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Audioengine A2+ Powered Desktop Speakers

Audioengine A2+ Powered Desktop Speakers

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Audioengine 2+ (A2+) Premium Powered Desktop Speakers

– Excellent sound with elegant simplicity and a new standard for computer audio
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– Designed for your desktop but also sounds great across the room

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Transfer files superfast from Mac to Mac with Target Disk Mode — Mac Tip March 13th 2014

Mac Tip: Sharing files fast with Target Disk Mode ———————————————————— Ever had a big movie or library file you needed to transfer between two Macs? Looking for a way to transfer data off an old or busted Mac? A few weeks ago we talked about Mac OS X’s AirDrop feature, which works great for small documents but isn’t ideal for larger things due to the sometimes-shaky nature of wireless. Apple has forseen this concern and created Target Disk Mode, a handy feature which allows a “host” Mac to access files on a “target” Mac without having to boot the target into its full operating system. To use Target Disk Mode, you’ll first need a physical connection between the two Macs. You can use either Firewire (if you have an older Mac) or Thunderbolt, which is preferable due to the big speed difference. You’ll need a Thunderbolt to Thunderbolt cable, which we can sell you here in the store, or if you’re plugging into an older Mac with a newer one you can use a Thunderbolt to Firewire adaptor to link them up. Once you’ve got them plugged in, you’ll need to boot up your target Mac by holding the “T” key during startup. If you’ve done this successfully, you’ll see the display light up with a Firewire or Thunderbolt logo. Now you can decide how to boot up the host Mac based on what you need to do with it. The simplest mode is to use the target Mac as essentially an external hard drive. This is great for when you have a large file that simply needs to go from Mac to Mac; no need to put it on an external drive first and go through the trouble of transferring twice. Simply boot the host Mac up as normal and the target Mac will show up as a second “Macintosh HD”. Second, you can boot the host Mac from the operating system of the target Mac. To do this, start up the host Mac and hold down the Option key. You’ll see a horizontal list of available startup disks which you can navigate using the arrow keys. This is a handy mode for accessing files on a machine that has keyboard, mouse or display problem; you can do a backup before you bring it in for repair. Finally, you can use Target Disk Mode to transfer your whole user account from an older machine using Migration Assistant. We usually do this for our customers as transferring email and other files can be complex, especially on older machines, but if you’re pretty competent and gung-ho, this is the way to do it. As always if you have any questions about this week’s Mac Tip, or really anything else, feel free to email us back or give us a call at 250-995-3020. Thanks for reading Mac Tips! ** Apple Thunderbolt Cable (2 meters) ———————————————————— Thunderbolt technology supports fast data transfers with two independent channels of 10Gb/s each, and Thunderbolt 2 technology can bond the two channels for a superfast 20Gb/s. Use this cable to connect Thunderbolt-enabled devices to the Thunderbolt or Thunderbolt 2 port on your Mac. The Apple Thunderbolt Cable lets you connect two Thunderbolt-equipped Mac computers in target disk mode, network two Mac computers with OS X Mavericks,...

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Build your screen real estate with multiple displays! — Mac Tip March 6th 2014

Mac Tip: External Displays and Your Mac ———————————————————— Have you ever wondered how you could plug your Mac into an external display? All new Macs these days come with the revolutionary Thunderbolt port, a powerful connection that allows you to send video, audio, and files between computers or displays. Today we’ll talk about how to harness its power and get your home movies onto the big screen. The first thing you’ll need is some connection between your Mac and your display. For those of us lucky enough to have machines made after 2011, we can use an Apple TV to connect wirelessly using AirPlay. Have an older Mac? No worries; you just need the right adaptor. On the Mac side, you’ll need something with a Mini Displayport or Thunderbolt connector (they look identical and are backwards compatible.) For your external display, the plug you’ll need depends on the ports on the display. Most recent televisions have HDMI ports, and some may have a DVI port, whereas most projectors have VGA. Here’s what those look like: Generally you’ll need the adaptor, plus a longer length of male-to-male cable to connect the two. We sell both here in the store in case you need one. Go ahead and plug that in and we’ll move on to how to configure your connection. As soon as you plug in the cable, with both your screen and Mac on, you’ll see everything go blue or dark for a second. This is normal; your Mac is calibrating it’s output to the connector. At this point you should see the image on your Mac’s screen show up on the external monitor. Congrats! At this point, you’ll want to go into System Preferences and select the Displays option. If your other display is properly connected, you should now see two windows; one labeled “Built-In Display” and one with the name of your external display. By default, you will have display mirroring turned on, meaning your Mac’s display will be identical to the external. This is easy to use, but also forces your Mac and external display to have the same resolution, which can result in fuzziness. Turn mirroring off and then use both windows to set the resolution as high as possible, or to the display’s “natural” resolution. You’ll be able to drag windows between the two displays and open full-screen windows (like Netflix or DVD Player) in either one while using the other normally. That should get you off to the races. As always if you have any questions about this week’s Mac Tip, or really anything else, feel free to email us back or give us a call at 250-995-3020. Thanks for reading Mac Tips! ** iStabilizer Flex Tripod ———————————————————— Capture creative and steady photos and videos anywhere with the iStabilizer Flexible Tripod. iStabilizer products are designed and engineered to work with all smartphones including iPhone, Android, BlackBerry, Windows Phone, FLIP MinoHD, UltraHD, and all models of the iPod Touch. Flexible legs with wrapping capability allow you to secure your Flexible Tripod to virtually any surface. Capture incredible images without the shakes typically associated with hand-held photography. The Flexible Tripod is small and agile enough to travel with you wherever life takes you! Just pop in your smartphone or mobile device and you’re ready to...

