Going somewhere? Make sure your Macintosh laptop doesn’t get stolen!

Traveling is a big part of being either a business professional, seasonal traveler, or, even a college student. Unfortunately, when you are out and about, this is the best time for computer theft. It literally only takes a second while you are in a rest room or at the counter getting a cup of coffee for that $1,000+ computer to simply vanish, only to show up on eBay someday. Apple used to include a special locking slot on all of their laptops, which would allow you to buy a Kensington locking kit which looked like this. However, it seems like Apple has dropped this trend and a lot of today’s Macbook models no longer have this important locking slot. Fortunately for you, this is not really an issue anymore!

There are still various options to get that laptop locked up when you are at the library or the coffee shop and I’m going to introduce you to a product from Kensington, which is an aftermarket locking kit for your Macbook, Macbook Air, or, any computer or tablet that doesn’t feature a locking slot. This simple $25 kit will allow you to add a locking mechanism easily and cheaply to any Macbook that does not have the necessary slot built-in. Check it out and purchase this amazing device on Amazon by clicking here. This is a great idea for a college gift!

Control Yosemite’s Dark Menu Bar Mode With a Keyboard Shortcut

If you like the new dark menubar feature in Mac OS X Yosemite but hate taking a trip to the system preferences every time to enable or disable it, here’s a fast way to assign a keyboard shortcut to make it toggle much faster.

First, launch the Terminal application from the Utilities folder and enter this command:

sudo defaults write /Library/Preferences/.GlobalPreferences.plist _HIEnableThemeSwitchHotKey -bool true

 

Hit the return key, and restart the computer. When you come back up, you can toggle dark menubar mode by hitting CTRL+OPT+CMD+T.

Tired of replacing batteries in your Apple wireless keyboard? It’s time to go solar!

When I first got my iMac, it came with a sweet Apple wireless bluetooth keyboard. I couldn’t believe the freedom that a wireless keyboard could bring. However, I noticed something very interesting after a few weeks with the keyboard–it sucked down batteries like nobody’s business! I’m obviously a heavy Macintosh user and I’m on my computer most of the day and night–and this was not going to cut it for me!

What I found was probably one of the best inventions of all time in my Macintosh lifetime–the Logitech Solar Keyboard for the Mac! This amazing keyboard looks like the original Macintosh keyboard (and it comes in other colors as well!) and it completely runs on solar power–no joke. You simply plug in a small USB dongle into your computer and away you go–the keyboard simply uses any light–not just the sun–to recharge itself while you work. There are no batteries and no hassles! I’ve used this keyboard for a few years and it’s been one of the best sub-100 dollar inventions I have ever used. I’m sure Apple will eventually move to this solar technology on future keyboards!

Purchase the Logitech Solar Keyboard for the Mac from Amazon and help Capital Mac make a small commission with that click!

Do I need any particular antivirus software for my new (or old) Mac?

Capital Mac Norton AntivirusThe easy answer: probably not. In the 13 years I was with Apple Computer, I saw about two distinct and separate viruses on a Mac. One of them was a simple Microsoft Word virus that only affected Word documents. The other was a real-deal virus, however, Apple caught that one before anyone really had contracted it.

So, do you need Macintosh antivirus software? Probably not.

I’d be more worried about you losing your data to a hard drive or directory damage issue than getting a virus. Most people on any computer platform equate any problem–big or small–to a virus. Most of the customers I dealt with while working with Apple began with “My computer isn’t working. It’s probably a virus.” Obviously from our end, this was never, ever a virus and almost always a directory damage issue or software problem.

If you were to invest in a virus software for your Mac for peace of mind sake, I would recommend something simple as the Norton suite of antivirus software, if you really want to still run one on your system. Be aware that these types of software will possibly reduce the speed of your Mac, since it has to scan every file every few minutes.

If you are gun-shy about Mac antivirus, or, if you just have questions, just contact us at Capital Mac Service and we can cover your options!

