800-656-8547 is most likely a phishing scam designed to get access into your Mac--don't fall for it!

800-656-8547 is another pop-up scam–don’t fall for it!

800-656-8547 Scam

800-656-8547 is most likely a phishing scam designed to get access into your Mac–don’t fall for it!

There is another scam going around as pop-ups that appear in your browser while surfing the web with Safari, Firefox or Chrome. What happens is a pop-up appears and explains that you have a security breach on your Macintosh (or Windows computer). Then, it directs you to call 800-656-8547, for instructions on how to take care of this “breach.” The instructions are to let a “technician” into your computer virtually, which is a bad idea in general, and then have to pay them upwards of $300 to “clean your Macintosh.” This is just another variation of the typical pop-up scareware banners that trick you into thinking something is wrong with your computer–which there is not. Whatever you do, don’t call that number! 

If you happen to be reading this post after you have called the number for this pop-up scam, here’s a few things to do immediately on your Macintosh.

  • First, if you gave them a credit card number, you will probably want to call the bank and have them deny the charge and cancel that card. Once they have that number, they may use it further, or, sell it off on the black market.
  • If they actually took control of your Mac, they may have done nothing, or, they may have inserted any variety of malware, keylogging software, etc. It’s hard to say for sure, but, different scams of this variety do different things. At minimum, you would want to change your administrator password (System Preferences –> Users and Groups –> Change Password) for all accounts on the Mac. Depending on your comfort level, you would also want to consider rolling back to an earlier date in time with Time Machine backup, or, consider a scorched Earth path to completely wipe the computer clean and start over. If you were to do this drastic step, I would wipe the computer clean, and then install an operating system first, and then go back and restore just your user folder from backup. Select only important users in the Setup Assistant dialog box—not the Applications, Other files and folders, or Computer & Network Settings. Don’t transfer the Guest account, if you had this enabled.
  • Don’t install 3rd party software from your backups–try to go back to the original media for this step.
  • We advise you change any internet passwords that you may have typed in after this breach, such as banking or online retail store accounts–this is a good step to do anyway, every few months.
  • It’s not a bad idea to install some form of anti-virus software at this point, such as Sophos for the Mac, which is more of a piece-of-mind-just-in-case step. It will come up with some errors during scanning, which usually means that it cannot scan system files that are in use. If it finds anything strange, it will quarantine these files.

Hopefully after all of these steps, your Mac will be somewhat back to normal. Remember, this scam is a popular one and many more malicious folks are putting this scam into action. 800-656-8547 is just one of many following the same routine and we ask that you don’t ever call anyone for Macintosh help except for AppleCare and local computer companies (such as Capital Mac Service) in your area that specialize in the Macintosh. If you get bitten by this, or any other scam, don’t panic and don’t ever give out personal information such as credit card numbers, social security numbers and birthdates. Above all else, don’t let remote people take over your computer–this is just asking for trouble!

It’s Time For an SSD (Solid State Drive) in Your Mac!

Macintosh SSD Drive

SSD hard drives are cheaper than ever and will make your Macintosh screaming fast!

We’ve been touting the advantages of replacing those aging mechanical hard drives in your Macintosh computers for quite some time here at Capital Mac Service. Now is the best time to get your Macintosh upgraded with an ultra-fast solid state hard drive. Imagine your boot time going from 2 minutes to about 10 seconds! Imagine your Adobe apps loading almost instantaneously when you turn on your computer! Imagine your Macintosh feeling like a new model, even if it’s 5 years old! Contact Capital Mac Service today to talk about your SSD options–these drives are cheaper than ever and it will breathe new life into your older Mac!

Hue Lighting from Capital Mac Service

Home Automation Consultation with Capital Mac Service

Hue Lighting from Capital Mac Service

Hue lighting can transform any room into any color you wish!

Here at Capital Mac Service, we aren’t just about the Mac–we have extensive experience in other technical areas, including printer setup and Android support. We can also offer home automation consultation, with regards to hardware devices such as the amazing Nest thermostat that learns from your heat and cooling habits, or, even automatic Hue lighting that you can control from your phone or computer. Home automation is exciting and it’s within most people’s reach with the prices of hardware dropping dramatically.

