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Understanding Storage Warnings

Data. Files. Stuff. Whatever you want to call it, it takes up space. Whether it’s space on a physical item you own (iPhone, computer) or some random place way out there (on the cloud), it’s being stored somewhere. Perhaps in more than one place, but that’s a story for another time. Normally, storage is one of those things, like kidney function, that you don’t even notice it’s working until there’s an issue.

But when there is an problem, you’ll get some kind of warning. A pop-up warning of some sort that is alarming, because it snaps you out of your reverie. In today’s complex tech universe, where you have plenty of things that warn you that something’s wrong, understanding what the warning refers to is paramount, as well as knowing what to do about it (besides panic).

So where does your stuff reside, and when does it warn you that you’re running out of storage?

Your Computer

Your computer comes with a finite amount of physical storage, which is generally referred to as “the hard drive,” although that term is going the way of “rewind” (for going back), “dialing” (for making a phone call), or “icebox,” (what ancient humans called refrigerators).

But back to today!

Some MacBook Air models give you only 120 GB of storage.

Every computer (at least those that matter) have some type of internal storage, whether it’s an old-school hard drive (with those spinning disks), an SSD (solid state drive) or flash memory devices. Your operating system (OS) and applications take up some of the room; your files, which could be email, photos, music, or any number of other things, take up the rest. On the Mac platform, if you approach capacity, you’ll get a warning.

Need to learn what to trash when you get the warning? Read my award-winning piece on that subject here!

Your iPhone (and iPad)

Time to clean up your device!

Like your computer, your iPhone also has a finite amount of space. Unfortunately, once you buy your iPhone, you’re stuck with that capacity, with no option to upgrade (short of buying a more expensive iPhone). Again, your iPhone’s capacity is taken up by the operating system (iOS), the apps installed (and their associated data) and any other stuff you may have stored on there. Understand that email, photos, music, podcasts, and even text messages can take up huge amounts of space.

Where can you learn about iPhone storage? From me, of course! Right here!

Your iCloud Account

You have too much stuff stored on the cloud. Delete some, or throw money at the problem.

If you own an Apple device, you’re most likely hooked into iCloud. Why? Because Tim Cook & Co. make it hard not to be. Now, there’s a free version, where Apple gives you a Scrooge-like 5GB of storage (which is analogous to giving somebody a $25 gift certificate to Nordstrom) for free, and of course there are options for purchasing more space, up to 2 TB.

First of all, what exactly is iCloud?

Simply put, it’s best to think about it this way: iCloud is a service. It’s a service that allows you to sync and backup any number of items: Contacts, calendars, photos, data, and more. What you choose to back up is up to you – but understand backing up large photo libraries to all of your devices takes up space somewhere on a computer somewhere else in the world – a computer that’s not yours (and hopefully very secure).  

Want more info on this? Check out my blog post here!

Your Mail Provider

This is a Gmail warning. Different providers will give you different warnings.

In addition to those areas listed above, your email provider also has storage limitations to how much you can store. While how much space you’re allowed depends on your plan with your email provider, but the “free” services have different limitations – Optimum doles out a miserly 5 GB to its clients, while Google (Gmail) triples that with its free email.* AOL gives you 1000 GB gratis (I checked online, but don’t use AOL), but its mail service stinks, so you’re better off with a more sophisticated provider. Best practice: Clean out your inbox regularly AND empty your email’s trash.

Need help on this task? Check out my post here!

*Gmail allows you to buy more storage; Optimum does not.

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Fear and Loathing on the Web

Here we go again – another long hot summer, another bunch of degenerates trying to tap in your fear emotion and get hold of your info, your logins, your bank account, which makes you loathe going online.

Yup, along with fall, winter, and spring, ‘tis the season to get all sorts of wonky emails, texts, popups, and phone calls from low-life criminals from all corners of the globe. These scumbags play on your emotions, warning you of all the horrible things that could happen if you don’t call them ASAP; install malware, steal your identity, ruing your credit, blackmail you, etc. This horrible popup occurred solely because somebody searched for “” instead of entering it into the URL bar on the top of their browser, and then clicked on one of the links that showed up as a search result.

