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Sep
01

Advice for Successful Online Schooling

Advice for Successful Online Schooling

In a normal year, most kids would be back in school by now. But the COVID-19 pandemic has caused many schools to offer online instruction, and many families are now settling into a remote back-to-school arrangement. We’ve provided some advice on working from home in previous posts, but what about schooling from home? Here are some suggestions.

Create a Dedicated School Workspace

It’s hard enough for kids to pay attention when they’re in school. Just think how difficult it will be for them to pay attention to online classes if they’re surrounded by distractions. Even worse, just as you need to create some mental space between home and work, your kids need to separate home from school.

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Sep
01

When Should You Upgrade to macOS 11 Big Sur, iOS 14, iPadOS 14, watchOS 7, and tvOS 14?

When Should You Upgrade to macOS 11 Big Sur, iOS 14, iPadOS 14, watchOS 7, and tvOS 14?

As we get into September, it’s a good bet that Apple will soon—either this month or next—be pushing out major upgrades for macOS, iOS, iPadOS, watchOS, and tvOS. Apple previewed these new versions at its Worldwide Developers Conference back in June, and they’ve been in public beta for a few months. Once Apple makes macOS 11 Big Sur, iOS 14, iPadOS 14, watchOS 7, and tvOS 14 available, the question looms large—when should you install them?

(Note that we say when and not if. There’s no harm in delaying a major operating system upgrade until Apple has squashed early bugs. But waiting too long puts you at risk from security vulnerabilities and prevents you from taking advantage of compelling new features. Plus, when you buy a new Mac, iPhone, or iPad after these operating systems have shipped, you’ll get the new version, and it may not even be possible to downgrade. It’s best to be prepared in the event that you’re forced to replace one of your Apple devices unexpectedly.)

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Sep
01

Did You Know You Can Close a Mac Laptop When It Has an External Display?

Did You Know You Can Close a Mac Laptop When It Has an External Display?

We wanted to make sure that those of you who work on a Mac laptop with an external display know that you can close your laptop’s screen and keep working. Apple calls this closed-clamshell or closed-display mode. Of course, it requires that you connect an external keyboard and mouse or trackpad, via either USB or Bluetooth, and the laptop should be connected to power as well. Apple also recommends putting the Mac to sleep before disconnecting the external display. Why would you want to use closed-display mode? Mostly to conserve desk space when you have another preferred keyboard and pointing device, although it might also help graphics performance by allowing the Mac to focus on driving only the external display. There are lots of stands that hold a MacBook in a vertical orientation so it takes up less desk space.

(Featured image by Bundo Kim on Unsplash)

Sep
01

Beware iCloud Phishing Phone Calls!

Beware iCloud Phishing Phone Calls!

We’ve been hearing reports of an uptick in the scam phone calls that claim to be from Apple. If you answer, an automated message tells you that your iCloud account has been breached and asks you to call a provided 1-866 number. Do not do this! Apple will never call you unprompted. Unfortunately, the criminals behind this particular phishing attack are spoofing Apple’s phone numbers effectively, so the call looks legitimate. Be very careful about which unrecognized phone calls you answer, and if you’re ever asked for personal information like a bank account or credit card number during such a call, hang up, look up the institution’s phone number elsewhere, and verify with someone at that number rather than one provided by the caller.


(Featured image by GEORGE DESIPRIS from Pexels)

Aug
05

Apple Significantly Enhances the 27-inch iMac

Apple Significantly Enhances the 27-inch iMac

Apple’s workhorse desktop Mac, the 27-inch iMac with Retina 5K display, hasn’t seen an update since March 2019—nearly a year and a half ago. Happily, the company has finally released a new version of the popular iMac, outfitting it with 10th-generation Intel processors, increasing its RAM and storage capacities, and improving its audio and video capabilities. Prices haven’t changed, with the low-end model starting at $1799, the mid-range model at $1999, and the high-end configuration at $2299.

Separately, although Apple didn’t update either the 21.5-inch iMac or the iMac Pro, it tweaked both of their configurations. The company finally stopped selling the small, inexpensive 21.5-inch iMac with a performance-robbing hard drive. It now comes with SSDs standard across the line, with a 1 TB Fusion Drive as an alternative. For the iMac Pro, Apple dropped the 8-core Intel Xeon W processor configuration, making the base model a 10-core processor configuration.

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Jul
01

Three Connectivity Problems Remote Workers Are Having During the Pandemic

Three Connectivity Problems Remote Workers Are Having During the Pandemic

The pandemic has forced large numbers of those who are still employed—nearly half the American workforce, by some estimates—to work from home. And while that has actually improved productivity for many people, partly due to eliminating time-consuming commutes, remote work comes with its own challenges. Here are three of the top problems we’ve been helping our clients solve. Get in touch if you’re suffering from these or other tech issues that are preventing you from working as effectively as you would in your office.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, all these issues revolve around connectivity, which can make them difficult to troubleshoot. For the average user, the problem might seem to be video calls dropping out or email not working reliably, when the real culprit is an overloaded AirPort Express Wi-Fi gateway or a too-slow Internet connection.

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