Productivity

New Macs and iPads: Why Now is the Best Time to Buy

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Apple just announced a slew of newly updated products at their WWDC event and it's got me very excited for the first time in a while!

If you or someone you know is in the market for a new Mac or iPad, I can finally say that now is the time time buy. Here are 5 compelling reasons why.

  1. MacBook Pros, MacBooks and iMacs just got faster, MacBook Air got a small bump in speed - It's been a long time since we've seen significant speed bumps, and even longer since we've had big changes in graphics for those of you interested in photos and videos.
  2. iPads received massive updates - The upgraded processors means they're a whole lot faster, the new displays means better battery life, better drawing, and smoother scrolling, and of course the camera is better than ever. This is the first time I actually want an iPad since the original iPad Mini!
  3. Buying new products when released means they'll last longer - Every time a new operating system is designed, it requires more from your computer. If you buy an older product, don't expect it to last as long.
  4. Better resale value - Most people buying used computers look for the year of the computer. No matter if you buy a new machine every 2 years or hang onto it as long as you can. The sooner you buy to a new release, the better value. Both monetary or longevity.
  5. Get more money for you current device if you sell now - The longer you wait to sell your current machine, the more your current computer value goes down. Especially once everyone realizes new and faster models are out. Most people don't realize the significance of the speed differences yet.

Now that you know why I think it's a good time to buy, here's one thing I believe is paramount when buying a new iMac: Do NOT, by any means, buy an iMac that has a 5400 RMP drive. If it says Fusion that's OK, SSD is best. But whatever you do, you'll regret buying a standard hard drive. (All the laptops Apple sells have SSDs).

I just had a client buy an iMac a month and a half ago and was really bummed out about how slow her new computer was. We put in an SSD in there and it's now super fast, just like you would expect a new Mac to be.

If you happen to have an iMac or MacBook Pro that's slow and you want to speed it up, reach out to me about upgrading it! I've had dozens of clients do this instead of buying a new computer and are really happy with their 4-7 year old Macs. A quick call can help you figure out what the right move is for you.

If it's time for a new device and you found this helpful, would you consider using my affiliate link to the Apple Online Store or tell them Shawn Lemon from Lemon Consulting sent you? It's a great incentive to keep writing valuable content!

Thanks for reading and please share with your friends and family so they can act now while the getting is good!

P.S. Apple now offers AppleCare+ on Macs which will cover damage. Check it out when you go to purchase!

Backing Up Your Mac on the Go

If you're traveling with your Mac, it's probably because you're working on the road, or you're taking a bunch of photos and videos and want to offload them from your camera to the laptop. The scary thing is what happens if something goes wrong? Or if someone steals your computer while you're out and about. It would suck to have to replace the device, but most of us would be more upset about losing the contents of that device.

Today's post is how to keep your data safe on the Mac.

Mac Backup On-The-Go

We always want two forms of backup for our devices, whether you travel with your Mac or not. Physical, in the form of an external drive you have quick access to, and a cloud backup.

If your system crashes, it will take an hour or two to restore your data from a physical drive you have on hand.

A cloud backup can take days or weeks depending on your internet speed. To me, cloud backups are for worst case scenarios. To me, it's worth $50/year to have a cloud backup in case of a disaster that puts my computer and backup drive out of commission at the same time.

External Drive: If you don't have one, get one!

This Seagate is usually what I recommend my clients buy. It's cheap and will get the job done. More expensive ones like LaCie or G-Drive fail just as often as these in my experience. Save yourself some money and get a cheap one.

If you want fast and reliable and are willing to spend more, buy a Samsung T3 SSD. I just bought one last week and LOVE IT! It's super fast, small, and unlikely to fail any time soon like a standard hard drive. Curious about SSDs? I wrote an article here about it if you want to learn more.

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Now that we have the physical device, we need to decide how to back up your computer.

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  • Carbon Copy Cloner: If you work on your computer and it is critical to be up and running as fast as possible when the worst happens, this is the way to go. You plug the drive in and it makes a perfect copy of your drive. You can plug that drive into any just about any other Mac holding the Option key and boom, all your stuff appears! If you go this route I suggest you use an SSD like the Samsung T3. Super Duper is another option along this route, but I prefer Carbon Copy Cloner.
     
