view in plain text or web browser  
Tech Tails | Apple news straight from the Tech Room | | 800-511-MACS
#837: Googlify Your Business, Terminal, Easy iTunes Store Browsing, 17-inch MacBook Pros


Hello all,

The light is starting to have that pale look it gets this time of year and the days will soon be noticeably shorter. I love the fall for a lot of things…apples, Halloween, crunchy leaves, and the excuse to eat stew and thick soups all the time, to name a few. I actually enjoy walking through cold rain and wind while the leaves fall, because at the end, there will be warm cider or cocoa. That’s to come, though.

Did anyone hear the Apple released a new phone last week? I am joking of course—if you had not heard about it you would have had to be taped up in a cardboard box in a closet somewhere near the arctic circle. No matter what side of the love it/hate it iPhone debate you come down on, it seems likely that the iPhone is going to help drive competition and innovation in the phone market for a long time.

If you want to catch up on all the announced products, check out our blog, Barkings! or last week’s issue of Kibbles & Bytes. (Subscribe here!)

Anyway…there’s another Terminal article this week, plus more from our group of intrepid techs. Thanks for reading.


  Googlify Your Business  

While having in-house servers used to be standard for all flavors of businesses, more and more companies are turning to “Cloud Computing” or Software as a Service (SaaS) for their server needs. SaaS models used to be thought of as less secure and riskier than in-house servers. Now, with fully encrypted cloud options held at secure locations with redundant backups and robust networks it’s almost a no-brainer to make the switch to SaaS.

We’ve recently become Google Apps for Business resellers and we couldn’t be more excited about it! We’ve helped several businesses move from their existing mail, calendar, contacts and file sharing servers over to Google Apps and we’re in the process of making the switch ourselves.

With the low price of $5/user/month we estimate that we’ll save thousands a year between hardware and maintenance costs. Not to mention, Google’s interface heavily promotes collaboration within an organization by providing easy-to-use tools that are intuitive and interface beautifully with Apple’s Mac and iOS. On the administrative end, I’m extremely impressed with the amount of tools I have at my disposal to ensure our company’s information remains secure and well-managed.

If you’re thinking of making the switch to a SaaS system for your company’s needs, I highly encourage you to go with a trusted source, like Google. I’d also caution you to keep in mind that even with Google’s robust datacenter, it’s important to have a secondary backup of your information. Google guarantees uptime of 99.9%; that’s still not 100%. This is why we’ve also partnered with companies like Backupify. Backupify can create a secondary copy of your data and they host it on Amazon’s secure servers plus you have the option of making a local backup on your own servers.

Interested in hearing more about moving your business to Google Apps for Business? Drop us a line at or call us at 888.746.9816.

  Super User to the Rescue  

In last week’s article, I mentioned a special command that requires a password to perform certain tasks. This week I’d like to talk about that command a little. It is called sudo. It is both an acronym for the expression “Super User DO” and also the “su” and “do” commands put together.

The first part, “su”, is the power part. It enables you to enter commands as what is known as the “superuser” or “root” user. The superuser can do anything, which is both powerful and dangerous. When you enable as a superuser you will be warned up front that you are now capable of destroying your system with ease. While you are always required to enter your password when enabling as a superuser, you only get the warning once. After that, they assume you are on board with being responsible for your system. The warning is pretty dry in current incarnations of the OS, but in the past the text looked like this:

We trust you have received the usual lecture from the local System Administrator. It usually boils down to these two things:

  1. Respect the privacy of others.
  2. Think before you type.

Kind of friendly and humorous. (And, kind of sad that level of humor has made way for more straightforward notices.)

On to the second part: “do” is what it seems like. It is an action command. So together, you get “sudo” or SuperUserDO. One might ask why bother to use “sudo” when you could just use “su” and then type in your commands? From a caution point of view, “sudo” provides some benefits — it times out after 15 minutes, after which it requires you to enter your password again. So it’s OK to walk away and forget you were logged in as the root user, because after 15 minutes you revert to your normal status.

The “sudo” command is a great tool to accomplish tasks normally not allowed in terminal, such as changing permissions and ownership of certain files and moving things you normally couldn’t. For more information, click here to see the wikipedia page. Next week we’ll look at some tasks that require the use of this powerful command.

  Easy iTunes Store Browsing  

I came across a neat tip on Lifehacker that makes browsing the iTunes Store much easier. I often find myself jumping back and forth between multiple app descriptions as I try to decide between several apps that do similar things.

Apple has yet to implement any sort of tabbed browsing, so when you find an app that you want to check out and compare, just drag the icon into Safari (or other browser if you’re a Firefox or Chrome user). You should be able to drag multiple app icons into your browser, and each will open in its own tab — making it much easier to toggle between them!

You can read the original Lifehacker article here.

  Why Buy a 17-inch MacBook Pro?  

Small Dog Electronics has been providing alternatives to purchasing the latest-and-greatest, most expensive Macs since we started back in the late 1990s. We did this by working with Apple to move their refurbished and end-of-life computers. Don, Hapy and Art would travel the US and buy huge lots of computers which we would then ship back to Vermont and post on our text-based website.

Once the computers arrived, Don and I write to our customer base and expound on the strengths of these “off the bleeding edge” computers. Purchasing a computer that is not the “latest and greatest” does two things right off the bat:

  1. Decreases the amount of money that you have to outlay to get a good computer.
  2. Reduces the amount that you lose when this good computer becomes really old.

So the first question is: Why buy a factory refurb? This answer is easy. The only reason you might not want to purchase a factory refurb is that you may need to upgrade the OS. The warranty is the same and the computers are eligible for AppleCare. So by all means, consider a factory refurbished computer.

So why a 17-inch MacBook Pro? Don’t forget, only a few months ago, this was the ultra performance MBP. Until the MacBook Pro with Retina Display, this was also the highest resolution display that you could get on a laptop — meaning, that if you had the desire and need to have a large display on a computer you could put into a bag, this would be your choice.

The 17-inch MacBook Pro is ideal for the person who needs a fairly large screen for design or large spreadsheets and who still needs to travel. It is the perfect choice for someone who can’t be desk-bound. Think of it as an easy way to carry a 21-inch iMac!

The biggest reason to purchase one of these computers is the money that you save right out of the gate — comparing the lowest end of 17-inch vs. 15-inch Retina, you’ll save $850. That will leave you enough to purchase an iPhone 5, the new iPad and a new iPod nano.

I’ve put the 17-inch MBP on special below with FREE shipping!

  TT SPECIAL: Free Shipping on 17-inch MacBook Pros  

Free shipping on Apple refurbished 17-inch MacBook Pros — and don’t forget that factory refurbished MacBook Pros are eligible AppleCare, too.

   Free Shipping - MacBook Pro 17in 2.53GHz i5 4GB/500GB
   Free Shipping - MacBook Pro 17in 2.66GHz i5 4GB/500GB/Antiglare
   Free Shipping on MacBook Pro 17in 2.8GHz i7 4GB/500GB/Antiglare
  TT SPECIAL: Save $5 + Get FREE Shipping on Apple Batteries  

Now is the time to replace your older MacBook and MacBook Pro batteries with original Apple-branded batteries. We’ll give you $5 off and ship it for free!

Find your computer’s battery from the list below:

   Apple Battery for White MacBook - 13in
   Apple Battery for Black MacBook - 13in
   Apple Battery for Aluminum MacBook - 13in
   Apple Battery for MacBook Pro - 15in
   Apple Battery for Aluminum Unibody MacBook Pro - 15in
   Apple Battery for MacBook Pro - 17in