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October 1st, 2014

OSX_Sep29_BFrom the Macbook Pro to the light Macbook Air, Apple's laptops have become a popular device for many business users. As with all other laptops, these devices can run on battery power and being able to conserve this is worth knowing about. In fact, with all Apple computers there is an energy management feature that could prove useful in configuring how much power is used.

What is Energy Saver for Mac?

Energy Saver is a feature included in all versions of OS X after version 10.6 (Snow Leopard) that allows users to configure how their computer users energy - both when running on battery and when plugged in. All Apple computers have this feature, including desktop computers, but it is most useful for those with laptops, where you can configure your laptop to extend battery life.

Accessing Energy Saver preferences

There are two ways you can access the Energy Saver function on your Mac. If you are using a laptop, you should see a battery icon in the top menu bar of the screen, usually located on the right. Press this and select Open Energy Saver Preferences…

If you don't see the battery icon at the top of your screen, or are using a desktop, then press Command + Spacebar to open Spotlight. Type Energy Saver in the bar that opens at the top of the screen and click on Energy Saver from the drop-down search results.

Looking at the Energy Saver preferences

Depending on the type of Mac you are using - laptop or desktop - you should see up to three tabs - modes of power - at the top of the screen:
  • Battery
  • Power Adapter
  • UPS (Uninterruptable Power Supply)
Clicking on any of the tabs will bring up power settings related to that particular power source.

Configuring energy use while on Battery

When you click the Battery tab you should see the following options come up (on OS X Mavericks and later.)
  • Turn display off after: This is a slider bar that allows you to set how long the computer needs to be inactive (no buttons clicked, or user interaction) before the display is turned off. When you are operating off the battery, it is a good idea to set this lower so that the display - which draws power - will be turned off quicker, saving more power.
  • Put hard disks to sleep when possible: When ticked, the hard disks will be put to sleep when the system isn't being used, or they are not needed.
  • Slightly dim the display while on battery power: Will lower the brightness of the screen when the power cord is unplugged in order to save more energy.
  • Enable Power Nap while on battery power: Power Nap is a feature that allows the computer to wake up every now and then in order to check for software updates. It is a good idea to turn this function off if you are worried about saving battery life, instead checking for updates when the computer is awake.

Configuring energy use while on Power Adapter

When you click on the Power Adapter tab you should see the following options:
  • Turn display off after: This is a slider which allows you to set when the display will turn off, after there has been no activity for a set period of time.
  • Prevent computer from sleeping automatically when the display is off: By default, when the display is off on your computer, it will also go to sleep, which means all non-essential components are turned off. If you are say downloading a large file, or work with an IT team who needs access to your systems at night, then this is a good option to enable.
  • Put hard disks to sleep when possible: When there is no activity, or the hard drives are not being used, your computer will shut them down, saving power.
  • Wake for Wi-Fi network access: When you switch networks, your Wi-Fi turns on, or a program requires access to the Internet, the computer will wake up.
  • Enable Power Nap while plugged into a power adapter: As above, stopping searches for software updates in the short-term to save battery life.

Configuring energy use while on UPS

When you click on the UPS tab you should see the following options:
  • Computer sleep: Is a slider bar that allows you to set how long the computer should wait after inactivity to put itself to sleep.
  • Display sleep: Is a slider bar that allows you to set how long the computer should wait when there is no activity to shut the display off while under UPS power.
  • Put hard disks to sleep when possible: When ticked, the hard disks will be put to sleep when the system isn't being used, or they are not needed.
  • Slightly dim the display while on UPS: Will lower the brightness of the screen when the power cord is unplugged in order to save more energy.
  • Start up automatically after a power failure: The UPS is designed to kick in when the power fails, and if your computer is connected to an UPS, and the power goes out - shutting it down - it will restart automatically when the power comes back on.
  • Restart automatically if the computer freezes: If your computer freezes while connected to a UPS, it will restart automatically.
You can tick each of the options as you see fit and we recommend trying out different choices to see how your power usage fluctuates. If you have any concerns about how much power your systems are using, or their overall configuration, contact us today to learn how we can help.
Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Apple Mac OS
September 3rd, 2014

OSX_Sep02_BAt one time or another everyone will need to take a screenshot. While most Apple users are aware that this function is possible, it can sometimes be difficult to take the screenshot you want. If this is a problem you have come across in the past, or if you are looking to learn how to take better screenshots, here are four tips that can help.

