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August 8th, 2012

When it comes to technology, nearly every person has a differing opinion on what they like and why. This holds true for software like Internet browsers as well. Talk to any Apple user and they will all recommend a different browser as the absolute best. With all the opinions and different browsers out there, it can be tough picking one to suit your needs.

The four main browsers used by Mac users are Safari, Google Chrome, Firefox and Opera. Here is a comparison based on five features that users across all browsers use.

Layout and use Safari comes installed on all of Apple’s devices that connect to the Internet and is a good looking browser. With tabs, you can browse more than one website in the same window. In general, Safari is a good browser based on layout and use. It does lack a unified address bar with part of the bar being taken up by a rarely used search function.

Chrome is a simple looking browser with a clearly defined address bar and visually appealing layout. To users of other browsers, it can appear to be a little too simple. After a bit of use, many users agree Chrome is the best to use. Beyond that, it’s the most stable of the browsers.

Opera, while not having the best layout when compared with the other browsers, does have some layout features that make it great. You can group tabs together and keep them open making for structured browsing. You can also preview the content of a tab by hovering over it.

Firefox is the most similar browser to Safari, the only major difference - layout wise - is that tabs are above the address bar. The downside is that it’s the most unstable of browsers, prone to crashing at inopportune times.

Extensions Safari has recently introduced extensions, so selection is limited compared to other browsers. You still have personalization options though.

Chrome has the web store, with a large selection of extensions called apps. Many of these apps are little more than websites that can be easily accessed by clicking a link on the browser window. Some of the apps are also prone to causing problems with Google’s apps, especially apps with tasks that overlap those of Google’s apps.

Opera has useful extensions but due to a lower user base, extensions are slow to be updated, however, the browser is highly configurable which makes it a dream for users who like to tinker.

Firefox is the champion of extensions and add-ons. You can change nearly everything on the browser and there are a wealth of add-ons that make it the best browser for people who want to get more out of the Internet. The add-ons page is also easy to navigate and logically arranged.

Security Security is paramount to many organizations, luckily, the four browsers all warn users about websites that are scams, phishing schemes or are known to host unsecure content. Safari can quickly and easily block plugins and scripts. The only downside is, anything beyond scripts and plugins and Safari struggles to remain secure.

Opera and Chrome both have really good security options that can be customized to meet your needs. Chrome does have a few more options and is frequently updated, with updates covering exposed security threats thus setting it apart from Opera in this category. Chrome also offers private browsing which means it won’t store history, passwords and cookies.

Firefox is a secure browser, you just need to install add-ons to make it incredibly secure. Just like Chrome, you can browse in “stealth mode” and passwords, history and cookies won’t be recorded.

Speed Speed of a browser is hard to measure as each of the browser’s developers focus on different aspects related to speed.

Safari is a fast browser in terms of navigating to pages, while Chrome is the fastest at loading pages from a URL address. If you don’t have any add-ons installed, Firefox is the fastest at loading pages with Java, this means more complex websites will load quicker. Install add-ons, extensions or themes however, and loading speeds will increase dramatically for all browsers.

Integration with OS X Being the native browser for OS X, Safari has the best integration - out of the box - of all the browsers. With a click of a few buttons, Chrome can be just as integrated with OS X as Safari.

The other browsers - Firefox and Opera - lack the same level of integration, they don’t work too well with Keychain and the OS X dictionary, so entering new words on one will not update the dictionary of the other. With some extensions integration can improve, but still falls short of Chrome and Safari.

When comparing the browsers for everyday use, there really isn’t much of a difference and personal preference will play largely into which browser you like. We recommend that you try all the browsers and pick the one that works for you and your company. What’s your favourite browser for OS X? Let us know below, or please contact us if you’d like to know more.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Apple Mac OS
August 2nd, 2012

Over the past decade Apple has made a complete turnaround, going from chasing to PC manufacturers to being the manufacturer every other company strives to be. This is largely in part due to the OS X operating system. At the end of July, Apple released the newest version of OS X - Mountain Lion, and there are some users who can get it for free.

The price to upgrade to Mountain Lion from an older version of OS X is USD$19.99, and it’s available to purchase and download from the Mac App Store. There are a number of users out there however who won’t have to pay.

