We had a great turnout at our Lunch & Learn today hosted by Roam Atlanta! It is always a blast meeting new people that love to use the Mac for business. As we mentioned during the L&L here are the links to some of our favorite Mac Apps for Business.
Archive for the ‘Mac’ Category
There are a few options out there, but none that I’ve felt proud enough of to recommend to our friends and customers as a complete alternative to iWeb. The criteria I am looking for are as follows:
- Easy and quick to add content and publish to a host.
- Customizable to a point where you can still show your own brand and personality.
However, if you want to hit both of these goals above for simplicity and customizability, then I would highly recommend checking out SquareSpace. SquareSpace has been around since 2004, and they seem to be constantly updating their templates and capabilities with new services. Here are few things I like about them:
- Drag and drop images to upload to your site.
- Mobile versions for your website are created automatically.
- The designs reflect the look and feel of today, and you can further customize them with your own layout and your brands colors.
Every business and website has different goals, so it’s hard to make a recommendation for everyone. However if you’re using iWeb now, and are looking for a newer alternative, SquareSpace will be the best replacement for overall simplicity in designing and publishing your website.
We’re always committed to informing you on important Apple news. A large story that has surfaced is the security threat of the Flashback Trojan.
What is the Flashback Trojan?
The Flashback Trojan is a malicious software program that embeds itself into your Mac. The tricky part is, the software looks like it is helping you install Adobe Flash. The Flashback Trojan has the potential to capture information from your Web browsing activities, including usernames and passwords. Crafty, right?
Am I at risk?
No need to worry, it is estimated that only about 1% of Mac users were affected by Flashback. The great news? Apple has already included a patch that fixes the issue, and prevents any further infection. All you have to do is run Software Update and install all updates. If you want an in depth look at the issue MacWorld has written up a comprehensive article you can check out.
Do I need to install extra software?
So is our team installing anti-malware software on our computers? We sure aren’t, and here’s why. A security threat this far-reaching hasn’t happened in over ten years. Additionally, not only has Apple stomped this threat, but Apple’s new Mac OS, named Mountain Lion, will have a feature called Gatekeeper whose purpose is to further minimize threats just like this one.
If threats become more common, then yes one day we may have to use anti-malware software like our Windows pals. Until then, however, Apple appears to have our concerns in mind and is building stronger prevention mechanisms into it’s future software.
This one’s for you HD buffs out there. Looks like there’s finally a method to easily playback Blu-ray discs on a Mac. That’s right, up until this point there’s been no real supported way to pop in a Blu-ray disc into a Mac.
The software, called “Mac Blu-ray Player” (I know right) will set you back $39.95.
Keep in mind this software still requires a Blu-ray drive, either internal or external. See TUAW’s link for recommendations on where to buy your Blu-ray player first.
We’ve been getting a good amount of questions from our friends and clients about the new iCloud service Apple announced in June. (Yes, we’re excited too!) As it turns out, along with iCloud, Apple will be discontinuing the MobileMe service. What does this mean for current MobileMe users? We figured it would be best for you to hear it straight from the horse’s mouth.
In a nutshell, iCloud is better, free, and Apple will be transitioning MobileMe users this fall. If you choose not to transition, you will have until June 30, 2012 to transition yourself. Why would you want to wait? You’ll see in Apple’s FAQs that three main MobileMe services will not make the cut: iWeb Publishing, Gallery, and iDisk.
We’re looking forward to iCloud’s debut this fall! Head on over to our Facebook page to join our poll by answering what your favorite iCloud feature is. While you’re there, “Like” us to be notified of other fun stuff in the future!
A good amount of our business is done on the road. Whether we’re between cross-town projects, or in dark attics we need to have an Internet connection to use many our our tools. For example, we use many of 37signals.com‘s products, as well as Onsip.com for our phone service (both highly-recommended), which all require an Internet connection.
Until recently, we’ve relied on Clear’s 4G service. For the most part, we loved it. It’s fast, and has decent coverage around ATL, albeit not as good as our AT&T iPhones. We decided last month to try the new Personal Hotspot feature from AT&T to see how it compares. Keep in mind the Personal Hotspot feature requires the iPhone 4, not any of the previous iPhones.
We just cancelled our Clear accounts today and I’ll tell you why:
- The AT&T 3G connection has surprisingly decent speed. Not as fast as 4G, but decent.
- It’s actually cheaper. Clear’s services are around $40/mo per user, whereas the Personal Hotspot only adds $15/mo to a typical iPhone plan.
- Less devices. No more USB dongle that sticks out of our laptops, getting Internet is built into the iPhone.
- We can share the connection. Yes Clear has a hotspot service as well, but not for the $15/mo you’d be paying for AT&T. BTW, AT&T allows 3 devices to be connected to your phone simultaneously.
Of course, your city may vary on connectivity, and your iPhone plan may not be just like ours, so I’d call AT&T to get your specific rundown (Dial 611 from your AT&T iPhone). One downside to “upgrading” to the Personal Hotspot service is that we lost our unlimited data plan. We’re now capped at 4GB per month per user. It turns out, I was only using about 1GB/month on average on my iPhone, and I’ve yet to get near the new 4GB limit. (Your online AT&T account can show your monthly data usage on a graph.)
What are you currently using? Do you like it? We’d love to know.
This question is one of the most frequently asked by our friends and clients, and with good reason. Since the “dark ages” of the Macintosh, much of the hesitation of making the Switch is due to the uncertainty of compatibility.
Thankfully a lot has changed since the mid-90s, and I think you’ll be surprised at how few applications you’ll need to buy for the Mac. I’ll outline the applications that most people end up purchasing in order to continue using the same files from the PC. I’ll also list applications that come free on the Mac.
