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Dirty Macs

This is the hall of fame of the most dirty, corroded, damaged, and sad Macs we have seen in our shop. All but a couple were cleaned up, fixed up, and resurrected! Dirt happens to everyone, and we’ve seen these little guys handle their fair share. But excess dust can be damaging to your Mac, so try to keep the environment clean. Use a keyboard cover, don’t smoke or burn candles and incense near your machine, don’t eat or drink over your keyboard, and keep a little duster, clean paintbrush, or vacuum handy to brush away crumbs and pet hair. When you get a service done at The MacSpa, your Mac always comes back to you cleaner than when you brought it in. A clean Mac is a happy Mac!

Featured Art: “On the Wings of Valkarie”

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“On The Wings Of Valkarie”
Valkarie Gallery 
Satellite Art Show

THE MACSPA & Curator Eric Matelski present a collection of artwork from Valkarie Gallery artists: Sharon Eisley, Valerie Savarie, and Karrie York on display now through the end of March, 2017 at The MacSpa 1738 Wynkoop, Suite 103, Denver, CO 80202.

Contact: Eric Matelski at ArtPimpInfo@mac.com

Sharon Eisley’s pieces, not always painted on old objects, uses repurposing in a different way. Typically her oil and watercolor paintings are of humans with animal heads. The idea of taking something that is normal and familiar to us (the human body) and then adding a proportionately sized head from another creature makes the viewer question what is it that makes us human and just as important, what makes me, me.

For Valerie Savarie, when selecting books, it is important that they be published before 1972 (or, is at least as old as she). Sometimes the book instantly creates a visual concept and other times, she seeks out a book that will echo her mental vision. Taking the written story within, Savarie reinterprets it into a three-dimensional piece by cutting, sewing and painting (all done by hand without the use of power tools), thus creating a multidimensional collage while still leaving the majority of the book intact. Every page is kept as bound as it is important that her pieces retain their intrinsic book characteristics. Each page that is visible is purposely selected to be seen – whether it be specific words, lack of words, images or a combination there of. Words are as important as the visuals she create when making my book sculptures.

Karrie York had always loved art but as a child, it was deemed too messy for her to create at home. As she got older, her passion for art renewed itself and an opportunity to get some instruction presented its self. She met a local artist, whom she also found attractive (and single), so she asked for painting lessons.

Today they remain friends, but art-making has taken a real meaningful place in life.

Her half animal/half child acrylic paintings cross the boundaries of realism and whimsy and came about as she struggled to paint them separately. “I couldn’t get a child sitting atop a lamb to work,” she says. “So I cut them apart, put them back together and that seemed to gel!” Karrie continues to take this sense of whimsy into her other paintings  styles where bears have tea parties and fruit and vegetables are compiled to create people.

 

Public Reception will be held Sunday, February 26th, 2-5pm.

The Future of Apple and Integrating Google’s Services

While it’s always difficult to predict the future direction of Apple, some recent company developments seem a bit curious. Here’s my take:

photo credit: AppleInsider

In my Technology Blog from August 9, 2016, I posed the question: ‘Do you really need a Mac?‘. Since that time, Apple has released an all-new line of MacBook Pros that are:
1. non-upgradable (neither the RAM nor Solid State Device storage can ever be replaced),
2. non-recyclable (the battery is firmly glued into the computer making recycling impossible),
3. necessitate the need for adapters (they ONLY come with the new Thunderbolt 3 ports, which requires an adapter for any legacy USB, Thunderbolt and Ethernet connectors), and
4. are significantly more expensive than their predecessors. Apple also has determined that its entry-level laptop, the MacBook Air will no longer be upgraded. All of this solidifies my belief that the days of the traditional Apple laptop (likely desktops as well) are numbered.

Additionally, Apple has already abandoned their monitor (Cinema Display) business and a recent report from Bloomberg suggests that Apple will be abandoning their WiFi (Airport) business very soon. As Apple enthusiasts, where do we go from here?

Apple (and their competition) certainly understand that the future of computing is in portable devices and online services. However, Apple has some ‘catching up’ to do in these areas – primarily with Google. Google’s world of online services and devices is rapidly expanding, but still integrate well with Apple’s portable devices.

Photo Credit: The USB Port

This month, we’ll be introducing the first of many workshops to introduce you to the world of Google and how to best leverage Google’s services with the Apple devices you already own. In this first workshop, you’ll learn how to use Gmail; Google Photos to supplement (or replace) Apple Photos; Google Drive and Google’s productivity suite; Google Maps and other useful Google services. In upcoming workshops, we’ll discuss other topics related to Google like their business services, their new line of portable devices (Google Wifi, Home etc.) etc.
Sign up for the first workshop, Friday, February 17th, 3:30pm!

