iPad mini

Software Updates Available For iPhone, iPod Touch, And iPad (3/10/14)

On Monday, March 10th, Apple released a software update for iPhones, iPod Touches, and iPads. The software update contains numerous improvements and bug fixes. You can install the software update by following the instruction found below.

HOW TO UPDATE IPHONE OR IPAD TO 7.1

Tap on Settings

Tap on General

Tap on Software Update

Tap on Download and Install or Install Now. Note: You must have more than 50% battery or be plugged into power to install the update.

Tap on Agree

Your device will automatically restart itself when the update is ready to install.

Biggest Change To iOS 7.1

The thing that most people will notice right away is that the shift key looks different

If the background is white and the arrow is dark, and there's a horizontal line beneath the arrow, you're in ALL CAPS mode.

If the background is white and the arrow is dark, and there's a horizontal line beneath the arrow, you're in ALL CAPS mode.

If the background is white and the arrow is black, you're in Upper case mode.

If the background is white and the arrow is black, you're in Upper case mode.

If the background is dark gray and the arrow is white, you're in lower case mode.

If the background is dark gray and the arrow is white, you're in lower case mode.


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Ask The Nice Guy - Ransomware, iPad Mini, AirPrint Printers

This is the 14th post in a series called Ask The Nice Guy. In this series I will attempt to provide answers to the various questions I get asked throughout the week.

What’s inside? Here are the questions answered in this blog post, boiled down to five word (or less) summaries.

  1. Ransomware
  2. iPad Mini To Buy
  3. AirPrint Printer Recommendations

QUESTION 1: Scary Email - Am I Safe?

I received this terrifying email from the company that sold me anti- spam and virus protection programs on my old computer.. Is this just another “scheme” to entice me to purchase more software or am I okay with the free Microsoft Security Essentials?

Here is the "terrifying" email:

Last week I sent out a newsletter alerting you all of the Crypto Locker Virus that is spreading like wildfire. I’m sending out an email this time because it’s important I alert my clients of this once again.

What this virus does is locks you out of your computer unless you pay a $300 fee. You get it by opening an attachment in your email; usually one that says it’s from FedEx or UPS. This is now a well-known virus in all computer repair industries,and yes...while many technicians can fix the issues, this is not saying they can for sure and it could possibly be more expensive to fix than the $300 ransom. I am letting you know that I cannot fix this virus, not onsite or remotely. Your best defense is prevention.

There are various viruses that will do what is described in the email. They are called "ransomware" because they take your computer as a hostage and demands a ransom payment to unlock your computer. This is a very aggressive form of malware and can be challenging to remove. I just helped a client a few weeks ago that had a laptop taken over by this kind of malware. I was able to get the laptop functional again but we lost everything that was on the laptop.

In theory some of the paid anti-virus software may do a better job than the free Microsoft Security Essentials. There is no guarantee though and in this situation I am guessing that the client had clicked on an attachment from someone they didn't know and ended up downloading and installing the malware onto their computer. It will disable the antivirus at that point and take over your machine.

The best way to prevent viruses, malware, spyware, ransomware or any other attack on your computer is to follow these basic guidelines:

  • Don't open attachements from people you don't know. If you do know who sent it, double check with them to make sure that it was really them who sent it. This is not necessary if you were expecting an attachement from someone you know.
  • Don't download programs from random websites. This is where a large majority of the viruses, malware, spyware, ransomware comes from. Most people will type in a name of a program into Google and will often land on Make sure you are downloading software from the official website (e.g. Microsoft.com, Adobe.com, Apple.com)/
  • Don't download music, movies, television shows, or applications illegally. This is another common way to infect your computer. The music, movie, and television industry does not give their stuff away for free. If you are obtaining this kind of media for free you are breaking the law and opening your computer up to attack.
  • Pay attention when you are installing software. Some programs attempt to install malware as a part of their own installation process. When installing software, pay close attention to the message boxes before clicking Next, OK, or I Agree.

QUESTION 2: WHICH IPAD MINI TO BUY?

What IPad mini should I buy? Does the ability to use the internet in the car come with all of them? I would like to use the maps and GPS in the car.

I would buy the iPad mini with Retina display (available later in November) or perhaps the iPad Air (available November 1st). The iPad Air is smaller than the large screen iPad that most people have and yet offers a bigger screen than the iPad mini.

To use the iPad on the internet in the car along with GPS you would need to purchase the iPad with Wi-Fi + Cellular. You will have to pick a cell phone carrier (AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, or Verizon) and make sure that you purchase the iPad for that specific carrier. You do not need to pick the same carrier that you have your cell phone through because it is billed separately (one month at a time to your credit or debit card).

