A few years back we moved to Lithgow. Just a month after moving into our new home I was made redundant during COVID. The only problem was that with my level of Mac experience I was not able to work within a few hours’ drive. Then my wife convinced me to start my own business doing Mac Repairs in Mount Victoria, Lithgow, Katoomba and Blackheath.
Local to the Mount Victora area I am the most experienced Mac expert and I can come to your house.
Hardware and software repairs
Not only can I repair Macbooks, iMacs and Mac Pros I can also work on third party software issues that Apple will not touch. I specialise in some of the older macs that might need an upgrade.
My classes can cover everything from the absolute basics to some of the more advanced software. Each class is custom-designed to meet the needs of the student. The best part is that we can do the training in your home.
Everyone focuses too much on memorizing the process while using a computer. The problem with that is that we tend to forget and the process may change as software advances (Often becoming easier to use).
Children learn through trial and error, not memorisation. Children make as many as two mistakes a minute while using a computer. However, we do not notice this because they do not get frustrated while doing so. We just assume they know what they are doing. (Trust me they have no idea)
Seniors and adults assume that we have to use the computer perfectly every single time OR ELSE. This makes even the slightest mistake a major drama. This is where I come in. By making it ok to make mistakes we remove the stress of using the computer and open the part of our brain that learns through trial and error.
Personal Katoomba Senior Tech Classes
One of the main reasons why I like to teach seniors how to use computers in a personal class vs a group class is that I can focus the training in a way that best suits each of the students. It also eliminates the fear of asking questions because they feel like they are behind or do not understand.
Instead of creating a class that the student must follow. I make notes about what the student must learn and then adjust the classes accordingly.
We opened our shop just after COVID started. Made redundant by my former employer and the reality that nobody in the area has my level of Apple repair experience… I opened my own shop. Now I do, Katoomba, Lithgow and Blackheath Mac Repairs.
Mac software expert
When I say that I know Apple software. I’m not talking about a few online classes. I worked at Apple in California in the Applecare software department. I can tell you the training needed to do the job was intense. So I can say that my understanding of Mac software is more than most in the area. This makes me perfect for Blackheath Mac Repairs.
I service software Apple will not touch
It is understandable that Apple will not support software they did not create. However, this does not stop me from taking advantage of this situation and offering to support and service third party software for Mac computers. My understanding of the Apple ecosystem allows me to suggest the best software to get the job done at the same time understand that some people just are happy with the software they have and just need it to work.
I repair iMacs, Macbooks and Mac minis
Using my unique knowledge of Mac hardware and software there is little that I can not fix. Also because I do not sell mac computers I’m not motivated to tell you to buy a new iMac just because your old one is slow. I like to think of not only your budget but how your use your computer before offering advice on upgrades.
Mac upgrades can add some extra life to your old MacBook. The way I look at it as long as you can still use the MacBook then there is little need to buy a new one.
If you have been to my blog before you would know that I’m a former Applecare employee who was trained in California. This does make me an expert at all things Apple. I was working at one of the local computer repair shops in Katoomba however COVID put my employer in a bad situation and was made redundant. So forced with having to find work I opened my own repair business. Being I was the only Mac guy in the area… this makes me the Katoomba Apple Expert.
OSX Software expert
While the Genius bar does its best to work on all kinds of software issues. They did not get the same level of training as the software folks in my department at Applecare. OSX software is what I do best.
iMacs, Macbooks and iPhones
Though my focus is on the software I’m also good at the hardware aspect of repairing Mac computers. Mostly because I understand how the software and the hardware work together. Though many computer techs are good at turning screws my understanding of the Macs goes far beyond that.
I work with software that is not supported by Apple
Look I get it. Apple really needs to focus on its own products. (Though my department at Applecare broke the rules on a regular basis) I’m not limited by how I can help you. If you need me to troubleshoot old software that nobody has heard of I can give it a shot. If you want to load Linux on your Mac … I can do that too.
