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#929: Future of Tech, Liquid Spills, Windows on Mac, iOS 8 Tips, Activity Monitor

 
     
 

Hello Fellow Tech Enthusiasts,

It’s been a great couple of weeks here in the Green Mountains! After a slow start to the planting season I was finally able to get my veggie garden planted, ok most of it! It’s taken several years of trial and error, but I think I have finally figured out how to plant the right kinds of produce for my garden and the right quantity. Year after year we would get a little too overzealous with our wishes for the growing season and at one point even had two gigantic gardens. After two failed years we realized we simply were taking on too much and have scaled back considerably. It’s made for a much more enjoyable gardening experience!

Yesterday was an exciting day in the world of Apple! Apple had their annual WWDC event and Apple announced many exciting new software features. El Capitan, OS X 10.11 was announced, there is a new Safari interface, improved search features, the ability to split your screens and so much more! iOS 9 was also announced, significant improvements were made to multitasking and even a picture in picture feature! I think my favorite feature talked about was the ability for iOS 9 to allow users to gain up to an extra 3 hours of battery life. El Capitan will not be available until sometimes in the fall, but those of you who can’t wait to get your hands on iOS 9, Apple will release the public beta version in July. Many of the features in iOS 9 do require the iPad Air 2, so much like iOS 8 and Apple pay, among others, there are some new hardware requirements for some of latest features.

Stayed tuned for more tips and tricks to prepare for upgrading your computer or iOS device to the latest operating systems. As always, we thank you for reading our latest edition of Tech Tails!

-Emily
emily@smalldog.com

 
   
     
  Technology...Where We've Been and Where We're Going  
   
 

As we celebrate our 20th anniversary at Small Dog Electronics, I thought it would be fun to take a trip down memory lane to see where we’ve come from, where we are, and a quick peek into the future of computing.

Humble Beginnings

The first electronic general purpose computer was called ENIAC. (Electronic Numerical Integrator And Computer.) Completed in 1946, the ENIAC contained over 17,000 vacuum tubes, 70,000 resistors, 5 million hand soldered joints, weighed 30 tones and took up an entire room! It was originally designed to calculate artillery firing tables and later helped to study the hydrogen bomb.

At the height of operation the ENIAC could perform over 5,000 simple addition or subtraction operations per second. (Compare that to today’s supercomputers which can perform 55 quadrillion calculations per second.) The fastest home computers can perform up to 5 billion calculations per second.

The first Apple home computer was released in 1976. It had a measly 8 KB of memory and no external storage. The Apple II, released in 1977, had the option of connecting an external storage device.

Computers of today come with an internal drive capable of storing 1 terabyte (TB) of data.

Memory

How many of you remember the original Tron?? The main character Flynn encounters an entity known as “Bit”. Bit could only say two things, yes or no, which is the basic unit of information of all computers.

A “bit” can either be 1 or 0 (yes or no). From the bit, we moved to the “byte”, which is 8 bits, and then it got a little crazy. The kilobyte was the next jump in memory. A kilobyte (KB) is 1024 bytes or 8192 bits. (Yes we know “kilo” means 1000, told you it got crazy from here!)

After the kilobyte came the megabyte (MB) which is again 1024 kilobytes or just over 8 million bits. Everyone by now is familiar with the almighty gigabyte (GB) and you guessed it, is 1024 MB or over 8 billion bits.

I’m not going to do the math from here on out, but most computers nowadays come with 1 terabyte (TB) of storage (1024 GBs). The next leap will be the “petabyte” (1024 TBs), and then “exabyte”. One exabyte will be enough storage capacity to store an entire…human…lifetime of memories!

Storage

When personal computers became popular in the 80s some of the first storage devices were on magnetic tape. The old Commodore Vic-20 came with what looked like a cassette player from which you could load programs and games. By the time the Commodore 64 came out we had moved on to “floppy disk drives”. The disk looked like a very thin 45 record encased in a thin square covering. So-called “hard disks” came next. The were a bit more solid than the floppy disks and did not tend to flop around a lot. The “optical” drive came shortly after. Most folks are familiar with these which operate like a CD player with your programs and such stored on what looks a lot like a CD.

We’ve moved on to the Solid State Drive (SSD). Instead of a spinning disk drive the Solid State Drive is a series of chips that can now store your memories. A Solid State Drive is less prone to wear down as there are now no more moving parts.

The Future

Where is this all heading?? As technology grows, changes and improves, so will all of your electronic devices. With the advent of nanotechnology, computers will become smaller and smaller. As we understand more and more about “quantum physics” we will be able to translate that understanding into quantum computers. Remember we spoke about the “bit” being either zero or one?? With a quantum computer that value can be both at the same time!

In 1965 it was proposed that the computing power of chips would double every 18 months to two years. Some say we’ll eventually be able to manipulate atoms to store information. There are others who predict a “technological singularity” in which the artificial intelligence will far surpass the intelligence of human beings as a whole. While many fear the idea of robots like the Cylons or Daleks running around this planet, keep in mind the very first robots will be designed to serve humanity with the idea of not harming anyone built right into their hardware.

Computers will become wearable, implantable and ingestible! They will become so much more a part of our everyday life than even today. They’ll run your house, your car and report to your doctor.

Who knows what the future will bring? Its a little scary but very exciting at the same time. Here at Small Dog we hope to be a loyal companion to you through all of this.

woof, arf, woof!
(The future is so bright, I gotta wear shades.)

 
   
     
  The Dangers of Liquid Spills  
   
 

If you are like me and like to multi task while surfing the web or getting work done online by having your morning coffee while browsing, then make sure you’re extremely careful. Let me warn you about the dangers of sipping and surfing at the same time.

