Dave Masterson's thoughts on technology happenings, personal experiences, travels, work, fun, etc.


Best feature you didn't know Apple's iOS 13 delivers...

Another month, another update from Apple for your iPhone. By this time, we know to have our device plugged in to attempt the update. And please, please, please - opt to do this overnight so you do not have to watch the small thermometer progress at dripping fudge speed across your screen. I believe you'll prefer the, "Good morning, we are done with the update" message.

Since the update delivers software for a number of iPhone editions, you'll find some features that address the newer muliple camera models of iPhone, new editting tools, etc. There's one feature that should be LOUDLY ADVERTISED but isn't getting the credit it deserves. Here are the details:

There is a new feature that allow you to "tune out" the robo-calls we all receive seemingly on a non stop basis.

This feature is activated by entering the SETTINGS (grey gear icon) and selecting the green PHONE app's icon. 

Once inside PHONE, scroll dow and activate the "Silence Unknown Callers" feature. This will allow people that call you from unrecognized phone numbers to leave a message for you, but will NOT notify you via phone ring or vibration. You will get a notification that a call has come in or a message has been left from the unknown number. 





This feature should help with the growing number of daily interruptions we experience, many that lead to nothing worthwhile.

Give it a try - I believe it has already lowered my blood pressure! 



Recycle Your Printer?

I am one who drags two separate plastic bins once a week to the curb for pickup. I put cans and bottles in the blue one, and paper products (Translation: Junk Mail) in the yellow bin. I have done this for years. I'm surprised to learn some communities in our area haven't adopted recycling yet, or the neighbors don't play along with the sorting of their trash.

I also run and ride mountain bikes in a repurposed landfill turned county park. So I understand the recycle concept and see first hand what the end results can be. Why bury unnecessary goods in a landfill or burn them into the atmosphere when we can clean and reuse them?

When it came time to discard a dying home multifunction printer, I did think ahead. Am I really going to put this in regular trash pickup, so it can become a buried segment of someone else's running or mountain biking trail? (Not my exact thought, but close) 

I discovered that the major consumer electronic companies that sell home-grade printers have a very eco-friendly recycling program in place for their devices at end of life. You visit a recycling section of their website, identify your machine, and they send you a PREPAID voucher to mail the printer back to them! Yes, you're catching all of this - They pay for the return of your printer so you do not have to throw it in the trash. 

I was responsible for boxing the printer and bringing it to a mail center. I had a box in my garage from a previous online order, and yes, the printer fit. A few straps of packing tape and an easy affix of the company-provided prepaid postage label and I was ready to recycle. I made a short drive to a FEDEX facility and dropped my package off for delivery. In my best millenial-speak, it left me with "all the good feels," knowing I was recycling the dead device instead of building some landfill one printer higher.

Here are the recycling links for the top 4 consumer-grade printer companies. Give this a try when your printer, scanner, etc, fails and is in need of replacement. Mother Earth says, "Thanks!"

Hewlett Packard (HP)







iPhone battery deal

As a result of Apple losing (Yes, they don't win every time) a lawsuit, any iPhone user can purchase a replacement battery for $29 between now and Dec 31, 2018. The battery replacements were priced at $79 prior to this ruling. Once January 1st hits, the price will be $49.

My iPhone 7 is reliable but has suffered lower charge times in the last 6 months. I cannot make it through a day without charging in the car, plugging in at work, etc. 

I was a perfect candidate for this program! I made an Apple "Genius Bar" appointment on a Thursday for the very next day. When I went to the Apple store at our mall, I was told the replacement would be $29 as long as no water damage was found inside my phone AND I had never had it serviced at a third-party fix-it place. Good by me, I qualified.

The technician took me in on time, had me disable the 'Find My Phone" feature and asked me if I had done a backup. I had, but not via the iCloud online method. The more complete - "plug it into iTunes with a cable routine" is how I backed up my phone. He explained the reason a backup was necessary was that if the phone did not go back together smoothly or the screen did not calibrate properly, Apple would give me a replacement iPhone 7. This of course, would render my data lost without having done a backup before I arrived.

I gave them my phone, wandered around the mall at Christmastime for an hour, and returned to pay $32.03 (tax included) for the replacement of my battery. The tech explained that Apple recommends replacing the battery at 500 cycles or recharges - Mine had 959 - so I was overdue. 

