INSTAGRAM contest!

Are you on instagram?
Show Simply Macintosh and Humboldt County some love between now and December 31 by tagging us (#simplymacintosh) in your #iPhone #iPad #iPod #humboldt #arcataplaza, #cuppow, etc., etc. pictures on instagram!
After December 31 we will be selecting our two favorites to win Olloclip iPhone camera filters.
We want to see your BEST local photography on instagram!
And while you’re at it, follow us! We will have more contests that you could be a part of!

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Tips for Safe Trick or Treating

Jack-O-Lantern-pumpkin
Halloween is tomorrow – are you ready? Simply Macintosh will be handing out candy to our Plaza trick or treaters from 4pm – 6pm. We can’t wait to see all of the creative costumes this year!
Are you going out for more trick-or-treating fun after the Plaza festivities? Here are some tips for a safe and fun Halloween –
• Swords, Knives, and other costume accessories should be short and flexible to avoid injury
• Avoid Trick-or-Treating alone. Walk in groups or with a trusted adult.
• Fasten reflective tape to costumes and be careful to avoid all-black costumes that would make you difficult for drivers to see.
• Hold a flashlight while Trick-or-Treating and make sure to stay on the sidewalk or other path. Avoid running across the street from house to house.
• Wear well-fitting masks, costumes, and shoes to avoid blocked vision, trips, and falls.
• Don’t enter stranger’s homes and don’t accept home-made treats from strangers.

• Most important – HAVE FUN!

To Vault Or Not To Vault?

FileVault, a standard feature on the Mac OS, can be a user’s best friend or worst enemy. Using a security utility that’s built into your Mac’s operating system and can be turned on with a simple click may seem like a no-brainer, but ultimately FileVault is much more complicated than that. It’s worth noting that if before you run a program a warning popup asks “Are you really really really sure you want to do this?” you should be sure– absolutely positive– that you understand exactly what the consequences could be before you click “yes.” Are you actually really really really sure?

FileVault is an encryption program that takes your entire user folder and scrambles it into a sparse image, which is like a virtual hard disk that requires a password or recovery key in order to unscramble it and make it readable again, offering complete protection against data theft. Using a typical user login password on your laptop or desktop without encryption will only protect your data from being seen by someone sitting in front of your computer, whereas someone truly dedicated to gaining access to your information could easily remove your computer’s hard disk and view it on another computer, bypassing any password you’ve set up. A hard disk encrypted by FileVault is completely useless to someone looking to steal your data, as the information becomes 100% unreadable without your password or recovery key. It’s important to note that unless your computer is turned off or locked FileVault is useless; many of us often leave our computers on and unlocked so we can quickly and easily access them, but quick and easy access for the user also means quick and easy access for someone looking to steal data as well.

FileVault does allow for a guest user login on your computer, but this login has access to Safari only. It’s perfect for letting a friend or co-worker use your Mac to look something up or bang out a quick email, but that’s all it will be capable of. If your computer is stolen or lost and anyone does try to use this guest login you’ll be able to remotely lock the computer and send a message saying the device is stolen.

To enable FileVault you’ll need to set up a password, and then Apple will provide you with a randomly generated recovery key– a combination of 24 letters and numbers which would be your last chance at gaining access to your data after losing or forgetting your password, hence the popup warning asking if you’re really really really sure you want to encrypt with Filevault. You want to make sure this recovery key is never EVER lost, which is made a bit easier by Apple offering the option of storing it for you in case you do ever need it retrieved. If both the password and recovery key are lost– or if your operating system fails– ALL data is lost. Forever. Recovery becomes impossible, and everything that you were trying to protect in the first place is gone; FileVault is so secure that there is no technician anywhere that would ever be able to unencrypt your disk to retrieve your data.

The decision to use FileVault ultimately comes down to what type of information is stored on your computer and how you need to utilize that info. The iron-clad protection FileVault offers is often a necessity for a user that has sensitive client or patient data stored, especially on a laptop that could be easily stolen. There are some downsides to this type of protection, though; it means your information becomes unmovable and that you won’t be able to access it from your other devices. For someone who may need quick access to files and emails on-the-go from different devices this could be a trade-off that isn’t worth it; for the casual Mac user who doesn’t have large amounts of info that needs to be kept locked up it almost certainly isn’t worth it.

