view in plain text or web browser  
Tech Tails | Apple news straight from the Tech Room | | 800-511-MACS
#926: Q&A: Then and Now; Safe Surfing Tips; Special Deals


Hello readers!

This month sees the celebration of Small Dog Electronics’ 20th Anniversary! Taking a look back, the Apple landscape has changed significantly in many ways over the years, and not just linearly. Apple went from a niche product to a staple of the industry with devices reaching the hands of almost every first-world citizen. The first “Apple Stores” were Apple Specialists, like Small Dog Electronics. These independent stores were tasked with learning to work with and repair these products, without the years of experience and bountiful resources we have now.

I took an opportunity this week to approach repairing my ailing car exhaust system, to which the winter, in its last death throes, delivered a finishing blow. It’s been a while since I’ve worked on something so large and basic rather than delicate electronics. As I lay under my Subaru in my Dickies jumpsuit and struggled to fit the hacksaw where I needed it, I felt the usual impatience and pressure for time, and a frustration that my desired solution had not been compatible with the problem.

I continued trying to determine how to modify the existing pipe to fit my solution, with some frustration. At this point, I had a cognitive shift where I determined the best course would be working to modify my solution, not to modify the problem. I left the dark undercarriage where rust was falling into my eyes, and modified the pipe I was installing to better fit the existing system. This led to a relatively easy solution for me to carry out.

Sometimes in repair (as well as life in general), making one or more shifts in thinking is the most important part of finding a solution. More often than not, it is easy to become so focused on the problem that it becomes difficult to step back and analyze the available options from a different perspective. I always recommend taking time to be careful and spend time reading up on service methods, analyzing potential solutions, and being certain before moving forward. Too many times we have seen expensive components unnecessarily damaged by well-intended attempts to repair unrelated parts.

With that said, we always wish the best of luck in repair, whether in our shop or DIY. We’ve prepared some articles today to help you along, keep you safe online, and spark some interest in the past.

Warm regards,

  Q&A: Then and Now  

Let us take a look back at the world of Apple since Small Dog’s inception…

In 1995 Michael Spindler was CEO of Apple and Steve Jobs was nursing his dying company named NeXT (The NeXT OS eventually was purchased by Apple and used as the basis of OS X). The Apple brand was becoming thinned by a myriad of models and devices, thus losing its central focus on a basic product offering. Apple was about to start licensing “Mac clones,” third-party machines running the Macintosh software, in an attempt to bolster income and spread the Apple brand further (Jobs ended these contracts when he returned).

Regardless of the turmoil at Apple in the mid-90s, there were still loving Mac users who relied on their machines day-to-day for their most important work. There had already been many generations of Apple computers, peripherals, and software. This meant there were questions asked to service departments, and service departments to answer and assist Mac users. Usually these service departments were also Apple resellers (there were no “Apple Stores” until May 19th, 2001, when the first opened in Tysons Corner Center in McLean, Virginia).

For your enjoyment, I’ve put together some tech questions we answer regularly now, and tried to compile some questions that would have been relevant in 1995, when Small Dog started selling Apple computers, and providing customer support wherever we could.

Tech questions we answer now:

Yosemite failed to install, and now my computer won’t boot. How do I fix it?

Answer: Many Yosemite installs require the hard disk to be erased and a fresh install attempted. As always, make sure you have a backup before attempting any OS upgrade!

What keyboards and mice can I use with my Mac?

Answer: Any USB keyboard or mouse will work with your Apple computer.

How much RAM will my Late-2013 Mac Pro take?

Answer: While Apple officially states 64GB, this model has been found to function normally with 128GB of RAM.

Can my MacBook Pro (13-inch, Mid 2010) run Yosemite?

Answer: Yes, but we caution that it should have at least 8GB of RAM and a solid-state drive for the best user experience.

I upgraded my MacBook Pro from 10.6.8 to 10.10.2, and now MS Office won’t launch. What happened?

Answer: 10.6.8 is the last instance of Mac OS that supported Rosetta, a tool that allows software originally made to run on PowerPC processors to function. After 10.7 and above, any software running on Mac OS must have been programmed to run on the Intel CPU architecture. You likely have Office 2004 (or earlier) which was written for PowerPC.

Tech questions that could have been asked in 1995:

How much RAM will my Performa 275 take?

Answer: 36MB

What’s the maximum OS my PowerBook 165c will take?

Answer: Mac OS 7.5.1 (the answer would be 7.6.1, but that didn’t come out until 1997).

Can I use a DOS-formatted floppy disk in my Mac?

Answer: Be careful. Not all DOS-formatted floppy disks are the same, and depending on the version of Mac OS you have, you could corrupt the disk just by inserting the disk and/or viewing it.

Why did my startup screen change on my Mac?

