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April 30th, 2013

A very common misconception is that Apple Mac products cannot get viruses. Not true! There is no such thing as a 100% safe computer. Devices running OS X, Windows, Linux, Android or any other operating system are all capable of being infected with a virus or other malware.

However, the likelihood that an Apple Macintosh user gets a virus is much lower than for Windows users. In fact, many Apple users don’t even run any antivirus software on their computers. Whether that is a smart strategy is debated by many IT professionals.

A few of the reasons why Macs don’t get as many viruses as PCs are:

  1. Mac OS X is based on the Unix operating system, which is one of the oldest and most secure operating systems around.
  2. Microsoft Windows is used by many more people, so it’s a bigger and better target. Plus the way that Windows is built makes it easier for viruses to spread across computer networks.
  3. Many of the tools designed to create viruses or malware are written for the Windows operating system.

Windows Threats Even For Macs

     Many Mac users find themselves having to use Parallels, BootCamp or other virtual software to run Windows only programs such as Microsoft Publisher. Because these Macs are now running a Windows operating system, they are now susceptible to Windows viruses. In addition, an Apple computer can certain become a “carrier” of a Windows-based virus. This virus would not infect the Apple machine, but could infect other Windows machines on your network if it were to send that virus via email or across the office computer network.

And Even More Threats…

     Any software, plug-in or other 3rd party add-on that is installed onto any computer that connects to the internet can introduce its own security risks. One of the most common ways that the “bad guys” are able to attack a Mac is through browser applications and browser plug-ins such as Adobe Flash, Adobe Reader, Java and others. Just about every Mac user has all three of these plug-ins installed on their computers (and many more). These are a necessary part of business, but do introduce additional security risks for all computers.

The Human Factor

     Although Apple Macs are less vulnerable to viruses, they are still operated by flawed humans who can still be the victim of Trojan Horses, phishing and other online fraud. Your best bet is to keep everyone informed about online security risks in your business, no matter the computer they’re using.

If you need more information about anti-virus protection for your Apple, give us a call at 703-652-4685 for our recommendations.

Topic Apple Mac OS
October 16th, 2012

It used to be Mac vs PC, but, with the steady adoption of the cloud and cloud based office solutions the question is quickly becoming: Mac or PC? With the release of Microsoft Office 365 for Mac, businesses now have access to Apple’s platform and Microsoft’s terrific office software. If you’re a Mac user, and love Mail, you can connect your Office 365 account to it.

Here’s how to configure Mac’s Mail program to enable you to send/receive emails from your Office 365 account(s).

For OS X 10.7 (Lion) and later

  1. Open System Preferences by clicking on the icon with the cogs on the launch bar or pressing Command (⌘) + Spacebar and typing: System Preferences.
  2. Click Mail, Contacts, & Calendars.
  3. Click +, located underneath the list of accounts on the left-hand side of the window.
  4. Select Microsoft Exchange from the list of services on the right.
  5. Enter your name as you would like it to appear on sent emails, your email address and password.
  6. Hit Continue. The next screen should be an Account Summary screen, ensure the information is correct and hit Continue.
  7. Ensure Mail, Contacts and Calendar are selected from the next screen. This will link the Mac programs Mail, Contacts and Calendar with their Office 365 counterparts.
  8. Press Add Account.
  9. Open Mail and your account will sync.
  10. Try sending a test email. Ensure that you select your Office 365 account as the sender if you have more than one account linked to Mail.

For OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard)

  1. Open Mail, usually located on the launch bar at the bottom of the screen. If you can’t find it, it’s located in your Applications folder.
  2. From the menu bar select Menu followed by Preferences. You can also hit ⌘ + , to open preferences.
  3. Select Accounts on the window that opens.
  4. Click +, located underneath the list of accounts on the left-hand side of the window.
  5. Select Microsoft Exchange from the list of services on the right.
  6. Enter your name as you would like it to appear on sent emails, your email address and password.
  7. Hit Continue. The next screen should be an Account Summary screen, so ensure the information is correct and hit Continue. Note: You may get a screen asking to put in your server address. If you do, contact the administrator in charge of Office 365 for the relevant addresses.
  8. Ensure Also set up: Address Book contacts and iCal calendars are ticked in the Account Summary screen.
  9. Hit Create and your account should sync.
  10. Try sending an email and just ensure to select your Office 35 account as the sender if you have more than one account.

If you have any more questions about Office 365 for either your Mac or PC, please contact us, we can help.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.
July 24th, 2012

Apple has long been popular with the designer crowd, producing sleek and beautiful computers and software that turns out equally beautiful output. In the past few years, starting with the introduction of the iPhone and more powerful computers like the Macbook Pro and Mac Mini, Apple has started to grab the attention of small businesses and regular consumers alike.

According to a recent report published by Asymco, there is 1 Mac sold for every 16 PCs - every other non-Mac computer - sold. At first glance, 16:1 isn’t the greatest ratio, but, upon further thought, that’s an amazing ratio considering Macs are made by just one company, while the number of PC makers are near countless.

