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A New ODwire.org feature Mac Users who are technophobes...

Discussion in 'General Topics' started by Paul Farkas, Jan 7, 2013.

  1. Paul Farkas

    Paul Farkas Administrator

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    A true confession...I scan the topics on this forum to be certain there are no debates where users are insulting one another. In addition, I screen to be certain there are no univited vendors. I really don't understand the discussions for the most part. Whenever I get into trouble or have to learn a new ODwire.org feature, I plead with Adam to assist. He bails me out but he does not have the time or patience to instruct those of us who did not grow up with computer technology and can barely type.

    Enter MacMentor. Geoff Horwitz is an Apple graduate who was one their key instructors founded MacMentor to assist people owning Apple products but are clueless in making best use of the product. I invited Geoff to join us and borrowed, with his permission, his newest blog for 2013 to kick off this discussion. The original is on the MacMentor website for those interested in additional information...http://www.themacmentor.com/

    Geoff loves to have hands on personal contact. In this technology age he can work with a client anywhere in the country and take over the problem computer. For those who are like me that are afraid to touch the computer workings Geoff is the answer to solve potential nightmares.

    If you have any questions of general interest ask it on this topic. If you would rather keep it personal communicate with Geoff directly.


    "The MacMentor's Musings


    Resolutions and Tips to keep your Mac tuned in 2013!

    by Geoffrey Horwitz

    Happy New Year! Let's start 2013 on the right foot for you and your Mac with these simple resolutions to help your Mac perform better, and help you feel safer and more secure. I’ve broken these tips into three sections, follow along and your Mac will thank you for years to come.

    Perform Basic System Maintenance

    With the start of a new year there’s no better time to run through these easy basic maintenance tasks.


    • Update Mac system software – Keeping OS X and core system software up to date is important for optimal performance, stability, and security. Pull down the ? Apple menu, choose Software Update, and install what’s necessary. Reboot and you are good to go.
    • Update apps to latest versions – The most current versions of apps include new features and bug fixes, and keeping your apps up to date is just as important as your OS X system software. If most of your apps come from the App Store, this is so easy to do there’s virtually no reason not to do it. Just open up the Mac App Store, visit the Updates tab, and install them all.
    • Mac Feng Shui – Do some Feng Shui on your Mac! Clear out the clutter! Spend some time freeing up disk space by deleting stuff you no longer need. Look at your Downloads folder and delete anything that isn’t necessary, delete large files and archives that are no longer needed.
    • Uninstall/Delete apps you no longer use – If you have apps installed that you don’t use, all they’re doing is taking up space. Take a few moments to check out your Launchpad and Applications folder, and uninstall what you don’t use anymore. Apps from the Mac App Store can be uninstalled simply by deleting them from Launchpad, and most other apps can be uninstalled just by trashing them from the Applications directory.
    Set Up A Backup Solution

    Are you backing up your files and important documents yet? We talk about this often because you really should be, and with how easy it is to do these days there’s practically no excuse not to.


    • Time Machine – Time Machine is included in all modern versions of OS X and it makes backing up your entire hard drive as easy as possible. On initial run it will back up everything, then it will run in the background and just back up the changes that are made. All you need is another hard disk to do this, and external drives with large capacity are inexpensive these days.
    • Cloud backups – For the best backup situation, you’ll use Time Machine in conjunction with a cloud backup service, that way you’ll have two copies of all your important files, a local copy and one in the cloud that can be retrieved from anywhere. Services like CrashPlan (paid) do this for you with the same ease as Time Machine and run in the background, but if you want a more hands-on approach you can manually back up the most crucial files to the free service levels of DropBox and even Amazon S3. Dropbox integrates nicely into the Finder like any other Folder, while S3 is a bit more advanced, and if you run out of space on either it’s very cheap to get tons more. Two other cloud backup services to look at are 4shared and CX.
    Take Some Simple Security Precautions

    This is a must for MacBook Pro, for iMac users just a suggestion. It only takes a few minutes to set up simple security on a Mac. Simple things like requiring passwords in order to use the Mac at any time, and using the excellent Find My Mac service through iCloud should be considered mandatory (for MacBook Pro users).


    • Require Passwords – Nobody wants unauthorized users gaining access to your Mac, and among the best ways to prevent that is to require passwords for booting login and when waking from sleep. Enable and use the screen lock feature when you step away from your desk, and disable Automatic Login through the Users & Accounts preferences panel to force passwords on boot and reboot.
    • Find My Mac – Part of the free iCloud service, Find My Mac is the OS X version of Find My iPhone service that lets you quite literally pinpoint a Mac precisely on a map. If it is lost or sadly gets stolen, you will know exactly where it is, and precise location information like this can help you or the proper authorities recover your hardware again. I have personally had friends and colleagues and customers recover missing hardware using this service, it’s free, and it’s invaluable. If you haven’t set up Find My Mac (and the iPhone and iPad versions too for that matter), take a few minutes shoot me an email and I will happily assist!
    • Add Identification Messages – After you have passwords required to access a Mac, add a quick identification message so that if your computer does get lost, it’s easy for someone to figure out who it belongs to. Ideally, put an ownership name, email address, and phone number on the login screen and screen saver. Its east to configure login messages in OS X, and even less time to set a message as your screen saver. If you need help with this, again shoot me an email and I can walk you through it!
    The best to you and your devices in 2013!"
     
  2. Paul Farkas

    Paul Farkas Administrator

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    Understandable advice for Mac users

    Some useful information from MacMentor. Reprinted by permission. For more information or assistance....http://www.themacmentor.com/



    The MacMentor's Musings

    "Apple's Ecosystem, a 20000 foot view

    by Geoffrey Horwitz on 01/15/13

    The Apple Ecosystem and How you Benefit from it!

