Mac OS X Yosemite is available!

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YosemiteApple’s latest operating system, Mac OS X (10.10) Yosemite, is now available for free in the App Store. For anyone running Mac OS X 10.6.8 (Snow Leopard) or later, you can now download the free OS.

There are some restrictions, as Yosemite will only work on the following models:

  • iMac (Mid-2007 or later)
  • MacBook (13-inch Aluminum, Late 2008), (13-inch, Early 2009 or later)
  • MacBook Pro (13-inch, Mid-2009 or later), (15-inch, Mid/Late 2007 or later), (17-inch, Late 2007 or later)
  • MacBook Air (Late 2008 or later)
  • Mac Mini (Early 2009 or later)
  • Mac Pro (Early 2008 or later)
  • Xserve (Early 2009)

You also need 2 GBs of RAM to run the OS and 8 GBs of hard drive space available. If you fit these requirements, then go get the new OS! It was just unveiled this week, after the latest keynote speech had finished (they mentioned it would be available immediately after the speech ended, however it took a few hours to get the download fully online).

There are many small improvements to the OS – the most notable one that a lot of Apple enthusiasts are excited about is the ability to make phone calls with your iPhone using your Mac. Apple worked quite a bit on trying to make the integration between the two devices seamless and more integrated. They also finally included AirDrop, between the iOS and the OS X systems, allowing you to easily share files now between your phone or tablet and your Mac.

The Notification Center has also received a hefty update, making it infinitely more useful. For anyone who enjoys staying connected to the outside world, you now have the ability to share your notifications on the various social media sites out there.

You can further review all of the really interesting upgrades, and download your copy of the new Mac OSx, Yosemite here.

 

When Techs Need Tech Support: a spooky story

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Zombies - 28:50 a.m. I walked into work at Everon, stood at my desk, clocked in, and was immediately attacked by zombies. These humanoid creatures closely resembled my co-workers, but with huge eyes and stress-creased faces. They plodded forward, closing in on me. The same words repeated out of their mouths in a strange, garbled chant: Coffee machine… broken…. Won’t. Make. Coffee.

I am in charge of dealing with the coffee needs of the office. This is, of course, because I drink tea.

My breathing became shallow. I backed up until my legs hit my desk. Terror gripped my gut. The Walking Dead had nothing on these guys.

In some dim, still-rational recess of my brain, I knew this was a situation I’d seen before. My mind raced, trying to remember what to do, hoping that whatever I’d done before would work again. I hid my fear, nodded solemnly, and schooled my expression to be clinical, like a doctor. (Zombies are afraid of doctors, right?) Then, as fast as I could, I sat down at my desk and blitzed out an email to our coffee rep. More zombies approached. Coffee machine… broken….

Warm Bodies, Summit Entertainment/Lionsgate, 2013

Thirty seconds later, when my rep hadn’t responded, I pulled out her business card and called her cell phone. This time I also programmed her number into my contact list. She answered. As calmly as I could I explained the situation. I then relayed her message back to my coworkers—a message that was eerily reminiscent of what our own clients must say to their coworkers, after having contacted us for downed servers or Internet failure:

“A ticket has been opened; our status has been marked as ‘urgent.’ An onsite tech will be here shortly.”

Resigned groans filled the air, but my under-caffeinated colleagues lumbered back to their desks. I prayed my slightly-misleading verbiage would go unnoticed: I had no idea how long “shortly” would wind up being.

Trying to keep the horde pacified, I repeated the message frequently. The clock ticked. At one point a Desktop Engineer, who was clearly not himself, demanded coffee-status updates in 15-minute increments. I kept my expression clinical and forced myself to take deep breaths, so as not to belie my fright.

Hours later, at 3 p.m. the coffee machine tech arrived. We had an unusual problem that took him a half-hour to fix. But I’d made it. More to the point, my crew had made it. They say doctors make the worst patients. Well, it’s the same with techs who need tech support, especially when it involves missing their java. Now we’re all good. As long as we don’t run out of beans…!

Zombies - 3a

How to Text Through Your Email

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email to cell phoneHave you ever wondered how to send an email to someone’s phone? It might not have ever occurred to you to do this, but it can be done. The benefits of sending emails to a phone is that you can basically text to a phone through your mail client on your machine. It’s very convenient!

