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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.


Mac Outpost Tune Up

In a world of computing these days most of us are highly dependant on our gear. When we hit the power button we expect our computer to roar to life don’t we? Anything less is frustrating. And if we use our computer for business, we risk losing money when things are not going well.

Computer downtime for most of us is painful. In fact, even excessive spinning wheels are unpleasant to say the least.

What ARE spinning wheels on a Mac?

In short it means the computer is working, but if you’re waiting excessively there is likely a reason (or sometimes multiple reasons), and that’s where a Mac Outpost Tune Up can help.

A Mac Outpost Tune Up is done in our service department by one of our Apple Certified technicians. And to be honest there’s no software out there that can replicate the tweaking and nuances that come with years of experience that every one of our technicians have.

From the perspective of a power user like myself, I compare it to a software wash and rinse. Files are aligned properly, updates are completed, and configurations are optimized to improve the efficiency of the processing power of the computer. If your Mac is underperforming, we’ll be able to identify the steps that are needed to give you the best boost for your gear.

A common question that customers wonder about, is whether they should upgrade or replace an aging Mac. A Tune Up can answer that too! There are upgrades that can breathe new life into your five or six year old laptop or iMac, and this is how we’ll guide you to whether more RAM or an SSD (solid state hard drive) would be worthwhile. Often they are! Rather than spending thousands on a new computer, you can extend the life of your existing equipment for years to come for a fraction of that cost.  Again, it all starts with a Tune Up!

Got a question? Please drop me a line by email. And if you contact me directly (and mention this blog post) we’ll set up a one on one appointment where I’ll give you 10% off any of our Tune Up services to thank you for taking the time to read this post.


The annual Mac Outpost Recycling Event

It’s almost that time of year again! On Friday 27 May and Saturday 28 May, our store at 152 Wharncliffe Road South will be holding the annual Mac Outpost Recycling Event. 

Feel free to drop off all your unwanted computer equipment for safe and environmentally friendly recycling. You know that broken printer that you have that is cheaper to replace than repair, that old monitor from a computer you last used fifteen years ago? Bring them down to us and we will see that they are disposed of properly! We all have a box in the basement where we collect old mice and damaged keyboards, cables that we thought that we might need one day, old floppy disks that are of no use… Now is the opportunity to get rid of these items! We will gladly accept computers, monitors, laptops, printers, scanners, TVs and more… Best of all, recycling of all your unwanted computer equipment is free!

Do you have old hard drives with private or confidential information on them? Perhaps you have kept hard drives form old computers or from past repairs and do not know what to do with them. You may have drives with tax information, business records, family photos etc. that need more than just simple recycling. We can offer secure destruction of these drives and see that they are destroyed by hand and under inspection, making sure that the data is destroyed permanently and that the drives are properly recycled. $19.99 per drive will give you the peace of mind that the drives and data have been destroyed.

Stop in and see us this weekend! 


My one year Fitbit anniversary!

Last March I decided to pick up a Fitbit Surge to help me track my walking and running activity.  Mac Outpost had already been carrying Fitbit products for about a year, so it seemed like a good idea to take the plunge!

I was initially unsure how easily I would be able to integrate a fitness tracker into my daily routine.  It took me about 2 weeks to get used to wearing a “watch” again, but now I hardly notice it on my wrist!  Overall, my first impression of my Fitbit was that the hardware and software integrated perfectly with my iPhone right from the beginning!  After my quick setup it just “worked”! 

The primary activities I track are running and walking.  With my surge, I’m able to track my exercise with a high level of detail.  My kilometers, steps, calories burned, pace and heart rate are all captured automatically and uploaded to my iPhone (which does NOT need to be present during my activity).  All of those stats are impressive on their own, but the biggest WOW factor for me is the GPS Mapping feature that the Fitbit Surge includes.  After my walk or run I’m able to pull up a map of my activity complete with loads of interesting stats, lap times, distances, etc. 

I was recently in New York City for March break — I’ve included a screenshot of my run in Central Park! 

Over the past year I’ve also been able to monitor details like my heart rate changes (lowering over time fortunately) and average pace (also improving)!  These sorts of long term stats are easy to monitor using the included iPhone-based software.  The Surge also allows me to track my sleeping habits, which could use improvement.

It may be a cliche, but I would say that the Fitbit Surge has changed my life — for the better!  I’m in better physical shape, and I’m getting very useful information about my general health when I’d only be guessing about it before.  If you are considering adopting a walking or running exercise routine I’d enthusiastically recommend the Fitbit Surge!


Backup Woes: An owner’s confession!

We’re very lucky at Mac Outpost because we have so many loyal clients that have dealt with us since the beginning. 23 years now! So many of you know me well from my days on the sales floor or the times I came to your place to fix a problem! But for many newer clients, you’ve never met me because I am stuck behind a desk now! I’m John and along with Peter, I am one of the owners here at Mac Outpost / Outpost2.

Today I am reaching out to share with you my story of data BACKUP (or lack thereof!).

I have 2 Macs that I use personally: an iMac 27” and a MacBook Air 13”. The iMac is my main repository for family photos and all other kinds of important stuff. And I back that up regularly! But my MacBook Air is used daily too and yet I have not been backing that up nearly as much. I figured all my important data was on the iMac. FIRST MISTAKE! All my devices should be backed up. Bad owner!

SECOND MISTAKE: A few weeks ago, the excellent proactive monitoring software MAC OUTPOST SENTINEL which is installed on my MacBook Air sent an alert to Peter about a status failure on my main storage drive. Thank goodness I had Sentinel installed, right?! If I had acted immediately, that would be true! But I was complacent. First, I wasn’t seeing any problem, so why was Peter bothering me?!

I waited 3 days before doing anything, and no, I did not even backup the MacBook Air during those 3 days! YIKES! Then the errors started cropping up. I brought my MacBook Air to the store on Wharncliffe Rd. South and asked Gaven to perform his magic. He managed to save SOME of my data but not all. I discovered too late that I had some old family videos on my MacBook Air that were not backed up. Before Gaven could retrieve any more data, the drive failed entirely and needed to be replaced.

TWO LESSONS: First, don’t feel embarrassed if you don’t have a solid backup solution in place! Second, DON”T LET THIS HAPPEN TO YOU! Get a backup solution in place for ALL your devices: iPads, iPhones, laptops, iMacs, etc. Don’t lose your important family memories like I did. Our staff know how to help so don’t wait til an expensive data recovery is your only option.

Thanks again for all your business over the years and I hope to see you at either of our stores soon!

John Hauffe