Answers...

to commonly asked questions.

Which iMac should I get?

I need a new iMac. Which one should I get?

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Your choices are 21 or 27”. I prefer the 27” personally. Plus you can add ram later in life with a 27. With the 21, you can only add ram at time of purchase although most people never add ram to their machines these days. I would recommend the 27” lower speed of the 3 configurations. I think it’s listed at $1799. May be too big for your space. I think you are on a 21” if I’m not mistaken. So really comes down to personal preference. You won’t go wrong either way. Next, you’ll want to consider hard drive type and space. (capacity.) Go to the black apple in the top left corner/about this mac/storage. That will tell your the capacity of your current drive. You’ll want as larger or maybe larger than that. Probably 1Terabyte.

Three types of hard drives:
1. Flash (solid state)
2. spinning (old school mechanical)
3. hybrid (combination of 1 and 2)

Pros/Cons
Flash is fastest and most expensive. Spinning drives are cheaper, slower, and more prone to failure. Hybrids are obviously a good compromise. They aren’t crazy expensive. You still get capacity and a modest speed advance.

How to open 2 VLC windows at the same time on a Mac.

I want to run 2 instances of VLC. How do I do it?
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Use apple script editor and save the following command as a script:


on run
do shell script "open -n /Applications/VLC.app"
tell application "VLC" to activate
end run

on open theFiles
repeat with theFile in theFiles
do shell script "open -na /Applications/VLC.app " & quote & (POSIX path of theFile) & quote
end repeat
tell application "VLC" to activate
end open

Backup drive says it's full.

Scotty I got a pop up message that my seagate back up hard drive says FULL.

What do it do now? Last backup will be this morning
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In a backup scenerio, there are two size factors. The source and the target. Your internal computer drive is the source. Your external backup drive is the target. The source should ALWAYS be equal to or greater than the target. If the target is smaller then you can sometimes see that message. If there is other data on the drive in addition to the backups.backupdb folder (like some stuff someone drug over to that drive) then this could also not leave room for the full contents of the internal to backup.

Time machine's job is to fill the drive so this is normal for the external to be full. I would check the backup.backupsdb folder and scroll down to the bottom of the long list. Make a note of the date of the last backup. Go back tomorrow and do it again. If you have a new folder at the bottom of the list with a newer date, you're fine. If the dates of folders stopped several days ago or so, then it may be time to move to a larger drive. We could always also wipe that drive and just start the process over again but it's just nicer to just move to a newer, larger drive.

Apple says the same thing here.

Adding your phone number to iMessage

Scotty, texts that I send from my laptop are not showing up on my phone and vice versa. That is a new phenomenon since you were here and set up my new computer et. al. Any ideas what I have done to it??
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Sounds like your phone number is not currently associated to your apple ID. To fix this, go to your phone: settings: messages. Now log into your apple ID to use with iMessage.

Next open iMessage on your computer. Now go to the preferences for that application. You should now see your iPhone phone number. Messages will now appear on both devices but deleting a message will not sync. That feature is not yet available.

Syncing Acuity to Google and iCloud calendars

For acuity do you use the icalendar or google calendar….confusing because I have gmail
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I've actually tested both syncing to an ical calendar hosted via iCloud and Google Calendar. The iCloud syncing was in beta for a long time but I can say that it is just as responsive as the Google calendar at this point so either would be fine. Keep in mind you can always add your google calendar to Apple's calendar app so the point becomes moot. Here's a screenshot of both Google calendar and iCloud calendar syncing to Acuity within the same calendar app.

Screen Shot 2017-07-27 at 9.36.01 PM

Lastly, while you are supposed to be able to block times from your calendar program, I do not trust that function. When blocking times, I do so from the webpage. In fact I either use the webpage or the web app on iOS 99% of the time. I only sync my calendar to iCal (now Calendar) so my wife can see my appointment schedule. Lastly, if you choose to sync your Acuity calendar to one of your iCloud calendars, you will have to have 2 factor authentication turned on. Apple forces that when you give third party apps access to iCloud functions.

Macbook Air won't turn on

2010-2011 MacBook Air will not turn on. Adapter's green light will not light up when connected. Assume it's a problem with the battery. Looking for insight and a quick fix!
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I don't think we will need a session for your issue. Here are two things to try to bring your air back to life.

Hold down command+option+P+R all simultaneously. Continue holding down those buttons until the computer chimes a second and third time. Then release.

Another key combo to try is disconnecting the charger and press the following all at once: command+option+shift+power. That should reset the Computer's ability to distribute power throughout the system. If neither of these things works it could then most likely be a hardware issue.

