OS X 10.7 Lion – Highlights

June 6th, 2011

The latest Mac operating system, OS X 10.7 Lion, will be available from the Mac App Store in July for a mere $29.99. Apple maintains that Lion will be available ONLY through the App Store, and has not mentioned any plans of releasing it as a DVD.

Among the awesome features in Lion are:

New Multi-Touch® gestures that enable you to view Mission Control, switch between open apps, a two-finger scroll, tap to zoom, pinch to zoom, and swipe to navigate (which means that if you have an iMac or a Mac Pro, you will probably want to go and get yourself a Magic Trackpad).

System-wide support for full screen apps, which allows you to have multiple full-screen apps open at the same time.

Mission Control, a unification of full-screen apps, Dashboard, Exposé, and Spaces that gives you a view of everything running on your Mac.

Launchpad, which is a new home for all your apps.  No need to go hunting around in your Applications folder anymore.  One click on the Launchpad icon in your Dock and you get a full screen view of all your apps.

A completely new Mail.app, which will have the dual-column layout and conversation views similar to the ones iPhone and iPad owners are familar with.

Auto Save, which eliminates the need for manual saving AND lets you revert to the last saved version if you’re not happy with the changes that you’ve made. Versions allows you to see every new version of a document each time you open it, and you can move between versions in the timeline to compare or revert to an earlier version.  I know so many of our clients will be thrilled to have these two features.

Before downloading this upgrade from the Mac App Store you MUST verify that you meet the following two (2) criteria:

1.  Your Mac must have an Intel Core 2 Duo, Core i3, Core i5, Core i7, or Xeon processor to run Lion.

2.  You must be running the latest version of Snow Leopard.

Don’t hesitate to contact us to set up an appointment so we can help you upgrade your machines when Lion arrives.

Busy, busy week here at NeedMacHelp! Sorry for the belated post!

FDX Reader for iPad

May 25th, 2011

We have several clients who use Final Draft so I wanted to write a little post about a new reader application for iPad, FDX Reader, that our tech James told me about.  FDX reader lets users read Final Draft screenplays (it does not read screenplays written in other programs) in their .fdx file format.  This means no more opening a screenplay to ugly raw XML or going through the extra step of converting to PDF before moving to the iPad.

According to the specs on the designer’s site, FDX Reader works a lot like iBooks or the Kindle app.  It keeps track of how many pages a reader has read, keeps scene numbers and lets readers go back and forth between any page.

FDX Reader for iPad is $7.99 at the app store and requires iOS 4.3 or later.

White iPhone 4 thicker than the black iPhone 4?

April 29th, 2011

So the white version of Apple’s iPhone 4 went on sale yesterday. Should be the same device but just a different color, right? Well, it seems as though there is a slight difference between the two versions. MacRumors reported yesterday that the white iPhone 4 is slightly thicker than the black iPhone 4 (see photos here). While the report notes that the size difference is noticeable to someone who has the black version of the iPhone 4, it’s really only a 0.2mm difference in thickness so all available iPhone 4 cases look as though they will still work.

Snow Leopard 10.6.7 Font Update

April 29th, 2011

Some of our clients began reporting font printing issues after updating to 10.6.7.  Our industrious tech James found the fix earlier this week in Apple’s 10.6.7 Font Update.

As James noted, it’s rare for Apple to release one-bug-specific OS fix, and since the symptoms exactly match the problems and the 10.6.7 update timing matches the start of the problem that our clients were experiencing, he’s pretty darned confident that the problems will be resolved with the fix.

It appears as thought Apple got immediate reports of the problem, were able to replicate it and had an easy fix to push out right away, so they didn’t find a need to document it in their Knowledge Base.

The update includes the following fixes:

  • Address an issue in which some OpenType fonts don’t display correctly in certain applications
  • Resolve issues printing from Preview
  • Address an issue with PDF files not opening in third-party PDF viewing applications
  • Resolve invalid font errors when printing to PostScript printers

To download the update, visit the Apple website here.

iTunes 10.2.2 is here

April 19th, 2011

iTunes 10.2.2 was released yesterday via software update. No major new features but it does provide a few bug fixes:

  • Addresses an issue where iTunes may become unresponsive when syncing an iPad.
  • Resolves an issue which may cause syncing photos with iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch to take longer than necessary.
  • Fixes a problem where video previews on the iTunes Store may skip while playing.
  • Addresses other issues that improve stability and performance.

According to Apple’s support notes for iTunes 10.2.2, improvements include:

  • Sync with your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch with iOS 4.3.
  • Improved Home Sharing. Browse and play from your iTunes libraries with Home Sharing on any iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch with iOS 4.3.

Advanced Web Ranking SEO software

April 15th, 2011

I think it goes without saying that all companies doing business today recognize the importance of having a website to promote the company’s products and services. However, not all companies understand the extreme importance of Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Like it or not, SEO has become a necessary part of business operations. If Google doesn’t sufficiently love the content of your website, then your site will suffer in Google’s search rankings. If potential clients and customers aren’t finding your website through a Google search for keywords that describe the products and services that you offer, then you are losing countless amounts of business.

