Category: Macs

Technology Services I Like–February 2018

1.  I found an electrical wizard for you.   I want to tell you about Ryan Eriksson from Eriksson Electric.  He knows his stuff.  Ryan can make sound recommendations but he also believes in respecting the customer’s comfort level.  He has a mind for saving on costs when possible. He believes in embracing modern technologies.  Ryan replaced three ceiling light fixtures in my home over the past few days.   He recommended LED-based fixtures that not only looked great, but are environmentally and budget friendly.   Ryan will let his customers buy their own equipment at Home Depot if they choose.  He even accompanied me on a trip to Home Depot on Friday and did not charge me for the time.   I cannot say enough good things about him.   You can call or text him at 860-236-4352.  You can check out Eriksson on the web at http://erikssonelectric.com/

2. Dropbox — is probably my #1 favorite computer based service of all time.  I have been a user since 2008.  At times I have used the free account and at times I have been a paid customer.   Dropbox gives you 2 GB of storage for free. Through various “bonuses” I have accumulated from them over the years, I have a 7 GB of storage on my free account.  After a quick installation, Dropbox will show up as a folder on your Windows or Mac computer.  Within it you can put multiple sub folders to store your files.   The beauty of Dropbox is that it isn’t really a backup service although you can use it to back up your files.   Dropbox is a file synchronization service.   That means if you put a document titled “Vacation Plans” in your Dropbox folder on your Mac / PC, you can also view that document on your iPhone, Android phone, or iPad where you have the free Dropbox app installed.  You can also easily share files from Dropbox.  Dropbox has never let me down.  Get started at https://www.dropbox.com/

3.  One Drive — Dropbox is not the only game in town for online file storage and synchronization.  One Drive is Microsoft’s answer.   It can work on all of the device types that Dropbox works on (Windows, Mac, iOS, Android).  One Drive does have a key advantage.  At https://onedrive.com you can see your files that you have save, but you can also create and share Word, Excel, and PowerPoint documents right there in your web browser.  The online version of Microsoft Office is about 70% as feature rich as the desktop version of Office, but its so convenient.  It probably good enough for most consumer use cases.  And its free.  Maybe you don’t need to buy Office the next time you are required to.  You may be able to get by with https://onedrive.com .

4.  Google Drive — I should also mention Google Drive which is most comparable to One Drive.  If you have a Google / Gmail account, you should check out Google Drive.  It is an online storage and sync service, but that’s not all.  You can also create and share documents using Docs (Word equivalent), Sheets (Excel), and Slides (PowerPoint).  As with One Drive, you can also collaborate on documents live with other people.   If you and I were working on a proposal together, we could both edit using Google Drive.  Google Drive was first to the game with this collaboration technology, but Microsoft is catching up fast.  Put on your jacket and Drive at https://drive.google.com

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iPad Pro Best Mac Laptop

Apple blew it with the 2016 and 2017 Mac Book Pro.  The keyboard is simply awful.  While the 12 inch Mac Book is adorable, it has the same keyboard. They even have a support document telling users that they have to tilt their laptop a a certain angle and use compressed air to push out debris.  Apparently, it takes very little for these keyboards to start causing problems.  It’s also clear that the Mac OS and iOS are coming closer together than ever before.  These two operating systems are on a collision course.

Apple revised their iPad Pro lineup in 2017 to give us a 10.5 and 12.9 inch model.  They start at $649.  Let me be clear, the standard iPad (at $329 and up) is good tablet for most users.  However, I would like to discuss the top of the product line today.  The new iPad Pros aim to be laptop replacements.  Of course you will need a keyboard to use with your iPad Pro.  Fortunately, you have so many choices available!!

You could use Apple’s Smart Keyboard.  I think it will give you a decent typing experience

If you are willing to have a separate wireless keyboard, you could use Apple’s (desktop) Magic Keyboard for an even better typing experience.   You can even bundle this keyboard and the iPad Pro together with a cover like system called the Canopy or just use the iPad Pro with any case that has a stand built into it.

You can also look into keyboard covers from well known players like Logitech and Zagg.

However, if you would truly like a keyboard cover that makes your iPad Pro look and feel like the Mac Book Pro that it aims to be, check out this choice from Brydge.   I think it’s an awesome option that should not be overlooked.

With the iPad Pro, you have typing choices.

However, Apple could repent.  They could update the Mac Book Air in 2018 and keep its excellent keyboard in circulation.  They may also reverse course on their 2016-2017 Mac Book disasters.  I doubt it.

On this day – February 2, 2018 – I am saying that the iPad Pro with a keyboard is your best “Mac Laptop.”

Mac: Changing default browser

Tonight I got a message from a client.  “Help.  Web pages are not properly opening in Chrome.”   We all use a browser to access web pages on our Macs.  Many of you use Apple’s default browser — Safari.  However, Google Chrome is also extremely popular (and the #1 browser by worldwide usage).  A handful still like Mozilla Firefox.   You might ask, why wouldn’t everyone just use Safari?  While it is on par with other browsers today, Safari used to be quite lacking compared to Chrome and Firefox.  Some users like Chrome because it syncs with their Google account.  Firefox used to tout that it was easier to customize. Today, they want to be known as the faster and more privacy conscious browser.

Regardless of your browser of choice, you should have more than one installed on your Mac. At some point, you may have a security issue with your browser.  No problem. Fire up browser number 2.  Additionally, you may want to use multiple browsers for convenience issues.   You could do personal browsing in one browser and work / special purpose browsing in another.  You can keep multiple websites open at one time in each browser, in separate windows.  

