August 7th, 2013

OSX_Aug05_BIf you find that you need to reinstall software on your computer, or a number of computers in the office, you will likely need to enter a product code/cd-key or serial number. Many offices don't follow a set practice with regards to storing these keys and this can cause an issue when you are trying to track down what they are. Unless you are a Mac user that is.

Serial numbers, product keys and registration numbers come in a variety of different forms - email, physically on the CD/DVD case, on the product box, etc. The answer in tracking them down is not to try and track them down. What's far easier is to use a key finder instead.

What is a key finder? A key finder is a small app that will search through the files in your computer for product keys and serial numbers. Because these are usually stored as encrypted files, most finders will be able to decrypt the files and then compile the keys into a list which is then presented to the user.

These apps are useful if you can't find a product key for say when you need to reinstall software. However, they could pose a slight security risk, especially if the app is left on your computer. If a hacker gains access to your system and runs the key finder, they will also be able to get hold of the product keys and essentially be able to steal these. This is pretty rare however, as hackers don't normally go after product keys.

An example of a key finder for Mac is Mac Product Key Finder. When you install this app, you will be able to execute a search of your hard drive and the app will present you with a list of programs and their related serial numbers beside the name. Of course, the app won't be able to obtain all serial numbers, especially if the developers have used a strong level of encryption for their security keys. But this will certainly return a fair amount of keys.

Is there a better way? While key finders are useful tools, it is better for companies to be more proactive, especially when using expensive software like the Adobe creative suite. The best solution is to keep both a digital and physical copy of all product keys and serial numbers for your computers and systems.

For the digital version, something like a spreadsheet with the product name, computer it's installed on, the product key and date installed, should be enough. Be sure to include computer serial numbers - they are usually on the case, or under the laptop - and peripheral serial numbers as well. This will also help ensure that they information is easy to find should you need to file a warranty claim.

For the physical version, the easiest thing to do is to simply print out the digital version and keep a copy in a safe place, like a safe. Then, make sure that the spreadsheet is locked and access limited. If you can add a password to access it, all the better. If you are looking for another solution, one where you don't have to keep track of all this information, why not work with an IT partner like us. Contact us today to see how we can help.

Published with permission from Source.

Topic Apple Mac OS
July 10th, 2013

OSX_July08_BApple is widely known to produce devices and software with solid support and usability, in fact, they have built their name on easy to use systems. Their desktop operating system, OS X, is quickly becoming the go-to-choice for the younger generation and even some businesses. In late June, the company announced an exciting new OS X update.

Apple has been rather timely with releasing updates and new versions of OS X, their desktop operating system. You can more or less expect to see a new version coming each year, introducing new features and upgrades to existing ones. Since its release, Apple's desktop operating system has been traditionally named after cats e.g., OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion. Last year, Apple ran out of feline names and so had to move to a new naming convention - places in California.

The 2013/2014 edition of OS X has been recently announced and it bears the name Mavericks, a popular surfing destination south of San Francisco. The new name isn't the only thing the newest update will bring, in fact there are a number of interesting features that users will enjoy. Here are five of them:

Multiple displays While OS X has supported multiple displays for a number of years, using them with the OS has never really felt whole, resembling a stretched out desktop. With Mavericks, secondary monitors will essentially be a different system. There will be a menu bar, dock and desktop background repeated across each display.

If you use two monitors and have gotten used to stretching one program across multiple displays, you will not be able to do this in Mavericks. Then again, being able to have two of the same program windows open on different monitors is more or less the same thing.

You will also be able to easily move windows across screens by pressing the F3 key and dragging them to another monitor. These extra features should help you be more productive, or at the very least, give you better control over your desktop, especially if you are giving a presentation for example.

An updated Finder If you have used OS X, you will be familiar with the Finder, and will also know that it really hasn't changed in incremental updates. The good news, for those who are used to it, is that it will not drastically change with the release of Mavericks. Instead, Mavericks will introduce a number of interesting features that will make Finder even better. The main feature will make your finder windows look more like a Web browser through the use of tabs.

If you press Shift and double click on a folder, it will open in tab in the same window. As with nearly every browser, you will be able to drag and drop tabs to move them around, and hovering over the name will bring up an X which you can click to close it. You will also be able to merge different windows into one through the Finder options. If you close a window with multiple tabs, the tabs will be there the next time you open it.