Personal training for all things Apple
Being the Katoomba Apple Expert has the advantage of also being a trainer. I understand how people use computers. More importantly, I understand how people learn how to use computers. I have been training seniors how to use computers for almost 20 years. There is not a “Stupid question” that I have not heard before. (Honestly, they are not stupid questions)
As the Katoomba Apple Expert, I have picked up a few tips and tricks that will make using an iMac easy for anyone.
Now that COVID is becoming a thing of the past I am now doing personal training and service at the home. While there are some repairs I will have to take back to my shop many of the issues can be repaired at your home. Book a session today!
Ever have one of those moments when you start to have problems double booking because everyone wants to see you at the same time. Well, I had that problem last week. Lucky I was able to change some dates around and make it all work. Being that I’m one of those people who learn from their mistakes I have set up the online booking for all our Tech Training, On-site service and in-shop training.
Now you can book personal training online. Appointments are not required to come in and have a chat as I’m always happy to talk to folks. However, Appointments always take priority.
(Out of Area Service Fees Apply for onsite outside of Lithgow)
Some seniors struggle with tech but not for the reason you think. Teaching adults and seniors is very different from teaching a child. For a child, you have to find ways to keep them away from the device. There is a lot of motivation for a child to play with tech. Teaching a child how to use tech is easy. Adult senior tech training is a different story it requires patience, time and the understanding that the best things in life have nothing to do with a computer. It is a totally different mindset and until a trainer understands that they will never be able to teach a senior how to use a computer or smartphone.
Senior Tech Training is counter-intuitive to how they learned in school
The techniques of learning in history class do not work with teaching adults about computers. Taking notes, memorisation and quizzes only make things more confusing as the tech will often change. Menus and Icons will change. A process to export or share a file may be different after a software update.
Many of my students try to take notes. I do not let them… here is why. It is very common for them to come back to the next class and have no idea what the notes mean. This is not because they forgot but because there are very specific ways to take tech notes that honestly would be its own class. (This is why online tutorials all are video or have screenshots)
We just don’t learn from mistakes we celebrate them!
Proper senior tech Training is best done through trial and error. Trial and error is the most efficient way to teach computers. The major difference between children and adults in the area of learning computers is that children are not afraid of making a mistake.
“Children make two mistakes a minute! Adults make one mistake an hour and threaten to throw the computer out the window” (Rage Quit for you folks under 35)
The foundation of my training process is to create a safe environment where the student understands there is nothing they can do that will break the computer. I inform them that I can fix any problem they may cause in seconds.
“Why did this not work?”
was it the wrong button?
Did get overwhelmed by the terms being used?
How can we find a way around this? I have no idea what this button does … let’s press it!!!
Whoever makes the most mistakes wins!
By making it ok to make mistakes we can focus on why things work and not a static process that will be out of date in a few updates anyway.
Focus on the fun
I will say it again .. the best things in life have nothing to do with a computer. But there are fun things to do that have nothing to do with computer games. I try to focus on what our student wants to do. What would make their life better!
How to connect with friends and family
Find resources on hobbies and projects
Find tools to help with day to day tasks
How to order that long lost record you loved in your teens
And Funny cat videos
When we are stressed we do not learn as fast. Our brains are too focused on the problem to spend any resources on learning. While you think fun learning is only for kids it is the foundation of Senior Tech Training. Many of our seniors have only used computers while at work. They would use one maybe two programs and any time there was an issue some grumpy guy with a pocket protector and no social skills would talk into the room and tell them they were stupid. Of course, anyone would hate computers living like that. but those days are gone!
Build a relationship, not a syllabus
while I can make a syllabus I have found that the most effective training is building a relationship so I can better tailor the training to the student. In this process, I do take notes so I can make the next class even better. How do they learn? .. what are their hobbies? What makes them excited about learning about computers or smartphones.
I also make it ok to ask questions. There are no stupid questions.
Senior Tech Training in Lithgow, Katoomba and Bathurst area
By now you may have noticed that I teach seniors how to use computers. I have been doing this for a very long time. (Almost 20 years in one form or another) If you are an adult or senior who needs to learn how to use a computer or smartphone I am here to help.
I just got done backing up all my data on all my devices. I do this about once a week. A few of the devices I back up every hour!!! If you are wondering why someone who is a Mac tech expert is spending so much backing up his iMac, Macbook and iPhone? The reason for this is that the data is more important than the hardware.