It’s good to have a second or even a 3rd browser on your Mac.    You can install Chrome from google.com/chrome and Firefox from firefox.com .

As was the case of my client, your default browser may fail you.  We needed a quick solution tonight.  It was too late for her technology consultant to come over and take a look at the problem.   You too should know how to change your default browser on the Mac.  You may do this for short term reasons or permanently.  The process is the same. It’s a quick fix that you CAN do.

Steps to Changing Default Browser on the Mac

1. Open Safari  (You may have to go to Finder >> Applications if Safari is not on your Dock at the bottom)

2.  Click on the Safari menu at the top if the screen

3.  Click on Preferences

4. In the box that opens, click on the General tab

5.  Chose a different default browser from the menu

6. That browser will now be your default browser.   It is the browser that will open when you click on links in Apple Mail or Outlook. 

7. You can change your default browser at any time.

Technology Update 12/12/17

As the year draws to a close, I start thinking about best and worst experiences with technology.

Laptop Mag is a website that puts out in depth reviews of laptops all year.  Just this week, they published an article on the best laptop keyboards of 2017.  Some of you need to type a lot of documents or emails on your laptop.  You may not use your laptop so much for media consumption, but see it as a productivity device.  For you the keyboard is going to be very important.   Laptop Mag did not try all of the laptops on the market, but they have seen enough of them to make some serious recommendations at various price points should the keyboard be a deciding factor.  It’s no surprise that Lenovo’s Thinkpad T series comes in at #1.  The Thinkpad line is put out by IBM’s former business computer division which is based in North Carolina.  Their keyboards are a typist’s dream.    A $299 Chromebook also makes the list.   While Dell’s business class Latitude 5000 and 7000 series laptops are not included, I would definitely move them to the front row of the class.   Interestingly enough, Apple’s 2017 Mac Book Pros are not on here.  Apple did make minor improvements to the keyboards this year compared to their pitiful 2016 cousins, but they cannot compare to the typing experience of the 2009 – 2015 Mac Book Pros or even the Mac Book Air — which is still being sold.  Check out the article for yourself for the complete survey. https://www.laptopmag.com/articles/best-laptop-keyboards

It is going to be a “worst experience” for you if your computer crashes and you don’t have a proper backup of your data.  In addition to online backup and sync services that you may use, an external hard drive is an essential component of your backup scheme.  How usable is your data if your backup drive is no good?   Therefore, if your drive is more than 3 years old, you need to buy a new one.  While there are other brands I can recommend, you really can’t go wrong with a WD My Passport.  They are easy to buy and priced right.   A 1 or 2 TB model should serve most of your needs.  Here are the Amazon links for easy purchasing. 

Windows formatted:  http://amzn.to/2z5BCGb

Mac formatted:   http://amzn.to/2yk9Xh6

New iPhones Are Coming and Vintage Macs

New iPhones are coming!  New iPhones are coming!   I would expect an announcement within 2 to 3 weeks and for the phones to be available by October 1 or earlier.   You should expect

– An iPhone “7s” — an upgrade to last year’s 4.7 inch model

– An iPhone “7s Plus” — an upgrade to last year’s 5.5 inch model

– A Super Special 10th Anniversary iPhone — larger in size and with special features

The rumor mill is calling the 3rd iPhone the “iPhone 8.”  Samsung is now taking pre-orders for its Galaxy Note 8, priced at $960 (or $40 / mo on payment plans). I would expect the 10th Anniversary iPhone to be priced in that ballpark.

If it’s been about two years since you purchased your iPhone or you are on a yearly upgrade plan, you should strongly consider one of the new models.  While I suspect the 10th Anniversary model will sell well, I think most buyers will be very satisfied with the 7s or 7s Plus variants.   Not everyone wants a nearly 6 inch phone in their pocket.  I don’t.

For Sale

A dear client asked me to see if I could sell some vintage Macs for her.   Wikipedia write ups have been provided for you.

One is a Color Macintosh Classic that was first released in 1993.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Macintosh_Color_Classic

The other one is a green iMac with a 1999-2000 birth date.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IMac_G3

I have not confirmed their usability yet, but, I think they would make a nice addition to a desk that needs a piece of computer history on it.  I think they would be fine technological ornaments in the right setting.   Please let me know if you are interested.  I will get back to you with more details and arrange to get them to you should you be interested.    Please see the attached pictures.

FullSizeRenderIMG_4794

iOS and Mac Updates today

I will still give the instructions for manual updates because while automatic updates should be the norm, I know I will meet with one of you a couple weeks from now who — for some reason — does not have the newest updates

Both the iOS update and the Mac OS update released today are STABILITY AND SECURITY FIXES. 

1.  To get iOS 10.3.3

– Make sure you are on WiFi

– Settings

– General

– Software Update

– Download and Install

– After downloading  – Update Now

2.  To get Mac OS 10.12.6 (I think Mac is not capitalized anymore.  Oh well!)

–  Apple Menu 

– App Store

– Click on the Updates button once the App Store opens

– Click on the Update button next to the Mac OS update (or Update All if there are multiple updates)

Mac tip: Cmd Shift 3

Mac tip of the day

Pressing these 3 keys can be very helpful when something has  gone wrong or you have a question. 

Command + shift + 3

That takes a screen shot of your Mac.  You will even hear a “snapshot” noise afterward. 

It saves the picture on your Desktop.

You can then attach the picture to an email to illustrate what is going on to someone who helps you with your technology issues, a co-worker, or friend.

Worth 1000 words!