    Most people don’t realize that when they purchase an Apple device, they are also buying into Apple’s ecosystem. Apple’s ecosystem consists of your devices (Mac, iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch) as well as iTunes, iCloud, iMessage and Facetime.

    Let’s start with what I consider the key to the Apple ecosystem, the Apple ID. An Apple ID is an email address that Apple uses as a pointer to your “locker” of content within the Apple ecosystem. Your Apple ID can be any email address (Gmail, Yahoo!, Hotmail, AOL or iCloud, etc.) that you currently use. For those who don’t have an email address, or are looking for a new one, Apple will give you a free email address through iCloud. Your Apple ID is what you will use to sign in to the iTunes Store, Mac App Store, iCloud, iMessage and Facetime.

    When purchasing content through iTunes, your Apple ID tells Apple who’s “locker” the content should be stored in, as well as what devices your content can be used on. The same is true of the Mac App Store. With iCloud, your Apple ID is what Apple uses to push or sync your non entertainment content (Notes, Reminders, Calendar events, Contacts) to all your devices. A great part of this ecosystem, and a feature that I love is iMessage. What’s great is that it allows you to send a text from any device using iMessage; Mac, iPhone, iPad or iPod touch, to any device using iMessage, and it’s FREE, FREE, FREE! Lastly, there’s Facetime. Facetime is the video chat feature of Apple’s ecosystem. You sign into Facetime with your Apple ID and you can instantly video chat with anyone else who has a Facetime capable device.

    Ok, that’s a high level of what your Apple ID does for you within the ecosystem, now let’s break it down further first by iTunes, and the Mac AppStore, then iCloud.

    iTunes is the heart of the Apple Ecosystem. It came to life twelve years ago, in January of 2001. iTunes is where you purchase entertainment for your Apple Devices. What started out as a cool place to store your music has evolved into an incredible online entertainment store, where you can not only buy music, but movies, TV shows, Apps for your iPhone/iPad/iPod touch and much more. You can even take classes from many of the top Universities around the world through iTunes U! Whichever device you choose to purchase entertainment content from, you are required to enter your Apple ID (and password). This allows Apple to correctly share that content to the proper devices. The Mac App Store works the same way as iTunes, only it’s content is specific to Mac computers, where iTunes content can be used on all Apple devices.

    Now let’s discuss iCloud. The iCloud service is Apple’s latest attempt at cloud storage and syncing, and it blows away its predecessor, MobileMe. What iTunes is for entertainment content, iCloud is for your personal, non-purchased content. The iCloud service is available on all Mac’s running at least OSX 10.7 and all iOS devices running at least iOS 5.0.

    To enable iCloud on your Mac computers, you’ll go into system preferences, click the iCloud preference, and login in with, you guessed it, your Apple ID! On your iOS device, you’ll tap on settings, and scroll down to the iCloud setting, tap, and sign in with...your Apple ID! Then you’ll choose which content you desire to sync and backup through iCloud. Now what some people don’t realize is that iCloud can and should be used to back up your iOS device(s)! Wirelessly!

    How does one go about that you ask? Good question! All you’ll need is the white cord and power supply that came with your device, and an electrical outlet. Plug the appropriate ends of the cord into the iOS device and the power supply, plug the power supply into the outlet, put your device to sleep ( or let it go to sleep on its own), and, that’s all you do.

    Once a day, iCloud will back up your non-purchased content (mail, if you have an iCloud account, Contacts, Calendar events, Reminders, Notes). A couple of other great features of iCloud are Photo Stream, Documents and Data and Find my iPhone. Photo Stream let’s you share pictures, wirelessly, between all your Apple devices (and you can also share your photo stream with friends and family who don't have Apple devices now as well).

    Now, on your Macs, you be have the appropriate version of iPhoto (which comes on all Macs circa late 2011 and forward). If you are running an older Mac with OSX 10.7 or later, and have yet to upgrade iPhoto, you will NOT have Photo Stream on your Mac. Upgrading iPhoto is simple, go to the Mac App Store and download it for $14.99.

    Photo Stream will house up to 1000 pictures at a time, for up to 30 days. Here’s how it works. You take pictures with your iOS device, and those pictures will be virtually available in your Photo Stream. So after a day of picture taking, you can come to your Mac and see those pictures in iPhoto, without having to do anything! Just click on the Photo Stream option in iPhoto and your pictures are virtually there. You can also take pictures from your current iPhoto library and drag those pictures to Photo Stream to share with your iOS devices, pretty cool! If you use the iWork suite of tools (Pages, Keynote and Numbers), iCloud can be used to sync your content from those applications between your devices.

    So you can create a Keynote presentation on your Mac, save it to iCloud, and open it on your iOS device, very, very cool! The Find My Phone service of iCloud is indispensable. If you’ve misplaced your iOS device, or sadly if it gets stolen, you can log into iCloud.com (with your Apple ID!), and locate it! That is awesome for those of us who quite often forget where we leave our devices! It works using the GPS on your device to locate and display that information to a Map on iCloud.com, very cool!

    I once had a customer who had her phone stolen, and we were able to track it on iCloud.com. We called the police, informed them of where it was, they tracked down the perpetrator and got my client her phone back! Technology at work!

    That friends, is a high level overview of Apple’s ecosystem and it’s benefits. For more in depth help, please contact me to set up an appointment!"


     
  3. Paul Farkas

    Paul Farkas Administrator

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    Another useful blog

    From the MacMentor Newsletter 1/24/13...

    "The MacMentor's Musings

    Cloud Storage, getting you off on the right foot!
    by Geoffrey Horwitz on 01/24/13

    Cloud Storage, what are your options?