Sometimes these scams install adware, things that “pop up” on your screen, while other are more insidious. For example, the graphic above was triggered by an evil link – a booby trap that somebody set up in order to try to scam the user. The idea is to play on the emotions of the stressed-out user, who get worried about losing data, etc. In other instances, these evil links direct you to site purposed to be a legit company (Amazon, Microsoft, etc.) but is actually a scammer looking to gain something. And that something is going to cost you!

But what to do?

First of all, no legitimate site is going to tell you about a virus and paint you a dire picture of your future. Simply quit the browser you’re working in (Safari, Google Chrome, Firefox, etc.) and breathe a sigh of relief. Launch your browser again, and hopefully that’s the end of the story. You should always clear your browsing history after an episode like this, and in the unlikely event that your startup page is the last page you visited, you’ll have to change those settings, but don’t concern yourself with that until you’re there.

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Beware the Facebook Addiction!

Ahh, Facebook. Whether you love it or loathe it, it’s an undeniable part of society today, and despite a lot of eyeballs going elsewhere (I’m talking to YOU, TikTok!), it’s not going anywhere. (See its latest stock price here.)

But – like many other things in life, there is a chance to overdo things on Facebook. Sure, we love our furry friends (of the moment) or silly memes, but probably most of all, we all relish the chance to interact with others. And unfortunately, some of this interaction can be beneficial. For somebody else. And harmful to you.

Two examples of scam posts!

Take a quick look at these those posts; Everybody wants to help a poor, lost dog or recall the good old days when seatbelts were optional, kids roamed free range through the neighborhood, and the words “bike” and “helmet” were never included in the same conversation.

OK, so you’re asking: “How can interacting with these seemingly innocent posts be an issue?”

Good question. (Not a great question, however; if somebody ever answers with “that’s a great question!,” it means it isn’t.) Let’s start with the car post. Think back. Back to the early days of online access. Maybe even when AOL dialup with all the rage. You established your bank access online – and set up security questions. Like your dream job. What was your mother’s maiden name. Who was your favorite pet. Model of your first car. Oops. All info that can be used to hack some account of yours.

Who would fall for a post like this one?

Sneakier yet is the “lost pet” post, and it’s cousin, the “crazy video” (tidal wave, tree falling, etc.) posted somewhere where it’s out of place – such as a Facebook Tag Sale page. The idea here is for many people to “like” it – and forward to others. In short, it’s a phishing ploy to glean some names for whatever comes next. Sometimes it’s to identify people who are marks for being taken advantage of; in other instances, once the post reaches a large number of people, it’s edited into something else, which may be harmful to the reputation of those who commented and/or shared it, or for some other unsavory purpose. I’m not sure exactly what the ultimate goal is here, but I don’t want to see the end of that movie.

The moral: Don’t interact with posts that aren’t from people in your friends list. Even posts that your friends answered. And don’t be a white knight warning it’s a not a legit post; that’s almost as bad as posting a legitimate comment on it. Consider yourself notified…

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Look For Changes Coming to the Way You Share Your Photos Between Devices!

Chances are you were enjoying a fine spring weekend, when a missive from Apple appeared in your inbox, notifying you about a change in the way your photos are going to be handled. Shudder…

But that’s not going to happen anytime soon (July 26, actually, so you have plenty of time!) – it looks like the players (Google, Apple, Amazon Prime Photos, etc.) are dumbing down offerings, streamlining things, taking away features. Understand that stuff like this happens from time to time, across multiple platforms – from Apple’s migration from iPhoto to Photos, Costco’s decision earlier this year to shutter its photo center, the retirement of Picasa, etc.

What is “My Photo Stream?”

Once users started taking pictures with iPhones, they wanted to put their pictures on their computers easily. Apple listened, iCloud Photos allowed your devices to sync photos (along with other data) automatically, without having to connect them physically. My Photo Stream was a quick and dirty way to stream your most recent bunch (the last 30, up to 1000) of pictures from between your devices.  

So, your first order of business is to see if you’re even using iCloud Photos. So, let’s start on your Mac. Open SYSTEM SETTINGS (or SYSTEM PREFERENCES, if you’re not running Ventura) and select iCloud. There, you’ll see a few options – you’re looking for Photos. Disable (by unchecking) MY PHOTO STREAM. Similarly, on your iPhone, go to SETTINGS>ICLOUD and disable the feature there.

