Simply Mac Blog
Apr 201409

Top Macs to replace that old Windows XP machine

by Shane Roberts

The news of Windows XP support being discontinued by Microsoft, may have some Windows XP users looking at options for a new replacement computer. If you are one of those users, and have been eyeballing switching to a Mac, here are some great options to consider.

If you are looking for a replacement laptop….

13″ MacBook Air ($1099)

MacBook Air - available at simply mac

Thin, lightweight, fast and exceptional battery life are all adjectives that you can use to describe the MacBook Air.

One of the first things you’d notice with the MacBook Air is that it is incredibly light at just under three pounds. It is also very thin at less than an inch thick making portability not an issue with this machine. Assuming you’re replacing a XP laptop, that probably has some years on it, the weight and size will be welcome.

The MacBook Air is also running the latest solid state hard drives and Intel processors, making this laptop very fast. Boot up and shut down times are seconds, and the ability to retrieve files and documents are almost instantaneous. Also, running a solid state hard drive makes the computer virtually silent. Outside of the fans, there are no moving parts. The downside to running a solid state hard drive? The hard drives are smaller in capacity. This version of the MacBook Air has a 128GB hard drive. There are bigger options available.

Another great feature of this MacBook Air is the battery life. The 13″ model boasts up to a 12 hour battery life! Essentially an all day battery, that allows you to use your computer on likely only one charge.

One thing that is different with this machine, is that it does not have an internal disk drive. Many people are aware of this, but some XP switchers may not be. External options are available if needed, but fortunately almost everything is available digitally on the Mac App Store and iTunes.

The MacBook Air is a great machine, but don’t take our words for it, take Dan Ackerman’s of CNET.com -

“If you’re still running Windows XP, then Windows Vista, Windows 7, and Windows 8 didn’t sufficiently tempt you to upgrade. That might mean you’re looking to jump ship entirely, and there’s no better way to do that than with a 13-inch MacBook Air, which I consider to be the single most universally useful laptop ever made.CNET’s Review

The MacBook Air is available in both 11″ and 13″ options, with various build options to fit your needs.

To see more about the MacBook Air, click here.

13″ MacBook Pro ($1199)

The regular MacBook Pro fits more your traditional laptop role. It still has a disk drive, for those of you out there that need/want one built into their machine. It also has a traditional spinning hard drive, instead of the faster but smaller solid state drives. That means the MacBook Pro comes with a 500GB hard drive.

Basically, what you gain with this laptop is a bigger hard drive, and a disk drive. What you lose is some speed, battery life (about four hours of total battery in the regular MacBook Pro), as well as the MacBook Pro is heavier and bulkier than the MacBook Air. 

To see the MacBook Pro options more in-depth, click here.

If you are replacing a desktop…

Mac mini ($599)

MacMini_PFOH_SCREEN

So you’re in the market for a new desktop, but maybe you like your mouse, keyboard and monitor. If that’s the case with you, the Mac mini is a great option to consider, plus it’s less than $1000!

A computer that many people probably would not recognize as a computer, is more than meets the eye. Built with very similar specs as the MacBook line, this machine could easily suffice as a family computer, without taking up much space.

The Mac mini comes equipped with an Intel Core i5 processor, 500GB hard drive, 4 GB of RAM and all of the traditional bells and whistles that you’d expect from a Mac. It will work with virtually any keyboard, mouse and monitor. There may be some rare exceptions otherwise.

If you’d like to see all the features and options with the Mac mini, click here.

Mac mini - available at simply mac

iMac ($1299)

iMac - now available at simply mac

If you are looking to start completely fresh, then maybe the iMac is the option to consider. Everything is built into a 21.5″ display, making the iMac a stunner. It comes with a wireless keyboard and mouse, giving you virtually everything you’ll need out of the box.

The 21.5″ iMac comes loaded with the latest from Intel, a 1 TB hard drive and 8 GB of RAM, giving this all-in-one computer great performance. Possibly the best thing about the iMac, is the fact that you only have to plug one cable into the computer, the power cable.

The iMac is truly a computer you have to see, with it’s thin design and great display. If you’d like to learn more details, and see additional iMac options, click here!

Apr 201408

Adobe Releases Lightroom Mobile for iPad

by Shane Roberts

LightroomMobile

Before I get very in-depth with this new app from Adobe, I want to make it clear up front that, while this app is free to download, it requires a Creative Cloud subscription from Adobe. With that said, I’m guessing the people more likely to use this app, likely already have a CC subscription.

