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The MacSpa 10-year Anniversary Playlist (2009-2019)

For our 10-year anniversary party, I hand-selected 4 hours of music from 2009-2019 from my own collection. If you were at the party, you had a chance to burn a CD on my vintage CD burning station!

This is a good playlist for any party, or a long road trip, as you have an easy beginning as things are just getting started, then the ebbs and flows of upbeat to chill to dance-y as the party gets going. Toward the end, it slows down and wraps up the evening nicely with relaxed and enjoyable tunes.

There are several familiar hits, bringing back memories of the “old days”: CDs and iPods, Apple commercials, and the Kia Soul (yep!). You can sing or dance along with most of these, with a handful of lesser known alternative hits, vintage remakes of popular songs by Post Modern Jukebox (my favorite!), plus two vintage covers.

It’s a lot of fun, and hopefully has something for everyone. It is mostly clean with just a few uncensored lyrics, I’d generally give it a PG-13 rating. I couldn’t get every song and genre in just one playlist, but I think it’s a pretty good representation of the last decade.

Enjoy, and let me know what you think!

P.S. if you can’t listen on Apple Music, email me for alternative links or (gasp) a CD!

Using Apple Devices in your Smart Home

Since upgrading your iPhone or iPad to iOS 10 in 2016, you may have noticed a new App automatically installed called ‘Home’. With improving home WiFi networks (see our Mesh Network Blog), controlling many Smart Devices throughout your home utilizing the Home and other iOS Apps is fast, convenient and simple.

Apple’s Smart Home control system is called HomeKit. Amazon and Google have similar systems that integrate with their Echo and Home devices, respectively. Homekit uses Siri for speech recognition and has now been integrated into hundreds of Smart Devices. Your iPhone or iPad will only work with Homekit when on the same WiFi network as your Homekit devices. In order for Homekit-enabled devices to work automatically (like setting the thermostat, adjusting the lights or monitoring the door) without an iPhone or Pad present, you’ll need an Apple device that is always home and connected to WiFi like AppleTV or the new HomePod. HomePod not only serves as an automated ‘hub’ for HomeKit devices, it also integrates several high-quality microphones to listen for your Siri commands and speakers to create amazing sound.

For more information on Homekit and what devices are supported, visit Apple’s Homekit website at: (https://www.apple.com/ios/home/). For a full overview on setting up Homekit in your home and to get your questions answered, come to our new ‘Smart Home Workshop’, now a regular monthly offering at The MacSpa.


Topophilia: Denver Cityscapes by Eric Matelski

Art Reception and Open House
Sunday, March 11th
1:00pm – 4:00pm
RSVP on Facebook

The MacSpa will host a special open house and art reception to showcase paintings by artist and curator Eric Matelski.

This reception is special for two reasons:
1. It’s the first reception at The MacSpa in over a year; AND
2. March is Eric’s birthday and we are honoring him for his years of service as art curator of The MacSpa and for his contributions to the art community.

Speaking of birthdays, art makes great gifts! Show your Mile High pride with a Matelski original featuring the iconic Union Station, 16th Street Mall, or other favorite Denver city-scape.

So, come on down and celebrate with us, view some art, and wish Eric a happy birthday. Light refreshments will be served.

* Kira will be on-site selling Girl Scout Cookies–this is the last day to get yours from a real Girl Scout! Eric will include a box of your favorite with each art purchase 🙂 *

Artist Statement:
“Topophilia is the love of or emotional connection with a place or physical environment. I first felt this love for Denver when I was 7 years old. This connection drove me to move here and study art when I turned 18. Denver is where I established myself as a live painter. Most of my cityscapes have also been painted live and sometimes in a plein-air setting. This approach to the subject matter adds a whimsical use of vibrant colors and loose brush strokes to portray the movement of this mile high metropolis.”
-Eric Matelski

Upgrading to macOS High Sierra

Apple’s newest Operating System for Mac, High Sierra, was released in October of 2017, and by now you’ve probably been seeing Notifications pop up on the right side of your Mac Desktop reminding you to upgrade. Here’s what you should know about this new system:

  1. If your Mac is currently running Sierra, macOS 10.12.6, it is capable of running High Sierra. Generally, this means that your computer is 8 years old or newer. If yours is older, it may be time to start thinking about a new Mac, or just skip this update.

