Mac Headlines

Never Be The First To Upgrade

March 27th, 2017 by darryl

Today Apple released iOS 10.3, and OS X 10.12.4. To all of you who are inclined to upgrade as quickly as possible, I recommend that you wait a while.

All updates include changes that might introduce bugs, but these two in particular introduce a completely new disk filing system that replaces the extremely reliable HFS+ filing system we’ve all used on Macs, iPhones, iPads, and Apple TV for many, many years.

The filing system is what allows you to store data on a hard disk, or in the Flash RAM on your phone, pad, watch or TV, and allows the device to find that data. Anytime you replace a whole filing system with something new, it’s a major change. Major changes often introduce bugs.

That’s why I recommend delaying any upgrade. There’s no point in being the earlier adapter of anything brand new…if there are bugs, the early adapters are the ones that suffer with them.

Some Apple bugs have literally prevented iPhones from working at all. Even though Apple always fixes the bigs, they can’t fix the lost time and inconvenience you’ll suffer because of the bug.

Changing the filing system may interfere with the operation of certain apps. By waiting to upgrade, you’ll be able to upgrade those apps before upgrading iOS or OS X itself.

Let others be the first upgraders. If there are no bugs, you’ll have lost nothing but a little time, during which your Mac, phone, pad, watch, and TV will remain fully functional. If there are bugs, the early adapters will help Apple identify and fix them before they victimize you.

Posted in Apple, Front Page, Mac Blog | No Comments »

Web Browser Scam Alert!

September 19th, 2016 by darryl

Sample web browser exploit alert window

Many of our clients report seeing web browser alert scam windows like this one.

Recently, many of our clients have reported seeing popup alerts while in their web browser. Hackers have found ways to force your browser to display these windows, and the alerts might appear to come from Apple, Microsoft, Adobe, or other recognizable computer corporations. In reality, the window is a scam, and this article will tell you how to avoid being scammed.

What all these scams have in common is that they say viruses or spyware has been found on your computer, and they tell you to call a toll free number for help removing it.

Even if your computer actually has viruses or spyware, it has nothing to do with this window…nobody has scanned your computer for viruses. It’s just a fake window trying to scare you into calling the toll free number and pay an exorbitant fee to “fix” this non-existent problem. Don’t call.

If you call, the “support agent” first gets you to give them remote access to your computer…which usually involves implanting a tiny piece of remote access software that allows them to connect. Then they’ll quote somewhere between $99 and $299 for the virus removal service. Of course there’s really no service to perform…there’s nothing wrong with your computer.

However, once you’ve given them remote access, they can control your computer and access all your files…their secondary goal after scamming you for cash. Some clients have even reported that the “support agent” doesn’t take credit cards, so they require your bank account and routing number to charge you…which also gives them everything they need to clean out your bank account.

This is an easy problem for you to fix without any help.

What you should do

1. Click Force Quit… in the Apple menu.


2. Select your web browser in the window, then click the Force Quit button at the lower right corner of the window.

3. Hold down the Shift key while reopening your browser. Your browser will go to its normal home page. Problem solved, and it didn’t cost a dime!

Posted in Front Page, Mac Blog, Tech Notes, Troubleshooting by Symptom, Troubleshooting Knowledge Base, Web Hosting Knowledgebase | No Comments »

Rejuvenate your Mac!

March 23rd, 2016 by darryl

The most common reason people replace computers is that they get too slow. When you get a new computer, the specifications tell you it’s 2, 3, or 4 times as fast as the old computer, but when you actually use it it seems a little faster…hardly twice as fast. Why?
The operating system (OS X), programs, and your files are all stored on the hard disk. The processors and RAM in your computer can’t do any processing until the hard drive sends them the data to process…and hard drive technology hasn’t changed much in the 29 years we’ve been around. Until a few years ago, that is.
Hard drives work a lot like turntables. A motor spins a disk, and another motor moves the “tone arm” (the read/write head) back and forth across the surface of the disk. The mechanical limitations of the motors also limit how fast the drive can find and send data needed by the processors and RAM…so they spend most of their time waiting to get the data they need instead of actually processing.
A few years ago, we began to see the first solid state drives…with no moving parts, just flash RAM chips similar to those used in iPhones and other smart phones. With no moving parts, the mechanical speed limitations are gone. Solid State Drives (or SSDs) do what hard drives do many, many times faster…just replacing the mechanical hard drive in your existing computer with an SSD will change the entire personality of the computer. It won’t seem a little faster…it will seem much, much faster.
As side benefits, SSDs aren’t magnetic like traditional drives…magnets don’t affect them. And they’re also much more shock resistant.
Roughly two years ago, the price for a 1TB SSD would have been about $1600. Last year, perhaps $800. But, like all technology, prices always start outrageously high and fall quickly. Today, you can get 1TB SSDs for about $240, and prices are continuing to fall. Smaller sizes are cheaper.
So if you have an iMac, MacBook, MacBook Pro that’s gotten way too slow, you can rejuvenate it rather than replacing it by replacing the traditional hard drive with an SSD.
Note that many of the very latest Apple models already come with SSDs instead of traditional drives…which is how Apple made them faster than models from 2010, 2011, 2012, and early 2013. So this article primarily applies to models from those years. Once you replace the hard drive with an SSD, your older Mac will run about as fast as the newest Macs…at much less cost.

