Although you can use it as an remote archive, Apple’s new iCloud service that debuted on October 12th is not primarily for storage. It is made to keep your data synchronized among your iOS devices and computers (Mac, PC). After it’s set up, you can work on your iPad rental and know that the document will instantly be ready for editing on any synced device. Transferring files by e-mail or USB flash drives is on the fast track to obsolescence.
How iCloud works
First off, iClouddoesn’t work without the latest OS X Lion update, 10.7.2, and the latest iTunes update, 10.5. For better iCloud integration, Safari also got a bump to 5.1.1. Pages, Numbers and Keynote – the iWork programs that run on every Macintosh, from the cutting-edge laptops to the mighty Mac Pro – now sync documents via iCloud. Contacts, Calendar and Mail data also updates automatically on multiple devices. Just as importantly, iCloud also stores device settings, apps, screen layouts, ring tones and text messages, so all your vital data comes with you when you upgrade devices.
The new Photo Stream lets you download up to 1,000 photos for 30 days without counting against your storage total (see “What’s the deal?” below). Third-party apps can also leverage iCloud services, and it’s vital to remember that iCloud is “open territory” where tablet PC rentals running Windows are free to roam, too. Future blogs will update you on the features developers implement for their various iCloud products and services.
What’s the deal?
You get 5GB of iCloud storage for free, and iTunes music, e-books, apps and Photo Stream pics do not count toward your total. Your iCloud real estate will be populated by documents, application data, mail, non-Photo Stream photos, settings and other information. You can buy more storage for annual fees of $20 (10GB), $40 (20GB) and $100 (50GB), but Apple’s customer research indicates that 5GB of storage should be sufficient for most people. There are numerous variables – the size of your Camera Roll, how many documents you carry around, how much application data you’re amassing, etc. – so you will have to figure out what works for you.
iTunes Match confuses
There is a possible point of confusion with iCloud, and that revolves around iTunes integration. When you buy tracks from iTunes, they are automatically synced to your devices and don’t count toward your free storage total. However, if you want to sync music that was not purchased from iTunes, the privilege requires paying $25 a year for the separate iTunes Match service.
CRE, like Apple, is all about “value added” and excellence. From Audience Response Systems (ARS) to high-end digital gear and Xserve for that new post-production project, we’ve got you covered. One simple call or e-mail puts an experienced Account Executive on the job for you, while a couple of clicks gets the ball rolling with our Quick Rental Quote. We’re ready with solutions for whatever challenges you face!
It’s impossible to avoid mentioning Apple when “talkin’ tech.” The company had its most profitable quarter in history, grossing $28.6 billion in revenues with $7.3 billion in profits. Its products dominate their respective categories, some of which Apple invented – iPod, iPhone, iPad and who knows what “iDevice” next. The firm has about $76 billion in cash, too, with no debt. Incredible.
The Lion roars
Also incredible is the seemingly unending stream of improvements to OS X and the computer line. Apple released its long-awaited OS upgrade, Lion 10.7, on July 20. Lion incorporates some 250 new features, and brings full-screen apps and multitouch gestures into the mix. You can now see the family resemblance to the iOS on iPad rentals. The aim is to continue refining the “user nexus,” that shared space where the OS, the program you’re using and your workflow combine to produce everything from simple e-mails to complex editing projects with mountains of data on Xserve RAID rentals.
Ready to upgrade?
With its new “delivery paradigm” upgrading to Lion is a different animal. Before you download the nearly 4GB OS installer, you need to make sure your Mac can support Lion. The Mac computer rentals we had in 2005, for example, wouldn’t qualify – you need at least an Intel Core 2 Duo processor. In addition, although there are workarounds from some tech heads online, the Apple-certified installation can only take place on a Mac with Snow Leopard (10.6) installed.
Online reports and consumer feedback point to a rousing success for the debut, although there are always problems for some people. For example, if you have any of several disk drive problems (even ones that don’t affect how your Mac runs), you will receive a message from the installer that Lion “cannot be installed.” Back up the drive, reformat, restore – then upgrade. Bing, bang, boom. Done!
OS X Lion – Look and feel
As an evolutionary, rather than revolutionary, advance, Lion is still recognizable, although navigating it is different. The new Launchpad dock icon brings up a page (or six) showing all your apps as icons for quick starts, and the Mission Control dock icon provides a view of all “spaces” you’re using. In future blogs we will look at some of these features in depth, but it’s safe to say that, once you use Lion, you will roar your approval like millions of others.