Look at it this way: would you use a combination safe at home if the only things you planned to put in it were family photo albums? Since it’s unlikely that anyone is ever going to attempt to steal your family photos, by locking them up you’ve taken the risk that you could forget the combination (or that the lock could break and the combination becomes useless) and never again have access to something that’s incredibly valuable to you but was never of importance to anyone else. Is it worth it?

There are other options to keep your data secure that may be better suited to the type of user you are; if a more limited form of security is what you’re looking for you could choose to protect only certain files and folders with encryption and keep the ability to move them to another computer or device, rather than locking up every single piece of information on your computer and rendering it unmovable. Cloud services are also a fantastic way to securely manage your private information and keep maintain portability and quick access, and with Find My Mac you’re also able to easily remotely lock or “wipe” your laptop if it’s lost or stolen.

An additional risk of using encryption like FileVault is the possibility of data corruption; that is, even with the correct password your information could possibly stay scrambled and thus be rendered permanently unreadable and unusable. This is rare and unlikely to happen, but it’s an important reason to back up all your files. Or more accurately it’s ANOTHER reason to back up all your files, because you’re already doing that, right? RIGHT?

The bottom line is that a system as secure and easy to enable as FileVault is a godsend for users who require the highest level of security; lawyers, healthcare professionals, and accountants, for example. For most of us, though, it’s security overkill in which the risk of accidental misuse outweighs any benefit. Would you want to be “that guy” who installs a high tech security system in his home and then accidentally locks himself out? Or forgets to turn it on and leaves the front door wide open? No? I certainly don’t blame you, because I wouldn’t want to be that guy, either.

Mavericks OS X: 200 New Features!

The new Mavericks OS X upgrade released last week may not “feel” very different from the previous OS but it packs some great new streamlined features to enhance even the casual user’s Mac experience. According to Apple this upgrade contains two hundred new features (!) and while we can’t delve into all of them we’ll discuss some of the best changes that users have been most excited about.

This upgrade, unlike any in the past, is being offered FREE for anyone running Snow Leopard or newer. To do a clean install you’ll need a blank USB drive with 8GB; don’t waste a larger drive because it won’t be necessary. Once installed Mavericks OS X will automatically alert you if any of your apps are incompatible, so you’re able to manually upgrade anything that’s necessary.

Following in the footsteps of the recent iOS7 update, your calendar will abandon it’s fake leather look for a much more modern and streamlined appearance. You’ll notice some new features like event notifications with quick links to maps and directions, and even travel time and weather forecasts. Your events can be set to alert you to when you should be leaving to travel to them, not only when they’re beginning. Your Notes will also forego the old lined yellow paper tear-offs and is now just a plain off-white page that can be synced to all of your iOS devices.

A great new addition to your apps in Mavericks OS X is iBooks; finally, you’re able to view and sync all your iBooks with your iOS devices. You won’t see the illusion of pages turning as in the iOS versions of iBooks, and instead you’ll be doing simple scrolling left and right to move to the next “page.” iBooks has always surpassed the Kindle app in it’s user-friendliness, quick access to the store, and interface, so Mac users frustrated with not being able to access their iBooks libraries should be quite happy with this new addition.

Improvements to Maps integration mean that you can send directions from Mac to iPhone for instant voice navigation. Bookmarks and recent searches are also pushed to your iOS devices so locations you’ve recently looked up are viewable while on the road.

In Safari you’ll notice faster performance and a brilliant new shared links sidebar that will display recent links posted by people you follow on Twitter and Linkd In, and you can quickly click to view the link and then re-Tweet without leaving the tab you’re working in. A power-saver feature will stop running plug-ins on any tabs you aren’t using, and AppNaps will automatically pause any apps not being actively used. Another power-saving feature in Mavericks OS X is a menu under your power icon showing any open apps or programs that are hogging power, and these apps can be shut down from this menu. Any idle apps are now stored in compressed memory so they don’t use up as much RAM.

