issue.
19:59:39 If you have adobe programs, adobe, acrobat photoshop, So on and so forth.
19:59:48 You might want to make sure that they are compatible with with ventura!
19:59:55 Adobe's usually a little slow on updating these things
20:00:01 And I have a whole bunch of adobe software and I didn't have any problem at all.
20:00:07 But I have another artist friend who was very upset that this one feature in photoshop wasn't working correctly, and I asked her what it was she did, and she told me in my eyes laced over and I
20:00:18 said, i'm sorry that doesn't work. but I have no idea even what she was talking about. just talking to foreign language for me.
20:00:25 I had no trouble at all but you can have if you have a if you have an old version of office, it may not work with ventura but if it wouldn't work with Monterey, either.
20:00:37 So if your Microsoft Office works with monterey it'll work with Ventura most of the pretty much.
20:00:45 Everything was transparent. A couple of things to note when you upgrade an operating system.
20:00:51 Apple rebuilds your email database.
20:00:54 So just plan on email, taking possibly hours and maybe days depending upon your Internet connection for the for it to rebuild it.
20:01:04 You can still use it. but it'll just seem slow it'll rebuild your new it'll rebuild your photos database, because I among other things that's offering this new duplicates
20:01:14 feature. So just expect some of that stuff to take longer I really didn't pay any attention, because I upgraded it late at night, and I forgot that i'd updated and went to use my machine the next morning and I
20:01:28 thought Wow, this is different. but I really didn't I really didn't have any problems at all great thank you.
20:01:41 I think the only computer we have that hasn't been updated is Kathleen's and that's not because I was avoiding It's just because she forgot to tell me to upgrade it it's my job to
20:01:53 update computers around here
20:01:59 She said, damn skipping She has a PHD.
20:02:05 In this, and she decides that you know she'll do the complicated stuff, the simple stuff I do any other questions.
20:02:15 How do you blur your screen? Oh, with then
20:02:22 I can actually Sh! I think right be able to do that.
20:02:26 If I go into I just lost you again. Oh, you just lost me again I just lost my
20:02:35 My zoom Well, I can hear you so it's there
20:02:46 If you go to zoom preferences. good!
20:02:52 What is it called backgrounds, backgrounds, and effects. One of the effects is blur, and if you click on blur, then you have blur, you can have no background draw, in which case it shows you all the junk behind me blur
20:03:06 blur, is it or I can go with San Francisco or whatever that is, or that's what it looks outside my house right now.
20:03:19 Okay, Good. thanks. it's so weird soon by the way this doesn't work.
20:03:31 If you're using zoom via browser you actually have to have the zoom app so if you're using it with a browser, it doesn't do that I I forgot to answer one of the questions anything
20:03:42 you want to do to prepare to move to Ventura?
20:03:46 Several things I would do. I would implement out your junk mail from email, because there's no point in upgrading your junk mail.
20:03:55 Why waste your computer's time with that I would empty your trash?
20:03:57 Because there's no point in indexing the trash and you trash can. if you have old applications that you haven't used in like 20 years, I would think about getting rid of them and i'll show you a way to do
20:04:11 that i'm gonna share my screen again. if I go into my applications.
20:04:20 I I need my where's my distract Oh, there you are, if I go into applications, these are all the applications on my computer.
20:04:31 If you say date modified the date modified means it's the last time that piece of software was updated. And this Actually, my stuff is fairly up recent.
20:04:43 But a lot of people. They might have things that were they downloaded from some place in 2,014.
20:04:49 Do you really need that thing that you downloaded in 2,014?
20:04:53 The oldest thing I have on my computer apparently dates to October 20, first, 2021.
20:04:59 So my stuff is fairly hurt recent. but a lot of people.
20:05:04 They have just stuff that they've been carrying around on their machine for decades.
20:05:08 When I upgraded kathleen's laptop 3 or 4 years ago, she was switching out a to a new laptop.
20:05:21 I found that she was still using She still had a copy of Norton Utilities on her machine from 1,994.
20:05:26 It wasn't useful. it hadn't been activated it was just taking up space, but it was still on a computer from 1994.
20:05:33 So I, you know, got rid of a bunch of that and she had said she wanted a larger, hard drive, and she ended up with about 200 gigs worth of empty space that she didn't have prior to that so she thought if
20:05:47 she was almost full, and she ended up with a computer was more than half empty by the time I got rid of the things like that.
20:05:58 But empty out your junk mail empty out to your trash.
20:06:05 Get rid of old apples and and the reason Why, It'll you can upgrade with all this stuff there.
20:06:13 But the Mac will index all of that and indexing trash and indexing jumped mail is not a good use of your computer's time.
20:06:22 So use it as a kind of spring house cleaning, please, spring house cleaning and November.
20:06:30 One more thing I wanted, I should mention Ventura is like 5 GB in size.
20:06:37 If you have a slow Internet connection, just plan on. do this.
20:06:44 Before you go to bed. just set it up to download and install it, and then go to bed.
20:06:51 Because once it went. it's starting to download the rest of It's pretty much automatic it's not gonna ask for your attention.
20:06:57 It's not like windows where you thought you updated windows, and then you go by the next morning.
