Apple HomePod


Apple has released their new HomePod speaker. If you're considering getting one, here's a short list of things it does and doesn't do.


It Does...

  • work with multiple iOS devices including iPhone 5S or later, iPad Pro, iPad Air, iPad mini or higher, iPod higher, and the 5th gen. iPad.
  • require Apple Music to use Siri to control your music with your voice such as requesting it to play a specific song.
  • integrate with iCloud; the account chosen will be the account HomePod is hooked to with messages, notes, and reminders as well as the Apple Music subscription. 
  • have touch controls that affect volume, Siri, play/pause, and skipping.
  • have privacy settings built in. The HomePod is designed to only listen when you say, "Hey Siri."
  • have good power efficiency.
  • yield to your iPhone when you request Siri.
  • have room sensing technology to give you the best listening experience it can.


It Doesn't...

  • work as a bluetooth speaker, although you can connect and play your music from Spotify if the iOS device and HomePod are on the same wifi network.
  • give you calendar notifications.
  • have Home Sharing; the ability to access and play your iTunes music that wasn't purchased through the iTunes store.
  • pair with Android devices.
  • recognize different voices.
  • have an auxiliary jack to allow connection of unsupported devices like older iPod Classics or Android devices.
  • have the ability to make dialing calls without your phone.
  • have the ability to answer obscure questions, play games or tell jokes.


Though it has limitations, the HomePod promises a great sound and powerful features for Apple users that have been long awaiting a smart speaker.

Feel free to contact us if you have questions or if you'd like assistance in hooking up your new HomePod!

Digital Vigilance

As the year comes to a close, we are seeing a significant uptick in rogue emails that appear to be coming from vendors and clients requesting payment, or a click to update terms etc. If you look closely though, the addresses and websites really don't match the real thing.

We suspect you will also begin to see emails that appear to be related to the new tax legislation along with a myriad of other topics that may appear legitimate.

Please be extra careful with your email right now as you work to wrap up the year, spend time with friends and family and open a new year. This is a hectic time and there are bad people that prey upon our holiday spirit and some of the confusion that accompanies this time of year.

As always, feel free to forward any suspect emails to us. We will be happy to look them over and advise.

Evernote....Endless Possibilities


I have a student who just started her first year of Pharmacy school this past fall. Besides the huge tuition, they had an additional “small” requirement of a bright shiny new iPad. They do everything on the iPad – from note taking and filing to taking tests. Being a Certified Evernote Consultant, I initially wanted to set her up with a new Evernote account to take notes and store all her important documents.

My enthusiasm wasn’t matched by my laid back student. I researched, downloaded and tested all the best note-taking apps and how they interacted with Evernote. I wanted to get in and set up all the glorious folders and tags.  My attempts to show her everything she could do was met with a cold, “Uh-huh,” and “Whatever.” She told me she would figure it out as she went. Much to my discomfort, I had to relinquish control and let her follow her own path.

After the first day came all the questions…”How do I do this and that?” “What do I use?” followed by a “This is frustrating!”

Of course I am an hour away and couldn't access her iPad to help her navigate it. Again, I researched her questions and answered what I could and let her struggle through it. I know it is hard to believe, but I am not a control freak. However, it was still hard to dump her into the deep end to see if she could swim–-even at her age.

Then an amazing thing happened…she did swim and she left me clinging to the wall!

While she was home for the Thanksgiving holiday, she showed me how she had set up her workflow. She developed a personalized system that is working for her.

She has always been a Google Docs/Google Drive kind of student. I think it comes from having used it all through middle school and high school. She likes it better simply because she is more familiar with it.

However, Evernote was not left in the dust. 

She has been using Evernote as her note taking app….Amazing!! She prefers the way you can use the Apple Pencil and type in a single note in Evernote. She can now type some notes and draw her chemistry models all in one note! She can also use Evernote with all her devices and access it anywhere and her notes will be safely stored in a cloud-based system. After seeing her process, I commandeered the help of my SideKick team, and we dug in and figured out a simple way to export the notes into Google Drive…and… Voila! A perfect symbiotic relationship was formed.

