Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Mac OSX Mavericks and How to Upgrade

Apple's newest version of Mac OSX was recently introduced at WWDC 2013. Although still in the beta stages, now is the perfect time to take a look at what this upgrade has to offer, how to install it on your Mac, and when it will be available to buy.

The newly named "Mavericks" is the 10th major release of the powerful OSX operating system, and reportedly offers more than 200 new features.  These new design features promise to make your life easier, run your Mac faster, and improve energy efficiency.

OSX Mavericks incorporates new power-saving innovations like Time Coalescing®, a new feature that groups together low-level operations of your Mac, enabling the CPU to run longer in a reduced-power state.  There is also the App Nap®, another new facet of the Mac OSX upgrade that is designed to focus on open applications you are not using. This makes it possible for your Mac to maintain speed and responsiveness by automatically compressing any inactive data when your system approaches memory capacity. Once you need the data again, however, it is available immediately.

In addition to increased battery life, the latest Mac OSX upgrade introduces iCloud Keychain®, a new security feature that provides safe storage of your WI-FI passwords, website login credentials, and yes, even your credit card information.  Your confidential data, while being securely protected by robust AES 256 bit encryption, is automatically shared with your Mac, and all of your approved devices.

There are many other groundbreaking additions to Mavericks, including iBooks®, a feature that provides immediate access to your iBooks library, as well as any new titles in the iBooks Store. Conveniently, iBooks also automatically bookmarks the last page you read.   There is an enhanced multi-display support, and the newly offered Maps, complete with 3D view, interactive Flyover™, and razor-sharp graphics.  The new Safari browser is more powerful, more stable, and offers even more advanced features. If you like the new updates, you can begin planning your upgrade now.

When considering any upgrade, it is important to note that you must always check the system requirements first. Once you understand the specifications, carefully compare them to what you already have, and verify the current OSX version your Mac is running.  This is necessary, because if you missed a previous upgrade, you will need to bring your system current before continuing on to the Mavericks release.

To locate your current OSX, select the apple icon from the top left of your screen, then click on "About This Mac" from the drop down menu to find your version.

Once you have your OSX details, simply visit Apple's website (once Mavericks is available for sale) for specific upgrade instructions.  The process should be similar to past upgrades where you can purchase them through the Mac app store.  I like the fact you only have to purchase one upgrade for multiple computers.  Most importantly, remember to back up all of your data, and be sure you have all of your application CD's before you start.

The preview of Mavericks OSX is available now to all members of the Mac Developer program.  All other Mac users can purchase the new Mavericks Mac OSX upgrade in the Fall of 2013.

What do you think about OSX Mavericks?  Are you ready to upgrade?

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

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Thoughts on Apple Announcements at WWDC 2013

Apple unveiled some products, software, and a new commercial at the 2013 World-Wide Developer's conference.  The commercial reinforced Apple's commitment to making great products which Tim Cook highlighted that during his keynote...which I watched on my Apple TV.

I was curious to see what Apple would unveil.  With the unveilings, there were some features and products that I liked and others I'm still unsure about.

Products announced

Macbook Air
Details:  New Macbook Airs will now stay charged for nine to twelve hours, or a whopping thirty days on standby, depending on the screen size.  Other hardware improvements mean up to 40 percent better graphics handling, and the Air can wake up from standby in about a second.

Thoughts:  I like the Macbook Air but I have never really played with one so I'm not sure what the actual performance would be like.  If you're not a power user and you just surf the web, do word processing, and access your social media, the Macbook Air is probably powerful enough for your needs.  Just make sure it has everything you need to be productive.  Due to the thin size, some hardware components are not standard.

Mac Pro
Details:  Since Steve Jobs untimely death in 2011, all Apple announcements have been met with an increased scrutiny and many have claimed their days of innovation were behind them.  But at the WWDC 2013, the company showed it can still surprise us by unveiling a completely redesigned Mac Pro. Built for power users, it's now a very stylish cylinder shape, allowing for better cooling and increased ergonomics. It's twice as fast as its predecessor, and supports the latest in video resolution technology known as 4K.