This will likely be a useful feature for many users who have multiple Finder windows open at the same time, and want a better way to organize their desktop. It also makes switching between Finder windows a whole lot easier, due to the fact that they can be merged into one window.

Better performance The majority of OS X users use laptops, so power consumption and performance are important to them. Mavericks will introduce a number of tweaks that can help squeeze more performance out of your computer without sacrificing battery life. Many Apple apps have been tweaked to use less memory when open, or running in the background. This will increase battery life as well.

Keychain Sync Apple has announced iCloud Keychain which will keep your passwords, accounts, credit cards and Wi-Fi settings consistent across multiple devices. It will be integrated into Safari, and will be able to input passwords, help you develop new ones and store them. Apple has noted that they are using strong security encryption, so your information should be safe.

Calendar updates Many users were less than impressed with the recent Calendar app found in OS X. The faux leather wrapping and general overview made it less than desirable to many. The Calendar app in Mavericks will go back to older versions with the standard grey toolbar. It will also connect with Facebook, deliver weather and location information, and even provide transportation information.

These are just five of the new features that will be introduced with Mavericks. As to when it will be out: We don't officially know, but assume it will be sometime around October or November. Apple has stated it would be out this year, so this fall would be a safe bet.

If you would like to learn more about OS X and how it can fit in with your company, please contact us today.

Published with permission from Source.

Topic Apple Mac OS
June 12th, 2013

OSX_June11_BWhen it comes to computers, there are numerous operating systems (OS) that you can use. While many companies use Microsoft Windows, Apple's OS X has been gaining popularity due to its usability and general stability. The latest version of OS X 10.8 - Mountain Lion has proven to be popular and has recently been updated too.

Below is an overview of the recent OS X 10.8 update and how you can install it.

Update features Here are some of the changes with the update:

  • Improved Wi-Fi compatibility with some enterprise level wireless networks.
  • Microsoft Exchange compatibility with Calendar (iCal) has been improved to make it integration easier.
  • An issue that prevented Facetime calls to non-US numbers has been fixed.
  • iMessages has been updated to fix an issue where messages showed out of order.
  • Safari has been updated to 6.0.5 which has improved overall stability.
  • An issue that prevented some documents from being uploaded to an SMB server has been fixed.
These features are just a few of the updates introduced in 10.8.4 that aim to generally improve the overall functionality of the OS. While it may appear that these updates don't make massive improvements, it is a good idea to download the update as an up-to-date system can generally improve the security of a system while ensuring that your computer is functioning as it should be.

How to install the update There are a couple of ways you can get the update:

Through the App Store

  1. Open the App Store (it's the blue circle icon with the brush, pencil and ruler in your dock).
  2. Wait for the Store to load and press the Updates icon at the top of the window.
  3. Look for the update. It should be located in a tab called Software Update. If you press More it should show you information regarding the update. It should be called: OS X Update Combined 10.8.4.
  4. Click Update and it should be downloaded and applied. You will need to restart your computer.
Manually download it
  1. Go to Apple's Support site's 10.8.4 update page located here.
  2. Press Download. When it has finished, the update should be in your Downloads folder.
  3. Double click on the file and follow the install instructions.
  4. Restart your computer.
If you work with an IT partner we recommend that you contact them before you update your system as there may be other systems you use that won't support the update. If you are unsure about the update and compatibility with your systems, please contact us today to see how we can help.
Published with permission from Source.

Topic Apple Mac OS
May 15th, 2013

OSX_May14_BApple, once written off by many experts, has been making massive inroads in the technology world. The company's name has become associated with products that are easy to use and simply work. One of the more important products is their operating system (OS), OS X. OS X has many features that make it easy to use. One is the Finder, which while easy to use, can be made even better with a few tweaks.

What is the Finder? The Finder is what allows you to see and access everything on your Mac. This is how you access, edit, delete and modify all of your files, folders, applications and drives. You can get to the finder by clicking anywhere on the desktop, or opening any folder. To tell if you are looking at it, look at the top-left of the screen it should say Finder beside the Apple icon. Here are four tips on how to improve OS X's Finder.

