GSE353 Home Smart Home

Photo by Lexi T on Unsplash

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On episode 353 of Geekiest Show Ever, we discuss how we’ve been hacking our way through this pandemic. Follow us for additional tips and conversation on Twitter @GeekiestShow

Elisa and I discuss the merits of using the word ‘hacker’ to describe someone who does something good with technology superpowers. Here is an article written by Chris Williams of The Register that examines the etymology in depth and where it might end up in our lexicons: So it appears some of you really don’t want us to use the word ‘hacker’ when we really mean ‘criminal’

Terrible UI Prize Goes to Vaccine Registration Sites

COVID-19 Vaccine appointment scheduling has been frustrating to say the least, but we are finally starting to feel like we’re making some progress. Elisa has flexed her online ticket-ordering muscles and now has appointments down and underway! I finally managed to get an appointment for one family member and now I must wait my turn.

iPhoneography Tip

If you put a Pop-Socket on your iPhone 12 mini case, beware of flash flare. Mine has a white border around its edge. I noticed this back in December when I took some night shots of my Christmas tree and had to remove the Pop-Socket disc to avoid the white flare that showed up in my photos. Get one that has a black edge or run a marker around it to reduce glare.

Reminders App Troubleshooting & Tips

There was recently an update to watchOS and I was disappointed to find that after the update, my problem still persisted when it came to adding personal reminders using Siri on my Apple Watch. When I raise my wrist, it was STILL adding it to my shared Home list instead of my default Reminders list. It just kept frustrating me, so I decided that I would try one more time to see if I could reset the default list by disabling iCloud and unpairing then repairing my Apple Watch. I had tried it once before and it at least changed the default list on my Apple Watch from one of my shared lists to another of my shared lists, so I thought maybe I might get lucky and it turns out that I did.

On my iPhone, first I made a manual iCloud backup. Then I took a deep breath and disabled iCloud just for Reminders. iOS asks if you want to keep or delete a copy of the Reminders on your iPhone so I took another deep breath and tapped delete. Next, I unpaired my Apple Watch, powered both devices off and then re-paired my Apple Watch. When that was complete, I re-enabled iCloud Reminders on my iPhone. Once I flipped the switch back on for Reminders in iCloud, all of my reminders came back onto my iPhone and then eventually they came back on my Apple Watch as well. I wrestled with one or two new lists that got added that were duplicates, but eventually I got it ironed out. Prior to rebooting, I also disabled then re-enabled Siri after erasing Siri history in there for good measure. My Apple Watch is finally back to the exhibiting the expected behavior of putting a personal reminder on my Reminders list as default.

Reminders Tip: Add a Reminder from Another App

Prior to going through that process, I thought I might see if Apple had any new instructions about this issue. While I was researching, I discovered that they recently updated their Help Topic article on March 6, 2021 entitled “Use Reminders on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch.” There is a new feature explained near the bottom that tells you how to make a new reminder directly from something else in another app. I never thought to try this before, but I’ve always wanted to because so many times I’ve received a text, usually from a client, and I read it, but then didn’t have time to respond so I end up manually making a reminder the long way so that I don’t forget to reply. Most times I just don’t tap the message and leave the dot there so I know to go back and read it, but then the unread dot makes me feel anxious so then I have to tap it! My teenager taught me that you can long-press on a text to preview what it says without marking it as read, so I may try and train my muscle memory to do that more often. For now, I’m really happy with saying, “Remind me about this in an hour” while looking at the text I can’t yet respond to and hope that it will lessen some FOMO. Here is the link to the article:

Home Smart Home

Smart Life app:

I am so proud of the geekery I pulled off last week! I now have the pleasure of citing Siri incantations to perform spells that control the brightness of our living room lamps. At night we now can say “Hey Siri, Living Room Off!” It’s quite fun.

I just have to say that I can not believe there isn’t already an embroidered pillow out there that says “Home Smart Home” on it! Shouldn’t that be a thing?

What I learned through the process of setting up these “spells” is that if you do not craft your incantations to be short, simple, and easy to say, you probably just won’t use them and you might even annoy a spouse in the process. I was trying to make a distinction between bright lights and dim lights when I created mine, but what I really needed was a simple on, off and then another variation. Here are screenshots of the modification I made to the “incantation” we must now speak to make them work the way we like.

Check the Apple Security Updates page to see if your Apple gear is up to date.

