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#946: Shortcuts, SSD vs HD, iOS Backups, For Loop

 
     
 

Hello Fellow Technophiles,

I know I will sound like an old fuddy-duddy when I say this, but it seems like every day people need things faster and faster. While it was once considered acceptable to wait several minutes to load a website, we now expect to be able to watch video in full HD with no buffering using only a 3G cellular signal. There are things you can do to make your Mac faster: upgrade to a solid-state drive (see Ben’s article below), add more RAM (won’t actually make it faster, but may reduce the amount of beach-balling that you experience), buy a brand new state-of-the-art Mac Pro, and so on.

On the other hand, there is a free way to improve your efficiency: shortcuts. There are many, many keyboard shortcuts on the Mac and you can even customize them by going to System Preferences > Keyboard > Shortcuts > App Shortcuts. From there you can press the + button and add a shortcut for any existing menu item in any application.

My best advice is to learn these as you go. In every menu, if there is an existing shortcut, the shortcut is displayed next to the menu item. The next time you go into a menu to do something, take note of the shortcut and instead of clicking, close the menu and use the shortcut instead. In no time at all, you will be flying around your Mac!

Mike
michaeld@smalldog.com

 
   
     
  Hard Drives vs. Solid-State Drives  
   
  Save on 2.5in SATA Drive

If you have been using computers for longer than a couple of years, it’s likely that you have experienced a hard drive failure at one point or another. Hard drives are by far the most common point of failure in a computer, and here at Small Dog, we see multiple computers with failing hard drives every day.

Hard drives are so failure-prone because of the way that they are built. If you imagine a record player, spinning thousands of times per minute and packed into the space of a couple of inches, you have a good idea of what the inside of a hard drive looks like. Modern hard drives also have multiple disks and read/write arms stacked on top of one another, to increase storage capacity.

With all of these tiny moving parts, functioning at high speed, it’s easy to see why hard drives fail so often. Over time, the moving parts will just wear out until they can no longer spin or are no longer aligned correctly. Hard drives are also extremely sensitive to movement, especially sudden movement. If a hard drive is dropped or impacted, it is likely that the tiny read/write arms will scratch the surface of the disks where the precious data is stored. This can cause data to become unreadable, or the computer to stop working entirely.

More and more computers are now being built with solid-state drives instead of hard drives. Solid-state drives are a newer technology that requires no moving parts at all, storing all of its information inside electronic circuits. This lack of moving parts causes solid-state drives to be much faster and more reliable than hard drives. Solid-state drives can decrease startup times to a few seconds, and are much less likely to be damaged by sudden impacts than hard drives are.

The only downside to solid-state drives is the high cost per gigabyte. All new MacBooks, MacBooks Air and MacBooks Pro are built with a solid-state drive installed, starting at 128 gigabytes. I often see people confused by this, because their older computer had a much higher storage capacity than their brand new one. In most cases, the tradeoff for better speed and reliability is worth the capacity downgrade.

 
   
     
  Importance of iOS Backups  
   
 

As iPhones and iPads replace notebooks and desktop Macs for users, backing up those devices become more and more important. Many iOS users have stated that they have an iCloud backup to me. Yet after having to restore their device they find out that they didn’t have a complete backup.

iCloud backs up a large amount of data from iOS devices but is limited to the iCloud plan the users has. Each iCloud account has 5GB of free storage and a user may purchase additional storage. The additional storage plans are $0.99 a month for 50GB, $2.99 a month for 200GB, and $9.99 a month for the 1TB plan.

Even with a large iCloud storage plan, the user must set up which 3rd-party apps they are backing up. Some apps may default to backing up while others don’t. You can control this by going to Settings > iCloud > Storage > Manage Storage. From this menu you can look at your current backups and see the size of your next backup. iCloud does automatic backups if and only if it is plugged into power and is in sleep mode and is connected to wifi.

Another option users have is to back up their device to iTunes. All you need to do to backup your device to iTunes is plug in your iOS device to your computer running a compatible version of iTunes. Then select the iOS device icon and scroll down the page and select to backup the device using iTunes.

I personally suggest using both iCloud and iTunes. I recently had a customer who lost a very important document on their iPhone. With iCloud’s automatic backups it had already backed up over that document and the only way we were able to recover it was from an iTunes backup.

See more information here.

 
   
     
  The For Loop  
   
 

For many programmers the for loop is a necessity for most programs out there. It is one of the first statements any programmer learns and usually never forgets. This article is to show how this code works, and to get a general understating of it.

In short the for loop takes a value, sometimes an integer, and then iterates it over a range of values until a certain condition is met, usually exceeding a numerical value. It is important to note my code is in the Java programming language. Please see the example below:

class For {
public static void main(String[] args){
for(int i=1; i<6; i++){
System.out.println(“Current Value: “ + i);
}
}
}

As you can see the integer i has the value 1 to start off. The next statement compares i to the value 6, and if it is less than 6, it continues through the for loop. At the end if i is less than 6, it adds 1 to i which is what i++ means. And finally it prints out what is in “ “, Current Value: i. After it prints i, it re-enters the for loop, until i>6, in which case it exits the for loop and proceeds to the next line in your code. So if we were to run this For Loop it would output the following text:

Current Value: 1
Current Value: 2
Current Value: 3
Current Value: 4
Current Value: 5

Now you can see and understand how a basic function of a programming language works. There are many statements and loops that can be used and I will go over more of these in future articles. Stay tuned!

 
   
     
  Save $30 On Otterbox Defender Case For iPad Pro - Black  
   
 

Save $30 On Otterbox Defender Case For iPad Pro - Black

99.99

What do 24+ tests and 238+ hours of testing mean to you? They mean your OtterBox case is ready to dive into your day without a second thought – just like you are. OtterBox Certified Drop+ Protection means drops, bumps and fumbles are just the beginning. It means your device is protected from the barrage of wear & tear you subject it to everyday. So go ahead – do what you do and leave the protection to Otterbox.

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  Save $10 On Lexar JumpDrive M20i USB 3.0 to Apple Lightning Flash Drive  
   
 

Save $10 On Lexar JumpDrive M20i USB 3.0 to Apple Lightning Flash Drive

29.99

Easily expand the memory of your iPhone or iPad

With today’s overflow of content (created, captured, and consumed) it’s easy to run out of space on your iPhone or iPad. Now you don’t need to delete your favorite photos and videos to make room for more. The Lexar JumpDrive M20i USB 3.0 flash drive expands the memory of your iOS device. No charging or battery needed, and no network required.

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  Save $10 On Lexar JumpDrive M20i USB 3.0 to Apple Lightning Flash Drive  
   
 

Save $10 On Lexar JumpDrive M20i USB 3.0 to Apple Lightning Flash Drive

44.99

Same deal as above, but with 32GB of storage!

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  Save $10 On Lexar JumpDrive M20i USB 3.0 to Apple Lightning Flash Drive  
   
 

Save $10 On Lexar JumpDrive M20i USB 3.0 to Apple Lightning Flash Drive

74.99

Ok, we get it…32GB is not going to cut it. So here’s 64GB of storage!

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  Save $20 On Kanex USB-C 3-Port Hub with Gigabit Ethernet  
   
 

Save $20 On Kanex USB-C 3-Port Hub with Gigabit Ethernet

39.99

Expand Your new MacBook

Now you can connect your iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, iPad Pro, iPod, or an external hard drive, even a mouse, and other USB ready devices to your new MacBook. Connect, expand, and increase productivity.

NOTE: This is compatible with the current MacBook only.

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