Should You Update?

There are significant updates this fall — Mojave, the new Mac operating system, iOS 12 for the iPhone, and Windows 10 version 1809. Should you update?
My quick answer: If things are working for you now, you might want to wait for more bug-squashing updates, unless you need the enhanced functionality in the new versions. More details below.

iPhone Basics class openings

There’s still room in the iPhone Basics class I’ll be teaching at North East Seattle Together, NEST. The three-session series starts on Wednesday, October 24. Classes run from 10:30 until noon. You’ll learn about the camera and photos apps, other built-in apps, and various iPhone settings. Register now by calling NEST at 206-525-6378, or visit my website for more information:

Updates, updates, updates — what to do, what to do? 

Let’s look at iOS 12 first.
Released on Monday, September 17.

Some complaints revolve around a perceived poor calibration of the screen and photographs. So if you are editing your photos on your device, you may be throwing away good shots and keeping poor ones. Battery life is an issue for some people, as are issues with battery charging, Bluetooth, and wi-fi.
Apple has put out an update to address some of these issues, so if you have installed iOS 12, do install the 12.01 update also.

I’ve been running iOS 12 on all of my devices since the release, and I have no complaints. There’s a lot to like in iOS 12 — for instance, a more useful do-not-disturb function and a real-world measuring tool. So all things considered, I’m neutral on updating at the moment. As always, make a complete back-up and update at your own risk.

Macintosh, Mojave, OS 10.14 
Like any new OS, Mojave has received rants and raves. Some people have trouble installing it in the first place. There are issues with slow boot-up and performance, some apps not running, and a few privacy issues. A beta version addresses some of these issues, but there’s no word yet about the final release to the public.
Again, I would say I’m neutral on updating at this time. Bear in mind that thousands of people are running both new operating systems without any trouble. But if you’re in the ain’t broke, don’t fix it camp, you’ll probably want to wait.

Windows 10, version 1809
Some of the most common complaints include failure to install the update at all, broken audio, and post-update loss of network connectivity. But perhaps the most serious issue is that some users report missing files after they’ve updated.
Fortunately, this update is designed to download automatically but notautomatically install. Make sure that your system settings prevent updates from automatic installation. And check regularly for more updates.

I don’t feel qualified to make a recommendation about the Windows 10 update. So again I say Hold, unless issues and features in the new version overshadow the potential for problems.

I hope this information is helpful. I wish it were more certain. But if I could be that sure, I’d be one of the Motley Fools telling you where to invest your money.


Got a creative urge or professional design tool need?

An amazing collection of links and suggestions from the website Creative Blog ( If you have any desire to explore your creative side as a beginner or pick up some tools to use as a professional designer, you’ll find things of interest here.

The 29 best iPhone apps for designers

The 29 best iPhone apps for designers  page 2:

The best free graphic design software

45 best photo apps and photo editing software
https:/ /

Page 2: Best photo editing software:


The 14 best iPad apps for designers


13 iPad Pro apps that come alive with Apple Pencil


13 incredible tools for creating infographics


19 best painting and drawing apps for iPad


The best drawing tablet: our pick of the best graphics tablets in 2018


How to draw: the best drawing tutorials


75 best Adobe Illustrator tutorials:

Adobe Illustrator tutorials for beginner levels.

Adobe Illustrator tutorials for intermediate levels.

Adobe Illustrator tutorials for advanced levels.


10 sketching tips to help you make your first marks



75 best free fonts for designers

Serif fonts

Sans Serif fonts

Handwriting fonts

Vintage and Retro fonts

Brush fonts

Tattoo fonts

Graffiti fonts

Unusual fonts


How to choose the right drawing tools



How to become a better concept artist










How to improve your photography – an article & a Guru tip

If you want to be a better photographer, you need to take a lot of photographs.Taking a lot of photographs can be tough. You’ll say “But what should be taking pictures of?” Here’s a great article from called An Easy Street Photography Project to Get You Out There .

While the article says you don’t need to get up close and personal with strangers, one technique I’ve often used to overcome my shyness at photographing people is to approach them slowly and quietly holding your camera about the middle of your chest.  when they notice you, smile and say something like: “Excuse me, I’m in a photography class and our assignment this week is taking pictures of people. Would you let me take your picture, please?”

More often than not they will smile and enthusiastically agree, perhaps posing for you but you can ask them to go back to the positions they originally had or what they were doing. They will be very compliant and patient while you take a variety of pictures from different positions and poses. This is a good time to make sure you use the “Live” function on you camera.

After you’ve taken some pictures, your subjects will want to see what you go. Be familiar with tapping the small square thumbnail image in the lower left to switch to Photos so yo can show them. (The arrow in the upper left corner of the Photos screen will return the iPhone back to camera mode.)

Finally, be sure to cover the lens of the camera and take 5 or 6 black pictures so when you are showing folks their pictures you don’t accidentally scroll past theirs and start knowing them someone else that you have earlier taken pictures of. That could just be a little embarrassing.

