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#691: Move To Mac, Print and Scan in Snow Leopard, QuickBooks Switch, Coupons!


Happy Tuesday,

It’s always nice to meet up with family over a good meal, and I did just that on Thursday. It was a bit much, though, to drive all the way down to Columbia County, NY and back to central Vermont in one day.

I always take the most direct but slowest way, taking route 100 to 7 all the way to Hillsdale, where my grandparents live. The fog was so thick and the sun so bright leaving the Mad River Valley that morning that I stopped in town for a pair of cheap sunglasses, having lost mine a few days earlier. As the day went on, it cleared up beautifully and I enjoyed making headway through a hefty backlog of my favorite podcasts.

There are tons of deals to be had right now at and in our stores, including from the tech rooms. Hard drive upgrades have been especially popular so far this year. Swing by and find out how to squeeze the most from your Mac!

As always, thanks for reading, and keep in touch.


  Move To Mac  

As a Mac technician, I was faced with quite a challenge last week when one of our regular clients finally pulled the trigger and upgraded her office to all new iMacs. The challenge, was that she wanted two of the iMacs to be used primarily as Windows machines. The task was to take two machines running Windows XP and move one to Parallels 5 running XP and one to Parallels 5 running Windows 7.

Now, at this point, I’m pretty darn used to moving data from Windows 98, XP and Vista to the Mac platform; that’s a very standard service that we offer. Migrating XP to XP in Parallels 5 is actually very straight-forward. I was able to run the Parallels Transporter which is quite similar to Apple’s Migration Assistant. It did a beautiful job of moving over all files, preferences and applications from the old XP box to the new iMac and so far it’s been quite a seamless transition for that user from her old PC to her new iMac running Windows.

The big challenge was moving the Windows XP system to Windows 7. I did quite a bit of research prior to the consult and found that Microsoft has no built-in upgrade path from XP to 7. There’s a very clunky “Easy Transfer” app that will transfer settings and purports to transfer files, but I did not find it was up-to-snuff enough to be considered functional. An article from PC World offered quite a jarring statement about the XP-7 transition:

“Frankly, although in-place upgrades are convenient, experts always recommend doing a fresh install when moving to a new operating system in order to ensure the best performance and overall experience. Just think of it like Microsoft did you a favor by forcing you to do it the right way. You’re welcome.”

Really?! “Experts” think that it’s acceptable to tell all end-users to just start from scratch, and we should be “thanking” Microsoft for the honor and privilege of the hours, days, and weeks of stress reinstalling all applications, drivers, plugins, and then manually moving over all data, emails, addresses, calendars, etc. etc. As a Mac user, this line of thinking is just bizarre. Yes, in theory, there’s less of a chance of software corruption when starting from scratch instead of migrating data over. That said, most computer users are not techs and doing a full manual transfer is generally more than the average consumer can handle. Does that mean that any average consumer moving from Windows XP to Windows 7 needs to hire a tech to do the work for them? Is that really a reasonable thing to expect? I don’t believe so.

Oh, but there was one upgrade path! It’s possible to upgrade to Vista, and then upgrade to Windows 7 if you happen to have a machine with hardware that would support that transition and if you feel like buying a license for Vista which was so buggy that most people stayed with XP, hence the current upgrade conundrum. Again, this is unrealistic. A situation like this gives me great appreciation for the current Apple ads; if it’s this hard to move from XP to Windows why not move to a stable user-friendly operating system that offers great support and clear upgrade paths in the future? Move to Mac.

The story does have a somewhat happy ending. I was able to do the full manual transfer from Windows XP to Windows 7. Now, not all of my client’s software was compatible with Windows 7, and her professional Canon printer is not currently supported, but we expected some compatibility issues. Luckily, the printer works swell when printing from the Mac side. At least if one has to run Windows, running it on a Mac is the best of both worlds.

  Print and Scan in Snow Leopard  

Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard brings a multitude of under-the-hood improvements, most of which are invisible to the normal user. However, changes to the Print and Scan architecture will affect users of older printers, scanners, and all-in-one units. Here is some useful information if you are about to make this upgrade.