Thoughts:  Interesting design.  Almost makes me wish I did more power computing to have a need for it.  Way more power than I need and I'm sure the price will be expensive when it is officially released.  Seems like it will be a great tool for anyone that needs it and I'm sure the Mac Pro users have been waiting for a refresh.  I think they will be happy.

AirPort Extreme and Time Capsule
Details:  AirPort Extreme has been updated to include the latest in WiFi technology, 802.11 ac which supports signals three times as powerful as Wireless N. With more antennas, coverage is increased, and the slightly more costly Time Capsule version integrates backup storage up to 3TB.

Thoughts:  Just imagine have 6 Apple TVs (or Airport Express) stacked on top of each other.  That would give you about the size of the new AirPort Extreme and Time Capsule.  The idea is interesting.  You want to have a small footprint so build it upward.  At the same time that allows you to add more antennas.  I can appreciate adding 802.11 ac for faster speeds but the products aren't needed unless your products currently support 802.11 ac.  Whenever I get enough Apple products with 802.11 ac, then maybe I will consider the AirPort Extreme.  I like the theory of the Time Capsule...automatic backups but I created my own so I don't see the need to purchase one.  If you're a techie, build your own.  If you're not, then the Time Capsule may be a good option.

Software announced

Details:  While the most stunning change is visual—iOS 7 features a complete aesthetic redesign from the bottom up—other improvements include a smarter Siri, better multitasking support, and integration with supported vehicles, allowing you to use your iPhone to control its on-board technology. 

Thoughts:  I still like the old iOS but I know lots of people were ready for a change so Apple could keep up with the competition.  Just looking at images of the iPhone with iOS 7, it does look like a new phone.  I like that you can now have more apps grouped together.  I'm curious to see how much smarter Siri is.  I would use Siri more but when I ask questions or give commands that Siri can't answer or complete, I get frustrated.  

OSX Mavericks
Details:  There was Cheetah, Puma, Jaguar, Panther, Tiger, Leopard, Snow Leopard, Lion, Mountain Lion, and… Sea Lion? At WWDC 2013, Apple broke their trend of naming the operating system after cats and went with a California inspired surfer theme instead, going with the name Mavericks. The latest version of OSX has an emphasis on extending battery life, a fuller integration with iCloud, file tagging for easier searching, and a tabbed version of Finder, just to name a few of the more popular improvements.

Thoughts:  No comment.  I will get it when it's available and then decide what I think of it.

iTunes Radio
Details:  The long anticipated iTunes Radio has finally arrived. With it, users can log in and experience something like Spotify or Pandora, essentially listening to whatever song they want for free. It also has the ability to learn from your behavior and program custom channels so you can sit and listen to music it thinks you'll enjoy.

Thoughts:  I will try it when it's released and decide what I think then.  There are already apps that do this job so I will have to test it to see if anything sets it apart from the others.

iWork for iCloud
Details:  Now there is iWork for iCloud. With this announcement, Apple brings their iWork office suite, which includes the word processor Pages, spreadsheet program Numbers, and presentation software Keynote, to the web.  Work on your documents in your browser.

Thoughts:  I like has features I like and so does Office.  I'm happy that you will be able to work on projects in your web browser.  I'm not sure how much it will cost to use.

Overall, I think Apple did well with their announcements at WWDC 2013.  How do you think Apple did at WWDC 2013?

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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Tips to extend the iPhone 5's battery life

Monday, June 3, 2013

Apple Newbies Tour: Learn More About Apple!

This weekend, I decided to spread the word about Apple Newbies a bit more.  Therefore, I created my first Apple Newbies YouTube video that provides a tour of the Apple Newbies website.

I think the video will be helpful for anyone that wants to learn more about Apple and Apple products.  It shows them what the website offers and how to navigate around the website.

If you already visit Apple Newbies regularly, you probably know your way around the website pretty well.  But just in case you don't, you can also watch the video tour.