1. Know the shortcuts

As a Mac user, you likely know that the system is shortcut heavy. From navigating, to switching screens, to even opening programs, there is a shortcut for almost everything, including screenshots. With OS X there are a number of shortcuts associated with screenshots, and it is worthwhile knowing them:
  • Command + Shift + 3: Takes a screenshot of the entire screen.
  • Command + Ctrl + Shift + 3: Captures the entire screen and copies it to the clipboard. If you select Paste in a program like a word processor, it should paste the image.
  • Command + Shift + 4: Allows you to select the screenshot area and save it.
  • Command + Ctrl + Shift + 4: Allows you to select the screenshot area and copy it to the clipboard.
  • Command + Shift + 4 followed by spacebar: Captures an open window, folder, menu bar or desktop icon and saves it.
  • Command + Ctrl + Shift + 4 followed by spacebar: Captures an open window, folder, menu bar or desktop icon and copies it to the clipboard.
With Command + Shift + 4, you can also press and hold the spacebar once you have drawn a shape to move it around and select a different area. Also, pressing esc will cancel the screenshot selection if you have say selected too big of an area.

2. Including the cursor

Sometimes you may want to capture the mouse cursor pointing at something within a screenshot. You can do this by:
  1. Opening the Utilities folder on your computer. The quickest way to do this is to hit Command + Spacebar and typing Utilities.
  2. Scrolling down to the Grab app and opening it.
  3. Selecting Grab from the top right of your screen, followed by Preferences.
  4. Clicking on the cursor you would like to show up in your screenshots.
When you take the screenshot, the pointer will appear where you left it when the screenshot was taken.

3. Using Preview to take screenshots

If you have documents or files that contain images or text stored on your hard drive that you would like to take a screenshot of, the shortcuts will work fine, but did you know that you can use the Preview app to take screenshots as well?

If you right-click on the file that contains the information that you would like to take a screenshot of and select Open with followed by Preview, you will see the file open in preview mode. Clicking on File from the menu bar along the top followed by Take screenshot will allow you to capture the image.

When using this feature, you can select either:

  • From Selection… - Will allow you to draw a box to capture the screenshot.
  • From Window… - Will save the whole open window.
  • From Entire Screen… - Will capture the open window plus anything else on your screen.

4. Using the Grab app

Did you know that there is actually an app already installed on your computer that allows you to take screenshots? Most users rely on the shortcuts listed above, but these are actually related to the Grab app which is located in the Utilities folder.

If you open Grab (press Command + spacebar and type in 'Grab', select Grab under Applications), you can manually take screenshots using the app by:

  1. Clicking Capture.
  2. Selecting the type of screenshot from the drop-down menu.
The types of screenshot you can take with Grab include:
  1. Selection - Draw a box around the area of your screen you would like to capture.
  2. Window - Allows you to select a window to capture. Simply open the window and select Choose Window from the pop-up box.
  3. Screen - Will snap a screenshot of your entire screen.
  4. Timed Screen - Will start a timer then take an image of the screen in 10 seconds.
Looking to learn more about using OS X? Contact us today!
Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Apple Mac OS
August 6th, 2014

OSX_Aug05_BIn June of this year, Apple announced that they would be releasing a new version of OS X in the fall. The next version, OS X Yosemite, will introduce a number of new features and improvements and, like all other versions of OS X, is highly looked forward to. For those who just can't wait to get their hands on Yosemite, Apple has recently released a beta version through their AppleSeed program.

About AppleSeed

When developing any software, including operating systems, companies need to put each program through a series of tests. These tests, usually called Alpha and Beta tests, are usually conducted by trained bug hunters who push the program to its limits, attempting to expose things like bugs, glitches, and other problems that need to be fixed before the program release.

Over the past few years, there has been an emerging trend where developers have started to turn to users to test programs. This is actually a common practice in the video game industry which has started to take hold in the software industry as well.