20:07:04 You say now? are you ready to download it? And you think you already told it to do that?
20:07:08 And then I've got another update now apple doesn't do That Any other questions can I ask you.
20:07:17 Yeah, an iphone question. I just got a new I an iphone 13 a couple of weeks, and as soon as I got that I was no longer able to connect to carplay on my car and apparently it's a big problem for
20:07:36 a lot of people. I b our phone 13 or 1413 I have an iphone 13.
20:07:43 I'd have haven't had any trouble at all But if it's a new phone, you do have to go into Carb, you have to go into your not carplay you have to go into the the cars software, and you have
20:07:56 to say that. Yes, this is a new bluetooth phone that it needs to talk to because it's a new phone.
20:08:06 It's not the old phone. So you have to actually tell the cars software, not carpet the cars, software. hey?
20:08:13 This is a new device. Talk to it yeah i've done that. But you know, normally, when you go into car, play on the phone, and you can go in there and pick the car.
20:08:23 It just it just it doesn't load anything doesn't load anything like there's no car to pick and I just spent hours already trying to Yeah, do you have multiple cars no I have one car
20:08:44 And it just will not recognize you Go to car play and it'll go, you know.
20:08:50 Select. These are the cars, you know. It was super reuforcer, I mean, it worked fine on my old iphone. 7.
20:08:56 No problem. And then I suddenly get an iphone 13. I cannot connect.
20:09:02 How old is the super room? 2,015, Huh! You might see if Superu had to update their software.
20:09:11 I know that with with Toyota. I had to update my Toyota software before it would work.
20:09:20 It was working with carplay, but it would just suddenly just forget that it was talking to it.
20:09:27 And I had to update the toyota software In other words, I don't think it's a problem with carpet.
20:09:30 This sounds like It's more an issue with supers software So then so then I go to my dealer and talk to them or something I would. I would first go on to Google and I type. in the you know car, play and the name and the model your car.
20:09:56 And see what what you see it's you do not have the capability of updating software yourself.
20:09:59 Because that's something that the dealers hold quite dear but this sounds more like a issue with the cars software.
20:10:07 I had to a friend who had a Mazda who had a similar problem.
20:10:10 He had a 2,014 Mazda, and that we, it actually came out before car play existed and his solutions.
20:10:22 The problem is that he have bought a honda, but
20:10:27 But it was the software on the car itself. Other questions. Yeah.
20:10:35 If I tried to download venture on my old ipad or my old Mac that's still got an intel chip.
20:10:44 I think it's too old. the Internet says this tool but if I can.
20:10:46 I try it, anyway. I mean it won't Mr.
20:10:53 Lockwood, who's a member of our group that I don't see him.
20:10:58 I didn't see him in here today. He came he showed me something that somebody has a software patch.
20:11:03 Oh, there you are, Mr. Lockwood. He somebody has a software patch that allows you to run more modern software on older machines.
20:11:13 I'm definitely not a fan of this because a it violates apple's license agreement, which is one issue, but the more important one is in order to install the new software you have to disable the security on
20:11:25 your old machine. so updating your computer with a more secure operating system by disabling all the security, not some of the security.
20:11:38 All the security on your existing machine is not a great idea.
20:11:40 And the other problem is that the your older machine? it is gonna have a slower processor, slower video card, so on, so forth.
20:11:48 So I just if it's not compatible with that machine I wouldn't try.
20:11:52 So I just need to buy a new laptop. yes, I will tell you that.
20:12:02 If you have an existing flat screen, monitor and keyboard.
20:12:08 The Mac Mini is less expensive than a laptop.
20:12:11 A lot of people buy Laptops because they say they don't take a much rich space, but a Mac Mini is about the size of a stack of Dvds.
20:12:18 They take up very little space they've really quite powerful. but you have to supply your own mouse your own keyboard.
20:12:26 You're a monitor, and if you want a webcam you have to have a webcam.
20:12:30 So it's it's not necessarily a huge savings and money.
20:12:36 But a Mac mini is a very powerful machine, and a lot of people overlook it as a as a possibility.
20:12:42 Laptops You're paying extra because it's got all that stuff built in, and also to make it light.
20:12:50 The engineering to do that is is expensive.
20:13:02 And then use your old, and use your old keyboard and mouse
20:13:16 A lot of people say. Well, it's only a 24 inch screen, and I need something bigger.
20:13:20 It's a really bright very dense 24 inch screen.
20:13:25 So don't I don't just because it's not physically large, doesn't mean you don't like it.
20:13:30 It's very fascinating just amazingly crisp display, and it's also cheaper than a laptop.
20:13:39 So it's worth looking at. the at the imac, one that one slight downer for the imac that the cell at Costco they sell the low end costco one as low in model which means it has a small amount of
20:13:53 storage, and it doesn't have as much ram if you want more ram and more storage.
20:13:58 You have to buy it from apple but I would definitely look at you know, if you have a laptop that you're replacing, ask yourself if you really need a laptop because a Mac mini, or on imac are really very
20:14:12 nice machines. Good. thanks. I have a question I just tried to go, and de delete an app that I haven't used for a lot of years, and it asks for the password and I don't know what the
20:14:32 password is it's the password you use to log into your machine.