1. Show item information If you enable this option, the number of files, or 'items' in a folder will be displayed under the folder's name. For documents and some files, the size will be shown and for pictures, the dimensions, which makes this feature useful if you use graphics on a regular basis. You can enable this function by:

  1. Right clicking on any empty space on the desktop.
  2. Selecting Show View Options from the pop-up box.
  3. Ticking Show item info.

2. Display the Status Bar The Status Bar should be displayed at the bottom of any Finder window. It shows useful information like how many items (files, folders and applications) are in the folder you have open and how much space you have left on the hard drive. If you don't see this bar, you can turn it on by clicking on View from the navigation bar at the top of the screen and selecting Show Status Bar. This can be done from any Finder window, including the desktop.

3. Display the Path Bar A Path specifies the location of a folder or file. For example, if you have a file in the Utilities folder, which is located in Applications, the path would be: Finder - Applications - Utilities. The Path Bar sits just above the Status bar, at the bottom of every Finder window, and is a good way to know exactly where your files are located. You can also double-click on any folder in the Path Bar to be taken to it instantly. You can enable this bar by:

  1. Opening any Finder window and clicking on View from the navigation bar at the top of your screen.
  2. Selecting Show Path Bar. It should pop-up instantly.

4. Always show file extensions File extensions are a three letter code at the end of every file that denote what that file is. For example, a file with .jpeg or .gif is an image, while .mov is a video. Enabling file extensions makes it simple for you to identify the file type, which means no opening a file and waiting for them to load to see what exactly it is.

You can enable file extensions by:

  1. Clicking on any blank space on your desktop to ensure you are on the Finder.
  2. Clicking on Finder in the top-left of your screen.
  3. Selecting Preferences from the drop down menu.
  4. Clicking on Advanced from the menu window that opens and ticking Show all filename extensions.

If you use OS X in your office and are looking to learn more about the features and apps, please contact us today. We would be happy to sit down with you.

Published with permission from Source.

Topic Apple Mac OS
April 18th, 2013

OSX_April18_BThe security of computer systems and the data stored within is paramount in the minds of many business owners. There are some who go out of their way to ensure their systems are secure from outside hackers and network intrusions only to leave their physical systems wide open. It would be a good idea to ensure that you set up some password protection for your computer.

Here are three ways you can make it harder for people to physically access your Mac.

1. Set a password to log in If you have more than one user on your Mac, or would like a bit of added security, it would be a good idea to establish that a password is needed to log in to different user accounts. You can set this up by:

  1. Clicking on the Apple icon at the top-left of your screen.
  2. Selecting System Preferences from the drop-down menu.
  3. Clicking on Security followed by General in the window that opens.
  4. Ticking the box that says Disable automatic login.
  5. Setting the time period from the drop-down box.
You will now need to go back to the System Preferences main screen (press the black back arrow below the red button at the top of the window) and click on Accounts. Look for the account you log in with, click on it and press Change Password...

You may not be able to make changes to both of these windows because they are locked. If this is the case, look for the lock icon in the bottom-left of the window, and press it if it is locked. You should then be able to make changes. When you’re done with the changes, it would be a good idea to click on this lock again to ensure no more changes can be made without entering your password.

2. Set up the need for a password to turn off the screen saver or wake the computer up You can also set up your Mac so that you need to enter your user password to be able to stop the screen saver or wake the computer up. You can do this by:

  1. Clicking on the Apple icon at the top-left of your screen.
  2. Selecting System Preferences from the drop-down menu.
  3. Clicking on Security followed by General in the window that opens.
  4. Ticking the box that says Require password after sleep or screen saver begins.
  5. Setting the time period from the drop-down box.
You can also tick the box that says Log out after XX minutes of inactivity. Set the number, and after that time the computer will log you out. When you next try to access it, you will be taken to the main login screen.

3. Turn off your computer at the end of the day This may sound a little silly, but it is always a good idea to turn your computer off when you go home. This will often deter most criminals, especially if you have an older Mac that takes a while to boot up. If your company works with an IT partner who looks after updates and virus scans, it would be a good idea to talk to them about whether you should turn your computer off or leave it on when you leave the office.

By simply having a password protected system, you can significantly minimize the chance of stolen data, or at least reduce the possibility of prying eyes seeing important files. If you are looking for more ways to ensure the security of your systems, please contact us today to see how we can help.

Published with permission from Source.