The main reason behind this move is because it is usually costly to hire Alpha and Beta testers, so if you can get your customers to help test it, you save money while being able to release a generally better product. At the same time, you also get to drive interest in programs and possibly increase sales.

This year, Apple has decided to adopt this practice and has introduced the AppleSeed program. The idea behind this program is that users can sign up to beta-test future versions of Apple software. Anyone with an Apple ID can sign up for the program and if you are approved, you will be allowed to beta test upcoming software for Apple.

How to get onto the beta

One of the first programs being tested is OS X Yosemite. This year, Apple has opened the beta to one million people. If you go to the OS X Beta Program site - which is a subprogram of the AppleSeed project - you can press the Sign up button to apply to join the program. You will need to enter your Apple ID and password and then follow the steps to sign up.

If you have gotten an invite to beta test OS X Yosemite, you can go to the Beta Program site and press the Sign in button at the top-right of the page. Once you are logged in, scroll down the page and click Get OS X Yosemite Beta Redemption Code. This will give you an Apple Store code that will enable you to download the beta version. If you already have a code, try going to this page on the Beta Program site and pressing Download OS X Yosemite Beta.

This will open the Apple Store app with the activation code already implemented. Press the Redeem button and then follow the instructions that pop up to download and install the beta version.

Should my company be beta testers?

While it may seem like a cool thing to be able to get access to the next version of OS X before everyone else, there are some caveats with the program:
  1. This is a beta test. The software is not finished and some apps and programs will not work properly. You will also see bugs and glitches that you should report to Apple to fix.
  2. The final product may not look/function the same as the beta. While beta versions of software are pretty close to the finished version, there is still a chance that features and functions in the beta will change before the program is released.
  3. It is difficult to revert back to a stable release. Stable releases are a version of software that has been released to the general public for use - in this case OS X Mavericks. If you do install the beta and decide it's not working, it can be difficult to revert back to Mavericks. It may even require you to wipe your computer and start fresh.
So, taking this into account, should your business try the beta version? We strongly recommend against this. The main reason is because there is a good chance that your other systems may not be fully compatible with OS X Yosemite. The absolute last thing you want is to install the beta version of Yosemite only to find out your printers, or other business functions, don't work with the software.

If you feel that upgrading say a personal laptop is worth it, then we strongly recommend that before you do do so, take the time to back everything up. It is also worth noting that you will need OS X Mavericks installed on your laptop/desktop if you are thinking of trying OS X Yosemite out.

Should you have any questions about the upcoming version of OS X, contact us today to see how we can help. There are many ways you can upgrade and refresh our business tech without having to resort to using beta programs.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Apple Mac OS
July 9th, 2014

OSX_July07_BThe cloud is one of the most popular tech systems businesses integrate, with many relying on cloud storage solutions for backup or day-to-day storage needs. One issue some users have with cloud storage however, is over how secure it is. In an effort to ensure maximum security, many providers implement two-step authentication. The latest company to adopt this heightened security is Apple, who have just enabled it for iCloud users.

What exactly is two-step authentication?

Two-factor or two-step authentication as Apple calls it, is a security method whereby you need to supply two different pieces of information in order to access your account. For the majority of systems this means your password and another piece of identification or a code that has been sent to say a mobile phone or generated by a key fob.

The reason two-step authentication has become so popular, and is being implemented in numerous systems, is that it is more secure than just using your password to access your account. Because the majority of platforms choose to use your mobile phone to generate the second code - usually through an SMS - there is a good chance that other people will not be able to access your account.

In the specific case of iCloud, you will need to enter this code when accessing iCloud or iCloud Web apps like Calendar, Contacts, Mail or Notes. When you try to access an app on a new system you will need to enter your password and a four digit code sent to your mobile phone over SMS.