Bottom line: You won’t lose any pictures – you’re merely disabling a soon-to-be-obsolete feature in your Apple photo storage service.

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Maintaining Control of Your Logins

You don’t want to be locked out without a recovery address!

I’m sure you’ve noticed that your email address is more than just your email address.

Case in point: It’s also used as your login name for virtually every site you visit – Amazon, Facebook, your bank… Almost every site. And if you happen to use a site that requires a username that’s not an email address, you have to supply your email address to verify your identity or (hopefully not) reset your password in the event you lose or forget it.

But – what if you no longer have access to that email account? Suppose you lose your password, and the reset link is being sent to an address that you don’t have the password for, or maybe an email account that no longer exists. How do you handle that?

So, first things first. Check out at the email address that you use as a login for these sites. Is it a common one, Gmail for example? Or is it your “work” email address, a company that you work for? It’s no secret that one day you can have a job, the next day you don’t. And if you get fired or laid off, will you have access to that email address for very long? Doubtful, very doubtful. Or if you quit your job, will you be able to receive mail there? Probably not. I’ve worked with real estate professionals who have given their notice, and trust me, before they’ve even driven out of the parking lot, their email account was already deleted. Permanently.

Therefore, look at your logins. Confirm they’re using an email address that YOU control, such as your own domain, Gmail, or any other reputable service. And avoid using an address from a company that provides you with internet, such as Optimum or Xfinity. One price hike and you’ll be scrambling to change your usernames. And of course, avoid AOL and any of the Yahoo-associated domains (Yahoo, SNET, AT&T, etc.), not because they’re a problem with being used for logins, but because Yahoo is a lousy company, and its email products are subpar.

Now, your homework is to check your logins. If you’re using an email address that could be rendered useless tomorrow, it’s time to change it. Better do it when it’s easy – at a time when you can actually receive verification email messages to that account. And it wouldn’t be a bad idea to give yourself a “safety” email address – a free one – such as Gmail, iCloud, Proton Mail, or one of the other “good” providers out there who dole out free email addresses.

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The Great Storage Wars

Storage Almost Full??!? Ruh Roh!

Quite often, clients contact me, panicked, exclaiming “I’m out of storage!”

When I ask what storage, they usually don’t know – all they saw was a low storage alert. Which, in this complex age, could mean almost anything.

There are all sorts of scenarios that refer to “storage” in the tech world – it could be physical storage (the actual “hard drive” in your computer), or cloud storage (the great storage system in the sky that supposedly holds your photos), or something else.

So, in no particular order, here are places where “storage” is involved.

Internal storage on your Mac: What was once called a “hard drive” back in the Jurassic era (to be fair, many computers today still have actual hard drives in them!), is now referred to as “internal storage.” Today’s internal storage is simply a chip or a solid-state drive (SSD), both of which no longer use the spinning discs of yesterday. And both are a whole lot faster than traditional hard drives. Downside – they tend to have a smaller capacity.

Your storage, Ventura style.

But, back to the task at hand. The internal storage on your computer holds everything – your operating system, your applications, all of your data… Pretty important stuff there. You should always aim to keep at least 10% of your hard drive free. You can see how full your hard drive is by pulling down on the apple in the upper left corner of the screen and selecting ABOUT THIS MAC. If you’re the Ventura OS, click on MORE INFO… and then GENERAL. Scroll down and you’ll see STORAGE.

How to see your storage in the pre-Ventura era.

For all other versions of the OS, pull down on the apple, select ABOUT THIS MAC and click on the STORAGE tab.

Things that take up valuable space: Music, movies, photos, large graphic arts files, downloads, and iPhone backups. See my blog on this subject here.

Vital tip: On older Macs, it was fairly cheap and easy to install a larger internal hard drive. Those days are gone forever. Now, it’s pretty much part of the computer, so what you bought is what you’re stuck with. Buying a new Mac? Plan accordingly.

Your iPhone reveals its storage stats.

Internal storage on your iPhone: Similar to your Mac, there is a finite amount of capacity on your iPhone as well. And like the Mac, you can’t upgrade the storage in your iPhone, you simply have to buy a new one if you want to store more stuff. Lots of apps with data, messages that contain pictures and videos, photographs, movies, and music are the big data hogs on an iPhone. To see how much storage your phone is using and how much capacity it has, tap SETTINGS and then GENERAL and ABOUT. There, you’ll see the entire picture.