Topic Apple Mac OS
March 22nd, 2013

OSX_March20_BThere are many different components that make up the modern computer. One of the more useful is the mouse: imagine having to navigate an operating system (OS) with the keyboard? No thanks. While the mouse is useful, there can be times where the pointer on your screen is either too big or small. If you use Apple's OS X, you can change its size.

Here's how you can adjust the size of your mouse cursor on both OS X 10.7 - Lion - and earlier, and 10.8 - Mountain Lion. If you are unsure of what version of OS X you have, press the Apple icon in the top right-hand corner of the screen and select About This Mac. The version number will be above the Software update button.

OS X 10.7 and earlier Hanging your cursor's size on older versions of OS X is done through the Universal Access panel. You can access this by:
  1. Open System Preferences by clicking on the Apple icon in the top right of the screen and selecting System Preferences.
  2. Click on Universal Access followed by Mouse or Mouse & Trackpad.
  3. Look for the slider bar labeled Cursor Size.

You can slide the blue tab left or right to either increase or decrease the size of the cursor. In OS X 10.6.8 and older, larger cursors will look blocky and pixelated, while 10.7 will show a clean lined pointer.

OS X 10.8 and later Changing the pointer on 10.8, and presumably in new versions to come, has been changed slightly, but the results will be the same as previous versions.
  1. Open System Preferences by clicking on the Apple icon in the top right of the screen and selecting System Preferences.
  2. Click on Accessibility. You can also hit Command + Option + F5 to bring up the Accessibility menu.
  3. Select Display and look for the slider bar labeled Cursor Size.

You can slide the blue tab left of right to increase or decrease the size of the pointer.

The main reason this function exists is to help users who have trouble seeing the pointer. But, this is also convenient for businesses. For example, if you are giving a presentation that will require the audience to keep track of the pointer, you can make it bigger so your audience can see it easier. If you do choose to increase the size of your pointer, beware that if you take a screenshot, the cursor will show as it's normal size.

This is just one of the many features that make OS X a capable system for any business. If you would like to learn more about how it can fit into your business, let us know today.
Published with permission from Source.

Topic Apple Mac OS
February 20th, 2013

OSX_Feb19_BOne of the more common things all business owners and managers need to do is to share files and folders with colleagues and employees. Most will usually just use email, however this does have its limitations. There are numerous other ways to share important information, including utilizing a feature that is built into most operating systems.

If you use Apple's OS X in your company you can share files and folders by using the Public or Shared Folder. This folder can be found by:

  1. Opening any file. In the left-hand side of the window scroll down to Places.
  2. Clicking on the user account you log into your computer with. This is usually your account name with the house icon beside it.
  3. Double-clicking on the Public or Shared Folder.
This folder is set up to share any files that are placed in it with other users on the same computer or network. Depending on the version of OS X you use, you may see a folder labeled Drop Box. This is a folder where you can drop files into for you to see and use, but is not related to Dropbox, the cloud storage program.

How to set up your Shared Folder Regardless of your version of OS X, you should have Shared Folder. You can configure which files and folders you want to share by:

  1. Clicking the Apple icon at the top-left of the screen.
  2. Selecting System Preferences followed by Sharing.
  3. Ticking the box beside File Sharing.
  4. Pressing the + under File Sharing and selecting the folder you would like to share, followed by Add.
You'll notice that when you click on the file you chose to share, you will see a black bar that says: Shared Folder across the top of the folder window.

You will also notice the window labeled Users identifies a number of different users, along with the privilege each has. These permissions, which you can apply, dictate what individual users can do with the shared files or folders. There are four different privileges you can assign:

  • Read & Write - Users can open, edit, copy and delete files in the folder.
  • Read Only - Users can open and copy files out of the folder.
  • Write Only (Drop Box) - Users can copy files into the Drop Box folder but can't see what's in the folder. They can overwrite files if they drag and drop a file with the same name into this folder.
  • No Access - Users cannot see or access any of the files or folders.
Should my company use this? Using the Shared Folder be a good way to share documents with users within the same network. However, there is little to nothing in the system to keep the files secure. If someone connects to your network, and you have allowed Everyone to see Read & Write they will be able to see, edit and possibly delete files.

