[Echo] Show and Tell

** Two Important iPhone/iPad updates
Two Important iPhone/iPad updatesThere's a small-but-important update to iOS out now (10.3.3); info here. Be sure to back up your device first (directions in the link).
A much bigger update is coming this fall, iOS 11, along with the iPhone 8; we’ll cover it here as usual.  Do NOT leap blindly into that update as it includes some significant changes to your device; let others play guinea pig.  . . just in case.
Windows 10 Creators UpdateIf your computer runs Windows 10, you’ve recently had, or soon will have, a major update Although it has some pretty themes (backgrounds etc.) and safety improvements, unless you’re a gamer or interested in 3D printing and the like, there isn’t much in it for average computer user to get excited about. 
Amazon's Echo Show
I had high hopes for the Echo Show ($230), the first intelligent speaker with a screen (and a touchscreen at that). It would be like the brilliant child of an Echo and an iPad, with all the best features of both parents, without the iPad price tag; and would replace the useful if imperfect screenless Echo in my kitchen (my timer + radio + digital assistant), a loose-leaf crammed with recipes and maybe a shelf full of cookbooks.  

Well--Not so much. Not yet. 
  • Bright, beautiful touchscreen and decent sound
  • Much easier to set up and order products from Amazon (you can scan barcodes right on the device, see a list of items and touch the one you want) than Echo devices without a screen or camera
  • Visible timers (finally!) and calendar items, cooking videos, TV news and YouTube videos, etc.

Cons are about both functionality and privacy:

  • Very little content ("skills" in Amazon's parlance) takes advantage of the screen YET, so it just doesn't do a lot of what I wanted. Instead, Amazon displays a bunch of cutesy news teasers on the screen.
  • Timers don’t REMAIN visible (!) even if you ask for them again
  • Camera is on constantly. Creepy.
  • To use video calling, one of the most highly touted features, you must give Amazon access to ALL of your contacts (my refusal to allow this baffled Echo support. . .sigh)
  • It only displays the calendar of one person. And while it is helpful to have calendar events visible. . . they're visible to everyone. Does your neighbor need to see your gynecologist appointment?

Bottom line? Not ready for prime time.

Scams Du Jour
We've had a an awful of recent queries about calls from “Apple” claiming that “your account has been compromised” instructing you not to use your computer and to call an 888 number for help. They're fake; just hang up/delete them.

And then there was this alarming email to a client, a staff favorite because of the grammar and spelling (we've highlighted in red):

>>>REMEMBER: If you have ANY concern that a warning call or email MIGHT be legitimate, DON'T call the number, DON'T click the link, just go directly to support for the appropriate company. It's tedious, but it's SAFE.<<<<<  

Handy links below for the big three:
Apple Support          Microsoft Support           Amazon Support

Enjoy your summer!
Alison Holtzschue
and the computers dot mom team