The MacSpa’s Mission is: ‘to empower people through the magic of technology’. As the world of technology continues to evolve, we want to educate you on the latest tools available – whether or not they can be found on Apple’s website. 😉

What is this port for on my Mac?

Apple seems to be steering people further and further away from multiple ports for their new devices.

usbcThe New Macbook and the MacBook Pro have USB-C/Thunderbolt ports and look very different from Macs you may have used in the past. So let’s go over all the Mac Ports so you’ll know what adapters you may need!

 

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USB-A and USB-B
You probably use USB-A the most. Usually, for hard drives, your iPhone, etc, USB-A is most common. USB-B you may recognize from a printer hook up. (Macbook Pros have never had a USB-B port so you won’t need an adapter for it.)  If you have devices that need USB-A (thumb drives, hard drives etc.) you will need a USB-C to USB-A adapter. I’ll outline the adapters in the next blog article.

 

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FireWire
Firewire was/is much faster than USB and some believe was the key for Macs to enter the video editing market. Your older machine may have a FW 800 port or a FW 400 port so you will need an adapter. Those will be discussed below.

 

 

Thunderbolt & Mini DisplayPort (MDP) (They look the same, but they aren’t!)all-about-ports

Thunderbolt is the latest in the series. If you have an older Mac, you may have a mini DisplayPort on your mac. You would’ve used this to plug in an external monitor. Thunderbolt came along around 2011, and can do everything that the MDP can do, but it can also transmit data really fast! The Thunderbolt ports are more versatile, and usually used for data transfer instead of a monitor, because these later Macs also had HDMI ports to serve that purpose.

untitled-image1HDMI
HDMI is a video and audio cable, the same one you may be using now for your TV! There’s an adapter for that.

 

 

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Ethernet
Your older computer may have an ethernet port. This connection allowed people to hard-wire to modems and routers. This is becoming more and more rare and most connections are wireless now (wi-fi). Yep, there’s an adapter for that too!

 

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Mini DVI
This is an older port. This is just for video only, no audio or data transmission. You would see this on some older Macs between about 2004-2009. These adapters are harder to find these days, but they still exist! In fact, they used to come free in the box when you bought a new Mac back in the early days, imagine that!

 

Macs have been through many different transitions over the years.

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If you need to plug something into your Mac, chances are it can be done with the right adapter. Contact us if you need help figuring out what you need!

Why you should buy AppleCare for your new Mac

First of all, DISCLAIMER: I do NOT work for Apple! There is no reason I would tell you to buy something unless I’d do it myself. We are an independent business helping people who own Apple products to get the most out of their investment. That includes upgrading older Macs–the Genius Bar won’t see you if your Mac is older than 5, by the way–and helping our clients master all kinds of technology challenges in their Apple world. So, why would I suggest buying AppleCare? Isn’t that like an extended warranty for suckers?

1. The number one reason is, Apple products are becoming more and more difficult to work on. Some components on newer Macs are impossible to replace, while others are extremely labor intensive. This means, in some cases, you will spend more trying to fix something than to replace the computer! Can you imagine if you had to replace your car if you got a flat tire? It’s like that.

This sounds outrageous, but take the example of the MacBook Pro. Up until 2012 it has been relatively easy to upgrade memory, hard drive, and battery. Even the display can be replaced without too much sweat. But around 2013-2014 and later, the SSDs and RAM started becoming soldered onto the board so those parts are no longer upgradable. So if something goes wrong, that’s a Logic Board replacement, and those get into the high 3-4 digit costs when you factor in labor! Not to mention all the time you lose. And, the batteries are glued into the case with extra-strong adhesive, so you risk damaging your computer should you attempt to replace a battery. This has already come up a few times in our shop. If they had AppleCare–boom–it would’ve been covered. Now, instead of a $99 battery replacement, they are looking at a very costly replacement of the entire top case.

2. If you plan on keeping your computer for at least 3-5 years–and most Macs run for a good 7-10 years–it’s a good investment to guarantee you’re covered for at least the first 3 years.

Many headaches can be avoided if you have AppleCare and can simply get a replacement computer within warranty. Now…with all that being said, AppleCare is NOT for everyone!

When you should NOT buy AppleCare
1. If you plan on replacing your computer within 1-3 years anyway. In some high-productivity and professional environments, computers are replaced frequently. In this case, having a 3 year warranty probably won’t serve you–although it does help the value if you resell it.

2. If you are “bad with technology,” reckless, or accident-prone. If this describes you, whether you like it or not, it is likely you will void your warranty by spilling something on the keyboard, dropping the computer, or some freak accident. Spending the extra money on AppleCare will not help you because accidental damage is not covered!

In short, protect that fancy piece of equipment you’re investing in, and it just might save you down the road!