The Apple Watch Is Great News for Seniors

The latest version of the Apple Watch has exciting new capabilities to help you monitor your health and safety.

I spent the morning watching the Apple product announcement event. The  presentation was focused on the Apple Watch 4 and three new iPhones.

What I saw of particular interest to seniors are the numerous new built-in capabilities and apps for monitoring your health and safety.

The watch will have fall detection based on extensive real-world human testing. If the wearer slips and falls, the watch will sense it. The screen will change to a button option to call 9-1-1. If the phone does not detect movement within one minute, it will automatically call 9-1-1 for you.

The other exciting news is about heart monitoring improvements in the watch. It can detect low heart rates. It will measure heart rhythms that might indicate atrial fibrillation. Finally, it will allow the wearer to take an electrocardiogram in real time, any time, any place.

The watch will be a major tool for doctors and other medical practitioners. It can record numerous measurements wherever the patient is, so the provider can see what’s going on even when the patient was not on site.

The watch has FDA clearance and will available for purchase in the near future.

And that’s not all! The three new iPhones they introduced are stunning. We’ll see how it all shakes out, but I’m quite impressed This was an Apple event that excites me about the future.

You can watch the entire presentation here:


Amazon isn’t the only place to get product reviews

A recent article in USA Today quoted some statistics about Amazon reviews: Fifty-five percent of shoppers start their buying research on Amazon, a survey by marketing firm BloomReach found, and half of all shoppers say they rely primarily on Amazon for reviews, according to Market Track, an e-commerce analysis firm.

Now I have no objection to that, but I think there are other websites that do a really good job of reviewing products that you should know about.

Tom’s Guide

Tom’s Hardware

The Wirecutter

Top 10 Reviews

Bookmark these and the next time you’re shopping for something, give these a try. I particularly like The Wirecutter myself.

How to create unique passwords you’ll never forget

If you’re getting tired of constantly having to make up passwords, keep track of passwords, or worrying about what might happen if you use the same password on multiple websites, here’s how to create unique passwords you’ll never forget, you’ll never have to write down, and that pass tests for strength.

1. Start by choosing a favorite 3- digit number. One that you will never forget. It might be the number of the house where you grew up, it could be the first three digits of your Social Security number, or it could be the year you got married.

House number that you grew up in  = 817
Start of your Social Security #= 612
The year you got married = 983.  (1983)

What you want is a number that you’ll always remember.

2. Take the domain name or the URL address of the website you need a password for and drop the “www” at the beginning and the com, org, or guru at the end. Take the first 6 letters             becomes   setapp               becomes   amazon   becomes   ipadip

3. Now tuck the first number of your three-digit number in after the first two letters. Tuck the second number and tuck it in after the next two letters. Then take the last number and place it after the final two letters.

For example, the company named SetApp might join with  817 and become se8ta1pp7.

What about a company with only 5 characters in their name, such as Apple. Add the letter “z” to the end: ap8pl1ez.

And companies with an abbreviated name uses the proper name.
HP = Hewlett   (Hewlett-Packard)
UPS = United (United Parcel Service)

4. Finally many websites require additional characteristics in a password. So just capitalize the first letter and use a number sign (#) at the very end. So the unique password for the SetApp company would be Se8ta1pp7#

This may look complicated at the first but you will be able to read the domain name at the top of your web browser address and add this the other elements, such as your unforgettable number and other additions (capitalize the beginning, add a number sign at the end), I think you’ll find this is fairly simple to use and will yield passwords that are secure.

Here are some sites to test the strength of a password.
(Using the password built from the guru domain: Ip9ad8ip3#)
4 years
6 years
97% – Very strong
Very strong
23 years

Hey Siri Is a Massive, Growing List of Everything You Can Ask Siri To Do

If you’re not using Siri for at least some things, you’re missing out on a powerful tool. Granted, one can feel somewhat silly talking to your iPhone. I know I did at first. But once you get over that and you learn some of the commands that are helpful for you, I think you’ll find it’s not so silly after all.

When I decided I would really make an effort to start using Siri, I started using Siri to set a timer for me. (I’m the cook in the family.) So it became very easy for me to say “Hey Siri, set a timer for15 minutes.” and Siri would answer back “Okay, 10 minutes and counting.”

Unfortunately, Apple doesn’t provide a complete listing of all the things you can say or ask Siri. From, here’s an almost complete list of everything Siri can do for you.

Everything you can ask Siri to do.

How to pick the cloud storage service that’s right for you

You probably already know about iCloud, Apple’s offering for storing music, photos, and other documents in the cloud. But there are a number of alternatives and this review from points out some are much better than others. Services included in this review:

  • Google Drive / One
  • Microsoft OneDrive
  • Amazon Drive
  • Apple iCloud
  • Dropbox
  • Box

How to pick the cloud storage service that’s right for you.