Apple has bundled printer drivers with recent versions of Mac OS X and has taken things a step further in Snow Leopard, currently including software drivers for multifunction devices from Apple, Brother, Canon, Epson, Fuji-Xerox, Gestentner, HP, Infotec, Lanier, Lexmark, NRG, Ricoh, Samsung, Savin, Tektronix, Xerox, as well as selected drivers for some other manufacturers. Check your device against Apple’s list to see whether it is compatible for printing and/or scanning in Snow Leopard.

Apple’s knowledge base also has an entry called Mac 101 – Printing that details the exactly how to set up your printer.

Apple is also providing driver updates through Apple Software update for devices from Brother, Canon, Epson, HP, and Lexmark (and possibly others in the future). Now instead of getting individual updates for each device from manufacturers’ websites, printer driver updates come directly through Apple’s Software Update mechanism. For other manufacturers, you can keep checking for updates in the first link above, and the respective manufacturer’s website.

A big change in Snow Leopard is the discontinuation of AppleTalk support. AppleTalk, a long-lived protocol for printing and file sharing, saw it’s final iteration in Leopard, and is now completely gone in Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard. If you have a printer that uses AppleTalk, you can try to see if it supports any other methods for printing, such as Bonjour, IP Printing, or generic PCL support. There are some very old printers that support only PCL and AppleTalk, so you can try the generic PCL drivers for those if all other options are unavailable.

In 10.5 and earlier, most scanning was done through custom applications provided by each scanner vendor. Some of that custom scanner software will continue to work on machines upgraded from 10.5 to 10.6, but most scanning devices work under Apple’s own Image Capture application found in the Applications folder. In the short run, some users with slightly older gear will have to wait for newer driver updates to use Image Capture, but anyone with a new scanner or all-in-one unit should be able to use Image Capture right out of the box. Please check the compatibility list to check for your specific unit.

Printers and scanners are often neglected as consumers and businesses upgrade their gear. If you find that your equipment isn’t fully supported in Snow Leopard, this is a great time to upgrade to more modern printers, scanners, and all-in-one units that support modern protocols like Bonjour. While our consulting staff can often coax more support out of older gear, the most cost-effective choice is often to just get new gear that works right out of the box, provides more robust features, networking, power consumption, and reliability.

Give us a call or stop in one of our stores to talk about new gear, or contact Rob Amon in corporate sales if you are interested in bigger office printers, printer leasing, and printer/scanner gear that goes beyond the list on our website.

  Switching: QuickBooks PC to QuickBooks Mac  

A consulting customer recently switched her small business from PC to Mac with QuickBooks 2003 for Windows to QuickBooks 10 for Mac. In the past, this involved quite a few steps for both the export and the import. I read about it, but this was my first QuickBooks transfer, so I checked Intuit’s site for more information and was pleasantly surprised to see a much simpler method.

The first thing I did after arriving on site was to copy her existing company file to a USB thumb drive so we would have a backup before starting anything. Then I downloaded a demo version of QuickBooks 2010 Premier Accounting Edition, ran the installer, and fired up the new version of QuickBooks. At the initial screen I chose to open an existing company file, formatted for QuickBooks 2003 in this case. QuickBooks automatically makes a local backup of that company file, and then upgrades it to the new version. QuickBooks also asked me if I wanted to take advantage of something for interacting with a real accountant, but I declined, and was ready to export.

To export, I went to the File menu, chose Utilities, then Copy Company File for QuickBooks Mac. I saved the resulting file to the USB thumb drive, and then plugged it into the Mac. I installed her new copy of QuickBooks 2010 for Macintosh, which created a QuickBooks Data folder inside her Documents folder. I copied the exported file from the thumb drive to that folder.

Next, I launched the new version of QuickBooks 2010 for Macintosh, where I choose to open an existing company file, picking the company file I had just copied over. QuickBooks automatically converted the file to a full Mac company file, and the client was ready to continue where they left off on the PC.

  Exclusive Coupons From!  

This Holiday Season we have several exclusive coupons. Most run through the season, but for this weekend only we’re offering coupon code softserve10 to give you 10% off all Apple software!

To use any of these coupons, simply add the item of your choice to your shopping cart and then enter the coupon code in the coupon text field. You can also use these coupons on the telephone. Unless otherwise noted, coupons can’t be combined with other offers, but usually can be used multiple times until they expire.

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