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Thursday
Mar092017

Thoughts on "the cloud"

The most remarkable changes in Macs in recent years have been with the operating system, iCloud, and how your Apple gear interacts with the software. These advances might leave you in the dust, wondering HOW to set this up, how to use it, and what to do if it’s not working correctly. No worries at all. I’m here to help!

Apple ID:

The Apple ID is perhaps the most significant change.  Gone are the days where one Apple ID per family was all we needed. Here’s why: Your Apple ID identifies you as a unique individual. It follows you throughout your life, even if your email address changes (a simple account update is all that’s needed if that happens.)  Not only is it your download history of everything you’ve ever downloaded on every Apple device you have (and used to have), but it’s also the ID used for messages, FaceTime calls, your photos, your music, and iCloud.

iCloud:

This brings me to “the cloud!”  While it’s not necessarily essential to know WHAT iCloud is, it’s beneficial to know what it can do for you.

Our devices these days are digital filing cabinets. They hold our photos, documents, schedules, to-do lists, address books and digital conversations (emails, texts and social media). The power in iCloud comes from LINKING our digital world through our Apple ID. Sounds cool doesn’t it?  All our little bits of data on all our devices ... and all remaining synchronized ... all in real time. Best of all, there’s always a digital copy in the cloud that can be retrieved if catastrophe strikes and your hardware is lost or damaged.

“Virginia, just make it WORK!”

If you’ve been a Mac Outpost fan for a while now you’re likely already aware that we offer personalized Mac training on a wide array of topics. It’s interesting to note though, that there is a growing need for Mac users who want their computer world simplified. A properly configured “cloud” is part of the answer.

Sometimes new to Mac, and sometimes a long time user who have recently upgraded to new software and feel lost, I customize a session of troubleshooting and training to make your gear work FOR you. Put an end to the frustration and book a personalized Mac training session with me today!

Thursday
Jan122017

What Is USB-C?



You may have noticed that the new models in the MacBook Pro lineup all feature the new USB-C connector. What is this connector and why do we need it?

USB-C is not an Apple product, but was developed by the USB Implementers Forum, of which Apple is a member, and is a group of more than 700 companies that have developed and certified the new standard. Apple’s MagSafe and Lightning connectors were limited to their own products but the USB-C connector has a much wider implementation and has been included in some computer systems since early 2015.

But what about the connector itself? Recent model computers are much slimmer, and the older style connectors are simply too large for current design. The speed of USB-C is twice that of USB 3.0, but it can also handle simultaneous power and video signals so it can support  a variety of signals like HDMI. Future implementations are also expected to carry audio. Similar to the Lightning and MagSafe connector, there is no way to get a wrong connection as the plug works either way up. And USB-C cables are the same at both ends which means you can use them with many different devices.

USB-C also supports Thunderbolt 3 which has a bandwidth of 40Gbps. What does that mean? Well, with a single cable you can theoretically power, and supply video signal to, two 4K video displays. The new 15” MacBook Pro has four of these connectors and each will support video, data or power.

Just as the original USB specification replaced Apple’s old Apple Desktop Bus (ADB) and SCSI connectors, along with PS/2 and serial ports on PC’s, the USB-C connector is the new high-performance all-in-one connector.

There are many adapters available that will help you connect existing peripherals to a new MacBook Pro and there are more adapters coming. We can help you work out what you need!

Friday
Dec022016

Lovin' my Beats by Dre headphones

Hey All -- 

If you're like me, this time of year cold weather means three things: hibernation, avoiding the roads at all costs and Netflix galore.
 
I also find the winter season always allows one to find time to re connect with favourite hobbies and pass-times. 
My go to is writing/recording/producing music. I've been doing such as an independent hobby level for quite some time. 
Now in that regard just like any hobbyist who is a perfectionist in their craft, quality tools of the trade are essential to produce a satisfying product. 
 
That's where my Beats by Dre Solo Wireless 2's come into play!