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Unlock your iPhone 5s with Touch ID — Mac Tip January 23rd 2014

Mac Tip: Unlocking Touch ID ———————————————————— If you’re lucky enough to have gotten your hands on an iPhone 5s, you might’ve noticed that small beveled ring around the home button. This small visual clue speaks to a powerful tool underneath your iPhone’s skin: Touch ID. Fingerprint scanners have been around for a pretty long time and used to be offered on some PC laptops. But often these devices didn’t work properly, mistriggering or not providing quick enough readings for regular use. In the iPhone 5s, Apple is for the first time instituting it’s own fingerprint technology and helping to bring it into the mainstream. The presence of a fingerprint scanner reduces the need to enter your passcode all the time, which also helps reduce the number of iPhones out there that are unprotected (AKA, not set up with passcodes because of the inconvenience of using them.) The setup for Touch ID is very simple, and most users go through it when they first start up their new phone. If you missed your chance initially, you can set it up by going Settings > General > Touch ID & Passcode > Touch ID. You will need to set a passcode if you don’t already have one, as you’ll need it to add additional fingerprints or re-initialize your device after a restart. The next step is easy — you simply touch the sensor with your finger until the phone vibrates. You will see part of the print fill in; continue to touch and release until the print is complete. From then on, you’ll be able to use your fingerprint to unlock your phone and authorize app and music purchases. This technology is new for many of us and it can take some getting used to. In next week’s Mac Tip, we’ll cover some tips and tricks we use to get the most out of Touch ID. In the meantime, try registering a few of your fingers! Good luck! As always if you have any questions about this week’s Mac Tip, or really anything else, feel free to email us back or give us a call at 250-995-3020. Thanks for reading Mac Tips! ** Incipio DualPro Case for iPhone ———————————————————— The DualPro iPhone 5 Case by Incipio is a 2 piece case built with an impact absorbing silicone core and a rigid plextonium frame providing ultimate protection for your iPhone. Equip your device with 2 layers of defence with the Dual Pro. Your device is surrounded by an impact absorbing silicone core and then covered with a Rigid PlexTonium frame. The innovative hybrid design with a soft touch finish provides protection with style. Starting at $29.95 ** Zagg Keys Folio for iPad Air ———————————————————— The new ZAGGkeys Folio is a mere 7.6mm thin, just more than a quarter of an inch, and only 17.7mm, or about two-thirds of an inch, when holding your iPad. This makes it one of the thinnest keyboards available. In addition, it features a pivoting hinge that allows you to place your iPad at virtually any viewing angle, just like a laptop screen. Open it up, set it to your preferred angle, and off you go typing in comfort. The Folio zips along on a powerful battery that will keep it powered for up to three months of...