Now, there are other cloud-based products and services that have limits on how much capacity you can have. Take Apple’s iCloud, for example. When you sign up for a free account (something you’re pretty much strongarmed into it when you own any Apple product), you get a meager 5 GB of storage. That’s not a whole lot, especially when it comes to the things it syncs: Photos, documents, some settings, etc. Of course, Apple is happy to sell you more storage when you run out of space. If you have iCloud Photos enabled, you most certainly have to pay for additional storage from Apple.

Seems we never have enough iCloud storage.

To see your iCloud storage – on a Mac, pull down on the apple (upper left corner of the screen) and select SYSTEM PREFERENCES (or SYSTEM SETTINGS, if you’re running Ventura). Click on Apple ID in the top row (or your name in the left column if you’re running Ventura) and click on ICLOUD. There, you’ll see a bar chart of your storage.

View from an iPhone.

On your iPhone: Tap SETTINGS and your name at the top of the list. Then tap ICLOUD and you’ll see a similar bar chart.

Google: Google wants to be your everything – your search engine, your email, your bank, your photo album, and more. But even Google has its limits. Your “free” Google account yields a hefty 15 GB (three times what Apple offers), but this is the aggregate for “everything” in your Google account – email, pictures, and the files stored in your Google Drive. Which can fill up rather quickly. Similar to Apple, Google would be pleased if you pry open your wallet and pay for more storage. To see how full your Google account is, go to

And there are other services, including Drop Box, cloud-based photo storage services (iDrive, Flickr, etc.), application-based cloud storage (namely Microsoft’s OneDrive, which is part of its Office 365 service, and Adobe Creative Cloud, which is part of its Adobe Creative Suite), all of which have limits on how much you can store. And this even extends to local joker email accounts (such as Optimum), which can fill up if you don’t practice good email hygiene. Check out my article on that here.

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Is It Time For Some Spring Cleaning?

Spring is coming – and now it’s time for some cleaning!

Unlike the physical space we exist in, keeping things clean and orderly in your digital world is a little more tenuous. You’re not sure what to keep, what to toss, is it backed up, and all that fun. Taking a gander of how much hard drive space is available, then going through your files… There are better things to do with your time, now that spring is (almost) here.  

So – I’ve found the easiest way to handle this non-fun task is to break it up into smaller chunks and handle one thing at a time. Of course, once you finish, making the effort to do it more often will make it more palatable and less of a chore.

Here are the places where no longer needed files can accumulate:

• Desktop: The good thing about files on your desktop is that they’re in plain sight. Here, you can either trash them, file them where they belong, or, if they’re stuff you’re currently working on, leave it there until that phase is finished.

• Downloads Folder (located within your HOME folder): This is where the items you downloaded over the years reside. Things like Zoom installers, American Express statements, and photos you’ve downloaded. Some of these files (pictures, for instance can be imported into Photos, while others, such as installers and no longer relevant bank statements can be dragged into the trash.

• Documents Folder (located either within your HOME folder or within your ICLOUD folder): Not just a clever name, this is where your documents (for the most part) are stored. A lot of documents get filed in here by default, and once again, like downloads, many of them may no longer be relevant. One huge file that may be lurking about in there is the MICROSOFT USER DATA folder. If you’ve given up on Office 2008 and Office 2011, that folder is no longer needed.

• Pictures Folders (located within your HOME folder): This folder can be a storage hog – because quite often, scanned documents and photos end up here. And if you’ve upgraded from iPhoto to Photos, the derelict iPhoto library could be gobbling up gigabytes of valuable space.

And if you’re braver than most:

• Library Folder: This is going where angels fear to tread. The Library folder is a hidden folder for a reason. Mess with the wrong directory and it’s big trouble. BUT – if you dare, there are a couple of places to check out. First of all, the CACHES folder. You can delete everything in there (but NOT the folder itself) – and quite often that helps speed up the computer. Also, in the APPLICATION SUPPORT folder, there’s MOBILE SYNC. That folder contains backups of iPhones and iPad that have been synced to that computer. Unfortunately, they’re not listed by name (only by a series of random numbers), so you can’t see “which” devices are backed up there, but by the “date modified,” you can make an accurate assertion of whether it’s a current device or one that’s long gone.