To make the numbers even more impressive, the ratio of Macs to PCs sold was 1:50 in the early 2000’s. In a little under 10 years, Apple has managed to gain impressive ground against every other manufacturer.

While these two ratios are on an international scale, the ratio in the United States is 1:3, meaning for every one Mac sold, there’s 3 PCs sold; truly impressive. It’s forecasted that this ratio will be seen, eventually, in almost every country Apple sells computers.

It should be noted that these ratios are for every kind of user - personal, business, government and school. The number of businesses using macs is on the rise, as is evident by the growing availability of small business related software for the Mac OS. Beyond that, the ability to run Windows on your Mac is a big bonus for companies that still need Windows based software.

From what we can see, Apple is gaining ground on PC, and it’s entirely possibly that within a few years, the ratio will be equal. Combine this with the increasing number of applications utilizing the cloud and Apple computers become a seriously viable option for small businesses. If you’d like to know how you can integrate Apple’s computers in your company, please contact us.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Apple Mac OS
June 27th, 2012

Apple computers and the operating system they run, OS X, are being adopted by small businesses in growing numbers. If your business has recently moved to OS X you’ll know it can be a bit of a chore to migrate over to a new system, and when you do, employees have to learn to use and get used to the new system. While the vast majority of your employees will pick up the OS quickly, there are some actions they may not know about.

Here are five tips on lesser known OS X actions.

  1. Full-screen maximization. One of the first things users figure out is what the three “traffic light” buttons at the top of every window are. Pressing the green one will maximize a window, the only problem being is it won’t take up the full screen. If you do need a window to take up a full screen, press and hold Shift while clicking on the green button.
  2. Efficient search with Spotlight. While OS X is a well laid out, and intuitive OS, it can be a chore to find a file or app. To make this easier, you can use Spotlight. Press Command + Space bar and Spotlight will open in the top right of the screen, type what you want to find to be given a list of everything on your hard drive with the query in it. Pressing the magnifying glass at the top right will also open Spotlight.
  3. Remove icons from menu bar. The menu bar is the semi-transparent bar that goes across the top of your screen. In the top right, you may notice some icons that you don’t use. You can get rid of them by pressing and holding Command, clicking on the icon and dragging it off the bar. Be sure that you don’t use the icon before you drag it off, it’s a bit of a chore putting them back.
  4. How to take a screenshot. Eventually you’ll need to take a screenshot. To take a screenshot of everything on your screen press Command + Shift + 3. Pressing Command + Shift + 4 will change your cursor to a cross with a circle, which allows you to drag over what you want to capture. Screenshots are saved to your desktop and will be labeled with the date.
  5. Add and remove apps to Dock. Did you know that apps on the Dock - where your apps are stored at the bottom of the screen - can be removed? To remove an app hover your mouse over the app, press and hold the left mouse button down, drag it off the dock so that you see a dust cloud below the icon and let go. To add apps, open your Applications folder, select the app you want and drag it to the Dock.
Mac OS X does take some time to get used to, but with tips like these you can adapt easier. If you have any questions about using Mac OS X in your office, please contact us.
Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Apple Mac OS
May 14th, 2012

The mountain lion is often seen as a formidable cat, it’s highly adaptive and found in almost every major ecosystem in North and South America. These traits are what Apple is going for with its next version of OS X, Mountain Lion. With a scheduled release a few months from now, there are a number of features that will give small businesses the opportunity to roar.

Here are four features of Mountain Lion that small business employees will find useful:

Enhanced communication and social media If you use OS X to access and monitor your social media accounts you’ll be interested to know that you’ll have the ability to post directly to Twitter from various apps. If you use iChat, it will be renamed: Messages. With it, you’ll be able to send messages, pictures and videos to other iChat/Messages users, regardless of the device. This could be a beneficial external and internal collaboration tool due to the growing amount of Apple users.

AirPlay mirroring If you or someone in your company gives a lot of presentations, Macs running Mountain Lion will have the ability to wirelessly broadcast whatever is being shown on the screen. To share your screen with an HDTV or Projector, you’ll need to have an Apple TV box. It works by streaming content to the TV box which is connected via an HDMI cord to the TV or projector.

Gatekeeper Security is top-of-mind for companies these days, and Gatekeeper is an extra level that businesses can implement. Its purpose is to restrict the apps that can be downloaded and installed on your computer. While many businesses should have measures like this in place, this app can act as another layer to ensure an even more secure organization.

iCloud Possibly the biggest trend in small business computing is the integration of cloud storage. Apple’s cloud storage service, iCloud, will play a prominent role in Mountain Lion, especially for businesses. With this feature, employees will be able to access data stored in the cloud using Apple’s different devices. Any changes made to documents stored in the cloud will be automatically updated in realtime, without the user having to save and update.