You might consider purchasing these:
- Microsoft Office: Mac 2011 – These applications are almost identical to Office in Windows. Most of the keyboard shortcuts are even the same. If you’re using it for home or schooling purposes, you can purchase the Home and Student version for $149, and you can install it on up to three Macs.
- iWork ’09 – If you’re ready to take the full plunge into the Apple world, iWork serves as an excellent alternative to Office. It can also open and save to Office files, however for more advanced documents, the conversion can be spotty. Tip: if you purchase it through the App Store on your Mac, it’s only $60.
- Quicken or QuickBooks for Mac – Before making this purchase, there are some differences between the Mac and PC version. Depending on your needs, you might prefer switching to an alternative by Acclivity, or even running Windows on your Mac via Parallels and keeping your current software.
Now that list wasn’t too bad, was it? For other tasks like email, Internet browsing and pictures, here’s a list of Windows programs that have free alternatives on the Mac, and are what make the Mac “so easy to use”.
- Internet Explorer: Safari (or Firefox or Chrome)
- Outlook: Mail, iCal, and Address Book. (These three applications will cover most features of Outlook.)
- iTunes: iTunes :)
- Adobe Photoshop Elements: iPhoto
- Windows Movie Maker: iMovie
- Solitaire: Sorry, no free alternative! You’ll either have to purchase Solitair in the App Store, or use the free Chess game that comes with every Mac.
If you have specific needs that weren’t outlined above, feel free to leave them in the comments. For some specific industries that require Windows-only software, you can always run a virtualization application like Parallels. Virtualization has come a long way since its inception, running Windows on your Mac is easier than ever.
What other applications did you need to purchase before making the Switch?
It’s humbling when a client of yours shows you something new about a platform you teach, isn’t it?
We helped Connie Carlson a Realtor in Cobb County, GA, dive into Daylite a few months ago to help her manage client history, leads, and sales opportunities. She returned the favor by letting us in on this “hidden” feature in Daylite. Daylite is a tool we often recommend, and at one point every Daylite user can probably benefit from this tip.
It turns out, Daylite can export a contact list into CSV format. You’d think a CSV export would be an obvious feature, but it’s almost hidden, unless you do the following steps. For a video walkthrough, see Marketcircle’s tutorial. Jump toward the middle of the clip for the feature we’re writing about.
We’ve also listed the quick list of steps below:
1) In the Contacts, select the contacts you wish to export. (Create a Smart List to filter your contacts.)
2) Switch to column view using the view buttons at the top of the list.
3) Choose which data you’d like to export by clicking the blue triangle in the top-right corner of the list.
4) Drag the columns desired to the “Active Columns” section of the dialogue. (The “Email” column is actually labeled “Electronic” in Daylite.)
5) Go to File -> Export -> “Export Visible Columns and Selected Rows to File”.
6) Depending on your end goal, choose the export options accordingly. For most applications, all you need to change is the format from “Tab-Delimited” to “CSV”.
Now you’re ready to send your contact information to your email service platform or virtually any Mac or PC database application.
Have questions? Let us know below!
While people love Apple because of the simplicity and refinement they place into their products, it doesn’t mean you have necessarily live and breath the Apple culture like those “Apple Kool-Aid drinkers” do 24/7. To give you an example, here are few of our opinions that might shock you, especially coming from a member of the Apple Consultants Network:
- Microsoft Excel is the best software solution for building complex spreadsheets.
- Sometimes Microsoft Office is the right choice for a business, instead of Apple’s iWork.
- Google Apps offers an amazing, low cost method of hosting your organizations email and calendars. Yes, even lower cost than a Mac mini Server.
We love Macs, iPads, and iPhones because they help us run our business more efficiently. We get to do our work, and not fuss with IT. However, Apple isn’t the only good software maker out there, and we’re happy to use tools that others have made. After all, there are (a couple) things Redmond has done well.
One of the biggest hurdles keeping people from moving to the Mac is the idea of having to move all of their emails, all of their calendars, and all of their contacts over to the equivalent Apple applications of Mail, iCal, and Address Book, respectively. We have yet to run into a situation where we couldn’t do this, but some circumstances are more difficult than others. If you’re using Outlook for Windows, chances are you’ll benefit from this $10 piece of software called O2M (Outlook 2 Mac). There are many alternatives, including the Belkin Switch-to-Mac cable, and using an IMAP mail service as a conduit (for your emails anyway), but if I could recommend only one method to convert your Outlook to your Mac, it would be O2M.
The basic concept is you purchase O2M which is Windows software and install it on your PC. After a few prompts, O2M will then convert every email, contact, and calendar in your Outlook. (Note Outlook Express is not compatible with O2M). This might take several hours depending on the amount of information you have.
After converting, it places your files in a folder of your choice on the PC. You’ll then need to move the folder O2M created over to your Mac. Depending on the size of your converted files you can use a USB flash drive, USB External hard drive, or even a network between the two computers.
Once the files are on your Mac, you then go into the equivalent Outlook applications on the Mac to import the data. For example, in Apple Mail you can choose File -> Import and choose to import the mbox files O2M created. Both iCal and Address Book have the same File -> Import menu. You’ll point iCal to the .ics file, and you’ll point Address Book to the .vcf file.
In some instances, data may not come over completely perfect, however when converting from one data type to another it’s tough to avoid some inconsistencies. One great thing about O2M is it leaves your Outlook files completely intact on the PC, so if something goes wrong, you can just start back from the beginning.
We’d love to hear any other methods you’ve used to convert Outlook files to Mac-readable formats. There are other things to consider before making the move to the Mac. They can vary widely from your business workflow all the way down to the printers you use, but if Outlook is any type of hurdle, we hope this helps.