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Backing up iOS with iCloud — Mac Tip January 16th 2014

Mac Tip: How to use iCloud Backup ———————————————————— Here’s a question we’ve heard a lot lately: “Why does my iPhone/iPad/iPod touch keep saying it was unable to backup to iCloud”? As always with Mac Tips we’re aiming help shed light on your everyday issues, so today we’ll be talking about what iCloud Backup is, how to use it, and what’s causing this error message. When iPads and iPods first came out several years ago, iCloud didn’t yet exist. The only way to backup your devices was to plug them into your computer directly, so iTunes could create a copy of your files and store them on your Mac. However, it was up to you to remember to do it, and if you lost both your computer and mobile device? Well, you were hooped unless you also had a backup of your computer somewhere else. Your iCloud account now includes a backup feature which lets your iOS device back itself up wirelessly to the Apple servers. It only does this when it is plugged in, connected to wifi, and its screen is locked (i.e. usually when you’re in bed sleeping and letting your device charge.) It’s important to note that the iCloud Backup is not a “full backup” in the sense that it doesn’t do as complete a backup as the plug-into-iTunes variant. For example, if you transfer any music or other media content from a computer, iCloud won’t back those up through iCloud. If you have to replace your device for some reason, you’ll need to restore through iCloud, then plug the device into your computer and transfer those again. However, it is very convenient otherwise, and very widely used (we recommend it highly.) There is one minor snag that you may run into, however, that will prompt the warning we mentioned: “Unable to complete iCloud backup.” By default, your iCloud backup is designed to backup your complete Camera Roll — that is, all the photos you’ve taken on your iOS device. Since we no longer need to plug our devices into computers very often, it’s easy to forget how many photos are stacking up in the internal memory of your device, and by extension, your iCloud Backup. This is almost always what is causing the error we see about the iCloud Backup being incomplete. Most iCloud accounts only come with 5 GB of storage, which Apple offers for free. It’s possible to pay to extend your storage, which might make perfect sense if you plan to take tons and tons of photos between syncing your device to your computer. But for most people, the problem can easily be fixed by plugging your device into your home computer. The way iOS devices are designed is based on the fact that Apple treats them as less “stable” devices than a home computer. Most people (hopefully yourself included!) have a home backup system that uses Time Machine, and in general a full Mac or PC computer is more reliable a storage device than the mobile devices we take everywhere. For this reason, Apple encourages you to store your database of photos on your home machine, and regularly clear the photos off your mobile device to leave space for new shots. Your Mac is set up to do this automatically in a...

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Protecting yourself from viruses and internet scams — Mac Tip January 2nd 2014

Mac Tip: Protecting yourself online ———————————————————— Over 200,000 PCs in the US and UK were recently hit by a new version of the “Cryptolocker” virus, according to the BBC: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-25506020 This virus encrypts all your data and ransoms it for $300, refusing to allow you to access anything on your computer until you pay them. This is only one of many different kinds of scams that are very common on the internet; trojan horses, worms, viruses, phishing, so on and so on (try a search on wikipedia if any of these terms are umfamiliar.) One of the best things about the Mac is that they are largely impervious to this specific kind of virus. We often have clients come in with an issue that seems like it came out of nowhere; phantom movement on their trackpad, or a computer running very slowly, for example. It’s easy to wonder if this behaviour might be caused by a virus, but fact is that it’s almost never the case. The fact that there are far more viruses written for Windows machines helps, but your Mac uses some pretty sophisticated technology to protect itself from malicious programs; sandboxing, automatic scanning of downloads, and so forth. For these reasons, we don’t recommend anti-virus programs for the Mac. They often do nothing more than slow down your system with their constant scans and downloads. The truth is, from a technical perspective, you’re very safe against someone trying to install a malicious program or otherwise mess with your computer itself from the outside. You don’t need to constantly be on the lookout for new viruses — your Mac will keep your security up to date through Software Update, and the chances of you contracting something are very low. However! Mac users still face some risk on the internet. The bad guys are on the hunt for your social insurance numbers, credit cards, and other personal info, and they will do whatever they can to get them. It’s easy to forget how interconnected many of our accounts are. If you use your Hotmail account to set up an Apple ID, for example, a hacker might be able to break into your lower-security Hotmail account, apply to reset your Apple ID password, and use email authentication to get access to your credit card info. So — how can you prevent this from happening to you? The truth is that internet security is never as easy as simply installing some virus protection. Keeping yourself safe requires you to pay close attention to where requests are coming from, what safe and unsafe websites look like, and overall, develop a sense of savvy about what is and what isn’t safe online. Just the other day we had a client come in, concerned that her Apple ID was somehow at risk. She’d received an email informing her that her account was frozen and needed to be reactivated by entering some new security features. The email she got looked something like this: As scams go, this one is pretty subtle. The email appears to come from appleid@id-apple.com, which at first glance looks like a legitimate address (the real Apple ID email is appleid@id.apple.com, with periods rather than dashes.) But there are some suspicious spelling and grammar mistakes, and when you visit the Verify...