What HD can you recommend?

What drive should I use to backup? Can you recommend one?
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I prefer the Seagate drives.

https://www.amazon.com/Seagate-Backup-Portable-External-STDR2000100/dp/B00FRHTSK4/ref=sr_1_1?s=pc&ie=UTF8&qid=1494893433&sr=1-1&keywords=seagate+backup+plus+slim+2tb

Is it time for a VPN?

Is it time for us to start using a VPN?
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Yes. The federal government just passed a law allowing your ISP to monetize your info. In other words, they can now sell personal information they collect by viewing what you do via your internet connection. Here's the new law: https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/senate-joint-resolution/34/actions

A VPN (virtual private network) hides your home's IP address by routing all your internet traffic through a third party server. It prevents your service provider from seeing exactly what you are viewing. They only see that you are connected. Not your content. If you do not care about your privacy, there is no need to consider using a VPN. However, if you prefer to keep your browsing habits and history private, you should be in the market for a VPN.

For a great place to get started familiarizing yourself with what a VPN does go to:
https://www.bestvpn.com/best-vpn-services/

Does Apple Recycle?

Does Apple do recycling?
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Yes. They outsource the program through a company called PowerON. More info here:
www.apple.com/recycling

Does the guest user have a password?

You set up my Mac last week and I need the guest user name and password. Currently the guest is the admin and I can not unlock it to download my programs
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The Guest User would not be involved with installing any applications.  The guest user on a mac is there for people to temporarily use the computer and then when signing out of the guest user everything done inside that user is removed.  The guest is never the Admin. The guest user doest not have any authority to install a program.  Your Admin user would do that.  Also, the guest user would never have a password.  If you go into your system preferences , select Users and Groups.  There you will see the name of your actual Admin user.  The Guest user is also there but does not effect the computer.  

Screen Shot 2017-04-18 at 11.32.33 PM

If I set any password for something without the user’s input I would have used “password”.  However, thinking back I remember you went through a couple different ideas of what you’d like your computer password to be in the Admin.  Is it possible you may have forgotten the password you chose?  If so, we can reset it.  I see you scheduled a session.  

Erase Backup drive before use?

Trying to hook up new back up drive…

It’s asking me this… do I hit erase or don’t erase?
Screenshot 2017-03-16 17.33.13
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Yes. If you're using a brand new drive for your Time Machine drive then it's ok to erase it. Most likely it was formatted as a Windows drive. While Apple can read and write to Windows drives, they cannot the the target of a of a Time Machine backup. Erasing the drive will also format the drive correctly format it for your Mac to use it as a backup drive. (MacOS Extended Journaled)

Which iMac should I buy?

Which iMac should I buy?
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The 2 major things to consider with a new mac:

1.  What type of hard drive should I buy?

Screen Shot 2017-03-15 at 7.00.59 AM

Final thought, I recommend the Fusion choice.

2. How much ram should I put in?

On a 27”, don’t worry about it.  You can always add more later.  On a 21.5”, different story.  Apple’s current iMac design on the 21” does not allow for adding ram later.  On the 27”, there is an access door to add ram later.  The 21 does not have the same door.  This means you have to buy as much ram as you feel you’ll ever need at time of purchase.  

What am I paying for?

Am I still being charged for old services I don't use anymore?

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I suggest logging into your ATT account and checking how many data plans you’re currently paying for and cancelling any that are no longer active for you. I see it happen a lot with people where they are paying for services or subscriptions they haven’t used in a long time. You'll also want to login to your iTunes account and check under subscriptions. This will show both active subs as well as ones that have expired. For subs that you are paying for outside the iTunes ecosystem like directly via Wall Street Journal for example, you'll need to log into each of those sites separately.

How do I convert my miniDV library to iMovie?

Do you recommend a product to transfer old Mini DV tapes to a Mac as an iMovie file?
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Your old camera may have an old type of output cable that will connect to the computer like USB or FireWire. If it does, stop. You don't need anything. Just plug the camera in via that cable. Open iMovie. Choose to import media and select the source as your external camera. You might have to put the camera into some sort of exporting mode. However, there is a chance are that your old miniDV camera may not be recognized by iMovie. So instead proceed ahead…

What you'll need is a physical device that will act as a transcoder of sorts. It's called an "analog to digital converter". This box will sit in between your old camera that can play the tapes and the computer. Here's a popular one I've had success with in the past.

Elgato Video Capture
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There are others on the market that look and act similarly.

Lastly, keep in mind that if you're importing a great deal of hours of footage, your internal hard drive may be too small to hold that much data. You may want to consider using an external hard drive to store the movie files. iMovie will allow you to choose where the imported media will live.