How to set up two-step authentication for iCloud

If you use iCloud or iCloud's Web apps you can enable two-step authentication by following these steps:
  1. Going to the iCloud website and logging in using the username and password you would like to enable the extra authentication for.
  2. Clicking on your account name, which is located at the top-right of the page, and selecting Account Settings.
  3. Clicking on your Apple ID followed by Manage your Apple ID in the new page that opens.
  4. Signing in with your Apple ID again and clicking on Password and Security.
  5. Entering the answer to two of your security questions and then selecting Continue.
  6. Reading the information about two-step authentication on the three following screens and clicking Get started.
  7. Setting a phone number in the following screen. Be sure to use a number tied to a phone that can accept SMS or text messages.
  8. Entering the code that was sent to the phone number you set in the previous step.
  9. Selecting your phone from the list of devices and clicking Verify.
  10. Entering the code that is sent to the device you just selected and clicking Continue.
  11. Printing or copying the verification key in the window that pops up. You will need to keep this in order to access your account if you switch phone numbers.
  12. Re-entering the verification key and clicking Enable two-step verification.
  13. Checking the box to show that you acknowledge the two-step verification and understand what it means.
  14. Clicking Done.
The next time you try to log into iCloud, you should be asked to enter the two-step verification code that will be sent to the mobile device you established in the steps above. It's true that this is a bit of a hassle to set up, but it really does enhance the security of your account and should be enabled, especially if you have connected a credit card or uploaded sensitive information to your account.

If you are looking to learn more about enhancing the security of your Mac laptop or desktop, contact us today to see how our systems can help.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Apple Mac OS
June 18th, 2014

osx_June17_BMac users who missed out on coverage of the Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) 2014 will be pleased to know that Apple introduced their latest operating system; the OS X Yosemite. Although some features aren’t fully-formed, some of the most obvious changes in the OS X Yosemite are very present. With that in mind, it’s time you took a look at the most dramatic redesign of Apple’s operating system to date.

Design

Right from the start you can tell that OS X Yosemite is all about aesthetics. Apple manages to make the operating system look both vastly different yet not entirely unfamiliar. The button and icon design has been flattened so that there are no false contours, making everything look sharper.

For the first time ever, the operating system’s font has been changed from Lucida Grande to Helvetica Neue which is a little easier on the eyes. Finder window menus are now translucent, matching up with the image backgrounds on your desktop. The refreshed dock has gotten a slight makeover with newer flatter-looking icons as well as a new trash can. Yosemite also features a “dark mode”, which gives you the option to eschew translucency for dark gray toolbars.

Notifications

Notification Center has been updated with a new look that borrows its black transparent design from iOS’s pull down notification pane. Apple has divided its Notification Center into two different categories. One shows notifications as you were used to them before, the other shows a “Today” view with a combination of upcoming events, current weather, reminders and stocks. To swap between the two, Apple’s added in tabs at the top to let you minimize the information shown at a glance.

Spotlight

The new Spotlight search and file browsing in general have been greatly improved. Previews of animated GIFs now automatically animate in the preview pane. And if Spotlight is your default application and file launcher, you can hit Command + Space to pull up the search bar and pick out your query instead of hunting for the exact location of the file you’re using. When you go through this, the search pops up in a small pane directly at the center of your screen which makes more sense than the old search bar which was in the top right corner of your screen.

The new update isn’t just conveniently situated, but it could turn Spotlight into your default way of searching for information that you’d normally go to a browser for. You can now convert units, bring up full contact info, look something up on Wikipedia or even search for food nearby. Apple’s even worked Spotlight into the address bar of the revamped Safari browser to give users a one-stop shop for search across the web and local files.

Mail

OS X Yosemite’s Mail app gets a cleaner design as well as a slick new feature, Mail Drop. This allows you to bypass attachment size constraints by uploading files that are too big and sending the recipient a link.

Safari

Safari browser has been updated for continuity with the browser’s window carrying over the translucency seen in other areas of the operating system. Favorites are now hidden by default, but you can access these by clicking on the address bar.

Sharing links to social networks has been simplified with a one-click process and RSS feeds will show in the browser's sidebar.

AirDrop

AirDrop in Yosemite now works with iOS so iPhone owners can easily transfer files to the Mac and back. OS X Yosemite features the ability to recognize work being done in iOS that you might want to continue on the desktop. Once an action is detected on iOS, Yosemite will create an icon on the desktop to remind the user to complete the task. This sensing ability also extends to creating a tethered connection, as your iPhone will now appear as a connection option in the WiFi dropdown.

Make and receive calls

Once connected to your iPhone, Yosemite will prompt you with notifications to answer or ignore incoming calls, both audio and video. The OS will even allow users to click on a number within a website to dial it directly.