  • Drag and Drop: When it comes down to it, you really don't need a fancy app to get your stuff on an external drive. All you have to do is drag the files you want to the external drive. I do recommend at least creating folders to organize everything. The downside is you constantly have to update the drive manually. My opinion? Use Time Machine is you want easy and free. Carbon Copy Cloner if you want more control and don't mind spending $40.

Cloud Backup

  • Crashplan: This is what I used to use before switching to Backblaze and what the rest of my clients are on who haven't switched over. It's still great, but they don't give you unrestricted speed access to their servers. They also will not send you a drive to restore from. Your only option is through the internet. 

There are other online backup services out there but, I believe these are the best options for your Mac. I hear Carbonite for Windows is excellent. Do not use it for your Mac. It will slow you down and has not been reliable for my clients when they actually needed it.

What about iCloud?

Most Apple users out there are under the impression iCloud is backing up their whole computer like their iPhone. This IS NOT the case. There are several different things iCloud will back up for you at an additional cost. Not only do they cost more, you have to opt into the service.

The caveats of iCloud are numerous and deserve their own posts. In fact, I've written about them if you want to learn more.

If you've upgraded to the newest operating system, macOS Sierra, iCloud will also give you the option to back up your Desktop and Documents folders to iCloud Drive so you have access to those files on your iOS devices and at iCloud.com. Remember, if you're going to do this, you'll likely need to upgrade your storage space on iCloud.

In summary...

There are a TON of options out there but if you stick with the suggestion below, you're in good shape.

Bring an external drive with you to backup your photos and other important documents and make sure to sign up for Backblaze or Crashplan. Use iCloud Photo Library to back up your photos and videos, especially if you decide to skip out on another cloud solution like Backblaze.

Questions? Give me a call or shoot me an email! Comments below are welcome as well!

If you've found this helpful, would you share it with someone you think could benefit from this? Thank you!

How to Manage Photos While Traveling, iOS Edition

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"What do you do with your photos and videos while traveling?"

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I get this question a lot. We spend lots of money to go somewhere beautiful and make memories so naturally, we'll want to keep snapshots and videos safe.

With SO many options out there, it's easy to get confused.

I've kept this pretty concise so you only have a couple of options, cost effective or the best.

I think everyone should have AT LEAST one of the two backup options for your Mac, period.

  • Cloud backup like Crashplan or Backblaze. ( I just recently switched to Backblaze since they are faster.)

I want you to have a backup either on the cloud and/or at your house when traveling in case of theft. So if you don't already have one or both of those options, click on the links above to purchase and get set up. Questions? Reach out to me for help!

So if you have one of the options in place above, we have a backup of your computer the way it was before you left.

Now let's talk about keeping those new photos and videos safe while you're traveling! I'm going to break this up in 2 separate posts. iOS and Mac.

iOS Photo and Video Backup on-the-Go

  • iCloud Photo Library: With iCloud Photo Library your photos will automatically back up if you have WiFi. I can't tell you enough how much I love this feature of iCloud. I pretty much completely ditched iPhoto/Photos for Lightroom and this service is slowly pulling me back. One thing to note is when you do an edit on your iPhone or Mac, it shows up automatically on all the other devices! Put a photo in an album? It shows up in the right place on the other devices when they connect to the internet. Check out my post on it here if you haven't seen it already.
     
  • Dropbox: My least favorite upload option, but it's too popular to leave out. Dropbox can upload your photos automatically. Just download the app and they'll ask you to turn it on every chance it can get. I wouldn't be surprised if it's even faster than iCloud. But the thing that irks me is they rename all the photos to the date they were taken. You wouldn't think that's a problem until you try and consolidate everything and your photos application can't tell what's a duplicate and what's an original so you wind up with a BIG mess. *If you're dealing with this and need help rounding up the duplicates, I can help.
     
  • Google Photos: If you're using Google Drive for all your cloud needs, or even a lot of them, this may be the choice for you. If you let them optimize the photos (shrink them a bit) you can have unlimited storage for free. The downside I found is it didn't do well uploading if I went to a different app or let the screen lock. This may have been changed recently.**
  • iCloud Backup: iCloud Photo Library is something you have to turn on. If you don't choose to use it, the photos in your Camera Roll will backup the way they always have been, either through iCloud or your Mac. I'm a proponent of backing your phone up to iCloud in case you lose it, you don't have to set it up fresh when you buy another one if you're out of town.