Answer: The System 7.5.1 update saw a new startup screen added to prepare for Macintosh clones.

Can I use an Apple Adjustable Keyboard on my Macintosh Plus?

Answer: The Macintosh Plus does not have an ADB connection, and is limited to the keyboard and mouse that shipped with the Macintosh Plus.

First Question from Us (Then and Now):

Did you try turning it off and back on?

  Phishing, Hacking, and Other Online Nastiness  

It’s Saturday afternoon. You’re sitting in the big easy chair with a nice cold glass of lemonade watching the Red Sox pound the Yankees into submission. Suddenly the door bell rings and when you answer, there is a fellow there who claims he’s from Ford and he needs you keys to your car so he can take it back to the Service Department for some mandatory upgrades. You don’t know this man from Adam.

Do you:

A. Hand over your keys and continue to watch A-Rod drop ground balls?

B. Ask for his ID and when he hands you his fake one, hand him your keys?

C. Tell him to go take a long walk on a short pier, and drive yourself down to Ford on Monday?

The answer is C of course. You wouldn’t give anyone the keys to your only means of transportation without having some sort of proof of who he says he is. Similarly you shouldn’t give out personal or financial information to anyone online without some kind of indication that it is safe to do so. I touched on online safety a few articles back, but thought it important enough to revisit due to some “fake alerts” some of my customers have experienced recently.

There are a lot of scammers out there, so its always a good idea to “look before you leap.” Before going to ANY website, you of course want to make certain the website is safe to visit. If your firewall or anti-virus software gives you any kind of warning before visiting a website, its probably a good idea to think twice and even three times before continuing on to the site. Your anti-virus software has lists of websites that have been reported as “attack sites” which can potentially damage your computer. Its always safe to stay away from these sites.

You may come across a site and get a warning that flashes across your screen that says something along the lines of “WARNING, WARNING – You’re computer may be infected!!! Please call this number RIGHT AWAY to remove viruses from your device.” If you call the number and give them access to your computer you may end up with more trouble that with what you started with. DO NOT CALL these people. Just like the Ford guy you don’t know these people from a hole in the wall.

Once again, be safe on social media. Make certain your privacy settings are set as high as possible. Do not accept friend requests from people you don’t know. Do not accept app or game invites if you don’t know who they are coming from or what the game is all about. Remember that once you post on Facebook, Twitter or Tumblr it is there forever. Forget about the NSA looking at your Snapchat messages. They really don’t care about how many Instagram followers you have. What you should be worrying about is who is trying to get into your information by utilizing social media.

A good rule of thumb for posting on social media: Don’t post it if you wouldn’t want your boss or worse yet, your mom, reading what you posted. Because they can, and do (Hi, Mom!), and will. Don’t put your vacation plans on Facebook or any of the social media sites. You never know who is poking around looking to see whose house is going to be empty during spring break. Post your pictures from Cancun AFTER you get back.

As always, DO NOT give out your PIN, passwords, routing number or checking/savings/credit card information to just anyone. Nobody at Apple, your bank, or credit card company can see your password or PIN. Your bank already knows what your routing and account numbers are.

You also may receive an email with an official looking logo from your bank or other financial institution asking you to verify your Social Security number, your PIN, or other sensitive information. This is known as “phishing.” Unlike the great band Phish from right here in Vermont, these “phishers” will not give you music. Remember your financial institution ALREADY knows this information.

Go on the Chase, Wells Fargo or Bank of America websites, “right-click” (AKA control-click) on any one of their logos and witness just how easy it would be for anyone to insert their logos into an email. Remember this when you get an e-mail that purports to be from your bank.

Ask questions, verify and take a moment before you give any of this information away, it could save you a world of trouble down the road.

Woof, woof (Be careful out there!)

  Anniversary Special | Save $10 on Seagate Personal Cloud Home Media Storage  

Anniversary Special | Save $10 on Seagate Personal Cloud Home Media Storage

Seagate Personal Cloud home media storage allows you to create your very own cloud that is accessible outside the home. Organize all your family’s photos, videos, music, and important documents in one secure central location on your home network, and back up not only all your PCs and Macs, but your cloud services as well. Personal Cloud can automatically and continuously back up every PC and Mac computer in the home-wirelessly.


  Special | Save $60 on LeSportSac Deluxe Abbey Carry On  

Zipped main closure; Exterior front pocket with zip closure; Exterior back snap pocket with bottom zipper to convert into a sleeve to slide over rolling luggage handles.

8 in (20.32 cm) Handle drop; Removable adjustable shoulder strap (Max. 50in /127cm); Interior back wall padded 13” laptop pocket with snap closure, Interior front wall signature zip/open pocket.

Normally $149.99, but this week only, get this great bag for $89.99!

See this great deal here.