Posts Tagged ‘mac’

The Enduring Appeal of a Mac: Why Are These Computers So Popular?

Apple brought out the first Mac computer in 1984, and since then these iconic computers have developed a growing following of enthusiastic fans. After using a Mac, many people decide that they would never going back to using a PC. But why are these computers so popular, and why are so many people prepared to pay higher prices for a Mac? Here are five of the most important reasons.
1. Build Quality
One of the things that has made Macs so popular over the years is the build quality. Many Mac owners will tell you that these machines are built to last. Apple takes its design very seriously, and above and beyond being beautiful products, Macs and MacBooks are seen as very tough. Of course, they don’t last forever, and if you find yourself saying “I need to sell my Mac and buy a new one”, it could be time to trade up for a new model. However, in general, you should not have to buy a new machine too frequently.
2. OS X
OS X is claimed by Apple to be the most advanced operating system in the world. It certainly has a huge appeal for Mac users, who love its simplicity of use combined with its powerful features. What’s even better, Apple regularly updates its OS, and it has recently started charging a very small price for an upgrade. So if you are still using Snow Leopard, it won’t cost that much to upgrade to Mountain Lion, and you can then enjoy a whole new OS without having to spend a fortune.
3. Secure
One of the most important benefits of a Mac is that it offers greater protection than devices running on Windows. Viruses targeting Macs are almost unheard of, and Apple claims that you do not need to invest in any antivirus software for your Mac as it will stay protected. This has been debated in recent years, but many Macs still run without using any antivirus software, which can help to save you money.
4. Seamless Integration
Because Apple designs both the hardware and the software, users get to enjoy all of the benefits that this seamless integration brings. Macs very rarely crash, and, as Apple likes to say, ‘everything just works’. Many users find this to be true, and it makes the whole experience of using a computer a lot more enjoyable.
5. User Friendly
Most Mac users would tell you that they find Apple’s way of doing things much more user friendly. When using a PC, sometimes it can be difficult to know how to solve a problem or even perform basic functions. However, with a Mac things are a lot more intuitive even if you have never used one before, making it a pleasure to use.

A Different Type of Personal Computer
Macs offer computer users with a very different experience compared to a PC, and despite being a more expensive option, Apple has a large and growing fan base for its computers. Even though tablets and smartphones are changing the way that people access computers, the Mac still has a long life ahead of it, and will be popular with fans all over the world for many years to come.

Author Bio:
Have you ever thought, “Now is the time to sell my Mac”? If so, Bradley Saunders has written widely on the topic of selling Macs and other gadgets online, and the information he provides may be of use.

Should I Upgrade My Operating System or Reload

Windows Upgrade

So you want to upgrade your operating system or OS for short. Well, there is a right way and a wrong way to upgrade. Buying the “Upgrade” version sounds good, and sure it saves a lot of hassle reinstalling everything. That is, IF it does its job correctly. However, this usually results in slow machines, driver failures, or it just won’t boot at all when it’s finished.

Most commonly the drivers won’t work as they were designed for the older OS and the new OS chokes, splutters, and dies when it tries to access these drivers. Other common issues are small anomalies within the OS itself. Sure it worked fine before, that’s because the errors either were too small to notice or they developed gradually and you simply did not notice. When you upgrade the OS, all those “little” errors become compounded into major problems. Many times the installation of the new OS will go quite smoothly, but when it actually tries to boot into the new OS it will hit that old driver or it misinterprets command and will go right to Blue Screen and reboot throwing you into a loop. Any of these situations result in having to reload completely, which might prove quite difficult with an “Upgrade” version, and will cause data loss if you’re not careful.

My suggestion is to back everything up, inventory all your software before hand, and spend the extra couple of bucks for the full version of the new OS. Yeah, I know everyone is short on funds, but it can be a lot more costly in the long run. The first thing, however, is to check the specifications on the OS and compare it to your system. If your system does not meet the required specifications then this entire exercise will be for naught.

The best thing is to create a spreadsheet listing all your software packages and the order they need to be installed. I would suggest making two categories; one – has a list of all OEM and retail software, and the second – has a list of all downloaded software.

OEM and retail software are those that either came with the system or were purchased through a retail outlet where you have the actual installation disc. Once this first list is made, start locating the discs and storing them in a safe place. This way when you finally do install your new OS they will be handy in order to rebuild your system structure.

Downloaded software is, of course, all software packages that were downloaded directly over the Internet. You will need to list not only the name of the program but also the version as well as the website to download it from, unless you still have the original installation file. You will also need to take note of whether earlier versions are required to install before installing the version you are currently running.