During the tour, I cover the website, social media buttons, the Apple Newbies store, Contact, and more.

Unfortunately, there is a new addition (coming soon) that wasn't ready in time for the video.  Stay tuned for that!  I think it will be a good.  I'm excited!

Here is an excerpt from my video description:

Apple Newbies is designed to help new and experienced Apple product users.  If you are interested in learning tips to improve your Apple product experience, this is the website for you.  If you are thinking about buying Apple products, you can get tips and ask questions.  If you have any questions or problems, just enter them in the "Contact" section.  Make sure you share this with your friends and family that have or are considering buying Apple products!

So, please take a little bit of time and review the Apple Newbies YouTube video.  I hope you enjoy it.  If so, be sure to share it with your friends to help me get the word out.

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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?

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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Tips to extend the iPhone 5's battery life

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?

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, April 30, 2013

An Idea to Fix Your Macbook if It's Running Slow

Fix Your Macbook

Okay, so yesterday, I was looking for something new to write about.  I was looking to see if there was a problem  Apple users were facing.  I stumbled across a forum that was talking about Macbooks running slow.  If you are having this problem, I know it can be annoying.  We like things quick!  If we are searching for information, we want it now.  When you're used to working at a certain level and now you can't, that can be aggravating.  Luckily, this forum also had a way to fix your Macbook if it's running slow.

The Explanation

I'm including the explanation first so you can verify your symptoms before using the fix.  If your CPU idle % is low, like significantly below 80%, there is a good chance a process is draining your CPU.  You can verify this using Activity Monitor.  To open Activity Monitor, use one of these options:

Option 1

  • Click Launchpad on the dock
  • Click Other
  • Then select Activity Monitor
  • Select CPU and view the % idle

Option 2

  • On the top toolbar, select Go
  • Then Utilities
  • Then select Activity Monitor
  • Select CPU and view the % idle

The Fix

  • Turn off your Macbook and plug the power cord into a wall outlet.
  • Hold down the left Shift, Control, Option, and Power buttons for 10 seconds.  The Macbook should remain off during this time.
  • Then, release the buttons and power on the Macbook.

This is a simple fix for a problem that could complicate you life.  Hopefully, this tip will remedy your slow Macbook problems so you can get back to being productive.

Did this help fix your Mac issue?

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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Monday, April 22, 2013

How to Setup and Configure Your Apple TV

I'm guessing you have other Apple products if you have decided to purchase an Apple TV.  Or maybe the Apple TV is your gateway device into the Apple ecosystem.  Either way, you have to setup and configure your Apple TV so you can enjoy all that it has to offer.  So, let's get started!


Setup is pretty easy and straightforward.  You will need the following:

  • Your Apple TV
  • HDMI cable
  • Ethernet cable (if you're not using WiFi)

Then you simply connect the Apple TV to power.  You connect the HDMI cable to the Apple TV and the other end to your television.  If you are not using WiFi, then you will need to connect an ethernet cable to your Apple TV and connect the other end to your router or switch.  Now, your Apple TV is setup.  Let's configure it!


First, you will start with the network configuration.

If you are using WiFi, then you will need to know the name of your network and the password.  The Apple TV will walk you through the steps to configure your network connection.

If you are using an ethernet cable, your Apple TV will configure your connection automatically.

Next, you will have to configure your Apple ID so you can make purchases from the iTunes Store.  You also want to make sure Home Sharing is configured so you can access your iTunes content on your computer.

An additional note, make sure you have the latest version of iTunes on your computer that has all your content.  Then, enable Home Sharing on your computer so you can share your content with the Apple TV.

Lastly, if you have subscriptions for the apps (Netflix, Hulu+, and the sports apps), you can configure them when you click on the apps.  These will greatly increase your content...maybe making it possible to get rid of your cable box.