If you’ve bought a new Mac anytime between June 11 and July 25, 2012, you can receive Mountain Lion for free. If you buy a new Mac from July 25 and onwards, and it comes with an older version of OS X, you will have 30 days to upgrade to Mountain Lion for free.

This scheme is called Up-to-Date and is not heavily advertised by Apple, making it little known to Mac users. If you have an electronic copy of your sales receipt (you get these if you buy the computer from the Apple store -online and brick and mortar - or resellers) and the serial number you can log on to Apple’s registration site and fill in your details. This doesn’t just apply to users who bought a new Mac, users who purchased a refurbished one are eligible as well.

If you’d like to know more about Mountain Lion and what your business can do with it, please contact us.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Apple Mac OS
July 24th, 2012

Apple has long been popular with the designer crowd, producing sleek and beautiful computers and software that turns out equally beautiful output. In the past few years, starting with the introduction of the iPhone and more powerful computers like the Macbook Pro and Mac Mini, Apple has started to grab the attention of small businesses and regular consumers alike.

According to a recent report published by Asymco, there is 1 Mac sold for every 16 PCs - every other non-Mac computer - sold. At first glance, 16:1 isn’t the greatest ratio, but, upon further thought, that’s an amazing ratio considering Macs are made by just one company, while the number of PC makers are near countless.

To make the numbers even more impressive, the ratio of Macs to PCs sold was 1:50 in the early 2000’s. In a little under 10 years, Apple has managed to gain impressive ground against every other manufacturer.

While these two ratios are on an international scale, the ratio in the United States is 1:3, meaning for every one Mac sold, there’s 3 PCs sold; truly impressive. It’s forecasted that this ratio will be seen, eventually, in almost every country Apple sells computers.

It should be noted that these ratios are for every kind of user - personal, business, government and school. The number of businesses using macs is on the rise, as is evident by the growing availability of small business related software for the Mac OS. Beyond that, the ability to run Windows on your Mac is a big bonus for companies that still need Windows based software.

From what we can see, Apple is gaining ground on PC, and it’s entirely possibly that within a few years, the ratio will be equal. Combine this with the increasing number of applications utilizing the cloud and Apple computers become a seriously viable option for small businesses. If you’d like to know how you can integrate Apple’s computers in your company, please contact us.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Apple Mac OS
June 27th, 2012

Apple computers and the operating system they run, OS X, are being adopted by small businesses in growing numbers. If your business has recently moved to OS X you’ll know it can be a bit of a chore to migrate over to a new system, and when you do, employees have to learn to use and get used to the new system. While the vast majority of your employees will pick up the OS quickly, there are some actions they may not know about.

Here are five tips on lesser known OS X actions.

  1. Full-screen maximization. One of the first things users figure out is what the three “traffic light” buttons at the top of every window are. Pressing the green one will maximize a window, the only problem being is it won’t take up the full screen. If you do need a window to take up a full screen, press and hold Shift while clicking on the green button.
  2. Efficient search with Spotlight. While OS X is a well laid out, and intuitive OS, it can be a chore to find a file or app. To make this easier, you can use Spotlight. Press Command + Space bar and Spotlight will open in the top right of the screen, type what you want to find to be given a list of everything on your hard drive with the query in it. Pressing the magnifying glass at the top right will also open Spotlight.
  3. Remove icons from menu bar. The menu bar is the semi-transparent bar that goes across the top of your screen. In the top right, you may notice some icons that you don’t use. You can get rid of them by pressing and holding Command, clicking on the icon and dragging it off the bar. Be sure that you don’t use the icon before you drag it off, it’s a bit of a chore putting them back.
  4. How to take a screenshot. Eventually you’ll need to take a screenshot. To take a screenshot of everything on your screen press Command + Shift + 3. Pressing Command + Shift + 4 will change your cursor to a cross with a circle, which allows you to drag over what you want to capture. Screenshots are saved to your desktop and will be labeled with the date.
  5. Add and remove apps to Dock. Did you know that apps on the Dock - where your apps are stored at the bottom of the screen - can be removed? To remove an app hover your mouse over the app, press and hold the left mouse button down, drag it off the dock so that you see a dust cloud below the icon and let go. To add apps, open your Applications folder, select the app you want and drag it to the Dock.
Mac OS X does take some time to get used to, but with tips like these you can adapt easier. If you have any questions about using Mac OS X in your office, please contact us.
Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Apple Mac OS
May 30th, 2012

The external hard drive is one of the most common peripherals owned by Mac users. It becomes an extension of the system allowing you to store more data without investing in costly internal hard drive upgrades. While there are many positive benefits they can bring to your system, there’s one drawback: they can slow your Mac down.