There will be a small monthly fee for the ability to access the internet through the cell phone carrier. I would choose the carrier that gets the best reception where you would use the iPad most frequently. I have heard that Verizon and AT&T generally have the best coverage across the country. I have T-Mobile on my iPhone 5S and it works great in the Twin Cities but was spotty on my recent road trip to Fargo.

I would stick with the 16GB or 32GB variety. Hope that helps! I just bought the iPad Air and I have been very happy with it.


QUESTION 3: AIRPRINTER RECOMMENDATIONS?

I was in your spring iPad class in Hastings and you mentioned “air printers” that are needed to print from an ipad. Any recommendations?

I would recommend the Epson Workforce WF-3520. The reviews are positive and is priced reasonably. I have many clients that have purchased this printer and I have heard positive feedback from them. If I was looking to purchase a new AirPrint compatiable printer this is the one that I would buy.


If you appreciate the free content on NiceGuyTechnology.com please support Mike by shopping on Amazon. If you click on the link and buy something, Mike will receive a small percentage of your purchase and it won't cost you any extra! Thanks for your consideration!

Apple Event Recap - October 2013

On Tuesday, October 22, 2013 Apple had an event where they made several announcements. The highlight of the event was the iPad Air and iPad mini with Retina display. In this blog post I will recap what was announced and share my thoughts.


iPad Air

The iPad Air is the new large screen iPad. The iPad Air offers numerous improvements over the previous large screen iPad (iPad 4).

Some of the improvements include:

  • New A7 processor which is faster and more energy efficient
  • M7 Coprocessor
  • Improved cameras
  • 28% lighter and 20% thinner

I am most excited about the new A7 processor because I have an iPhone 5S which has the A7 processor and it is extremely fast! I am also looking forward to the iPad Air being lighter than its predecessor.

The iPad Air will come in two diffrent colors: Space Gray (black front) or Silver (white front).

The iPad Air will be available on Friday, November 1st. Pre-orders are not available for the iPad Air through Apple. The best way to get an iPad Air would be to head to your nearest Apple Retail Store or carrier store (AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, or Verizon) the morning of November 1st.

The iPad Air will come in numerous configurations:

  • iPad Air Wi-Fi >> 128GB >> $799
  • iPad Air Wi-Fi >> 64GB >> $699
  • iPad Air Wi-Fi >> 32GB >> $599
  • iPad Air Wi-Fi >> 16GB >> $499

  • iPad Air Wi-Fi + Cellular >> 128GB >> $929

  • iPad Air Wi-Fi + Cellular >> 64GB >> $829
  • iPad Air Wi-Fi + Cellular >> 32GB >> $729
  • iPad Air Wi-Fi + Cellular >> 16GB >> $629

I will be purchasing a space gray iPad Air Wi-Fi with 32GB of storage. I am choosing space gray to match my iPhone 5S and for the first time will be purchasing the 32GB model (normally I buy the 16GB model but I think having a little extra storage may come in handy).

I am choosing the iPad Air over the iPad mini with Retina display because I like the slighly bigger screen over the iPad mini.


iPad mini with Retina display

The iPad mini with Retina display is a fantastic update to last year's iPad mini which did not feature a Retina display. The Retina display makes the screen extremely sharp and clear making it easier to read. If this was the only thing that Apple updated it would be a great update (the Retina display makes that big of a difference), but Apple chose to also include all of the following:

  • New A7 processor which is faster and more energy efficient
  • M7 Coprocessor
  • Improved cameras

The iPad Air and iPad mini with Retina display are identical now except for the screen size. If you are looking for the smallest and most portable iPad I would highly recommend the iPad mini.

The iPad Air will come in two diffrent colors: Space Gray (black front) or Silver (white front).

The iPad mini with Retina display will be available later in November. My gut feeling says we will see it become available on Black Friday and it will be in short supply. Your best bet to get one when they are available will be to head down to your local Apple Store.

The iPad mini with Retina display will come in numerous configurations:

  • iPad mini with Retina display >> 128GB >> $699
  • iPad mini with Retina display >> 64GB >> $599
  • iPad mini with Retina display >> 32GB >> $499
  • iPad mini with Retina display >> 16GB >> $399

  • iPad mini with Retina display + Cellular >> 128GB >> $829

  • iPad mini with Retina display + Cellular >> 64GB >> $729
  • iPad mini with Retina display + Cellular >> 32GB >> $629
  • iPad mini with Retina display + Cellular >> 16GB >> $529

My wife Britta is already asking if we can sell her iPad mini and purchase an iPad mini with Retina display. She says that the non-Retina display on her iPad mini isn't very good compared to her iPhone screen and she would like to upgrade.


