Posted on

Updates 10.13.1 and 11.1

PSA: Updates are important.

We just wanted to do a quick public service announcement on these critical updates, MacOS 10.13.1 and iOS 11.1, released on Halloween for devices we support. Too often it’s very easy to ignore these because we are using our device, but as each year progresses the challenges of keeping devices secure intensifies. You can see all major tech firms security updates have increased in frequency, and if you like to read release notes like I do — you’d notice they are getting longer and longer. You can read more about these specific Apple updates here for 10.13.1, here for 11.1, and about the security specific changes here.

My personal favorite and somewhat recently famous.

My favorite and the most popular recent exploit was regarding Wi-Fi. You know, that magical RF fairy dust that connects us all and has become downright critical in today’s age. If you haven’t seen in the news, there has been some critical flaws unearthed in Wi-Fi authentication and published by KU Leuven students. Basically, when your device asks to join your network that you already have saved in your collection then it usually has no problem remembering and giving the password to connect on your behalf. What you might not know is that each time you reconnect again to that Wi-Fi network it does this super cool 4-way handshake each time to make sure all is tight in the wireless neighborhood. The students who published, Mathy Vanhoef and Frank Piessens, found out how this 14 year old handshake is super out of style and letting in some bad stuff in between you and your device. Using this flaw someone can start taking small pieces of your data and figure out how to gain access to even more that you may not want getting out such as passwords.

What you can do to protect.

Hackers love a good fight, so be sure to update to keep your device clean. Taking a few moments to backup your device and do the upgrade can give you device separation anxiety. However, the piece of mind is well worth it. All our clients’ respective devices that we manage have already been updated, and we’ve prompted them to restart and install by the time you are reading this post. That’s the really cool feature of our service offering for businesses, so please reach out to us for how you can better manage your Wi-Fi and updates:

Apple, iOS, and MacOS are registered trademarks of Apple, Inc.
Posted on

Contingency planning: why it’s never optional

Famous last words:

“Eh, I backed up last week. It’s not that big of a deal if we lose things from this week.”

“But I have iCloud, Google Drive, and Dropbox! That means everything is backed up!”

For the record, none of the above are proper backup solutions. You need “real” contingency planning.

Plan A: Business as Usual

Hopefully the day-to-day interaction with your business-critical information if fairly seamless.  (If it’s not, call us.)  This should be how things are 99% of the time.  We’d say the expectation of having access to that data is also up there.  Let’s say this is 95-100% of uptime.  However, that number can be impacted greatly if something unexpected occurs.  Theft, power surges, office accidents, and natural disasters are all very real possibilities.

Last month, we and our clients experienced Hurricane Irma here in Miami. Although the storm spared us any major damage, the conversations around backups turned from a “some day” contingency plan to an immediate need. Fortunately for us and our clientele, nearly everyone had both local and offsite backups. To operate business without some combination of the two is just asking for a nightmare scenario.

Plan B: Onsite

In most business settings, the office will house a combination of workstations and a server or two. Backing up locally ensures the fastest spin-up time in case the main server or workstation goes down. This can look like a few different solutions depending on your setup. This includes Apple’s built-in Time Machine backup system, and creating an identical copy of the setup via a clone or mirror. The point is that there is something onsite that is Plan B in case Plan A fails. Some offices have multiple levels of on-site redundancies, which is never a bad thing.

Plan C: The Cloud

For Plan C, we have to look up at the clouds. Things may look a little different here, but the general idea is the same. If everything is lost on site, there should be a copy sitting on an (extremely secure) remote backup server. Some provide a basic backup and restoration service, which can take some time. Others allow you to see, access, and even work on your files. It all depends on what your urgency of access is and features requested. There is something for everyone!

We here at Start On Technology have spent the last few years working our way through the forest of backup solutions. Luckily, we feel we’ve found the perfect blend of solutions for the average small/medium business setup. Perfect backups, as well as managing the rest of your office’s technology, is available through our managed IT service plans. Check out our Solutions page for more details.

Remember: always have an iron-clad backup solution! You may know you need it until it’s too late.

Posted on

Notes on the Apple Special Event September 2017

Many of our friends, family, and customers alike were effected by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. Consider what you can do to help. You can learn more at Hand in Hand 2017. Since many don’t have power or internet we decided to put together our notes to share our excitement:

Steve Jobs Tribute

Welcoming with an inspiring quote from Steve Jobs to officially open the Steve Jobs Theatre. Tim takes the stage to reflect on Steve. His greatest gift being his company founding and ability to unlock others abilities. Apple Park was Steve’s vision for the future. It’s fitting the master of showmanship and design gets recognition.