It is also a good idea to be aware that the Shared Folder is set to share with anyone connected on the same network. This means that if you connect to another network that isn't in the office, the Shared Folder will be accessible to other users on the same network. This can create a bit of a security issue. To negate this, you should turn off file sharing from the System Preferences, Sharing option if you aren't using it, or are away from your main network.

At the very least you should ensure the sharing permissions are set in a way whereby files aren't accidentally shared. If you would like to learn more about other ways to share files with your colleagues, please contact us, we may have a solution for you.

Published with permission from Source.

Topic Apple Mac OS
January 23rd, 2013

When it comes to comparing the different operating systems available, most users argue between the big two: PC and Mac. Both systems offer a different user experience, and have ardent fans. For those switching to a Mac, it can feel a bit daunting at how seemingly different it is. After a few days, however, most users have discovered keyboard shortcuts and never look back. One benefit of these shortcuts is they help make it easier to manage your open programs.

Here's four keyboard shortcuts for OS X that will help make it easier to manage programs where you have multiple windows open e.g., Internet browsers or word processors.

Hide the current program If you are working with two or more different programs, it can be quite distracting. Imagine having your browser with three windows, a word processor, iTunes and Photoshop open all at once. It's a lot of clutter isn't it?

When not using the program, you can hide it by pressing Command + H. Hiding a program won't close it, rather it will just make the windows you have open invisible. This is similar to Minimize on Windows systems. When you click on the program's icon in the system tray (bottom of the screen), your windows will reopen. You can also hide programs by pressing Option (alt on some keyboards) and clicking on the icon at the bottom of the screen.

Hide all other open applications If you need to focus, you're not going to be able to do so with numerous programs and windows open, as it's too distracting. You also don't want to lose the content in these open windows. So why not hide them? Yes, you could click on each one and manually hide it, but this takes time. Instead, go to the program you want to keep open and press Command+Option(alt on some keyboards)+H. This will hide all other open applications and windows. They can be opened again by clicking on the icon at the bottom of the screen.

Cycle between windows in same application Look at your current browser. Chances are high that you have more than one window open and are normally switching between them on a regular basis. It can be time consuming and annoying to have to move your mouse and click on another window. To save time, press Command+` (located above Tab, it's often labeled with ~). This will cycle through open windows within the same program.

Shift to another application If you have hidden other programs, or want to quickly move from one program to another without having to close open ones, you can press Command + Tab. This will move you to the next open program (usually organized alphabetically, with the current open program first). If you keep Command pressed, and hit Tab you will see a window pop-up with open programs. You can press Tab to cycle between programs. You'll notice a box around an icon, and when you let Command go it will switch to that application.

These four shortcuts are just a few that can help make navigation and program management more convenient. If you would like to learn more OS X shortcuts, or about how OS X can make your life easier, please contact us today.

Published with permission from Source.

Topic Apple Mac OS
December 26th, 2012

With the recent release of Mountain Lion, Apple decided to make this a platform that can only be downloaded. This means users can simply download and install the OS. The downside to this is that there is no physical DVD. This means that if something happens to your computer, or if you need to reinstall the OS you can't really do so. To solve this problem you can create a bootable install DVD or USB stick.

A bootable install dish is a DVD or USB drive that contains a copy of the operating system, usually for backup purposes. If your computer crashes you can reinstall the OS by simply putting the DVD or USB into the related drive and following the prompts. This is also useful if you have other Macs in the home or office and don't want to download new versions of the OS on every computer. Note: There seems to be a trend with some Apple products to not have a DVD drive, so it may be a good idea to do this on a USB stick.

Starting from OS X 10.8, Apple has said that any new OS will be available only as a digital download. The way this works is that you download the OS file on each system you want to install it on. Once you download the update and install it the original download file is deleted. If you need to install again you have to re-download the OS again. Therefore, it's a good idea to create a bootable drive.

Before you create a bootable disk you need a few things:

For a bootable DVD

  1. A computer with a DVD burner.
  2. A blank DVD with 4.7GB of storage space.
  3. A downloaded copy of the latest Mac OS (In this case: OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion). You can download this from the Apple Mac Store.
Note: The link is to the US version of the store, if you aren't in the US, you will need to go to your country's Apple Store.