Additional Considerations

If you need to make additional tweaks to your Apple TV, go to Settings.  Here you can adjust your screen saver to show off your cool pictures from your iTunes library.  You have multiple options for how you can display your photos.  You can also make sure AirPlay is enabled so you can play video from your iPhone, iPad, or Macbook on your Apple TV.  You may also mirror your device's screen if your device allows it and you are using the latest Apple TV.

Under Settings, then General, you will see where you can update your Apple TV software if and when needed.

Under Settings, then General, then iTunes Store, you can adjust your location, video resolution, and turn HD Previews on and off.  Most people will want HD Previews on but if your internet connection is not fast enough to support it, you may want to turn off HD Previews.

Now, you are more than prepared to navigate you Apple TV and enjoy all it offers.  The best advice I can offer is to use it often and you will become familiar with it.  Now, you have setup and configured your Apple TV, grab some popcorn and enjoy the show!

Check out Amazon for deals on Apple TV!

Did you find this tutorial helpful?

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

Monday, April 15, 2013

Save Space on iPhone with Media Streaming

If you're like me, you purchased the 16 GB iPhone to save money.  It is a good option to save money but 16 GBs can fill up quickly.  Add your favorite apps, videos, music, and books and you'll see how quickly you can use up 16 GBs of storage.  No one wants to try to update their apps only to find out they don't have enough space.  Luckily, due to technology, it's not too large of an issue.  Let's look at a few ways you can save space on your iPhone with media streaming.

Before we jump into media streaming, if you want to cut space, make sure you remove any apps that you don't use regularly...or at all.  I'm sure we can all find a few that maybe were purchased because they were free and now we have no use for the app.  By only keeping useful apps on your iPhone, you'll cut down on space.

If you have a lot of videos, music, and playlists on your iPhone, you can cut back and use the following apps to increase your content while taking up less storage space:


You are probably already aware of this app.  If not, this is a FREE app that allows you to stream music to your iPhone.  You can create stations based on songs and artists that you like.  If you get bored of a station, you can either switch to another that you like or add another song or artist to your station to refresh your station.  This is a FREE app but because it is FREE, your music will have interruptions for advertisements.  You can opt for the subscription and then you can listen commercial free.

YouTube and Vevo

Just like using them on your home computer, you can use YouTube and Vevo apps for media streaming on your iPhone.  Together they have a huge selection of videos for your enjoyment.  Vevo focuses on music videos while YouTube has a lot of other video options.

Netflix, Hulu+, and Coolstreaming

You can always turn to Netflix and Hulu+ to watch your favorite television shows and movies on your schedule, even when you're away from home.  This will really increase your content while taking up little space on your iPhone.  You will need subscriptions to enjoy Netflix and Hulu+ on your iPhone.  Coolstreaming is a new (and FREE) app to me, but I'm already liking it.  The reviews on it are average (about 3 stars), but I'm currently watching live television using Coolstreaming and AirPlay to display it on my television through my AppleTV.  So, when this app is working as it should, you should be able to watch live television while you're on the go.  

These apps are just the tip of the iceberg.  There are more apps available that will allow you to stream even more content so make sure you browse through the app store.  This is a good start though to show you how you can save space on your iPhone with media streaming.  

Unfortunately, some of these apps may be tough on your battery so make sure you have a charger nearby.  But overall, now you have lots of options for entertainment on your iPhone!

Did you find these tips helpful?

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

Monday, April 8, 2013

How to Use AirPrint with Your iPod, iPad, or iPhone

AirPrint for your iPod, iPad, or iPhone

There is a common misconception about Apple and its products.  Everyone thinks because Apple is proprietary, their devices don't play well with others.  Apple wants you to use all their products because they believe it will give you the best may provide a better experience, but it's not your only option.  I use a Linksys router on my home network and rarely have any issues.  I also use a Western Digital external hard drive for my Time Machine backups.  Once again, it's rare that I have any problems.  Now, that's cleared up so let's look at how to use AirPrint on your iPod, iPad, or iPhone.

