The Magic of Universal Clipboard

Sometimes you get reminded that we are living in the future.

How can something so simple still amaze me, a grizzled veteran of computers?  

The age of iPhone and Cloud services have made information sharing really simple (if you know how to set it up).  With iOS 11 and MacOS Sierra and High Sierra, there is a super simple way for sharing text between devices: it's easy as cut and paste!

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Universal Clipboard is part of Apple's Continuity technology which creates a seamless link between certain qualified apps on both the iPhone and Mac. It requires the WiFi, Bluetooth, and the Handoff feature turned on each device. 

  1. On the Mac: go to System Preferences > General. Click the checkbox next to "Allow Handoff between this Mac and your iCloud Devices."

  2. On the iPhone or iPad: go to Settings > General > Handoff. Click on the switch next to Handoff.

Here is a test: 

  1. Open a web page on your phone.

  2. Highlight a paragraph of text.

  3. Copy the text.

  4. Open a new email or new note on your Mac.

  5. Edit > Paste.

  6. Mind blown.

High Sierra works better for photo and video copying. Going from the Mac to the iPhone/iPad will work as well.

 

 

 

Ideal Home Computer Setup

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Gather peace of mind for the Holiday season with this simple computer ecosystem.

Always have two external hard drives for your day to day operations. Why? Because the size of iMac and MacBook Pro hard drives are actually getting smaller: You will pay a premium for anything above a 500GB internal hard drive. That's not much room if you have an epic music collection, or a filmmaker, or a pro photographer. So here is what we recommend:

MEDIA DRIVE: store your excess photos, videos, and music (and lesser used documents) on this external drive. There are exceptions of course, but they may require you to have A PORTABLE DRIVE for taking with you on the road. Media drives tend to be 2-3 TB in size and stay at home.  This gives you tons of storage for the future.

BACKUP DRIVE: Remember Time Machine? It is built into the MacOS and has saved many butts over the years. Setting up the software is easy. The hard part is figuring out WHAT and HOW MUCH to back up. With the new configuration discussed above, use this math to figure out how much to backup: Add the total size of the Mac's internal drive + the total size of the Media drive. These drives do not have to be full right now, but believe us, they will get full eventually. So roughly, a 500GB internal drive + a 3TB Media drive = 3.5TB. Round that up and you should get at least a 4TB drive for backups. With your fancy Thunderbolt or USB3 connectors, Backups will be lightning fast!

CLOUD BACKUP: Wait! What about that fancy Cloud stuff I keep hearing about? Can't I backup to the cloud?  The answer is YES, BUT. There are several fine services out there that can capture Terabytes of data, but at a monthly subscription fee. Also the initial backup is slow. Very Slow. As fast as your WiFi connection can allow. 

CLOUD SYNC: What about iCloud, DropBox, and Google Drive? Aren't they already backing up your phone and computer? The answer: Phone yes, computer no. Smart phones like iPhone have a much smaller hard drive and thus easier to back up (you did turn on iCloud backup on you iPhone, didn't you?). The competing services like DropBox and Google Drive require you to move files into a special folder, which is then synced to their respective Clouds, not the entire computer. Please remember that before you depend on them for something really important, like your family photos.

 

 

 

 

 

Block Phone Scams!

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It's an all too frequent occurrence. Your iPhone rings from an unknown caller. You pick it up. There is a pause, then an pre-recorded message starts playing about a bank line of credit ready for you. Or it's a telemarketer from India. Or it's someone claiming they are from the IRS and you owe back taxes. 

A recent article from Forbes magazine online describes a new trend of scammers claiming they are from the Social Security Administration and there is problem with their Social Security Account

Phone scams are on the rise. Anyone can buy a phone number in any country, and can  use them to imitate any business, any service.

What can you do? 

  • If you don't recognize the number, don't pick it up. If the caller is legitimate, they will leave a message on your voicemail.
  • Install reverse-lookup apps. These apps will compare the incoming call with a database of known scam numbers. Try these two apps: Mr. Number and TrueCaller. You can also add to their databases to remember new scam numbers and help others in the process.

 

TIKITECH CAN HELP

Let us help you with your computer and iDevice concerns! Please contact us at samuel@tiki-tech.com or call 415-238-9506 for a free intro consultation.

Cloud? What Cloud?

Considering this was the rainiest winter in years, you are probably getting tired of gray skies. 

What does this have to do with clouds in your computer? Only that they are both nebulous concepts that you may not understand. Let's see if I can help.