 

 

Cool off Your Hot Mac with SMCFanControl

Does your desktop Mac run extremely hot? If so, consider SMCFanControl, which allows you to manually adjust your Mac’s internal fans. I installed it on a Mac Pro and it’s made a dramatic difference in the cooling, though it’s a bit louder now. Find it here: http://www.macupdate.com/app/mac/23049/smcfancontrol.

Another great comment about Capital Mac Service

From a client’s voicemail today for a recent Capital Mac Service data recovery attempt:

“Thank you very much. You know I can’t tell you how happy I am that this hard drive data is safe and it’s wonderful what you did to save it. It’s just so great to know that there are people out there who want to really help you and I appreciate that so much. It’s very inspiring for me. It’s good to see that they’re good people out there who want to help.”

If you need expert-quality and helpful service when it comes to your Macintosh, please consider Capital Mac Service.

I have a Macintosh. Why would I ever need to back it up?

Backup Your Macintosh with Time MachineComputer backup is one of those things like airbags; hopefully you will never need it, but, it’s there regardless. On average, today’s 3-5 year old Macintosh is going to blow a hard drive. You know, that place where every single photo you have EVER taken is stored. EVERY single document you have typed since the early days of college. That James Brown song that you found on some strange website 14 years ago. Now, imagine if all of that data was just……gone. It happens and it’s not Apple’s problem. When you walk into an Apple Store Genius Bar with this problem, they will kindly ask you if you backed up BEFORE the computer is in a death spiral. Since I’ve performed that very job for Apple, I can assure you that more than 50% of those customers answered “What is backup?” At that point, your Genius will probably sigh and begin the long, sad, awkward conversation on how you just lost all of your data.

Fortunately for you, faithful Apple soul, the answers you seek before this catastrophe are about to be laid out before you. First step, get a hard drive. I’m going to make this VERY easy on you and give you a link to the very hard drive I’m talking about–a simple 1 terabyte hard drive that will back up your computer–any computer–for about $70 bucks. Click here to go buy that on Amazon and get your data SAFE. That hard drive is about a small as a deck of cards and connects to your computer with ONE simple cable. That’s it.

You’re probably thinking: “Once I plug in this mysterious hard drive, what do I do to get it backing up?” Easy. The answer is click on “OK” when you see a message that states “Do you want to use Time Machine to backup your personal data?” Just say yes. Time Machine is the built-in software that allows your vulnerable Mac to back itself up to this new magical hard drive. As a matter of fact, it will save your life to the point of backing up EVERY SINGLE HOUR while that hard drive is plugged in. This is literally one of those set-it and forget-it moments thanks to Apple.

From that point on, your data is safe and secure!

Capital Mac is ready and able to talk about any of your data backup needs. Let us know by contacting us today–we can get you a hard drive and go over your backup options!

Saratoga Springs Race Course

Do you need Macintosh service while in town for the Saratoga meet?

Saratoga Springs Race Course

If you have Macintosh problems while in town for the Saratoga 2014 Meet, give Capital Mac a call!

This time of year is the BEST time of the year to be in Saratoga Springs! With the running of the 2014 Saratoga meet, the city of Saratoga Springs is flooded with horse trainers, jockeys, track support staff and the tourists that make it all possible. The only time it’s not fun to be in Saratoga for the meet is when your Macintosh goes down–who do you call? Do you hike a half-hour down to the Apple Store in Crossgates Mall? That may not be something you want to do while in town for the Saratoga meet. If your beloved Macintosh is having problems during the track season, at least give Capital Mac Service a call–we’re located right up the road from Saratoga Springs in Malta, New York and we can help diagnose, and hopefully fix, your older Macintosh issues. We can even travel to you in the city of Saratoga to get your Macintosh back on track–and if we can’t help, we’d be glad to get you some options while you’re in town.