In order to send a message to a phone, you need to know two things:

  1. The phone number, complete with area code.
  2. The person’s phone carrier (i.e. AT&T, Verizon, etc.)

Once you have those, you are ready to send a text through your mail client!

Here are the major carriers’ email formats to be used:

You simply take the user’s complete cell phone and add the carrier’s domain after the @ symbol. One example: if a user has AT&T, the email address would be: 5555555555@txt.att.net (of course I can’t put a real phone number here, but you get the point).

This one little tip of IT wizardry will help you stay connected everywhere. If you would like to discuss with our Everon engineers, feel free to call 1-888-244-1748.

 

Tech Tips for Techs: Windows 10 and the Cisco AnyConnect VPN client

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As a tech who provides remote support, I rely fairly heavily on several VPN clients to connect to a variety of networks for my day-to-day work. I recently acquired the Technical Preview for Windows 10, and immediately installed it on one of my spare laptops.

(Disclaimer – I subscribe to the “every-other-one” theory in regards to Microsoft OSes. This is to say that every other operating system that M$ releases is a complete piece of garbage. e.g.,

Windows 3.1 – crap
Windows 3.11 – not bad
Windows 95 – crap
Windows 98 – not bad
Windows ME – crap
Windows 2000 – not bad
[exception] Windows XP – not bad
Windows Vista – crap
Windows 7 – not bad
Windows 8 – crap

I completely skipped Windows 8 because I despise the interface, so I avoid it like the plague.)

W10

Microsoft’s Windows 10 Start Menu

That said, I’m surprisingly not-as-disgusted by the Windows 10 interface as I thought I might have been, despite how many remnants of 8 are hanging around. I have to hand it to Microsoft — they did a pretty good job melding the two without completely offending the zealots of both the 7 and 8 camps. After deciding not to promptly format the hard drive after the install, I started installing most of my ‘regular’ applications onto it without any drama until I got to the Cisco AnyConnect VPN client.

I should have known.

After typing in my firewall’s address and pressing Enter, I was promptly greeted with a message saying "Failed to initialize connection subsystem." Gee – that’s nice. A cursory search of the intArwebz brought me to a couple of common things and solutions people have seen with this piece of software: changing the name of the connection in the registry, uninstall and reinstall, deleting multiple instances of the VPN adapter, etc etc. Of all the things I tried, I didn’t think to try the most obvious (which was the winner, I might add.) So much for the K.I.S.S. principle.

First, I changed the DisplayName of the vpnva service in HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\vpnva by deleting the string of garbage in front of the word Cisco (@oem8.inf,%VPNVA64_Desc%). This caused the connection process to “think” a little longer than normal, but ultimately brought up the same error. Drat.

Second, I noticed that the VPN Adapter in my network connections was disabled. Re-enabled it… same problem. Ugh.

Third, I tried uninstalling, cleaning out the registry, rebooting, checking the registry again, rebooting again, and reinstalling. Same problem.

Fourth, I was going to manually tell it to Run as Administrator, but before clicking the option I was reminded about Compatibility Mode. D’oh! How could I have forgotten that? I set it to run in compatibility mode for Windows 7, fired it up, and it connected. Like a charm. No fuss, no muss. Evidently, there’s something about the Windows 10 kernel that causes the 3.1.x AnyConnect software not to want to connect. So for anyone out there running on the bleeding edge, and you use Cisco’s AnyConnect client… check the simple things first. ;)

 

Google Chrome Malware Cleaner

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Google Chrome has quickly become a top contender in wanting to be your internet browser of choice. With its speed, customizability, and ease of use, I thoroughly enjoy and recommend it to everyone. Unfortunately, when any application starts to gain attention and a user base it also gains the attention of malware developers.

Screenshot 2014-10-13 11.03.23

Browser malware can interrupt many things. It can hijack your searches to other search providers. It can add an incredible amount of ads and/or pop-ups. Or it can simply just slow things down to a crawl when browsing or opening/closing the application itself.

Screenshot 2014-10-13 11.15.21

That’s where the Google Chrome Software Removal Tool comes into play. It is available to download at https://www.google.com/chrome/srt/.

Downloading and running the tool will do a quick scan, which will check for anything suspicious, then request to clear caches and such.

Screenshot 2014-10-13 11.16.49

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Very handy tool worth checking out, if Chrome is acting up for you. Only takes a few moments!