OS X Yosemite isn’t finished, but overall it demonstrates a more mature and subtle approach in its user interface as well as a more versatile operating system. For now, Apple is making OS X Yosemite available as beta for developers, but you can expect the full version this fall, when you will be able to download it for free. Looking to learn more about Apple and their products? Call us today for a chat.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Apple Mac OS
June 13th, 2014

osx_June13_BAsk many Apple users about the security of the devices they are using and they will likely scoff at the question, insisting that their computer or phone is secure and always has been. While it is true that there are fewer security issues facing Macs, there are still security threats out there and it is a good idea to know about them and also how to prevent them.

The Apple security myth

It is true that many myths are based on fact. However, the problem is trying to distinguish fact from fiction. Take a look at the most recent security threats, and you'll see that the vast majority are focused on systems running Windows, while there are few that seem to focus on Macs.

It used to be that this was simply because there were an exponentially larger number of Windows users compared to Mac users. This large user base makes it easier for hackers to exploit, therefore hackers usually go after Windows machines leaving Macs to the side.

As a result, this has created the general idea that Macs are more secure than Windows. In truth, Macs are really no less or more secure than other systems and devices and users need to ensure their systems are protected. There are a growing number of Mac users and if you throw into the mix the fact that Apple's mobile devices like the iPad and iPhone are among the most popular devices out there you can bet that it's only a matter of time before hackers start to really try and exploit these systems in increased numbers.

How do I ensure my Mac or Apple device is secure?

Talk to 10 different people and you will likely get 10 different answers as to what you should do in order to ensure the security of your computer and mobile device. To make things a little easier, here is our list of five things you should do.

1. Educate yourself about security threats

The first thing you should do is to keep abreast of current security threats. Many of the top mobile and security oriented companies have blogs that cover the most recent security threats that all users should be aware of. Of course, we try to keep this blog updated with these threats as well so be sure to check here as well.

You can take this even further and educate yourself about the most common ways systems are infected or hacked. For example, here are two of the most recent threats your device and computers face: (i) iPhones - At the end of May, news came out of Australia about how a number of iPhone users had been infected by ransomware. This style of malware hijacks a device and demands payment from a user before they can use their phone again. In this specific case, it appears that the hacker is compromising the user's iCloud accounts, then blocking the device using the Find my iPhone feature and showing a message demanding payment for the code to unlock it.

Keeping your passwords secure and changing them may help prevent your device from being infected.

(ii) Macs - One of the latest ways Macs are being infected with malware is through programs that are installed when people download other apps. These programs can do any number of things, with the most problematic (for the time being) setting your browser's home page to the developer's own search engine. The engine will then show paid ads in results. While Google also features ads, it is up to you whether you use Google or not. This specific program doesn't give you a choice.

These are just two existing threats, there are countless more out there that you should be aware of.

2. Practice safe browsing

One of the best ways to stave off infections and security breaches is to be proactive. This is because the vast majority of security breaches happen when a user installs programs, knowingly or unknowingly, or clicks on links in emails or on the Web that contain malware.

These forms of intrusion can be nearly stopped in their tracks in a five ways: (i) Never open email attachments from unknown senders. This is especially the case if the file extensions are for programs i.e., DMG, This includes attachments in emails from large companies and financial institutions. If you are in doubt, try contacting the sender for verification.

(ii) Always hover over links before you click on them. Doing this should cause a popup to appear displaying the full address of the link's location. If for example you get an email from your bank with a link in it, hover over the link to see where it goes. What you are looking for is spelling mistakes, grammar issues or even straight up wrong links. Should any of these be present, the link location could lead you straight to malware which could then be installed on your system.

(iii) Don't automatically open any downloaded apps. It is a good idea to verify any apps first by looking at an app's name by right-clicking on it and selecting Get Info. Look at the source information for the app. If the site is weird or seems different from where you downloaded it from, you may not want to install it.

(iv) Be wary of installing apps from streaming sites. When you try to watch content many sites will ask you to download a plugin or video player. The links shown can sometimes be malware and you will find your systems infected before you know it. In fact, it's a good idea to avoid these sites altogether, especially since some of them are known to host malware that can install itself without your permission or even without you knowing it has been installed.