Nest Thermostat from Capital Mac Service

Control your heat and cooling from anywhere on the planet with the Nest

Imagine heating your home before leaving a local restaurant in the middle of winter just by launching an app on your phone. How about automatically fading your living room lights from dark to light red while watching The Walking Dead every week? Check. How about your Nest carbon monoxide detector turning off the furnace when it detects a lethal CO2 leak, flashing the lights red and then sending you and a neighbor a text message alerting you to the leak? Easily done. Home automation is here and it’s easier than ever to dive in headfirst–Capital Mac Service will be there for a full consultation, answering any questions you may have and laying out products to fit your budget. Start small with a few items and scale up over time!

IFTTT Automation from Capital Mac Service

Tie many services together with the awesome power of IFTTT

With incredible free services like IFTTT tying hundreds of hardware and software devices together such as the Nest and Hue lights, you can literally have full control over your entire world with a few simple hardware items and corresponding applications. Imaging having your lights turn on automatically every evening at sunset, or gently fade in at sunrise all by using IFTTT and your home automation hardware.

Contact Capital Mac Service today and unleash the power of home automation in your home or business. We personally run all of the items mentioned above (and then some) and we love to talk tech. Capital Mac Service has the background and are very passionate about home automation in general–give us a chance and let’s talk about automating!

Capital Mac Service is Saratoga Lake’s Macintosh Connection

Macintosh Support on Saratoga Lake

If you live on Saratoga Lake, contact Capital Mac Service for your Mac needs.

If you live on or around Saratoga Lake, Capital Mac Service offers a wide array of Macintosh computer services at your place of business or home on the lake. We can offer house calls to do basic computer consulting, minor repairs, Macintosh training and support, printer setup and troubleshooting and more! You don’t have to make that long drive to the Apple Store in Crossgates Mall–just contact Capital Mac Service for an appointment to have your Macintosh problems solved!

Printer Support in the Capital District

Need Printer Setup Help in the Capital District?

Printer Support in the Capital District

Hooking up a printer doesn’t have to be difficult. Let Capital Mac Service handle it!

Yes, Capital Mac can hook up your new printer, whether it’s hardwired or an AirPrint printer for your iOS devices. We can visit your home or office to perform this printer hookup service for a nominal fee. We will install the ink cartridges or toner, check all connections and print a test page before wrapping up. If you need printer installation and support in the Albany, Colonie, Saratoga, Clifton Park, Glens Falls, Malta, Ballston Spa, Ballston Lake, Scotia, Schenectady, and Latham, contact Capital Mac Service today for an on-site printer support appointment.

Mac OS X 10.10.3

Mac OS X 10.10.3 & Photos App Released

Mac OS X 10.10.3

Mac OS X 10.10.3 and Photos has been released in April of 2015.

Apple has just released OS X 10.10.3 to the wider public–no more beta! This upgrade to the Macintosh operating system, which has been in beta form since March of 2015, includes the new Photos app that was introduced next to Yosemite last year. It also includes over 300 new emoji symbols, including multiple races and designs for some icons, a revamped “look up” panel, networking and overall wireless improvements. Get this update by heading to your App Store and checking the updates tab.

Stock up on Amazon-branded iPhone and iPad lightning cables

I found cool white or black fully-certified Apple lightning cables on Amazon for a bit cheaper than the real Apple-branded models. Check them out and stock up on these essential cables while traveling or, if your kids steal your cables!

Some third-party cables are not certified by Apple and they simply won’t work. This is a good deal for a decent product.

Purchase these replacement Apple-certified lightning cables here.

Blast From The Past: Want to Repair Your Own Mac? Don’t Bother.

This was an editorial that I wrote about 4 years ago! Here it is in all of its glory:


Want to Repair Your Own Mac? Don’t Bother.

A good portion of today’s Mac users are obviously switching from the Microsoft Windows world, and in their own time were used to many givens in that world. One of those givens was the ability to be able to literally rip open a PC and fix, tinker and repair your way to a working computer. I often hear of PC users replacing motherboards, modding cases, adding and subtracting hard drives and optical drives, but, I rarely ever hear a new iMac owner saying things like “Wow, I just replaced my logic board and upgraded the processor while I was in there for the fun of it,” or, “Boy, my 2 terabytes of hard drive space spread over my 4 hard drives really makes my Mac much better to work with.” The reason you don’t hear these statements coming from a Mac user is simply because Apple doesn’t want nor allow you to easily perform these types of upgrades or repairs on most Macintosh hardware.