Posted in Front Page, Mac Blog | No Comments »

Are Hosting Companies Colluding to Make Email Unusable?

March 8th, 2016 by darryl

Are hosting companies colluding to make email unusable. Here’s why I think that may be true.
Over the past few months, we’ve had increasing reports d our clients that email messages they send to others are not received.
The bounce messages they forward to me look like this:
A message that you sent could not be delivered to one or more of its recipients. This is a permanent error. The following address(es) failed:
Domain has exceeded the max emails per hour (500/500 (100%)) allowed. Message discarded.
Reporting-MTA: dns;
Action: failed
Final-Recipient: rfc822;
Status: 5.0.0
That bounce message says that the recipient’s hosting company has decided that the will only accept the first 500 incoming messages each hour from any other mail server. Think about outgoing servers from Earthlink, AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, and all the other huge hosting companies whose servers handle thousands and thousands of outgoing email messages per hour, then think about incoming mail servers that will accept only the first 500 of those messages per hour. And think about all the people who don’t even know they are not receiving the messages you send them unless you specifically tell them…using a different mode of communication.
The whole point of email is communication. Anything that interferes with communication sabotages the usefulness of email, which is exactly what some hosting companies seem to be doing. I specifically cite RoadRunner, Yahoo, and now RackSpace.
When a hosting company is hosting your email, that company is obliged to send the messages you send, and receive the messages sent to you. Period. Otherwise what’s the point of having them host your email?
If you’re actually paying the hosting company to host your email and not delivering email sent to you, they’re ripping you off. You’re paying the money, but not getting the very service for which you’re paying.
If you find that your hosting company is refusing to deliver your messages to you, start by calling them and complaining loudly that they are ripping you, and demanding that they stop censoring your incoming email. If they’re unwilling to fix the problem, find a new email hosting company that actually delivers what it promises.

Posted in Front Page, iOS, iOS Blog, iPhone, Mac Blog, Mac OS X | No Comments »

Important Warning for QuarkXPress Users

September 29th, 2015 by darryl

Despite the fact that Apple’s Tim Cook stated that pretty much any software that runs on the current Yosemite version of OS X (10.10.x) will also run on the upcoming El Capitan version (10.11.x), Quark is warning that if you’r using QuarkXPress for production, you should not upgrade now. The current version of QuarkXPress 2015 is not yet supported on El Capitan.

In addition, Quark will not support any prior version of QuarkXPress (versions 3 through 10) on the El Capitan version of OS X.

An Important Notice from Quark

Posted in Front Page, Mac Blog, Mac OS X | No Comments »

Apple’s Share of Smartphone Industry Profit Rises to 92%, Despite iPhone Representing Less Than 20% of Sales

July 13th, 2015 by AppleInsider

A new report out over the weekend by Canaccord Genuity estimates that Apple has recorded a 92 percent share of the world's entire smartphone market in the first quarter of 2015, which is up from 65 percent a year earlier. The company managed to do so on less than 20 percent of actual smartphone sales, which the Wall Street Journal accounts to the company's "ability to command much higher prices for its phones."

Behind Apple was Samsung with a total of 15 percent of the smartphone market, with the two combining to tally up for more than 100 percent of the industry's profits, "because other makers broke even or lost money, in Canaccord’s calculations." In the early days of the iPhone, Canaccord estimates that Nokia was holding two-thirds of the smartphone industry's profits, but by 2012, Apple and Samsung shared the industry's profits at a nearly exact 50/50 split.

