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OWT Technical Support       https://support.owt.com
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Should you update to iOS 15 or iPadOS 15?

Another year another update.  The beta cycle was actually better than previous releases in that the releases were mostly stable and only quirky problems existed.  If your iOS or iPadOS device was able to run version 14 it likely can run version 15.  When is the right. time to upgraded?

We have traditionally urged everyone on every Apple update to wait for the first point release to upgrade. So in this case 15.1 which should be out now or very soon.  There are some compelling reasons to upgrade in this version with the new notes features (iPad) and nice Facetime features but nothing is really a must have feature so we will stick with that advice.  

While this year's updates may have been overall the most stable we have seen there still seem to be some issues with feature just not working or even visible - old features not just new ones - that require a power-cycle to solve.  We have long recommended a weekly power cycle of every mobile phone, tablet and even computer if possible but with this release it seems a bit more necessary.  

Some users are still complaining of reduced battery life which was certainly true with the betas but near the end improved.  It may be worth reviewing your battery settings and turning some notifications off if you can.  Also be sure to pay attention to the Focus feature as this really can minimize needless notifications and group them so that you are not constantly interrupted.   We strongly urge you to take some time to setup the Focus feature set.  

Since all of the most important features of the device seem stable we can recommend that with the 15.1 release you upgrade your devices now.  However, keep in mind that if you. witness some odd behaviour the healing power of the power cycle. 

Should you upgrade to MacOS 12 (Monterrey)

This year's MacOS upgrade might be the least feature-laden release we have seen but it still has some nice additions.  If you were able to run MacOS 11 (Big Sur) you should be able to run MacOS 12.  But should you upgrade?

Our feeling is that Apple is far more reckless with MacOS code than we wish and have never recommended an OS upgrade before the first point release - in this case that would be MacOS 12.1 which is not yet scheduled.  12.0 will be released on 10/25/2021 and we will install it on non-critical machines at that time.  This should not be like some upgrades in that past that rocked third-party developers for some time (Catalina) but we are still taking a cautious approach.   Big Sur went pretty well after 11.1 and we expect the same from Monterrey.   

There has been some controversy about the changes to tabs in Safari and in the final release it seems Apple has admitted they have no idea what users want in this regard and made the default setting to be as they were with an optional setting to have some of the new tab features if you wish rather than full control of the feature.  Other than some nice Facetime improvements there is no must-have feature for almost anyone in this release so you don't need to rush into this one.  

Now that the final version, 12.01, has been released we have installed this on several Macs.  As with previous releases installing on contemporary hardware went off without a hitch.  Also as before older hardware was sometimes problematic.  The installation file was an over 12 Gb download but once we got past that we had two installation failures on 2015-era iMacs that resulted in a re-format of the drive and so ultimately we had to migrate from a Time Machine backup.  After that though the installation seems to have worked and all seems stable at this point.  The installer is improved from previous major versions to be sure. Even the migration seemed to go smoother if not really any faster.  

Apple has spent some time working on some small details that actually stand out during the full installation process which includes a lot of permissions and notifications so you will appreciate some improvements there.  

We have seen this release looking pretty stable so far but it still too early to tell.  For now we will still urge you not to upgrade critical systems to Monterrey and just wait for 12.1.  We will update this article after a few more days with 12.01 if we feel differently. 

 

Virus Woes

Exclamation Triangle RedDespite advances in anti-virus and anti-malware software virus and malware issues are as significant as ever.  What's changed the most is the severity that these infections can damage your system.  In the past even the most infected systems could be cleaned in no more than a few hours work but today we are seeing systems that are just too badly damaged to be properly cleaned.For this reason we are encouraging Windows users take certain steps to help minimize the impact of these infections:

  • First and foremost make sure you have a backup solution.  One that KEEPS you updated. There are a variety of solutions and will add some articles to this site to help with that soon.

  • Make sure you have a quality, updated anti-virus/anti-malware system that uses active scanning on your computer.  We have some recommendations but none of the free products will protect you completely.  We have a couple of solutions that we link in our recommendations section here. Understand that we are no longer recommending any of the free anti-virus solutions. If at all possible a commercial product will save you time and money in the long run!