And, of course, don’t forget the coup de grâce: empty the trash (pull down the FINDER menu and select EMPTY TRASH) after you’ve done all this.

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Showing Your Inbox Who’s The Boss!


Recently, while working at a client site, I was checking my email while waiting for something to install on the client’s Mac. I casually deleted a couple of unread messages – Groupon and Macy*s – without reading and was asked “how can you delete an email without reading it??!?”

There’s an easy answer (for me, anyway); it’s all about the subject line and the sender. The Groupon offer wasn’t interesting to me, so goodbye. Plus, I can easily go to its site to see ALL of the offers, and I wasn’t planning on shopping at Macy*s this week. So, BOOM – off they go into Deleted Items.

I’ve seen too many people with 10,000+ UNREAD messages in their inboxes – bad news! Not only does a loaded email box make things run more slowly, but it also takes up valuable hard drive space and can cause the mail program to bonk, sometimes resulting in the loss of many of those messages.

All through my years of working in the industry, whether it’s in a corporate IT environment, a tech writing job or just freelance, I’ve gotten pretty slick at keeping my inbox empty, or at least at a manageable level. I’ve come up with a few easy-to-implement tricks to keep things from spiraling out of control. Yes, it does take some work on your part – but spending a couple of minutes a day keeping things tidy is preferable to paying a righteous bucks to reconstruct your email.

Another reason to pare down – some mail providers have a limit on how much space you’re allocated. Exceed that quota and your email will be out of commission for a while.

In no particular order, here is a six-pack of tips to avoid being a digital hoarder:

#1) Establish a second email address for retail subscriptions, as well as other mailing lists.

A free Gmail account is always good for your “garbage” account!

Adding a second (or third) email account to handle mailing lists is a stellar idea, particularly now that we’re all using iPads and iPods to get our mail. This serves two purposes – it keeps our “real” inboxes free of non-essential messages, and because most of these mails are timely, it’s easy to delete them in bulk once their expiration date has passed. I can’t begin to tell you how many users still hold onto J. Crew messages announcing a sale that expires in October 2011.

#2) Unsubscribe from all mailing lists and newsletters that aren’t important to you. (Except mine!)

Don’t forget to smash the UNSUBSCRIBE button!

Be honest – if you don’t read an email soon after you receive it, it’s probably irrelevant anyway. And question if it’s even pertinent to your situation – if you’re on the Hilton Properties list because you stayed at one of its hotels recently, does any news from them have any bearing on what you’re doing now?

This goes double for political mailing lists. Sign up for one, and your name is sold to others, and mitosis takes over. And they’re all begging for a handout!

IMPORTANT NOTE: Don’t bother trying to unsubscribe to “junk” emails that ask you to unsubscribe. These are trolling mails, trying to trick you into confirming your email address is valid. Simply delete them and move on.

#3) Configure your email client to “Quote the Text Of The Original Message”

Having all of the previous email messages referenced in the current correspondence is another way to keep your inbox pared down. That way you need to save only the most recent message to have access to the entire string. In 99.9% of situations this is fine; however, in cases that require lawyers, documentation and court dates, you should save EVERY message! (In a dedicated folder, as described below.)

#4) Create separate folders for completed tasks.

If you need to save old email messages, store them in newly created folders to help clear out your inbox. Not only does this help keep your inbox neat and clean, it also helps your overall organization. Create as many of these folders as you need; you can organize them by sender, project or date.

#5) Create a “Pending Issues” subfolder to store messages that require action on your part. (Or simply “flag” those messages.)

The “Pending Issues” folder isn’t simply a storage bin to bulk offload messages from your inbox – think of it as a “to do” list for your action items. But make it a point to revisit those emails on a regular basis.

#6) Be at peace with the fact that you’re NEVER going to read those old emails.


Human nature is funny – there are some things in life that everybody believes they possess; personal style, a sense of humor, good driving skills and excellent taste in music. (My psychology degree hard at work!) Add one more – the belief that they’re someday going to read those old emails. It’s not going to happen. (Just like that pile of magazines and newspapers you’re saving.) And the sooner people come to that realization that it’s OK to let them go, the better off mankind will be.

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What’s 36% Between Friends?

Xfinity wants us all to dig a little bit deeper.