Ever since the early days of the Macintosh, Apple has had a love-hate relationship with those users who have technical backgrounds enough to repair or upgrade their own machines. The stories call back to the days when there were fights within the early days of Apple as to whether to allow something as simple as a ram upgrade to be handled by the customer or, whether to even allow expansion slots in the early Macs. Often, the company won this battle owning to the fact that customers tinkering around inside machines could bring the said computer to its demise and hold the company responsible for any futher repair work. So, the expansion slots and various other upgrades just weren’t offered on most Macintoshes, and even to this day, repairing or upgrading your own Mac is often either impossible or very difficult compared to the average PC.

Most veteran Macintosh users are fairly savvy when it comes to upgrading or making simple repairs on their computers. For whatever reason, this concept seems to be lost on this select pool of users who could do these upgrades and repairs without having to bother the Apple service centers. Does Apple purposely design the computers to be impossible to work on for any specific reason? In the last five or more years, Apple has built its entire business on converting the masses from the PC world to the Macintosh world, however, one of the very reasons it can be useful to work on the PC is the fact that you can easily change out mostly any part you wish. I feel strongly that Apple has either lost sight of this fact, or, there’s an underlying reason as to why it’s just plain difficult (or next to impossible) to swap out any parts on a Mac, except ram.

Oddly enough, during the reign of the recent iMac G5’s (now discontinued, of course) Apple allowed full customer access to the innards of the computer for the very first time, other than previous pro-level G4 and G5 towers here and there. Even better, a customer could order replacement parts for the iMac right from Apple, including power supplies, optical drives, and even logic boards if you were so inclined to swap these out yourself. I thought that was a revolutionary step for Apple, allowing complete access to any part of the machine, and even encouraging you to attempt these repairs yourself with detailed guides to help you along. Unfortunately, almost as soon as it began, those particular iMacs were discontinued in favor of the newer iMacs which now included the integrated iSight cameras. Now if you have ever seen the take apart guides for the iSight iMac, you will be utterly amazed on how anti-repairable these machines are. You literally have to open the machine by jamming a credit card into the back ventilation slot to try to disengage the hidden tabs that may or may not even be reachable. This can take upwards of at least ten minutes just to get the back case off. Then, you have to remove hidden screws around the display to get to the guts of the machine without damaging the video cables first. Now, on a similarly-equipped PC, a simple hard drive swap would take you roughly five to ten minutes, not counting the Windows installation. As I mentioned, it can take ten to fifteen minutes just to get the back case of these iMacs off!

Apple needs to make this the final nail in the coffin of trying to get the masses to move to the Macintosh; simple repairs. I don’t want to have to take my machine to the repair center every time a logic board or hard drive blows apart and I’m sure PC users feel the same. Allow the users to get in and get their hands dirty with repairs or upgrades; if they damage anything then they can be responsible for it. Chances are, if they damage something, given easy access, they can simply repair it themselves instead of being blamed by Apple that they broke it while tinkering around inside the machine. At the very least, allow the users access to the main components such as the hard drive and optical drives with easy to access panels. This would cut down useless trips to the service centers, which are clogged up with repairs that could easily be attempted by the more savvy users who aren’t afraid of the screwdriver.


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.

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!

Old Apple Design Meets New

Old Apple Design is Meeting New Apple Design

Old Apple Design Meets New

Notice some of the slight similarities in Apple’s early 80’s “Snow White” designs and today’s Macbook

I can’t help noticing that the very newest addition to the everlong Macbook family looks very familiar to me…It took me a few days to figure it out, but, this new model is taking cues from the old Frog Design “Snow White” prototype renderings from back in the early 80’s. I put these 2 models together to illustrate that Apple (finally) seems to be borrowing some cues from this design language a bit–and what a wonderful language it was. Bravo, Apple–there’s nothing wrong with going back to the roots and doing a bit of rebooting at the same time.

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.