20:14:36 It's not a password to the to the app log into the machine.
20:14:41 You are the admin user and it's asking for the admin password perfect.
20:14:45 Thank you. One last thing I want to share with you before we go because it, if you're talking about moving old apps, something that you might want to look into, and that is and application that is, free.
20:15:06 And it's called app cleaner and with app cleaner you drag the application here's your list of applications.
20:15:15 You drag one of them onto app cleaner like a bit defended, which is an anti virus thing.
20:15:21 You drag it onto. Yeah, because i'm using stage manager it doesn't want me to drag it on there, so i'll turn it off.
20:15:32 And I need to close some of this stuff
20:15:40 Don't say this is why stage manager is handy Because you've got all this stuff cluttering up your desktop when I drag this bit cleaner onto my app cleaner?
20:15:56 It looks where everything is stored on, where all of the stuff from bit cleaner stored on my drive.
20:16:03 So, instead of just getting rid of it out of the applications folder, it looks inside of other.
20:16:07 The directories where parts of bit cleaner are stored, and it offers to get rid of that too.
20:16:14 I really highly recommend app cleaner it's a free program and in order to find it.
20:16:20 You go into Google and you type app cleaner and then say, Mac, because there might be other applicators out there, and you come here.
20:16:34 It says it's available at free soft and you say that you want to download version 6 for mohammed right? Actually, it's not it's not updated for ventura but does make the difference.
20:16:51 We're gonna download this, anyway. you click on it says do you want to allow downloads, you say allow?
20:16:57 And you download app theater but it doesn't cost you anything at all.
20:17:00 It doesn't leave any leftovers when it Deletes programs, which is why I like it, and it's also got a really good price.
20:17:09 Nothing for next month, if kathleen and I We've been really busy, and it's Kathleen's clergy, and it's that time of year when clergy get really busy but if we have
20:17:25 time. We want to do a presentation on health applications for your phone, for your ipad, for your Mac for your watch.
20:17:37 Do a presentation on that, because you might decide for the holidays that you might want to get an apple watch, or something. that, among other things, will help you with your health.
20:17:48 We'll We'll plan on doing that in December, and she's going to be doing most of that because she's Dr.
20:17:57 Kathleen, and i'm not any questions Yes, yes, this is off the subject a little bit.
20:18:08 But what do you think about hide my app and what's?
20:18:12 What's the pros and cons of hide my app hi my ?
20:18:17 I had my email let me. Oh, hi! my email apple.
20:18:21 Does that? Because if you, when you register with a lot of sites, you have to give them your name.
20:18:27 Address phone number blood type with Mexican and I actually have email addresses for that, so that when I go to some place that I really don't care about through stuff, I have a Google address that I use with to track down hackers But it's
20:18:39 not my name. it's not my information and I use that address when somebody wants to have my name for to allow me to see their catalog prices.
20:18:51 Something like that. What hide my app does is it makes that part of apple mail so that you don't have to have multiple email addresses.
20:19:00 You just use your own, and when you go to this place and it wants to know your email address, the Mac will generate an email address to be used just with that site and it keeps track of it.
20:19:14 It still comes into your regular mailbox. but in their records your email addresses X, Y. Z.
20:19:20 L Kw: it's it's some piece of nonsense and it it. It hides your identity so that if they have a data breach and they get your email address and phone number the email address and the phone number and and your local
20:19:35 address that all of that could be garbage just stuff that you use.
20:19:39 Use the post office, you know. 240 south sunny side swim, Washington.
20:19:44 That's your address and this phony email address and give it information as your phone number and that way.
20:19:52 If they have a data breach it doesn't hurt you this isn't for things where you actually spend money.
20:19:56 So you know Sears is gonna want your to see your still exist.
20:20:01 But vendors that you actually deal business with your.
20:20:04 You want to give him a legit things but for things like my mother subscribed to all of these clothing catalogs.
20:20:11 They didn't really need all that they just wanted stuff that they could market things to her.
20:20:16 So you say, hide my email address and that way they'll spare this fake email address, and you can just say everything from this address.
20:20:23 Just send it directly to junk and that way you don't have to deal with it. And if they have a data breach, they get nothing useful.
20:20:33 Okay, I I did that with the I signed up for a webinar, and I thought, oh, I'll do that.
20:20:38 Well, then it screwed everything up and they didn't recognize me, and I couldn't get for things where your identity is important.
20:20:49 You know you want to use a a real account name with the Irs and with your bank and things like that.
20:20:54 But but for things like Etsy is running a free contest to get a boat that has a crochet cover.
20:21:04 Why anyone would want that. I don't know but say you want to sign up for that.
20:21:08 But you don't want to get the rest of the etsy advertising.
20:21:10 Then you use one of these, hide my email and it signs up.
20:21:14 And if you win the contest great, and if you don't then you can just delete that fake email address, and you won't get any more.
20:21:21 Email. Okay, Thank you. Any questions. Okay, Thank you so much. Thank you.