    I’ve had many customers ask me about cloud storage, if I use it, and what I’d recommend. So I thought I’d write a blog to help you out if you are just starting out in the cloud storage arena. There are many other options in addition to the four that I’m going to cover here. I choose these four as each has their own unique features so I think it’s a good place to begin.

    I do use, or have used Dropbox, Google Drive and CX.com and Box.com. The reason I go with these four, varies. Dropbox was one of the first players on the scene, so I’ve been using it for a few years now. I like the ease with which it integrates with Mac OSX (and Windows), though it does have it’s drawbacks. CX.com is new to the game, they offer a good deal of more storage for free, and like Dropbox have a very good App for your iOS devices. Google Drive is one of the many tools to spawn out of Gmail. One of the great features of Google Drive is that, If you have a Google account, you automatically get access to Google Drive for free! The last option that I’m going to write about, Box.com has also been around for a few years. Box is geared toward the enterprise, though anyone can sign up. Box gives users 5gb free storage, and like the other three the ability to upgrade to more storage for a monthly or yearly fee.

    Let’s dig a little further into the options, we’ll start with Dropbox. Dropbox has been around longer than the three others here (since 2004), that doesn’t however make it the best option. Dropbox has an easy to use interface, and new users start with 2gb of free storage. It entices you to share Dropbox with everyone you know by offering you 500mb of free storage for everyone who joins, based on your introduction, giving you up to 18gb of free storage, which is pretty awesome and it’s the most free storage currently offered. Dropbox installs on your Mac (or PC) as well as your iPhone or iPad. Once you’ve installed in on your Mac, you can easily transfer files using Finder (a very nice option), or you can log into Dropbox.com from your browser of choice and upload files through it’s friendly easy to use interface. Dropbox’s features are more limited than some of the others here, but it’s very good at what it does, which is provide you with either additional storage, or a place to back up and share your important files. If the 2gb you get for free (or if you can get your friends/family to join you and get up to 18gb free) isn’t enough, you can purchase additional storage, starting at 100gb for $9.99 a month, 200gb for $19.99 all the way up to 500gb for $49.99 a month. Dropbox’s iOS app let’s you download files, or upload pictures or movies from your iPhone or iPad, a nice addition and a great way to have access to the files you need, wherever and whenever you need them. Another nice feature is that it let’s your share files directly, rather than having to email or message them to someone. All in all, nice easy to use interface, potential for most free space, but not as many options as the other three choices that follow.

    Next up, Google Drive. Although new in its current incarnation, has actually been around since 2005, when it started as Google Docs. What is now Google Drive, is a nice leap forward. Google Drive gives you 5gb of free storage, and the ability to create documents using Google’s web suite of applications. You can create a document, spreadsheet or presentation. Something not offered by Dropbox or CX.com. There’s even an online store where you can add apps to your Google Drive, a very nice feature indeed, although let me point out this caveat, most apps require Google’s Chrome browser in order to work. So if you don’t use Chrome, most of those apps are not suitable for your browser! Similar to Dropbox, Drive has a nice iOS app that gives you access to all your files, wherever and whenever you need, also allowing you to upload photos or videos. If the 5gb of free storage is not enough, you can purchase 25gb for $2.49 a month, and 100gb for $4.99 a month, both great deals. Google Drive is especially nice in that with it you have access to ALL the Google apps (to numerous to list here). Drive let’s you share documents with other Google users (and vice versa), and in my opinion has the best integration companion, Google Hangouts. Hangouts is a free video conferencing tool that I’m going to tackle in another blog soon to come. All in all, the online interface needs help, extra storage is inexpensive, Google integration is a huge plus!

    Now onto CX.com. CX is new to the scene, but they get you going with a killer 10gb of free storage! They have 256 bit encryption, they have redundant backups in case anything happens to their systems, and added firewall protection to keep you data safe, all killer features! Like Google Drive, CX has a group feature that let’s you collaborate with other people (team members, family, friends etc.), though it does not offer video conferencing as of this blog writing. It also has a nice feature where you can highlight some files as favorites for offline viewing when necessary. Like the other cloud offerings, Cx’s iOS app allows you the ability to upload photo’s and video directly from your iPhone or iPad. CX seems to like the Dropbox idea where you share with friends, and if they sign up you get additional storage, because they do something similar, only where Dropbox offers 500mb of storage per person, CX is offering 300mb with the ability to earn up to 6gb additional free storage, giving you a potential total of 16gb free storage. Unlike Dropbox, CX’s integration with the Mac is not through Finder, rather it has an App you can download, run and pick which folder(s) you wish to sync (very easy to use). CX has great plans if you wish to add storage. I’m just going to cover the Personal Plans here, there are additional plans for businesses. A user can upgrade to 25gb for $4.99 a month. If that isn’t enough for you, you can go to 50gb for $9.99 a month, and if you still need more, for $24.99 a month you’ll get a whopping 175gb of storage! That’s no small chunk of change, however if you are looking for a good online back-up of pictures or movies (or both), that’s a good way to go! All in all I like CX’s online interface, but wish the Mac access was via Finder instead of having to run an additional app to sync your files.