Just to make it less abstract, let’s say that you have a company called Midas Touch. The primary product that Midas Touch makes is 14K gold paperclips, and there’s a customer out there who is in dire need of replenishing his or her stock of 14K gold paperclips.  When this potential customer types in the keywords “14K paperclips” in Google, you want to make sure that Midas Touch’s site is the first thing they see.  If the Midas Touch website doesn’t have enough unique, original content, or if the website isn’t updated on a regular basis, however, then Google is going to punish Midas Touch by sending its website to the bottom of the Google search listings. Instead of appearing on page 1 of the search for “14K paperclips,” the Midas Touch website might be found on page 6 or 7.

So instead of Midas Touch getting the order for 1,000,000 14K gold paperclips, your competitor, Goldfingerz, who has a website chockablock full of unique, relevant content, no Adobe Flash, loads of inbound links and a constantly updated blog that keeps the public aware of the changes in the 14K gold office supply market, will end up making the big sale due to a great page rank and top position in Google’s search engine on page 1 for the search term “14K paperclips.”

For me (and I’m sure I’m not alone), tracking web rankings, visitors, keywords, etc. on a regular basis can an incredibly boring, monotonous and abstract activity. It most certainly is if you are tracking page rankings and keywords by searching for your “golden” keywords yourself, and manually logging the results in a spreadsheet. Although Google Analytics is great for tracking visitors, as well as the keywords that visitors have used to get to your site, it doesn’t help you determine where your site is appearing in Google or other search engines for all of your top keywords.

Thankfully, I found an incredibly useful tool called Advanced Web Ranking. Advanced Web Ranking is SEO software that makes compiling data and analyzing search engine rankings for my site (site ranking) an efficient and painless task. It generates comprehensive and clear reports for all my important keywords so I don’t have to create them manually. Advanced Web Ranking also tracks my keywords in search engines beyond Google. Yahoo, MSN and other search engines are also included. Additionally, Advanced Web Ranking has a great keyword research tool.

With its easy-to-use browser-like interface, Advanced Web Ranking makes it easy for me to keep up-to-date with my website’s position in Google and other search engines, which makes the task almost enjoyable!

For more information on Advanced Web Ranking SEO software, visit their site at www.advancedwebranking.com

MacBook Air or iPad 2?

April 13th, 2011

A lot of users out there are still wondering which is better — MacBook Air or iPad 2?  I tweeted about this a while ago, but thought I’d revisit the question as it has been coming up a lot lately.

Brooke Crothers wrote a spot-on review of the two machines for CNET a few weeks back. His verdict (much the same as ours) is that the MacBook Air is probably a better value for users who need to have great browsing and media capability AS WELL AS the ability to use the software that is part of their every day workflow. And it’s much faster, too!

For the full list of pros and cons, click here.

Sparrow email for Mac

March 29th, 2011

Sparrow 1.1 was released last week and the release notes state that it is a “major” update with lots of fixes and features, including:

  • General IMAP support: Gmail, Mobile Me, Yahoo and any custom IMAP account can be used with Sparrow
  • Priority Inbox: Gmail’s priority inbox is integrated
  • Per Alias signature (very cool!): you can use a different signature for each of your avatars

Our techs give Sparrow an 8/10. They find the menu bar integration to be nice, but complete separation of mail accounts (you can’t move messages between accounts) is a minus.

More information can be found on the different features and bug fixes in Sparrow 1.1 can be found at the Sparrow website.

Sparrow 1.1 is available at the Mac App Store.

Mac OS X 10.6.7 update

March 24th, 2011

Snow Leopard update number 7 arrived this week and can be downloaded via Software Update.  As always, please please please make sure you are backed up before installing!

According to Apple’s security notes, among the many bug fixes and security updates to be had are those that:

  • Improve the reliability of Back to My Mac.
  • Resolve an issue when transferring files to certain SMB servers.
  • Address various minor Mac App Store issues.

More information on the 10.6.7 update can be found on Apple’s site here.

An interesting post released today by MacRumors.com reveals that the 10.6.7 update for the 2011 MacBook Pro (a separate update from the general 10.6.7 update for the Thunderbolt-equipped MacBook Pros) has support for several AMD graphics cards that are not presently found in any Mac.  As MacRumors notes, this could be a glimpse of the kinds of graphics cards that will be found in future Macs.

No more free New York Times on the web

March 17th, 2011

I guess it was inevitable.  Beginning March 28, readers of the online version of The New York Times will be able to read 20 articles a month without charge, BUT as soon as they click on the 21st article, they will have to buy one of three packages in order to continue.

The 3 packages are: $15 every four weeks for access to the website and a mobile phone app, $20 for Web access and an iPad app or $35 for the all-access plan.

Subscribers who get home delivery of The New York Times will have free and unlimited access to the online edition of the Times.

For more info, read the report in The New York Times (while it’s still free).

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