What You Might Want to Think About Before Installing Yosemite



Yosemite, the new Mac OS that replaced Mavericks this year, was released to much fanfare. And for the most part it has been a very solid operating system. You can install this OS for free from Apple’s AppStore (for anyone running Snow Leopard or later), so what’s not to love?

For me, I was very excited about Yosemite, and even wrote a blog post about its release. However, after a few months, I have decided not to install Yosemite for a few reasons (and by the way, these reasons should be taken into consideration, even if you have a Windows PC and are thinking about upgrading your OS).

  1. The biggest reason for me is the functionality of applications. Many applications I use have not been written to work for Yosemite at the moment — and if you have critical applications, you should NOT go to a new OS until you have tested all of your applications.
  2. Bugs. Every OS starts off with a few bugs, and while they quickly figure out the kinks, I am not interested in going through the motions until these are worked out. I would prefer to give the OS a few months to let others work through those until I am on-board.

There are a few other reasons, such as you own an old Mac that might not be able to handle Yosemite, or you don’t know your Apple ID username or password, but the two reasons above are the biggest reasons I have chosen not to move to Yosemite… yet.

I suppose a third reason could be that I am lazy. Because there are options, so I could move forward…, but I have yet to act on them.

When you decide to move to a new OS, you MUST make a backup of your machine. There are many instances where the OS installation will go bad, leaving you with a corrupt OS. If you don’t have a backup of your system, you are stuck. I also ensure I have a backup to which I can restore my old OS, in case something goes wrong (such as Yosemite not being able to open my apps).

You actually have a built in tool for handling backups, called Time Machine. Taking a backup with Time Machine is easy. Launch Time Machine from Spotlight in the upper right hand corner, and point to the backup disk you would like to take the backup to. I do this manually and connect an external drive to my Mac in order to take a proper backup.

tm_sys_prefs Once you have a successful backup, you can actually restore your OS, using that backup. To do that, you need to boot into the OS X Recovery system. When booting your Mac, hold down command+R until the Apple logo appears.

One of the options should be ‘Restore from Time Machine Backup. You can then choose that, and the location of the backup you just took, and restore your system. It is as simple as that.

Doing this should give you the peace of mind that if you need to go back to Mavericks, you have the ability to do so. You also have some other options out there for creating backups and restores, and I discussed one of these options in another blog recently as well. Carbon Copy Cloner gives you a great user interface and easy-to-use tools for doing the exact same thing as Apple’s Time Machine.

With options such as these, you don’t have an excuse not to try out Yosemite (unless you are lazy, like me). :) I will get around to it eventually, and when I do, I promise to write a full review! In the meantime, remember: if you need help either backing up or restoring your systems for your business, we are always here for you, 24/7, at Everon: 888-244-1748.

All I Want for Christmas is… an iMac!


apple xmas blog

I’m a very creative person and have training in the graphic arts field, so the best possible gift I could receive for Christmas is the new iMac desktop computer. What’s great about it is that it comes equipped with applications that I use on a daily basis, so I don’t have to purchase an expensive office suite. Built-in applications that come standard are iPhoto, iMovie, Garageband, Pages, Numbers and Keynote,  making it easier for me to be creative with my photos, videos, music, and documents. (I’ve never actually used Garageband, but I’d like to! It’s an audio-production tool.)

thCAPDTXCVThe iMac has a 21” to 27” inch screen and a quad-core Intel Core i5 processor. The i5 Processor allows for faster performance from the core processor, enabling me use applications such as iPhoto and iMovie to create my own home movies and design high quality graphics. It performs on a very easy to use, beautiful-to-look-at operating system known as OS X Yosemite (the latest from Apple). OS X Yosemite is one of the world’s most advanced operating systems. Its design enables Mac/iOS devices to work together smoothly. Because I use an iPod for my entire music library, it makes it easy for me to upload music, edit playlists, and remove music from my iPod.

Another thing I love about the iMac is the ability to send text messages and use FaceTime for those of my friends and family members who have iPhones. Even though I have an Android phone (which I’m more in favor of than the iPhone), I’m still an Apple person all the way.