I currently live in Ridgefield, CT and am using Comcast/Xfinity as my internet provider. I was quoted a price when I moved here in late December 2020 (around $50/month – “Performance Pro Internet – download as fast as 400 Mbps, no television or telephone). At the last minute, due to the condo complex I’m renting in, there was suddenly a price change, maybe $5 or so a month. (I saved $$$ by enrolling in paperless billing, autopay, and supplying my own modem and router.)

So, for 2021 and 2022, I was paying $54.99/month for my internet service. Now, understand I’m a tech professional, so speed – and reliability – are paramount for me. I’m not uploading massive digital files anywhere, I simply need enough juice to do my job and stream content to my television sets. I must say, for the most part, the service was fine, I never had an issue where I have to contact the company about anything over the past two years.

But, come December 2022, I was hit with a bill for $74.99/month – up from $54.99/month – a 36% increase! (My auto insurance and health insurance also went up – not to mention other people’s electric bills – but that’s a story for another time.) Unacceptable! So, I called the company, and of course, it was no help. (Most reps tried to upsell me to a television package, and one rep offered to lower it $70/month and give me one of the premium television channels.) No thanks.

Furthermore, a quick glance at my (online) bill indicated that a 12-month $17.01 service discount will end on 12/27/23, and the “end date of your promotion is February 17, 2023.” Ruh roh!

At that point, I started searching online for alternate options. Frontier was out of the running, as many of my clients have had terrible experience with it. Optimum doesn’t service this area, so going for a Hail Mary, checked to see if Verizon Fios was available (it isn’t), but wonder of wonders, Verizon 5G WAS available. Understand, I’ve never had any experience with Verizon, but decided to check into it.

The price for Verizon 5G is a flat $60/month, with hardware (“modem” and built-in Wi-Fi) included at no extra cost, provided I enroll in autopay and paperless billing. (I did, and that saved me $10/month, bringing the price down to $50/month, a nice surprise.) I pulled the trigger on it the week between Christmas and New Year, and the package was due to arrive a few days later, hardware that had to be configured by me. (Easy, right?) My plan was to run both for the month and confirm the speed and reliability of Verizon 5G is compatible with Xfinity.

But – before I turned off my Xfinity-connected modem and router, I decided to run a speed test on my devices to make a definitive comparison. My place isn’t large – 926 square feet or so – and is powered by my eero mesh router and the cable modem I bought at Best Buy two years ago. The devices using my Wi-Fi network are:

  • 2021 Mac mini in my home office
  • 2012 Mac mini in my home office
  • 2020 MacBook Air
  • Living room Apple TV
  • Bedroom Apple TV
  • iPhone 13

For the speed test on the computer, I used the Ookla site (; on the iPhone and Apple TVs, I used the Ookla app.

Speed using Xfinity:

Device NameDownloadUpload
2021 Mac mini in office:329.22 Mbps11.90 Mbps
2012 Mac mini in office:116.91 Mbps11.85 Mbps
2020 MacBook Air in living room336.58 Mbps11.36 Mbps
iPhone in living room:231 Mbps11.80 Mbps
Apple TV in living room (hardwired to eero):93.90 Mbps11.90 Mbps
Apple TV in bedroom:72.60 Mbps11.70 Mbps

Quick note: These was a Frontier Fiber ad on the page.

So, the big day arrived (Tuesday January 3, 2023, the first day of business this calendar year) and the promised 4:00 PM delivery of the Verizon hardware was a best-case scenario. Upon my arrival home at 1PM, there was already a FedEx tag alerting me I missed my delivery, necessitating a drive up to Danbury after 6 PM, which could’ve delayed my Taco Tuesday dinner. (It didn’t.)  But when I got to the FedEx building, the driver hadn’t returned to the hub yet, and so I signed the FedEx slip and had the package put on my stoop without requiring my signature. So, I had to wait another day.

When I got home the next the day, the package was sitting on my doorstep. Setup was easy; the only issue was trying to change the default name of the network and the password. Turns out I had to do on the phone, it didn’t work on the computer, although the option was there. Once the router was set up, I relocated the router in my loft office in order to hardwire it to the 2021 Mac mini.