Why tell this story? I was reminded that everyone uses Evernote very differently. It is such a flexible tool and the possibilities with Evernote are endless. How can it make your life better? I would love to help you discover the best way to implement this powerful tool. 

Let’s talk!

Your SideKick, Sara

High Sierra Security Vulnerability

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This afternoon a security flaw only in the MacOS High Sierra 10.13.1 release was pointed out to Apple by a user on Twitter. The vulnerability allows someone who has physical control of the computer to access the System Administrator without having to enter a password. With access to this user, a person can have gain control of all computer files, passwords, and accounts.

It has been confirmed by other tech news outlets. Apple has not released a patch fix at this time. Contact SideKick Solutions if you are running High Sierra on your system or if your computer has been lost. 

Stay tuned here for upcoming news as more unfolds.

KRACK Wi-Fi Vulnerability

We want to let all of our partners know that we are closely following the recently revealed Wi-Fi vulnerability known as KRACK (Key Reinstallation Attack).  This is potentially a serious security risk but we do expect Apple and other vendors to release security updates in the next few days and weeks.  We strongly encourage everyone to minimize or avoid using Wi-Fi in public places such as hotels, planes and coffee shops.  It is also a good idea to turn off your wireless networking on devices when they are not in use.  

What it is?

  • Right now it is a vulnerability, meaning a hacker could break into your wireless connection.  They could then either listen to what your doing, present to be the web site your want to access or put their information on your computer.

What can happen?

  • Sniffing - An attacker can look at the network traffic on your device and see non-encrypted traffic such as unsecured web sites.  
  •  Hijacking - This type off attack would come from very advanced hackers who would pretend to the the server you are connected to.  
  • Malware - The most common type of attack would occur where attackers try to install software on your computer to take your personal information.  
  • Internet enabled devices - Devices such are thermostats, managed lighting and appliances may be at risk.

What is NOT affected?

  • Secured web connections such as banking and Gmail.  Just look for the green lock in your web browser’s address bar. 
  • Cellular Data.  If your Wi-Fi is off, your device is not at risk.
  • Wired ethernet is not affected.

What you can do?

  • Keep your computers and phones patched and up to date.  
  • Make sure phone or iPad is running iOS 10 or newer.
  • Check your Macintosh to make sure it is running Mac OS 10.11 (El Capitan) or newer (Sierra is 10.12).
  • Avoid public Wi-Fi.  
  • Stay informed & stay tuned.  We are following this problem closely.
  • Use wired ethernet connections as often as possible.
  • Turn off your wireless when you don’t need it.

More information:

iPhone 8 Hands On Review


I am posting my first impressions of the new iPhone 8. This was an accidental upgrade because my iPhone 7 was "misplaced" during a recent motorcycle trip. I'm still hoping someone finds it.

First of all, I wasn't faced with the temptation of the iPhone X. An immediate replacement was necessary and the X wasn't available when I needed it. Luckily the iPhone 8 shares the same processor as the iPhone X and their speed is a noticeable improvement over the iPhone 7. 

The iPhone 7 and the iPhone 8 look nearly identical. My old case fits and that was a surprise. There is a small difference in dimensions, so this won't be true of every case on the market. 

There is a new type of glass on the 8, and it now has a glass back. This glass is supposed to be much stronger than before, though I did not test that claim. This makes the 8 a little bit heavier than the 7, but it is barely noticeable. The glass back enables the 8 to use wireless charging. I tried it, and it works, albeit a little slower.

Along with the glass, the display has been improved to include Apple's True Tone technology that adapts to the surrounding light and provides better color balance. This is subtle, but there is a pleasant difference, especially when compared to its predecessor. While the new display is not a game changer, it is nice to have.

I haven't used the camera enough to make a judgement yet. The optics on the 8 are the same as the 7, but according to published reports, the new Image Signal Processor improves the camera image and video capture.

