Tag Archives: Apple

Everything you need to know about Mountain Lion

Now that Mountain Lion has been released, we have put together a short list of the most talked about new features you should know about.

There are over 200 new features in Mountain Lion. If you want to see the whole list, head over to Apple’s site and check it out. Check out all the new features in OS X Mountain Lion.

If you have an iPhone, iPod touch or iPad these first few features will be familiar to you.

Reminders

Allows you to set up a list of things to remember. You can set due dates and get alerts when they are due, or set a location from your Mac and get a reminder on your iPhone or iPad when you get there.

Notes

Take notes of anything you want. You can now add photos, images and attachments. Share notes through Mail or Messages or pin your notes to your desktop for easy access.

Messages

Send messages from your Mac to anyone with an iPhone, iPad or iPod touch. You can also continue your conversation from your own iOS devices. You can also send photos, videos, documents and contacts.

Notification Center

Like the notification center on your iOS devices you can easily get updates when you get an email or message, a software update is available or a calendar alert. Pull it up when you want to see what has changed and then it will disappear so it isn’t cluttering your screen.

iCloud

With the new features from iOS added to Mountain Lion, iCloud will know keep all your devices synced. Set up a Reminder, create a Note, send a Message or see what is new in Notification Center. iCloud will make sure it is the same on everything.

Dictation

Talk anywhere you can type and Dictation coverts your words into text. The more you use it the better it is.

Facebook

Built-in Facebook support so you can share what you are doing right from the app you are in. It will also add Facebook friends to your Contacts and update information when it is updated on Facebook.

Twitter

As with Facebook, Twitter is integrated into Mountain Lion. Tweet links and photos directly from Safari, iPhoto, or Photo Booth.

AirPlay

The feature that I am most excited about. AirPlay Mirroring will allow you to display what is on your Mac to your HDTV. All you need is an AppleTV. Pick up your AppleTV at the Sandy or Logan store and start sharing your photos and videos.

Game Center

Sign in with your Game Center account and see all the game you’ve played and get new ones. Check leader boards and see how you rank. You can also start multiplayer games with your friends.

Gatekeeper

Gatekeeper helps protect you from malicious software. With Gatekeeper enabled, you can install apps from identified developers and it is the best way to make sure the apps are safe.

Now that you know you want Mountain Lion, check and make sure your computer can take it.

You need OS 10.6.8 or newer to purchase it through the App Store.

You will also need 2GB or more of RAM. You can check how much RAM you have by going under the Apple menu and selecting About this Mac. If you have less than 2GB of RAM come in and get upgraded.

To see if your computer can install Mountain Lion go under the Apple menu in the top left corner of the screen. Click on About this Mac. If you have Snow Leopard click the More Info…. button. If you have Lion click the More Info… button and then the System Report button. In the Hardware Overview window you will see a system identifier. The Model Identifier is your computer model.

Your Mac must be one of the following models:

iMac7,1 (Mid 2007 or newer)
MacBook5,1 (Late 2008 Aluminum, or Early 2009 or newer)
MacBook Pro3,1 (Mid/Late 2007 or newer)
MacBook Air2,1 (Late 2008 or newer)
Mac mini3,1 (Early 2009 or newer)
Mac Pro3,1 (Early 2008 or newer)
Xserve3,1 (Early 2009)

How to print from your iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch

With the explosion of iPads, iPhones, and iPod touches, we often get asked, “How do I print from my iPad?” Granted, we don’t print as often as we used to. E-mail and PDF have made printing more rare, but occasionally we still need – or want – to have a hard copy.

AirPrint is Apple’s solution for printing from any iOS device. It’s an elegant solution. There is no software to download, no drivers to install, and no cables to connect. With just a few taps, you can go from viewing something on the screen to holding a printed copy.

To use AirPrint, you need to have one of the following, and you need to have your iOS up to date.
iPad (all models)
iPhone (3GS or later)
iPod touch (3rd generation or later)

You’ll also need a printer that supports AirPrint. Many new wireless printers now support AirPrint. You can see if your printer supports AirPrint here.