Questions and Answers

For our October meeting, we had no planned program, but instead an extended Question and Answer (Q&A) session on almost anything concerning Macs, iPhones, iPads, Apple TV, etc. And we recorded it:

For a larger view, click on the YouTube logo.

URLs of items mentioned in the meeting:

Take Control Books: https://www.takecontrolbooks.com/

A discount code for Take Control Books is posted on the Discussion Boards.

Google begs Apple to change Messages: https://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2022/08/new-google-site-begs-apple-for-mercy-in-messaging-war/

Good luck with that.

Guide to Apple TV+: https://9to5mac.com/2022/10/14/apple-tv-plus-tv-shows-movies-guide/

This is exceptional: short, capsule summaries of the series or movies, complete with a video clip or trailer.

Use your iPhone as a white noise generator: https://www.theverge.com/23131327/how-to-iphone-white-noise-background-sounds-ios-15

Hidden in plain sight.

Notes from the meeting will follow.

Terms and Conditions game

At the last meeting, we talked about, among other things, Apple’s changes to their App Store and how they helped protect your privacy. To take the most controversial change, Apple changed the rules for iPhones and iPad applications, forcing the apps to explicitly ask to track your behavior.

Facebook has launched a massive lobbying and advertising assault on Apple, claiming this is anti-consumer, as it doesn’t allow Facebook to carefully craft advertisements and promotions to the user. Apple has pretty much ignored Facebook’s assault, focusing on explaining the change and pretending Facebook doesn’t exist.

But there is another avenue for privacy breeches that users often overlook: Terms and Conditions. Almost nobody reads these, but even worse, many people don’t pay any attention to the Terms and Conditions dialog boxes. So — someone wrote a game to show you how Terms and Conditions has, itself, evolved into a shell game.

https://termsandconditions.game/

Don’t be surprised if you get middling to low score.

iPhone and COVID-19

Apple and Google collaborated in the spring of 2020 (long, long ago) to create a “passive” COVID-19 exposure system, which was released on May 20. It is “passive” in that, once it is turned on, you really don’t have to do anything for it to work. But – you do have to turn it on.

It also requires— because this is the United States and instead of one government, we have over 50 — that a given state set up the necessary infrastructure to handle the tracking. The tracking is entirely anonymous, and the only person who gets notified of your exposure is — you.

You can read more about Apple and Google’s work on this innovative system in Wikipedia’s article on Exposure Notification.

Requirements:

  • You need an iPhone
  • It needs to have a current version of iOS
  • You need to turn on Exposure Notifications (go to your iPhone Settings > Exposure Notifications)

Exposure Notification

There are just a few settings, essentially telling your phone to accept notifications, and to verify that you are in Washington State (or wherever you happen to be).

Settings under Exposure Notification

Virginia was the first state to support Exposure Notifications. Since then, Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Wyoming, the District of Columbia — and Washington State — have added support.

How it works: your phone will use near-field communications (NFC), a very low-power radio signal, to take note of other phones that you come near. If at some future date the owner of one of those other phones reports a COVID-19 exposure, the Exposure Notification system will alert you. All of this is done anonymously, and voluntarily. Obviously, in order for the technology to work, literally millions of people need to turn on the notifications, and then also share that they’ve had a COVID-19 diagnosis, if they do get a positive test.