Now that you have both lists completed, you will need to look up the specifications for these software packages and verify that the version you have are compatible with the new OS you will be installing. If they are not then you will want to find out how to get the updated versions. Some may be as simple as downloading a new updated version, others however may require purchasing a new version. Some manufactures due allow for a discount for owners of previous versions. I would suggest checking out the FAQ, frequently asked questions, section of the manufacturer’s website, if they have one – most do. If you can’t find anything there than contact tech support, either through e-mail or phone.

Okay, now that we have the programs taken care of, let’s look at the data end of it. Obviously you’ll want to save your data. This includes documents, pictures, movies, music, etc… Anything you’ve personally created or been sent that is not part of the program directly. There are a few ways of doing this. Some ways will be cheaper than others, and some will require less technical skill than others. I’ll start with the least technical and work up from there.

The first way I want to mention is using a thumb or jump drive. These small, physically, memory drives can be purchased in multiple sizes from 1gig up to 16, 32, and even 64 gigabyte sizes. Piecewise they can be as little as $5 for 1gig. Most places carry them now, even some of the grocery stores have them mixed in with the film aisle. You plug these into the USB port and the system will see it as another drive letter – f:\, e:\, g:\, etc… NOTE!!! Using windows 2000 or XP will normally recognize these without the addition of any driver software. However, Windows ME and 98 will require you to download the driver from the manufacturer’s website and install it before connecting the thumb drive. If, by chance, you are still running Windows 95 then I’m afraid they won’t work as the Win95 technology is just too old to support them. MAC and Linux versions will normally support these drives correctly without the need for further drivers.

The second method involves a CD or DVD burner. If your system has one of these, which most have some variant or the other, than buy yourself a stack of the appropriate media, and I would suggest the R (write) and not the RW (rewrite) as they will be more compatible and less likely to be erased by accident. Use whatever disc burning software you are used to, to start creating copies of your data. I would suggest making two copies of each disc and keeping them in two separate places. In this manor you will be assured that if the first disc gets lost or scratched, or the drive your trying to read it with just won’t read the disc, you’ve got another disc to try. If you use a felt tip marker, a sharpie works rather well, you can label the discs.

The third way is to use an external hard-drive. Now this works rather well for backup purposes as it is a renewable source to place files. The nice thing about this that the CD/DVD discs do not provide is the updatability. However, because of the updatability of the drive that also means it can be erased or overwritten by accident. The other drawback to this is their frailness. Don’t drop it. I can’t tell you how many people come to me asking me to retrieve their data as they dropped their drive, or it fell over, or the cat knocked it off the desk. Yes, they can be a great backup device, but do be careful.

The last way I’ll mention is using a second hard-drive. If you know how, you can slave a second hard-drive into your system, if it’s SATA this makes it even easier. I suggest getting a larger hard drive than the one you currently have, usually the largest hard drive you can afford is best as you can always use the space. After you get your drive, open the case and disconnect the current drive. If you have an IDE drive and the new drive is also IDE then set the new drive up as a single drive, with nothing else attached to the cable, and install the OS onto it. If you currently have a SATA drive, or are adding a SATA drive to a machine that currently has an IDE drive, attach the drive to SATA1. Now, when the system boots go into the CMOS and make sure it is set to boot off the CD/DVD drive first and your new hard-drive second. Insert the new operating Disc and install the OS onto the new drive. Once you’ve completed the installation you’ll want to go back into the CMOS and have it boot to the new hard-drive first and the CD/DVD drive either second or disabled from boot completely. Now that you have completed the install, turn the system off and reconnect the drives. If both drives are IDE then the new one should be set for Master and the second one set for Slave. If the old is IDE and the new is SATA, then just reconnect the old as is. If both are SATA, then reconnect the old to SATA2 or another besides SATA1. Then go into CMOS a double check that it is still set to boot from the new drive. Now when you boot not only will your data still is intact on the second drive but you will now have more storage space.

Following one these methods will provide you with the best possible functioning OS and greatly reduce your chance of Data loss. However, if you doubt your ability in any way, I would suggest having a knowledgeable technician do the upgrade. If your information is dear to you, or having your computer in down time would be difficult for you, then you’ll want to lessen any possible mistakes. For the most part the process is not difficult, but it can be confusing. If anyone has any experiences they’d care to share, feel free to comment.

Internet Password Security Methods

Internet Security

In today’s era of identity theft and the need for personal privacy protection, having a good method of maintaining password security is required. Of course, there has long been the assumption that you are ‘protected by anonymity’, where you simply work on the belief that there are so many other users out there that you are safe because they’ll just never encounter you. That might be likely if it was just a human doing it, but increasingly, cracking programs that scan multiple users are using more sophisticated methods.