More and more photographers are taking their iPads with them on the go for their photo shoots or presentations. It’s just easier to pack around and use an iPad on the go. To make taking an iPad an even more viable option for photographers, Adobe has released Lightroom Mobile.

LightroomMobile2

If you use Lightroom on your computer, this app will sync back-and-forth between the app on your iPad and your computer.

LightroomMobile3

Here is the app summary directly from iTunes:

Edit and organize images anywhere, anytime on your iPad. Enhance everything from smartphone photos to raw images from DLSRs using powerful and familiar tools. Automatically sync all your mobile edits with Lightroom 5 on your desktop. Easily share all your photos to social media sites. With Adobe Lightroom mobile, your photography is going places.

Edit 
• Edit raw files from DSLR cameras using Smart Previews 
• Edit images from your iPad camera roll 
• Enhance images using familiar Lightroom tools and presets 

Organize 
• Import photos from your iPad camera roll 
• Quickly Flag and Reject photos 

Sync and Share
• Automatically syncs photo edits, metadata, and collection info with Lightroom 5 on your desktop and all your Lightroom-enabled devices
• Easily share photos online via social networks

LightroomMobile4

While the iPad is not yet ready to take over for a laptop full time, for many people out there, an app like this inches it closer to accomplishing that.

If you are a photographer, or just like to mess around with pictures, and have an Adobe Creative Cloud subscription, check out Lightroom Mobile. Click here to see it and download!

Apr 201407

Microsoft is ending support for Windows XP, time to make the switch to Mac!

by Shane Roberts

windowsxp

It’s been a long 13 years, but Microsoft is finally ending support for Windows XP on April 8th. Due to the unpopular releases of Windows Vista and Windows 8, Microsoft has pushed the date to end support back a couple times.

What does these really mean to those who still use Windows XP? According to Microsoft’s website, “End of support refers to the date when Microsoft no longer provides automatic fixes, updates, or online technical assistance. This is the time to make sure you have the latest available update or service pack installed. Without Microsoft support, you will no longer receive security updates that can help protect your PC from harmful viruses, spyware, and other malicious software that can steal your personal information.”

Basically, even if Windows XP is still running great for you, it will be a little bit of a run at your own risk type of thing. Especially as time goes on and XP goes without any patches or updates. Here is an interesting excerpt from a Business Week article:

This is a surprisingly big deal, says Jaime Blasco, head of the vulnerability research team at security company AlienVault. “Tons of Windows XP zero-day attacks are in the wild, and once Windows XP ends support, it means those vulnerabilities won’t be patched by Microsoft and users will be exposed,” he says. Click here to see the whole article. 

Mavericks-OSX_PRINT That means for a lot of people, when it’s time to get a new computer, they’ll have to decide which route should they take? Should they stick to the status quo and go with Microsoft and Windows 8? Or is it time to make the switch and go to a Mac?

A lot of people have been holding out to switch to Mac because of the learning curve, once you see Windows 8, if you haven’t already, you’ll understand that regardless of which way you decide to go there will be a learning curve. Fortunately, we offer some great one-on-one class options to help with the learning curve to Mac.

Really the big reason to make the switch, other than ease of use and all of the other benefits, is the security. While they are not invulnerable, a Mac has a ton of built in security features. Here are some of them, in Apple’s own words.

Gatekeeper makes it safer to download apps by protecting you from inadvertently installing malicious software on your Mac. The safest place to download apps for your Mac is the Mac App Store. Apple reviews each app before it’s accepted by the store, and if there’s ever a problem with an app, Apple can quickly remove it from the store. When you download software from any other place on the Internet, Gatekeeper makes that safer, too. Developers can get a unique Developer ID from Apple and use it to digitally sign their apps. The Developer ID allows Gatekeeper to block apps created by malware developers and to verify that apps haven’t been tampered with. If an app was developed by an unknown developer — one with no Developer ID — Gatekeeper can keep your Mac safe by blocking the app from being installed.

Gatekeeper gives you three security options. You can download and install apps from anywhere on the web. Or you can choose the safest option and download and install apps only from the Mac App Store. Or use the default option, which allows you to download apps from the Mac App Store as well as those signed with a Developer ID. If an app is unsigned, Gatekeeper blocks the app from being installed and warns you that it did not come from an identified developer. If you’re sure the app is safe, you can manually override Gatekeeper by Control-clicking the app and choosing to open it.