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Free up some storage space on your Mac! — Mac Tip December 12th 2013

Mac Tip: Deleting old files & folders ———————————————————— Is your Mac filling up with pictures, movies and other media? Has it started running slower than normal lately? Do you need more space, but you’re not sure where to find it? Today’s Mac Tip is hand-picked for you. As a repair shop, we often have customers come in with drives fit to burst. Many of us rack up a lot of files through months or years of downloading, receiving mail attachments, importing photos, and more. As we mentioned last week, upgrading your hard drive is a common option, but what if your machine isn’t eligible? For Macs that are getting a little long in the tooth, we recommend our in-store tune-up program, which can make a world of difference with a stuffed hard drive by defragmenting and fixing your directories. But even after tune-ups, many customers’ drives are still too full of files to let the computer run at its full speed. We take great care with your personal files to ensure they are intact and safe when we work on your computer, which is why it’s our policy not to delete anything. If you need more space on your Mac, it’s up to you to decide what you do and don’t need, to make sure that we don’t accidentally get rid of anything you don’t want to lose. Hopefully, this guide will help you trim the fat on your Mac and get it back to normal. Cleaning up your drive regularly is a good idea whether your storage is squeezed or not, but before we do anything it’s worth checking to see how much space we’ve got left. The simplest is to go to the Apple menu on the top left of your screen and click About This Mac, then the More Info button. If you click Storage at the top, you’ll see a bar graph showing you how much space you’re currently using based on the total size of your drive. The graph splits your drive into it’s various sections; usually you’ll see something like Audio, Movies, Photos, Apps, and Other. If most of your space is tied up in Photos or iTunes, you might want to consider moving those all-in-one “library” files onto an external hard drive, which you can access simply by plugging it into your Mac. This process can be a little involved, so it’s definitely something we’d be happy to help with through an onsite or with some shop time. If most of the storage is in Other, the lack of detail can be frustrating. There is a free app called DaisyDisk that we often recommend to get a better sense of what’s taking up space on your computer. You can pick up the demo version as a free download here: http://www.daisydiskapp.com/ Daisy Disk is a great way to see what files are taking up the most space, whether it’s that season of Friends you downloaded and gave up on watching years ago, or the collection of Steely Dan albums you already own on vinyl. Once you have a sense of how much space you have left, it’s time to think about what areas of your Mac could use some clearing out. For many of us, the Downloads folder is a good place to...

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Keep your Mac current by upgrading your hardware — Mac Tip December 5th 2013

Mac Tip: Upgrading your Mac ———————————————————— As we mentioned last week when we talked about liquid spills, Macs are hardy machines. We often see customers’ Macs still running great many years after their warranties have expired. But while your computer may be operating fine, the speed of improvements in software and the internet means it may struggle when running new programs or visiting new webpages. You’ll be happy to hear there are still some ways of upgrading your Mac to keep pace with the new and shiny. Today we’ll be covering a few of the changes possible with MacBook Pros, iMacs and other machines that have the capacity for it, so read on! There are three main upgradable parts in any Mac. The first two are hardware-based and include your computer’s memory (or RAM) as well as its hard drive or SSD, where it stores all of its files. The third is your operating system, the program which acts as a base for all of your other applications. Your computer’s storage is one of the first places we look when we see a Mac that is running slowly or otherwise acting strangely. For one thing, your Mac uses free hard drive space as “virtual memory”, which is essentially extra RAM. Your Mac also needs some space to use when moving files around on your disk, as many transfers will cache (or store a temporary version) of the file while moving it. If your hard drive is completely full, your computer may accidentally write over bits of its own storage while trying to add new data, which can cause all kinds of havoc and file corruption. For MacBook Pros of all ages, a hard drive replacement is one of the easier upgrades available. A new drive can take you from a paltry 160 GB HD from a decade ago to a full-size 1 TB drive, almost seven times more storage. And due to the constantly dropping price of storage, these upgrades can be done fairly cheaply. We offer a 500 GB for a little as $169, plus the cost of installation by our technicians. You also have the option of moving to an SSD, or solid-state drive. These storage devices have no moving parts, making them less vulnerable to drop or bump damage, and have much faster access speeds. Replacing an HDD (hard disk drive) with an SSD can often bring a shockingly big advancement in speed, especially during startup and shutdown. This boost does come at a price, with equivalently sized SSDs costing a fair amount, but as always the prices go down over time. We currently offer a 240 GB SSD at about $250 plus installation. New storage upgrades are also possible on Mac minis, iMacs, and of course Mac Pros, the most upgradable of all Apple computers. However, new machines like the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro with Retina Display are so miniaturized that it can be very difficult to upgrade components in them. For this reason we recommend taking a good look at your current and potential future usage when buying to make sure the components will fit your needs. RAM is your computer’s short-term memory and helps with the operation of multiple applications or processes at a time. If your hard drive is in good...