    The last storage option I’m going to cover here is Box.com. Box started selling cloud storage into enterprises before it opened up to consumers. Like Dropbox, they are offering 5gb of free storage. Also like Dropbox, Box has great integration into Mac OSX, where you can access your files through Finder. Box’s big differentiator is their ability to allow you to create a document using the Microsoft Suite (Word, Excel and Powerpoint) of tools. If you do not have a copy of Microsoft Word (or Excel or Powerpoint), it opens a cloud version for you, and automatically saves your work to your Box storage, not your computer. Box also one up’s Google Drive by letting you create a Google Doc! Little by little we are getting away from the need to own copies of Microsoft Office (or any other office products for that matter). Because of it’s tight Microsoft integration Box, in my opinion, is a narrow winner for businesses. Box has, again in my opinion, the best and easiest to use online interface. Box’s iOS app is very similar to the others, with the same features. You can tap a file and make it a favorite, which will allow offline access. You can also upload pictures and video from you iPhone or iPad. If you are looking for additional storage, a single user can upgrade to 25gb for $9.99 a month. Small businesses can upgrade to 1TB of storage for $15 a month.

    That was a mouth full!

    So which one is best, that depends on your needs. If you are looking for the most free storage, CX.com is the way to go. If you are looking for the most mature product, Box is the way to go. If you are looking for one with the most options, Google Drive should be your choice. Since they are all free, I recommend trying them all out and seeing which one suits you the best. You may very well end up like me, using more than one, or you may decide you only need one. I hope the blog helps, if you like it or even if you don’t, leave a comment I love hearing from you…Until next time, Best to you and your devices!"

    Do you have any specific Mac questions? Post them here and I'll pass them on to the MacMentor.

     
  4. Paul Farkas

    Paul Farkas Administrator

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    answers to iCloud questions

    From the 1/30/13 MacMentor newsletter...

    "The MacMentor's Musings [h=2]

    iCloud


    by Geoffrey Horwitz on 01/30/13

    Wait, there’s one more cloud option I didn’t write about in my previous blog…

    Those of you wondering why iCloud was not reviewed in my previous blog, there is a very good reason. I choose to dedicate this blog to iCloud because it is so different than Dropbox, CX.com, Box.com and Google Drive.

    The similarities between iCloud and the others do exist, however the differences were big enough to warrant iCloud it’s own blog!

    The strength of iCloud is it’s ability to sync and share your content across your devices without you having to do anything! This is a feature iCloud owns and owns proudly. Yes the other vendors can sync and share content as well, but none with the ease and efficiency of iCloud. Google Drive, Dropbox, CX and Box.com don’t do anything with your contacts, calendar events, notes, reminders and Safari tabs, but iCloud spreads this content across your devices without you needing to press a sync button! To Apple’s credit, they have chosen to keep iCloud different than other cloud storage options and for the most part it’s been fantastic.

    So here’s how iCloud works. If you have an iCloud capable device (Mac running at least OSX 10.7, iOS device running at least iOS 5), you’ll go to the iCloud setting and sign in with your AppleID. Turn the specific settings on that you wish to share/sync across your devices, and iCloud does the rest.

    Let’s say you’ve got an iMac, iPhone and iPad. You are at a client site, you enter the clients information on your iPhone. Later that day you jump onto your iMac, go to the contacts app, and what do you know, the information you entered while at your client is there, thanks to iCloud syncing! If you change the information on the Mac, that change will be sent into iCloud and shared with your iPhone and iPad! You do nothing but enter/change your content! I love that!

    Working on your iPad, entering a new Calendar event or Reminder? Swoosh, it goes up to iCloud and is shared with your iMac and iPhone! How about Photo stream? Talk about great features?!?

    Take a picture with your iPhone, Swoosh up it goes to iCloud, head back to your iMac, open up iPhoto, click on Photo Stream option, and theres the picture you just took with your iPhone! No Cables Necessary, no syncing necessary! First time I tried this back in October of 2011 I was amazed, every time I show this to a customer and watch their amazement I still get amazed! It just works…

    Another great addition to the iCloud service is Find My iPhone. With the Find My iPhone setting turned on, you can locate your iPhone (or iPad or Mac), as long as those devices are turned on and signed into iCloud with your AppleID! If you misplace your device, you can do one of two things. First, head to a computer, open a browser, log into iCloud.com and click the Find My iPhone option. Or, you can download the Find My iPhone App onto another device, and log into it with your AppleID to find your missing iPhone (or iPad). Another nice feature is Documents in the Cloud.

    I’m going to devote the next Blog to that feature.
    Now iCloud comes with 5gb of free storage. That storage includes your content, Apps (and any content that goes with said Apps), pictures and if you use Documents in the cloud (Pages, Keynote and Numbers), that will count against your storage as well. Similar to the other cloud storage options, you can purchase additional storage in increments of 10gb for $20 per year (giving you 15gb), 20gb for $40 a year (giving you 25gb), and 50gb for $100 per year (giving you 55gb).

    Now for those of you with families, iCloud setup could potentially be tricky. If you are sharing an AppleID amongst your family for entertainment (Music, movies, books, apps tv shows etc), you’ll want to think very hard about using that shared AppleId for iCloud. Here’s an example of what could occur: Family of four, mom dad and two teenagers. All using the same AppleID for entertainment. It works great as family has similar tastes, and the content that some family members don’t want they don’t need to download to their devices. This scenario works great. Now, take that same family and use the scenario for iCloud, and things get very murky! Now, Mom dad and kids are sharing contacts, calendar events, notes, reminders and who know what else!! Not an optimal scenario at all!

    For iCloud I highly recommend each family member use their own AppleID.

    Thanks for reading, I’m glad you find the blogs interesting and I do appreciate comments!

    Until next time, wishing the best to you and your devices!"
     
  5. Paul Farkas

    Paul Farkas Administrator

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    More assistance with your Mac...

    From the MacMentor musing 2/5/13...

    Backing up your Mac

    by Geoffrey Horwitz on 02/05/13

    Backing up your Mac

    How many of you back-up your Mac? If you smiled, shook your head no, I’m smiling back at you saying, start today! Backing up your Mac couldn’t be easier. Your Mac comes with a great, easy to use piece of software called Time Machine.