I honestly don't use AirPrint much.  I haven't really thought about the feature.  If I'm home and I want to print, I'm usually on my Macbook.  There could be other situations when you may need to use AirPrint.  Someone mentioned printing on iPads today in a casual conversation.  I didn't know all the details off the top of my head.  I knew of it and a few general details.  Enough to let the person know AirPrint should work with different printers.  Once I got home, I did some quick research...literally, in 5 minutes (maybe less), I had printed from my iPad.   So if you need to learn more about this feature, this will be a quick tutorial.

For printers, the main things you have to do is verify that your printer is AirPrint capable and that your iOS device is on the same home network as your printer.  You can find a list of compatible printers here.

Once, you know your printer is AirPrint capable or you have purchased an AirPrint capable printer, you can easily begin printing from your iPhone, iPod, or iPad. You can AirPrint from apps that include the print capability.  To test AirPrint, I used the Notes app.  To initiate AirPrint on your iOS device, just follow these steps:

  1. Inside the app you are using, look for the Sharing icon and select it.
  2. Then select the Print button
  3. Then select your Printer if it's not already selected and press Print.
  4. That's it!  Too easy, right?
Keep in mind, not all apps will have the AirPrint feature.  You may need to try one that you would expect to have the feature (such as the Notes app) just to ensure it works.  Then you can enjoy AirPrint on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod.

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

Monday, April 1, 2013

Are You Having Problems With Your iPhone 5 Home Button?

iPhone 5

Most iPhone 5 owners may have some complaints about the screen size in a world where Apple's competitors are creating larger screens, but I haven't seen too many issues around the iPhone 5's hardware.  Recently, I was introducing Apple Newbies to a fellow iPhone owner and I asked her if she had any issues.  She mentioned that her home button was sticking.  I have never came across this issue with my iPhone so it wasn't something I could fix on the spot.  I asked a few questions for a quick resolution but her answers steered me away from a quick fix.  I told her I would look into it and write a post for her and any other iPhone users having issues with their home button.  I am a man of my word.  I hope she reads this and it helps her (and anyone else with this problem) get back to enjoying her iPhone 5.

First of all, the iPhone 5 should still be under warranty if you purchased it less than a year ago.  You should be able to take it to your nearest Apple Store to have it fixed or to receive a replacement.  Apple proudly displays on their website they have "the highest in customer satisfaction with consumer smartphones".  You can always remind them of that.  Apple's limited warranty on the iPhone 5 covers your iPhone for hardware defects for 1 year from the date you purchased it.  Make sure you read it and are familiar with it...don't forget your receipt.  If your device is under warranty, this is probably the best solution.  You don't want to do anything that could void your warranty.

Next, previous iPhone models had problems with their home buttons as well.  If you own an older iPhone model or your iPhone 5 is no longer covered under warranty, here are some resources to help you:

1.  Watch the video below or read the full article: Four Ways to Fix and Unresponsive iPhone Home Button

2.  Read this if you prefer a Wiki version.

3.  View this article:  iPhone Home Button Not Working or Unresponsive

4.  As a last resort, if you need to open your iPhone, follow this at your own risk.

By the time you are done with all these options, your iPhone home button issues should be resolved.  iPhone owners everywhere should now be able to enjoy their iPhones once again.

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

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.

Monday, February 25, 2013

The Refurbished Mac Mini Story Part 3: The Ending?

Refurbished Mac Mini

The Refurbished Mac Mini Story Part 3: The Ending?

Before you read this, make sure you read the following first:

The Refurbished Mac Mini Story Part 1: The Hardware

The Refurbished Mac Mini Story Part 2: The Software

Now that I had the hardware and software set up the way I wanted, I have used the refurbished Mac Mini for years.  In fact, I'm still using it now.  Since it is a pint sized computer, it was able to grow with my needs.

In the beginning, I only needed it to function as a media center/media player.  I was streaming media from my Windows tower to the Mac Mini.  Later, it replaced the Windows tower altogether when I added an external hard drive.  So today, it does most of the heavy lifting for my computing needs.  I use my Macbook for every day use such as web browsing, checking emails, and creating documents.  Anything beyond that, I turn to the Mac Mini.  I just remotely connect to it from my Macbook and then work with it.