As I previously mentioned being that I've been "in the game" for the better part of a decade now I've had my fair share of equipment. Some good, some bad, some I wish I could return and some I wish I still had. 
However these headphones have allowed me to up the level of intuitive listening I deem absolutely crucial to the otherwise repetitive process that is mixing/mastering. Unlike your standard pair of dollar store earbuds, or gas station super specials, Beats by Dre provide listeners with a rich, fuller sound and overall musical experience.

So to make a long story a little longer, whether you're just getting into music production, or even if you've been producing music semi professionally for years, I challenge you to find a crisper, cleaner sounding headphone than the Beats by Dre Solo 2 Wireless headphones. 

It won't be easy. 
Best of luck!   

 

 

BrendanH.
Thursday
Oct062016

A sound choice for computer audio on your Mac



One of the recent changes in computer tech these days is that music and video have gravitated towards a combination of streaming services and downloadable media files such as music and video. In today’s post I’ll share with you how I have adopted this amazing technology in my everyday life at home.

First of all there are a number of advantages that digital media affords us.  CDs that are occupying space in a cabinet or on a shelf can be “ripped” to a digital format. Once they are all on a computer, it’s easier to locate your favourite song or album, and there’s no need to handle and manage physical media (a CD), or the plastic case it’s normally stored in. By backing up our music and video purchases (where allowed by law) we’ll never lose our music purchases, and we’ll even have more flexibility to access our favourite songs on our handheld devices.

Growing your music library is easy too! We can access massive online libraries of music via the internet. A few examples are Apple Music, Spotify and YouTube.

In the past, music was stored on LP, cassette and in recent years compact disc. But all of these physical mediums require proper care and handling to make sure they aren’t lost or damaged. Records and discs are easily scratched, and the tape in cassettes even wears thin after repeated plays. So as you might imagine, digital files such as MP3s don’t wear out after repeated use, plus they’re easier to organize by creating playlists of our favourites.

iTunes is the hub of connectivity!  In our household I have designated one computer (an iMac) as our storage centre for thousands of songs we have collected over the years. In a few short clicks I can sort by artist, album, playlist, genres or a full list of all songs. I love that there isn’t a clutter of CD cases under the stereo, and there’s simply never a need to match the disc with the packaging. Once it’s organized, it STAYS that way!

If you’ve been wondering HOW to turn your CDs into a digital library, I’d love to show you how! Drop me a line via email: virginia@outpost2.ca to set up a time to connect. I’ll arrange a 10 minute time slot to show you personally ... and you’ll be up and running in no time!

Watch for the next blog post where you’ll find out how to connect your computer gear to your home audio equipment via your existing network!

Tuesday
Jul192016

iPhoto -> Photos Import


As of Yosemite, you might have noticed that iPhotos got a little sibling. Truth is however, this little fledgling has more power under the hood that its predecessor — but there have been a few caveats when users have upgraded. Some users have most, but not all, photos migrated over to a new photo.library; some have a new photos library but also have a migrated.library and then have accidentally opened a new library as some point. In this confusion, their precious memories are read across three, maybe even four libraries. Your Mac computer will use the default one to sync the iCloud library to as well as your Photo Stream, but sometimes that is not where you want the new photo to land.

Is there a solution? You betcha! You are not alone, and over the past few weeks I have been testing, playing and building up my photos knowledge muscles to be able to provide a new service at Outpost2 and Mac Outpost. Let’s call it “Photo Simplifying Service.” Basically, out of the chaos of multiple libraries, you get one, clean, concise library. It is like a hug for your memories, with all the warm fuzzies to boot.

Have you found yourself in a similar situation and do not know how to get the photos grouped together? Fear not, we’ve got you covered. Just visit us at either Outpost2 or Mac Outpost, and we’ll get you all sorted out.

Heck, I would even suggest a system backup prior to any work to just make sure nothing happens to those photos. We provide not only the Photo Simplifying Service and System Backup Service, we also sell great external Hard Drives to keep doing regular backups of your whole user data.