Category Archives: Mac

Carolyn’s iPad Mini

About six months ago, we bought an iPad Mini for Carolyn to use.  Her 17″ laptop had just gotten too heavy for her to use as her primary computer.  (Her hands are very deformed due to damage from Rheumatoid Arthritis).  We weren’t sure how she would like the iPad or a tablet in general, but we decided to go ahead and get one.

This little sub-1 pound unit has been a god send for her.  She can literally do anything that she needs to do with the Internet and Email.  We have a newer Brother Color Laser printer that is AirPrint certified, so she can even print any documents, web pages, etc, that she needs to.

On a recent camping trip, we even streamed video from Amazon Instant Video to it, using my iPhone as a wireless hot spot.  (Not something I would recommend as it eats up the data plan).

The explosion in tablet hardware, (Apple, Android, & Windows platforms), in the last few years is incredible, and means that consumers have, and will continue to have, many choices in the future.  For most people, I can see why they are so popular, and will eventually replace most desktop & laptop units.

MAC Virus?

Until recently, most MAC users were confident that their computers could not get viruses.  Most users don’t have any virus protection on their systems, because of the perceived view that “MAC’s can’t get viruses”.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  While the MAC OSX is impervious to Windows based viruses, it can become infected with 3rd party software viruses that infect Java, Adobe Flash, etc.  MAC users tend to not do their system updates on a timely basis, just like some Windows users.  I wrote about this problem in a previous post, which you can read here.

Last week, the Washington Post acknowledged that a major MAC virus was on the loose and took advantage of a JAVA vulnerability.    The F-Secure website published a set of instructions that required the user to type commands in “terminal”, something that most users are NOT comfortable doing.  Within a few days, the Mashable Tech website had published a zip file with 2 automated scripts that detected the infection.  I downloaded the file, and ran it on my MAC laptop, and was pleasantly surprised to find that my computer was not infected.  It seems that the virus likes to infect Safari, (the MAC web browser), so anyone that uses it should check your system immediately.

After checking my system, I downloaded Sophos Antivirus for MAC, and ran it on my laptop to make sure that I hadn’t picked up a Windows virus in my email.  (I use my Macbook to send and receive all my email).  I did a full scan of my hard drive, just to make sure that my laptop was clean, (it was).

This has just re-affirmed my reasoning that if you don’t do updates to your system on a regular basis, you are just asking for trouble!


Carbon Copy Cloner

A few months ago, (before the Thailand floods and hard drives prices went through the roof), I purchased a new 500GB 7200RPM 2.5″ SATA hard drive to replace the 250GB hard drive in my 2009 all aluminum 13.3″ Macbook.  Changing the hard drive was a preventive measure, a job of changing it now, rather than AFTER a hard drive crash.

Before changing out the hard drive, I did some research on the web about “cloning” my old hard drive onto the new one.  After a lot of research, I settled on “Carbon Copy Cloner“, a free, shareware program written by Mike Bombich.  I found this program much easier to use than Apples’ Time Machine, and was able to do exactly what I wanted to do, make an exact clone of the 250GB hard drive.  I used an external USB 2.5” SATA hard drive case that I already had, placed the 500GB drive in it, and “cloned” the 250GB hard drive to the new 500GB hard drive.  After cloning, I installed the 500GB hard drive into the Macbook.  All in all, a fairly easy job, removing a few small screws, installing the drive, putting the screws back in, and I was done!  The swap out process took no more than 10 minutes.

My old 250GB had OSX 10.5 on it, and I had bought an upgrade ($19) to OSX 10.6, but I decided not to “upgrade” before the drive swap.  I also did not “upgrade” to OSX 10.7 Lion, after installing the new 500GB hard drive.  After getting everything the way I wanted on the new 500GB hard drive, I cloned it back to the 250GB so that I would have a “backup” in case the new drive failed.

Since the hard drive swap, I’ve used the cloner to perform incremental backup’s without a hitch.  If you have a Mac, do yourself a favor and check out Mike Bombich’s Carbon Copy Cloner.  And Mike, my $15 donation to your project is in the mail.

Better late than never

About 5 years ago, in the middle of a brutal Colorado winter, I decided to rip all the music CD’s that we had into MP3 format, get them on a hard drive, and organize it all.  I never got into music “file sharing” like the original Napster or any of the other incarnations of torrent downloads, not only because they were and are illegal, but as a computer repair business, I had seen too many viruses getting transmitted to unsuspecting clients.

All in all, our music collection totaled a little over 22GB of MP3’s.  Other than playing them on our computers, we never had a portable MP3 player, until now.  As a Christmas present to myself, I purchased a used 6th generation iPod Classic with an 80GB hard drive from a reliable seller on Ebay.  The 2000 Ford Windstar van that we drive has a non-functional CD player in it, but a functioning cassette player.  I bought a cassette adaptor for the iPod so that we can use it in the van.  I also bought an adaptor to plug the iPod into our home stereo system.

Before I loaded our music collection onto my Macbook, I made two backup copies of the “clean” MP3’s.  After importing the MP3’s into iTunes, I connected the iPod and downloaded our music collection to it.  Carolyn and I are having a ball creating “playlists” of our favorite tunes.   One of the things I really like about the iPod is the ability to download audio and video from our favorite TV programs.

So there it is, Carolyn and I are finally listening to our iPod, only about 10 years behind the times.