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#692: Hire a Consultant for the Holidays, Time Your Time Machine Backups, MacBook Won't Charge!

 
     
 

Happy Tuesday,

Every year I seem to forget just how beautiful the woods can be right after snowfall. I woke up Sunday morning to a scant dusting on the ground, but it was warm enough that the clumpy snow stuck to the branches. I knew it wouldn’t last more than an hour or two, so Owen and I donned bright orange vests and headed into the forest for a morning hike. There was a dusting last night and this morning, but it is almost melted already. This cold streak finally has me in the winter spirit.

Did you know that Small Dog will match any donation up to $200 to any of our pet charities like Planned Parenthood, Vermont Food Bank, and Doctors Without Borders? I hope you’ll consider donating through Small Dog to double your donation dollars. Learn more about our Charitable Giving Program here.

As always, thanks for reading and keep in touch.

Matt
matt@smalldog.com

 
   
     
  Hire a Consultant for the Holidays  
   
 

‘Tis the season for gadget giving, but in all the hustle of the holiday season have you thought about how to really get a good start with your new products?

It should come as no surprise that while December is a booming month for retail, January is actually the busiest month in technical support; lots of new gifts to set up and configure. It’s always an awesome feeling to unwrap new machines, iPods and accessories, but getting them set up can be a chore. It doesn’t have to be.

Our Watchdog Consulting department is available for in-store, in-home/office, and remote sessions to help get your new goodies working the way you want them to and help teach you how to get the most out of them.

While you’re always welcome to check our website to learn more about what we have to offer, we’d also like to cordially invite you to our second Meet The Consultants day this Saturday (12/12) in our South Burlington location from 11am-4pm. Feel free to stop in for a free 15-minute consultation and learn more about what we have to offer.

Don’t have time to wait? Schedule your 15-minute session in advance by shooting us an email at consulting@smalldog.com or give us a ring at (802) 496-7171 ×512.

 
   
     
  Tip of the Week: Time Your Time Machine Backups  
   
 

I love me some Time Machine. It’s the easiest way for the average Mac user to reliably back up their computer. Since it’s the easiest backup method, it’s also the most likely method to be used, which is a good thing. Apple writes:

“Time Machine automatically makes incremental backups every hour, every day, copying just the files that have changed since your last backup. And it does this all in the background, so you can continue working while Time Machine is busy copying your files.”

As much as I adore and use Time Machine, there are times when it gets in my way. I frequently import and edit audio and video, which results in large files that take a long time to backup. The standard hourly Time Machine backup is often too frequent.

Fortunately, there is a free app for Mac OS 10.5 and Mac OS 10.6 called TimeMachineEditor, which lets you change the default one-hour backup interval of Time Machine. You can change the interval or create more sophisticated scheduling based on a calendar. I prefer my Mac to simply backup to Time Machine once at the end of the day.

You can click here to download TimeMachineEditor. It’s easy to install and uninstall. If you decide you prefer the standard one-hour Time Machine backup, simply use TimeMachineEditor one last time to turn it off, then drag the application to the trash to uninstall.

 
   
     
  Repair of the Week: MacBook Won't Charge  
   
 

This week’s repair is on a first-generation MacBook that had a very slight amount of water spilled on it. The customer did everything right: he immediately turned off the computer and removed the battery, and left it alone in a warm place for ten days. An attempt to fire up a spilled-on computer generally makes the situation worse, so while it might be tempting to cross your fingers and hope for the best, resist the urge and wait it out.

After 10 days near his wood stove (not too close!), he plugged it in, pressed the power button, and it fired right up. Delighted, he attacked his inbox for a half hour and right after signing into Facebook, the reserve power warning came up. Even after plugging the computer in, the battery would not charge.

This is a fairly common situation and there are several components involved. The flow of power in a MacBook goes from the MagSafe adapter, into the MagSafe-in clip, to the logic board, to the battery transfer board, to the battery. Of course, the easiest thing to do is test the MagSafe adapter itself with a known-good one. If that does not resolve the issue, the next component to test is the battery. If neither of these resolve the issue, it’s time for a visit to your local repair shop.

Knowing that the spill was concentrated in the area around the arrow keys, right above the battery transfer board, the first step was to swap that part out. No luck there. Not having a spare logic board to test, I went to the MagSafe-in board and swapped that with no luck. At that point, I had to order up the logic board for diagnostic purposes, and it did resolve the issue. While I could not find any sign of liquid on the logic board, I did very plainly see liquid damage on the battery transfer board, so the outcome was a bit surprising. In the end, though, the customer elected not to repair the damage due to the very high cost of logic boards. In this case, the best thing to do was simply use the computer while plugged in.

 
   
     
  SELECTED SPECIALS | 12/08/09 - 12/17/09  
   
 

This Holiday Season we have several exclusive coupons. Most run through the season:

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.

 
   3M MPro120 Portable Projector w/ FREE Adaptor Cable for iPhone / iPod touch, iPod - Free Shipping!
359.99
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   Mac Mini 2.26GHz 2GB/160GB/SuperDrive/9400M, FREE HP Wi-Fi All-in-One Printer, FREE Shipping!
849.99
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   MacBook 2.26GHz 2GB, 250GB White Unibody, 3-year AppleCare Plan, Free Sleeve, Free Shipping!
1,189.99
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   Apple TV 160GB, Get a HDMI 10-foot Cable, Digital Audio Cable for just $10 more plus FREE Shipping!
239.99
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   Marware C.E.O. Flip Vue Leather Case for iPhone - Black (3G), Save $10!
19.99
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   Apple Time Capsule 2TB Dualband (2009), Save $35 off original pricing + FREE Shipping!
464.99
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   New Item! Save 20% on the Limited Edition Small Dog Euro Mens' (Large) T-Shirt!
15.49
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   iPod nano 8GB - Green (5G), AppleCare Plan, FREE iPod Case, Free RapCap Microphone!
184.99
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   iPod classic 160GB - Silver (Latest version), AppleCare (Save $15), Free RapCap iPod microphone!
289.99
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   $200 Off Original Pricing + FREE Shipping iMac 24in 2.66GHz 4GB/640GB/SD/9400M!
1,296.99
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