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#940: Wireless vs. Wired; Data Transfer Advice; Expanding Batteries


Hello Fellow Technophiles,

Have you seen the new iPad Pro yet? When I first picked it up, I felt like I had shrunk, not like this was a bigger device. From the iPhone 5S to this device, there is truly an iOS device that has the exact screen size that you are looking for. While I still am unable to make the transition to iOS device only, there are plenty of people out there that have. I am looking forward to the day when both devices run the same OS, or at least a similar enough one that the apps are transferrable, but I am not sure if this will happen or if so, whether it will be anytime soon. In the meantime, my 15 inch MacBook Pro and my iPhone give me two good options for getting through my daily tasks.

Today’s Tech Tails brings us articles on wired vs. wireless connections, transferring data to your new Mac, and the warning signs of an expanding and potentially EXPLOSIVE battery.


  Wi-fi Connections Vs. Wired Connections  

Wireless internet is very convenient. It’s much easier to simply connect your computer or phone to a wireless network instead of dealing with the network cables. Since wireless internet is a recent technology, it is often assumed that wi-fi is superior in every way to wired connections. It is true that wi-fi is easier to use than wired connections, but wired technology does have numerous advantages over wireless.

Wired connections are much faster than wi-fi. They also are not vulnerable to wireless interference. Some electric devices like microwaves can emit wireless signals and radiation that can interfere with wi-fi signals. Wi-fi signals also cannot penetrate objects or walls that are thicker than a certain amount, depending on the exact frequency the signal uses. In addition, wi-fi signals are much less secure than wired connections, since they can be potentially connected to by anyone in range of the signal.

All of these are things to consider the next time you are setting up a home network, or if you notice your wi-fi connected device being slow or acting strange. It could be that your wi-fi signal is being interfered with or having trouble transmitting through something.

  Migrate Your Data to a New Mac  

When a customer buys a new Mac, there’s often a question of what to do about the old data. All that old data is all that stuff that made your old machine yours: it’s the settings, the pictures, saved web page bookmarks, documents, spreadsheets…all that stuff.

Frequently a Mac-to-Mac data transfer can be done without any special equipment or advanced knowledge. The easiest way is to use Apple’s Migration Assistant which is a program built into OS X, and is on every new Mac. When setting up a new Mac (or any Mac that’s been reset to factory settings, generally from the disk being wiped and the OS being reinstalled) it’ll prompt you to make a decision.

The top option is to transfer data from a start up disk or Time Machine backup. If you’re already doing a Time Machine backup to an external HDD this is the best option, just make sure your backup is completely up to date. If it’s behind, any changes you’ve made won’t show up on your new machine when the transfer completes. Once you’ve identified the drive you want the data to come from it goes through and calculates the sizes of everything on that older drive. You’ve got a little control of what comes over, like whether or not you want the entire Applications folder, but nothing more specific than that. It’ll also tell you how much available space will be left over, or if there’s more data on the source drive than the destination.

I recommend using a Time Machine backup drive (any external HDD that has a Time Machine backup on it) because it’ll be useful for backups on the new machine. It’ll even see that it’s a new machine that has all the same data and ask if you want to keep using the same Time Machine backup; this is call inheriting.

Alternatively, you can put the source machine into Target Disk Mode by pressing the T key when the machine is booting and having it connected to the destination machine through Thunderbolt or FireWire. Target disk mode only works through Thunderbolt and FireWire, don’t bother trying anything else. I’ve wasted enough time for us all: it’s not supported. If you’re transferring data from a machine with FireWire but no Thunderbolt to a new Mac that only has Thunderbolt you can get a Thunderbolt to Firewire adapter, but that’ll run you $30 and you might not have another use for it after the data migration. You could also use a Thunderbolt cable, but that’ll also run you at least $30, and again, you might not have another use for it, that’s why I recommend an external HDD. If you’re not doing a backup, it’s worth the peace of mind, and simplifies data transfers.

  Warning Signs of an Expanding Battery  

In every MacBook there is a battery. Depending on the year and model, the battery varies greatly. Sadly, batteries are consumable and eventual give out no matter how well you take care of your machine. At first you will see that your battery is holding less of a charge and the MacBook’s usage time starts to dwindle. Eventually it will stop charging all together. The biggest issue with batteries is when the start to swell and expand. There are a few warning signs to keep your eyes open for.

  • Trackpad doesn’t click and you feel resistance when pressing down.
  • The Trackpad cracks when no accidental damage has happened.
  • There is physical warping of the bottom case or the palm rests.

If you are encountering these issues please go to your nearest Apple repair facility and have a technician take a look at your machine. An expanding battery is a fire hazard and the longer you wait to resolve the issue the more you are at risk for a thermal event.

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