Posts Tagged apple

Converting from a PC to a Mac, it’s dead easy and you’ll never want to go back!

A month or so ago I fuelled my apple addition further with the purchase of a iMac. I have to say I’ve been delighted with the iMac so far and thought I’d take a few minutes to share some of the things I’ve discovered.

As with all the other apple kit I’ve bought getting started with the iMac was a piece of cake, take it out the box, plug it in and you’re away. Well not quite but almost, you need to go through a set up routine but this really is very easy and straightforward.

Next comes the task of moving years of ‘stuff’ from my PC over to the iMac. This again was a very simple task. I had a Seagate external hard drive, which I could just copy files onto from the PC. It didn’t matter that this was formatted NTFS as the iMac could read the files and simply copy them over. This also gave me the opportunity I needed to clean my content up along the way.

After doing the easy stuff I turned my attention to iTunes, which had grown to a considerable size over the years and was literally scattered all over the PC. I remembered reading horror stories of how bad this was to do well and I have to admit I wasn’t looking forward to it. That was until I googled for some help and found some excellent instructions on www.macworld.com. (click on the link to get the instructions)

What used to be a complex procedure is now relatively simple with iTunes 9. So make sure you’re running the latest version of iTunes on both systems, and then follow these easy steps.

There is an option in iTunes that consolidates all of your iTunes content into one directory structure and then you just need to copy it over just as you would do for ordinary files. What’s more I feel it’s made iTunes housekeeping much better for me as I add more content on the iMac.

I have over 100 movies converted to Mpeg format, which I use on my apple TV and on my iPad when travelling. On the advice of someone who has been a long time mac user I installed the conversion package called Handbrake. You wont find this on the app store, you’ll need to google for it. You’ll also need to install a new codec and I chose the one that comes as part of the VLC media player. I tried Handbrake once before on the PC but it didn’t work for me. However, on the iMac I’ve had a 100% success rate and I’ve already converted 20 or so movies.

Next was Office software. I chose Microsoft Office for Mac on the basis that I use this all the time at work and my iMac being in my homeworking office it makes it easier to share documents etc. Again this was very east to install and setup. I can’t remember it being as easy on the PC, but then again I haven’t done it for years. Now the 27″ screen on the iMac might be having an effect on me here but I feel the user experience of Office on the Mac is much better than it is on the PC.

Now I’m thinking I should have this thing backed up, so I check out Time Machine. It just gets better, this sounds good but I need a Time Capsule to get it going. Actually it would be nice, and I’ll probably buy one some day, but it’s not essential as Time Machine works with any hard drive. So I decide to reformat my Seagate external hard drive to Mac format, which only took a couple of minutes, and use this (it sits neatly under my iMac). Then it’s a simple job of turning on Time Machine, pointing it at the external drive and we’re up and running.

My Kodak ‘all in one’ wireless printer was just as easy to connect and I’m printing in minutes.

Along the way I also decide that I need a new wireless router and so after a bit of research I buy a dual band Cisco router. It’s great and instead of the 54Mbps I was used to on the PC, I instantly benefit from 300Mbps on the iMac.

And finally I go down to the local apple store and come back with a Magic Trackpad. Words can’t describe how good this thing is. Who would have thought the day would come when you don’t need a mouse? Well this thing has rendered the mouse obsolete, its fantastic.

So, If you’re thinking of switching to a Mac then my advice would be to go for it, its dead easy to convert and you’ll not be disappointed. Other than if you have to go back to using a PC for any reason.

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How to turn your iPad into a valuable boardroom tool

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wanted to show a keynote presentation, or flash up a spread sheet on my iPad and I haven’t had my VGA adapter handy and have had to go through the well documented workaround of screen dumping each slide to a photo and then using Airplay to show my photos.

Well, sitting at home on Saturday afternoon and my Apple TV prompted me for a system update. I let the update do its thing and at the end it gave me a what’s new page and something caught my eye “iPad2 mirroring to HDMI output”

Could this be what I’ve always wanted and thought the iPad needed … wireless transmission from the iPad to a large screen for all apps, not just those that supported Airplay?

Indeed it is exactly that… one of the coolest features in iOS5 and one that hardly anyone knows about… and to turn it on couldn’t be simpler.

You won’t find the controls in the Settings app on your iPad. Instead, they are next to the iPod controls. Double-press the home button on your iPad to see the multitasking bar (the one that shows all your recent apps along the bottom). Swipe to the start of the list and next to the music controls you’ll see the AirPlay icon. Tap on that, select your Apple TV and toggle the mirror button to ‘on’

Voila, on your TV you’ll see your iPad desktop and it’s just like having a large monitor or projector connected… every app I’ve tried has worked just fine.

So, if you’re a business user nip out and spend a very modest £100 on an AppleTV box and stick it in your boardroom. Not only will you get even better use from your iPad you also get the wow factor with your visitors.