The iMac can be purchased at Apple.com or at any Apple Store near you for a retail price of $1499.00. (Add-ons, of course, sold separately.) The iMac is definitely worth the investment, and I hope that Santa is good to me this year!


What do YOU want for Christmas: Apple Products Edition


apple xmas blog

Since I write a lot about how much I love my MacBook Pro and the various Apple Products (my iPhone 5s is my go-to for everything), I was asked about what cool new Apple Product might I want for Christmas. To be honest, the answer might surprise you.

Really, nothing….

Every year Apple releases a handful of products, new iPhones, new iPads, etc., and none of them really strike me as something I would be dying to have. I think Apple is doing something to the market, and I don’t know if it will continue to work: they are basically releasing a newer, updated version of the same product every year. And while, sure, the iPhone 6 does have new features that make it very ideal, I just don’t care. Because I still like my iPhone 5s.

I think Apple is doing kind of like what the Call of Duty franchise did for gaming. For the first few games everyone was hooked. I was hooked, I was buying these games every single November, and was really excited to play them. Then after a few years, sure, I was getting a better game — with new levels, updated graphics, better game play — but in the end, it’s still the same game, and I got tired. Now, that isn’t to say I won’t go out and get the new COD, but I will wait a few years most likely. I will wait until that $60 game goes down to $20.

I feel the same way about Apple products.

I would like the new iPhone 6, and someday I will get it. But I probably will wait until next year, when iPhone 7 or 8 comes out and the iPhone 6 is less in price, but still a great product. I am OK with this. I am the type of technician who doesn’t need the latest and greatest (which many tech types probably will say that doesn’t make me a technician at all). I was the type of person who, when the Nintendo 64 was coming out, I was getting my first Super Nintendo. I don’t mind being behind by a few years. I am moving at my pace and loving it.

With that said, I still wanted to give you all a product from Apple that, if I had to put one on my list, I would choose the Apple TV.

apple_tv-q410-angled-lgThis picture makes it look huge, but it’s actually very tiny and very affordable, with models floating around $99.

The Apple TV fits into my way of thinking, too. This device has been in its latest incarnation since 2012, so it has a few years of trial, compared to the rest of the products — and it’s a sleeper for Apple. It just passed the 1 billion mark in sales, compared to the bazillion the rest of the company makes, and I see a future for it.

I got rid of cable. The bill was way too high, just so my wife could watch Hardcore Pawn every two weeks. I have found ways to watch shows online, through our TVs. Sometimes it’s frustrating because you do have to occasionally wait for the show to load, but we can still keep up on a lot of great shows. And most, if not everything, is commercial free. During this election season, while everyone was inundated with commercials on candidates bashing each other, I never saw a single one! It was great!

That is why I like the Apple TV. It has potential. I think Apple is going to move into doing great things with it, and, albeit it isn’t there yet, it will be. I have had a chance to test out the Apple TV at my uncle’s house. It is pretty cool. It allows all of the standard apps, Netflix, Hulu, etc., and it has a lot of great sports apps too. My favorite is the MLB.tv app. I use that religiously to watch my Tampa Bay Rays, since I can’t get them on TV here. With the Apple TV, it’s right there waiting for me, along with the rest of the baseball teams.

Another cool feature we use with the Apple TV is Airplay. My uncle is very sentimental, so he likes to put photo albums from his iPhone onto his TV. When guests come over, it’s like a revolving picture frame.  With the Apple TV, it is simply a click of a button. He can also control Pandora over his iPhone to his Apple TV. He has a very nice sound system and likes playing it through there. (Apple TV has the Pandora app too, but he likes feeling like he has control in his pocket.)

