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#877: iOS 7's Education Advantage, SSD Installs Continued, Wi-Fi Signal Troubleshooting, KnowledgeWave Classes in July/August

 
     
 

Hello Readers!

Well, what a week we have been having! I have been spending time with my family and have friends visiting from Texas, who came just in time for all of the rain. Luckily, we haven’t lost electricity or anything, so I am able to use all my gadgets. The best part of it seeming like Waterworld out there is that I don’t have to wash my car; mother nature is handling that herself.

Rain or shine, we still have articles for you to read, and it looks like we have another great lineup. Our newest writer, Kyle Boisvert, tells us about the advantages iOS 7 will bring to education. Kyle Simpkins continues his experience with SSDs, and RJ helps you trouble shoot Wi-Fi issues.

Hope you all have a great week and stay dry!

Barry
barry@smalldog.com

 
   
     
  iOS 7's Education Advantage  
   
 

iOS 7 embraces the environment of education with many new features to help deploy devices in schools. In the past, iOS has done a lot to help schools simplify curriculums and reach out to all kinds of students. iOS 7 comes with a handful of features that make this even easier.

You can learn even more on Apple’s Education website.

For a quick rundown, iOS 7 will allow you to:

  • Manage which apps and accounts can be used to open documents
  • Configure individual apps to automatically connect to VPN when opened
  • Manage App Store licenses for companies
  • Configure streamlined MDM enrollment
  • Obtain a single sign on for authenticating corporate credentials across apps
  • Passcode protect data in third-party apps
  • Server caching of software purchases and downloads for more efficient distribution

Ed. Note: Here at Small Dog, we love to help out students as well. We are gearing up for our annual Mac to School promotions, so stay tuned to get all the details in the coming weeks…

 
   
     
  SSD Installs Continued  
   
 

I want to take some time this week to revisit an article I wrote a couple of weeks back. I got a lot of great responses from our readers about SSDs and their experiences as well as trials. Overall, I would have to say that switching to SSD storage is the next best boost on computer performance after memory. That’s definitely the new technology trend most machines are being converted to.

The new Apple laptops all have SSD options and very few actual HDD options anymore. One great response I got was from Winston, who wrote in about extending the life of his PowerBook. PowerBooks are classified as “obsolete” by Apple, yet his is performing like a new machine with a new, low power SSD. That is great feedback, and I’m glad to hear that the older machines can get a few more years out of them with an upgrade like this.

Another response I got was from Tarik, an IT specialist for a junior high school, who has a lot of experience with prolonging the use of older MacBooks with SSDs in a school environment. Also, the reduced disk failure rate from kids throwing the computers into their bags is a blessing. This feedback was very helpful and informative — as of this writing, I’m simultaneously downloading Chameleon SSD Optimizer for my Crucial 256GB SSD to play around with!

Working in the tech department, I get to see all types of issues with computers. Something I didn’t expect to see was a failed SSD. I don’t see that happen too often, but when it does, there isn’t a whole lot we can do to recover the data on the failed drives. If the customer absolutely needs the data, at that point, we have to hand it over to DriveSavers, the company Apple uses for forensic level data recovery. They aren’t a cheap service, but if anyone can get data on a failed drive, they can.

Ed. Note: We can never stress enough how important it is to back up your computer. Even if you have the latest SSD, failures can still happen. So, if you don’t want to be shelling out the big bucks for data recovery, then back it up faithfully!

So far, I have been extremely happy with my SSD in my little 13” mid -2009 MacBook Pro. The SSD has given it new life over the standard HDD in conjunction with using external HDDs for storage. I am a data packrat and have terabytes of information on multiple hard drives that I’m constantly accessing or moving around. Despite my thirst for speed, I don’t have any SSD externals (yet).

Switching to an SSD was the best decision I have made for my current MacBook Pro. I hope I’ve helped answer some questions and I would like to thank everyone who wrote in with responses to my original article. To those I didn’t mention in this article, I have read your responses and I thank you.