Even Mac computers break down
I’m one of those people who love Apple computers! I trust them! I personally have never had a real problem with one. However, I do make my living helping people recover their data. So while it is unlikely that I’m going to have one of my Mac computers fail on me.. I’m not going to take any chances.
I always say there are two kinds of people. Those who back up and those who wish they did.
In the unlikely event that my MacBook has a hard drive failure, I can simply replace the hard drive and restore it from my time machine backup and be back up and running in a few hours.
Never too busy to back up
With macOS Time Machine you are never too busy to backup. The backup works in the background and does not slow your computer down. The more often you back up the computer the faster the backup process!
Often I hear folks who are in the business state they are too busy to back up. They often say this and then panic when their devices are stolen or a late-night cup of coffee splashes across the keyboard turning it into a very expensive paperweight.
If they had a backup this would not be a problem. IF my computer was to break down or be stolen I would be up and running in a few hours and would not lose any of my information
Apple’s Time Machine backup does not take up a lot of time to set up. It does not take a long time to do the backup. AND it does not use up a lot of resources while it is backing up. Honestly, there is no reason to not back up your Mac.
Backups make me look like a super hero!
The number of times that someone has called me a hero because I was able to recover all their data makes me smile … however most of the time the real hero was the backup software built into the Apple operating system.
While many people give me credit for saving all their data on their mac it was really the backup. My job is to make sure that the backup gets installed on the new computer quickly and without a problem.
Restore Macs from Backup
While it is not hard to recover all your data from a backup. You should know a few things about what to expect
You can only restore from your last backup. So if you have not backed up in a few months then you … have a problem. Back up as often as you can.
Moble devices can backup to your computer
You should have a hard drive at least twice the size of your used space on your hard drive.
Did your iPad post lock you out with the sign iPad Unavailable? This is an Apple security feature that is meant to keep the bad guys out of your iPad. Well, I have good news and bad news for you.
Good news first I can fix your iPad.
There is nothing broken with your iPad. In fact, I can safely say that it did this because you put in the wrong code to get in. Now for safety, they have locked you out of it. This can be fixed by wiping the iPad and reloading the OS. For me, this is an easy job.
The bad news if you do not have a back up your data is GONE!
Yes, I am an Apple expert .. yes I can help with all kinds of issues. But this was designed to prevent someone like me from accessing your data. If you do not have a backup there is nothing I can do.
If you have forgotten your iCloud password the iPad is now an expensive paperweight. When we restore the iPad to factory settings you have to have the cloud password or it will never work again.
But wait … there is other good news …maybe
There is a good chance we can wipe the data after the iPad Unavailable message and still get your data back … but you have to know your iCloud password. There is a chance that you are backing up your iPad and did not know it. But you need the password.
In the past few weeks, I have been able to recover data from devices with the iPad Unavailable message, but only because they had a backup.
Where can you get your iPad fixed in Lithgow?
We are located in Lithgow Tech Services on 53 Main street. While I can restore your iPad to new condition you will need a few things before you visit.
Apple ID & Password (You do not need to give that to me but you should know it before you visit)
Idea of the old iPad pin to get into it.
The process does not take long however we can normally have the iPad ready for pickup in 24 hours.
Are you always looking at your phone when maybe you should not be? Do you feel like you are addicted to your phone? Or maybe you are missing important messages because there is a flood of notifications continuously bothering you. Just like the boy, you cried wolf…… I’m here to tell you it is not your fault and there are ways around this.
I’m going to show you how I control my notifications so they are helpful not a hindrance.
I have ADHD and notifcations are my enemey
OK ok maybe they are not my enemy but with a single beep, buzz or boop they can destroy hours of productivity. As someone with ADHD, it is not that I can not focus it is that I can not choose what I focus on. For some people just looking at their phone would be a simple glance then back to work. For me looking at my phone or computer at the wrong time can result in hours of research into a topic that maybe should have waited. (Do you I really need to research Japanese catapults used in the Onin War 1467 -1477 … when should be writing invoices? …. no)
At the same time if I turn off all notifications I will forget freaking everything. Meetings, to-do items, important messages and the occasional message from a client that comes through Facebook messenger instead of calling.. (I am not a fan of that by the way)… So how do I make sense of all of this?