You can read about Washington’s program, called WA Notify, on the Washington State Department of Health website.



Addendum: WA Notify was announced on Monday, November 30. Within 24 hours, more Washington State residents had opted in to the notification system than any other state. By Friday, December 4, more than a million residents were using the system.

Ideally, notifications should be activated on at least 70% of all mobile phones in the state — Android and iPhone — for peak effectiveness. Ask your friends, neighbors, relatives, coworkers, and others to participate. When it comes to the pandemic, the entire planet is in this together.

Drive-in WiFi hotspot finder

Washington State has been working on improving access to the Internet, in part as an incentive to growing the local economy and, more recently, as a means of helping residents work, shop, and attend school remotely during the pandemic. One key initiative is adding more public WiFi hotspots.

The state now has an interactive map for finding WiFi hotspots:

Clallam public WiFi hotspots, from the Washington State interactive hotspot location finder.

On the one hand, Clallam County, in particular, is not heavily covered by WiFi hotspots. On the other, it has more than one might expect, given that the county is decidedly not urban.

Sorry, no WiFi hotspots at Lake Crescent or Hurricane Ridge or Dungeness Spit. The eagles and elk and seagulls need to do more lobbying.

Apple special event: speed

Apple sent out an invitation today to a special event on October 13, 2020, 10 a.m. Pacific Time.

This is the sum total of what they are revealing at this time:

Possibilities:

  • Apple will announce its long-awaited hovercar.
  • Apple will announce the launch of its own space venture, competing with Space X, and Blue Origin, and Virgin Galactic.
  • Apple will announce its surprise entry into competitive bicycle racing.
  • Apple will announce its own gigabit-per-second Internet service.
  • Apple will announce a really fast computer using Apple Silicon.
  • Apple will announce it has purchased the rights to a 1994 film featuring Keanu Reeves, Sandra Bullock, and Dennis Hopper.
  • Apple will do something else.

You should be able to watch the event on any Internet-connected Apple device, but if you have an Apple TV, I highly recommend watching it on your big screen TV.

July 2020: WWDC 2020

Notes by Kathleen Charters

In July, we had a quick review of Apple’s Keynote address at WWDC 2020 (World Wide Developer Conference 2020). But first,

Question and Answer (Q&A) session

Will you demonstrate the Big Sur developer release?

Non-disclosure agreements govern what can be said, and shown; can only repeat what Apple has said in public (with some speculation on things not yet known.)

Should I install the public beta test of Big Sur?

Best Practice: Use a Mac not used for anything important; an expendable machine should be used for Beta testing so testing will not disrupt anything; debugging code slows things down, some of the code functionality is not complete yet. Sometimes, you may have to erase a beta test machine and start over. If you aren’t willing to erase your computer, don’t install the beta test.

What about beta test of iOS?

Public Beta OS is available on the Apple site for each device (Mac, iPad, iPhone, Apple Watch, Apple TV). Only install beta software on a device that you can afford not to use. Keep in mind that you must complete a beta test agreement in order to be a tester, and submit bug reports to Apple.

When will these new operating systems be out?

Apple didn’t say. Traditionally, new releases come out in September-October. COVID-19 has limited developer development and interactions. New OS features may be incompatible with existing virtual conference software, for example; other developers will see a tester disappear and not know what it was that caused the crash. Not clear at all if Apple will be able to complete development, testing and certification of all platforms in time for usual fall rollout.

I did not receive a meeting announcement.

Announcements for the meeting were sent out via E-mail; if you did not receive an email and have signed up, please send an e-mail to Lawrence. Also, check your spam folder, as mail systems give a higher “spam” score for mass messages sent with addresses listed as BCC (blind carbon copies). Also also, we may not have your correct email address, as we’ve had trouble reading some things written on the sign-in sheets. Kris Eklund also posts announcements on Next Door, https://nextdoor.com/.

My Apple Watch is missing some apps after an operating system upgrade.

The Apple Watch needs memory on the computer to do an upgrade. If there isn’t enough memory to complete an upgrade properly, the operating system will delete apps from the watch. This is not really a problem, since the apps are still on your phone. Just use the Watch app on your phone to add the apps back after the OS upgrade.

When looking at Apple Mail vs Gmail on iPad or iPhone, how do I get a list of contacts?

Google is a Web services company and Gmail is Web-based, so open Gmail from a web browser on your desktop computer. In the upper right-hand corner, there is an icon of a cluster of squares, indicating other applications. Click on it, and you wil see one is for Contacts. Google’s Contacts service is shared among all Google services, including Google Docs. Google has online documentation on how to export Apple contacts and import them into Google Contacts. You can also use Apple Mail to view Gmail, in which case Apple Mail will use Apple Contacts for Gmail. On my Mac, I prefer to use Kiwi for reading Gmail, as it allows me to open and view multiple Gmail accounts at once. Kiwi is on the Apple Mac App Store.

