Yearly Archives: 2018

Protect your Mac’s data

 

Customers often ask us how to back up and how often do they need to do it. The short answer to this is: How valuable is your data to you? If not at all, don’t backup. Beyond that, you want to back up as much as your data is valuable to you.

Backing up doesn’t have to be complicated. Think about this rule of thumb: Your data is not backed up unless it’s in at least two separate places. For most people, we recommend a local backup and a remote backup. This is a very high level of data protection.

Before we talk about which backup solutions are best and how to do it, let’s talk about where you store your data.  Ideally, all of your data fits on your Mac and you back up that data to two places: an external hard drive (your local backup) and to a cloud service (this is your remote backup).  Some customers want to buy a laptop with a small drive and then use external drives to store the rest of their data. While this can make their Mac purchase less expensive, it leads to a very complicated backup situation. Say you have all the data that fits on your Mac and the rest stored on an external hard drive: now you have to get a second external hard drive to backup both your Mac AND to back up the external drive with the rest of your data. How often will you be connecting both of those drives to your Mac and backing up? For most people, the answer is “never” or “not enough”. This is too complicated and bound to fail. (If you’re currently in this scenario, consider upgrading your internal drive.)

For local backups, we recommend using Time Machine; it’s already on your Mac and it just needs a place to put your backups onto. If you have a laptop, we recommend using a Time Capsule, which will make wireless backups using Time Machine. Once setup, it requires you to remember nothing and your data is continuously backed up. With an external hard drive, you have to remember to plug it in every once in a while to perform backups. Unfortunately, too many times, we see customers where the time they lose their data is the time they didn’t plug it in for a month. For desktops, a Time Capsule is not needed—you can just plug in an external drive, tell Time Machine to use that drive for backups, and forget it. If it’s always plugged in, it will always be backing up.

The final safety net is a remote backup. Why have two backups? The likelihood of both your Mac failing AND your backup drive failing at the same time are low. But that’s not the only scenario for data loss. Power surges, fire, water damage from flood, theft—you want your data in more than one physical location. We recommend Backblaze. Backblaze is a remote backup solution that backs up your computer whenever it’s connected to the internet. You don’t have to do anything except pay $5 per month, per computer. Backblaze is different from other backup services because they give you options for restoring your data. In a time of crisis, do you have time for all of your data (likely lots of gigabytes or maybe terabytes) to be restored wirelessly? It can take hours or days to restore an entire system wirelessly. What good is a backup if it’s difficult or inconvenient to use it when you need it the most? Backblaze can ship you a hard drive with your data on it, if needed. Once we had a customer with an RAID and a local attached hard drive. Unbeknownst to them, the hard drive got unplugged and then the RAID failed. They would have lost all of their data. But Backblaze had it all. You can never have too many backups.

Follow these simple guidelines and your data will be very well protected.

 

 

Posted in MTS Best Practices

USB-C Charging for iPhone and iPad

     

If you own an iPhone 8 iPhone X or an iPad then you’re going to love USB-C charging. With the newly released 30W USB-C adapter and a USB-C to Lightning cable, your iPhone will never be dead again.

But first let me get this out of the way. If you have any of these in your home

throw them in the trash right now. Now for everyone using the 12W USB adapter, the 30W adapter is much faster. When charging an iPhone 8 after 30 minutes the 30W is at 52% while the 12W is at 36%. For the iPhone X, it’s 49% vs. 39%. The 30W adapters are $49 and the 1m USB-C to Lightning charging cable is $25.

Posted in Products We Love

Products We Love: eero Wireless

We love our Apple products because they “just work”. Nothing takes away that feeling faster than bad Wi-Fi. The eero Wi-Fi system helps keep our devices working great, even in more challenging home and apartment layouts.

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Posted in Products We Love

MTS Best Practices: Upgrading to macOS High Sierra

Apple seems to really want me to upgrade to High Sierra. My Mac asks me every few days if I want to upgrade. I almost want to upgrade just to get it to stop bugging me. But should I?

There are several things to think about before you push that all-too-convenient Install Now button.

Features

First, do I need any of the new features. Most people don’t know what the features are but if you know you need something, then it’s probably worth upgrading. In the case of the newest macOS, High Sierra, most of the changes are under the hood changes, like a new file format, i.e. things most users can’t see and don’t care about. The biggest changes that users can see are in Photos and Safari. Apple’s full shpiel is here: https://www.apple.com/macos/high-sierra/

Age of my Mac

If your Mac is more than 5 years old, don’t upgrade. New software + old hardware = sadness. New software including operating systems are designed for the newest hardware. When you put them on old hardware, they make the computer feel so slow. Your new best friend becomes the spinning color wheel. It may even force you to go and buy more RAM from, oh I don’t know, Mike’s Tech Shop. If your Mac is more than 5 years old, no more software upgrades. Just ride it out until you get a new Mac.

Make sure you have a backup

The most important thing before you do any upgrade is to make sure that you have a good backup before you begin the upgrade. High Sierra requires a new format for your hard drive. It’s invisible, you’ll never notice the difference, but in order to reformat your drive, when you upgrade to High Sierra, it writes to your hard drive a lot. So if you’re hard drive is a little shaky or has some problems you’re not noticing yet, upgrading will bring your hard drive down. We have had many people come in with Macs that no longer work because they tried to upgrade to High Sierra.

Bottom Line

If you have a relatively new Mac and a backup, I’d upgrade. If your Mac is more than 5 years old, don’t upgrade. If you’re somewhere in between, see if you need or want any of these features Apple brags about in High Sierra and decide from there. No matter what, always have a good backup of your data before doing anything.

Posted in MTS Best Practices

Products We Love: eero Wireless

We love our Apple products because they “just work”. Nothing takes away that feeling faster than bad Wi-Fi. The eero Wi-Fi system helps keep our devices working great, even in more challenging home and apartment layouts. Eero is a custom designed mesh system, with all the latest protocols, where your iPhone app is your network admin.

Finally a home wifi system worth recommending, enthusiastically. A beautifully packaged eero simply plugs into your current modem, and you begin configuring your network with a free app on your smartphone. There are a few configurations, the most common of which is the eero with two beacons. The beacon simply plugs into to your electrical outlet (à la the original Airport Express) and wirelessly connects to the main unit (the app guides you on optimum placement). The beacons even have a nightlight feature, which comes in handy when placed in bedrooms and hallways. And depending on the size and layout of your home you can reduce or increase the number of beacons until you’re covered (even in that pesky back room, or on the other side of that elevator), or get the Pro series, where you use multiple eero units instead of beacons for really intense coverage.

So, if you want Wi-Fi that just works, without the more complicated setups we would recommend and install in a business or enterprise environment, eero is for you. In a world where Apple stopped updating its Airport line, this swooped in and did it right, with a dash of Apple’s classic white design, and polished looks. In a world without updated Airports, we love eero.

Posted in Products We Love