If you have an external hard drive and leave it connected to your computer, you’ve probably noticed that it will randomly start up the hard drive, even when the drive isn’t in use. This is because the drive has gone to sleep and the computer wants to wake it up, the only problem is that this normally happens when the drive isn’t being used. This causes your system to slow down unnecessarily. To stop this, you have two options:

1. Unmount when not in use. When you plug in your hard drive, it will show up on your desktop and you’ll be able to use it. This is called mounting. Unmounting your hard drive is making it inaccessible to your computer, but not unplugging it. You can unmount your hard drive by dragging it to the trash. When you do this, you won’t be able to use it. When you want to use the drive again you can do so by simply unplugging and plugging it in again.

2. Don’t let the hard drive sleep. To keep your hard drive from going to sleep, press the Apple icon in the top left of your screen. Select System Preferences... followed byEnergy Saver. Deselect the box that says Put the hard disk(s) to sleep when possible. Be careful with this feature, as it will cause the hard drive to be on all the time, leading to a shorter lifespan.

If you’re unsure which method you should use with your Mac, or would like to learn more useful tips, please contact us.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Apple Mac OS
May 14th, 2012

The mountain lion is often seen as a formidable cat, it’s highly adaptive and found in almost every major ecosystem in North and South America. These traits are what Apple is going for with its next version of OS X, Mountain Lion. With a scheduled release a few months from now, there are a number of features that will give small businesses the opportunity to roar.

Here are four features of Mountain Lion that small business employees will find useful:

Enhanced communication and social media If you use OS X to access and monitor your social media accounts you’ll be interested to know that you’ll have the ability to post directly to Twitter from various apps. If you use iChat, it will be renamed: Messages. With it, you’ll be able to send messages, pictures and videos to other iChat/Messages users, regardless of the device. This could be a beneficial external and internal collaboration tool due to the growing amount of Apple users.

AirPlay mirroring If you or someone in your company gives a lot of presentations, Macs running Mountain Lion will have the ability to wirelessly broadcast whatever is being shown on the screen. To share your screen with an HDTV or Projector, you’ll need to have an Apple TV box. It works by streaming content to the TV box which is connected via an HDMI cord to the TV or projector.

Gatekeeper Security is top-of-mind for companies these days, and Gatekeeper is an extra level that businesses can implement. Its purpose is to restrict the apps that can be downloaded and installed on your computer. While many businesses should have measures like this in place, this app can act as another layer to ensure an even more secure organization.

iCloud Possibly the biggest trend in small business computing is the integration of cloud storage. Apple’s cloud storage service, iCloud, will play a prominent role in Mountain Lion, especially for businesses. With this feature, employees will be able to access data stored in the cloud using Apple’s different devices. Any changes made to documents stored in the cloud will be automatically updated in realtime, without the user having to save and update.

Mountain Lion is shaping up to be one of the best versions of OS X to date. There are numerous features that users will find appealing, and many businesses are eager for the retail release. A word of warning though, while a version of Mountain Lion is available to download, it’s an unfinished product and as such, we recommend that you hold off from installing it onto your business’s computers. If you’d like to prepare your systems for the OS, please contact us.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Apple Mac OS
April 11th, 2012

Mac vs. PC - it’s the debate of a generation. In recent years, Mac has been gaining support, with an increasing number of companies opting to integrate Macs into their operating environment. This can be scary to some users as it means learning a brand new system. But we’re here to help with some useful tips on keyboard shortcuts that will make life easier.

When you first switch to OS X it can take a while to figure out the shortcuts, or to even find out if there is a shortcut for what you need, not to mention the confusing symbols used to indicate key strokes. Here’s a list of the most common shortcuts.