(v) When in doubt, don't touch anything. If you are unsure about a link or app you are being asked to download, simply don't click on it or download it.

3. Watch where you connect

Apple's products are almost all highly mobile. From featherlight laptops to tablets and phones that fit in almost any bag and pocket you can connect to the office from nearly anywhere. The way most do this is by connecting to their systems via an Internet connection. In many public spaces, shops, and even airports you are never far from a public connection. While this may seem like an ideal way to connect to the office, public connections are notoriously easy to hack.

Anyone with even a basic understanding of networking and tools can hack a public network, accessing data that goes in and out; data which could be sensitive. Once this is captured and possibly decoded, your systems could be breached and even hijacked.

Therefore, it is a good idea to never connect to public networks on any device. Of course, this may not be possible all of the time. So, if you do have to connect to a public network be sure to never enter any passwords or go to sites where you need to log into systems.

4. Install antivirus scanners

It really is amazing how many Mac users simply don't bother with an antivirus scanner. These tools are indispensable for keeping your systems secure and the data stored within them secure. Sure, the chances of your iPhone being hacked or your Macbook's data being exposed are less than other systems and devices but the threat is there, and very real.

There are a number of excellent scanners out there, just be sure to pick a solution that covers both desktop, and mobile devices to ensure optimal security. We can help you pick the best solution for your business, so be sure to talk to us before installing any scanners.

5. Work with an IT expert

Finally, possibly the best way to ensure the security of your Apple products is to work with an IT expert like us. We take the time to get to know how you use your devices to discover your security needs. From here, we can help integrate an effective solution that you can rely on. On top of this, we can also manage your IT, so should new security threats be found, you stand an increased chance of not only being secure but avoiding the threat altogether.

Contact us today to learn more.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Apple Mac OS
May 14th, 2014

OSX_May13_BApple's latest operating system - OS X Mavericks - features an Enhanced Dictation tool that can be used to help make your writing easier. This feature allows users to talk continuously without any time limit and can be used offline. It can also be used in conjunction with other OS X apps. If you are looking for a dictation system, and have a Mac, try this stock dictation software which is included on all Mac computers.

About Enhanced Dictation

Last year, when Apple released the latest version of OS X - Mavericks, they also introduced improvements to their dictation feature. By enabling this, you can dictate your thoughts on a number of different apps. For example, you can dictate a memo on your word processor, or dictate search terms on your browser. In older versions of OS X, you needed to have an Internet connection in order to use this feature, but with the new update you can now use it offline too.

Through its offline availability, Enhanced Dictation becomes a partner in accessing your desktop and going through files on your Mac device. This assures you that wherever you are you can still be efficient even if you are offline. Below are some guidelines on how to enable and use continuous dictation on Mavericks.

Turning Enhanced Dictation on

Go to your Mac’s System Preferences, then to the Dictation and Speech section. The dialog box will show you several preferences, tick On and check Use Enhanced Dictation to utilize offline services and continuous dictation. You have to be connected to the Internet in order to enable this feature because you will need to download the application first.

Language and disk space requirements

The required disk space for the content download depends on the language you choose to use. This feature supports several languages. Depending on the frequency of usage, Enhanced Dictation adjusts to your accent and trains itself to understand your voice better through its character. To eliminate confusion with accents, you can choose among several dialects from the Language drop-down list. Some languages, such as English, have several dialects to choose from.

Continuous dictation advantages

Continuous dictation allows your system to show the words you utter live on your display window. This does not have a specific time limit like its predecessor, but stops automatically once you hit Done, press the function key or switch to another window.

Using dictation in other Mavericks applications

To be able to use dictation with other applications, click on a text field and press the function (fn) key twice for the dictation shortcut. You can also choose Edit, followed by Start Dictation and speak the commands you want it to input in the text field.

Using microphones

Your device has a built-in microphone but you can opt to choose a supported external microphone should you prefer to be heard clearer even in a softer tone. With this option, you have to go to the Dictation and Speech section of your Systems Preferences and change the input device to microphone.

Text commands

Another feature of the Enhanced Dictation system is its ability to understand several text-related commands, such as punctuation marks, emoticons, typography, currency, capitalization and word commands, including new paragraphs and tabs, among others.