For you tech-types, here are the specifications on the Apple TV (all specs are for the latest rev. 3 product):

Processor: Apple A5 (ARM Cortex-A9) Single core (Redesign from A5 dual core).
Graphics: Apple A5 (PowerVR SGX543MP2)
Memory: 512 MB
Storage: 8 GB NAND Flash for Cache
Connectivity: Bluetooth, Micro-USB (reserved for service and diags.), HDMI, infrared receiver, optical audio
Networking: Wi-Fi (802.11a/b/g/n), 10/100 Ethernet
Video Output: 1080p/720p/480p over HDMI only, HDCP capable
Audio Output: Optical audio (48 kHz fixed sample rate), HDMI

I would like to say that maybe next year an Apple product will come out that will blow me away, and we can write about that. But let’s see where the Apple TV goes. With my preferences to stay in the back of the pack, so to speak, I am OK with that.

Happy Holidays! Have fun shopping!


Mac Tips for Techs: NetSpot



A while ago at Everon I had to troubleshoot a pretty complex wireless system, set up by Cisco. I had to call Cisco to discuss their setup, and I was fortunate enough to get a technician who was so passionate about his job, he decided that once the issue was resolved, he would like to give me a 1-2 hour lesson on wireless technology, regardless of the Cisco brand. For the 1-2 hours he spoke to me on the phone, I feverishly tried to write down notes on every single thing he said. I wish I’d had a record of the call we had together, as I would go in and make better notes. It was one of the best lessons I have ever received.

Technicians who work on certain brands, whether it is HP, Dell, Cisco, whatever… in my experience they all seem to be reading off of a sheet and don’t really care if you understand what they are discussing, as you blindly follow their instructions. And, for the most part, I do blindly follow their instructions. (Because how can I argue about the results? Its their equipment!) But occasionally you will find that one technician who is so passionate about his (or her) field of expertise, that he would like you to experience it as he does. I was so fortunate to have this experience come to life a few months back. (In all honesty, I think that is the way some of our engineers operate here, at Everon, as well. We don’t have rigid scripts, we get a call, and we work on it based on our own, personal knowledge, the knowledge of our peers around us, and various tools, so every interaction can be different and exciting. If you are excited to learn what we are doing, we are equally as excited to teach you!)

Anyways, that is my tangent on technicians, now back to wireless technology….

Out of everything the Cisco engineer showed me, one thing he said needs to be done before you purchase any wireless equipment is a wireless site survey. I had never thought of that previously, but it makes sense. How do you know what you need? How much ground do you need to cover? What type of signal strength can you get by with? All of these questions can be answered by a professional who does site surveys for a living. However, if you were interested in doing one yourself, or even if you needed to troubleshoot your existing wireless, what tools do you have at your disposal? It isn’t like you can actually see wireless to be able to troubleshoot, so what can you use to help you understand wireless? (There are many different products for Windows machines, none of which I will get into here, as this article is for the Mac engineer who is in need of troubleshooting wireless.) I encounter instances like this all the time, where I am sent out to a client’s location, and I have to troubleshoot much more than a simple Mac. Sometimes I will need to troubleshoot their environment and, for wireless environments, I find the best tool for anyone with a Mac is NetSpot.

NetSpot can be downloaded here for free: http://www.netspotapp.com/netspotpro.html

NetSpotThe Pro version is for commercial use. The free version can only be used on you and your friends’ home networks. My advice would be if you are going to begin doing site surveys, spend the $149.00 and get the Pro version. The Pro version also includes unlimited data points in every zone (the free version allows 50), flexible grouping of various items in the survey such as APs, SSIDs, channel, vendor, etc (free only allows grouping via SSID), and much more.

However, if you are learning how to do wireless site surveys, the free version is great. It gives you a ton of information on your wireless network, such as the SSID, band (2.4 GHz, 5 GHz), security (WEP, WPA, etc), vendor, mode (b/g/n), level (signal to noise), signal percentage, the noise in DBm, and much more. It updates in real time, and doesn’t take up much battery life on your Mac. Using this app is a great first step into reviewing a network, as it will easily allow you to see any issues without the need to jump into the AP or wireless router.

Check out this tool, and if you would like to discuss it further, any of our engineers at Everon would love to talk wireless! Call us at 888-244-1748.


Mac OS X Yosemite is available!



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.