Why should I upgrade my computer’s operating system?

When should I upgrade my computer’s operating system?

We’ve all been there. You updated your computer’s new operating system too soon and you had tons of issues with it. Sometimes, you don’t want to upgrade for a specific reason. You may have a piece of software that won’t work with the new OS. You may not like the look of the OS and prefer your computer to be the same.

That is totally understandable. You paid a lot of money for your computer! Your work and play is important. However, there are a few things you should know.

  1. The older your operating system is, the less secure it is.

Operating systems are the spine and brain of your computer. The amount of processing work it does in the background is complex. As technology capabilities grow, so will the chance of Malware infection and insecurities. Since Apple runs a closed infrastructure system, their security engineers will always focus on keeping the current Operating System (Sierra 10.12) secure. Any leftover focus will be spent trying to close up the loopholes

2) If you are keeping your older OS because of a software program, you should start looking for a replacement now.

Operating systems can be a huge positive for some software programs and a real death blow for others. If you have a program you absolutely need to use and can’t update, you may want to start planning for a new computer anyway. Your new computer you can use for internet related tasks and keep your older one safe. (You can bring it into The MacSpa for a Spa Day to make sure it is running in top shape!)

3) Older operating systems can be taking up more space on your machine!

The new OS, Sierra, had some wonderful back end changes (the part of the OS you don’t see) and can help you manage space more efficiently. Your old OS could be holding you back, if you’re constantly running out of space.

If you’re unsure about updating your OS or have any questions at all, please feel free to call us! We can provide training, advice and all the maintenance you need to keep your computer running smoothly!

Small Business Saturday – November 26th, 2016

We will be open Saturday, November 26th from 10:00am – 2:00pm!
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Did you know American Express started the Small Business Saturday movement? Love them or hate them, this giant financial institution has ironically created a buzz around supporting small business and “shopping small,” which is bringing communities together this holiday season.

In that spirit, we’ll be participating this year along with a number of other small businesses here in LoDo. After you do your Black Friday shopping at the malls, big box stores, and online, we encourage you to come to LoDo the following Saturday for a more unique experience.

Not only can you shop at your local boutiques within a festive historic atmosphere, but you will also find a variety of food and drink, fun activities, and special promotions popping up in every nook and cranny.

This Small Business Saturday at The MacSpa, we have compiled a massive list of specials and serious discounts geared toward holiday gifting, and to get you and your Mac in great shape (technologically speaking!). We are not usually open on Saturdays, so this is a very special day, and we will be here for YOU with lots of one-day-only specials and a holiday cards workshop!

Take a look at the Facebook Event for details, or keep reading!


1200x628-holiday-cards-collageHOLIDAY CARDS WORKSHOPS
10:00am & 12:00pm
$10
(regular price $25)
Sign up here!

Let’s get those holiday cards designed, ordered, and ready to mail (or email)! If you like to get stuff done, this workshop is for you.

Bring your Mac or iPad with your favorite photos (optional), and we’ll help you create and order your holiday cards from Apple or Shutterfly. AND, if you have your contact list already on your iPhone or Mac, we’ll get your address labels printed for you! (2 label sheets included).

Complimentary gift tags will be available and refreshments will be served!

After this workshop you will take away:
– a card design on your Mac or iPad ready to order or print
– printed mailing labels
– gift tags

Sign up here!


generic-badgeEXTRA SPECIAL PROMOTIONS FOR  SATURDAY ONLY

Most accessories are 10% off including
– iPhone, iPad, & Mac cases
– A-gloves (buy online)
– Screen Cleaning kits
– Charging cables (buy online)
– Backup Battery packs are 50% off!


Services & Packages up to 50% off:

Gift Certificate for Spa Treatment 50% off$79 value for $39





5-class package 30% off$125 value for $89





Gift Certificate for new Mac setup 40% off$165 value for $99





2-hour Training session 50% off$198 value for $99




 


The MacSpa MD Mac Maintenance Annual Subscription 30% off…$300 value for $199 (learn more)





Circle with Disney product and setup$299 value for $198




 


Come on in between 10:00am – 2:00pm for these very special discounts & workshops!


Our online store is up now for a limited time for these specials! Go there now.

Getting a new Macbook Pro? We can help!

Today they announced a new line of Macbook Pros. It has been 527 days since Apple released a new Macbook Pro. From the faster processing speeds to the new touch bar, Apple has definitely delivered. They released 2 13″ models and a 15″ model. Starting at $1499 these computers are the fastest, sharpest macs they’ve ever released.

However, once you get your new computer how do you get all your data from your old one to your shiny new one?

We can help!