With the continuous advancement of Apple’s programs and services more businesses are opting for high-performing Mac devices than other device in the market.

If you are looking to learn more about OS X and how it can fit into your organization, contact us today.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Apple Mac OS
April 21st, 2014

OSX_April21_BVarious applications are available on the market, which you can use on your Mac computer. These apps are designed for various functions and can be used in a near limitless number of ways. If you are running a business, you can guarantee that you will find apps that could help you with your work. What’s even better, is that there are apps that you can get without spending any money at all.

It’s worthwhile exploring which apps are available and suit your business purposes. To get you started here are four great free apps for your Mac.

Caffeine

Mac computers can be set to automatically dim the screen, go to sleep or start a screen saver in order to save power if there’s inactivity for a certain period. While this feature has its benefits, there are times when you may need your screen to be on without moving the mouse or typing on the keyboard. For instance, you may be watching a video that is related to your business or doing a business presentation.

Caffeine is a small and simple application that you will find useful in these situations. Clicking the app enables your screen to remain on even when inactive. Clicking the app icon disables the app, enabling your original system settings to prevail. While you can adjust the settings of your computer via your system preferences, it’s much more convenient to enable and disable the option on the menu bar just by clicking the app’s icon.

Adium

One of the most important factors in any business is timely communication with clients, business associates, and employees. One of the most common ways to communicate these days is through instant messaging (IM). The problem is, people use different messenger applications. If you have different messenger accounts, there’s no need to launch each of the messaging applications. Use Adium to access your different accounts through one app.

Adium supports several messaging programs, including Yahoo, Google Hangouts, Windows Live Messenger, AOL Instant Messenger, and Facebook. Connect your various accounts and choose which you wish to enable and disable when you sign in. File transfer is also supported, though it’s not always successful. But chat in general is not a problem.

CloudApp

File sharing is another common need when running a business. Various files are sent back and forth to different people and it can be a challenge to keep track of which version you are on. This is why you need a convenient way to share files on your Mac, and that’s exactly what CloudApp offers. It has a Web version that can be accessed via your browser, though it’s recommended to have the app installed on your computer.

Once installed, an icon is created on your menu bar which you can click to access your preferences. File sharing is fast and easy. Drag and drop the file on the CloudApp icon on the menu bar and it creates a download link to your clipboard. Copy the link and send it via e-mail or chat.

Found

If you are using different storage methods or sites to save files, it can be difficult to find a specific file you need. Found is the answer to this problem. Connect it with your various accounts, including Dropbox, Google Drive, Gmail, Evernote, and Skydrive. When you search for a specific file on Found, it will look not only on your Mac computer, but on the connected accounts as well.

Get these Mac apps now and benefit from a valuable boost to your device. Considering they’re free there’s no reason why you shouldn’t have them! If you are looking to learn more about using Apple products in your office, contact us today to see how we can help.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Apple Mac OS
March 19th, 2014

OSX_Mar17_BLet's face it, any computer you use for more than a couple of years will begin to slow down over time, Macs included. If having a slow Mac computer is gravely reducing your business’s productivity, then reading this article will help you solve that issue. These 5 tips are probably some of the best methods that you can use to optimize your Mac, making it run faster.

Uninstall your old and unused programs

If you’re thinking that those old or unused programs aren’t hurting your computer’s performance since you haven’t been using them, you may be shocked to know that they actually can be one of the leading causes of a slow computer. These old programs despite being inactive, actually take up storage space which can cause your Mac to slow down.

This can really become a big issue if you’re running out of room on your hard drive because the less space you have available on your hard drive, the slower your computer will run. Try opening your Applications folder and looking for apps and programs that you no longer use. Simply drag them to the Trash and then empty it to free up space.

On another note, it would be a good idea to empty your trash on a regular basis, because items in the trash still take up storage space leading to a potentially slower computer.

Clean your desktop

Your Mac should run a bit faster if your desktop is clean. We don't mean go in literally clean the desktop, we mean get rid of the shortcuts, programs and files that you don't use. The more icons and stuff on your desktop there are, the slower your computer will run.