Even a program using a ‘dictionary attack’ (trying every word in a dictionary as your password) can be used to try to gain access to your account. This, and even more robust methods, makes it necessary to use a different password for each site and to make sure that those passwords are not easy to guess.

What your password is protecting may be relevant. The password for your bank’s website or your web email is probably more important to you than, say, your MySpace or Twitter account. Use protection as you see fit, but don’t assume that just because a website isn’t important to you will mean that it will be ignored by someone else.

Of course, you have a number of options available to help you. First, any good password will use at least two or three of the following four types of characters: lower-case, upper-case, numbers, and symbols. Better still is to use all four types. Also, the longer the password, the more secure it will be. At the very least, use upper and lower case letters if you decide to make your password just a word or phrase. The problem here is that trying to memorize a very cryptic password such as 25Tm*_hN(@_1ok~49 is just not going to happen, despite the fact that no one else is likely to guess it. The problem is, neither are you.

Second, you can make your password an acronym. For instance, what if you liked the phrase: “We the people, in order to form a more perfect union”? This is actually a good, long password, but admittedly, it is perhaps longer than you might want to type in each time if you visit the website that uses it. Consider taking the first letter of each word: “Wtp,iotfampu”. Notice the capital letter in there as well as the comma. With this password, we’re using three of the four types. It is a very good start for a properly mixed password. It would be relatively easy to remember because you’re remembering the full phrase, not just the acronym.

Third, you should have a different password for each website. True, you could create a different one for each, but an easier trick is to have a base password (such as the “Wtp,iotfampu” from above and add to it something like the domain that will change for each website.

For instance, at the Yahoo website, the password would be “Yahoo- Wtp,iotfampu” or at the MySpace website, the password would be “Myspace-Wtp,iotfampu” and at the Digg website, it would be “Digg- Wtp,iotfampu”. In each case, you get a long password that is unique for each site and all you have to remember is just the same, base core part of the password by just keeping that favorite phrase in mind and prefacing the password with the domain name.

But of course, we have so much going on in each of our lives that sometimes we don’t want to have to remember that when being online. At this point, our desire is to just hand the problem over to another program on our computer that will remember them for us.

To that end, lets look at some of the programs out there that you can use. If you are using the same computer to surf the web, then any of them will be a good start. However, if you will be at different computers, than you’ll want some kind of program that can run off of a flash- or thumb-drive that you insert into a USB port.

In all cases, the program will give you the option to remember a master password that will give you access to all the others. Ideally, the program will automatically interact with the web browser you are using in order to offer to fill in the appropriate user name and password at the domain you are logging in to. So here they are:

Keepass (Free)

http://keepass.info/

This is a very nice and powerful Open-Source password program, which means it supports multiple platforms. For instance, there are versions for Windows, Mac, and Linux.

LastPass (Free)

https://lastpass.com/

This password manager is available for use as a standalone app with Windows, Mac OSX, Linux, and as a free plugin for FireFox Portable. It can create strong passwords. You can log into your favorite sites with a single click. You can fill in forms in a second. You can access and manage your data from multiple computers seamlessly.

Clipperz (Free)

http://www.clipperz.com/

Clipperz is an anonymous online password manager. Nothing to download and install. Local encryption within the browser guarantees that no one except you can read your data. Clipperz has a password manager, and an online vault in the cloud for any kind of sensitive data.

Firefox (Free)

http://www.mozilla.com/firefox/

This browser has a built-in password manager feature. You don’t have to use a master password for it, but it can make maintaining your password database more secure.

Sxipper (Free)

Sxipper is a Firefox extension that saves you time by keeping track of an unlimited number of usernames and passwords as well as the personal data you share every day over the web. It can be used to fill in forms, and manage Open IDs as well as manage passwords. You can use it to create separate identities and it can even use Firefox’s own password manager for storing your passwords.

Password Hasher (Free)

or

https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/3282

This is a Firefox extension that can create strong passwords for you. It can use one master key to generate multiple passwords.

RoboForm (Shareware and Limited Free use)

http://www.roboform.com/

This is a Windows-only program, but it can run on various mobile phones, too. It integrates very well with Internet Explorer and can work in Firefox, as well.

1Password (Shareware)

This if for the Mac only. It can enter online usernames and passwords so you don’t need to remember them. It has a Strong Password Generator that can create and automatically fill-in passwords. Plus, it has built-in Anti-Phishing and Keylogger Protection. You can also take your protected information with you on your iPhone, iPod touch, or Palm.

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