    All you have to do is plug an external drive into an open USB slot on your Mac, open up Time Machine Preferences (found on the upper menu bar, two icons to the left of the Wireless icon). Turn Time Machine on, and choose the drive you wish to use as your back-up, click Use Disk, and your back-ups are going to begin!

    Time Machine keeps hourly backups for the past 24 hours, daily backups for the past month, and weekly backups for all previous months. If you are thinking, “oh, I’ll get around to it”, or “I’ll do it when I have time”, make time now. The saying “better safe than sorry”, never applied more than it does with the content on your hard drive! Sadly, if there is anything that is going to fail on your Mac, the hard drive is among the most likely.

    You don’t want to end up like a client of mine who had multiple hard drives on the same machine fail, and sadly lost five years worth of pictures (and tons of documents as well)! That’s a lot of memories to loose!

    Now let’s talk about how big of an external drive that you should purchase. Ideally, it will be twice the size of your hard drive. So if you have a 500gb hard drive, you should pick up a 1TB external drive for you back ups. I recommend keeping that drive solely for your back ups.

    You’ll want to make sure the drive is formatted for the Mac (if you pick it up through Apple, you won’t have to worry, if you are not sure, give me a call!). Your first back-up (depending on how much content you have) could take a few hours. After that, your back ups will be considerably quicker. Time Machine will only back up new and modified files.

    There’s another great way to back up your Mac, and that is using Time Capsule. Time Capsule is an awesome multi-purpose device. It not only can do wireless back ups to it’s 2TB or 3TB drive (you choose the model that best suits your needs, and oh yeah, that’s 2,000gb or 3,000gb!), but it doubles as your wireless router! You don’t have to worry about formatting it’s hard drive, it comes formatted for the Mac

    How incredibly convenient! Your router does your backups, nice! If you’ve purchased a Time Capsule, once you’ve set it up, you’ll enter the Time Machine service and choose the Time Capsule as your back up, couldn’t be easier!
    Like always, if you have any questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to email or call me!

    Until next time,

    Best to you and your devices!"
     
  6. Paul Farkas

    Paul Farkas Administrator

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    More Mac information

    "Get your cloud music on!


    Today’s blog takes us to some technology near and dear to my heart, music players! But not just any old music players, cloud music players. What is a cloud music player?And why do I want to play music in the clouds?How do I use it, why do I need it?So many questions, good thing I’m writing this blog!So next question, makes these cloud players?Apple, Amazon and Google are the ones I'm going to cover today! If you are like me, and have a large music library, the advent of a cloud music player is like a godsend. Giving you the ability to take your music with you anywhere, and anytime you want it.

    How do these Cloud Music Services work?

    iTunes Match will scan the music in your library and either upload it to the cloud or find a match for it on its servers. Google Music, requires that you use the Google Music Manager before it gets to work. You'll need to point the app to the location of your music library—whether it's in Windows Media Player, iTunes, or some other location on your hard drive—and the Music Manager will scan those files and look for existing matches in the cloud, or upload them directly if they do not exist. Google Play allows you to keep up to 20,000 songs stored on Google's servers.

    iTunes Match stores your entire music library in iCloud and matches up to 25,000 tracks (songs purchased from the iTunes do not count toward your 25,000 limit).Amazon's Cloud Player Premium, has two options: the free version which allows up to 250 imported songs, while the subscription version costs $24.99 a year but enables subscribers to upload 250,000 imported tracks. These limits do not count toward purchases that were made from Amazon MP3 directly.
    Once your music is uploaded to Google Music, you can listen to it via a Web browser or on your mobile device—this includes both Android and iOS devices, though on an iPhone or iPad it is only accessible via an HTML 5-rendered webpage, not as easy as opening an app and running it “native”.

    This is where iTunes Match and Amazon Cloud player beat Google Music, and in my opinion iTunes is the winner. With iTunes Match, your music is accessible through all iOS devices, as well as through iTunes on your Mac. With Amazon Cloud Player, you don’t have a desktop option, but can access your collection on the Web or via an iOS or Android app.


    Uploading your music to the cloud...

    Each services requires a desktop component to upload the music to the cloud. Google requires you to download the Music Manager application, while iTunes Match works seamlessly with iTunes. Google’s Music Manager can scan various applications for new music, including iTunes and Windows Media Player on the PC. For iTunes Match to upload your library, your music needs be imported into the iTunes library or purchased from the iTunes Store. Amazon requires you to download the Amazon Music Importer, which is a browser plug-in for Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Safari. Sorry Google Chrome users, but you are out of luck here. according to Amazon, newer versions of Google Chrome do not fully support the latest iteration of Adobe Flash Player. You'll also need Adobe AIR installed to get the Music Importer to work with your browser.

    By default, the Amazon Music Importer app uploads the music from your iTunes or Windows Media Player libraries, (there is an option to manually filter through your own folders on your hard). Once you hit go, Amazon will proceed to upload and match any file it can from your library. The ease of iTunes makes it a winner, again here.
    Uploading your music to all three services is fairly easy. Knowing what music has been uploaded or matched, not so much! In iTunes, you click the Song tab and from there you can check the “iCloud status” to determine whether a song has been matched or uploaded. Google Music is a bit trickier to figure out since the music player is mostly Web-based. Amazon Cloud Player offers a very thorough rundown of why specific files weren't matched or why they weren't uploaded. You can also head to the browser-based library and right-click on specific files to check and see if the "Fix Incorrect Match" option crops up.