Information superhighway has a trafic problem
Just like the freeway, the streets can get kind of crowded. There is more information than we can process. So just like the onramp during rush hour that limits how many cars can enter the freeway at a time we need to do the same thing with our phones. We need to do the same. We need to control who, when and why we allow notifications.
Disable notifications for apps you are not using
Apps love to send you notifications. While the obvious ones try to sell you something others are more sneaky. Facebook used to send me notifications every time a friend I have not talked to in a very long time would “post for the first time in a while” or would mention EVERY SINGLE COMMENT on a post I made about one of my hobbies. The idea is to get you to open the app and see their ads.
Turning off notifications is not a waste of time. Go through all of your phone notifications and remove the ones you do not want. Make it so that only important notifications are still on.
Use Focus on IOS
Focus is a feature that came with iOS 15. It has to be a major improvement in my productivity. What Focus does is that it allows you to set conditions to what notifications can reach you and when.
You can set Focus is like “do not disturb” on steroids. It acts as a filter to make sure that you have control of your notifications. It even removed that red number over the apps so you are not tempted to see why you have 200 emails when you should be paying attention to that lecture. At the same time, you can get those same notifications when it matters.
Android phones do have a similar feature but I have had little success with it.
Here is what my Focus page looks like
Focus allows you to set categories. As you can see I have a few different kinds of notifications having to do with my schedule and my activities.
Do not disturb (only phone calls from my wife and daugher comes through)
Driving (Turns off all social media but allows podcasts, maps and phone calls)
Parkranger (This is the codename for a programming project)
Personal (This means that only social media and game apps can reach me… all work related notifications are turned off)
Reading (I will explain below)
Sleep (simular to do not disturb but is scheudled)
Teaching Class (This is like Do not distrub but my family and calandar notifications can come through otherwise I my classes will run too long)
Because this is my work phone it allows all notifications, phone calls and texts during work hours (It is the default) but if you call me after 5 PM I will not get the message until 9 AM tomorrow.
Focus does not totally remove or delete the notification but will hide it until it is appropriate.
I have a client who tends to panic and bombards my phone with all kinds of texts and phone calls at odd hours. While I am sympathetic to their concern they have never been anything that rebooting their computer could not fix. And it has never actually been an emergency in fact most of the time when I call them back during business hours they have forgotten why they called. This feature has saved me from having the “You need to not call me after hours” conversation that I know they will take the wrong way.
When I am reading I am reading
Because ADHD and dyslexia cause problems with my reading I have set the application to ignore all notifications from all apps when I open the “Books App”.
However, I have made it so that if my wife was to call me for some reason I will still get the call. The same thing goes for my scheduling app.
You can make it so only the apps you need can send you notifications
There are apps that can send me notifications outside of business hours. Now, this also works the other way around. Let’s say you are using a personal phone for work. You can make it so you no longer get Facebook notifications while working but come five o’clock ..
It does take some time to get the settings just right. So expect that there may be a time when you miss a notification that maybe should have been allowed to come through. but do not give up. Play with the settings and check it the next day. it is worth it in the long run.
As much as I am not a fan of consumerism a smartwatch is not a bad idea to have if you are one of those people who are addicted to your phone. I have set up my smartwatch to my personal phone (Android). While the phone will get all kinds of notifications (but it is set on silent and will not even buzz) it only sends the important ones to my watch. This allows me to quickly take a look without opening the phone.
For me, only text messages, Phone calls and very select chatting apps get sent to my watch. This way I am not tempted to check my phone.
Smartwatch also has the advantage that notifications are less annoying to my wife who is autistic. A notification going off at the wrong time is more than disruptive.
Like above I do not think that everyone should have two phones but I have found it handy to make sure that my work and personal life stay in their nice little boxes. By having a personal phone and a work phone you are able to make sure that each one does not send notifications when it would cause problems.
That and it is very easy to leave the work phone on your desk at work and ignore everyone.