Once you have received your new computer just bring it into the Spa along with your old computer. For $165.00 we will migrate your personal files from your old computer* and organize it on your new computer. We will also run diagnostics on your old machine and let you know what different uses you can now do with your “spare”

Would you like it to be a “movie machine?”
How about turning that old mac into a safe mac for your kids to use?
Would you like to use it to control smart devices in your house?

We will help you plan a way to use your old computer the most cost effective way for anything you need to do! If you decide to upgrade your old mac, you’ll get a discount on labor costs!

Are you confused about all the new options? For an additional $80 we can take care of everything from start to finish. We will sit with you for 30 minutes go over your needs, order your computer to be shipped to the Spa. When it arrives, we’ll call you to bring in your computer and we’ll do the rest!

*addtional charges may apply for failing hard drives or machines older than 2010 models

10 Hardening Tips to Make Your Mac More Secure

With malware and general computer safety being a growing concern for Mac users of all ages and parents of young technology fiends, we came up with a package to help “harden” your computer against outside threats. In addition to the services we provide, we also came up with a list of tips you can do at home to make yourself, your kids, staff, and all your fellow Mac users, safer!
1. Turn on auto locking after idle (System Preferences>Security and Privacy)
When your computer is idle, set it to automatically go to the Login screen to require your password.
2. Change login screen to just input fields (System Preferences>Users and Groups)
Instead of displaying your name on the Login screen, you can just leave blank fields, so anyone just walking over to your computer would have to type in your name as well as the password. This can be just enough of a roadblock to keep nosy co-workers or family members off your computer when you step away!
3. Clear all history and cookies and reset all browsers 
If you’re on the internet a lot, it’s a good idea to occasionally reset your browsers. In Safari, you can also use the Private Browsing function to keep History from being stored. This is available on Mac and iOS devices.
4. Only allow applications by authorized developers
This is a security setting in your System Preferences. This will keep you (or your kids) from opening applications that have not been “authorized” by Apple’s standards. Not all unauthorized apps are bad, but this is a precaution for everyone who’s not sure which apps are safe. Anything on the Mac App store is safe for download.
5. Turn on automatic updates (System Preferences>App Store)
This insures that any security updates or critical system updates get downloaded and installed immediately.
6. Turn on “Find my phone” and “Find My Mac” (System Preferences>iCloud)
This is one great feature of iCloud that is completely free and easy to use. In case of loss or theft, this makes it easier to track down the location of your missing device!
Optional, but still a good idea for extra security or protection of highly sensitive data, work computers, or kids computers:
  • Create standard account for everyday work and only using admin rights after logging in to install.
  • Set a firmware password
  • Use secure password apps such as 1Password or Lastpass
  • Remove all torrenting software

We have your safety and security in mind!

Sierra is a winner! Our favorite features on Apple’s latest Operating System.

macos_sierra_desktop

Note the new Siri icon in the left corner next to Finder and the pretty new Desktop picture.

I am always a skeptic when new operating systems come out. I like to wait until everyone else discovers all the inevitable bugs, conflicts, and unexpected problems that bubble up. Like a lot of people, I am on my computer constantly and can hardly take the time out to deal with an upgrade, or sometimes even a restart. My skepticism compounded with being busy, plus always running out of space on my hard drive kept me from upgrading to El Capitan, and before I knew it Sierra was released and I was still on Yosemite! How embarrassing!

So I took the plunge. I took some time to clear off some files, make sure my backup was up to date, quit all my apps (gasp), and then I downloaded Sierra and ran the installation. After the update, everything looked pretty normal, nothing blew up, and all my older apps were still working (I did verify this ahead of time using roaringapps.com). And of course, I now had access to all the great new features.  Here are The MacSpa Top 3 Staff Favorites:

3. Ability to rearrange menu bar icons. Just hold down the Command key as you click and drag, and you can move the icons such as Time Machine or Dropbox, even the Clock, to whatever order you want!

2. Siri. If you’re not great at typing, or just don’t want to bother lumbering around your computer looking for the right button, Siri makes it incredibly easy to launch Applications, search for files and folders, and more, just by clicking the Siri icon in the upper right corner of the screen or the left side of your Dock; OR by using the built-in keyboard shortcut, holding down Command-Space bar.

1. Ability to manage storage and more free space! This is huge. We are constantly helping our customers maximize their storage on their limited-space SSDs. I run into storage problems myself. But after the Sierra upgrade, I instantly had about 30GB more free space (don’t ask me how, but they have stripped down the bulk significantly.) Not only that, but they’ve added a “Manage” button when you go to Storage under “About this Mac” so you can optimize other settings to save space. Pretty ingenious and long overdue! I personally like that you can schedule the Trash to empty automatically after 30 days.

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There you have it. So, yes, if your Mac meets the requirements, and if all your apps are compatible, go ahead and upgrade, it’s a good one!

See our class schedule if you’d like to learn more!

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