Now you’re ready to go. When you are viewing something that you want to print, tap the action icon, select your printer, and tap Print. Pretty easy, huh?

Here’s an online setup guide for AirPrint if you need help setting it up.

If your printer doesn’t support AirPrint, we sell AirPrint printers starting at just $79.

There is also a way you can make your existing printer support AirPrint. There are a couple of software programs that install on your Mac and use your Mac as a print server. So when you tap Print on your iPad, the print job goes to your Mac, and then to your printer. One is called AirPrint Activator. It’s free, but not incredibly reliable in our tests. We like Printopia. It’s 20 bucks, but it is a very polished piece of software that has easy setup and some cool features.

Data backup, more important than you think.

Why do we need to backup our files?
We love how reliable our Macs are, but we feel terrible when someone brings their computer in for service and their hard drive has worn out, they don’t have a backup, and they have lost their documents, photos, or other important files.

Why do drives wear out? Hard drives are mechanical devices, with moving parts. Even though these days they are very reliable, they will wear out just like any other mechanical device. They spin at 5000-7000 rotations every minute, and we work them hard, so we can see why it’s usually not a matter of if, but a matter of when, our drive will eventually stop working. We are moving towards more reliable forms of storage (flash memory in the MacBook Air or iPad, SSD drives in the MacBook Pro or iMac), but most of us will still be using hard drives for years to come.

Sometimes your hard drive is working fine. but someone just accidentally deleted an important file or our laptop was lost or stolen. Either way, we always want to have our important information in two places–then we have a backup for when something goes wrong.

So what do we do? We can backup stuff onsite and offsite.

Onsite backups will protect against a failed or damaged hard drive. They are quick and easy to recover from.

Time Machine is the easiest way to automatically backup your computer. The first time you use it your whole computer is backed up. After that anything that has been changed is backed up every hour. Time Machine is easy to set up, recover from and is very much worth using. You can get an Apple Time Capsule to set up a wireless backup over your network or get a external hard drive. Then follow Apple’s simple set up guide to get started.

For Time Machine backups, all you need is a external hard drive. You can pick one up at Expercom for about $100. We have drives from 500GB to 3TB, portable and desktop varieties.

Offsite backups will protect against flood, fire or other natural disasters. They are also good in case of thefts where someone takes your computer and backup hard drive.

There are numerous offsite backup options available. A couple of the most common are Mozy and Carbonite. These are both online services that will automatically back up your files.

Mozy offers home, small business and enterprise backup options. The home option starts at $5.99 per month, and you can try it for free. You can get the small business option starting at $9.99 per month per computer, with small reductions for yearly plans, or you can choose the enterprise option with IT controls and customize it to fit your company’s needs. You might need to call or email them to get a price quote for this one.

Carbonite gives you two options, home & home office and small business. The home & home office backup plan starts at $59 per year, and the small business plans start at $229 per year. Both options offer a free trial.

LaCie CloudBox is an external hard drive that also offers an online backup service through their website. Anything saved to the external hard drive is also saved online.

These are just a few of the choices available out there. If you find one you like that you think others might be interested in, let us know and spread the word!

How to manage a bunch of iOS Devices

Okay, your school, church, or business has just bought a bunch of iPads. How do you manage all these devices? That’s a common question that we get asked here at Expercom. In the old days, we would have to connect each iPad one at a time to a computer, sync over the settings we wanted through iTunes, and then move on to the next iOS device. Thats a real pain when we are dealing with 10, 20, or 30 iPads or iPods.

Now we have a great App called Apple Configurator. It’s a free App from the Mac App Store that lets us manage a bunch of iOS devices.

 

Apple Configurator is perfect for the classroom or student lab where devices need to bequickly refreshed and kept up to date with the correct settings, approved policies, apps and data. Apple Configurator can also be used to personalize devices with data and documents for specific users. There are even some home users that have a bunch of iPads, iPhones, and iPod touches in the house that are using Apple Configurator to manage all of the iOS devices.