Apple Store: redux

Continuing to open stores, now town squares, to and for communities around the globe. Of course centered around the products, yet inviting to fill their walls. With many people finding themselves inside an Apple Store at some point it always has been a natural place to get help, learn together, and connect. Go learn what a Creative Pro does or

Sneak peeks about 5th Avenue, building restoration in Paris, a theatre in Milan, and restoring Carnegie Library in DC. Chicago’s Michigan Avenue gets a new location too. Find your local store for an enriching experience.

Series iii

Apple Watch gets the features we all have been waiting to do on our wrists. Meanwhile with new heart sensor technology and studies will help all watch users be informed.

i) LTE unleashes you from the phone. Stream music, read chats, or take a call all from the Apple Watch.

ii) Same size as before with a dual-core processor on your wrist. Swimmers can rejoice on the water proofing while climbers can measure their altitude.

iii) Siri can talk with you via the watch. Just like Star Trek had hoped for us.

4K all the way

Apple TV gets a boost by adding 4K and A10X chip, same as the iPad Pro, in two model 32GB and 64GB. Content to follow in the app store at the same price as HD content. Now adding Live Sports for fans out there and news to stay informed.

8; 8 Plus

iPhone 8 & Plus announced with the most durable glass with microscopic seal. Inside you’ll find an A11 Bionic six-core machine learning chip. All new sensors in the 12 MP camera paired with the new IPS take more portraits with new lighting features. These phones are built for Augmented Reality right from the factory.

X at XLI

10 is a milestone for the 41 year old company and a reference to Steve’s legacy and obviously the iPhone. This strikes a heart cord with all fan boys, former & current employees, die-hard customers and anyone who studied marketing. Before this phone was even a thought the rumor sites had been guessing at it so long they got some facts right. Yet, it shows how important it was for Apple to be settling into their new home, new products, and reflecting on their achievements. Instead of infinity screens, a more realistic device with an improved screen emerged. Hard to believe they can keep making better technology in small water and dust tight packages with an OLED HDR 5.8″ screen that covers edge to edge. Forcing a bunch of sensors to gather and shrink into the TrueDepth camera system gives it a futurist edge. With words like neural engine this A11 Bionic chip brings six-cores to power machine learning. All this happening behind the scene gives a new unlock feature using your beautiful face as the key. If you don’t believe you are in the future you can now you can take better selfies and send animated Emoji’s with your face. If you still don’t, wait for AR to prove it.

Wireless forever

Wireless charging based on Qi standard, demoed via AirPower charging pad (to be released next year). That’s all we know on that item for now.

Apple, Apple Store, iPhone, Apple TV, and Apple Watch are registered trademarks of Apple, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Posted on

Hurricane Preparedness for Electronics

hurricane-preparedness

With Irma barreling towards Florida we’ve been getting calls from clients on what they should do. Here are our professional tips and tricks to best prepare anyone. Hurricane preparedness for electronics shouldn’t ever be placed before your own safety. However, protecting your assets and thinking ahead can help in the aftermath. Here are our suggestions:

  • Make a plan to power down and unplug your electronic assets before the storm.
  • Check your backups and consider Backblaze for offsite backups in case your local ones get damaged.
  • Move equipment to a safe place away from windows.
  • Consider covering electronics with plastic after they are powered down.
  • Charge all battery packs while the power is still on.
  • Move any battery backups to higher ground and unplug if not needed.
  • Copy critical data to an external drive and take it with you if evacuating.
  • Customize your phone system to forward to cell phones.
  • Consider having a walkie-talkie app in case cell towers go down.
  • Seal important physical documents in a waterproof case.
  • Get a battery-powered radio for updates during the storm.
  • Don’t return until given the all clear and be safe.

Hopefully these tips can help you stay prepared. Have a disaster plan in place and never risk your personal safety to save your devices.

Our office will be closed September 7th and 8th in addition to the weekend. We’ll remain closed until given the all clear by authorities. We’ll be fielding calls as long as possible and once reopened we can help get you running again.

Stay safe!