Sadly, the refurbished Mac Mini has been with me for a long time, but there are only so many upgrades you can make.  It has a Solid State Drive and 4 GB of memory (only recognizes 3 GB).  It is fine for normal computing but too much for the tasks I ask of it:  Media center, storage server, iTunes server, watching web based video on big screen, creating virtual networks, and running virtual computers.

I have been looking at the new Mac Minis and their specs seem to be inline with what I require.  As usual, the price is a little more than I would like to spend.  Based on my experience with my Mac Mini, I think I will probably purchase another refurbished Mac Mini in the near future.  I will try to find a role for my current Mac Mini.  Maybe something like this:

Refurbished Mac Mini in Car

In, conclusion, consider buying a refurbished Mac Mini if you are looking for a Mac Mini.  From my experience, it looks brand new, will save you money, and you can upgrade it with your savings.  This is the least expensive, smallest footprint, computer Apple offers.  This is a great computer to learn about Macs.  This little computer is powerful and always ready to work!

The end?

Monday, February 18, 2013

The Refurbished Mac Mini Story Part 2: The Software

The Refurbished Mac Mini Story

The Refurbished Mac Mini Story Part 2: The Software

Before you read this, you should read The Refurbished Mac Mini Story Part 1: The Hardware first!

Now that I had purchased my first Mac, the refurbished Mac Mini and upgraded the RAM, I was so excited!  I connected the Mac Mini to a keyboard, mouse, and monitor for initial setup.  The operating system was different from Windows but not completely different from Linux.  I had played with a few Linux installations in the past.  I had a few growing pains as I used my Mac because I just didn't know where to find some features so I turned to the search engines for guidance.  Soon I was learning more and more about Macs.  And liking it more with everything I learned.

Since I wanted to use the refurbished Mac Mini for a media center computer, I started with Front Row, the media center software that was included in the operating system.  I liked Front Row but there were some features that were lacking for my entertainment desires.  I felt like the Mac Mini was capable of more so once I again, I turned to the search engines until I found OSXBMC (now called Plex).  It was free media center software and I was very excited about it.  I was a little familiar with Xbox Media Center and this was similar but for Macs.  The team behind it was constantly working to improve the software so there were the occasional bugs, but overall, it was great.  For starters, this software played all media formats and it made it easier to organize the media I had.  At the time, I still had a Windows tower for my media storage and I just streamed the media to my Mac Mini.  This allowed me to keep my loud (due to multiple fans) tower out of my living room.  Later, I added an external hard drive to the Mac Mini and retired the Windows tower.  Note:  You should have a backup solution if you do this.  You never know when the external hard drive will fail.  Next, I setup Screen Sharing on  the refurbished Mac Mini.  I used TightVNC on my windows laptop (later replaced by a Macbook) so that I could add the Mac Mini to my entertainment center and control it from my laptop.  Once I purchased my Macbook, this capability was built in so I no longer needed TightVNC.  I also added the Caffeine app to keep my Mac from going into sleep mode.  Now, my refurbished Mac Mini was ready to be my media center computer.

This was fine for a while but I wanted to find more use for my refurbished Mac Mini.  It did the job as media center very well but it was a computer, a Mac at that.  I knew it could do more!  Later, I installed VMWare Fusion so I could test and run other operating systems.  I use Screen Sharing to access the Mac Mini, then operate the virtual machines so everything appears on my Macbook while the Mac Mini is doing the hard work.  Also, recently I cancelled my cable television service.  Using the web browser, I still have access to plenty of television shows using different services such as Project Free TV and Hulu+ (on Apple TV).  It's not always as convenient as cable but it works and I can watch whenever I choose.

If you have or decide to buy a Mac Mini, the software listed above can be helpful.  There are more options depending on how you want to use your Mac Mini.