For enhanced management of your security you’ll be getting the new iCloud Keychain system, a password manager complete with a secure password generator (hint: you shouldn’t be using the same simple password for every application and program you log in to!). iCloud Keychain lets you store Safari website user names, passwords, Wi-Fi passwords and even your credit card information in the cloud, making it possible to access all this information from any Apple device.

Wherever you’re working in Mavericks OS X, you’ll now have a simple iMessages pop-up in which you can ignore or reply to any iMessages without actually having to open the app. You’re able to use any TV connected to Apple TV as an external monitor, which will please Mac users frustrated with the glitchy and difficult to use multiple-monitor approach in the previous OS.

We’ve really only scratched the surface here of everything that Mavericks OS X has to offer, but the bottom line is that there’s no reason to not upgrade– today. You’ll be getting the benefit of faster performance and enhanced apps that are simpler and more easily integrated with your other devices, and running the brand new state-of-the-art Mavericks will mean that you’re running the best OS in the world. Who could say no to that?

If you have any questions about Mavericks OS X, make an appointment with Simply MacIntosh for help properly installing or utilizing anything you’re unclear about.

Happy upgrading!

How is technology changing our experiences? Further reading on the effects of the “digital now”

We get to see the positive impact technology has on our customer’s lives on a regular basis. One example is a customer who bought his elderly mother an iPad so that he could FaceTime with her when she tells him she isn’t feeling well. This way, he can see if what she’s telling him is more or less serious than reality. This has given both of them a great deal of peace of mind!

TED Blog

How long have you been staring at a screen? Chances are this is not the beginning of your day on your mobile device or computer — and it’s very unlikely to be the end of it. You reading this blog post is only a moment in your digital day, nestled among Facebook updates, Twitter posts, Tumblr reblogs, YouTube videos and, of course, more articles. [ted_talkteaser id=1856]You and I are operating in what today’s speaker Abha Dawesar calls the “digital now,” a stream of time that is parallel to the present, but also in competition with it.

It’s becoming increasingly harder to pay full attention to the present, says Dawesar, a novelist. In this poetic talk, she looks at the dangers of our time- and space- warping technologies and what exactly happens when we blur the lines between the past, present and future.

“Technology has altered our flow of time…

View original post 710 more words

Apple News, Part Two: Mac Pro and Macbook Retina!

We’ve already discussed Apple’s new iPad models that were unveiled on Tuesday, so let’s jump into their new offerings for desktop and laptop users!

So…the new Mac Pro = WHOA. It’s pretty incredible, and is consistent with Apple’s trademark “smaller, faster, stronger, BETTER” approach with new devices. It’s sleek new design consists of a shiny black cylinder that takes up only 12% of the space that the previous generation’s boxy tower did, and has such a slick and modern look that it’s hardly recognizable when you compare it to what you’re used to seeing. Check it out:

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Gizmodo has dubbed the new Mac Pro “the ultimate work station,” and who’s not looking for THAT?! They also call it “a beast of a machine,” but don’t worry– the new Mac Pro won’t eat your face, it just has the power and speed to make it a computing beast. With between four and twelve cores and up to 12GB of DRAM, it’s 256GB “solid state” drive is what actually makes it TEN TIMES faster than a typical hard drive. (If you’re confused about solid state drives– they use non-volatile NAND flash memory, which just means there are no moving parts. Because there’s no actuator arm and read/write head that’s trying to seek out data on a hard disk drive, the solid state drive is lightning quick in reading and writing data.)

The new Mac Pro has Fire Pro graphics supporting 4K of video output, and comes standard with the new Mac OS X 10.9. It has four USB ports, six thunderbolt ports, and two ethernet ports of 1GB each. You’ll see it soon, as it will be shipping sometime in December.