Posted on

Daylite 6.2: Now with Teams

It’s no secret that we here at Start On Technology are big fans of Daylite.  A well-thought-out CRM, Daylite allows for seamless access of business-critical info across all employee Apple devices.  These data types include contacts, calendars, tasks, opportunities, projects, emails, and notes.  If you’re worried about sensitive documents, you can set up custom permissions for any items in the database.  Looking for a unified view of company-wide email history?  That feature is a Daylite staple.

Just last week, app developer Marketcircle released version 6.2.  They ironed out some nagging bugs and cleaned up the UI, making a mostly smooth experience even smoother.  With one of these tweaks, a small but powerful layout has quickly found itself as our new default: the Team View.

Team View screenshot
This screenshot shows the default setting for Team View, which shows your entire team scrolling sideways.

What does Team View offer?

Newcomers and veterans alike will enjoy the power and flexible this feature has to offer.  As seen in the above picture, Team View allows you to gain a bird’s eye view of all employees and what their week looks like.  Want to compare only a few staff members?  Custom team views can be created in the preferences section, as well as by clicking the “Everyone” toggle.  Want to send a company-wide email, schedule a meeting with everyone, or view the entire company’s appointments stacked?  Look to the quick-access buttons at the top of the window.

The quick-access buttons
The quick-access buttons

Another detail are the ellipses (“…”) at the end of each employee’s name.  Any action that is chosen from this menu will ensure that it is linked to the corresponding employee.

Clicking the ellipses in Daylite
Slick!

Client feedback shows that Daylite users are taking better control of their work.  Accountability is better and workflows are more robust.  Sliding deadlines are kept in check with a unified view.  Just a glance is enough to put overdue items in context with the current workload.  This allows for more level-headed planning for everyone.  Having a heads up on what’s coming for the next few days can help prevent tunnel vision, over-thinking, and underestimating schedule demands.

In conclusion, Daylite has never been a more compelling option to bring up your team’s productivity.  Current users, please let us know how Daylite and Team View have helped you out.  If you have yet to try Daylite, we strongly recommend checking out the free trial provided at this link.

If you are interested in transitioning to Daylite, or improving current workflow, we’re here for you.  Check out our contact page to set up an introductory meeting via telephone or Zoom meeting.  We also provide other services.

Posted on

Xero Accounting

Xero is a cloud based accounting system. It has grown with its clients over the past 3 years, it has many small and medium sized organizations using their softwares from its origin country New Zealand, United States, Australia and United Kingdom. Throughout the years from 2006 up to 2016, Xero has been getting very positive feedback and it has been continuously growing.

The Xero accounting software made it easy for companies and their staff to be able to monitor reports, bank and credit card account feeds, issue invoices while on-site with clients  purchasing orders and managing reports. The reason why Xero is attracting a lot of companies is because it allows them to access from anywhere around the world. The software is one of the most modern and easy software available in the European countries.

xero-accounting-iphone

Since Xero has released their Xero touch mobile app for iOS and Android devices, much more companies were attracted and encourage to try out the software. Another benefit of Xero is that they just announced that they partnered with PayPal allowing invoices to be paid directly through PayPal. Xero Touch is very useful to keep your business with you at all times, it makes working so much easier.

Xero allows businesses to manage finances at anytime, allows unlimited users so that all staff can work at the same time. Clients can pay online so companies or small business owner get their money right away. Also Xero gives organizations the the privilege of having an accountant to help manage finances and they are available whenever you need them.

The Xero Touch mobile app is very useful for individual workers who are always on-site with their clients, it allows them to see invoices and it also allows clients to pay on the spot. Xero Touch mobile app allows individuals to enter expenses by picturing receipts. Also through the application an individual can securely connect to their bank account and import transactions everyday. The application estimates your taxes for you and reminds you of your due date.

xero-accounting-ipad

Xero connects with more than 500 business apps. Xero got on GetApp 4.8 starts and excellent reviews, people are very overwhelmed with its easy usage and how time and effort saving it is. How has several advantages like unlimited users, unlimited email support and simple bak reconciliation.

Another benefit of using Xero is that the pricing is very reasonable, $30 standard monthly subscription which give unlimited bills, invoices, reconciliations and adds payroll for up to 5 employees. Compared to other accounting softwares or systems, according to review and rating, Xero is the best and easiest accounting system.

