Monday, May 27, 2013

Tips for Buying Apple Products

If you are considering buying an Apple product or adding a new Apple product to your collection,  I'm sure you want to make the best decision possible and balance features with cost.  If money is no object, then you can buy the latest and greatest product.  But if you're like me, you want to find the device that does what you need at the best price.  So, today, we will look at things to consider when buying different Apple products and also go over some resources for finding good prices.

Apple TV

Apple TV -- There is not much to say about Apple TV.  It is a small device with a small price tag.  You just want to look at the features before you buy so you can answer the question, "Is the Apple TV worth it?"  Once you've reviewed the features, you will know if it's something you want.


iMac -- Apple recently released a new, thinner model.  If you like the new design, you're not alone!  The only decisions you have to make is screen size and processor speed.  They all have 8 GB's of memory and a 1 TB hard drive.  All the processors are quad core so unless you are a "techie", you probably don't need the top of the line processor.

iPad and iPad Mini

iPad/iPad Mini -- Here you have 2 options.  You can get the full size iPad or you can get the iPad Mini.   The iPad will have higher resolution while the iPad Mini is more compact.  I like the iPad and I didn't think I would like the iPad Mini when it was released.  Most people dispute against the iPad Mini is that there is no new technology in it.  It's just smaller.  But there is something about it.  It's light and feels very like-able in your hands.  That's just my opinion and the best way I could describe it.  If you want either of these devices, go for it.  Just keep in mind, there is a possibility newer models could be and probably will be released later this year.  Then you have to decide if you need it now or if you can wait.


iPhone -- If you wanted the latest device, that's the iPhone 5.  If you can deal with a smaller screen to save money, that's the iPhone 4S.  If price is your largest concern, that's the iPhone 4.  If you don't want a contract, buy the phone outright and look for a prepaid plan.  Crunch the numbers.  You may pay more upfront but save more over the long term.

iPod -- You have a wide variety.  You have the Shuffle, Nano, Touch and Classic.  If you're just a music lover and don't need a display or apps, the Shuffle is for you.  If you prefer to have a display, then you can go with the other three.  If you want apps, then you're down to the Nano and Touch.  Then you just have to decide on the size and price you want.

Macbook Air

Macbook Air/Pro -- The Macbook Air is lightweight and very thin.  It's very portable but some features are missing to allow for the smaller size.  There is no DVD drive or ethernet port; you will have to purchase external accessories if those are a must.  You could use a thumb drive instead of the DVD drive and you could use the wireless connection instead of the ethernet port.  If the DVD drive and/or ethernet port are must-haves, you may prefer the Macbook Pro.  The Macbook Pro will also give you more storage than the Macbook Air.  If you look at those features, then you can choose the best Macbook for you.  If you want the top of the line, that's the Macbook Pro with Retina display.

Mac Mini

Mac Mini -- If you're looking for an entry Mac, the Mac Mini is a great choice!  Of course I like the Mac Mini.  You can use it as a media center computer and install Plex or you can use it as your desktop.  Either way, it will have a small footprint.  You just have to bring your own keyboard, mouse, and display.  This was my first Mac and I still have it...and still use it daily!

You can find most of these products in the Apple Newbies Store so take a look around.

In closing, I just want to say no matter what product or products you choose, with Apple, you will get a quality product.  I just wanted to familiarize you with your options and provide a few tips for buying Apple products.  I hope this information was helpful and you choose wisely.

Did you find these tips helpful?

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Tuesday, May 14, 2013

The Benefits of Using Plex Media Server on Your Mac

Today, let's revisit Plex.  If you own a Mac or an iOS device, you can benefit from using Plex Media Server.  Let's jump right into the benefits.

Macs used to come with Front Row but new Macs no longer come with it.  Front Row was an easy program to use but it was limited.  Plex picked up where Front Row left off.  All of a sudden, Mac users were able to watch various media types all in one place.  I have used VLC player in the past and still do sometimes.  It also provides the capability to play various media types but Plex does more than that.

Plex Media Server allows you to store and organize your media.  For instance, if you have movies on a computer, an external hard drive, and on a NAS (network attached storage) like the Drobo FS, you can consolidate them all with Plex Media Server and they would simply all display as movies.  I think that is a cool feature.  When you want to watch your movie collection, you don't want to worry about where is this movie stored.  You want the simplicity of browsing your movie collection and Plex does that well.  This works for TV shows and music as well.

Plex Media Server also takes meta-data (information about the file) and uses it to go online and find more details about the file.  For instance, with movies, it Plex can pull cover art, plot summary, and more.  This feature can really make Plex pop!  Imagine having a something that looks like this on your big screen!

Then there is MyPlex where you can setup an account and then you can take your media with you anywhere.  Imagine watching your shows or movies from home while you're out using your iPhone or iPad.  You can also use this feature to share with your friends if they are using Plex.  Once you use it, I'm sure you'll tell your friends to use it as well.

You can also use Plex to access online content.  That really opens up your options for what you can watch!

So, if you're now ready to setup Plex Media Server on your Mac, here is an informative video that walks you through the process so you can enjoy the benefits.

Do you currently use Plex Media Server or would you use it in the future?  Why or why not?

If you found this helpful, make sure you leave a comment, share it, "Like" us on Facebook, and follow me on Twitter!

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Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Tips to Extend the iPhone 5's Battery Life

iPhone 5 Battery Life

Now that you have purchased your iPhone 5, you may have some issues with your battery life.  Perhaps it's not lasting long enough or you're just interested in ways to extend the battery life.  The iPhone is essentially a handheld computer.  There is a lot this little computer can do but with all the processing, the battery may run down quicker.

I usually charge my iPhone 5 daily but it doesn't always need it.  My phone could last a day and a half.  If your iPhone is not able to do that, then you may want to check out these video tutorials.  They cover a few tips and tricks to improve your battery life.  Some may overlap but I think if you follow both tutorials, it should help your battery life.

In the past (like a few days ago), I used to recommend that people close the apps they are not using in the multitask bar of their iPhones.  I thought I had read somewhere that it improved battery life.  After researching it, I guess it was a misconception.

Here are a couple more tips that may help extend your iPhone 5's battery life:

Upgrade to the latest software -- When there is a new update for your iPhone, there could be tweaks to improve battery life as well.  You should also upgrade to the latest versions of your apps because the newer versions may offer battery improvements too.

Full cycle recharge -- You should complete a full cycle recharge at least once a month.  This is when you charge your battery to 100% and then run it completely down.

By using the tips above and the tips in the videos below, you should be able to extend your iPhone 5's battery life.  That will give you more time to enjoy it!

Did you find these tips helpful?

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