$50 MAC Tuneup


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Over time, your Mac accumulates lots of junk.

This cleanup removes that junk, including: iPhoto cache files, files from old application installations, unused language packs, outdated iTunes, iPhone or iPad backups, and much more.

I will perform a full privacy cleanup that erases your digital footprint by clearing your browsing history, cookies,  download history, saved passwords, and auto-fill history.

Maintenance scripts will be run to check for system for errors. If found, I will repair them to improve your system’s read/write performance and keep your Mac healthy.

I check the system temperature, the health of your hard drive, and the battery life so I can let you know if there are any physical problems with your Mac.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Complete Backup Solution

Most of us don’t back up our files as often as we should. As a result, we either lose important or irreplaceable photos and data, or we spend huge amounts of money trying to get them back.

WHY BACKING UP IS IMPORTANT

Hundreds of thousands of hard drives crash or die each year leading to partial or total data loss. Natural disasters such as fires, floods,

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This is what the inside of a hard drive looks like. The round discs are the platters where your data is stored. These platters are very sensitive and any damage can mean a loss of important files.

Power surges or other storm related damage destroy thousands more.

Your computer can also be infected with various viruses that can damage your files or even lock them and hold them for ransom.

One laptop is stolen every 53 seconds.

70 Million smartphones are lost each year, and over 3 million are stolen. And smartphones can be hacked and infected as well.

Family photos and videos, important documents (work related and personal), large music collections, saved emails, and other files could be lost forever.

Data recovery may be possible in some cases, but depending on the problem the cost can run between $100 and $2000. And in some cases, there’s no way to recover your data.

THE BACKUP RULE OF THREE

Here’s the rule of three (or the Backup 3-2-1 rule).

A 1TB USB hard drive, Blu Ray discs, and a 128GB USB flash drive
A 1TB USB hard drive, Blu Ray discs, and a 128GB USB flash drive

♦ 3 different copies (or more) of your files.

♦ 2 different backup formats. External drive + Cloud Storage, or DVD + SD card, or USB Flash drive + email account.

♦ 1 Backup in a different location.

A COMPLETE BACKUP SOLUTION

For some people, setting up a complete backup seems confusing or too time consuming, which is where my complete backup solution comes in.

♦  A 1TB external USB hard drive is included for local backups.

♦ I will configure your computer(s) for daily backups of your important files. In the event that you don’t have the drive connected and you miss a backup (or several), it will “catch 2016-05-09_9-36-08up” whenever it is reconnected.

♦ I set up a free cloud backup solution for photos & videos. The 3 I use most often are Google Photos, Flickr, and Amazon Photos (Amazon Prime membership required).

♦ Your smartphone will also be set up for the photo and video cloud solution. This can be set up on additional smartphones and tablets as well.

♦ I will burn a  BLU-Ray of your files (50GB included) . This is your “master copy”. You can think of this as the equivalent of photo negatives back in the old days. Additional copies $10 each. These copies are good for storing offsite because they are small and light.

This leaves you with a local copy that you can access quickly, a master copy stored offsite, and a cloud solution for photos and videos that merges all the photos from any desktops, laptops, tablets and smartphones into one online account for easy viewing and sharing. All the back ups will run automatically on a regular basis, so there’s nothing to worry about.

Package cost = $200

Broken down over a year, that’s 55 cents a day for a complete backup solution that will go on for years.

If you have any questions or want to schedule a time to get backed up, please contact me.

 

 

 

Back up your iPhone

pcoverhaul iphone 1Having a current backup of the files on your iPhone is always a good idea, in case it’s lost, stolen, or damaged. Most iPhone users don’t know how to run a local backup and end up relying on the iCloud for their backups. iCloud can be a great option for small numbers of files, but the free account is limited to 5GB of files.

Backing up your phone to your computer is a better option because your computer’s hard drive is huge, so you can keep multiple backups of your files.

You can back up your iPhone using iTunes. In my case, I have a PC, but it works the same way on a Mac. Apple creates and encoded copy of your files and settings and puts them into a temporary folder. If you need to restore from the backup later, iTunes can copy all your information back to your phone, or to a new phone if you are upgrading or lost or damaged your phone.

pcoverhaul-backupiphone

iTunes will back up all of your Camera Roll Photos, SMS messages (texts), settings, contacts, and your app data. It will not backup any synced music, videos, or podcasts.

iTunes performs this backup automatically anytime you sync your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch with your computer, but it’s a good idea to do it once in a while for backup purposes.