Continue to The Refurbished Mac Mini Story Part 3: The Ending?

Monday, February 11, 2013

The Refurbished Mac Mini Story Part 1: The Hardware

The Refurbished Mac Mini Story

The Refurbished Mac Mini Story Part 1: The Hardware

Once upon a time, Apple created a Mac Mini around 2007.  It was the entry level model with 1.83 GHz Core 2 Duo processor and 2 GB of RAM.  At this time, this wasn't the best specs but it wasn't bad either.

Well, someone decided to purchase this Mac Mini but for whatever reason, they decided to return the Mac Mini.  I'd like to think it was so they could purchase a more expensive Mac.

Apple accepted the return and inspected the Mac Mini, corrected any issues, and decided it was still in great condition.  They wanted to sell it again but they couldn't sell it as new because it no longer was.  Apple decided to label it "Refurbished" and sell it for a lower price.  The refurbished Mac Mini was now for sell.

Around this time, I was researching Apple computers but I didn't want to  spend a lot of money to get a Mac.  I wasn't completely sold on the idea, thinking all computers are the same.  Around this time my coworkers and I were discussing ways to create media center PC's.  One coworker thought a Unix computer was the way to go while another thought a Windows computer was the best choice.  I wasn't so sure.  I had my eye on an Apple computer running OSX, but I wasn't sure about my software options.

Since I was thinking about a media center computer, I thought most Mac computers were too expensive and large for my purpose.  I wanted a computer that could easily sit in my entertainment center that wasn't  loud and looked like it belonged there.  Searching through the Apple site, I found the Mac Mini and instantly liked how Apple had built a computer in such a clean, compact package.  But even the entry model was a bit more than I was willing to pay, just slightly.  Somehow I found Apple's refurbished computer section.  Unfortunately, they didn't have any refurbished Mac Minis.  I kept revisiting Apple's refurbished section week after week until one day, I saw the refurbished Mac Mini.  

The refurbished Mac Mini was the entry model but was about $100 cheaper than normal.  I had started researching and found a company that specialized in Mac upgrades.  At this time, I could upgrade to 4 GB of RAM for about $100.  I liked that idea so much that I purchased the refurbished Mac Mini saving $100 and then used the savings to purchase the RAM for upgrade.  I purchased my first Mac!

Continue to The Refurbished Mac Mini Story Part 2: The Software!!!!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Is Apple TV Worth It?

Is Apple TV Worth It?

Is Apple TV Worth It?

Every since Apple released the small set top box known as the Apple TV, people have wondered:  Is Apple TV worth it?  Is it worth the purchase?  Does it provide enough content?  Well, if you're one of the ponderers, I hope this article will give you some insight into Apple's little hobby.

What does Apple TV do?

Let's take a look at what Apple TV offers to help answer the question:  Is Apple TV worth it?  First, Apple created the Apple TV so it naturally fits into the Apple ecosystem.  If you are an Apple fan and own many of their products, this decision may be a no brainer for you.  For users not already in the Apple ecosystem, this is what the Apple TV can do.

1.  It works with iTunes so you can stream music, TV shows, and movies you have purchased or rented.

2.  This could be included into #1 but it also allows you to stream podcasts and iTunes U content from your computer.  This is a favorite feature of mine.

3.  Apple TV allows you to stream content from Apple as well.  By highlighting TV Shows or Movies, this device will show you the latest releases in the respective areas.  When you select one of these categories, you can purchase or rent the TV Show or Movie from the Apple TV.  Apple also allows you to rent some movies before they appear or while they are in movie theaters.  It can be a little pricey but it may be worth it to someone that would rather enjoy a new movie at home.

4.  The latest version, Apple TV 3, can display up to 1080p high definition content.

5.  You can watch Movie Trailers on this device.

6.  Sports fans can watch Baseball, Basketball, and Hockey.  I believe you need subscriptions for these.  Without the subscriptions, you may be able to watch game highlights and wrap-ups.