Like Apple, CRE pays close attention to what its customers need. With great service to complement the expertise of our Account Executives, your call or e-mail will result in solutions and answers, not more problems and questions. If you know what you need, of course, our Quick Rental Quote form will get you in, out and on your way.
Apple is due to release the latest version of Mac OS X this summer, numbered 10.7 and code-named Lion. Let’s look at the broadest, most basic changes coming to the OS X Lion.
Centralized control panel
Mission Control replaces the old Exposé and Spaces control panel and adds other new ones that help you “take control” of your desktop. With the increased power in every Mac, from the awesome new iMac models to our workhorse MacBook Pro rentals, multiple Spaces (virtual desktops) help you multitask with the best of them. You can now add, remove and edit Spaces on the Mission Control screen without even opening the control panel.
Finder windows now feature a drop-down menu for quickly applying the “Arrange by” commands. Arranging icons in a particular folder or accessing additional Finder options is also possible with a simple right-click, which brings up a contextual menu. This is especially handy when navigating through hundreds (thousands?) of files on one of our Etherhet disk RAID rentals.
Stylish new wallpapers
The Lion Developer Preview 3 (aka DP3) release added some new wallpapers, but did away with some old favorites. You can take a gander at these Lion-worthy wallpapers at the Cult of Mac site.
Here’s proof that the iOS “style” is coming to the Mac. The “look and feel” of the iCal application on the Mac is quite reminiscent of the Calendar app on our iPad rentals. In addition, the to-do feature of iCal now refers to items on your list as Reminders.
Safari “Reading List”
This new Safari feature is front and center in DP3 – available in the toolbar, contextual menus, dialog boxes – as opposed to being tucked away in previous versions. Like the Web and iOS app Read It Later, you use Reading List to save (bookmark) Web pages “in the cloud” for later reading. No doubt this feature will find its way to iOS, letting you sync your Reading List among home-bound and mobile devices. Of course, Safari runs in Windows, too, meaning this cool feature could run on all computer rentals from CRE.
Among Mac fans, there is no doubt that Mac OS X Lion will be the best Mac OS ever. That’s what we think about every Mac OS upgrade. And at CRE we know that the latest Mac computers are always the best ever, too – but if you need a potent PC, we can do that, as well! PC or Mac, convention rentals or post-production gear, we’ve got you covered. Call or e-mail (or fill out our Quick Rental Quote form) and we’ll equip you to succeed, whatever the challenge!
A new malware program is targeting Mac computers. According to an Apple call center employee, it has pushed call volume up “4-5x higher than normal” recently. Although still more secure than Windows 7, which is more secure than XP or Vista, Macs are not immune. You must intervene to protect your PCs and Macs, just like CRE does with all its computer rentals.
An offensive “defender”
The malware – known variously as Mac Defender, Mac Security and Mac Protector – appears in Safari, the Mac’s default browser on everything from the latest iMac rentals to laptops, iPads and iPods. After you click an infected Google search result, the malware announces itself as an anti-virus program and downloads in several ways, but cannot be installed without an administrator password. If Safari is set to open “safe” files automatically, you will see the malware install “automatically,” too.
If you enter your password, the malware installs into your Applications folder, adds itself to your log-in (startup) items and begins running. The malware installs a menu bar item, but there’s no Dock icon and no way to quit/exit. The malware will say your Mac is infected and advise you to buy a subscription to fix it. If you don’t, the malware begins opening random porn Web sites.
Every Mac user should know what a recent CRE blog called the “sanity saving basics” of troubleshooting, as well as malware defense. Updated with the latest virus definitions, Norton Anti-Virus, VirusBarrier X5, MacScan and similar programs can find and remove malware quickly. Get a fully operational, 30-day MacScan demo if you need it and use the “Check for updates” command to add the latest virus definitions.
To remove the malware manually, power users can use the Mac Terminal as described here. For a simpler manual method, follow these steps:
Open Activity Monitor (Utilities). Set drop-down menu to “All Processes.”
Enter “MacDefender” in the Search field.
Click on the MacDefender process, then “Quit Process” and finally “Force Quit.”
Drag MacDefender icon from Applications to Trash. Empty Trash.