If you need help backing up your iPhone, please contact me and I’ll be happy to help you out.

 

Facebook App Permissions

Over the years you may have unknowingly given Facebook apps access to your personal information and photos.

Every time you install an app on Facebook, you agree to give the app access to certain parts of your profile. It makes complete sense that Google maps needs to access your location, or Instagram would need to access your photos.

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What we tend to forget are all the other apps we’ve given various permissions to over the years. Every quiz you’ve ever taken, or that old favorite app, “See who looked at your profile”, may have had access to your profile for YEARS.

For example, I opened up my apps on the left and chose the “Cities I’ve Visited” app (which I only used once).  Let’s take a look at what this app has been able to see on my Facebook profile.

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This app can see virtually everything on my profile, and it needs to be removed.  By clicking the privacy at the top right of my Facebook page, I can access the Privacy Checkup.

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Hit “Next” to go to step 2 where you can review your approved apps.

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I’ve scrolled through to find the “Cities I’ve Visited” app. Click the X next to the app to remove it.

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You can repeat the process with as many apps as you’d like, and when you’re done, click next and then finish to exit the Privacy Checkup.

 

 

Free & Unlimited Photo Storage From Google

Do you take lots of photos, but have no idea how to organize and back them up? I had the same problem. I have an Android phone and my wife had an iPhone, plus we had a Samsung Android tablet and and iPad. Not to mention the years of photos we had taken and scanned- terabytes of photos- that were scattered on desktops, laptops and external hard drives. There was no easy way for us to backup and access all the photos from all our various devices. And the thought of possibly losing them someday due to a broken hard drive or a natural disaster was terrifying.

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Google has a complete photo management system that solved the problem for us. It’s easy to use and free. It also offers an unlimited amount of storage, although the file size and is slightly reduced (about 40% or so). The reduction in size does reduce the quality of the photos, but if this is only a backup and not your only copy of the photos it won’t matter much.

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For smartphone users, the Google Photos app is very easy to install, and works equally well for both Android and iPhone. Install the app, and associate it with a Gmail account (or open a new one for free).  If you’re an iPhone user, Google will automatically back up all the photos in your Camera Roll, and all the new photos you take whenever you are in wifi range. Android users will also be able to select any number or all of their folders containing photos.

pcoverhaul.com google photos

With the desktop app, your Desktop, My Pictures, My Documents and My Videos folders (and subfolders) are selected by default. You can add as many additional folders as you’d like. In this example I have added two folders from my mapped P drive that has all my photos on it.

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2015-11-30_20-31-32If you have a large number of photos on your computer, the desktop loader may take days or even weeks to get them all uploaded.

The Google Photos Desktop App will continue to run in the background until it catches up, and then it will automatically add new photos as you save them.

In my case, I selected some very large folders and have over 46,000 pending, so it’s bound to take a while.

By logging in to the same account on the app on all your devices- Android phones, iPhones, iPads, Android tablets, Mac computers, Windows computers- the photos and videos from all those devices are all in one place.

For example, I created a new google account just for my family, installed the app on both my wife’s phone and mine, and then installed the desktop app. She can now log in from work and see photos I have taken while I am home with the kids during the day. And we can both access all those years of old photos that we took with our various digital cameras, as well as all the photos and documents I’ve scanned. Everything backed up in one place, for free.

While it certainly isn’t a full-featured editing app, the editor features a basic set of tools for enhancing your photos. Perfect for a quick correction before you post something online.

Using the autofix feature, I did a quick edit of this underexposed picture of my house.

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Before (left) and after (right) using the autofix feature in the Google Photos editor.

Changes you make when editing are applied to the version of the image that’s stored on Google Photos in the cloud, while the original on your device remains untouched.

pcoverhaul google photos multiple file select
Select multiple files by dragging your finger across the screen
pcoverhaul google photos sharing
Share your photos in dozens of ways. Copy the file link for pasting into a message, or share directly into email, app or upload to social media.

Sharing the files is simple and easy.

Just select the file or files you want to share, click on the share icon, and choose how you want to share it. If you want to select a bunch in a row, you don’t have to do them one at a time. Choose the first one, then drag your finger to the last one and Google Photos selects them all.

The Assistant feature in Google Photos is truly amazing. The app chooses certain photos and works some magic with them. In some cases, it may stylize them (think Instagram filter), or add a frame. If photos are similar, the assistant may group them together into a collage. Panoramas will be created by stitching together individual shots if they line up correctly. And if you have pictures taken close enough together in time, the Assistant will throw them all together into an animated GIF file. You can save any of these creations right to your account, or delete them with a swipe of your finger.

