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#704: 1st-Gen iMac HD Replacement Video, 27-inch iMacs As Screens, Multiple iTunes Windows, VT Tax Holiday: 3/6/10


Happy Tuesday,

We’re extending the Tech Tails concept and trying out our first live Tech Tails TV show next week on Rebecca and I will be hosting and taking questions via Twitter @ hellosmalldog and email.

Feel free to send in your questions any time between now and next Wednesday. My address is, and Rebecca is Tune your browsers to at 5:00 PM EST next Wednesday to watch live. The show will then be archived to our blog for viewing at any time.

Don’t forget also that this Saturday is a tax holiday in Vermont. We are taking preorders up to the night of the 5th, so by all means, call to avoid potentially long lines in our stores. Everything $2,000 and under is tax-free! Both stores will be open, and the South Burlington store will be open from midnight to midnight.

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


  Video: First Generation iMac Hard Drive Replacement  

For anyone out there who has been itching for a new tech video, today is your lucky day! A few months ago I received a request from two of our Small Dog fans, Michael and his daughter Kolani, to demonstrate replacing the hard drive on an original Intel iMac.

While it seems like Apple barely switched to the Intel processor, it was actually in January of 2006 that the first iMac with an Intel processor was released. That means that just about everyone who purchased an original Intel iMac is now out of warranty; even the intelligent folks who purchased AppleCare. Michael was wondering how difficult it would be to replace the hard drive in his iMac himself.

As with all of my videos, this video is for educational purposes only. To ensure a proper repair, it’s always wise to bring your machine to your local Apple Authorized Service Provider. That said, if you do attempt this repair at home it is wise to keep in mind that if you break something neither Small Dog nor Apple will assume any responsibility for it. So, be careful, use proper tools, and if part of the repair seems beyond your comfort zone, do yourself a favor and leave it to the professionals.

I hope you enjoy these:

First Generation iMac Hard Drive Replacement, Part 1
First Generation iMac Hard Drive Replacement, Part 2

  Newest iMacs Accept Video-in via Mini DisplayPort  

Small Dog provided me a laptop when I was hired years ago, so I gave my older MacBook Pro to my mother who really needed an upgrade. I’ve been without a home computer for a while, so I’m thinking a lot about what I will get when it’s time to purchase a new home computer.

Since I always plan on having a laptop for work, there wouldn’t be much point in me getting another one for home. My other home electronics include a 42” LCD TV with DirecTV, Blu-Ray, and Xbox 360 in the living room. I want a computer that lets me enjoy movies, music, TV, and web browsing in my bedroom.

The 27” iMac looks like the perfect bedroom entertainment system for my needs. Besides the powerful processor, excellent graphics card, and huge display, there is a unique feature of the 27” iMac that makes it the perfect entertainment system: its Mini DisplayPort offers not just video output, but input as well! Apple figures that you might like to use your work laptop with your home iMac, but third party companies have come up with ways to attach other devices, and we carry one such item.

With this adapter, you can hook up any HDMI source to the Mini DisplayPort on the iMac. This would mean I could take my Blu-Ray player or Xbox 360 and plug it into the iMac, and play my entire game or movie collection right in my bedroom! While I would love to see Apple someday include Blu-Ray drives in Macintosh computers, I’m not going to hold my breath.

The other piece to my entertainment puzzle is Plex Media Center, a free piece of software providing easy remote control-driven access to media on my Mac or published on the web, including Netflix, the Colbert Report, the Daily Show, Hulu, YouTube,, and lots more. You can check out and download Plex here. Make sure you have an Apple Remote for best use!

  Tip of the Week: Multiple iTunes Windows  

It’s pretty safe to say that almost all Mac users use iTunes if they have a music collection of any size. Of course, if you have an iPod or iPhone, then you must use iTunes to synchronize it. Many design paradigms stem from iTunes, including the current Finder and iPhoto.

I have a gripe, though. If I’m in the middle of a playlist and connect my iPod touch, the view switches automatically from the playlist to the synchronization and setup screen for the iPod. I’m told that this feature is a long-standing one, but it took me all this time to find it.

You can edit the name of a playlist by double clicking on its title. This is knew, but I accidentally double-clicked on the blue symbol to the left of the playlist name, and a separate window with that playlist opened.

When an iPod is connected, the main iTunes window will come to the front with the iPod’s settings and options. The separate playlist window, though, will remain in the background, saving you from having to find your spot in the playlist.

  VT Tax Holiday: This Saturday, March 6!  

Vermont is having a sales tax holiday on Saturday, March 6. There will be no sales tax on items that cost $2,000 or less. This could save you some serious dough if you’re upgrading your own computer, your family’s Macs, or just want to grab some fun gadgets. The savings can add up, as sales tax in Vermont is 6%, and even 7% in a couple of towns (South Burlington, Williston).

We’re celebrating with a 24-hour sales event at our South Burlington retail store. The store will open at 12:01 AM and close at 11:59 PM. Our Waitsfield store will be open with regular business hours on Saturday, we’ll have additional telephone coverage, and our warehouse will be busy shipping orders all day.

Click here to read our Vermont Sales Tax Holiday FAQ.

Note that everyone who lives outside of Vermont gets to order tax-free from every day (we don’t charge sales tax on orders that ship out of Vermont).

  SPECIALS | 03/02/10 - 03/09/10  
   Chill Pill Mobile Speakers (Black) Buy One, Get One FREE!
   iMac 27in 2.8GHz Quad Core i7, 8GB RAM, 1TB drive, 4850 graphics, Free Shipping!
   Apple In Ear Headphones w/ Remote and Mic, FREE Leather Slip Case for iPhone!
   Mac Mini 2.26GHz 4GB, RAM, 160GB drive, SuperDrive, 9400M Graphics!
   Intuit TurboTax Deluxe (Federal + State + eFile) for Tax Year 2009 + 4GB Vermont Flash Drive!
   MacBook Air 1.86GHz 2GB RAM, 128GB Solid State Drive, USB SuperDrive, + FREE Shipping
   Sarbent USB SD/MMC/RS MMC Card Reader and Pen Drive, just $4.99!
   Apple Time Capsule 2TB Dualband (2009), Save $100 on Apple Refurbished, Free Shipping!