What phone should I buy my son for his birthday?

Hi Scotty.  I hope you are well.  I’m going to get my soon to be 13 year old a phone for his bday.  What do you recommend?
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13 year olds don't need the largest capacity size so I'd look at going as inexpensive as possible. The smaller 7S would be fine. 16 or 32 gigs. You'll want to have a serious conversation about using data since he'll most likely be going on your data plan. Kids are well known for burning through data plans very quickly due to the amount of video and music they stream daily.

Even though it's his birthday, you may also consider the possibility of getting a new phone for one of the adults in the home and handing down your current one. Just a thought.

My airport network is having problems.

The devices which you installed to boost my wi`fi i n the house have yellow lights on and service is weak downstairs from office.I un plugged the little black box but only two green lights reappeared.What must I do?
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A couple of things at play here. 1st, the yellow flashing is either being caused by the presence of an update available or it could mean there's a problem with the network setup. Since you're experiencing problems with the signal strength it seems likely that the later is the cause.
Open airport utility and see if you can run any updates (denoted by red circles). After any updates are run now take an inventory of the devices present on the network grid. Screen Shot 2017-01-16 at 11.57.37 PM
As in the example above, if you see one device showing a yellow triangle, then that device has somehow fallen off the network. Check the power to that device first. Secondly you may need to hold the reset button on the back for approximately 5 seconds until the yellow light flashes rapidly then use airport utility to re-add the device back on to the network. Airport Utility does a very good job of making that process very easy to do.

Photos permissions may cause sync to phone to fail

Photos not completing the iPhone sync via iTunes after a data transfer to a new hard drive.
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The issue could be related to permissions. Quit both iTunes and Photos then hold down the option+command keys and re-open Photos. You'll be prompted to repair the library.
Screen Shot 2017-01-16 at 11.52.20 PM
Try after that process is complete, give that a try.

Why aren't I getting my daughter's calendar invitations?

quick question. I am not receiving any calendar invites from Bethany. Should I have something turned on I don't?
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There's nothing to turn on to allow calendar invitations. This probably comes down to the calendar account she is inviting you to. If your family has set up family sharing in iCloud then all members of the family have a common "family" calendar. She could also share a specific calendar to you by right clicking in the calendar in her calendar program and typing the email Apple ID email address associated with your iCloud account.

Most likely she is inviting the wrong email address Apple ID.

If she's using a gmail calendar and you're using and iCloud calendar you should still be able to be invited to the event. (I think) But really it works best if both users are either using iCloud calendars or gmail calendars. Not one in each.

Tricked, not hacked...

Here's yet another example of the strategy bad guys use to trick you into giving up your username and password to any given service. Then they proceed to try that username and password on other services like Amazon, PayPal, random banking sites, eBay, and so on in hope that you use the same combination on multiple accounts.

Common email received:
Screen Shot 2017-01-15 at 6.26.54 PM

Now click on the far right side of the email address to see who it's really from:
Screen Shot 2017-01-15 at 6.26.08 PM

Now hover your mouse over the link in the email to see where you are really being sent:
Screen Shot 2017-01-15 at 6.24.04 PM

So let's say you fall for it by clicking the link. What happens next? They take you to a page that looks exactly like eBay with one very important exception. It's not. Here's how to tell:
Screen Shot 2017-01-15 at 6.23.51 PM

Notice the URL address? That's not eBay. Moral of the story is don't trust the email links. If you feel it's really important, type the website address in yourself in your browser.

How do I change the default application that opens for a file?

Hi Scotty.

My husband started a program called numbers since excel wasn't working. He then saved a couple excel document into numbers. Numbers is now opening all his excel spreadsheets (acting as default) and even new excel documents are being saved there
Looks like numbers is also in iCloud Drive. Is this a quick fix u can help me with?
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You can change the default application that opens any file type by right clicking on the file first and choosing "Get Info". Once you see that window, select "open with" and then choose the appropriate application from the choices given. Finally select "change all". You'll be prompted with a message asking if you're sure. Say yes. Then all files with that certain file extension with open with the new program.

Screen Shot 2017-01-15 at 4.33.39 PM

Second question: iCloud drive is a dropbox-like service that apple now offers. Numbers, Keynote and Pages all now want to save your documents to iCloud by default. When you save documents you can choose where you save them in the save menu box.
Screen Shot 2017-01-15 at 4.37.26 PM
If you are looking for documents that had been previously saved in iCloud, just open a Finder window and click on the iCloud Drive icon in the left side of the menu.
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