For laptop users Apple has unveiled what they say is the best Macbook they’ve ever had. Weighing in at 3.46lbs it’s lighter and slimmer than the previous models, and it brings battery life up from seven hours to nine– an impressive jump for a machine that Apple says has a 90% faster performance than it’s predecessors.

The 13in MacBook Pro Retina features a dual-core 2.4ghz i5 “Haswell” chip, 4GB of RAM and a 128GB solid state drive, and stunning Iris graphics. The 15in model features a top of the line i7 “Cystalwell” chip, 8GB of RAM and a whopping 512GB solid state drive, which means that for around the same cost as the previous 15in MacBook Pro you’re DOUBLING your storage. This model also has integrated Iris Pro graphics, but can be combined with Nvidia Geforce 750M graphics augmented by 2G of video memory for ultimate performance.

Check in with Simply Macintosh soon to see these fabulous new products and decide which one is best for you!

WELCOME!

Greetings, readers!

Simply Macintosh is an Apple Specialist in Arcata, California. Owner Simeon Tauber has been an Apple consultant for nearly 20 years. The store’s staff of two technicians and four sales people are not only proficient in the use and repair of Macs, but also they love what they do– and the most important thing they do is provide superb customer service.

Arcata is a small town, and Simply Macintosh takes pride in providing the personal service that represents the best of what small towns offer. We give each customer and each computer the attention that friends and neighbors deserve, whether they are just starting out with their first computer or operating the latest equipment to produce music or motion pictures, and we stand behind the quality of our work largely because our customers ARE our friends and neighbors.

At the same time, we stay abreast of the latest trends in technological advancement. We carry the most current products because we understand that we are part of the 21st century and citizens of small towns need to be able to operate in the same world that includes big cities and multi-national corporations.

In short, at Simply Macintosh, we operate in a quickly changing industry but do it with the small town values that has us call Arcata home.

Simply Macintosh is absolutely thrilled to introduce you to our newest endeavor– a blog designed to meet the needs of the Apple user of any kind, now and into the future. Here we’ll be featuring current news about products, updates, and announcements, as well as highlighting important user info that’s often easy to overlook when it isn’t provided in an easily accessible and accurate way.

We’ll be introducing you to the best new apps designed for your devices, from productivity to gaming to child-friendly games and educational programs, with thorough reviews. We’re excited to announce that in the future you can look forward to easy one-click purchasing here that will go directly through the App Store. You can trust that Simply Macintosh wants to see you take advantage of the absolute best that Apple has to offer you, because any computer or device is only as good as the apps and programs available to and utilized by the user.

You’ll be able to ask questions and see them answered here in an easy to understand format that other readers can take also learn from and advantage of; you’ll be able to book service and purchasing appointments through a direct one-click portal that will be available here soon.

We’re eager to bring you information about common user issues, concerns, and questions and will be updating this blog regularly with new information we have to share with you. Confused about whether FileVault is really as basic as it seems? We’ll be delving into that soon. Looking for up-to-date info about parental controls? Interested in what the new iCloud Keychain feature could mean for you? Stay tuned, as those will also be addressed here in the near future.

You can look forward to contests and giveaways designed to reward our Simply Macintosh shoppers for helping us stay abreast of what our readers need and want. We strive to give our readers everything they need and more; we want to answer their questions before they even know they have them, and we want to put Macintosh information out there in a way that’s friendly, informative, and up to date.

Right now is an incredibly exciting time in computing and information sharing; changes and advances are being made in huge leaps and bounds, and we invite you to share in that excitement with us. Apple has been the leading innovator in this new age of user-friendly devices and products for a long time now, and their innovations only get bigger and better as time goes on. We want to make sure you’re a part of that; Simply Macintosh is dedicated to ensuring that you’re right there at the forefront of all of Apple’s new products and developments, and that you have information available at your fingertips on how to best use them to suit your needs.

Without further adieu, Welcome to Simply Macintosh’s blog! We invite you to give us your thoughts, questions, ideas, concerns, and anything else on your mind, and we look forward to growing with you through this amazing new way to interact with our customers. We’ll see you soon!

-Simply Macintosh