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What to do if your Mac or iPhone gets wet — Mac Tip November 28th 2013

Mac Tip: If your device gets wet ———————————————————— Macs and iPhones are undoubtedly some of the hardiest computers around these days. We often see clients using their devices for years past their obsolescence and still running great. That said, there are a few things that all computers (including smartphones) are vulnerable to. Getting a liquid of any kind spilled into the insides of your machine is one of the scariest things we see as a repair shop, and is a cause for serious concern. There is a lot of common advice given to people with liquid spills, and much of it can do more harm than good. Today we’re going to go over the best courses of action if your computer does suffer a liquid spill, and try to address some of the misconceptions. In the event of a water landing, the first thing you want to do is immediately shut off your device. If you can’t select Shut Down from the menu on your Mac, you can hold down your power button to force it to shut down. Unplug it from power and any other devices and if possible, remove or disconnect the battery. Do not try and turn the computer back on until it is opened up and inspected. Why not? Because the biggest risk with a liquid spill is not the water per se — it’s the damage caused by the shorts and corrosion that happen when a live electrical system is bathed in liquid. Conductive fluid can bridge connections between two things that shouldn’t be connected, causing burnout of components that are unfixable on the small custom motherboards used by modern devices. Do you see the blue, green and copper-coloured patterns on this motherboard? This is galvanic corrosion caused by a current running through a liquid. This corrosion can happen very fast when the power is on, so disconnecting the current is very important. Next, open the display and flip the computer upside down. This is to try and prevent the liquid from seeping further into the interior of the device, and also to stop any escaping fluid from landing on the screen. If it’s your iPhone that’s wet, there’s not much you can do other than try and angle the phone so the area where the liquid came in is pointed down. Finally, you can try and dab at the area with an absorbent material like a paper towel. You want to absolutely avoid accidentally pushing fluid deeper into your computer, so dabbing to absorb surface liquid is best. You want to do all these steps as fast as you can — the quicker you go, the less likely the liquid is to damage something in your Mac. Once you’re all done, your best bet is to bring the machine to a service centre (like ReStart) as soon as you can. Some people will tell you to put your device in a sealed container filled with an absorbent material like rice or even kitty litter. This is okay for reducing moisture in the air, but it often fails to evaporate water trapped between components. The residue left behind when the material enters the enclosure can cause further problems, so we don’t recommend it. If you can’t bring in your machine for us to take...

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Fast & easy ways to Google more effectively — Mac Tip November 7th 2013

Mac Tip: Improve your Google-fu ———————————————————— It’s hard to understate how much searching ties in to everything we do on the internet. The fact that most modern web browsers will now search by default whatever you type in the address bar is one shining example. Google is easily the web’s premier search engine, with over three billion searches a day. We use it for everything from academic and scholarly research, to defining words, looking up businesses, or simply exploring. Here at ReStart, we constantly use Google to find new information about Apple product releases, to look up new distributors and sales contacts, and to do simple research on technical issues and problems. And one of the biggest lessons we teach at onsites and in seminars is that a simple web search is a very powerful first step in resolving any kind of computer issue yourself. Read on for info on how to best use Google to find everything you need on the web. Let’s start with an example. One of the most common things people ask us here at ReStart is how to set up your email on an iPad, iPhone or Mac. There are tons of email service providers (Shaw, Telus, Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail, etc.) and each of them has slightly different settings, so our first step is often to simply Google for info on what your provider needs. Here’s an example search we might try: “shaw email setup ipad” With this search, we’ve made the details as specific as we can to ensure that we’ll get the most helpful information. We know your provider is Shaw, that you’re trying to set up email, and that you’re doing it on an iPad. We don’t need to include any words that help form a sentence, like “for” or “how to”, because those search words don’t help define exactly what you’re looking for. In fact, if you searched for something like, “how do i set up shaw email on my ipad?” You’ll notice that none of those grammar words show up in bold in the search results; Google simply ignores them. You might also notice that our search terms are all in lowercase. Google is case-insensitive, meaning you don’t have to bother capitalizing anything. Happily, the first result is a link to the Shaw website with all the required details. The search for this above string of text gave us about 751,000 results — comparatively, a search for “how do i on my” (all the grammar words from the example) gives us almost 8 billion results. It’s easy to see here how using specific search terms can really narrow down a search and save you clicking through pages trying to find something. On the flip side, sometimes you may want to search for a specific string of text. Let’s say we’ve forgotten where a song lyric comes from; we’ll use the Arcade Fire’s Black Mirror as an example. If you search for a line from the chorus, say, “black mirror, black mirror,” you get info about a TV series from the UK. The phrase black mirror is too vague to indicate that it’s from a particular song. But! You can use quotation marks to force Google to search for a specific string of text. The same search (“black mirror, black...