OS X Mavericks

Apple announced that the newest version of the Mac operating system called Mavericks would be available for FREE starting on 10/22/13. Mavericks offers 200+ new features!

Some of the changes include:

  • New apps (iBooks & Maps)
  • Significant improvements to apps (Safari, Mail, Calendar)
  • Advanced Technologies
  • Tags (for organizing your files)
  • Improved Notifications
  • iCloud Keychain

OS X Mavericks is available as a free download from the Mac App Store. It’ll run on a 2007 iMac and MacBook Pro or later; 2008 MacBook, Macbook Air, or Mac Pro or later; and the 2009 Mac mini or later.

I have updated my 11-inch MacBook Air to Mavericks and have been using it for the past week and it has been fantastic! I have noticed improved battery life (one of the major features) and I have been very happy with the significant improvments to Safari, Mail, Calendar.

Before upgrading to Mavericks, I would recommend that you make sure you have your Mac backed up fully just in case something went wrong in the upgrade process.

Apple has instructions on how to upgrade to Mavericks on their website.


MacBook Pros

Apple announced updates to the MacBook Pros. Here's a quick summary of what has changed:

  • Better battery life
  • Faster processors
  • Better graphics
  • Lower price

The new MacBook Pros are available now for purchase at Apple Stores. You can learn more about the new MacBook Pros on Apple's website


iWork & iLife

Apple announced new versions of the iLife (iPhoto, iMovie, & GarageBand) and iWork (Pages, Keynote, & Numbers) apps for both the Mac and iOS devices (iPhone & iPad). Check the App Store on your device to update. For those who have not purchased these apps they are now FREE with the purchase of a new device.

The iWork apps (Pages, Numbers, and Keynote) now offer full file-compatibility between OS X, iOS, and PCs (via iCloud website). This means I can start a document on my Mac and finish it on my iPad or another computer.

Other Announcements

The iPad 2 will continue to be available for sale at the price of $399.

I would not recommend that anyone purchase this iPad at this point. I believe that it is still offered because businesses will purchase it if they want a bigger screen iPad for a specific purpose and want to save money. Educational institutions seem to be buying the iPad 2 for students as well. I would advise someone to purchase the iPad Air or the iPad mini with Retina display.

The iPad mini (without Retina display) will continue to be available for sale at a reduced price of $299 (original price was $329). Again, I would recommend that a person purchase the iPad mini with Retina display if they can afford the extra $100. It is worth the extra cost!


If you appreciate the free content on NiceGuyTechnology.com please support Mike by shopping on Amazon. If you click on the link and buy something, Mike will receive a small percentage of your purchase and it won't cost you any extra! Thanks for your consideration!

Ask The Nice Guy - MacKeeper, Retina iPad mini, Find My iPhone

This is the 12th post in a series called Ask The Nice Guy. In this series I will attempt to provide answers to the various questions I get asked throughout the week.

What’s inside? Here are the questions answered in this blog post, boiled down to five word (or less) summaries.

  1. MacKeeper
  2. Retina iPad Mini
  3. Find My iPhone

QUESTION 1: Should I Purchase MacKeeper?

I keep seeing ads for a product called MacKeeper. Is this something that I should purchase and be using?

MacKeeper is a suite of applications that promise to keep your Mac secure, clean, and running fast. I wouldn't recommend it to my clients.

Most of the the applications that come with MacKeeper duplicate functionality built in to your Mac. The Mac was designed to handle most of these tasks just fine on its own. I rarely get a call from a Mac user asking me to come out and "clean up" their Mac, but find myself receiving those calls on a regular basis from PC users.

I would advise saving your money by not purchasing MacKeeper. I have heard from numerous people that have downloaded it that it caused more issues than it was worth.


QUESTION 2: iPad mini and Retina Display?

I intend to replace my iPad with an iPad mini and was waiting for the next generation with the Retina Display.
I read on Macworld that it may be awhile and it really doesn’t make that much difference. What do you think?

It is hard to say what Apple will do when it comes to the next iPad mini. It might not be technically feasible to get the size, weight, battery life combination that they are looking for in the iPad mini while adding a Retina Display. I have used Britta's iPad mini and while I do like the size of it, I am spoiled with the Retina Display on my iPad and iPhone and everything looks incredibly blurry on the iPad mini. I think the Retina Display makes a huge difference especially when you have experienced it on previous devices.