PS.. make sure you download the latest update for Apple TV once you’ve installed it.

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Tip : How to improve iPhone and iPad battery life

There have been lots of reports in the press about how battery life has taken a hit following people buying the new iPhone 4s and from people who have upgraded to iOS5.

This isn’t something new as I found that my battery life used to be poor on iOS4 until I turned off spotlight search. However, when I upgraded to iOS5 the problem came back so I thought it must have reset the soptlight search options.

But when I checked in settings, they were all still disabled … or so I thought … scroll right down the list and you’ll discover two new spotlight search services which must be new to iOS5 “voice memos” and “reminders”

Disable these and power down your phone and turn back on again and voila the battery life is sorted…

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Is Apple losing the plot??

If you read my blog you’ll know I’m a fan of all things Apple but of late I’ve been noticing a few things starting to go slightly wrong:

When I connected my iPad to my PC for an update last night the update was a whopping 500meg allegedly only to fix a small security vulnerability.

Speaking of security vulnerability the marketing would have you believe that apple devices are free from the things that are the menace of Windows devices.

Then during the update iTunes hung, not the first time it’s happened on a few occasions now, and then I couldn’t upload my IPad purchases to my PC.

This got me thinking back to last week when safari crashed several times on different sites on the iPad, and the reception on my iPhone is still inferior to non-apple devices.

So, is it me??? or could it be that Apple devices and software are becoming too complex or are they putting quality behind innovation, when in fact most of us just want things to do what they promise.

But then again we let them get away with it because we’re hooked and we love them….

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Does technology humour get any better than this?

Now this is what I call humour, for those like me old enough to remember, a modern day update of the “fork handles” sketch.. Brilliant!!!

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Is this the future, is #Apple defining the future here??

Is this the future, is this type of web store the provisioning model of the future, is Apple defining the future here?

Apple has already changed the music landscape with iTunes and the iPod, they have changed the mobile landscape with the iPhone and they have changed they have unshackled workers from the office with the iPad. Are they now changing the landscape of the PC user? Does this put a firm brake on the notion of some (I wasn’t one of them) that the PC, and applications running on the PC are dying?

Does this seamless on-line provisioning disperse with all of those age old headaches and arguments about on-premise CD’s and time consuming installations? Is the appeal of this limited to consumers or will it appeal to the business community as well?

Just as others have followed Apple into the new world of music, mobile and tablet computing. Surely the question now is not whether, but how long before, others follow suit?

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This time it’s Apple TV… am I turning into an Apple fanatic??

Okay, so I’ve written a few posts on the iPad, iPod and the iPhone. I’ve ranted incessantly about the horrendous experience I had following the upgrade of my iPhone 3GS to iOS4, I still can’t believe how Apple got away with making so many peoples life a misery for so long. I’ve also written here about how my iPad wouldn’t replace my PC, not least due to printing and lack of Flash support. But again I’ve written here how both of these limitations can easily be resolved.

I didn’t realise how hooked I had become on Apple kit until recently… over the last few years my wife, two kids and I have amassed 2 x iPads, 2 x iPhones, 2 x iPod Touch, 1 x Classic iPod, 2 x iPod Nano and an iPod Shuffle… Steve Jobs has certainly done well out of this family.

A few months back I also invested in an Apple Airport so that we could stream music from our 6000 song collection on iTunes around the house, and at only £80 or so, we were delighted with this.

Now well and truly hooked, I then asked Santa for Apple TV for Christmas and he duly obliged.

Setting this up couldn’t be simpler, almost plug in a go (once you’ve connected it to a router). You have to set up home sharing in iTunes, which again is very simple and that’s it. Now, I can sit in the living room and stream movies, music and podcasts from iTunes to my TV in very respectable quality.

Now, I know what you’re thinking, why didn’t he just put the DVD into the player connected to the TV?  Fair point I suppose, but I can also rent movies from AppleTV (iTunes) for a modest price of £2.99 … which is cheaper than my Virgin cable provider at £3.50 (a huge saving of 51p) … so if I rent 250 movies then the Apple TV has paid for itself right?

Erm no, that’s not what it’s about at all. I bought it because it’s a really cool gadget, for the same reason I bought my Sling Box and a whole host of other gadgets, and even if I only use it a half dozen times it still gives me enjoyment.

So just as I’m really happy with my Apple TV, things get even better when I discover that with Apple Airplay I can stream movies from my iPads, iPod Touches, and my iPhone as well. This means my PC iTunes library doesn’t have to be switched on and any movie installed on my device can very quickly be played on the TV, brilliant!!

What’s more Airplay also gets me round the limitations of only being able to stream the same song from iTunes to my Airport devices as I can use my iPhone etc as a separate play list and play different songs to different rooms.

So there you have it, an Apple fanatic? Well I’ve not got a Macbook yet, but it could just be a matter of time…

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