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Verify and repair your hard drive with Disk Utility — Mac Tip October 31st 2013

Mac Tip: Using Disk Utility ———————————————————— Apple is currently in the middle of a big switchover from spinning disk media (regular HDDs or Hard Disc Drives) to solid-state storage (AKA SSDs or Solid-State Drives). For example, the 15″ MacBook Pro was recently discontinued in favour of the 15″ Retina display. One of the primary reasons for this are that solid-state drives are more stable and less likely to fail given their lack of a small object constantly rotating thousands of times a minute. In the meantime, many of us are still using HDDs for their inexpensive cost-to-storage ratio. It’s a good habit to check in on the status of your disk periodically, especially if you notice your computer is running slowly or often not responding. These could be signs of a failing drive or an impending crash — but you’ve backed up all your files anyway, of course. Right? One of the most impressive things about Apple for us is their ongoing efforts to simplify computers and make them easier to use. Though their attempts don’t always succeed, new versions of their software and hardware are usually a little more intuitive. However, the powerful utilities available on your Mac tend to be a little tougher to use, given their use of technical jargon and proximity to the complicated guts of your Mac. Today, we’ll digging into some of the functions available in the Mac OS X application Disk Utility. This program gives you access to a range of built-in tools for performing maintenance and changing the functions of your connected disks. Full warning: the content in this article may be confusing for a new user, and Disk Utility includes some features which can potentially overwrite or delete the files on your disks. If you have questions or need help, we’d be happy to lend a hand. Today we’ll be focusing on the tools available under the First Aid tab of Disk Utility. First, you’ll need to launch the program. It’s under the Utilities folder in your Applications folder, or you can just start typing its name into Spotlight and press Return or Enter when it is automatically selected. Once the program is open, you’ll see a list of disks on the left. At the top will be the name of your physical drive, which might be a Hitachi, Toshiba, or one of many other HD manufacturers. Below that, you’ll see a list of volumes on your drive; for most people, this will simply be Macintosh HD. If you select Macintosh HD by clicking on it, Disk Utility will show you some information about that volume at the bottom on the window, including it’s capacity, space available, and space used. On the right hand side of the window, you’ll see a set of tabs: First Aid, Erase, RAID, and Restore. There are four options at the bottom of the First Aid tab; you can Verify or Repair Disk Permissions, or Verify or Repair the disk itself. You’ll notice that the Repair Disk feature is probably greyed out — this is because the Mac can’t repair the disk it’s currently running off of. If you need to repair your disk, you’ll have to boot your Mac off of your Recovery Partition or, if you have an older Mac, the OS X...

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Security on your Mac — Mac Tip October 17th 2013