I'm hoping this new battery in a phone that otherwise does all I require will allow me to do more with less midday recharging. 

I'd encourage owners of the iPhone 6, 7, or 8 to take advantage of this before next week. As you may imagine, many people will receive new Apple products as Christmas gifts. This will clog the Genius Bar appointments following December 25th. Get in on this while it's still civilized at the Apple store!



Not a Resolution! A Career Upgrade for IT Independents...

What does the new year hold for you - fitness or dietary goals, perhaps new financial heights? More time with friends or family, or maybe you'll buy that long sought after "car of desire." Could it be time for that trip out west or overseas?

Regardless of what the dream entails, this time of year is when many commit themselves to moves that lead to a better life. For technology-minded professionals, this could mean making that transition to managing your own IT business.

Nerds On Site is here in Florida, from the Keys throughout the Treasure Coast, Miami, Ft Lauderdale and Palm Beach County. We represent a smooth transition to business ownership for technology lovers. No surprise, franchising has dominated every industry it has entered, from food to auto repair, business services to health and fitness.

The most successful franchises have a well-proven system and the resources to help self motivated individuals follow a business plan. 

With over 20 years experience, Nerds On Site has a terrific plan for owning your own IT business. We service small and medium businesses and all of their tech needs. If you've dabbled with helping residential and business customers yourself, imagine coupling your skills with these Nerds On Site franchise features:

  • A Professional Brand to represent
  • Proven Marketing materials and strategies
  • Invoicing and credit card merchant services
  • A team of several hundred professionals to lean on for questions and great advice (NOT just Google!)
  • A robust Knowledge Base and Wiki of best practices
  • Advantageous and profitable supplier relations - economies of scale!
  • Ongoing Training and Support
  • NO earnings ceiling

If you or someone you know is ripe to make the jump to a business, January the first should not be the reason. A solid and legitimate opportunity is the reason, if the timing is right for that individual. Email me with any questions, I am local to South Florida and can easily explain our company's plans for the area.


And Happy 2017!






Device Security and Ransomware

I just finished a webinar with our team and the experts from Webroot. There are so many new threats designed to cripple your data, the newest trend involving trojan viruses being labeled "ransomware."

It is important to realize that these new variants can attack both Windows PCs and Apple OSX machines.

Ransomware loads on your device usually as a result of "tricking" you into downloading a malicious file. These can come in emails disguised as updates for Adobe Flash or other popular software. Some are email attachments that look like resumes or tax documents, two things that would stir curiosity and entice a user to progress to opening those files. Once infected, ransomware rapidly encrypts most known file types on your machine. Then the agent informs you that you have become a victim. Your only recourse is to pay a "ransom" online using what's called "dark web-commerce currency" like Bitcoin. I am saddened to inform you that even after paying the ransom, some user files are never restored to normal. It's a dangerous position to be in as a result of one errant click of the mouse.

The best defense against these threats includes an aggressive backup strategy, Webroot Antivirus and a firewall that strictly controls Internet access.

  • The backups help if you do become infected. The backups should be "air gapped," meaning they are not accessible from your computer through a mapped network drive or always-attached removable storage device. Carbonite works, Apple Time Machine can work but is quickly being targeted by the hackers for infection along with your files.
  • Webroot is a best-in-class threat detection software. It protects you against viruses, malware, spyware and potentially unwanted applications or PUAs. The data fueling Webroot's awesomeness lies on the INternet, not locally on your harddrive. This advantage means no missed updates and no clogging of your system's resources due to years worth of antivirus signatures. That approach is so 2014!
  • A firewall that really limits what you can and cannot do online. NetBender, also known as DNS Thingy can offer a unique method of protection against ransomware. This system operates off of a "whitelist" (Previously approved as safe) lcollection of websites. It will not allow advertisements to load or you to visit sites not on your "whitelist" to be visited. Ransomware has to communicate with secret servers (setup by hackers) to do it's damage and attempt to collect your money. Because this nifty device never approves that lethal relationship, the ransomware cannot fully deploy on your device.

At Nerds On Site, our relationships with top tier security firms such as Webroot keep us very much at the forefront of dangerous issues such as ransomware. Call us at 877-696-3737 for information on how we can keep your data and computing environment safe from these rapidly emerging threats. As we say in many of our marketing pieces, "Leave the Nerdy Work to Us!"

For more info, use these links...