Do you have questions about what you heard in this episode? Please send us your feedback. We’d like to hear from you. Let us know about a tech topic that interests you.

Elisa can be found at @senseidai or
Melissa can be found at @TheMacMommy or

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GSE352 Bug Report

Photo by Rosie Kerr on Unsplash

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On episode 352 of Geekiest Show Ever, we discuss some of the troubleshooting experiences we’ve had over the past several weeks to keep our technology mostly working for us and not so much the other way around. We discuss the methods we use with our password manager to create new accounts more efficiently, how to deal with Keychain or web browser password saving conflicts, and more. Melissa files a bug report with Apple! Follow us for additional tips and conversation on Twitter @GeekiestShow


Use a password manager to pre-populate the fields on a web form

Instead of just filling out the fields on a website form then trying to take notes later, why not START by PRE-populating the fields in your password manager? This way, as you’re filling out the fields you can copy and paste and it will cut down on errors in data entry.

Elisa recommends using a clipboard manager for storing information to copy and paste. This makes data entry easier and more efficient, too. She also recommends using the password generator tool to help you come up with goofy answers to password reset or security questions. Remember, it doesn’t have to be the CORRECT answer, but “Aluminum-Foil ™” is already taken. 🙂

Here is a screenshot that shows the website form fields you need to fill out when creating a new “mySocial Security” account online. We’ll use this as an example because it’s one of the websites that has created a lot of friction for people when they try to sign up. It has a lot of parts to it. You need to pick: a username, password, three password reset questions, and three answers to those questions. That’s eight pieces of unique information in one go! On top of it, the password you pick must meet a specific criteria which they list in the instructions, but if you’re filling out the form and you make a mistake, you might have to start over in an area or you might forget what questions and answers you chose. It can be frustrating if you do not document everything in a safe and accessible place right away.


You could use this method for pre-populating the login entry in your password manager ahead of time. Here is a screenshot of what it might look like in 1Password:

Foam ear tip replacements for AirPods Pro are really helping to reduce ear fatigue. I forget I have them in my ears when I have the foam tips on. Phone calls are soooo much better now. I don’t dread making phone calls nearly as much as I used to. Now, if only I could get better battery life! Since I forget I’m wearing them, the battery drains more quickly. I have gotten better about putting them back into the case to charge, but it’s a habit one has to learn.

Network Issues

Elisa’s Internet Connectivity Experience

Internet speed and consistency is a problem we all deal with from time to time. After rebooting your computer and trying some troubleshooting techniques like booting into Safe Mode, if the problem still persists, it might be worth taking a look at your modem or router. If it’s more than a few years old, it might be time to replace it. If your ISP supplies the hardware, get the speeds you pay for by keeping your equipment up to date.

Hardware Issues

Melissa’s AirPods Pro Replacement Experience

My beloved AirPods Pro ended up being a lemon, sadly. The good news is that it was really easy to get them replaced by Apple under warranty with their DIY exchange program. I purchased them back in November of 2020. First there was a case ID support ticket generated where we triaged the issue over the phone. It was determined that a replacement was in order. They put a hold on my Apple Card and sent me the two replacement parts. I put the defective parts into the boxes and shipped them back and they released the hold on my Apple Card. The whole process took only a few days from start to finish. One of the troubleshooting suggestions was to see if I could locate another set of AirPods Pro to test, but that proved futile. After a doctor appointment, since I was already out of the house, I stopped by our local Authorized Apple Repair place as well as a Best Buy, but neither had a spare AirPods Pro set they could use to help me rule out whether it was the case or just the AirPod for the left ear. When I called Apple back and told them, they initiated a replacement by mail. I could have skipped this part altogether, but I was really curious about what a test might reveal. All told, I was only without my AirPods Pro for about a week and I’m happy to have them working again. I really, really missed them while I couldn’t use them. If this happens to you, it might help to know what options you have.

