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December 2019

MVCUG Meeting Notes

December 14, 2019

I trust you all had a merry Christmas, happy Hanukkah, and joyous Kwanza. As we are poised on the cusp of a new year I am finally getting the show notes together for the last Mike & Barry Show of 2019. My family holiday celebrations have consumed much of my time since journeying to Missouri to visit my parents and brother, so I hope you will forgive my tardiness.

Q&A

During our question and answer period Tony reminded us of our shared responsibility in the ongoing march of progress — both the benefits and the disadvantages. It behoves us all to be vigilant and informed when making decisions about the technology we buy and the ramifications of participating in the culture and ecosystems around them. If a company doesn’t provide the customer service you want, demand it or make different choices. Some progress is beyond our direct control, but we always have control of how we respond and act.

MVCUG Business

Once again we are saddened to share that another members of MVCUG, Grady Taylor, has passed away. Grady has been a regular attendee since I joined in the late ’90s up until just a few months ago. He could always be counted on for insightful questions and his sense of humor.

Our Web Master, Jim Emmons, has created a new page in the members section for obituaries of members who have passed over the years. Check it out to read about Grady’s life as well as several others.

Term of the Month

Digital Certificates
A digital certificate is an electronic file used to prove identity or encrypt and decrypt messages and computer communications.
Mike explained how certificates work for encrypted websites and what to do if confronted with an alert that a certificate has expired.
For instance, our website is not encrypted, so it doesn’t need a certificate. Your web browser may indicate that mvcug.org is not secure. But we don’t have any kind of user accounts to sign into, so encrypting traffic to and from your computer browser isn’t necessary, so we don’t pay for a certificate that needs to be renewed regularly. That’s why you only see “http” at the beginning of the URL.
Whereas, a site like your bank — where you have to sign in and you perform personal banking transactions — needs to be encrypted so the traffic is unreadable should it be intercepted by a ne’re–do–well (or worse). Encrypted sites’ URLs start with “https” (the “s” stands for secure). These sites need digital certificates.
A digital certificate authenticates the credentials of the website and lets the visitor’s browser know that the connection is with a trusted source. If you visit a site and get an alert that their certificate has expired, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s unsafe. It could just mean they have forgotten to renew it before the expiration date. If it persists, then you may want to contact the site via email or phone.

Tips o’ the Month

Windows:
Security Setup Options
Mike demonstrated the built-in security options in Windows 10. Here is Microsoft’s website on Windows 10 security.
macOS:
Hiding Non-Finder Clutter
If you have multiple windows open in multiple applications and you want to rid yourself of the distraction and clutter of the background windows when doing some file maintenance, just move your mouse pointer to Finder menu and choose the Hide Others command. All windows of all the other applications will disappear. They are not closed, but just hidden, as the command implies. Only the window or windows for the Finder will be left with no other clutter. The Hide and Hide Others commands live in the application menu (the menu just to the right of the Apple logo/menu at the far left of the menu bar) of most applications for macOS, so you can use this tip in other apps besides the Finder as well. The keyboard shortcut for Hide is command-H (⌘H) and the shortcut for Hide Others is option-command-H (⌘⌥H).
iOS:
Turn Off App Review Prompts
If you are tired of third-party apps bugging you with notification alerts to go to the App Store and review their app, there is a setting to turn that off. As long as the app developer is honoring Apple’s “rules,” you should not get any more alerts asking you to rate and review apps. Here’s how: 1) open Settings; 2) scroll down to iTunes & App Store, tap; 3) scroll down to In-App Ratings & Reviews and turn the switch off (if it’s green it’s on, so slide it to the left and it will turn gray — that’s off).
Bonus iOS tip:
Silence Unknown Callers
If you get a lot of phone calls from unknown callers (there’s just a phone number and an indication of state or country, but no caller ID), then you now have the ability to silence them. Once enabled, if you receive a call from a phone number that is not in your contacts, it will go directly to voice mail without ringing your phone. If, like me, you get an overwhelming number of robo calls, this is a great feature to turn on. Here’s how: 1) open Settings; 2) scroll down to Phone, tap; 3) scroll down to Silence Unknown Callers and turn it on (slide switch to right so it turns green).