Mac Tip: Security and your Mac ———————————————————— Every day, a little more of our lives becomes connected to the internet. Whether it’s paying your phone bill, to ordering dinner, to investing in stocks, it’s all possible online. And as more of our personal information ends up on the web, the security of our computers and the sites we visit matters more and more. We’ve talked a little about security on iOS devices like the iPad and iPhone, but the iOS operating system is much easier to keep secure without the risk of inadvertently downloading viruses or other “malware”. Your Mac, on the other hand, with its full file system, is a bit more vulnerable to these risks. Before you go downloading some industrial-grade virus scrubber, keep in mind that Mac OS X is still one of the safest operating systems available. It has several built-in features to help protect you, not to mention the fact that the very core of the UNIX-based OS is inherently secure. First of all, your Mac is equipped with a simple firewall that prevents incoming signals unless you specifically allow them. Most of your security settings, like most settings on your Mac, are located in the System Preferences program. Go to System Preferences, click Security & Privacy, and then click Firewall to turn on and control the settings for this feature. One of the most common questions we get at ReStart is whether or not you should install Virus Protection on your Mac. The first thing you should know is that your Mac already has some basic virus protection, called XProtect, which is designed by Apple and comes standard with your Mac. There are also other anti-virus tools out there, like Sophos’ free tool, which you can get here: http://www.sophos.com/en-us/products/free-tools/sophos-antivirus-for-mac-home-edition.aspx However, most of us simply don’t worry about running virus protection on our Macs. The number of viruses produced that work on Macs is 1-2 a year right now, versus the hundreds of thousands for Windows, which means your chances of contracting one are pretty low. And if you use an email service like Gmail or iCloud which automatically filter malware, you’re very safe. If you’ve ever been concerned about someone gaining access to your files if your computer were stolen, there is an Apple utility called FileVault that allows you to encrypt your entire hard drive. We very rarely recommend this for people for two reasons; first, there is a performance degradation as you must decrypt a file each time you’d like to use it, and two, it’s simply impossible to recover your files if you forget your password, recovery key, and security questions. For all you secret government agents, you can access FileVault settings by going to the Security and Privacy section of System Preferences. If you click Turn On FileVault, your Mac will walk you through the setup process and grant you a recovery key. You can store this with Apple as well, but you will need to fill out some security questions. Again, we don’t recommend FileVault unless you feel very concerned about security, and know exactly what you’re doing. More and more software these days is downloadable through the web, especially for those of us with Macs that no longer have physical CD drives, like iMacs, MacBook Airs, and...

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More About Batteries — Mac Tip October 10th 2013

Mac Tip: More About Batteries ———————————————————— It’s been a few months since we last talked about batteries, and with the recent release of iOS 7 we’ve been hearing some concerns about battery life, so we figured it’s time to revisit the topic. Today we’ll talk about some of the most effective and least effective methods of keeping your batteries alive, on both iOS (iPhones, iPads, and iPods) and your Mac. Let’s start with what doesn’t work. There are quite a few misconceptions about battery life that we often hear in the store, and many of these rumours are spread by various news outlets and even inexperienced technicians. Hopefully by shedding some light on these ineffective methods we can save you some time and hassle. First of all, nothing you download from the iOS store can improve your battery life. There are tons of apps out there that promote themselves as “battery monitors” or “battery savers”, and some even charge hefty prices. The truth is that for security reasons, iOS apps aren’t allowed to change or affect any of your device’s system settings. The best these apps can do is give you suggestions on what to do to improve battery life, so buy with caution. Next up is multitasking. If you hit the home button twice on your iOS device, you can see a view that allows you to switch between multiple apps you have open. Because you can see the status of all your apps in this view, it’s logical to think that those apps are all still running in the background. However, in most cases this isn’t true. When you switch apps, the app you move out of goes into suspended animation. It can ask to keep working for up to 10 minutes, or it might keep running if it’s one of a specific class of apps (fitness, podcast, or VOIP/Skype apps for example). But most of the time, the app will simply close down and not draw any battery power or memory. Your iOS device saves a “snapshot” of where you were, so when you relaunch the app you can come back to it, but this doesn’t draw any extra power. We often see people methodically close down all the apps on their phone in an attempt to save battery, and we’re happy to say that this isn’t necessary. Even if you’re concerned about performance over battery (if you’re playing a game, for example), your iOS device will automatically take recently used apps out of “suspension” and turn them off to free up memory. Just another thing you don’t have to worry about. Finally, there are a few things that aren’t very effective. If your battery is really super low, you can try these, but their effect on battery life is pretty negligible. The first one is turning off equalization for iTunes on your iOS device. This feature changes the bass, midrange and highs of your music to create better sound depending on the genre. You can find equalization under Settings > Music > EQ. We also sometimes hear people suggest unplugging your devices when you’re not using them in order to save power. Mac desktops and notebooks do draw some power when they’re on and idling, but when shut down they draw less than half a...