The App Sandbox in OS X helps ensure that apps do only what they’re intended to do. App sandboxing isolates apps from the critical system components of your Mac, your data, and your other apps. Even if an app is compromised by malicious software, sandboxing automatically blocks it to keep your computer and your information safe. OS X Mavericks delivers even better sandboxing protection in Safari by sandboxing the built-in PDF viewer and plug-ins such as Adobe Flash Player, Silverlight, QuickTime, and Oracle Java. And OS X Mavericks sandboxes apps like the Mac App Store, Messages, Calendar, Contacts, Dictionary, Font Book, Photo Booth, Quick Look Previews, Notes, Reminders, Game Center, Mail, and FaceTime.

Innocent-looking files downloaded over the Internet may contain dangerous malware in disguise. That’s why files you download using Safari, Mail, and Messages are screened to determine if they contain applications. If they do, OS X alerts you, then warns you the first time you open one. You decide whether to open the application or cancel the attempt. And if a file contains software identified as malicious, OS X offers to move it to the Trash.

That’s just a sample of what a new Mac can do for you Windows users, on the security side of things.  If you’d like to see some of the cool and fun things a Mac can do, as well as iPad, iPhone, or iPod, come into your local Simply Mac. We’d love to give you a demonstration of the worlds best computer!

Apr 201404

App Spotlight: Find My Friends

by Shane Roberts

Find My Friends - simply mac

It can be a pain to meet up with a friend or family member somewhere, because either directions are confusing or you’re not sure how close someone is for planning purposes. Here is the perfect app, from Apple, that can solve that problem!

Using the same principles as Find My iPhone, Find My Friends allows you to see where your friends are on a map and also notify you, or them, about arrivals and departures.

I can already here the concerns of “Wait, people can track me and see where I am?” The great thing about this app is that it is all permission based. When you invite someone, it can be temporary with a cut off date and time. So if you are on a family outing or vacation, you can set the location sharing to end for everyone that is in the invite at an exact time. Once that time ends, permission will need to be granted again to initiate location sharing through the app. If you don’t make it temporary and you want to cut off sharing, you can easily do that as well. So no need to worry about your friends or family knowing your location, at all times, without your permission.

Find My Friends - simply mac

Once sharing is setup, like in the image above, you can see images of your friends locations on a map. It will give you the distance they are from you currently, and how long ago that was updated.

FindMyFriends2

If you select an individual you are sharing locations with, you can have the option to turn on Notifications. Basically, you can setup the app to notify either you, or your friend, of the others arrival or departure at a certain location. You can also set a geofence around the location you want, to spark the notification to happen when they are closer to that location, or farther away. For example: your car is being worked on and you’re waiting for a ride. You can share locations with your ride, so they can see where they need to go and can receive directions to get there. Plus, you can setup a notification when they arrive at the shop, so you know you can step outside and meet up! It can work vice-versa as well. Your ride, within the Find My Friends app, can have it notify you of their arrival, or even when they leave their home!

FindMyFriends4

Find yourself in a big shopping center, or a beach trying to stay coordinated with your friends or family? Use Find My Friends to find your group, if you get separated, and you can avoid the awkward direction giving from person-to-person. No longer will you have the “hey I’m by the restrooms on the left…. No not that one, the other one,” type of conversations.

It’s a very handy app, available for both iPhone and iPad, and it’s free. Head here to check it out! 

Apr 201403

WWDC is coming

by Shane Roberts

WWDC 2014

Image courtesy of Developer.Apple.Com

Every June, Apple holds an event in San Francisco where they invite app developers to preview upcoming updates to their software and hardware product lines, so they can start developing their applications for any upcoming updates. Apple teaches them how to use their various development tools in various workshops over a few days.

Today, Apple announced that this years WWDC (World Wide Developers Conference) is going to take place June 2-6. So if you are a developer, and want learn first hand how to develop your apps for iOS and Mac OS, click here to see more info. 

What has been announced at the past couple WWDC events? Last year iOS 7 and Mac OS Mavericks were both announced. The year prior, iOS 6 and Mountain Lion. As you can see from the last two years alone, WWDC is a great event to attend and pay attention to, especially if you would like to develop for the future of iOS and Mac OS!

Apr 201403

Lifeproof Nuud can help save your phone from your kids!

by Shane Roberts

 

Currently $71.99! That’s 20% savings!

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