I would recommend waiting until early fall to see what Apple comes out with. It sounds like the full size iPad will find itself shrinking a bit while still maintaining the same size screen. I think that will be an attractive product and Apple may just surprise us with a Retina Display on the mini.


QUESTION 3: Find My iPhone?

Can you tell me what I need to do and the steps to take if my iPhone is lost? I’m going on vacation in a couple of weeks and definitely would like to have this info.

Try watching this video! I think it covers the subject fairly well.

The video is great. Questions — if my daughter (who also has an iPhone 5) and I both download the free app could we help each other out using our phones instead of having to go onto a computer if one of us happens to misplace our phone? In other words, if I lose my phone can she find it by using the app on her phone? And, if we can do this, is there a distance factor — if she is in Minnesota and I am in the state of Virginia?

Yes, if you lost your iPhone you could have your daughter login to your iCloud account in the Find My iPhone app on her iPhone. There is no distance factor.


If you appreciate the free content on NiceGuyTechnology.com please support Mike by shopping on Amazon. If you click on the link and buy something, Mike will receive a small percentage of your purchase and it won't cost you any extra! Thanks for your consideration!

Ask The Nice Guy - Dropbox, E-Readers, and Downloading Free Music

This is the 7th post in a series called Ask The Nice Guy. In this series I will attempt to provide answers to the various questions I get asked throughout the week.

What’s inside? Here are the questions answered in this blog post, boiled down to five word (or less) summaries.

  1. Benefits of Dropbox
  2. Best E-Reader
  3. Downloading Free Music

Question 1: Benefits of Dropbox?

My family is asking me what are the benefit of using Dropbox?

Dropbox is a free service that lets you bring all your photos, docs, and videos anywhere. This means that any file you save to your Dropbox will automatically save to all your computers, phones and even the Dropbox website.

You can learn more about Dropbox by taking this tour on their website.

I make extensive use of Dropbox in my life life. I have all my important files saved in Dropbox which makes them accessible on any device. Having the important files saved in Dropbox gives me some peace of mind knowing that if something happened to my computer I would still be able to access those files by visiting Dropbox.com.

The real magic with Dropbox in its ability to sync your files across devices. I can make a change to a text document on my MacBook Air and have the file synced to my other devices within seconds.


Question 2: Best Gadget For Reading Books?

I am pondering which gadget would be a good book reader for me. I read mostly non-fiction books, usually from the public library (my impression is that the library doesn’t have a big selection of books for e-reading). Anyway, I read in bright light outdoors and when it’s darker inside. Not knowing any pros, cons, or specs, I am leaning towards the iPad mini as I have an iPhone and MacBook Pro and am a big Apple fan. I assume the iPad mini has much more app capability than the Kindle or Nook?

Based on the fact that you identified yourself as someone who reads in bright light outdoors and when it is darker inside, I would have to recommend the Kindle Paperwhite. It is a dedicated e-reader that you can easily read in the bright sun (I have read numerous books on my Kindle while lying out in the sun on top of a cruise ship) and read in a dark room with the built in light.

The iPad mini has much more app capability than the Kindle Paperwhite but it will not offer a good reading experience in the bright sun. I was out for a walk today and tried to check the temperature on my iPhone and I could not see the screen at all due to all of the glare! On the cruise my wife and I went on, she left her iPad mini at home and just brought her Kindle.

The cost of the Kindle Paperwhite is much lower than the least expensive iPad mini which gives you additional money to buy books!

The public library does have a selection of books to check out, but it is not comprehensive. Many titles are not available and the ones that are available often have a wait list to check them out. There are plenty of free books available on the Kindle Store that are worth checking out. I have found that the price of an e-book is considerably less than a traditional book and the amount of enjoyment gained from a good book is well worth the cost.


Question 3: Using Limewire or Frostwire?

My high school son was telling me the other day that I could download music for free from a program called Frostwire. Is this safe?

I wouldn't recommend it. Frostwire and Limewire are file sharing programs that allow people to "share" music via the internet with other people. There are numerous reasons why this is a bad idea.

The first reason that it is a bad idea is because you aren't quite sure what you are actually downloading. Just because it says that it is the latest single from Bruno Mars does not mean it is even a song. It could be a virus, spyware, or malware. If it is legitimately a song it may not be a very high quality version.

The second reason that it is a bad idea is because if you are caught downloading music, movies, or television shows from a file sharing program, you could be fined or sent to prison.

According to Lisa Vaas:

The first jury trial for a file-sharing suit brought by the major record labels has resulted in a $222,000 fine for a Minnesota woman accused of downloading and distributing more than 1,700 songs on the file-sharing site KaZaA.