“The dominance of Apple is something that is very hard to overcome,” said Denny Strigl, former chief operating officer of Verizon Communications Inc. “Apple has to stumble somehow or another, and I don’t think that’s going to happen.”
Canaccord contributes Apple's bigger-than-ever market dominance to a combination of increased iPhone sales and higher prices for the bigger-screened iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus released last year. A year before, an iPhone sold at an average of $624 -- compared to $185 for Android-running smartphones -- according to data collected by Strategy Analytics. By the end of 2015's first quarter, Apple had sold 43 percent more iPhones than the year before and at a higher price of about $659 thanks to the bigger screened models.

Apple's dominance doesn't seem to be slowing down as we move closer to the launch of the next generation of iPhone, with the company reportedly ordering a record-breaking amount of units for the so-called "iPhone 6s" launch later this year. Its rivals won't be threatening to take any of its market share at the moment, either, with companies like HTC and Samsung reporting quarterly losses and "disappointing profits" and Microsoft just last week laying off 7,800 employees, primarily in its smartphone business.

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12.9-Inch ‘iPad Pro’ Rumored to Launch After Mid-November as Foxconn Prepares Components

July 13th, 2015 by AppleInsider

The oft-rumored 12.9-inch "iPad Pro" is expected to launch after mid-November as overseas manufacturer Foxconn prepares to start supplying components for the large-sized tablet in late September, according to the sometimes-reliable Taiwanese blog DigiTimes. Apple reportedly remains cautious about placing orders for the "iPad Pro" from suppliers due to declining iPad sales and weakening demand in the overall tablet market.

12.9-inch "iPad Pro" dummy model originally shared in February 2015

DigiTimes has a hit-and-miss track record reporting on Apple's upcoming product plans, so this latest rumor should be treated with a proverbial grain of salt. Nevertheless, the rumor is consistent with previous reports that widely expect the "iPad Pro" to launch in the second half of this year. Apple has also historically announced new iPad models in October, which lines up with a launch around mid-November.

A related DigiTimes report claims that China-based white-box tablet makers are preparing to capitalize on the "iPad Pro" launch and seasonal shopping trends by releasing tablets in the 10-inch to 15-inch throughout the second half of 2015. The tablet makers are said to be sourcing components from Taiwan-based touch controller IC makers including ITE Tech, Silicon Integrated Systems (SiS) and ILi Technology (Ilitek).

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Apple Watch Sales Estimated at 3 Million Through First 3 Months

July 13th, 2015 by AppleInsider

Apple Watch online sales in the United States are estimated to have totaled 3,039,353 at an average price of $505 through July 10, exactly three months after Apple began accepting pre-orders for the wrist-worn device, according to the latest data from market research firm Slice Intelligence obtained exclusively by MacRumors.

The entry-level Apple Watch Sport has been the most popular model among early adopters by almost a two-to-one margin, with an estimated 1,950,909 units sold at an average price of $381 since April 10. Meanwhile, stainless steel Apple Watch sales are estimated at 1,086,569 units to date, at an average price of $695.

Apple Watch Sales 3 Months Slice
Apple has also sold 1,875 Apple Watch Edition models to date, at an average price of $13,700, according to Slice Intelligence. The 18-karat gold Apple Watch models, seen on the wrists of celebrities such as Beyonce, Drake, Kanye West, Katy Perry and Pharrell Williams, cost between $10,000 and $17,000 in the U.S.

Slice Intelligence's data does not include Apple Watch sales in Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, Taiwan and the United Kingdom, nor does it account for walk-in purchases made through the Apple Store.

A Recap of Slice Intelligence's Previous Estimates

Last week, Slice Intelligence released new data that showed Apple Watch online sales in the U.S. steadily declined throughout June. Specifically, the survey revealed that Apple Watch sales in the U.S. remained consistent at around 20,000 per day in May before dropping to less than 10,000 per day last month.

The research firm previously estimated that Apple received 1 million Apple Watch pre-orders at launch, averaged 30,000 Apple Watch sales per day in late May and had topped 2.8 million total Apple Watch sales as of mid June. It also found that around 17% of online shoppers buy at least one extra band for the Apple Watch.

A Closer Look at Slice Intelligence's Methodology

Given that Apple has not publicly disclosed any official Apple Watch sales figures, and will be grouping the wrist-worn device under its "Other Products" category in quarterly earnings reports, the accuracy and methodology behind the Slice Intelligence data has been called into question -- so we went looking for answers.

MacRumors spoke with Slice Intelligence's Chief Data Officer Kanishka Agarwal and VP of Marketing and PR Jaimee Minney to learn more about Slice Intelligence's methodology. The details below should provide a better understanding of how its Apple Watch sales estimates were calculated over the past three months.