Do NOT fall for this App Sec-Team SCAM E-Mail!

I received an email tonight from a company called “App Sec-Team,” which I had no idea what it was until I looked a bit deeper. The only reason I even saw this email message is because it skipped the SPAM rules on both Mac OS X Mail and Gmail’s SPAM filter. This is an interesting scam in that it appears to be from Apple, which it’s not–and it brings you to a form that looks exactly like an official Apple iCloud form, right down to the graphics and icons used. This is a FAKE site and you must NOT enter any personal information! I’ll break it down one piece at a time below:

Here’s what the original email looks like, including the scary header (“Account Verification”) that would trick a good portion of people into opening the email (since it skipped the SPAM rules!):

A fake Apple dialog box

A somewhat-official email supposedly coming from Apple, but, it’s coming from a phishing company!

 

 

 

 

 

 

The actual email says this in the body:

2-Step Verification

As part of our security policy, we’re moving to a new sign in process for our Apple accounts, called 2-Step Verification. 2-Step Verification adds an extra layer of security by requiring you to enter a verification code (similar to a PIN) after you enter your usual information. You will receive the verification code through your email address.

Why are we doing this?

2-Step Verification helps protect your account from unauthorized access due to a compromised password. Even if your password is cracked, guessed, or otherwise stolen, an attacker can’t sign in without a verification code, which only you can obtain via your own email address.

This is 100% fake and it is certainly not from Apple. Here’s a screenshot of who it’s actually from which is “security@app.com”:

Security@app.com Fake Email

This is a completely fake entity, appearing to look like Apple

 

 

 

Going a bit further, if you happen to click on the “Verify your information, Get activation code from Here” link that they try to trick you into clicking, you end up here–and this is pretty convincing to someone who isn’t used to things like this–a completely fake site that is masquerading as a real Apple website–which even I was thrown for after seeing it for a quick first time due to the official graphics and wording:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lastly, let’s check the final nail in this coffin–the website that this fake iTunes Connect screen is hosted at–which in real life would have to be something with ‘apple.com’ in it–however–this site resides on a web server called ‘www.greenbvc.com,’ which is clearly not Apple in any way. If you had entered in this information as the form asked for, you would now have a stolen credit card and most of your personal data in a database somewhere probably offshore. But, it gets even stranger if you dig deeper into the URL that this fake page is stored: “http://www.greenbvc.com/” which brings you to this site which actually seems legitimate:

Fake Apple Screenshot Scam

Why does a fake Apple site point back to this site?

My gut feeling is this guy’s site was hacked and this fake Apple verification page was placed there without his knowledge. The bigger message here is the layers that these scam companies will go through to get your personal data. Stay vigilant, people. If you have any question about this type of scamming, or phishing as it’s referred to, please contact Capital Mac Service before you fill out any forms or click on literally anything on the web.

Capital Mac Service of Saratoga Service Area Reminder

Just a quick reminder that Capital Mac Service of Saratoga can also service Macintosh computers in these locations:

  • Latham
  • Colonie
  • Saratoga Springs
  • Clifton Park
  • Troy
  • Schenectady
  • Glens Falls
  • Albany
  • Milton
  • Wilton
  • Woodstock
  • Bennington, Vermont
  • Hoosic

Capital Mac Service is open for business and ready to consult with you with any of your Macintosh computer troubleshooting needs, including hard drive upgrades and networking advice. Contact us today!

Capital Mac Video Series: Intro to Applescript

This is a very introductory video about Apple’s built-in scripting language, AppleScript, including making the computer talk, dialog boxes, creating a simple magic 8-ball game, introduction to AppleScript editor and the basics of a variable. Brought to you by Capital Mac Service of Upstate New York.

Don’t Fall Victim to Macintosh Help and Support Scams!

Don't fall victim to Macintosh Support Scams!

Don’t fall victim to Macintosh support scams including fake Mac tech support companies and anti-virus software. They will capture your personal data and credit card numbers!