Troubleshooting Siri with Reminders app issue on Apple Watch Experience

It used to be that whenever I’d raise my wrist then speak the phrase, “Remind me to check the washer in 15 minutes,” Siri would tell me she’d gotten it and the reminder would go automatically to my “Reminders” list because that’s the list I have set as my default list. I used that feature all the time until one day, when I glanced at my watch, I noticed that the reminder I’d just set was being put onto a “Finance” list that I share with my husband. I thought, “This is wrong, I don’t want him getting MY reminders showing up on his Apple Watch or iPhone while he’s trying to conduct classes. How annoying!” (I use Reminders a lot.) So, down the rabbit hole I went trying to document the issue and discovered it somehow became a bug since the last watchOS update. I was able to get the issue escalated to Apple’s Engineering department. It was actually fun talking to one of the Engineers and to see the diagnostic process that’s involved in logging the issue with them. Still no solution, but I’m happy to know it wasn’t something I was neglecting to do. I’ll report back if the problem gets fixed in a future update.

Do you have questions about what you heard in this episode? Please send us your feedback. We’d like to hear from you. Let us know about a tech topic that interests you.

Elisa can be found at @senseidai or
Melissa can be found at @TheMacMommy or

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GSE351 Locked Down

Photo by Danielle MacInnes on Unsplash

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Hacking and scamming incidents are on the rise. It’s a sad fact of pandemic life now, but on episode 351 of Geekiest Show Ever, we’re here to tell you that you can take back some control if you know what to look out for and how to implement best practices. We believe that online security should be a regular part of our overall well-being. It’s why we so frequently discuss security issues and using password managers. Tune in to hear us share our field experience for ways to help your loved ones become safer in our digitally connected world. Follow us for additional tips and conversation on Twitter @GeekiestShow

App Pick

Miele-LXI‪V is a free DICOM viewer for looking at images like MRI or Xray on your computer. Your doctor will either give you a disc or a way to get the images onto your computer, but if the program they provide is not compatible, this is a good alternative. (Mac App Store link) (developer website)

Security PSA

Check in with your loved one and have a conversation about their computer use and habits. Ask them to look at the programs installed on their devices and then ask if any of them look unfamiliar. Another good question to ask is if they have ever gotten “assistance” over the computer remotely by someone they didn’t know well who told them they could help them get money back. It’s an important conversation to have because sometimes the person feels embarrassed and won’t mention it. There are so many remote conferencing apps we use now for managing life in a pandemic. While these apps are really helpful and do serve a legitimate purpose, they can be used to exploit us during our most vulnerable times.

Think about the patterns that most phishing scams follow: a claim is made that convinces you to act because your money is in jeopardy or there is some information about you that has been revealed and you’re urged to check it out. They are targeting us in areas where we feel the most vulnerable: financial security and reputation. Many times those go hand in hand. The hacker will claim that you’ve been hacked and they are there to rescue you when they are actually the hacker!

1Password Families Review

Both Elisa and I have now converted our 1Password single licenses to the 1Password Families subscription service. We discuss how we got set up and how we’re using it with our families.



If you’re using 1Password for Families with young children or older loved ones who are not yet digitally literate, consider setting up a shared vault with their name on it for them and then make that their default vault in the 1Password app Preferences. To set it up this way, click the Vaults tab in 1Password Preferences then look for the setting that says “Always open to” and change it from Private to their [Name] vault. Where it says “Show in All Vaults” uncheck the Private vault and be sure their [Name] vault is checked. This is where you can also check (enable) the vault that is shared by default with all the members of your family for passwords you want everyone to have access to. If you share your Netflix login, for example, that would be saved and synced in the default Shared vault. Then where it says “Vault for Saving” change that from Private to their [Name] vault. Now, each time your child or family member saves a new password, it will be saved in their [Name] vault and you will also have access to it. If they need help populating the fields, you can make those changes or corrections and it will be synced to their device from yours. Many times in the beginning, people forget to change the signup URL to the login URL and then wonder why they keep ending up on a page that asks them to create a new account. It’s understandably confusing! Because you’ll have access to their vault, you could locate the correct URL and then enter it for them from your own device. Sharing vaults like this is helpful for those of us who are tasked with being the family’s Digital Executor.


Be sure to print out your 1Password Emergency kits, but before you do, consider annotating the PDF to include the Master Password. Use a monospace font like Courier (which is available on most systems) that will make the letters and numbers a bit easier to read. Make the text super large so that there’s no mistake reading what needs to be entered when it’s required.


Whenever you’re enrolling into an online account for the first time and they ask you to pick security questions, make up silly answers to store in your password manager! They do NOT need to be correct and it’s even safer if they are harder to guess because your mother’s maiden name is not a hard fact to find out.