Search by a persons face, a pace where photos were taken, or search for "things" found in photos.
Search by a persons face, a pace where photos were taken, or search for “things” found in photos.

The search feature gives you several options to find your photos and videos.

If your photos have names, or are in folders with names, those names are searchable.  But Google Photos goes further by using an algorithm to identify things in your pictures even if they aren’t named. A search for “cat” brought up hundreds of photos of both our current cat and our two previous cats.

Google Photos also gives you the option of searching by category. Here you can see it has displayed faces of some people it found in my photos. Clicking on a face shows all the other matching faces, and you can easily assign a name to any face you choose.

The places category is based on location data in the photos themselves. If you don’t have location data turned on, Google will still try to figure out where a photo is taken and put it in your places file. Somewhere like Cinderella’s Castle at DisneyWorld is going to be easy for the system to identify, for example.

The “things” category is a sort of hodgepodge, and isn’t totally accurate, but can be helpful if you only want photos with the Christmas ornaments, for example, and don’t want to sort through every picture you’ve ever taken at Christmas to find them.

At the bottom you can search your videos, as well as recently added photos, your Google Drive, and any of the creations you have saved with the Assistant feature.

Search by a persons face, a pace where photos were taken, or search for "things" found in photos.
Search by a persons face, a place where photos were taken, or search for “things” found in photos.

I’m very familiar with the delete feature, because I often take photos in burst mode and end up putting the phone back in my pocket before the lock goes on my phone, resulting in dozens of dark blue and black photos.

Deleted photos can be recovered for 30 days, then they are gone forever. You can also go into your trash and permanently delete them whenever you’d like.

Google Photos does all of that and more, and will probably continue to add more features over time.  If you only need to back up photos and videos, this may be the solution for you.

 

Leaked Google Photos app appears, showing off automatic image sorting capabilities | PCWorld

We’ve known for some time that Google Photos would be broken away from Google+ into an app of its own, and as someone who uses Google Photos to backup photos from my phone, I’m very happy with the results.

The app will make a clean break from Google+ and give you a ton more editing, sharing, and privacy controls.

Source: Leaked Google Photos app appears, showing off automatic image sorting capabilities | PCWorld

 

FastCustomer

Nobody likes to wait on hold for a long period of time, no matter how good the hold music is. This handy app will call you once a human being is on the phone, saving you all the wait time!

FastCustomer lets you reach a real person at the companies you call most, without waiting on hold.

Source: FastCustomer

 

How to prevent mobile malware in 3 easy steps | PCWorld

Mobile malware tends to loiter in a few “bad neighborhoods” online that you should stay out of anyway.

Source: How to prevent mobile malware in 3 easy steps | PCWorld

 

US considering using Internet, smartphones for 2020 census

Newsobserver.com is reporting the US Census may use smartphones and the internet in 2020

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— The days of the census taker with clipboard in hand may be numbered. The Census Bureau plans to test digital tools in preparation for the 2020 census, a change that could save millions of dollars.

People may be asked to fill out their census forms on the Internet instead of sending them through the mail. Census takers may use smartphones instead of paper to complete their counts.

You can read the rest of the article here.
 

How to Back Up Your iPhone

Having a current backup of the files on your iPhone is always a good idea, in case it’;s lost, stolen, or damaged. Most iPhone users don’t know how to run a local backup and end up relying on the iCloud for their backups.  iCloud can be a great option for small numbers of files, but the free account is limited to 5GB of files.

Backing up your phone to your computer is a better option because your computer’s hard drive is huge, so you can keep multiple backups of your files.

You can back up your iPhone using iTunes. In my case, I have a PC, but it works the same way on a Mac. Apple creates and encoded copy of your files and settings and puts them into a temporary folder. If you need to restore from the backup later, iTunes can copy all your information back to your phone, or to a new phone if you are upgrading or lost or damaged your phone.

 

pcoverhaul-backupiphone

iTunes will back up  all of your Camera Roll Photos, SMS messages (texts), settings, contacts, and your app data. It will not backup any synced music, videos, or podcasts.

iTunes performs this backup automatically anytime you sync your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch with your computer, but it’s a good idea to do it once in a while for backup purposes.

If for some reason iTunes won’t cooperate, or you prefer an interface where you can choose which files are backed up, I suggest taking a look at Appandora.