Meeting Begins

President Sabrina Davis welcomed everyone to the meeting. Sabrina was overseas for several months, leaving before the pandemic and then getting caught up in mandatory quarantine measures.

SMUG Treasurer Annalis Schutzmann was asked: how do members pay dues when we do not meet in person? You can mail checks to Annalis; use the Contact form on the website, https://strait-mac.org/contact/ — to write to her for the mailing address.

Annalis is working with Lawrence on an online database with the dates of when dues were paid. Lawrence is going to add some logic to flag when dues should be renewed; the treasurer will then send an e-mail to tell where to send checks to join or renew.

SMUG did spend money on a Zoom subscription for the virtual meetings so we can host meetings longer than 40 minutes. Members can attend for free no matter how long the meeting lasts; you do not need to pay for an individual subscription. Lawrence was critical of Zoom’s privacy and security, but Zoom does a good job with controls for running a meeting. Zoom can also be used for troubleshooting by sharing the desktop and for teaching people how to use programs, such as how to use Zoom.

We did consider FaceTime, but while it has superb privacy and security controls, it just isn’t suited for groups of more than three or four at once.

SMUG treasury balance as of last meeting was $752; this meeting the balance was $651.08 after paying for a Zoom subscription.

SMUG elections will will be in October, with all offices open for nominations: President, Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer.

SMUG is now properly listed on the Apple User Group Resources website, https://appleusergroupresources.com/find-a-group/.

Presentation: World Wide Developer Conference 2020 (WWDC 2020)

This year, you can attend the World Wide Developers Conference for free. The Keynote can be streamed from Apple’s site, and is also available as an Apple TV application. It is two hours long, and is chiefly aimed at software developers. The SMUG presentation will touch on several topics, and add some opinions. You can download the meeting slides from here:

The presentation (sorta) follows the slides.

Apple Safari is the most popular web browser in the world because it runs on iPhones, iPads, and Macs. Until recently, the underlying technology for Safari, WebKit, was also the foundation for Google’s Chrome browser.

Safari – Apple is planning some fundamental changes to Safari’s security and privacy capabilities. You can download the beta now; you don’t need to wait until Big Sur is released.

Apple Silicon – Apple is planning to finish converting all their devices from Intel and other processors to Apple processors. Apple has been using Intel processor chips for 20 years, but the architecture has run into performance bottlenecks that limit improved effectiveness. Also, last year some researchers found a (complex, hard to trigger) zero-day security flaw in all Intel processor chips — all of them — that allow machines using these processors to be compromised.

iPhones, iPads, Apple TV, and Apple Watch already run on Apple Silicon processors, and Apple Silicon Processors are in some recent iMacs and MacBooks, used as security processors for encryption and filtering things coming in from the outside. That means Apple has successfully “tested” Apple Silicon in close to two billion devices; the Mac lineup is the only thing left that is still Intel-based.

Aside from security and performance, Apple can also customize Apple Silicon processors to more closely meet their needs. For example, adding video and sound processors, and video memory to the Apple Silicon processor eliminates the need for separate chips and plumbing to do these functions.

As demonstrated by the iPhone and iPad, Apple can also control power use and heat better through their custom processors. This should result in longer battery life, and less need for noisy fans for cooling.

Apple Silicon is considered a System on a Chip (SoC) processor, allowing support for 64-bit operations, graphics acceleration, WiFi, BlueTooth, control of heat, management of battery consumption, and increase speed, all on one chip.

Also in the new operating systems: new emoji, 171 of them. Personally looking forward to the dodo and ninja icons. The bubble tea icon, which looks to me more like a chocolate milkshake, will also be handy.

macOS 11 Big Sur: this will be a big change. As a clue: this is Apple’s first operating system in 20 years that isn’t named macOS 10.something.

Control Center: Control panel similar to iPad/iPhone for most common changes people make.

macOS 11 Dock – icons in Dock will look the same as in Finder, and on iOS; more consistent is better for accessibility.

Notification Center – will group items, will add control of the most useful to Control Center, and use same icons on macOS and iOS.

Safari startup: the Safari start page will have the sites you most often visit, plus any customizations. You can also customize the background image used by Safari.

Sarai tabs: hover over a tab and get a preview of the page without opening the page.

One-button web privacy report – see who is tracking you on a given site, with the ability to turn off one or all trackers so businesses cannot track you.