Liquid damage is one of the most of deceptive and destructive things that can happen to your machine. It is deceptive because the the machine may boot and function normally, but the corrosion has already begun, and it is only a matter of time until things start acting wonky. Also one really important thing to note is that spilling a beverage on your Macintosh voids warranty and AppleCare.

Now you may ask if there is no visible sign of corrosion then how can you detect liquid damage? There are these things called LCIs. Liquid Contact Indicators, which are white, turn red when liquid makes contact. Once you have installed a latte on your keyboard you can’t uninstall it. However, the most important thing is not to use rice. It can clog really important components like fans designed to keep your mac running cool. The best thing you can do is drop it off at an Authorized Apple Reseller or Apple Store and talk to a technician about what needs to be replaced and/or if your data is still recoverable (always have a back-up).

 
   
     
  Windows on your Mac  
   
 

There are times when you need to run Windows on your Mac because certain software to run your business or to pay your taxes is only made for Windows. There are two ways to run Windows on your Mac.

The first way is to use a program called Parallels which will install nicely into your Mac operating system and will provide you with a virtual environment for you to install and operate a copy of Windows. All you need to do for Parallels is install Parallels, insert the Windows disk and just follow the instructions that Parallels gives you and you’re all set.

The second method of installing Windows on your Mac is to use a program called Boot Camp. Boot Camp is software that already comes with your Mac. This can be found under /Applications/Utilities/Boot Camp Assistant. To use Boot Camp Assistant you will need the following: a usb flash drive of 8gb in size, an internet connection, and of course a Windows install disk. What Boot Camp will do is repartition your hard drive to whatever size you pick. Then it will download the drivers needed to make the hardware in your Mac compatible with Windows, and finally install Windows. After you have Windows installed you will need to run the exe file on the flash drive where you downloaded the drivers for your Mac.

After either process you will have successfully have a copy of Windows running on your Mac.

 
   
     
  3 Tips and Tricks for iOS 8  
   
 

iOS 8 has a bunch of little features that helps the user make better use of their devices. In today’s article I’m going to share a few with you.

1.) Want to share your favorite quotes to friends or post them to Facebook? In iBooks it is quick and easy. All you need to do is select the text and then tap to share.

2.) Do you have friends that text you too late at night? Want to make sure you don’t get a call before 10 AM on your days off? You can schedule do not disturb times in Settings.

3.) Tired of unlocking your iPhone and going to messages to respond to your text messages? You can swipe left on your notification screen to respond or dismiss it.

 
   
     
  Activity Monitor  
   
 

Does your computer feel sluggish? Does it pinwheel or take a long time to open Apps? If so there is a great OS X Utility called Activity Monitor that allows a user to see why these things may be happening. Please study the image below.

Tech Talk in South Burlington

As you can see at the top there are 4 tabs(CPU, Memory, Energy, Disk, and Network). You can open Activity Monitor by selecting Go-Utilities-Activity monitor in the Finder Tab.

CPUCPU stands for Central Processing Unit and is the brain of the computer. When the CPU tab is selected, all current processes will be listed on the left side, from most usage intensive to least. This is important because it allows you to see what processes are bogging down the CPU. It is listed as a percent so a task taking more than 50% of your CPU is concerning. Take note of what it may be and do some research. Some processes are part of the operating system and it may be normal for them to hog the CPU, but an obvious problem to look for would be Mackeeper. This is Anti-Virus software that is not needed on a Mac and noting its CPU usage can help in determining why your computer may be running slow.

Memory – This is possibly one of the most useful tabs in Activity Monitor. A lot of times I have customers that have upgraded to Yosemite and start experiencing a lot of pinwheeling. When the memory tab is selected, it works in the same way as the CPU tab. The process that is using the most memory is listed at the top, and least at the bottom. I personally like to pay attention to the bottom left corner. As you can see it shows how much memory you have, and how much is being used as a total. The top and second postings are most important. Don’t pay too much attention to Virtual Memory and Swap Used. As you can see in the picture above, we have 16GB of memory and 15.98GB is being used. This is not good. Our memory on this computer is maxing out. This computer is due for a RAM upgrade.

Energy – I have not used this as much but if you are experiencing short battery life, this is a good place to check and see what processes are taking the most power.

Disk – This tab is helpful in determining what processes are currently writing and reading to your hard drive. For the basic user, this tab may not be important. I would pay more attention to your total used and free space of your hard drive. his can be found by clicking on the apple, about this mac, and then the storage tab. As long as you have 5GB to 10GB of free space you should be fine.

Network – Similar the other tabs, the network tab allows you to see what processes are currently taking network bandwidth. Although this can be very useful in determining a slow network, it won’t necessarily help determine a sluggish computer overall.

Whether or not your computer is running slow, Activity Monitor is a very cool tool. I use it all the time here at the counter. Just remember, you should not be using more than 50% of your memory when only Activity Monitor is open and nothing else. I like to call this idling. With no other Apps open, nothing should be taxing the computer. If you do find that you are using more RAM than normal, or a certain process is hogging the CPU, a visit to Small Dog may be in order.

 
   
     
  Moms, Dads and Grads | Save $10 on Seagate Cloud Media Storage  
   
 

Moms, Dads and Grads | Save $10 on Seagate Cloud Media Storage

Seagate’s Cloud Media Storage is perfect for those who want to share media with others around them. You can share movies, photos, music, etc. with whomever, wherever.

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  Moms, Dads and Grads | Kwikset KEVO Bluetooth Electronic Lock  
   
 

Moms, Dads and Grads | Kwikset KEVO Bluetooth Electronic Lock

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Keep your phone in your pocket or purse. No more fumbling for your keys, just touch the lock to open for the ultimate in convenience.

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