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NVMUG February 2022 Meeting Report

February 19, 2022

Meeting Minutes for the Northern Vermont Macintosh User Group

Held via Zoom online

Present: Jane Fuller, Midge Lubot, Stephen Farber, Bruce Shields, and Geof Gonter


Jane asked about an external optical drive to use her new Air. The M1 Air has 2 cPorts and no internal drive. Apple mentioned they have tray less unit for sale. It has a USB 3.0 Type A connector and must have an cPort to USB adapter to utilize it. It is also $79.00, which is on the high side. There are several capable drives for a much cheaper price at Amazon, New Egg, and other aftermarket vendors. Several of the newest units have USB Type A and cPort cable for transferring data. Most will play and burn all types of media. They are also smaller than the Apple device and utilize a notebook tray. In my experience, many of the notebook trays will last a long time, if not abused.
cPort only - https://tinyurl.com/2p8wnujn (tray less)
cPort and USB - https://tinyurl.com/2p93u6mu
another - https://tinyurl.com/3wcmt2h9

Classes online - Udemy and iCollege offer some cheap online courses available. Some are costly, but are sometimes are available at special prices through iDrop News (https://www.stackcommerce.com), Stackskills (also stackcommerce.com), and BitsDuJour (https://www.bitsdujour.com/mac-download). They offer additional lower prices for software and hardware as well. Just signed up for a course for certification with Big Sur, for $29.99 (A $159 course) through iCollege.

Koingo Software occasionally offers software at reduced prices. As of this writing Koingo Software offers Microsoft Office 2021 for the Mac for $49.99. Just remember, that version runs on Big Sur and Monterey only. Office 2019 runs on earlier operating systems.

Ring Lights are available in a variety of sizes with options for setting the tones and brightness of light. They are useful for full on lighting in low light conditions or filling in if the light on user’s faces if shadowed some areas. Just know that, depending on placement and the user wearing glasses, the lights will reflect in the glass lenses.

SSDs are the latest in storage in computers, especially laptops, although they are now standard in the latest iMacs. They are considerably faster (Up to 4 times) than rotational drives. The new Macs have the storage soldered to logic board, making it very very difficult to upgrade. The size choices are usually 256 gb, 512 gb, 1 Tb, and 2 Tb. Previous Apple laptops (2017 and older) had replaceable SSDs (except for the 2015 to 2017 MacBooks which were soldered to the logic board) .

Older computers can be retrofitted for their use, some requiring special brackets for mounting. The technology is basically the same as USB flash drives and SD cards, but mounting in the computer, allowing the use of the bus speed to run a much faster speed. If your older computer is running slow, you might consider installing a SSD as well as upgrading the memory. There are also external SSDs, including some utilizing Thunderbolt.

Dealing with animals - A short discussion included the discussion of how our pets deal with the cold.

Internet options were discussed when Stephen brought up a new fiber provider (Fidium.com) that is available a few places in VT (Barton being the one closest to me). They offer up to 1 Gbps service and lower speed plans. However, they are not necessarily cheaper than other providers.
Fidium - Fiber internet service: 50 Mbps - $35 a month, 250 Mbps - $60 a month, 1 GBps - $70 per month (No data limit)
Consolidated - 10 Mbps - $70.00 a month (3 year agreements with paperless billing and autopay, $80 without) (Not sure about data limits)
Comcast - I pay $55 a month for a 400 Mbps plan, plus my cable and phone. Bundling services reduce the price. Up to one GB service is available at an additional cost. I believe the cost of internet service only is $10.00 a month more. (Data limits may be involved)
Other services are available, depending on where you reside. Elan Musk’s Starlink will become more readily available as time goes on, after he gets up more satellites up.

Ting is a contracted cell phone provider Stephen and Midge use. You can use equipment you obtained from other carriers. For more information you can browse to Ting.com.

iPhone woes with podcasts - The question of podcasts not syncing with a computer came up. Stephen walked the user through the syncing process so the same podcasts would be available on iPhone that is on the computer. Set syncing library in Setting > Podcasts on the phone again Podcasts Preferences > Advanced (Select Sync follows across devices) on the computer.

Carplay, Airplay, and Bluetooth - The difference between using the three methods of playing music on the cars and to other devices, TVs, stereos, earphones/headphones, and the like, was discussed. Different manufacturers handle the transfer different ways.

The next NVMUG meeting will be a Zoom meeting on March 19, 2022 at 10:00 am. The date for the April meeting will be April 16, 2022.

If you wish to attend, please send me an email by 9:30 am, by that date, so I can send you an email invitation to the meeting. The meetings will continue to be online meetings instead of the meeting room at the Northeastern Regional Hospital in Saint Johnsbury, Vermont. Right now that looks like it will not be before April 1, 2022, when we might be able acess that location.

On Facebook? Visit us at https://www.facebook.com/groups/477957755742285/.

Geof Gonter



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