Instead of adding new icons, folders, files, etc. to your desktop try storing documents in the documents folder (Click any blank area on your desktop, press Go at the top of your screen and select Documents). Or, create a folder on your desktop for different images of files. Basically you want to minimize how much is on your desktop.

Use a program like Memory Keeper

What these apps do is help you free up more space on your computer by cleaning your computer’s memory. This is similar to the defrag option in Windows where the OS will essentially put files of a similar nature closer together in the hard drive, making them easier and quicker for the processor to access. To us, this means a faster computer!

You can get Memory Keeper free on the Apple Store, but be sure to contact us before you download it as we may have a solution that comes as part of your IT solutions.

Organize/clean your Finder and the files within

Just as you should minimize the files and clutter on your desktop, you should also minimize the clutter and number of icons in the main folders of the Finder. This includes the folders under each user, Downloads, Documents, etc.

It would not be a good idea to delve into the Utilities and Network folders as they usually contain important files that if deleted could cause your computer to stop working.

Upgrade your hardware

If you've tried the suggested tips above and your computer is still running slow, then your last resort should be to have a hardware upgrade.

We take this as the last resort as this may take more time, let alone cost a lot of money.

Consider upgrading your RAM instead of upgrading your processor since doing so is considerably cheaper.

It’s highly suggested to get a minimum of 2 GB of extra RAM but if you’re using some heavy duty programs like Adobe Photoshop, then a minimum of 4 GB RAM would probably suit you better. Before you do upgrade however, check with either Apple or us to ensure that your computer can be upgraded. By asking an IT partner like us, we will be able to better inform you as to what you can upgrade and how you can go about it safely.

Are you looking for more tips on how to speed up your Mac? Then give us a call now and we’ll have our team talk to you about how we can help.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Apple Mac OS
February 25th, 2014

iPad_Feb24_BWith most Apple devices there is at least one connection between all of your Apple devices and services and that is your Apple ID. This is an important account that you should definitely try to remember. The problem arises though if you don't use this ID on a regular basis, which results in you potentially forgetting what it is. If you have a new device, such as an iPad, this forgetfulness may cause issues.

What is an Apple ID?

Your Apple ID is how Apple identifies you. It is what you use to access and download apps on iTunes, enable iCloud, purchase from the Apple Store, and even book appointments with Apple Store representatives and tech support.

When you first set up a new Apple device, say an iPad, you are asked to sign up for an Apple ID. As with most other online accounts, you will set a password and the usual recovery questions to ensure that you can gain access to the account should you forget your password, something that happens to the best of us.

What do I do if I forgot my Apple ID password?

If you remember your Apple ID but can't remember the password you have two options. The first works if you have access to the email address you've linked your Apple ID with.
  1. Go to the Apple ID website on your iPad.
  2. Click Reset your password, enter your Apple ID and click Next.
  3. Select Email authentication followed by Next.
Check your email and there should be a message from Apple with instructions on how to reset your password.

The second option you have available is to reset your password by answering the security questions you created when you setup your account.

  1. Go to the Apple ID website on your iPad.
  2. Click Reset your password, enter your Apple ID and click Next.
  3. Select Answer security questions and click Next.
  4. Setting the birthday you used for the account and clicking Next.
  5. Answer the security questions you picked when you set the account up.
If you answer these successfully, you should be able to reset your password and access your AppleID again.

How to recover your Apple ID if you've forgotten your email address and questions

If you are not able to remember your recovery email address, password or security questions it may feel a little hopeless, but fear not, there is a way that might work.
  1. Go to the Apple ID Support page and select the Start your support request online link for your country.
  2. Click on Forgotten Apple ID security questions and follow the onscreen prompts.
  3. When you get to the next screen select either of the two options. Schedule a Call will allow you to pick a time for an Apple tech to call you, while Call Apple Support Later will allow you to enter your information and call Apple at some future point.
When you do talk to an Apple representative they will ask you questions about your account and personal information you provided when you first signed up for your ID. In many instances, the representative will be able to unlock your account or reset your password. Another option is to schedule a time to go into an Apple store or retailer for an appointment to see if they can help.

Looking to learn more about using your iPad, contact us today to see how we can help.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Apple Mac OS