Speed using Verizon:

Device NameDownloadUpload
2021 Mac mini in office:294.45 Mbps20.13 Mbps
2012 Mac mini in office:139.84 Mbps20.29 Mbps
2020 MacBook Air in living room238.65 Mbps18.18 Mbps
iPhone in living room:322 Mbps20.6 Mbps
Apple TV in living room289 Mbps19.0 Mbps
Apple TV in bedroom:197 Mbps19.7 Mbps
The Verizon hardware, on the right.

Speed was pretty much the same across the board – slightly faster in some instances, slightly slower in others. And in the few days I tested it, there were no drops or lags – pretty much the same straight-ahead connectivity I’ve received using Xfinity – or Optimum, at my former residence for that matter. I don’t get any joy from calling up and cancelling an account due to a sudden price hike (OK, maybe I do a little!), and of course, I was bargained with and asked if I wanted to sign up for Xfinity cell phone service. (So that my cell phone bill can get raised willy-nilly?) No thank you…

So, there you go. In the three weeks I’ve been running the Verizon 5G, it’s been seamless. (To be fair, so was Xfinity.) I’m sure I’m not the only guy that Xfinity tried to jack up the rate on, and, in these uncertain times, others will also shop around. Hopefully, at the end of the day, Xfinity will learn the hard way that greed isn’t good.

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Does Your Crystal Ball Tell You That It’s Time For a New Computer?

If you’re in the market for a new iMac, this is what you’re going to get!

All good things must end – and the useful life of your computer is one of them. But when should you look to upgrade, and just as importantly, how will you know?

The fact: Needless to say, Apple doesn’t continue support on its products indefinitely. (Otherwise, irate users would be hauling SE/30s into the Genius Bar.) In short, Apple gives it seven years. This includes Macs, iPhones, iPads, and Apple TV. Once your product has passed its seven-year cycle has been reached, Apple no longer wants to know about it.

First of all, understand that many users are out there working fine with computers that are ten (or more) years old. Just because your Mac is approaching seven, it doesn’t mean that there’s some kind of Logan’s Run scenario happening where somebody (or something) is out to destroy computers when they reach a certain age. If you’re using an older computer and have no complaints, then carry on (and back up your Mac!)

Now, that might not be an issue if things are working fine, but what if they’re not? And Apple’s suggestions to help aren’t always the best advice (or the advice I would give): Simply updating the operating system is one of the stock answers at Apple, and although it can have some benefits, it’s a dangerous road to travel, as the geniuses there don’t always explain the potential risks of doing that. Some of which are outlined in my “The Hidden Costs of Buying a New Computer,” blog, available here.

What are the signs of old age that aren’t reversable?

Slowness: Like people, some computers get slow before they get too old, but usually that can be remedied. However, in some instances (and I can’t figure out what the users are doing, if they’re doing anything wrong at all), sometimes computers get slow and draggy and the spinning beachball of doom is a constant reminder that the computer is getting long in the tooth.

Inability to connect to certain websites: Old computers have old operating systems, and those old operating systems are only compatible with an older versions of web browsers. And because security protocols are constantly being updated for secure sites (banks, etc.), new versions of the software are constantly introduced. But backwards compatibility can be a bear, and, to keep it simple, newer versions of software don’t work on old versions of the operating system. And upgrading the operating system isn’t always possible with older hardware. So, it’s a Catch-22; you can’t upgrade your browser without updating your operating system, and you can’t update your operating system because your hardware is too old. Are you getting all this?

Inability to use new versions of software: Rather than repeat myself, it’s the same deal as the above paragraph. Suppose you’re a QuickBooks user, and you need to upgrade your version of QuickBooks, because that’s the version your company is using. Same answer as above, it might need a certain OS which requires newer hardware than you have.

Running out of storage: I know storage issues confuse people – iPhone storage, RAM, iCloud storage, hard drive storage all are terms bandied about, but here it’s internal storage (formerly known as “hard drive storage”). These days, computers no longer have internal hard drives with spinning platters and all that fun stuff, but instead, a solid-state chip. Which, at this stage in the game, are more expensive than standard hard drives, ergo, tend to have a smaller capacity. Though this is changing…

Of course, there are age-related (or damage related) issues that can factor in; hardware damage, dead pixels on the screen, broken keys on laptops, non-functioning ports and screen flickering, all issues that are, to be frank, not worth pouring money into getting them fixed.

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