Safari translation – not as extensive as Google, but easy to use for selected languages. The translation takes place on your machine; if additional help is required, an anonymous packet is sent off so Apple does not know who requested the information (Google, in contrast, tracks translation requests).

Messages – able to customize Memoji (previously limited just to iOS); group member Memoji make it easier to know who is in a group conversation.

macOS Big Sur: Will support Apple Silicon-based Macs and Intel-based Macs; will run on both. Developers can translate iOS apps to the Mac; this will be a huge gain for game players on the Mac as they can move their games to the desktop with just a recompiling, and converting touch gestures to mouse gestures.

Privacy: Every app, on every Apple app store (Mac, iPad, iPhone, Apple Watch, Apple TV) will have a new privacy policy. You can check to see if developer uses your location pr other information in one easy to read page.

iPhone – iOS Library – if you select it, iOS will automatically group your apps into “Libraries” of similar apps such as Games, Productivity, Navigation, etc. No longer will you have to swipe through pages of stuff to find what you want.

Picture in Picture (PiP) – will allow you to continue to be in a conversation (e.g., FaceTime) and can do other things, or watch a video and write about it.

Groups in Messages – you can set up groups and easily see who is in the group by viewing their Memoji.

Incoming call – you can see who is calling and decide what you want to do about it.

The Home app, previously available only on iPhone and iPad, is coming to the Mac.

New Home screen for HomePod allows you to see what a specific device is doing and control it. The current Home screen is utterly useless…

Apple Translation is coming to iPhone and iPad, in addition to Mac.

Watch OS7 – you will be able to track and check on sleep health; sleep cycle based on personal sleep goal; tracks heart rate and .

Automatic hand washing to make sure wash hands for long enough, complete with an animation and countdown, and feedback on whether you spend adequate time washing hands; a boon for COVID-19 prevention.

These are just a small subset of the topics covered in just the keynote. A huge amount of information was provided – this covers the most useful changes for the SMUG population.

Questions:

Will these new operating systems support my device?

If you have a device with the most current OS, you should be able to run the new one, if no incompatibilities are found during beta testing.

Are older operating systems less secure?

Apple provided Security updates to everything last week going back to High Sierra; you are encouraged to install the updates; protect yourself from being hacked, do not get too far behind – invest in a new machine if cannot run Catalina.

When a new OS comes out, Apple no longer offers the old one so get up to date now.

But how do I handle my 32-bit apps?

Every Apple device will be 64-bit only; they will not run 32-bit software going forward. If you positively can’t live without a 32-bit app, find an older Mac or iPhone or iPad and use it just to run the 32-bit apps; run new apps on current OS.

Moving from Catalina to Big Sur will be a huge step – wait a week or two before downloading it when it comes out; will be released in fall (around October).

You really do what a machine capable of running Catalina right now. If you want a reliable source for older machines (with guarantees ranging from 90 days to 1 year); OWC sells older machines, and Apple sells refurbished older machines.

Apple store in University Village – how are they operating under COVID-19 rules?

Don’t know. Apple stores in Tacoma and West Seattle are the closest, but haven’t been across the Sound in months.

Costco for Apple products – does not always have the best price, only have one version and it may not be the version you want/need; may not be able to upgrade it; recommend at least 16GB memory, check on size of storage – recommend at least 500 GB or more; new machines have USB-C connections so can attach external storage; do cost comparison. Caution: Best Buy clerks and Costco clerks may not be as knowledgeable you might want them to be. When it comes to storage, keep in mind that movies and photos take up a lot of space, messages with images attached can take up a lot of space. Average mac person keeps a machine 7 years – think about the future for memory and storage.

Will the new machines require more memory?

New Macs with RISC chips – does not require more memory (outdated concept – was an issue early on but no longer a limiting factor); video audio photos use memory.

Chrome browser wants 8-10 GB memory for caching pages so runs faster, this takes memory.

Should I wait for the new computers? My current one is old.

If in need of a computer now – buy one, it will take time to have Apple Silicon Macs designed, built, and distributed, in past it took 2 years to transition to new chips.

I’m hesitant to go to Catalina – need to upgrade 32-bit to 64-bit before upgrade OS.

If you are already running in 64-bit, the app will run on Catalina; currently there is no way to safely run 32-bit programs; MS Office 2011 32 bit will not run under Catalina. Numbers is free if Excel no longer runs; if purchase MS Office 365 subscription can put it on up to 5 devices; Office Home is $69.95 – look around for best deal, comes with 1 TB cloud storage. And KeyNote is better than PowerPoint.

Will the new watchOS work on older watches?

Apple only talked about the new operating systems, and not hardware. Unless some feature uses something not on your watch, if your current watch is running the latest watchOS, it will probably work with watchOS 7.