2. High Sierra introduces a whole new system for storing files on your Hard or Solid State Drive called Apple File System (AFS for short). If you are using a Mac with a Solid State Drive (SSD), AFS will make a huge difference in the speed and performance of your computer – perhaps as much as twice as fast. If your computer still has a traditional hard drive, you won’t notice much of a speed increase (if any) versus Sierra.

3. Some software is ‘Officially Unsupported’ under High Sierra (because of AFS), so use caution if you use third party applications from Microsoft, Adobe etc. These and other software developers are moving to a ‘Software as as Service’ model that require a monthly or annual subscription for the software to continue to function. If you already subscribe to one of these services, you have nothing to worry about when upgrading to High Sierra. However if you are using an older ‘1-time purchase’ software product from a third party, it may not be compatible with AFS. The exception would be any software purchased through the Mac App Store, as Apple requires the developers selling there that they be regularly updated for new operating system compatibility.
*(Pro Tip: check this handy guide to see if your software will work on High Sierra.)

4. After upgrading to High Sierra, you will notice many minor tweaks in the look and feel of the operating system, but the biggest improvements have come to Apple’s Photos application. Besides functioning significantly faster under High Sierra, Apple has built in fantastic improvements in Photos for editing, sharing and more. Be sure to attend The MacSpa’s ‘Photo Organizing and Editing’ class to learn more (included with a Classic or Mentor Membership!).

5. Although we haven’t seen any major problems in upgrading to High Sierra, we always recommend backing up your Mac on a regular basis and especially before a major Operating System update. For more information on backing up, see our blog post on this topic.

6. In order to upgrade, go to the Mac App Store and find the link to download High Sierra. The download process takes approximately 45 minutes (depending on your Internet connection). Once downloaded, you will be prompted to Install. Your Mac will then restart and the progress bar will continue another 45 minutes or so until you will be prompted to enter your AppleID password in order to complete.

For more information or help with upgrading to High Sierra, give us a call, book an appointment, or come to our ‘Introduction to the Mac and macOS High Sierra’ class.

How to Update Backblaze

We are big fans of Backblaze offsite backup. It’s a great emergency backup for if something catastrophic happens to your Mac or your files.

The only thing is–sometimes you have to run a manual update to keep the software up to date! Since a lot of our customers have this, I made a short video to show you exactly how to run this update yourself in just about 3 minutes.

Don’t worry, your backup won’t stop working, but it is best to always have the latest version. If you’re a Backblaze subscriber, check out the video below to do this update now! (If you are interested in having an unlimited offsite backup for your Mac, check out Backblaze here.)

It’s Time to Upgrade your WiFi Network!

Are you still using Apple’s Airport Extreme, Airport Express, Time Capsule, or ‘stock’ routers from Comcast or Centurylink to get WiFi in your home? If so, you may have noticed that your Internet speed may be slower than you expect from your Internet Service Provider which may be the fault of your WiFi router. (You may also be paying dearly for that router you’re renting.)

Until 2016, we would have recommended one of Apple’s Airport solutions to create a strong WiFi network in your home. However according to several reliable sources online, Apple has discontinued development of these units, and we are no longer recommending purchasing them. The problem with the older style WiFi routers such as Apple Airport is that they interfere with other nearby WiFi networks, resulting in slow speeds and small coverage areas. WiFi network speed and coverage area is becoming increasingly important with the growing number of WiFi devices we rely upon within our homes. As this technology fades, performance will be lacking.

The next generation of WiFi routers use a technology called Mesh, which meld together several base stations into a continuous strong and consistent network. Mesh WiFi networks are ‘smart’, in that they automatically adjust their radio frequencies according to local conditions, such as competing WiFi networks and which devices on the network need the most bandwidth. This technology is not new, but has formerly only been available to large corporations, and/or very expensive.

While Apple is not expected to enter the Mesh WiFi marketplace, several other companies have created excellent Mesh base stations that are fully compatible with Apple products and include accompanying iPhone Apps for setting up and monitoring your WiFi network. We at The MacSpa have been using a Mesh system in our office without issue for several months and have assisted setting up these systems in many clients’ homes. Now that there are more affordable options on the market, more and more people are upgrading their home networks.