The final item is battery life. My experience has been a longer lasting charge, but that is often true of a new phone with a new battery. I expect the battery life to be about the same as the 7. The new wired fast-charge feature is a welcome feature and is noticeable when you plug it in the car between stops.

All in all, I like the iPhone 8. If you are happy with your iPhone 7, I wouldn't say this is a "must have" upgrade. If you lose your old iPhone however, or just want the latest gear, the iPhone 8 brings a lot of improvements just beneath the hood.


Apple Announcement


Apple continues to raise the bar for technology accessories.

  • Apple Watch series 3 and watchOS 4: The new release of Apple Watch includes both hardware and software. It offers the ability to use your watch without your phone present with the hardware upgrade to cellular. Going for a run, or a swim, or somewhere you want to leave your phone behind? You can still stay connected with new Apple Watch. It’s only a few millimeters thicker than the previous model and the same weight. Additionally, Apple has made numerous changes to the new watchOS mainly involving health and fitness.
  • Apple TV: The next generation of Apple TV will be 4K HDR which is the sharpest picture you can have to date. It is also equipped with the new A10 fusion chip that brings 2x the CPU performance and 4x graphics performance. It will also have live sports and live news as viewing features of the Apple TV app.

  • iPhone 8 and 8 Plus: The new iPhone model has a sleek glass front and back and is designed to be water and dust resistant. It also has a new retina display and best of all supports wireless charging. Under the hood is a brand new A11 bionic chip with a six-core 64-bit processor. A 12MP camera with a new portrait mode and premier lighting software to accompany it for improved photography and video recording. They have also included a stereo speaker setup to enhance your listening experience. These will ship with the new iOS 11, announced a few months back.

  • iPhone X: Apple’s One More Thing has really got people’s attention. Some were ecstatic about the new model and others were underwhelmed. This new generation of iPhone has no home button, but instead a full glass front. Like the 8/8+, the X has a glass back and is water and dust resistant. It too supports wireless charging and measures 5.8” diagonally with a Super Retina 458ppi screen. With no home button, how will you unlock your phone? By using the new FaceID, facial recognition. A tiny bank of sophisticated cameras and sensors work by mapping your face using an infrared dot projector system. Which means it is designed to work in the dark and learn your face as changes occur, for instance like growing a beard or getting your haircut. Additionally, it requires user attention to unlock your phone in that if you’re looking away or have your eyes closed while your face is presented to the cameras, the phone will remain locked. On the inside, it uses the same A11 bionic chip as the 8/8+ and offers the same great camera and portrait settings. The list of it’s features and settings could go on for days, but the big question you’re probably asking by now is how much does it cost? Prepare yourself--and your wallet--as Apple announced it will start at $999.


EquiFax Security Breach


What We Know. EquiFax is a credit bureau company that gets it's data from banks, credit card companies, lenders and even retailers. EquiFax discovered the breach on July 29th and says 143 million Americans could be affected. 

What Was Leaked. Personal information such as names, social security numbers, birth dates, addresses, and some driver's license numbers was compromised. Also, about 209,000 people's credit card numbers as well as credit report dispute personal information of about 182,000 people was leaked.

What To Do Now. EquiFax is mailing out letters to affected individuals. Additionally there is a link on the EquiFax website where you may enter your last name and the last 6 digits of your social security number to find out if your personal information may have been exposed. Check to see if you've been impacted here. It is also recommended to check your bank and credit card statements regularly. It is also advisable to change any financial account passwords and be on the look out for any suspicious emails.

For more helpful tips, check out this Forbes article.

New Look, Same Great Service


We have partnered with Design Ranch to create an exciting new look. You may have already spotted some glimpses of our new logo around our social media and we are thrilled to announce our official rollout. Check out our newly updated social media pages for further announcements as we continue to add value to our services to better serve you.

More than just a new look!

  • Now a member of the Apple Consultants Network
  • Offering support with a Certified Evernote Consultant
  • Major enhancements to Apple's Rapid App Platform - FileMaker Pro