    Each service also features a limit to how many computers can be linked with an account. Fortunately for multi-device households, iTunes Match allows up to 10 devices to link with the service, while Amazon Cloud Player allows 8. Google Music also allows up to 10 computers to link with the Music Manager, though doing so produced duplicate library entries: Google's service uploaded the same album available on two different computers twice without cross referencing to check and see if it was already available. This is not only a little frustrating for the picky music archivist, but it’s also unfair to have those duplicates count toward the 20,000 song limit. iTunes fared much better with this because of the native “search for duplicates” feature available with iTunes, and it doesn't throw anything up in the cloud it has already matched. Amazon Cloud Player suffered greatly from its aforementioned metadata problem, producing too many duplicates across the board.

    Mobile streaming

    Google Music streams matched songs at 320kbps, while iTunes streams them in AAC format at 256kbps. Amazon does so at the same bit rate as iTunes, but in MP3 format. If the original file is a higher bit rate in iTunes, iTunes Match will stream at that rate (Amazon does not have a similar offer, however.) For our mobile devices, streaming over Wi-Fi was far more successful than streaming over 3G. On both an Android handset and an iPhone, Google Music, Amazon MP3, and iOS's Music app started up songs instantaneously. All three services allow individual songs and albums to be downloaded for offline use—a nice feature for when you’re venturing into an area without service and want to bring along a few choice albums. If your computer dies and you need to get your entire music library back on your computer, Google Music makes this a cinch.

    The Music Manager allows you to download your entire library with one click of a button. The time it takes to do so depends entirely on your Internet connection and how large your library is, but the option is there should you need it. It's also possible to use this after your computer has crashed and burned and the operating system has been re-installed, because everything is linked to your existing Google account. If you wish to download a specific song, it's possible to do so from the Web-based player by right-clicking and selecting Download. Unfortunately, users can only download individual tracks twice in their existence in the cloud, though this does not apply to music that is downloaded via the Music Manager.

    iTunes Match does not offer the ability to download an entire library at once, though it does allow you to download tracks and albums individually. As an added bonus, you can replace your low bit rate files with higher bit rate ones from Apple's servers by simply deleting the file from your hard drive and re-downloading the matched file from iTunes. Google does not offer this feature, and users can only download the file at whatever bit rate it had originally been uploaded.
    Amazon Cloud Player only allows you to download up to 500 songs at one time. Each download session will prompt the Amazon MP3 Downloader to launch, which is another desktop application required for use with the service. It will download the song in MP3 format at 256kbps, or its original bit rate if it wasn't matched. Unlike iTunes and Google Music, we would caution against using this particular service to "replace" your old library, if only because of how difficult it is to get all of the music out of the cloud.

    Who should you trust with your music?

    Thankfully each music service is good, and which service you should go with depends entirely up to you. If you’re committed to the Apple ecosystem and can’t imagine ever leaving another ecosystem, iTunes Match is well worth the annual investment. iTunes Match is also better at eliminating duplicates than both Google Music and Amazon Cloud Player; it's overall a much cleaner experience. The songs you buy through the iTunes store don't count against your limit. The ability to manage your entire library from a desktop application is more user friendly than controlling it all from the browser.If your main concern is getting your music in the cloud and keeping it there, Google Music’s solution is free and offers many of the same features as Apple's iTunes.

    It's also convenient for Android users, as it's one of the Android operating system's featured apps. Google wants you to use it to store music on your device. If you have no plans to pay for a cloud locker service, at least consider downloading the Google Music Manager and getting your songs stored somewhere in the cloud.
    Finally, the Amazon Cloud Player: while it's chock full of features that both Google Music and iTunes Match offer, it also has the highest allowance of uploaded music for subscribers. If you own a huge library that spans decades, Amazon's service may be the perfect match for you.

    The only caveat here is that Amazon Cloud Player is not an all-inclusive locker like Google Music—it doesn't store podcasts, for instance—and its applications aren't as seamlessly integrated as Google's or iTunes. Google's Music Manager stays in the background, while iTunes is a part of the iOS syncing process. Amazon's Cloud Player does not normally come bundled with iOS and Android, so it would require the extra step of downloading the application to play any music.
    If you're an Android user, you can either stick with the native Google Music service and enjoy the fact that podcasts and all of your favorite B-sides will make it into the cloud without any annual subscription free, or you can take that extra precaution and keep everything stored up in Amazon's services. iOS users have the best integration here, however: an iTunes Match subscription fee ensures that all that music is stored on Apple's servers, it allows users to swap out lower bit rate files with better ones, and instantly syncs up their music library with all iOS devices and computers connected with a particular iTunes account (AppleID). Unless you're not an iOS user, iTunes
    Match is simply the way to go.

    Thanks for reading...and until next time, best to you and your devices!"
     
  7. Paul Farkas

    Paul Farkas Administrator

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    More MacMentor musing...

    "iCloud Photo Stream!

    by Geoffrey Horwitz on 03/25/13




    Welcome to the 12th edition of The MacMentor tidbits which will cover the Photo Stream option of iCloud.

    Photo Stream was introduced in October of 2011, along with iCloud, iOS 5 and a new version of iPhoto (for those people running OSX 10.7, at the time). Photo Stream was not the first photo sharing software to hit the market (There’s Flickr, Shutterfly, SnapFish, Photobucket and Picasa to name a few), but it was Apple first foray into online pictures.

    Apple’s take on photo sharing was initially, as you might expect, closed to non-Apple users. Here’s how it worked. You’d snap photos with your iOS device running iOS 5, and when you got into a Wi-Fi zone, those pictures would magically go into the cloud and become available on your other iCloud capable devices.

