Pre-Holiday Bits & Bytes

by | Dec 16, 2014 | 5 comments

While hard at work on an AltiM@c holiday greeting for your reading (and perhaps even singing) pleasure, it struck me that there are more than a few Mac-specific concerns deserving of at least some mention here, before we find ourselves ringing in the New Year.

So without further ado, here’s a quick Q&A focusing on the issues many of you have been encountering as of late:

Q. Is it finally safe to upgrade to Yosemite?
A. That’s a qualified “yes.” Now that Apple has released the 10.10.1 bug fix, I can’t find any compelling argument against making the jump to Yosemite. My only note of caution would be that those of you still using OS X 10.5 (Leopard) or 10.6 (Snow Leopard) with pre-2008 versions of some programs (Office 2004, Adobe Creative Suite 2 or earlier, Quicken 2007 to name a few) will need to buy some newer software. Hey, at least Yosemite itself is free…

Q. What about iOS 8?
A. Now that they’ve put the Camera Roll back, and the iCloud Photo Library seems to be working quite well, I absolutely think you should move up to iOS 8. Users of the iPad 2 and the iPhone 4s who are concerned about performance with the newest iOS have little to fear, since the iOS 8.x bug fixes rectified those issues for the vast majority of users. Then again, if you’re using an iPhone 4s you’re way overdue for an upgrade anyway. Speaking of which…

Q. Should I get the iPhone 6/6+?
A. I’m kinda mixed on this. Yes, they are both awesome in terms of speed, display quality and camera, and the iPhone 6+ screen is massive in comparison to its forebears. My concern with the 6+ is that it’s just too big to handle comfortably in one hand, and presents a challenge to those who spend some part of their day inserting and removing their phone from their front pants pocket. Even the 6 is on the tall side…

My advice would be to get the 5s while it’s still available and $100 less, since the only really significant feature missing from the 5s versus the 6 is the ability to use Apple Pay. But hey, if you really want/need a larger screen and you don’t keep your phone in your pants pocket, don’t let me talk you out of a pretty remarkable piece of hardware.

Q. Why do I keep getting “blocked plug-in” messages?
A. You can thank the Adobe Flash plug-in for that, as well as all the Web site developers who still insist on using Flash for video and other content on their sites. Given that the iPhone and iPad, as well as the vast majority of Android tablets, seem to get along just fine even though they can’t even run Flash, I eagerly await the day when Flash no longer exists on any platform.

But until that glorious day arrives, you’ll have to keep checking your System Preferences–>Flash Player settings to ensure you have the latest version. In some cases Flash will update itself without troubling you with error messages, but when there is a significant update to the plug-in, you will need to manually install it in order to banish those infernal “blocked plug-in” messages. At least, until the next update.

Here’s some helpful guidance on keeping Flash up to date, courtesy of Adobe. Hey, it’s the least they can do.

Q. What’s the deal with those special eyedrops you were getting?
A. Oh, thanks for asking. I’ve been using them for a few weeks now and I can’t really say that I have seen any significant improvement, but since everyone’s immune system is unique (not many more so than mine) my immuno-ophthalmologist really couldn’t tell me exactly what to expect in terms of efficacy or a time frame. So we’ll, uh, see…

Q. Can I ask one more “computer” question?
A. Sure.

Q. Thanks. I know I should be backing up my iDevice, but should I back it up to my Mac or to iCloud?
A. Definitely to your Mac (or Windows PC, if that’s how you roll). Why? Storage on your computer is free, as opposed to your having to pay for additional room on iCloud for all those fab pix and videos you have on your iDevice(s). And the local iTunes backup is more complete than the iCloud backup.

But… if you can’t be troubled to plug your device into the computer once a week or so, and/or you’ve already ponied up for extra iCloud storage, then iCloud is just fine. What’s important here is that you are backing up your iDevice(s) somewhere.

Q. OK, I think that’s it for now.
A. No problem, give a shout if you have any other questions.


  1. Alison Ertl

    A White Christmas!! Love it!

  2. William Gale

    you are the best if I ever get a mac you will my got to person. Merry christmas and a Happy New Year

  3. Martha Otis

    Thanks for all the info. Really helpful – makes me feel better about my tendency to procrastinate. When in doubt Do Nothing really IS the best strategy sometime. Before I update to Yosemite I should back up/save everything. Right. I keep thinking I’ll clean up my too many emails but as soon they just keep piling in. Out of control. In out next group session could we talk about strategies. to control email insanity?

    I decided to get iPhone 6 but the local Quakerbridge store does not have them available. So I guess I should just order from apple. Why is that hard for me to do??? no answer required.

    I LOVE the snowflakes.

    Thank you for generous funny updates to keep us in the loop.

    Warm wishes, holiday wishes, and continuing courage as you face each challenge.

  4. Joel D.

    Ah…Snowflakes! Thanks Alex. I thought they were floaters. At my age everything makes you nervous. Happy Holidays you guys!

  5. Alexandra

    Love the snow drifting across your comments! you’re not giving us a snow job, are you? ;-> Thanks for the nudge to move forward … now just gotta figure out which of my programs need upgrading! A.


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