***All in all, my favorite choices are the top two.***

Photos for iOS and Mac have totally won me over, even though I'm a huge Google Drive user and an occasional Lightroom user. The flash drive idea is awesome too as it can be hidden in all kinds of places as it's so small and doesn't require the internet. You need to download the app for your phone before you leave, though!

We've looked at backups for iOS, but what if you want to take your "nice camera", like my Fuji X100T?

Apple has an SD card reader that you can plug into your iPhone or iPad to import photos. This is awesome in that you can check out your photos on a larger screen, and if you want, post online if you've got an internet connection.

With the newer iPhones coming in sizes up to 256 GB, this is an awesome option for backing up the photos you take on your camera. The best part is, you can organize and edit right on the phone, and if you're using iCloud Photo Library, the next time you have a decent internet connection it will upload all those photos online. If your computer is on at home, they'll be downloaded before you're even home!

Now that we've got a plan for your iOS backups, next post we're going to look into backing up you Mac!

If you've enjoyed this post and know anyone who could use this, please pass on this post!

Let me know what you think below and if you have any other tips for keeping your photos safe on-the-go!

Working Remotely from an Airstream

Working Remotely from an Airstream

Big things are happening and I can’t wait to share what I’ve been learning!

A quick update: Madeline and I bought an Airstream and are working remotely while traveling around the country! For the past few months, I’ve been transitioning Lemon Consulting to operate remotely and as of 3 weeks ago, it’s official—I’m working from the road!

What does this mean for you?

  • More availability for appointments. Since I’ve eliminated the need for driving from appointment to appointment, a good portion of my schedule has cleared. I’ll be doing all remote work from wherever I am traveling. Bonus: You get to work with me remotely too—feel free to leave the house messy, wear your athletic pants, and get comfy.
  • Extra on-site support. While I’m gone, I have some very talented colleagues I used to work with at Apple going on-site to your homes and businesses if some one needs to be there to physically do something. You will love these guys. I feel incredibly lucky to have them working for me.

I know you’ll find that working remotely will be an incredibly easy transition. I can almost guarantee once you work with me this way, you won’t want to go back to the old way of doing things.

The tools I’m using to work remotely:

If you live in Nashville, Comcast has a surprise for you...

If you live in Nashville, Comcast has a surprise for you...

This photo shows speeds you can get from Comcast if you call them and ask for this secret deal. At least it's a secret for the moment.

You see that 257 number? You can get that for $70/month with a 2 year contract with Comcast if you call and ask for it. For a little perspective, I'm paying $52/month for 25. So for $20 more a month I can get 10x the speed.

Why is Comcast doing this? Google Fiber is coming to Nashville and it's rumored they're going to be making their service available soon. When is soon though? Google Fiber speeds are 1000 Mbps. 4x this new speed Comcast is making available.

4 Easy Steps to Email Productivity

4 Easy Steps to Email Productivity

All of us deal with it, some more than others; it’s that annoying alert, ding, or vibration letting you know you have yet another email.

SaneBox is a resource that will keep you focused on saving time, our most precious commodity, and do so efficiently and quickly. SaneBox moves unimportant emails out of your Inbox, into a separate folder, and summarizes them in a daily digest. There is nothing to learn or install! It analyzes your past email behavior and social network connections to determine what’s important to you.

The Morning Routine That’s Suffocating Your Life

The Morning Routine That’s Suffocating Your Life

If you want to create something worth while with your life, you need to draw a line between the world’s demands and your own ambitions. - Mark McGuinness

“I have more technology than I know what to do with, yet I have less time than ever.” Does this ring a bell? It’s what I hear from most of my clients when I come to help them straighten out all their technology and figure out how they can best utilize it.

How to Text from your Mac

How to Text from your Mac

"Wait, are those your texts on your computer!?"

Robin and I just started talking about all the issues she was having with syncing her contacts and calendars because she has multiple iCloud and Gmail accounts and stuff is everywhere! I pulled up my machine to show her how I keep everything under control with my 5 accounts when she saw my text messages on my computer. "Wait, are those your texts on your computer!?" Pump the brakes, she doesn't have iMessage set up on her Mac yet! Looks like syncing will wait a few minutes!