Listed below are the Mesh WiFi router brands with which we have experience and are currently recommending for regular home use. Both have easy-to-use accompanying iPhone Apps and charge around $100 per WiFi base station unit, with each unit providing approximately 1500 square footage of coverage:

Google WiFi – https://madeby.google.com/wifi/ – This is the Mesh WiFi system we use at The MacSpa. The base stations are clean and simple and setup via the iPhone App is fast and easy with a Google account.

Ubiquiti Amplifi https://amplifi.com/ -We have set up this excellent system in several client homes.  The app makes setup and monitoring simple and a convenient display on the main base station monitors network speed.

Small businesses may be interested in the enterprise-class Cisco Meraki or Aerohive products.

Please contact us at The MacSpa for more information on Mesh WiFi routers and to schedule an installation and training appointment!

Your iPhone (or iPad) makes Travel Easier and Cheaper!

The height of the busy Summer Travel Season is upon us and if you’re like me, you’re just counting the days until your next big trip! When you travel, your iPhone or iPad can be an invaluable travel tool for communication, photos and videos, and using incredible apps to make travel experiences easier, faster and cheaper.

Starting in July, The MacSpa’s Class Series will focus on how to take full advantage of using your iPhone or iPad when you travel.

On July 18, we’ll be offering a new class at The MacSpa entitled ‘Travel Apps and Deals’. Whether or not you’ve already made plans, you’ll learn how to use your iPhone or iPad with some great travel Apps and strategies for making travel better and cheaper (or even free). (Sign up for classes here.)

Do you still travel with a dedicated still or video camera, then copy photos and videos to your Mac when you get home? Did you know that your iPhone or iPad can have all of the functionality of a professional camera, combined with the editing (still and video) capabilities of a Mac? July 21st’s class will teach you all about the Apps that make this possible.

After travelling with an iPad as your sole computer, you may wonder why you even need your Mac when you get home. On July 17th, we’ll teach you how to make the transition from Mac to iPad. Apple’s newest operating system for iPad, iOS 11, makes iPad feel more Mac-like and we’ll give you a preview of this system on July 10.

So before you travel this year, join us at The MacSpa to learn how to get the most out of your device. The small investment in this class will more than pay for itself with all the time- and money-saving tips you’ll take away. And don’t forget to share your photos with us when you return!

WWDC 2017 Review

On Monday, June 5 in San Jose, California, Apple kicked off its annual World Wide Developers Conference (WWDC) with several exciting hardware and software announcements for 2017. In case you missed Tim Cook’s Keynote, here’s a summary of what’s coming this year from Apple.

macOS High Sierra
We expect that the next version of the Mac Operating System will be released around September, 2017. Most of the changes in this system are under-the-hood for greatly improved security, reliability and responsiveness but it will offer some additional tools in Photos, Safari and Mail. The system requirements remain the same as Sierra. Don’t get too excited, though! As always, we recommend checking all your software and hardware requirements before automatically upgrading. We’ll have more information as we see things develop…

iOS 11
We also expect that the next version of the iPhone/iPad Operating system will be released around September, 2017 alongside a dramatically updated ‘10th Anniversary iPhone’. The biggest changes in iOS 11 will be apparent on iPad, making the device more ‘Mac-like’ with the Finder-like ‘Files’ App, the Dock, Mission-Control-like Multitasking and Drag and Drop capabilities. If you’re consdering transitioning to an iPad as a Mac replacement, these features will make your transition much easier. The system requirements remain the same as iOS 10.

iOS Apps:
In addition to Apple making iOS 11 for iPad more ‘Mac-like’, App developers are creating iPad Apps with capabilities previously only possible on Mac. An amazing Photoshop-like photo editor for iPad called Affinity Photo (only $19.99 for a limited time) was demonstrated during the Keynote, virtually negating the need for subscribing to Adobe Creative Cloud for Photoshop on Mac. Also demonstrated during the Keynote were some impressive Augmented Reality games for iPad, allowing the ability to create and edit entire virtual worlds within your own real world. With these and other recent App additions, iOS now offers full-featured software every bit as powerful as their Mac counterparts.