When you see pop-ups and warnings that your Macintosh may be infected by a virus or spyware while surfing the web, don’t fall for it! Most of these scary popup warnings are nothing more than a scam to get your credit card numbers, passwords, or social security numbers! These fake companies (usually not based in the United States) generate these very official-looking and scary warnings that appear on your screen warning you that you have severe system problems and viruses on your Macintosh. The good news is almost 99.9% of the time, you and your Mac are perfectly safe.

If you decide to take these scam companies up on their offers of free diagnostic software, free tech support and more, you will most likely be handing over crucial and personal data that will come back to haunt you! The general way these companies scam you is by tricking you into installing software onto your Macintosh that allows them full access into your computer remotely, which in turn they can keep this access as long as they wish. They will then often generate fake messages with this software, such as leading you to believe you have a virus or spyware that can only be removed by them–for a huge fee. We have had customers fork over hundreds of dollars to these companies, for basically no reason. Once they take off these fake viruses, their software just generates more of them down the road, forcing you to give them more money.

Another way fake companies get your credit card numbers and other personal data is to masquerade as a real Apple Macintosh support business. These offshore companies often pay for higher Google results and trick you into thinking they are actually Apple Computer, by using domain names that appear to be related to Apple (they aren’t). Once you call these fake Mac support companies, they ask for access remotely to your Mac, or, credit card numbers and other personal data.

Lastly, another big scam is the “Clean My Mac” software that is going around the Internet via website ads and popup windows. This software usually is malicious and does nothing on your Mac except generate ways to steal your data and credit card numbers. The jury is out on the infamous “MacKeeper” software that you see on a daily basis–We feel that whether this is malicious software or not, our gut feeling is to stay away from it. Consult with a reputable firm to talk about cleaning and optimizing your Macintosh with genuine software such as Cocktail for the Mac, which we’ve talked about before. The Macintosh for the most part can take care of itself–it usually doesn’t need help from these online optimization and cleaning software titles–worry about backing up your data first and foremost instead of chasing these possibly damaging software titles.

Please contact Capital Mac Service before you attempt to install any third-party software to clean or disinfect your Mac, no matter how scary these warnings appear to be. Don’t call anyone on the web or visit websites unless you are 100% sure they are either Apple Computer, or, a reputable local Macintosh help and support firm. We can work backwards with you to see where these warnings came from and hopefully shut the doors to these malicious companies.

Capital Mac Video Series: Basic Mac Maintenance

A quick Capital Mac Service instructional video showing some basic Macintosh maintenance that anyone can do with the wonderful software ‘Cocktail,’ covering cache rebuilding, too many files on the desktop and built-in maintenance tasks. These tips should help speed up your Macintosh and are super easy to perform!

Capital Mac Doesn’t Keep “Normal” Hours.

Capital Mac Service of Saratoga County

Full-Service Apple Macintosh Service, Day or Night

I had a few clients seem shocked and amazed this week when they contacted me well beyond the normal 5PM closing time for most businesses–and I was right there, answering them back and getting their Macintosh computers back on track the very next day–even on Saturday evening. Whether it’s 10AM or 10PM, If I get a message from a current or potential client, you can be sure I will be getting back to them as soon as I get the message. I’m pretty sure the Capital Mac Service competition in the area would probably not be returning your late-night calls. When I created Capital Mac Service, the top of my concern list was being accessible, no matter when or where I was. I may not be able to physically meet you at 11:30PM, but, you can be assured that you will get a response and we will most likely be seeing each other the next day, on your terms. If you can’t meet in the Saratoga County area, let’s work it out so it’s easy for you and your schedule to meet with me. Your Macintosh problems are my Macintosh problems and I take it very seriously. Feel free to contact Capital Mac Service by visiting this page–we’d love to hear from you!

Thank You,

Mark H. Delfs
President of Capital Mac Service