After all, small business need a reliable accounting software to make their daily working lives easier. Xero is continuously improving and is currently taking over the accounting market. Having a safe, reliable and easy accounting system is a very important aspect for all types of businesses. At Start On Technology, our team member can help you to switch your accounting system to Xero with ease and we can provide you with all the information you need.

30-day free trial xero-accounting-certified-advisor

 

Posted on

iOS 10: 50 Days Later

Time flies, doesn’t it?  It seems like just a couple weeks ago that we all received the iOS 10 upgrade.  It promised to add bells, whistles, and extra polish to an already-stellar operating system.  Fast-forward fifty days and we find that many of the minor bugs that were found in the initial release have been dealt with.  And, although mileage varies from person to person, not a single one of my apps is incompatible with iOS 10.

(You should still check to make sure your most-important apps do support iOS 10, especially if the app’s design still resembles iOS 6.  Also, backup your device.)

maps

The GUI: New, but Familiar

Hitting an exhaustive 10th-release milestone, iOS finally feels like it’s come into it’s own as a fully-fledged operating system.  From a UI perspective, interactions with objects on-screen are more consistent than ever, especially in apps like Maps and Music.  A lot of users had some issue making the jump from iOS 6 to 7, where a lot the design work based upon real-material aesthetics changed to a minimalistic, flat look.  The shift was vibrant and admittedly futuristic in approach, but it threw off a lot of veterans.  Now we’re met somewhere in the middle: everything is flat but more iconic, buttons are more obvious (if they’re not to you, you can make buttons more pronounced in the settings), quick settings and widgets are more powerful and organized in their off-screen drawers, and system searches have received a couple wonderful updates:

  1. Siri is much faster and a bit smarter at giving you results.
  2. The search bar contains more resources in results.
  3. The define feature, renamed “look up,” has ramped up it’s reference chops as well, allowing highlighted items to display definitions, Wikipedia results, locations, and suggested web results.

music

Old Devices: No Worries

Which iPhone are you using?  If you’re part of the large population still on older iPhone hardware, you may be leery.  Fear not: although some actions may be slightly slower in use, the amount of new features is well worth it.  If you want more in-depth info, check out Ars Technica’s write up.

As a daily driver, iOS 10 has been knocking it out of the park for me.  Sure there’s some getting used to the new unlock mechanism, which is now a button press versus the classic swipe-to-the-right, but the rest should feel like old hat.  Newcomers to an iOS device will be thrilled at having the App Store library, now with a rapidly-growing stickers and iMessage micro-App Store, extensions to make connections between apps more seamless, and Apple Music for an untethered music experience.

And one more thing… Apple has also built the future into these operating systems.  Every week reveals gradual improvements to Apple’s once relegated Maps services, especially in the transit department.  The Home app is now baked into the system, allowing purchases of new-and-compatible home appliances.  Thermostats, blinds, lightbulbs, and cameras can be easily managed via an exclusive “scenes” window in the control center drawer (store link).

ccenter

Stable, Secure, & Smooth

As Day 51 of iOS 10 approaches, it’s exciting to be met with a stable, well thought-out upgrade.  What have your experiences been?  Let us know in the comments below.  Remember: if your device is acting up on you, try restoring the phone from a backup before throwing in the towel.

Thanks for reading!  Please check out our services to see if Start On Technology is a good fit for you, your company, or someone you know.  For a full rundown of iOS 10’s new features, check out Apple’s landing page.

Posted on

Prepare your Macs for Hurricane Matthew

Best Practices

Since we’ve been busy advising clients today, we figured we would share our best practices for businesses to protect your electronics during a storm like Hurricane Matthew:

  • Check your backups, and if you use external drives or media store it in a safe, dry place.
  • If you haven’t started using offsite, cloud backups you can start for free using our recommended solution.
  • Move all power strips and battery backups up from the floor in case of water rise.
  • Shutdown all devices you won’t be expecting to access remotely. Those devices should be attached to a battery backup with auto-shutdown configured. We’ve shutdown/unplugged all our devices and highly suggest you do exactly the same.
  • Unplug all devices from AC power before the storm starts. Power down and unplug the battery backups if equipped.
  • If possible move critical equipment to a safe location and waterproof it.

Safety First!

Never risk yourself or others to save a device, don’t use any devices in or near water, and remember with standing water in a house or office may mean risk of electronic shock. Remember to be safe out there and use common sense!