I don't know about you, but I don't have that kind of cash burning a hole in my pocket to pay a hefty fine for illegally downloading music.

The third reason that it is a bad idea is because the people that make the media that we all enjoy deserve to get paid for their work. If you don't want to pay money for a song, there are numerous ways to listen to it for free that are legal. You can use:


If you appreciate the free content on NiceGuyTechnology.com please support Mike by shopping on Amazon. If you click on the link and buy something, Mike will receive a small percentage of your purchase and it won't cost you any extra! Thanks for your consideration!

5 Things - Week Ending 11/2/12

This is the 28th post in a series called 5 Things. Each week I will share a combination of technology articles and apps that I have discovered and liked in the past week. Anything highlighted in blue is a link to an article, an app, or another section of my website.

Disruptions: You Know You Can’t Live Without Apple’s Latest Glass Rectangle

Nick Bilton:

Even so, my first iPod still plays music. My laptop from four years ago can still browse the Web. And my first e-readers can still display books.

Nick Bilton takes a look at how technology companies today are using planned obsolescence just like the auto industry did in the 1950s.

The reality is that your computer, tablet, or smartphone doesn't need to be upgraded everytime a new version comes out. My parents are still using a Mac that is approximately nine years old and they can still surf the web, check email, and edit documents on it.


My Microsoft Store Experience

Harry Marks:

The employees were generally friendly and welcoming and, more importantly, seemed to really stand behind Microsoft and the Windows brand. They didn’t sound like Mac users who couldn’t get seasonal jobs at the Apple Store at the opposite end of the mall. These were guys (and almost all the employees were guys) who honestly enjoyed using Windows and I can appreciate that. What’s more, they didn’t talk to me like I was some Luddite who should’ve known the difference between a shell and a kernel. The guy helping me was not condescending and I gave no hint that I was someone who covered tech on a daily basis. I didn’t mention my site, nor my podcast - I was just some ordinary customer there to look at Windows 8 on this Samsung tablet.

Harry Marks shares his recent experience at the Microsoft Store. I have had similar experiences at the Microsoft Store at the Mall of America. The people are friendly, helpful, and knowledgeable. The Microsoft Store is a great resource for anyone that is a PC user.


If These 5 People Who Tried Windows 8 Are Normal, Microsoft Has A Big Problem On Its Hands

Henry Blodget:

Now that it will apparently require a lot of effort to learn how to use Windows 8, many Windows users who have always been tempted to try Macs but haven’t because they don’t want to learn a new system now have a perfect excuse to finally make the jump... because even if they stay with Windows, they’re going to have to learn a new system.

At the end of October, Microsoft released Windows 8, which is the successor to Windows 7. It is a radical departure from the traditional Windows interface. The New York Times had five people sit down and play with Windows 8 and the consensus was that it was confusing and difficult to use. Check out the video below to see what the five people had to say.


iPad mini review

Joshua Topolsky:

And it does raise the floor here. There’s no tablet in this size range that’s as beautifully constructed, works as flawlessly, or has such an incredible software selection. Would I prefer a higher-res display? Certainly. Would I trade it for the app selection or hardware design? For the consistency and smoothness of its software, or reliability of its battery? Absolutely not. And as someone who’s been living with (and loving) Google’s Nexus 7 tablet for a few months, I don’t say that lightly.

The iPad mini hasn’t wrapped up the “cheapest tablet” market by any stretch of the imagination. But the “best small tablet” market? Consider it captured.

I bought my wife Britta and iPad mini on Friday. Even though I have only had a few minutes to use the iPad mini this weekend, I can agree with Josh from The Verge that the iPad mini has captured the best small tablet market.

For the past six months, I have used a Samsung Galaxy Tab (provided to me) while doing some contract work and there has not been one moment that I enjoyed the experience.

The iPad mini can do everything the full size iPad can do and it does it more affordably. Britta seems to love the smaller form factor as it is much easier for her to carry it in a bag or purse.


Review: Letterpress is an excellent iOS word game

Lex Friedman:

The truth is, none of my suggestions would impact how fun Letterpress is, which is to say: very. Fans of word games won’t be disappointed. If you’re starting to tire of Words With Friends, or just want additional word-focused fun, Letterpress deserves your attention.
Transient

Letterpress is my new favorite game. If you like word games you will love Letterpress! It will take a few games to get use to the strategy, but once you have it figured out you will be hooked!

The game is free to download. If you want to play more than two games at the same time (you will), then you will have to spend $.99 to unlock that feature.

If you download the game and want to play against me, my GameCenter nickname is mikepahl. Find me on GameCenter and ask me to be your friend!