7.  You can view individual pictures, picture slideshows, and also set up your screensaver to be a picture slideshow with multiple display styles.

8.  You can stream radio stations.

9.  You can watch YouTube videos, Netflix, and Hulu+.

10.  Last, but not least, you can use AirPlay.  AirPlay allows you to stream content from iTunes, your Mac, or an iOS device to your Apple TV.  This is where it gets good!  If you have the latest devices, you should be able to mirror the screens of those devices on your Apple TV.  This means you can display apps on your large screen.  I can't promise all apps work.  You would have to test them, but  that largely increases the Apple TV's capabilities.

What doesn't Apple TV do?

So far, what do you think?  Is the Apple TV worth it?  We've looked at what the Apple TV can do.  Next, let's look at what it cannot do.

1.  Apple TV doesn't play various video formats.  You are limited to the MP4 format.  Tip:  Now, if you convert your videos to this format, then you should be able to watch them using your Apple TV.

2.  Apple TV doesn't provide a huge amount of content.  It provides a lot of content but there are other devices that may offer more.

3.  Apple TV doesn't have voice navigation.  Users may feel limited with the remote and it may take longer to type in search items.

Your choice

Now that you've had a chance to see what features the Apple TV offers and what features it does not, you can make an educated decision.  Apple makes great products but they have many competitors.  I think Apple makes the best quality products.  You can normally get an Apple TV for $99, slightly lower if you find a sale.  In the end, the choice is yours.  Only you know if the Apple TV is worth it for you.

Did you find this helpful?

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Apple TV Digital Multimedia Receiver (MD199LL/A)
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You may also like:

Installed a SSD in Macbook and Mac Mini

The Refurbished Mac Mini Story

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Thursday, January 17, 2013

Is the iPad Mini Truly a Mini iPad?

Mini iPad or iPad Mini?

Is the iPad Mini Truly a Mini iPad?

The iPad 

When the iPad was introduced to the masses, it was groundbreaking.  That's just my opinion but I think most people would agree.  This wasn't too long ago.  Remember, this was a time when it seemed like everyone was using Windows operating system.  There were a few people that had ventured off to OSX and Linux.  Netbooks were supposed to be the next big technological advance.  It didn't seem as if they had the processing power or RAM needed of an ultra portable device.  It seemed Apple was either the first to notice this or the first to find a better solution.  All of a sudden, there was the iPad!  It came with a screen large enough to see whatever you preferred clearly and a touch screen capability so you could easily navigate.  Of course, Apple had ventured into the tablet market before but not with the same success of the iPad.  Will the Mini iPad have the same success as its bigger brother?  At the time of the iPad's introduction, Apple was surging.

A New Apple

Apple was a revived company that had introduced their iMac computers with decent success.  Then they introduced the iPod which changed how the world listened to music.  Apple also introduced us to the iPhone.  All of a sudden, we were carrying a small computer in our pockets.  Even though the iPhone had a lot of the capability that most people needed, there seemed to be something missing.  We carried laptop computers because there was no way we were transporting our computer towers and monitors.  All of a sudden, the laptops began seeming too bulky for travel, but the iPhones seemed too small for watching videos and extended travel.  Then came the iPad!

Which came first?

The Mini or the iPad?  We all know the iPad was introduced first.  But do we know if Apple had already tested a Mini iPad?  Maybe the first iPad ever tested was the size of a Mini iPad.  Maybe then Apple decided they needed something with a larger screen.  Of course, this is just speculation.  I don't know Apple's testing process for creating the iPad.  When you think about the first iPad and the features it had, how well does the iPad Mini stack up?  I will agree the iPad Mini does not have the same Retina display and resolution of the current model iPad.  Yet, when I tested the Mini iPad in the store, there was something very familiar and enjoyable about it.  It was so light and maneuverable.

Apple says the iPad Mini is "every inch an iPad".  The next time you're in your local Apple Retail Store, make sure you try out the iPad and the iPad Mini and decide if the iPad Mini is truly a Mini iPad.