Ransomware is a real threat these days. Security software may only partially protect you from the worst of this but when it doesn't it is in those instances where the malware tries to trick the user into clicking on something or approving something as an authorized addition that will ultimately encrypt your hard drive until you pay a ransom.  The key here is to not be tricked.  While you are casually browsing the web there is just no reason to do what a popup tells you to.  Close them or your web browser if you have to but BE CAREFUL. 

Did you know that OWT repairs computers too?

We don't just provide great tech support - we can fix your ailing PC or Mac as well. From virus issues and blown up Windows to replacing drives and other components let OWT get the job done right and save you money in the process. OWT has very competitive service rates and a lot of experience with both PCs and Macs. We do quite a bit of hardware repair and just about any kind of software related repair including data recovery. We can save you or your business money!

VIRUS/SPYWARE REMOVAL * UPGRADES * DATA RECOVERY * SOFTWARE SOLUTIONS MACINTOSH AND PC

Nervous about that upgrade? Let OWT take the hassles away for you. Call 783-3454 to make an appointment - we have openings just about every day!

Our Hours

We monitor our services 24/7 but can actually be found in the office for technical support, billing questions or new accounts etc. Monday - Friday from 9 AM to 5 PM. Our technical support line is answered from 8AM to 6PM however. 

We are closed weekends and most holidays.

Department Phone Hours Email
Billing, Sales or Account Questions 509-735-0408 9 AM to 5 PM M-F  admin@owt.com
Technical Support 509-783-3454 8 AM to 6 PM M-F help@owt.com

If you have an after hours emergency our technical support voicemail will provide you with number to page an on-call technician. 

When calling technical support please make sure to let the phone ring several times as we are often working away from our desk in a noisy server area and need time to get to a quiet area to answer the phone. 

 

Our Status

OWT is still working our pandemic hours where the business office is open 9 AM to 5 PM.  Tech support is still here 8 AM to 6 PM but you won't be able to drop off or pickup computers outside the 9 AM - 5 PM window unless you call us and make arrangements.  

We are otherwise fully open and taking meetings etc.  If you need your computer worked on or wish to visit a co-located server here we ask that you call us first.  This will also allow us to give you some idea of our expected turn-around time.  We still strive for next day return on all but the most challenging repairs (when parts are needed etc.) but these days some issues are more time consuming even if they don't take any more actual labor time.  

Also note that, like you, we are trying to stay cool and so we may not have our blinds open so don't sit in the parking lot - we are probably open and even if a bit before we open the lobby is cooler than the parking lot.  

As always we try to be as responsive to Email as we can and often this approach may be yield a better response for you with many troubleshooting issues.  This gives us an opportunity to research your issue and maybe even try to reproduce it.  

Protect Your Passwords!!!

It's now 2020 and we STILL have customers giving up their passwords to third parties!

Please KNOW that OWT will NEVER EVER ask for your password in any abnormal way. If something doesn't look right IT ISN'T!

When we see compromised accounts we will immediately lock the account and you will need to call technical support for a new password. 

Phishing Scams

We continue to get queries from customers about this. Please remember OWT sends out billing via Email to many of our customers but otherwise almost never Email our customers. We will NEVER EVER ask you for any of your account information via Email. EVER!!! Do not fall for these phishing scams!

In reality no one does this!  If any Email wants you to verify anything and you didn't just interact with them recently then it is probably bogus.  If for some reason you think it might be real just login to that site THE WAY YOU NORMALLY DO AND NOT FROM A LINK IN THE EMAIL.

Online scams to lure customers into providing account, personal or other sensitive information are on the rise. OWT takes several steps to help prevent this sort of thing but there is only so much we can do. Most phishing scams look very legitimate. Our MailScanner will alert you to any Email where a web link points to a different web address than the address it shows you in the Email. This bright red message might be annoying in harmless Emails where the marketer put a different link in just for tracking purposes but this feature has save many from clicking on harmful links that lead to malware installation.

We would like to remind our customers that OWT, and really almost everyone that runs a legitimate business, will NEVER ask you for sensitive information via Email. If they do require additional information they will ask you to login to your existing account and THEN request that information. Even very legitimate looking requests should be intensely scrutinized and we ask that everyone think long and hard before clicking on a web link from any Email that you are not sure about.

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