    I’ll never forget the first time I tried it. Same day the iPhone 4S came out (Oct 14, 2011, I think!), I was outside taking pictures of my kids playing football. Now I had already updated my version of iPhoto for my iMac, and turned iCloud and Photo Stream on, so when I came into the house, and my iPhone attached to our WI-Fi network, the fifty or so pictures I took, started flowing to the Photo Stream.

    I came over to my iMac and opened up iPhoto, clicked on the Photo Stream option, and sure enough, the pictures I had just snapped with my brand new iPhone began appearing on my iMac! I didn’t have to plug my iPhone in, and copy those pictures into my computer, thanks to iCloud and Photo Stream I had a copy of those pictures without having to do anything! Nice. I love technology when it works. So, how does it work?

    Let’s start with your device(s). Photo Stream works with iCloud, so in order to make use of it, your devices need to be iCloud capable. Your iOS device(s) needs to be running at least iOS 5.1 (if you are not at iOS 6, seriously consider upgrading). Your Mac needs to be running at least OSX 10.7.5, and you’ll need iPhoto 9.2.2 or Aperture 3.2.3 or later.Photo Stream does work with PC’s, but I will not be covering that here. Let’s not forget Apple TV, a wonderful way to share your photos, you’ll need at least the 2nd generation Apple TV, running software updates 5.0 or later.

    The Photo Stream option on your iOS devices is located in the iCloud Setting. To start using it, go into Settings, find and tap the iCloud setting, scroll down a bit and you’ll find the Photo Stream option, simply turn it on and start taking pictures with your device! On your Mac, you’ll open up System Preferences, click the iCloud preference, and similar to your iOS device(s), you’ll turn Photo Stream on. Now there is one additional step you’ll need to take on your Mac, you’ll go into iPhoto, or Aperture, and within either of those apps, you’ll turn Photo Stream on there as well.

    Now let’s talk about getting pictures in your Photo Stream, how many you can have there, how long they stay there, do pictures count against my iCloud storage etc. Apple states that you can have up to 1000 pictures in your Photo Stream at any given time. Apple also says you can have those pictures in your Photo Stream for 30 days. The pictures in your Photo Stream DO NOT count against your iCloud storage, very important to remember for those who are backing up their devices to iCloud.

    Deleting pictures from your Photo Stream on your iOS device is quite simple, and there are two ways to accomplish it. You can delete a single picture by clicking on the picture, then tapping the garbage can (lower right corner of screen). Or you can delete multiple pictures. To do this, you tap the Edit button (top Right), then tap the pictures you wish to delete, then tap the Delete button (bottom right). On your Mac, deleting a Photo Stream pictures is also very easy. Either within iPhoto or Aperture, click on the Photo Stream option. You can delete single pictures, or multiple pictures from Photo Stream, just as you would if you were in an Events/Photos/Faces or Places (iPhoto).

    Now let’s talk about sharing your photos from Photo Stream. This is a new option that became available in the fall of 2012 with the release of iOS 6.

    Shared Photo Streams can also be created on your Mac, running OSX 10.8.2 or later with Aperture 3.4 or later or iPhoto 9.4 or later (you could and some people do, use both). Shared Photo Stream(s) rock!

    One great feature of the shared Photo Stream is that is can be shared with non Mac or non iOS devices, thank you Apple! When you share a Photo Stream, it becomes a private website that you share by providing email addresses to those you wish to share it with.

    Here’s how you do it. On your iOS device, you’ll go into the Photo’s app, and choose Photo Stream, then you choose the pictures you wish to share by clicking the edit button (top right), tapping the photos, then choosing the share option, lower left of your screen. When you click share, you have six options to share your pictures. Via Message, another Photo Stream, Facebook, Print, Copy or Save to Camera roll.

    We are going to click the Photo Stream option. Next, click New Photo Stream, type the email addresses (or if you have them in your contacts, simply type the persons name and pick their email address). Create a name for your Photo Stream, then you can choose whether or not you wish to make this Photo Stream public, or only viewable by those whose email you provided. If the Photo Stream is NOT created as a public website, those people who were emailed your link, MUST be using that email address as an Apple ID in order to view the Shared Photo Stream, this is very important.

    If you make the Photo Stream public, it can be viewed by anyone, regardless of whether or not their email is an Apple ID or not. To create a shared Photo Stream in iPhoto, from your library, choose the pictures you wish to share, click the Share option (lower right), choose Photo Stream, enter the names (or email addresses) of those you wish to share the Photo Stream with and the rest as they say, is history! Those people who you’ve shared your Photo Stream with, who’s email address is an Apple ID, can view the pictures on their iOS device(s), as long as they are running iOS 6 or later, or on their Mac, in iPhoto 9.4 or later, or Aperture, 3.4 or later.

    The shared Photo Streams can also be viewed on an Apple TV, running software 5.1 or later. In case you were wondering, there is a limit to the number of photo’s you can share in a Photo Stream, that number is 1000. Also, shared Photo Streams never expire, until you delete them…

    So, you now know how to share your Photo Streams amongst your friend/family and me should you choose. Have fun, and until next time, I hope you and your devices are running smoothly!






    [
     
  8. Paul Farkas

    Paul Farkas Administrator

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  9. Paul Farkas

    Paul Farkas Administrator

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    Security for Mac users....

    A June message from the MacMentor...

    "Hi! Happy June, I've gotten a lot of requests for a blog about helping to secure your Mac, so here it is! If you have other suggestions you'd like to see, please email them along. Don't forget,If you are a member of the Glenview Library I'm holding workshops there throughout the summer. They'll cover iPhone, iPad and iCloud. If you are interested, email me back, the June dates are full, but spots are still available for July, August and September...

    Here's the link for the blog... www.themacmentor.com/mac-tidbits.html

    Until next time, wishing a great summer to you and your devices...