Set summery notifications
This is a neat feature that delays key notifications until selected times. This makes it so you do not miss those important notifications but they arrive all at once. (don’t worry it is not like a teenager turning their phone off for a weekend and then being bombarded by 1000 texts in 5 minutes. It’s one notification as a list.
Delete Apps that bother you
I have a rule that if an app sends me too many notifications I delete it. While this seems simple it is a lesson that many people need to learn. Just the other day I had a senior bring me a phone that had received so many notifications from the “Cleaning apps” that the phone had become unusable.
In situations like this just turning off the notifications is not enough. Delete them.
Unsubscribe to your newsletters
I spend a lot of time writing emails. The problem is that I used to be subscribed to a lot of newsletters. Former hobbies, businesses that somehow have me on their list and a ton of spam. While we can only do so much about the spam the others it is worth the time to unsubscribe.
The goal is that if there is a notification about an email it should be important. So unsubscribing to all those newsletters is a very good idea.
Cleanfox is a great little app that helps you unsubscribe to unwanted newsletters. while it is not perfect it does help remove some of the labour of unsubscribing. the best part it is free and while I do think it does send me notifications I do not remember ever getting one.
Part of my personal study of scams is spending a lot of time on Facebook groups reading about how people got scammed. Most of the people in the group are victims of Romance scams. They hope to find more information about their scammer and get their money back. Unfortunately, this opens them up to a second scam.
Many scammers who visit this group pretend to be “Hackers” who can get your money back. When in reality they will just take your money and run…… or worse.
This scammer posted this image. Can you spot how I could tell it was a SCAM?
The person who posted this claimed to be from Homeland Security. They claimed that they had the ability to take over a scammer’s phone and take over their camera.
Can you spot how I could tell this image is Fake? SEE the answers below!!!
How does this scam work?
This kind of scam targets the victims of romance scams. (Vultures if you ask me) The victims are often angry and feel rather betrayed by someone who had stolen their hearts as well as their money. The problem is that the victims are not trained in online investigation and looking for any help they can get. The act of hunting down the scammer is actually set the trap to be scammed again.
Most of the time the extent of their investigation is “Does anyone know this scammer”
Most Romance scammers are not using their own pictures. They will often take the images from another account so asking is pointless.
The problem with asking anyone if they know the scammer is that it tells every scammer who is in the group that you have no idea what you are doing. This means you are ready for them to strike!
Enter the “Hacker Scammer”
When the victim posts “Does anyone know this scammer?” They are approached by someone who claims that “This person who can help you” as a referral. Just like reading online reviews of a cafe. We tend to trust the referrals. One problem … there is a good chance the referral is really the scammer who is using a former victim’s account.
Hacker scammers may not actually have any hacking skills. They claim they can get your money back. But they will need some information first. Like user names and passwords. as well as a small fee.
Desperate to get revenge the victim is happy to pay the fee and provide private information. A few days later they find that they have been scammed a second time. And the hacker is nowhere to be found.
What to do if you have been scammed?
While it feels like you need to take things into your own hands this is inviting trouble. As I mentioned before when you are angry you are not thinking clearly and you will be making all kinds of mistakes. Including getting scammed a second time. While hiring a hacker seems like a good choice, understand that hacking even if it is a scammer is illegal in many countries. Now you have legal problems as well as having to deal with being a victim of a scam.
First, contact the police. Do not attempt to get the money back yourself. There is a very very good chance that you will never see the money. The more you try the higher the risk of getting scammed a second time.
Accept that the money is GONE! (Yes it sucks but it is)
Contact the Police
Call your Bank
Change all your passwords to all your accounts … ALL OF THEM
Gather all the coraspondance between you and the scammer and provide them to the bank and the police.
Report them to them to social media.
Do not go after the scammer! let the professionals do that.
ANSWERS to the SPOT THE SCAM
In addition to what I have listed above .. if someone is going to be hacking a phone they are not likely going to be using a phone to do it. While it is not impossible to hack someone’s phone with another phone it’s clunky at best. Real hackers would have used a computer to do this …. not a phone. (This sort of thing needs a full keyboard and some processing power.)