Share a Favorite

Barry
AirPods 2
I actually got to show these and talk about them a bit. Here’s what I shared in the show notes last month: Apple’s second-generation AirPods are my newest favorite tech gadget. I take a walk of between 2 and 2½ miles every day. I almost always listen to podcasts while I walk. It is so nice not to have wires dangling from my ears down to my iPhone in my pants pocket. They also have Siri built in, so I can just say, “Hey, Siri” and tell it to do something like, “Send a message to my wife.” Siri responds, “Okay, I’ll send a message to Lucinda. What would you like it to say?” Then I tell Siri, it confirms and asks me if I want to go ahead and send it. I confirm, and the message is sent. All with no interaction with my hands while I keep on walking. I can also have Siri change the volume, skip ahead or back in the podcast, or even go to the next one in the queue — so cool!
Mike
Ask Woody Blog
Mike shared the fascinating history of this blog and blogger and showed us the site. If you have Windows questions, here’s the place to go.

Basic OS Operations

Mike and I went through a lot of information covering these points:

  • What is an OS?
  • OSes: a Brief History
  • File Management
  • Security Features
  • Keyboard Shortcuts
  • Screen Shots

Actually, as usual, we didn’t get through it all, but here are a few highlights and links for you to explore.

What is an OS?

OS stands for “operating system.” Simply, an operating system is software that provides an interface between the user and the computer hardware. It allocates system resources that applications and the OS need to function — automatically behind the scenes — so the user doesn’t have to worry or deal with it.

Brief History of Operating Systems

Even bring brief, this will be too long for these notes, so I encourage you to look this up on the interwebs if you are interested. Here are a few places to start:

File Management

After explaining exactly what a file is and how Windows 10 and macOS organizes files in folders/directories, we spent a bit of time going over the default folder structure each OS provides for users and the concept of file hierarchy and file paths. We explored how to search for files on both OSes and discussed the use of file name extensions. I’m sorry we didn’t record it for linking to here, but you can read about each operating system’s file management features here:

Security Features

Both Windows 10 and macOS have built in security features including anti-virus/malware protection, firewalls, and the ability to block tracking cookies while browsing the web. You can read about the Windows 10 security features at the URL linked to above in Mike’s Tip o’ the Month. Learn about the macOS security features on Apple’s website here.

Keyboard Shortcuts

We ran out of time before we got to discussing keyboard shortcuts, but here are a couple of links where you can explore on your own.

Screen Shots

What’s a screen shot, you ask? It’s just a picture of your computer screen at any given moment. Why would you want to take a screen shot? Having a shot of your screen to share can be invaluable if you are asking for help with troubleshooting a problem. For instance, an alert pops up on your screen that you don’t expect and you want to email John or I to ask what it means. But before you send the email you dismiss it and then send the email, trying to remember what it said and looked like. If you first take a screen shot and then attach that picture to the email so we can see what you see on your screen, we can better understand and as a result give you a better answer. This is just one example. Screen shots can be used for showing how to do something and train someone on the use of software as well.

So, how do you take a shot of your screen? It’s fairly simple to get started on both Windows and macOS. And there are more sophisticated options on both platforms that provide advanced features. Here are links to the support documents from Microsoft and Apple on taking screen shots:

And that brings me to the end of these notes and the end of 2019. Please join us on Saturday, January 11 for our next meeting. The topic will be “Cutting the Cable: Has the Time Come?” John will tell us about the various streaming video options and provide some live demos. You can decide if it may be the time for you to cut the cable … or not.

Barry
Barry “Bazza” Midgorden
Vice President (macOS)
Mountain View Computer Users Group
Sierra Vista, Arizona

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