Wednesday, March 27, 2013

What If You Want Windows on Your Mac Mini?

Windows on Mac've purchased a Mac Mini (or any Mac for that matter) and you aren't ready to leave Windows behind just yet?  You like your Mac Mini but you miss the familiarity of Windows.  I know how you feel...I've been there.  I promise you have made a great choice by purchasing a Mac.  Once you learn more about it and use it more, the software will make sense and you may begin to prefer it to Windows.  But in the meantime, don't worry, Apple has made it so your transition doesn't have to be so quick.  Let's take a look at your options for having Windows on your Mac Mini.

Virtual Network Computing (VNC)

If you still have a Windows computer in your home, the easiest way to get Windows on your Mac Mini is to remotely connect to your Windows computer.  Normally, you want to have your Mac Mini and your Windows computer on the same network.  There are some options for when they are not on the same network but it's not important here.  For your Windows computer, you need to download, install, and configure the TightVNC Server application.  The Mac Mini has a VNC client built into the operating system.  It's called Screen Sharing.  If you want to connect your Mac Mini to the Windows computer, simply click:

Connect to Server
Then enter "vnc://" followed by the IP address of your Windows Computer.

Now, you are ready to go and you have Windows on your Mac Mini.  The downside is the lack of audio.  If you desire audio, you will want to look at the next two options.

Boot Camp

The next option comes standard on the Mac Mini and it's called Boot Camp.  Boot Camp allows you to create a separate partition on your hard drive to install Windows.  This will give you the option to either boot into Mac OSX or Windows at startup.  Some pros for this installation is you will have audio and there is no lag.  The Mac Mini should perform like a Windows computer.  Some people even claim Windows may run better on a Mac.  There may be some driver issues to work through.  The con for this is you can only run one operating system at a time.  For more details about Boot Camp or for the step by step instructions to install it, go here.

Virtual Machine

The last option (and my preferred method) is to install Windows on a virtual machine (VM).  A virtual machine is just running a virtual computer on your existing computer.  This is good if you want to run multiple operating systems.  Some people also use VM's to test software or to add another layer of security to their computer.  There are a few software options for creating and running virtual machines but the most popular are VMWare Fusion
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and Parallels.
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Both offer you a way to run Windows in a virtual machine.  The positive is that you have a Windows computer on your Mac.  The VM will perform as a normal computer would.  The negative is that you have a Windows computer on your Mac.  This sounds bad but I promise I'm not taking a shot at Windows.  I just mean your Mac Mini's operating system will have to share resources (storage space and memory) with the VM.  You just want to make sure your Mac Mini is up to the challenge.  I recommend at least 4 GB's of RAM and a dual core processor.

So there you have it!  Those are some options to put Windows on a Mac Mini.  You can use VNC, Boot Camp, or install a virtual machine.  Then you can continue to use any Windows software you've already purchased.  This is just a brief summary of your options.  You just have to decide which is the best option for your needs.

Did you find these tips helpful?

Monday, March 18, 2013

iPhone 'Do Not Disturb' Tutorial

Imagine!  You've been up all day just enjoying yourself.  And you've been awake most of the night enjoying yourself.  Now, you're home and you can hear your bed calling your name.  There is nothing you want more at this moment than the feeling of when your head meets the pillow.  Finally, you can rest your eyes.  You are exhausted.   Shortly after you fall asleep, your phone rings.  You try to ignore it but it keeps ringing and disturbing your peaceful slumber.  Isn't that the worst time to get a phone call?  I'm sure you can think of other situations where you don't want anyone to disturb you.

The previous scenario could have been easily avoided by using Apple's 'Do Not Disturb' feature found in iOS 6.  We all have busy lives but when it's time to sleep, we don't want any disturbances unless it's important.  With the 'Do Not Disturb' feature on the iPhones, you don't have to worry about unwanted calls, alerts, and notifications. If this sounds like what you've been looking for, here is how you activate it:

First, you go to "Settings", then "Do Not Disturb".

There you will see the slider button that you can use to turn the feature on.

Next, you can go to "Settings, then "Notifications", then "Do Not Disturb".

In this section, you can make changes to your 'Do Not Disturb' settings such as scheduling the time frame that you don't want to be bothered, determining what calls are allowed, and selecting whether the iPhone should ring if the call is repeated (twice within 3 minutes).

So there you have it.  It's pretty simple.  Since it's getting a late for me, I think it's time to activate the feature and get some sleep.

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Tuesday, March 12, 2013

How to Use Dictation on a Mac

Use Dictation on a Mac

Do you ever get tired of typing?  Do you wish you could get your thoughts on paper just a little bit quicker?  Well, the good news is if you have a Mac, this feature is already built in.  It is called Dictation and the software comes standard in all the new Macs.  Just think. You talk and it writes down everything that you say.  Is technology really that advanced?  I think so.  I will tell you a few details about dictation and hopefully you will give it a try...if you haven't already.

First, let's go over how to use Dictation.  First, you want to make sure it is activated and to find this out, you have to go to:

System Preferences, then Dictation & Speech

From there, you can simply turn on the Dictation feature.  You can also choose a shortcut from the following options:

Press fn (Function) twice
Press right Command key twice
Press left Command key twice
Press either Command key twice

You can choose whichever shortcut works best for you.  You can also change the language here if needed.  Now you're ready to use Dictation anywhere that you would normally type.  All you have to do to activate Dictation is either use your chosen shortcut or you can go to:

Edit, then Start Dictation

It's that easy!  Dictation may have some problems getting all your words correct in the beginning but it should learn and improve over time.  Even so, the problems are usually minor.  You will have to say the punctuation at the end of your statement or question if you want Dictation to add it.  As you get used to Dictation, you can save a lot of time so don't be shy about trying it out.  If you want to take Mac dictation software to the next level, Dragon Dictation software is a great option.  Use your Mac to it's full potential!

For a detailed list of Dictation commands, simply visit this site.

Did you find these tips helpful?

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Online Education Redefined: Learning with iTunes U

Learning with iTunes U

iTunes U: Learning Redefined

I know it's been a while since iTunes U was introduced but I don't think a lot of people realize how great this program is.  I'm sure there are other similar programs but if you're already in (or thinking about joining) the Apple ecosystem, this is a great, FREE program.  I can't stress that enough...FREE!  I strongly believe knowledge is power and iTunes U gives you access to lots of online learning content.  This is a great addition for online education.

Online Learning Content

iTunes U opens the doors to a wealth of knowledge.  I know some people don't like to learn.  Once their finished with school or college, they're done.   Lifetime learning is great!  You can probably tell I'm getting excited while writing this...but I'll try not to get sidetracked.  When you look at how much it normally costs a person to get an education, iTunes U becomes pretty awesome.  Just think about what topics you like or would like to learn more about online.  Then search for it in iTunes U.  Hopefully, you will find courses or lectures that will help you.  When you think of FREE content, you probably think the schools aren't great...but they are.  You can get access to lectures from professors from Stanford, MIT, Yale, and more.  Try it!  I think you will enjoy the online education content.

iTunes U on Devices

The best part of iTunes U is that you can access it on various devices.  If you're on your Mac (or PC), you can open iTunes and access iTunes U.  If you're relaxing on the couch, you can access your iTunes  U files stored on your computer and watch them using your Apple TV.  You can access iTunes U on your iOS device.  Yes!  There is an app for that.  Apple created iTunes U and provided you with a myriad of ways to access the FREE online learning content.

For more information about iTunes U and online learning, you can view Apple's website or contact me.