Symbols If you’ve looked online for shortcuts, you have undoubtedly seen a number of potentially confusing symbols before the letter or number - these are actually keys to press. The most commonly used symbols are:

  • ⌘ Command. It’s found beside the spacebar on most Mac keyboards. If you’re using a keyboard that isn’t supplied by Apple, the Windows button should also work.
  • ∧ Control.
  • ⌥ Option. On Windows based keyboards, Alt will do the same thing.
  • ⇧ Shift.
  • FN Function. It’s found under F13 on most desktop keyboards, or in the bottom left of most laptop keyboards.
Finder Shortcuts The Finder is Mac OS X’s file system. It includes your desktop and all the folders on it. If you’re unsure whether you’re on the Finder or not, look at the top left of your screen beside the Apple icon. It will say Finder if you’re on it.
  • ⌘+A Selects all files. To deselect simply left-click on empty space that’s not highlighted. To deselect one item simply hold ⌘ and click on the folder/file you don’t want to be selected.
  • ⌘+I Retrieves information on a folder or file including name, size, creation date, etc.
  • ⇧+⌘+N Creates a new folder in the window currently open. If you’re on the desktop, a new file will be created there.
  • ⇧+⌘+Q Logs out. If you want to log out without waiting press ⌥+⇧+⌘+Q.
  • ⌘+Delete If you press this after you’ve selected something, your selection will be moved to the trash. To empty the trash hit ⇧+⌘+Delete.
  • ⇧+⌘+A Opens the Applications folder
Shortcuts for Applications and General These shortcuts will work in most applications, and will generally work on all other non-applications, including the Finder.
  • ⌘+C Copies your selection.
  • ⌘+Z Cuts your selection.
  • ⌘+V Pastes what you’ve just copied or cut.
  • ⌘+Z Undoes your last action.
  • ⌘+H Hides the program you currently have open. The program won’t close, it’ll just be hidden, and can be opened again by clicking on its icon in the dock.
  • ⌘+M Minimizes the window currently open.
  • ⌘+TAB You will cycle to the other applications you have open. If you hold down ⌘, while pressing TAB, you’ll see the icons for open programs.
  • ⇧+⌘+4 Selects a screenshot. When you press these keys, you’ll be able to drag and select a screenshot. You’ll hear a camera lens click when you let go indicating the picture has been taken, and the file will be on your desktop.
  • ⇧+⌘+3 Takes a screenshot of the whole screen.
  • ⌘+S Saves the document you have open.
  • ⌘+F Searches within the window currently open.
  • ⌥+⌘+ESCAPE Force quit. This is the same thing as Control + Alt + Delete on Windows.
These are the most useful keyboard shortcuts, but there are many more out there. If you would like to know more shortcuts, or more about the Mac OS X, please let us know - we’re happy to help.
Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Apple Mac OS
March 12th, 2012

Mac OS X is an operating system with some of the most easy-to-use features for improving productivity and makes using a computer more enjoyable for the masses. The number of features can be daunting, even to long-term users. One feature that is under-utilized is Universal Access. Here are some tips on how using Universal Access can make life easier.

Mac OS X is often praised for its useful features and easy-to-use interface. Many of these features have even been copied by other operating systems, yet many more features are hardly used—even by experts. One such feature is Universal Access, created to help improve handicapped users’ experience. However, these features are not just limited to the handicapped; they are useful for businesses as well.

Universal Access is located in System Preferences, under the System tab.  Here are some tips on using Universal Access to your advantage.

Zoom Zoom If you click on the Seeing tab, you’ll find a number of options. Under the heading Zoom, click ON. Now press: “Command” + “Option” + “+/-” to zoom your screen in or out. This is an easy way to enlarge websites or pages with small text.

Flash for error If you work in a noisy environment, or have the sound muted, it could be tough to tell when an error has happened. Universal Access has a tool to help. Click on Hearing and select Flash the screen when an alert sound occurs. Your screen will flash briefly, alerting you to errors.

Increase Cursor Size If you are giving a presentation or demo using OS X, it can sometimes be hard for your audience to see exactly where the cursor is. To make the cursor bigger, click Mouse to access the slider under For difficulties seeing the cursor. As you slide the slider, you will notice the mouse pointer growing or shrinking. This is good for ensuring people can see where the mouse is going and what files you are selecting.

For more tips on Mac OS X and other Mac info, please contact us.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Apple Mac OS