Slice Intelligence tracks e-receipts from 2.5 million online shoppers in the U.S., which it claims is the largest panel anywhere, that sign up for the company's value-added services such as Slice and Slice, for example, is a free app for tracking packages, receipts, price drops, product recall alerts and more.

The research firm had a sample size of about 22,000 Apple Watch customers among its panel of 2.5 million online shoppers in the U.S. through July 10, more than double the sample size of about 9,000 shoppers it had when it estimated Apple Watch pre-orders reached nearly 1 million on launch day in the U.S. on April 10.

Slice Intelligence also offers an API for developers to provide users with their purchase history and can aggregate e-receipt data through some of these third-party apps and services. The research firm claims to be the only one to provide direct measurement of all digital commerce activity and customer loyalty.

Slice Intelligence says it is "very confident" that its Apple Watch sales estimates are within proximity to what Apple has actually sold, noting that its data is measured against third-party sources such as Amazon and the U.S. Department of Commerce with between 97% and 99% accuracy. Slice and Apple have not been in contact.

The research firm claims to have a diversified pool of consumers that is highly representative of the online shopping population and balanced to eliminate biases. Agarwal says that his firm's panel lines up nicely with the overall market and is supplemented by detailed competitive insight and data from clients.

Apple's Q3 FY 2015 results are scheduled to be released on July 21 at 2:00 PM Pacific.

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Apple Gives iCloud Customers in Greece 30 Extra Days of Storage Amid Fiscal Crisis

July 11th, 2015 by AppleInsider

icloud_icon_blueDue to capital controls in Greece that prevent residents from making payments abroad due to the country's ongoing financial crisis, many Greek customers have been unable to make purchases through online services such as iTunes and Paypal. The emergency measure has created a problem for iCloud users in Greece, who have been unable to renew their premium storage plan subscriptions since late June.

Bloomberg News shared Apple's email received by its Athens-based staff earlier this week:
“On June 30, we tried to charge your account for your iCloud space of 20GB, but there is a problem with your payment details,” said one e-mail received by Bloomberg News staff based in Athens. “If we don’t manage to renew your subscription, your account will be downgraded to the free 5GB space program.” The user has a standing monthly payment for a 0.99-euro-cent ($1.11) payment for the storage service.
Fortunately, Apple has now sent an email to iCloud customers in Greece (via iPhoneHellas) to inform them that their iCloud storage plans have been extended by an extra 30 days at no additional cost. Apple will not attempt to charge iCloud customers in Greece until 30 days after their original renewal date, which buys some much-needed time for Greek customers while the country attempts to sort out its financial situation.
Dear iCloud customer,

To prevent interruption in your iCloud service during the current fiscal crisis, and to make sure you have access to your content, we’ve extended your iCloud storage plan for an extra 30 days at no additional cost.

We won’t attempt to charge you for your plan until 30 days after your original renewal date. If we are unable to renew your plan, you may need to reduce the amount of iCloud storage you use.

The iCloud Team
Greek customers can also use an iTunes gift card to renew their iCloud storage plans in the meantime.

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FTC Looking Into App Store Rules Regarding Subscription Services

July 11th, 2015 by AppleInsider

appstoreOn Wednesday, Spotify sent emails to subscribers asking them to cancel their App Store subscriptions to the service to resubscribe on the web to avoid a $3 surcharge because of Apple's App Store policies. The Federal Trade Commission is now looking into Apple's policies, which include a 30 percent fee that it collects on all app and subscription revenue routed through the App Store, reports Reuters.
U.S. government antitrust regulators are looking into claims about whether Apple's treatment of rival streaming music apps is illegal under antitrust law, according to three industry sources.
The antitrust concerns stem from certain App Store restrictions placed on streaming companies, which include a prohibition that the company is on other platforms, a ban on advertising how users can subscribe on a company's website and the ban on links to the company's website. While users can still subscribe to the service of their choice outside of the App Store, avoiding the 30 percent fee for the respective companies, sources tell Reuters that many users do not realize its an option.

That 30 percent fee reduces margins for those streaming companies in an industry with already thin margins and makes it difficult for them to compete, Deezer CEO Tyler Goldman tells the news organization. The news also comes after the FTC and other government bodies began looking into Apple's efforts to set up deals with music labels.

While the FTC is looking into the App Store rules, there's no guarantee they launch a formal investigation as antitrust lawyers that spoke to Reuters were split on whether Apple is breaking the law. This isn't the first time Apple has gotten in trouble for its 30 percent subscription cut, as it landed in hot water with the Department of Justice during the e-book price fixing case. In June, it was reported that Apple was considering changing the 30 percent cut for media apps like Netflix, Hulu, Spotify and more.

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