Do you have questions about what you heard in this episode? Please send us your feedback. We’d like to hear from you. Let us know about a tech topic that interests you.

Elisa can be found at @senseidai or
Melissa can be found at @TheMacMommy or

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GSE342 Syncing Snafus

Photo by AbsolutVision on Unsplash

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We break stuff then try to fix it so you don’t have to because we’re just nice that way. Thinking about syncing is our focus for episode 342 of Geekiest Show Ever. Data loss can become a real problem in the pandemic era of working and learning from home. Melissa shares some concerns and strategies for preventing data loss before it occurs by keeping track of syncing services and testing them out periodically. Elisa wants to learn how to create an additional shared vault in 1Password.

iOS Reminders PSA

Be aware of your settings when working with third-party apps that can be set to sync with iOS Reminders because you could inadvertently delete them never to be restored again. Apple’s support article: Restore contacts, calendars, bookmarks and more using says,

“You can restore your calendars and events together with your reminders and reminder lists from an earlier version that was automatically archived in iCloud. If you have shared calendars or shared reminder lists, all sharing information is removed when you restore calendars and reminders. You have to share your calendars and reminder lists again and ask other people to re-invite you to share their calendars and reminder lists. Note: If you’re using upgraded reminders, you can’t restore reminders.

To prevent data loss, export your Reminders first, then make sure syncing is disabled in third-party apps like Calendars 5, for example. Then you can upgrade and try to re-import them later.

Shared Vaults in 1Password

Sharing a digital footprint between two or more people such as podcasting co-hosts or teachers can be managed much easier with a password manager. It’s also a useful tool for digital estate management.

We are curious about how we might share a vault using 1Password with the individual user subscription model compared to the family user service. If you have any suggestions, please email us or get in touch with us on our social graphs.

Syncing vaults via a account, though incredibly efficient and increasingly necessary, comes at a significant cost year over year. How do you decide when it’s time to pay for convenience compared to putting up with inconvenience in order to save money? We lay out our expectations of how we want it to work in order to justify the cost of switching from our “homegrown” way of doing things. The Family plan costs around $60 a year. So far, Melissa has been willing to sync her own multiple vaults via Dropbox, but she is curious how switching to the subscription model will impact her family’s workflow and budget. Elisa is still on the “if it’s not broke, don’t fix it” plan. Tip: check your local user groups to see if they offer a discount with membership.

1Password Pricing links for more information:
For Families (up to 5 members) it’s $4.99 per month or (x 12 = $59.98). The Standalone License is $64.99 at the time of publishing.

Do you have questions about what you heard in this episode? Please send us your feedback. We’d like to hear from you. Let us know about a tech topic that interests you.

Elisa can be found at or
Melissa can be found at or
(As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases from links on this site.)

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GSE339 How Did We Get Here?

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In episode 339 of Geekiest Show Ever, Elisa shares what got her interested in tech and what makes her a geek. We check in on distance learning with Melissa who has some stress-reducing tips for dealing with the new normal of using technology for longer periods of time.

For digitizing worksheets is a free tool for annotating PDFs online that works with Chrome and integrates with Google Drive. If all you have for source material is a smartphone photo, convert the image file into a PDF then use annotation tools to add blocks of text, shapes, lines, highlights, and other marks to digitally “write” on the page.

If you or your kiddos are struggling to sit for long periods of time in front of the computer, try keeping a small selection of quiet fidgeting tools on hand like: stretchy bands, Velcro, sequin bands, or an unplugged game controller that has buttons. Sometimes balloons can also be good for practicing deep breathing or just for stretching. Remember that it’s ok to stand up and take stretch breaks.

Try this Mindfulness Grounding Exercise called “5-4-3-2-1”

• Take a deep breath then name five things you can see.
• Take a deep breath then name four things you can touch. This is where fidgets like bands, sequins, Velcro, etc. can come in handy.
• Take a deep breath and name three things you can hear.
• Take a deep breath and name two things you can smell. It helps to keep something nearby that has a pleasant scent like a candle or even scratch and sniff stickers. You can also put some drops of essential oil onto cotton balls and seal them in a Ziploc snack bag to keep at your desk.
• Take one last deep breath then name one thing you can taste. Again, a handy snack bag that has some breath mints, Lifesavers, Tic Tacs, or other tasty treats can help in this process.

Elisa can be found at or
Melissa can be found at or
(As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases from links on this site.)

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