Consider Battery Power

If you haven’t invested in a battery backup of some kind, hindsight is 20/20 at this point, you should strongly consider it. During storms having a battery to power devices a little longer could be used to stay in communication with loved ones, stay current on the storm situation, and contact emergencies services could give you a critical option. Plus during normal conditions these battery backups can help condition your power to avoid drops in power that can damage electronics.

Stay safe out there!

Posted on

iOS 10

ios-10

ios-10

Today Apple released the latest version of iOS (10) to the public. It’s a free upgrade for compatible devices. This article will reveal which devices, what’s new in iOS 10, and how to upgrade. This major upgrade to the software will be available for the following devices iPod Touch 6th generation and the following:

iPhone iPad
iPhone 6s iPad Pro 12.9 inch
iPhone 6s Plus iPad Pro 9.7 inch
iPhone 6 iPad Air 2
iPhone 6 Plus iPad Air
iPhone SE iPad 4th generation
iPhone 5s iPad mini 4
iPhone 5c iPad mini 3/td>
iPhone 5 iPad mini 2

What’s new in iOS 10

Now you can finally delete built-in apps you don’t use. That seems to be one of the most requested items of the past.

You can hand write messages, change how messages look, send “hidden” messages, add animations for things worth celebrating, tapback quick responses, send stickers, tap to replace words with emojis, leverage message apps without leaving iMessage, and customize your video messages.

Siri can do more heavy lifting with 3rd party apps such as booking a ride with Lyft or sending money via Square Cash. Maps can book reservations, search along your route to the restaurant, and make suggestions to get there faster than before. Music and News get a whole new look with iOS 10.

The new Home app gives you a centralize place to control your home automation. This can help automate common behaviors, have Siri assist, and even share access to friends and family. All the home automation you need in one place.

Raise your iPhone to wake it up then on compatible devices leverage touch and go functionality to get a quick glance. Notifications on the lock screen now include a new rich view along with the ability to respond without opening an app. Your iPhone is also getting even better with predicting your text and handling multilingual typing.

Video Source: https://www.apple.com/ios/ios-10/

How to upgrade to iOS 10

  1. Make sure all your current apps have updated for compatibility.
  2. Backup your device using iCloud or iTunes!
  3. Plug into your Mac or PC and use iTunes to download and upgrade (recommended). You can also join Wifi and got to Settings > General > Software update, but some folks had issues with over-the-air updates.
  4. If you aren’t prompted to upgrade in iTunes make sure it is updated to at least version 12.5.1, or try selecting your device and clicking update.
  5. Enter your passcode if prompted and sit back and wait.
Posted on

Electronics Recycling for Earth Day 2016

electronics-recycling

At Start On Technology we value how delicate our environment is on earth and how important it is to protect it. That’s why we are sure to recycle all our electronic waste produced by the services we provide. We are proud to be responsible agents of mother earth who make sure to use electronics recycling. The responsibility to reuse and recycle by Apple is one of the main reasons we prefer their equipment over others. It’s important that we all do what we can to be responsible for our mother earth. In honor of Earth Day we’d like to help provide information on the best ways to get rid of our old electronic junk.

Photo by Matthew Pearce. Rights reserved under Creative Commons 2.0. Retried via Flickr.com
Photo by Matthew Pearce. Rights reserved under Creative Commons 2.0. Retried via Flickr.com

One way and probably the best way to get rid of older Macs is to sell them. You can do this on your favorite an internet bidding site, directly with Apple’s Renew and Recycling Program, or other providers. Just be sure to do some research to find out the exact model you have now using a program like MacTracker. For the other providers do some research into the company and their policies to make sure they are legitimate. We help all our clients make the right decisions, so please if you are unsure just get in touch. We’d be happy to help point you in the right direction.

Sometimes these electronics are low-valued or simply too old to provide enough value, but that doesn’t mean you should drop your old electronics on the curb or in the trash can. Do the right thing by finding a local recycling agent such as the your local Apple Store or using the nationwide search below. You will probably be surprised how many others you find. If for whatever reason you have trouble there are many nationwide vendors such as SIMS Recycling Solutions that would gladly help you properly recycle your equipment

 

If you are living in South Florida then you can also take your electronic waste to special county centers in Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach. You can also find many private companies that can arrange pickup of this equipment for free or a small convenience fee too. If you are a client of ours then you will have piece of mind that we recycle for all our clients.