The following description may be too literal, but for folks who are not tech savvy, this may give you some perspective on the scale of this cloud computing stuff:

Similar, Yet Different, Fluffy Clouds

Just to confuse you further, many cloud services have overlapping features. For example, Apple's iCloud and Google's Cloud both sync contacts, calendars, and notes. Also DropBox and Box are so similar that you have to dive deeper to learn that one service is much more secure than the other. The Big Three:  Apple, Google, and Microsoft, require you to use their Office apps (Pages/Docs/Word, for example) to automatically save documents to their respective cloud service. Google's Docs require a web browser to use, while Apple and Microsoft's Office Apps do not.

DropBox and Box try to be platform and application-agnostic: they want to play nice with everyone. You gotta love DropBox's "magic folder": just throw a document in it and voilá! It suddenly appears in the cloud!

There's an App for That!

Cloud services are a critical extension for mobile devices like Apple or Android smart phones. Cloud-connected apps create the illusion that your iPhone or iPad store more things than it really does. As long as you have decent WiFi or cellular service, you now have all your work documents in your hand!

To make all this cloud magic work, there are now THREE versions of the three most popular Office applications:

  • Web
  • Mac/PC
  • iOS/Android
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CloudSpotting

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The chart below compares the capabilities of the more common cloud services you may encounter:

TIKITECH CAN HELP

Let us help you with your computer and iDevice concerns! Please contact us at samuel@tiki-tech.com or call 415-238-9506 for a free intro consultation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Backup or Die!

by Samuel Coniglio, Founder, TikiTech

I dread the call from friends who frantically reach out and say, "Help! My computer/iPhone crashed!"

After I calm them down, we go  through a question and answer session where I ask the usual:

Q: Do you have a backup? 
A: No.
Q: Do you have any cloud accounts with data on them?
A: I dunno.
Q: Do you know your passwords?
A: Um.

And so on. With some digging, we are usually able to recover most of the data.

Backups are boring, but they will give you peace of mind. It may save your butt some day.

Presenting the most common backup options in order of awesomeness:

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Physical drives connected to your computer via a cable is the fastest, safest, most reliable means of protecting your data? Family photos, home movies, that big project, it is all saved!  Apple's Time Machine backup software is built into all Macs, so just plug in a Mac-formatted drive and it will automatically ask you to make it a backup drive!

(Note: If it is not a Mac-formatted drive, we can talk about how to format it using Disk Utility.)

Multiple Backup Redundancy

Time Machine allows for multiple backup drives, so can, for example, have a local drive that backs up every day, and a remote drive that you save in your bank vault offsite that you bring in once a month or once a quarter to do full backups.

Backup Other External Drives

Do you have a separate drive for all your photos and movies? (I recommend this by the way.) Time Machine recognizes other external drives, and you can set it to back them up too! (Gotta have them all plugged in at once for it backup though.)

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Internet-based backup services are getting popular. They are convenient, and they "just happen" in the background. They allow you to see and recover files anywhere, on any computer. 

In a word: SLOW!

These services work great...if you have a decent WiFi or Ethernet connection. Since most people rely on WiFi nowadays, that is the slowest means of copying files. Here is the dirty truth: It can take from one week to ONE MONTH to make the first full backup! After that, incremental backups can take from a few minutes to an hour. So if you have the patience, go for it!

Privacy Concerns

With hackers finding new ways to access your personal information, backing your computer data to a cloud-based service is like putting out a sign that says "Hack Me!" Although these services do a good job with encryption, you are still taking that chance. Nothing is perfect.

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These are the legendary "cloud" services you keep hearing about. Everybody has a "cloud" services nowadays it seems, and they want you to subscribe! What that means is you usually pay a monthly or annual fee to get access to some amazing conveniences.

Focused Services

Most cloud services specialize in one thing: synchronize certain files across devices behind the scenes. For example, with Apple's iCloud service, when you take a photo it shows up on all iphones, ipads, and computers you own (as long as they are all logged into the same AppleID account). Other services like Dropbox, will sync any file placed in that "magic folder" on your hard drive.

NOT REAL BACKUPS

These services will copy certain files up to a server on the Internet and be available to any devices with the same user account. They DO NOT backup everything on your computer! For example, if a document is not in the DropBox "magic folder" on your hard drive, it is ONLY saved on your hard drive! No where else.

Living in the Cloud

If you do all your work exclusively in the "cloud," such as Google Docs, then maybe, maybe, that is all you need for backups. If your computer crashes, then we'll just reinstall the MacOS and reconnect to your cloud accounts. Rarely do I see this happening. 

Privacy Issues, part deux

Just like the online backups, cloud sync services have serious privacy concerns. 

TikiTech Can Help

Let us help you with your computer and iDevice concerns! Please contact us at samuel@tiki-tech.com or call 415-238-9506 for a free intro consultation.