There are basically three ways this App lets you manage devices:

Prepare devices
• Configure up to 30 devices at a time
• Update devices to the latest version of iOS
• Create and restore a backup of settings and app data from one device to other devices
• Import apps into Apple Configurator and sync them to new devices*
• Use the built-in editor to create and install iOS configuration profiles
• Enroll devices with your Mobile Device Management solution for remote management

Supervise devices
• Automatically apply common configurations to supervised devices
• Quickly reapply a configuration to a device and remove the previous user’s data
• Import apps into Apple Configurator and sync them to supervised devices*
• Define and apply common or sequential names to all devices
• Restrict supervised devices from syncing with other computers

Assign devices
• Add users and groups
• Check out a device to a user and restore the user’s settings and data on that device
• Check in a device from a user and and back up the data for later use, possibly on a different device
• Apply custom text, wallpaper, or the user’s picture to a device’s Lock screen
• Import and export documents between your Mac and Apple Configurator
• Sync documents between assigned devices and Apple Configurator

* Installing paid apps from the App Store requires redemption codes from the Volume Purchase Program for Education or Business.

 

You can read more about the features of Apple Configurator here.

Price:
FREE, in the Mac App Store.

15 Years and counting! A walk down memory lane, plus a chance to win a 13-inch MacBook Pro

Expercom opened for business in May of 1997. It has been a great 15 years supporting the Apple community. It’s also a little crazy thinking of how much Apple has changed in those last 15 years.

In 1997, we were selling beige Power Macs, Performas, and even some Quadras. How many of you have even heard of a Quadra? Steve Jobs had just returned to Apple as an advisor, and wasn’t put in as interim CEO until later that year. How have things changed?

1997 2012
Apple revenue $7.08 Billion $108 Billion
Desktop Power Mac G3 iMac
Processor 233MHz G3 Quad 3.4GHz i7
Memory 32MB 4 to 32GB
Storage 4GB 1000GB+
Mac OS 8.0 10.7
Screen 640 x 480 CRT 2560 x 1400 LED
Laptop PowerBook 2400c 13-inch MacBook Air
Processor 180MHz PPC 603e Dual-core 1.8GHz
Memory 16MB 4GB
Storage 1.3GB 256GB
Screen 800 x 600 Active Matrix 1440 x 900 LED
Mobile Device Newton 2100 iPad (3rd Gen)
Processor 162MHz RISC 1GHz A5x Dual Core
Memory 4MB 16/32/64GB
OS Newton 2.1 iOS 5.1
Screen 480×320 grayscale 2048×1536 Retina Display

In 1997 we had never even seen an iMac (came out in 1998), an iPod (2001), Mac OS X (also 2001), an iPhone (2007), or an iPad (2010) before. My, how things have changed in 15 years. Can we imagine life without some or all of those devices?

Here at ExperCom, we have thoroughly enjoyed serving our loyal customers over the past 15 years, and we look forward to serving you for many, many years to come. Some of you have been with us for almost that long, and we appreciate every one of our customers; whether you bought something from us 15 years ago or your first Apple product today. We would not be here if it weren’t for you and we want you to know that 1) we recognize that fact and 2) we appreciate you very much.

To celebrate our anniversary, we are giving one lucky friend of Expercom a free new 13-inch MacBook Pro, worth $1199. Please enter on our facebook page by May 31st. Tell your friends. We hope YOU win!

Flashback malware: How can I keep my Mac secure?

We have had several customers ask us about the Flashback malware that has been getting a lot of publicity lately. One thing that we love about our Macs is how secure they are, especially when compared to Windows, Android, or other OSes out there. But with the increased popularity of Macs, we’ll probably see more attempts to go after Mac users.

We don’t want to take a casual attitude towards any security issue, and we are glad that Apple doesn’t either. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • We have not seen any customers that actually have been infected with Flashback (as of this writing). So although there is a lot of publicity, we hope that the actual problem is not as large as the press is making it out to be.
  • Apple patched this particular security issue in Java a while ago. So if you keep your Mac OS up to date, that is the best way to stay secure. If you haven’t run software update recently, do it!

Am I at risk?
Probably not, but if you would like to check and see if your Mac has the Flashback malware on it, you can download a free utility on github from programmer Juan Leon. This utility will check for the Flashback, but not remove it. If you have Flashback on your Mac, you can find some instructions at F-secure to remove it, or you can bring it in to one of our retail stores and we can help you out.