Mountain Lion is shaping up to be one of the best versions of OS X to date. There are numerous features that users will find appealing, and many businesses are eager for the retail release. A word of warning though, while a version of Mountain Lion is available to download, it’s an unfinished product and as such, we recommend that you hold off from installing it onto your business’s computers. If you’d like to prepare your systems for the OS, please contact us.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Apple Mac OS
April 11th, 2012

Mac vs. PC - it’s the debate of a generation. In recent years, Mac has been gaining support, with an increasing number of companies opting to integrate Macs into their operating environment. This can be scary to some users as it means learning a brand new system. But we’re here to help with some useful tips on keyboard shortcuts that will make life easier.

When you first switch to OS X it can take a while to figure out the shortcuts, or to even find out if there is a shortcut for what you need, not to mention the confusing symbols used to indicate key strokes. Here’s a list of the most common shortcuts.

Symbols If you’ve looked online for shortcuts, you have undoubtedly seen a number of potentially confusing symbols before the letter or number - these are actually keys to press. The most commonly used symbols are:

  • ⌘ Command. It’s found beside the spacebar on most Mac keyboards. If you’re using a keyboard that isn’t supplied by Apple, the Windows button should also work.
  • ∧ Control.
  • ⌥ Option. On Windows based keyboards, Alt will do the same thing.
  • ⇧ Shift.
  • FN Function. It’s found under F13 on most desktop keyboards, or in the bottom left of most laptop keyboards.
Finder Shortcuts The Finder is Mac OS X’s file system. It includes your desktop and all the folders on it. If you’re unsure whether you’re on the Finder or not, look at the top left of your screen beside the Apple icon. It will say Finder if you’re on it.
  • ⌘+A Selects all files. To deselect simply left-click on empty space that’s not highlighted. To deselect one item simply hold ⌘ and click on the folder/file you don’t want to be selected.
  • ⌘+I Retrieves information on a folder or file including name, size, creation date, etc.
  • ⇧+⌘+N Creates a new folder in the window currently open. If you’re on the desktop, a new file will be created there.
  • ⇧+⌘+Q Logs out. If you want to log out without waiting press ⌥+⇧+⌘+Q.
  • ⌘+Delete If you press this after you’ve selected something, your selection will be moved to the trash. To empty the trash hit ⇧+⌘+Delete.
  • ⇧+⌘+A Opens the Applications folder
Shortcuts for Applications and General These shortcuts will work in most applications, and will generally work on all other non-applications, including the Finder.
  • ⌘+C Copies your selection.
  • ⌘+Z Cuts your selection.
  • ⌘+V Pastes what you’ve just copied or cut.
  • ⌘+Z Undoes your last action.
  • ⌘+H Hides the program you currently have open. The program won’t close, it’ll just be hidden, and can be opened again by clicking on its icon in the dock.
  • ⌘+M Minimizes the window currently open.
  • ⌘+TAB You will cycle to the other applications you have open. If you hold down ⌘, while pressing TAB, you’ll see the icons for open programs.
  • ⇧+⌘+4 Selects a screenshot. When you press these keys, you’ll be able to drag and select a screenshot. You’ll hear a camera lens click when you let go indicating the picture has been taken, and the file will be on your desktop.
  • ⇧+⌘+3 Takes a screenshot of the whole screen.
  • ⌘+S Saves the document you have open.
  • ⌘+F Searches within the window currently open.
  • ⌥+⌘+ESCAPE Force quit. This is the same thing as Control + Alt + Delete on Windows.
These are the most useful keyboard shortcuts, but there are many more out there. If you would like to know more shortcuts, or more about the Mac OS X, please let us know - we’re happy to help.
Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Apple Mac OS
March 12th, 2012

Mac OS X is an operating system with some of the most easy-to-use features for improving productivity and makes using a computer more enjoyable for the masses. The number of features can be daunting, even to long-term users. One feature that is under-utilized is Universal Access. Here are some tips on how using Universal Access can make life easier.

Mac OS X is often praised for its useful features and easy-to-use interface. Many of these features have even been copied by other operating systems, yet many more features are hardly used—even by experts. One such feature is Universal Access, created to help improve handicapped users’ experience. However, these features are not just limited to the handicapped; they are useful for businesses as well.

Universal Access is located in System Preferences, under the System tab.  Here are some tips on using Universal Access to your advantage.

Zoom Zoom If you click on the Seeing tab, you’ll find a number of options. Under the heading Zoom, click ON. Now press: “Command” + “Option” + “+/-” to zoom your screen in or out. This is an easy way to enlarge websites or pages with small text.

Flash for error If you work in a noisy environment, or have the sound muted, it could be tough to tell when an error has happened. Universal Access has a tool to help. Click on Hearing and select Flash the screen when an alert sound occurs. Your screen will flash briefly, alerting you to errors.

Increase Cursor Size If you are giving a presentation or demo using OS X, it can sometimes be hard for your audience to see exactly where the cursor is. To make the cursor bigger, click Mouse to access the slider under For difficulties seeing the cursor. As you slide the slider, you will notice the mouse pointer growing or shrinking. This is good for ensuring people can see where the mouse is going and what files you are selecting.

For more tips on Mac OS X and other Mac info, please contact us.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Apple Mac OS