Well, now its official: friends don’t let friends use XP. Windows XP is officially not supported by Microsoft and, as such, is a sitting duck for security violations (viruses, trojans, malware, etc). Yes, its a sitting duck even with updated security software.
If you have friends or family using XP its time for them to move on. Likely, if they are still using XP, its on an old PC which will not work with more modern versions of Windows, so its time for a new computer.
All consumer-grade PCs are now sold with Windows 8, which, in my humble opinion, is a usability nightmare. In fact, a new Mac would be a lot less to learn and adjust to for an XP user than going from XP to Windows 8.
So, time to start talking that friend into a new Mac! Of course, I am a huge fan of Apple’s Refurbished program - same great products, about 15-20% off list price and they carry the same factory warranty as new. I buy most of my Macs as refurbs and really have had fewer problems with them than the few that I have bought new! Here is a link to the Apple Refurb Store (the only place you can buy refurbs is on this site online):
Do you have more than one Mac or perhaps a Mac and an iPad and/or an iPhone and you want to have access to your Mac’s Documents and Desktop folders wherever you go (even if you do not have your Mac with you)?
Enter MacDropAny. This is a free and simple piece of software by a 16 year-old in New Zealand who has created a few cool utilities. From his website, “Using MacDropAny, you can have access to any folder on your computer, from anywhere in the world.”
If you have not already, sign up for a free cloud storage account with Box.com, Copy, Dropbox, Google Drive, iClouDrive, MediaFire or Microsoft SkyDrive. I like Dropbox and have used it for years with zero issues. if you want to sign up for Dropbox, use my code and we both get an extra 500MB for free!
MacDropAny allows you to sync any folder on your Mac that is not too big for the service you choose. Those folders are then available on your other Macs or your iPad or iPhone.
As an example, I use MacDropAny in conjunction with my Dropbox account to make sure that my Documents and Desktop folders on both my Macs are exactly identical at all times, so I can work on a document with either Mac and the other Mac gets the updates within about 60 seconds from when I save the document. Its all automatic and runs in the background.
Learn more about MacDropAny here: http://www.zibity.com/macdropany
Old habits die hard
I work with a lot of students in my Clark College classes and clients who are new to the Mac. There are a couple of habits that come from PCs that do not work well on Macs and, in fact, cause issues on the Mac. If you are new to the Mac, please watch for these habits and try to break them:
- Double-clicking - While double-clicking items on PCs is pretty common, the same behavior on Macs can create problems. Most clicking on Macs is a single click and often a double-click will either do nothing or cancel what you wanted. If you double click on a Mac where you are not supposed to, sometimes the first click will start something and the next click (of the double-click) will cancel it. So, try single clicking things first, then if that does not yield the desired result, try a double-click
- Quitting apps - Although on a PC, clicking the red X often closes a program, clicking the red dot in the upper left of a window on a Mac does NOT close (Quit) an app - it simply closes the window of that app. Most of the time, the app is still running (check for the app name next to the Apple icon in the menu bar and the light under the icon in the Dock). To properly Quit an app on a Mac, click on the name of the app next to the Apple logo in the menu bar and choose Quit OR use command-Q on the keyboard or right-click the icon in the Dock and choose Quit.
- Removing external drives - PCs will not balk at you if you yank a USB drive out of a USB port (although they should). Macs will give you a warning that you may have damaged the drive by yanking it out without “Ejecting” it first. Why? You may not realize it, but your computer may be talking with the USB drive in the background. If you yank it out mid-conversation, it can corrupt the USB drive - badly. So, to eject a drive before physically removing it drag its icon on your Desktop to the Trash (this will turn the trash icon into an Eject icon, it will not trash the drive) OR right-click the icon and choose Eject or use Finder to eject the drive (look for the Eject icon next to the drive under Shared in Finder).
What a great little device. Its basically a miniature iPad or you can think of it as an iPhone without the phone. Very thin, easy to use and inexpensive.
One thing it is NOT, however, is an “iTouch”. There is no such thing from Apple - and there never has been.