Beyond Flashback, what else can I do to keep my Mac secure?
The most important, and an easy step, is to make sure that Software Update is running regularly (you can check in your Apple Menu, System Preferences, under Software Update). We would recommend letting it check once a week. When it finds an update, make sure and install it.

You can get some security software for your Mac. Many ISPs (like Comcast) will provide you with security software, or here are a few good programs you can download:
Sophos Anti-Virus for Mac Home Edition (Free)
Virus Barrier Express (Free)

Also, this issue was caused by a vulnerable version of Java. Java has seen other security issues in the past. If you don’t need Java anymore, you can disable it. The Java Preferences utility is in /Applications/Utilities; uncheck the boxes next to the versions listed in the General tab. Some programs still need Java, so be careful with this step.

Gatekeeper
We are looking forward to Mac OS X Mountain Lion, coming out this summer. Mountain Lion will include Gatekeeper, which will make Mac OS X, the most secure OS in the world, even more secure. Read more about Gatekeeper and what it will mean for security on the Mac here.

Update (4/11/12)

Apple has a new knowledge base article about Flashback, and it looks like they will provide a tool to remove it soon.

For now, security company Kaspersky Lab has a free removal tool that is easier to use than the instructions provided above.

Update (4/12/12)

Apple has a new item in Software Update that not only patches the Flashback vulnerability but also deletes all known variants. More information can be found by clicking here.

In short, make sure you run your software updates!

App Review – Dinner Spinner

Do you ever find yourself stumped when trying to decide what to cook for dinner? That is almost every day for me! To solve this problem, I went searching for recipes on Apple’s App Store. I found a sweet free app for the iPhone or iPod touch called Allrecipes.com Dinner Spinner. When you don’t know what to make, or don’t have a clue what to even buy at the grocery store, give this App a shake and it will give you a list of ideas.

The other morning, I was lying in bed with my iPhone, searching through the Allrecipes.com app to find something to prepare for dinner. I knew that I wouldn’t be home from working at Expercom until dinner time, so I was looking for something that would be quick to prepare once I got home. I customized the search for a “Main Dish” with “Pork” ready in the “Slow Cooker”. I checked out the matches and found a great recipe to make. It was delicious!

Pros:
-Tons of recipes!
-Each recipe includes hundreds of reviews from cooks like you
-Nutritional information available for many recipes
-Option to save recipes to Favorites

Cons:
-Sometimes too many recipes gives too many options
-Have to have an Internet connection to access recipes
-iPhone or iPad screen can get slightly gunky when controlling it with cooking fingers

Upgrades:
If you want more features like customized ingredient searches, ability to change the number of servings, and an automatically updated grocery list, you can upgrade to Allrecipes.com Dinner Spinner Pro for $2.99.

A similar free app, Allrecipes.com Your Kitchen Inspiration, is available for the iPad. Stick that iPad up on your cookbook stand, and bake away! Check out the video below for more.

Happy cooking!

iFrogz Boost Speaker

Sometimes, I’d like to get a little more volume out of my Apple iPhone or iPod touch. iFrogz, a local Utah company, has a unique product you should check out.

It’s called Boost, and it’s a “NearField Audio” speaker. It doesn’t use any wires; there’s no bluetooth or AirPlay to setup or configure. You just put your phone or iPod touch on the speaker, and viola, the Boost amplifies the sound.

This is hard to explain with pictures, so check out this video to see how it works.

Some people think it has a mic in the box to Boost the sound; but no, it uses patent pending NearFA technology to sync the audio from inside your iPhone or iPod before pumping it through the speakers.

You have got to check this out next time you’re in Expercom in Logan or Sandy. It’s way fun. The iFrogz Boost sells for $39; so it’s a great price too. It runs for up to 15 hours of play time on three AA batteries.

Price:   $39

Pros:
- Easy to use
- Decent audio quality for the price
- Fun

Cons:
- You can get better audio quality if you spend more
- Doesn’t work with iPad very well (too big to balance)