Is it just you?

Advice No Comments »

A client sent me this neat web site that I thought was handy enough to share:

Having trouble with a web site and wondering if it’s just you? This site will let you check it and know for sure.

Lion is out, but not for you

Advice, News 1 Comment »

Apple released their new version of the OS today. Lion (v.10.7) is available as a download-only upgrade to Snow Leopard (v.10.6) through the Mac App Store, but you should not even consider upgrading, now or in the near future. Aside from the assortment of problems that are inevitable in any new software release, Lion will not support older, PowerPC-based applications. This means things like Quicken 2007 and older version of FileMaker Pro, 4D, and Microsoft Office (to name a few) will not work and would need to be upgraded or replaced.

There will come a point when you will be ready for Lion, but you should use this time to figure out what will and won’t work and make the necessary changes to ensure the transition will be as smooth as possible. In the meantime, let others work out the kinks.

You can read a review of the new features here.

Troubleshooting issues

Advice, Support 1 Comment »

One of the questions I often get from users of results from a less-than-descriptive error message: “Cannot send message using server XXX”. It suggests a problem with your mail server when, in reality, the problem is with the message itself.

The next time you see an error message like that, press the “Edit Message” button, then check all the addresses in the To, CC and BCC fields. If the address is in a blue bubble, click on it to see which address is checked. If you find one that doesn’t look right (no “@some.domain” or similar problem), correct it and try sending again. For example, if you are typing quickly, you might inadvertently address a message to “fred” when you meant to send it to “”.

If the addresses look right, check the size of your attachments. As a general rule, your attachments shouldn’t exceed 5 MB.

Can’t see an issue so far? Go to your web browser and make sure you actually have a connection to the Internet. Sometimes you will get disconnected for some reason or another, and Mail doesn’t warn you of that.

Finally, call us and we’ll be happy to troubleshoot.

Apple posts info on MobileMe to iCloud transition

News No Comments »

I’ve been getting a lot of questions of late about Apple’s transition from MobileMe to iCloud. Unfortunately, I don’t have a lot of answers because Apple has not yet posted a lot of details, but they did post this page with more information.

The short version is, you don’t have to worry too much about it until June 2012, after which you will have to make the switch. Presumably, by then, they will have worked out both the details and the kinks.

Mac Defender scareware

Advice No Comments »

Viruses in the computer world (most of which won’t affect your Mac anyway) have given rise to a new class of malware called “scareware”. In short, this type of app tries to frighten you into purchasing a product you don’t need to fix problems that don’t exist.

Here’s how it works: You’re minding your own business visiting some web site when, suddenly, a page pops up that looks like a standard Mac window warning you of a variety of problems. It urges you to click a link to perform a “free” scan and, before you know it, you’ve installed something you can’t seem to get rid of without paying for it. In short, it’s a hoax designed to separate naturally nervous users from their cash.

Enter “Mac Defender”.

Mac Defender (a/k/a Mac Protector, and probably some other name soon) is just such an application. If you are tricked into installing it, the method for removing it is not obvious. Fortunately, it’s not hard either. You can find detailed instructions with pictures here, but these are the steps:

  • Close the Mac Defender window if it’s open.
  • Navigate to your /Applications/Utilities/ folder. The easiest way is to click anywhere on your desktop, then go up to the Go menu and choose “Utilities”.
  • Start Activity in your Utilities folder.
  • If no window appears, go up to the Window menu and choose “Activity Monitor”.
  • In the window that appears, look in the upper, right corner and you will see a search box. Type “Defender” there.
  • “MacDefender” should appear in the list in the main part of that window. Highlight it and press the red “Quit Process” button in the toolbar.
  • Choose “Force Quit” from the window that appears.
  • Quit Activity Monitor.
  • Navigate to your /Applications/ folder and trash Mac Defender.
  • Go to your Apple menu and choose “System Preferences”.
  • Click on the “Accounts” icon, then click the “Login Items” tab.
  • Locate “Mac Defender” in the list and press the “-” button beneath the list.

To be clear, this is not a virus because it can only get onto your machine with your knowledge and, in fact, your permission. The lesson is, don’t believe everything you see on the web, be skeptical about stuff that tries to scare you into doing something, and be conscious and particular about what you decide to install.

Inexplicable slowness

Advice No Comments »

Have you been experiencing sudden slowdowns, color wheels, and general unresponsiveness that started within the last few weeks? The problem may be one of the latest updates to Safari, or rather, the interaction of an older Flash plug-in with the latest version of Safari.

Flash is a type of animation that is common to many web sites. In order to see it, your machine needs the Adobe plug-in for your web browser. The good news is that either your Mac came with it installed or the web sites that use it will offer clear instructions on how to install it. The bad news is, once you’ve got some version installed, it’s up to you to keep it up to date.

My belief is that the new Safari coupled with an older Flash plug-in is resulting in a glitch that is swamping resources on your Mac causing general system slowdowns. Quitting Safari will help for a time, but eventually the problem will return.

The solution is to download the latest Flash plug-in from here, then quit Safari and install it. Be sure to do this every few months (at least) to keep up with the newest release because nothing on your system will tell you when your Flash plug-in is out of date.

Eddie away next week

Business 1 Comment »

Ed Covelli will be away next week, starting tomorrow, April 16, and returning on Monday, April 25.

Eddie will be swimming from New York to Africa where he will hike to, then climb, Mount Kilimanjaro. At the peak he will build a small eatery called “Elmo’s” from materials he’ll bring along in a backpack, local materials, and snow. Once complete, and directly after the dessert course, he will retrace his climb, hike and swim back to New York, backwards this time so casual observers will think he’s doing it all again.

Having already climbed Mount Kilimanjaro several times myself, I will remain behind to assist in all matters great and mundane. You can reach me at the office number of 212/201-1465 or via e-mail.

The Epsilon hack

News 2 Comments »

By now you’ve probably heard that a company called Epsilon got hacked last week, and you’ve likely been told by roughly 10,236 organizations that you deal with regularly, so what does it really mean for you?

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Underwater digital pictures

Advice 2 Comments »

In the olden days, when women dragged the laundry down to the river and men struggled to make their VCR’s stop blinking “12:00:00″, anyone who wanted to take pictures underwater would either have to buy a disposable analog camera (and hope they wouldn’t need more than 24 tries to capture those wily fish), or get a pricy underwater case for their regular digital camera. The underwater cases worked well enough, as long as you kept them properly lubricated and didn’t intend to take land pictures between dives, and didn’t mind the extra bulk.

Fast-forward to 2011 when you can get digital cameras that you can actually take underwater with you. Crazy, right? But I can tell you firsthand that they work and take decent pictures both under and over water with no more maintenance than a rinse and towel-dry.

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Back later than planned

Business No Comments »

Due to circumstances entirely within my control, I will be returning from my vacation on Wednesday, April 6, not Monday, April 4 as originally planned.

Believe me, I am as upset about this as you must be. I mean, who wants to spend extra days relaxing, dining and generally enjoying themselves when they could come back to work? Not me! I argued, I screamed, I cried and bargained, all to no avail. The problem, you see, is my wife who had the temerity to say “yes” when I first suggested extending our stay. Blame her for being so agreeable.

Until my eventual return, Ed Covelli stands by to assist and can still be reached by phone at 212/201-1465 or via e-mail here.

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