* Coming soon to The MacSpa: new classes on High Sierra, iOS 11 and new Mac-Like iPad Apps for Productivity, Photo & Video Editing.


iPad Pro:
Combining iOS 11 with a new iPad Pro makes replacing your Mac or PC with an iPad easier than ever. These devices have new high resolution, bright and responsive bigger displays in 10.5” and 12.9.” They are equipped with a new 12MP back camera and 7MP front camera and the new A10X Fusion chip. (See our class calendar for “Making the Switch from Computer to iPad”)

The MacBook, MacBook Air, MacBook Pro and iMac all received minor updates, mainly with new processors. (Unfortunately, all Mac laptops remain largely non-upgradeable, with non-replaceable batteries.) Prices remain unchanged.

The biggest news about Macs is the announcement of the iMac Pro, an iMac designed specifically for video, graphics and photography professionals. The most powerful iMac ever, with a 27” Retina Display, up to 18 processing cores and a never-seen-before Vega graphics card will start at nearly $5000 when it’s released in December 2017.

Coming in December 2017, Apple is releasing HomePod, a brand-new device to rival the Amazon Echo and Google Home. Like Echo and Home, HomePod will understand your voice commands (via Siri), but during the Keynote Apple didn’t detail its capabilities beyond playing music. Unlike Echo and Home, the sound quality from HomePod will be exceptional, and the device–with an A8 chip–intelligently adapts sound quality to the space it’s placed in.

Not mentioned during the Keynote:
We don’t expect changes to these devices this year.

Although Apple’s Airport Express, Airport Extreme and Time Capsule are currently available, news outlets are reporting that these devices will be entirely discontinued soon, and there have been no major updates since 2013. If you are considering upgrading your home WiFi network, we are looking to Mesh-based devices from Google, Eero, Ubiquiti and Cisco. These devices provide next-generation WiFi coverage and smartly position wifi frequency according to their spatial positioning.

Contact The MacSpa if you’d like to book a consultation or appointment for assistance with purchasing or in-home setup on your new–or not-so-new–technologies. 🙂

To watch the official Apple Keynote presentation and learn more about what’s new, visit apple.com.

Spring into Cloud Storage (The Right Way!)

While we’ve all been using Cloud Computing in some way or another for many years, many of us unwittingly ‘Sprung’ into using iCloud Drive Storage for the first time when we upgraded to Apple’s latest MacOS, Sierra. If this happened to you, all of the files that you previously had stored in your Mac’s Desktop and Documents folders were automatically moved to iCloud and can now be accessed from other Apple devices logged into the same iCloud account.

How did this happen? After upgrading to Sierra and entering your iCloud information, a small checkbox appeared (pre-checked for your “convenience”) which offered the ability to store Documents and Desktop items in iCloud. Most of us don’t read (or understand) all (or any) of the prompts that appear after a software upgrade, so we assumed that the default settings were correct. If the files in these folders exceed 5GB in size, you’ll be prompted to upgrade your iCloud Storage Plan.

You may think that making your documents accessible from any Apple device seems like a good idea, and it is. However Apple’s iCloud Drive doesn’t work nearly as well as many of the other available cloud storage services available for your Apple devices (and it’s relatively more expensive). You may have seen the endless online discussions by confused and frustrated users that look similar to this Apple forum. This common problem has also sparked helpful articles like this one on MacObserver.

Check out our brand-new Online Class, ‘Using the Cloud with your Apple Devices on Udemy and/or attend our in-person class, ‘Demystifying the Cloud to learn all about all of the cloud storage options available for your Apple Device.

In the meantime, you may be wondering how to remove your files from iCloud. This requires disabling the Desktop & Documents Folders option under iCloud Drive Options in System Preferences. Then these files can be located in Finder under iCloud Drive and moved to another location (either on the Hard Drive or another cloud storage service).

As always, The MacSpa is here to help you navigate. If you need personal assistance this Spring, you get 20% off your first training session after signing up for one of the two classes listed above. We’ll help you find the best way to ‘Spring into the Cloud!’

classes & workshops

workshop space

Classes and Workshops at The MacSpa are a great and affordable way to get an overview of the software and features on your Mac, iPad, or iPhone in a small group setting that encourages participation and discussion.

View Classes Now! »

Can’t be here in person? Check out our latest online courses at Udemy!

Once you purchase a course, you own it for life, and can watch it anywhere, at your own pace, and on your own schedule. We are adding more courses all the time.


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