For a bootable USB

  1. A blank USB stick with at least 8GB of space.
Note: The drive needs to have nothing on it, so buying a new one is the preferred method.
  1. A downloaded copy of the latest Mac OS (In this case: OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion). You can download it from the Apple Mac Store.
Note: The link is to the US version of the store, if you aren't in the US, you will need to go to your country's Apple Store.

How to create a bootable install After you have downloaded the OS it's important that you DON'T open it and start installing the update. In other words: You need to create the bootable drive before you install.

Here's how to create your bootable install drive:

  1. Navigate to where you downloaded the OS. It is usually in your Downloads or Applications folder and should be labeled Install OS X Mountain Lion (If you downloaded Mountain Lion).
  2. Right click on the file and select Show Package Contents.
  3. Navigate to Contents followed by Shared Support. You should see a file called InstallESD.dmg.
  4. Open the Applications folder and select the Utilities folder. Open the Disk Utility app.
  5. Drag the InstallESD.dmg file into the empty space of the white box in the right-hand side of the Disk Utility app.
  6. Insert the blank DVD or USB device. If you are using a USB device, it must be blank and formatted as Mac OS Extended (Journaled). It should show up in the list of drives located above the white box in Disk Utilities.
  7. Drag the USB or DVD icon into the Destination bar in the central part of the window. Note: The Source bar should read: InstallESD.dmg.
  8. Click Restore - located in the bottom of the central part of the Disk Utility - if you are using a USB drive. Click Burn if you are using a DVD.
It will take a few minutes to burn or copy the files to the DVD or USB. When this is finished you should have a bootable install drive. You now have a few options.
  • If you would like to do a 'fresh install' - delete everything on your system - you can put the disk in the drive, turn off your computer, turn it on again and hold the Option key to open the installer. Be warned though, this will delete everything on your Mac's hard drive.
  • If you would like to upgrade, but keep all of your settings and files, you can open the installer from the disk, and follow the instructions.
Creating a bootable install drive is a good idea and should be a part of any company's backup and disaster recovery plans. If you have any questions about the process, or would like to learn more, please contact us.
Published with permission from Source.

Topic Apple Mac OS
November 28th, 2012

One of the more popular debates in recent history is the one over which operating system is the best. Windows is typically seen to be utilitarian and often used by the workforce, while OS X is seen to be more hip, and easier to use. With new versions of both systems released this year, we've seen the systems seeming to cross each other, and to many businesses, OS X is looking to be the OS they want to use.

If you're still on the fence about OS X, here are five advantages of 10.8.

  • Centralized notifications - Windows 8 uses tiles and while they look great, they take up a lot of room and can make you miss important notifications. With OS X, all your notifications are in one place - the Notification Center. With Notification Center you can customize what apps will show notifications and even the order of importance. Need to get some work done? Quickly and simply turn off all notifications. When you're done, turn these back on, and all notifications will pop up.
  • AirPlay mirroring - Do you give lots of presentations? If so then you no doubt carry a laptop around with a whole mess of cords. OS X has a feature called AirPlay mirroring which allows you to beam your display on to any HDMI TV, that's connected to an Apple TV unit. This could be useful if you're planning to go to an all Mac environment. No messing with cables, just bring the laptop, press a button and away you go.
  • iCloud for easy sync - If you use any of Apple's other devices, you can sync information and files across all Apple devices using iCloud. This is a great feature as you won't have to worry about which device has what file. If it's on iCloud, it can be accessed by any Apple device that is compatible with iCloud - pretty much any modern Apple product.
  • Don't type it, speak it - If you have your hands full, and need to take notes, or even draft a letter you can use your voice. In any place you can type, hitting the Function key twice will bring up the Speak to Type option. From there, speak and the words will show up, normally with correct punctuation.
  • Integrated Messaging - One of the more popular categories of apps on smartphones are those related to chat. iMessages for the iPhone is great, you can send texts for free to any user. It's not great when you are at work and your phone keeps buzzing, annoying colleagues. Messages is an app for OS X that takes all the popular chat programs like iMessages, Google Talk, Yahoo!, etc. and combines them into one app. The cool thing about this is that you can text people on their iPhones, and vice-versa. This makes chatting more convenient.
These are just a few of the great features Mountain Lion offers that users will find make the OS a completely different, and arguably better, experience over Windows. If you're interested in switching over to Apple, please let us know, we may have a solution for you.
Published with permission from Source.

Topic Apple Mac OS