    Geoff Horwitz, Chief Mentor

    The MacMentor
    847.902.6681
    geoff@themacmentor.com
    www.themacmentor.com"
     
  10. Paul Farkas

    Paul Farkas Administrator

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    For those in love with your Apple products...

    This e mail from the MacMentor...

    "Hi!

    Check out my latest blog, http://www.themacmentor.com/mac-tidbits.html

    A sneak peek at iOS 7, before it's released to the public this fall. Hope you enjoy!

    Until next time, best to you and your devices!


    Geoff Horwitz, Chief Mentor

    The MacMentor
    847.902.6681
    geoff@themacmentor.com
     
  11. Paul Farkas

    Paul Farkas Administrator

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    An update for Mac fans...

    An E mail from MacMentor...

    Our latest blog has a great write up onwhat's new in the Notification Center for iOS 7! Check it out byclicking the link below.

    The MacMentor's Blog



    Have a Happy and Safe Holiday!




    Geoff Horwitz, Chief Mentor
    The MacMentor
    847.902.6681
    geoff@themacmentor.com
    www.themacmentor.com


     
  12. Paul Farkas

    Paul Farkas Administrator

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    Want to learn more about the Cloud?

    The MacMentor's 7/31/13 email...

    "Happy Wednesday! Looking for a quick overview of Google Docs and Pages for iCloud? Look no further, check out my latest blog entry.

    http://www.themacmentor.com/Mac-Tidb...s-vs-pages-for


    I love to hear from you, so let me know your thoughts! If you have a blog idea you'd like to see, shoot me an email and I'll do my best to cover the material for you!


    Until next time, best to you and your devices!

    Geoff Horwitz, Chief Mentor

    The MacMentor
    847.902.6681

    geoff@themacmentor.com
    www.themacmentor.com"

     
  13. Paul Farkas

    Paul Farkas Administrator

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    MacMentor gives an update

    Hi,

    I've put together a quick to do list for you prior to updating to iOS 7...:), here it is!

    1. Make sure your device is compatible (iPhone 4 and later; iPad 2 and later)

    2. Make sure you've backed up either to iCloud or your computer (via iTunes)

    3. Make sure you've updated iTunes on your computer.

    3.Wait till later today or tomorrow, the Apple servers will be inundatedand the update, should you do it today will definitely take longer thanit will should you choose to wait.

    4. Make sure you are in a wireless environment, start to finish!

    5. If you have questions or concerns, drop me an email...
    geoff@themacmentor.com
     
  14. Paul Farkas

    Paul Farkas Administrator

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  15. Paul Farkas

    Paul Farkas Administrator

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    Of interest for iOS7 users in Chicago and northern suburbs

    Hi!

    I'm happy to announce our 1st iOS 7 workshop! To be held onThursday Oct 17th, 6pm at TSMGI in Skokie.

    The workshop will start at6pm and run till 7:30...Seating is first come first served, and we arelimited to 15. If you are interested please let me know ASAP.

    Thereis a $15 fee per person,


    Until next time, best to you and your devices!

    Geoff Horwitz, Chief Mentor

    The MacMentor
    847.902.6681
    geoff@themacmentor.com
    www.themacmentor.com
    Themacmentor.blogspot.com



     
  16. Paul Farkas

    Paul Farkas Administrator

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    Tips from the MacMentor

    Hello,

    I hope your week is off to a fantastic start!

    If you'veupgraded your machine to Mavericks, I'm sure you are wondering aboutall the cool new features, and how they can make your life easier! I've taken the liberty to highlight a few in my latest blog entry.

    Please check it out, let me know your thoughts, and as always ifthere's something you'd like to read more about, don't hesitate to letme know!


    http://themacmentor.blogspot.com

    Until next time,

    Best to you and your devices!



    Geoff Horwitz, Chief Mentor
    The MacMentor
    847.902.6681
    geoff@themacmentor.com
    www.themacmentor.com
    Themacmentor.blogspot.com
     
  17. Paul Farkas

    Paul Farkas Administrator

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    The MacMentor writes...

    Hey There!

    About a year ago, I wrote a blog about the pro's andcon's of the iPad mini...With the new Mini coming out in a few weeks,I've blogged about the new Mini, and the new iPad Air...read it tohelp yourself decided which one you should purchase!


    themacmentor.blogspot.com

    I look forward to hearing back from you!

    Best,

    Geoff Horwitz, Chief Mentor

    The MacMentor
    847.902.6681
    geoff@themacmentor.com
    www.themacmentor.com
    Themacmentor.blogspot.com
     
  18. Paul Farkas

    Paul Farkas Administrator

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    Advice from the MacMentor 12/16/13

    Do you have a backup plan for your Mac? If so, great job! If not, and you need help getting started, check out my latest blog.

    themacmentor.blogspot.com

    Cheers!
    Geoff Horwitz, Chief Mentor
    The MacMentor
    847.902.6681
    geoff@themacmentor.com
    www.themacmentor.com
    Themacmentor.blogspot.com
     
  19. Paul Farkas

    Paul Farkas Administrator

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    New Years Greeting from MacMentor

    Hi and Happy New Year,

    Our Website has gotten a beautiful overhaul for 2014, please be sure to visit and check out the changes. One thing that hasn't changed is our desire to provide you with the best in Apple technology home services! We look forward to seeing you soon.

    All the best to you and your family in 2014...

    Geoff Horwitz, Chief Mentor
    The MacMentor
    847.902.6681
    geoff@themacmentor.com

    www.themacmentor.com
    Themacmentor.blogspot.com
     
  20. Paul Farkas

    Paul Farkas Administrator

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