 
   
     
  Wi-Fi Signal Troubleshooting  
   
 

Pretty regularly, customers will bring in a Mac that is intermittently dropping its Wi-Fi signal. This is a very frustrating issue, and it can also be a difficult one to diagnose. Every basic home network setup is different in that the environment, the hardware used, the ISP and the amount of load/strain can all vary. All these factors must be considered to produce a solution.

Nine times out of ten, this issue is not replicable on our service department Wi-Fi network, and therefore cannot be definitively diagnosed. Sometimes, changing basic network settings within System Preferences will resolve the issue, but that’s not always enough. Often, the best troubleshooting of wireless issues involves doing the work while the machine is in its home environment. That means either doing it yourself and doing the research, or hiring someone to attempt to resolve the issue for you, be it via an on-site visit or phone support.

So what do you do when you have done pretty much everything? One possible resolution for a slightly more advanced user is to adjust the size of something called the MTU, or Maximum Transmission Units. The MTU determines the maximum amount of data each packet can carry through the network. 1500 is typically the default for most Macs, and also the largest allowed by most basic networks. This means up to 1500 bytes can be carried in each packet over the network.

Generally, the larger the MTU size, the better your network efficiency, and I think Apple would agree with that, considering their default size is the maximum usually allowed. However, in some cases, the MTU size set on the computer can conflict with the some aspect of the network, causing it to intermittently lose its signal. This can be resolved by altering the MTU size slightly within Terminal.

As always, use your best judgement when playing around in Terminal. Things can quickly go from good to bad if you you don’t know what you are doing. Now, with the usual disclaimer out of the way, follow these directions.

Open a Terminal window and type:

  • networksetup -getMTU en0
  • hit Return

Note: You may need to type en1 instead; it depends on which connection you are using. You can find out using Network Utility. This will tell you your current MTU size.

To change the size, type:

  • networksetup -setMTU en0 XXXX(new size)
  • hit Return

You can input whatever size you want; I would recommend keeping it relatively close to the original MTU size. For example: 50 fewer units (1500->1450). This setting is easy enough to change and test as part of your troubleshooting. Nothing is permanent, as you can easily change the MTU size back to what it was originally (using the aforementioned command) if this does not resolve your issue.

 
   
     
  KnowledgeWave Classes in July/August  
   
 

Small Dog is excited to announce that we are offering three upcoming training sessions for businesses and IT professionals.

  • iOS (iPad/iPhone) For Business, Tuesday, July 30, 9am-12pm
  • iOS (iPad/iPhone) Technical Training For IT Professionals, Tuesday, July 30, 1pm-5pm
  • Mac OS X Technical Training For IT Professionals, Tuesday, August 6, 9am-5pm

Why register? If your business is new to Mac or iOS, or if you’d like to maximize how ‘going mobile’ can improve your productivity, these business-centric trainings are ideal. You’ll learn how to seamlessly integrate Macs, iPads and iPhones into your business.

Along with our standard curriculum, we’re happy to integrate any specific apps your company is interested in.

*Note: Participants are encouraged to bring their own iPads and iPhones.

All classes are held at KnowledgeWave, 30 Community Dr. #5 South Burlington, VT 05403.

To learn more, and to register, click here.

 
   
     
  SPECIAL | Bluetooth-ify Your Favorite Dock  
   
 

Save $20 on RadTech WaveJamr

19.99

WaveJamr is an ingenious accessory that will simplify your life and extend the life of your favorite speaker dock, dockable alarm clock, or automobile mobile device integration.

Simply connect WaveJamr to your speaker system’s docking port and enjoy your music, movie soundtrack or audio books wirelessly from up to 50 feet. Breathe new life into those old 30-pin docks that don’t work with your new iOS devices that have the Lightning port.

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  SPECIAL | Targus Gives You The Edge  
   
 

Save $20 on Targus Notebook Accessory Bundle

89.98

The Targus Lap Chill Mat provides a comfortable and ergonomic work surface to keep you and your laptop cool. The Chill Mat rests on your lap and disperses heat, using dual fans to provide ventilation which can be obstructed if the laptop is used on a pillow or comforter.

No longer will you have to decide which accessory gets to be plugged in and which one gets left out. With the Targus 7 Port USB Hub, you can have all of your devices attached to your Mac, including the Targus Lap Chill Mat.

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