Random comments:

Developers can purchase MacMini for development platform. The Mac mini comes with an Apple Silicon CPU, rather than an Intel CPU.

Movie on Apple TV+: Greyhound is a World War II movie with Tom Hanks; very highly recommended.

Expect first Apple machine with Apple Silicon to be a laptop since a laptop would be an obvious beneficiary from improved battery life and heat management.

Apple demonstrated some very impressive text recognition capability, which should serve as a preview for what the new iPadOS offers.

LIDAR facial recognition for iPad and iPhone may be next.

Next month

Next month: digital photography: taking photos

Future topic: Time Machine Back-ups.

World Backup Day

March 31 is World Backup Day. While not an officially recognized holiday or commemoration, the date should serve as a reminder that you would be very, very unhappy if your Macintosh crashed, or you lost your iPhone or iPad.

While there are lots of statistics on the importance of backing up your data, here are some of the more sobering:

  • 20% of computer users have never backed up their data.
  • 10% of smartphone users have had their phone stolen.
  • Almost 100% of computer and smartphone users have been targeted by malware designed to either steal your data or corrupt it.

Fortunately, it is very easy to backup a Macintosh. Time Machine, the backup software included with every version of macOS since MacOS 10.6, requires nothing more than a spare disk, attached to your machine via FireWire, Thunderbolt, or USB 3.0. (USB 2.0 works, too, just more slowly.) You can get an external drive, inexpensively, from Other World Computing, Office Depot, Best Buy, Amazon, or even Apple’s website.

If you’ve never used Time Machine, Apple has clear instructions if you need help: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201250

Backing up your iPhone, iPad, or (if you still have one) iPod is possibly even easier, and again, Apple has clear instructions: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT203977

Keep in mind that your iPhone probably has your most complete list of names, addresses and phone numbers of your relatives, friends, coworkers, hair dressers and barbers, and other important contacts. Your iPhone probably has thousands of photos on it, many of them located nowhere else. Backing up all of this information to your Mac or to the cloud is — easy.

Similarly, your Macintosh probably has financial records (including income tax records), movies, photos, songs, your unfinished novel, and tens of thousands of other documents that you’d find very depressing if they disappeared.

While you are sheltering in place and observing social distancing, shelter your data: back up your iPhone, iPad, and Macintosh.

Working from home temporarily

Jay Inslee, Governor of the State of Washington, today issued an emergency proclamation mandating an immediate two-week shutdown of all bars, restaurants, entertainment and recreation facilities. Many businesses that have not shut down have told employees to work from home.

But what is involved in “working from home?” Take Control Books has an answer: today they issued a new book, Take Control of Working from Home Temporarily, by Glenn Fleishman. Best of all, it is free.

Even if you are retired, or a student, you should find this book of value. There are tips on the care and feeding of your computer, furniture you should use, the merits of an external monitor (if you have a laptop), and many other nice tips.

You might want to check out their other books, too. They are not free, but you can download them electronically; no need to leave home.

Books about Macs Black Friday sale

In recent meetings, we’ve mentioned Take Control Books. Originally done as an offshoot of one of the first Macintosh mailing lists (established in 1984), Take Control Books are electronic books dealing with mostly Mac-centric topics, such as macOS, Photos, Pages, etc.

Take Control Books is having a “Black Friday” sale on some of their most important books, including several mentioned in recent meetings. While I haven’t read most of these, I do have quite a few of their books, and highly recommend them. They cover critical Mac topics quite well.

Here is the announcement of their sale, with links:

✩✩✩

The sale is on! From now through next Monday, December 2, we’re having a Black Friday/Cyber Monday sale—50% off on our most recent releases. No coupon or special links are required.

Here are the books that are on sale:

Connect and Secure Your iPhone and iPad
Take Control of Automating Your Mac
Take Control of Calendar and Reminders
Take Control of Catalina
Take Control of iOS 13 and iPadOS 13
Take Control of macOS Media Apps
Take Control of Notes
Take Control of Photos
Take Control of Upgrading to Catalina
Take Control of Wi-Fi Networking and Security
Take Control of Your Apple ID
Take Control of Your Browser
Take Control of Your Digital Photos

The sale ends promptly at midnight on Monday, December 2 (Pacific time).

✩✩✩

They have a large number of books available, covering almost any Mac or iOS topic you can imagine: https://www.takecontrolbooks.com/catalog/

The nice thing about their books: because they are electronic, you can find a book you want, buy it, download it, and be reading it almost immediately. Books are available in ePub (iPad and iPhone), Mobi (Kindle), and PDF (Acrobat) format.