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Making iPhoto Books — Mac Tip October 3rd 2013

Mac Tip: Making iPhoto Books ———————————————————— Last week we held one of our iPhoto seminars and had a nice big turnout! Thanks to everyone who made it out and asked such great questions. One thing we didn’t get a chance to cover in much detail however was Photo Books, one of the most unique features of iPhoto, so today we’re going to do a little overview of Photo Books and how they work. iPhoto was created to be the digital hub for all your photos. You import shots from your camera or iOS device and then use iPhoto to organize, edit, and share them. iPhoto makes it easy to use these digital photos by emailing them to our friends or family or by posting them online. However, sometimes you just can’t beat the physical product. iPhoto offers several products that you can build in iPhoto and then custom order to have them delivered: books, calendars, postcards, and prints among them. These products make great gifts and keepsakes that last for years to come — and better yet, they’re incredibly easy to make. Almost all the work can be done by dragging and dropping, letting you build a professional-grade photo book in minutes. To start, you’ll want to get together the material you’ll need for your book. It’s easiest to build an album with your best photos and then use that album to create the book. This way, iPhoto will automatically fill the book with your chosen pictures, and you can move them around, change the shots or add more if you need to. Once you have your album full of hand-picked, nicely edited shots, go down to the bottom right of your screen and click on the Create button. Here you can choose the type of product you’d like to make. You can choose a size, binding, theme, and background colour here. If you started with a finished album, you can see a preview of your shots as you try out the different options. Click the blue Create button on the bottom right to continue. Now you’ll see a page with your whole book laid out. You can reorganize pages by clicking and dragging. To change a specific page, double click on that page. Then you can click on the Photos button on the bottom right to choose from the available photos. Simply click and drag any photo into any of the frames to place it there; you can then click and hold to reposition it within the frame, zoom in and out, or apply basic effects like sepia. If you’d like to reorganize the frames on a certain page, you can click on the Layout button next to the Photos button. This lets you choose a new layout based on the number of photos you’d like per page. You can also tweak the background colours here. When that’s all done, click the Buy Book button on the bottom right. Here you can place your order, specify the quantity you’d like, and get information about the shipping cost and total price. Additional book pages cost extra, as do extra copies, of course. If you’re not quite finished with your book, and you’d like to come back to it later, note that iPhoto saves your book as an option on...

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Using Find My iPhone — Mac Tip September 26th 2013

Mac Tip: Using Find My iPhone ———————————————————— From time to time a customer comes in with a sad story about one of their Apple devices being stolen. In the past there wasn’t much more we could do about this other than collect their device’s serial number and keep our eyes peeled. Thankfully, these days many Apple devices are equipped with the means to locate them through the internet. Locating your device remotely is done through the Find My iPhone/Mac app, whether online or on your iOS device. The key is that you must have iCloud setup and Find My iPhone/Mac enabled before you lose it. Today we’ll be going over how to set it up and how to use it. We’ve covered Apple IDs as well as other features of iCloud in previous Mac Tips. If you need help setting up your Apple ID, check the Apple website, or drop by the store and we can help you out. Otherwise, read on! The setting for Find My iPhone is found under, appropriately, the Settings menu. On your iOS device, launch the Settings app, then go to iCloud and make sure the slider for Find My iPhone is set to On. You can do the same thing on your Mac by going to System Preferences, then iCloud, and then enabling Find My Mac. Having these settings on allows you to track the location of your devices when they connect to the internet. It’s not a perfect solution, of course, as you won’t be able to track the device when it’s off, but for iPhones with their cellular connection it’s a pretty reliable tool. A friend, or in the worst case, a thief, is still pretty likely to turn the device on at some point and allow the machine to connect to the internet through a remembered or public network. By using the unique IP Addresses of the wifi routers near your device, Apple triangulates its position and reports it to you one of two ways. The most common way to access Find My iPhone/Mac is through the web. If you go to iCloud.com, you can click on the Find My iPhone button to see a map with the location of your devices (if on). You can switch between the possible devices by clicking the All Devices button at the top of your screen. You can use this from any computer; you simply have to sign in online with your iCloud Apple ID. If you’ve unfortunately misplaced your laptop but still have your iPhone, iPod, or iPad, you can download the Find My iPhone app from the App Store. This app lets you choose from a list of your registered devices and shows their locations, just like the iCloud website. Once you’ve located your device, there are a few things you can do with it. The first and simplest tool is to make the device play a sound. This is useful if your iPhone is set to silent, or if you’re using a device without a phone number, like a MacBook, iPad or iPod touch. If you’ve lost your device between the couch cushions or forgotten where you put it down, the Play A Sound feature is really handy. Next, you can lock the device or, for iPhones, put it into...

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