view in plain text or web browser  
Tech Tails | Apple news straight from the Tech Room | SmallDog.com | 800-511-MACS
 
#927: MacKeeper in Hot Water, OS X Your Way, Moms and Grads Deals

 
     
 

Spring seems to have finally sprung here in Vermont. Some might even say that the early days of summer have also begun! In the last few weeks we have seen a rise in temperatures and dry weather, making some of us hold out on admitting it’s time to consider pulling out our clunky window air conditioners and window fans. Many gardens are starting to show regrowth of flowers and it never ceases to amaze me how it seem overnight our trees go from ugly brown sticks to vibrant greens of all shades. These warm spring temperatures have already made me forget about winter and mud season as I enjoy warm spring evenings outside with the family after work. 

When spring rolls around many of us are focused on cleaning up our yards, homes, and even our cars. But have you thought about what you might need to do to clean up your computer? There are a lot of quick and simply things you can do to your computer to make sure it’s running at peak efficiency and these are steps you can easily do yourself. We talk about data back up a lot, but it’s one of the best forms of preventative care you can do for you machine. So if you don’t already have a backup drive for Time Machine we recommend purchasing one. Perhaps you use Time Machine but haven’t backed up recently? Now is the perfect time!

With a current backup of your machine now complete, you can help your machine run a little faster by emptying your Trash as well as reducing the number of files being stored on your Desktop. We all do it, keep too much on your Desktop that is! It’s convenient (the files are all right there, no digging right?) The problem is that storing all these files slows your computer down because your computer needs to use more memory to render the preview icons on the Desktop.

I also recommend looking to see what items you have selected as Login Items. Have your noticed when your start up your computer, you’re always waiting for one program like iTunes or Microsoft Office to open? This is because often times, without realizing it, you have programs set to launch upon startup. This can be a huge time saver for frequently utilized programs, but also another reason your machine might be slowing down. By simply going into System Preferences, then choosing Accounts and lastly Login Items you can check to see if you happen to have any programs set to auto launch. Remove any unnecessary programs by clicking on them and hitting the minus button.

Lastly, software updates. Ensuring that your software is as up to date as possible can also go a long way towards keeping your computer at its peak performance! 

Thank you for reading!
Emily Dolloff
emily@smalldog.com 

 
   
     
  MacKeeper in Hot Water  
   
 

Every Mac user has at one point run across the program known as MacKeeper, a program that is advertised as a tool to keep your Mac clean and fast. Well, as it turns out, MacKeeper has been accused of using scare techniques to get you to buy their higher end apps. MacKeeper was released in 2010 by a company called ZeoBIT from Kiev, Ukraine and was extremely lucrative for ZeoBIT. According to them, as many as 650,000 users purchased the high end versions at the rate of $39.95 per copy in the US alone.

In May of 2014 a lawsuit was filed on behalf of a Pennsylvania resident who claimed that the software falsely came back with exaggerated results to scare the user into buying the paid version. Under the settlement terms ZeoBIT has to pay 2 million dollars into a fund set up for those who feel that they deserve a refund.

To complicate matters, ZeoBIT sold the software to a company called Kromtech in December of 2013. This has, in my opinion, made matters worse as MacKeeper has now transitioned to a subscription-based product, which oddly does not offer updates (unless you pay premium prices). The lawsuit, however, doesn’t include the new owners.

So the future of one of the most hated bloatware is still in the air. For those who have installed it, here is how you get rid of it.

Surf safe, friends!

 
   
     
  OS X: Your Way  
   
 

Apple has a knack for layout and design that is unparalleled across the industry, and has been widely regarded as the best in the business when it comes to systems that are straightforward and useful right out of the box.

However, there’s an obvious sense in the newer versions of OS X that some things are missing, and a LOT of things are different. Having talked to a number of frustrated customers, I’ve come up with a list of common tweaks that might help both personalize and optimize your system. Though I really have been impressed and relieved by the new developments, Apple might have overstepped the line between functionality and beauty in a few places in Yosemite. That’s not to say the same functionality isn’t present – it’s actually readily available – but in my work I see plenty of users who would not know to look for it themselves.

I’ve noticed that with each upgrade of OS X, the sidebar in Finder has changed in its focus. In the past, things were based on a hierarchical system that began with Macintosh HD, followed subfolders, and left space for smart folders and other links below. In Yosemite, Apple approaches file management in a revolutionary yet sometimes confusing way. You can easily revert to the tried-and-true sidebar or customize it exactly to your specifications within Finder’s preferences – just look for the sidebar tab and you can pick and choose a layout that works for you!

There are similar settings for almost all of the built-in apps on your Mac. For example:

  • Don’t like the Dock on the bottom of your screen? Switch it up! A lot of customers prefer to have their dock auto-hide or on the left side of their screen: System Preferences > Dock
  • You can get fancy and organize your desktop by a wide range of sorting options in the View Options menu: Command-J
  • Color-code your files and folders! Pull up a contextual menu on any item in Finder (by right- or Control-clicking on it) and you’ll see the Label section available. It’s a great way to differentiate between projects that have multiple directories or as a progress indicator.
  • Remember that you can easily create Smart Folders in Finder to automatically run filter searches on your directories: File > New Smart Folder
  • You can hold the Command key and drag around menu items in multiple applications, as well as the System Menu bar (right side only).

Remember: it’s YOUR Mac. YOU are the one who uses it every day. Why not make it work with your own style? There’s so much customization at your fingertips; don’t just settle for the default. The most common problems for computer users are issues of competency and understanding how the system is laid out. Explore your Mac – it’s not some archaic maze of technological gibberish – and just as with any other appliance or valuable piece of equipment it is IMPERATIVE that you make the effort to learn basic maintenance and usage techniques that are beneficial to the life-cycle of that system.

 
   
 

With Mother’s Day right around the corner, we have everything Mom needs with HUGE iPad bundles! There is also no better time to congratulate that recent graduate of yours with any of our great deals on new and refurbished Macs.

Also, visit any of our stores for a FREE 30 minute one-on-one lesson with the purchase of any new Mac!

See all of these fantastic deals here!

 
   
     
  SPECIAL | Save $40 on iPad mini bundle  
   
 

Moms, Dads and Grads | Save $40 on iPad Mini Bundle

Starting at $ 279.98

Is the iPhone 6 Plus not big enough for you? Is the standard iPad too big? Then the iPad mini is just right!

This bundle includes a stylus, anti-glare screen protecter and a folio case.

Save $40!

View

 
     
  SPECIAL | Save $60 on iPad Air Bundle  
   
 

Moms, Dads and Grads | Save $60 on iPad Air Bundle

Ok, maybe the iPad mini IS too small…time to move on up the still ultra-light and portable iPad Air!

This bundle includes a bubble-free screen protector, a stylus, and a folio case.

Save $60!

View

 
     
  SPECIAL | Save $70 on iPad Air 2 Bundle  
   
 

Moms, Dads and Grads | Save $70 on iPad Air 2 Bundle

Starting at $ 419.99

Alright, so we have finally settled on the iPad Air as the correct size. But how about an even newer, more powerful version? Then the iPad Air 2 is what you need!

This bundle also includes the bubble-free screen protector, stylus, and a folio case.

This week’s maximum savings…$70 off!!!!

View