Remove MacDefender from log-in items in Accounts (System Preferences).
Learn to browse safely, and be extra careful with search results. Trust your intuition – if a site seems fishy, leave.
Don’t download indiscriminately. If files start downloading or installers pop up, don’t install anything without proper investigation.
The same OS X security features on our powerful Mac Pro rentals are on every Mac. Use them all, from the Firewall and Sharing preferences to network settings and strong passwords.
Install some well-rated security software, and keep the definitions database updated.
We mean to empower you, with our blogs as well as high-tech render farm rentals and other technology. A call or e-mail puts an experienced Account Executive on the job for you, and our Quick Rental Quote form enables you to accelerate the process even more. It’s not really equipment we deal in – it’s solutions. Get yours here!
The new iMac models (released Tuesday, May 3rd), show that Apple is still at the top of its game. Let’s take a look at what makes the 2011 iMac a winner.
Quad-core processor in every model
The previous iMac models offered quad-core processors (Intel Core i3, i5 and i7) on some models, but all iMacs now have at least a quad-core i5. The four “stock” models include two with 21.5-inch screens and two 27-inchers, with the former getting 2.5 and 2.7GHz i5 chips and the latter offering 2.7 and 3.1GHz i5′s. Build To Order ( BTO) models get you the most potent CPU’s: a 2.8GHz i7 with the smaller screen, and a 3.4GHz i7 with the larger, which will make them among the fastest (and definitely the coolest) computer rentals available.
Three new AMD Radeon HD cards offer two to three times the graphics performance of previous iMacs. The base 21.5-inch iMac (same size as the current iMac rentals) has 512MB of dedicated graphics memory. The top 21.5″ version and the base 27″ model have the mid-range card (also 512MB) and the top 27-inch model boasts the best card with an incredible 1GB of video memory. (The BTO option gets you 2GB of memory.) All models support a second monitor up to 30 inches in size – which brings us to Thunderbolt.
Lightning fast data transfer
Thunderbolt is a new high-speed connection that works with multiple devices (using adapters for some). In addition to new Thunderbolt devices, you can connect USB and FireWire drives, scanners, cameras, etc., as well as LCD monitor rentals and other displays. There is one Thunderbolt port on 21.5-inch models and two on the 27″ models, carrying two simultaneous streams (in and out) at up to 10Gbps, over 20 times faster than USB 2. Top tech firms such as AJA (maker of our AJA Io HD rentals), Avid and Western Digital are already making Thunderbolt products including displays, storage devices, audio/video interfaces and more.
The iSight camera is gone, replaced by the same HD FaceTime camera that debuted in the recently revamped MacBook Pro (along with Thunderbolt). Other common components are 4GB RAM standard (max 8 to 16GB depending on model), 1TB hard drives (512MB on base model), SDXC card slot (32GB to 2TB), FireWire 800, four USB ports and audio in/out. Solid State Drives (SSDs) up to 256GB in size can be added as a BTO option (with an interesting twist). Finally, of course, the iMac has Gigabit Ethernet for hooking up to networks and Ethernet disk raid rentals. Every iMac comes with a wireless keyboard, plus either a Magic Mouse or Magic Trackpad.
CRE will keep you posted as to when the new iMacs will be in stock, what configurations will be available and so on. Call or e-mail an expert Account Executive about the new iMacs, or anything else you need to get the job done. We’re here with the solution – and if you already know what it is, save time with the Quick Rental Quote form.
When Apple unveiled Macintosh OS X in 2001, the only “iDevices” were iPods. There were no iPhones and no iPad rentals, but people were using all makes and models of PDAs (Personal Digital Assistants, like Palm Pilots), older and newer iPods, the first external USB drives and laptops. They needed a way to synchronize (“sync”) contacts, files and calendars among all these devices, with their desktop computers being what Steve Jobs called “the digital hub.”
Apple’s iSync- then to now
Apple’s first solution was iSync, released solo in 2003 before being added to OS X 10.3 (Panther) in October of that year. If you were using CRE’s Mac computer rentals then, you kept everything from files to phone numbers updated with iSync. But iSync started getting bloated and buggy as support was added for huge numbers of devices – smart phones, Palm organizers, Blackberries and various gadgets on the Pocket PC, Windows CE or Windows Mobile platforms. By 2005, data syncing was moved from iSync to the OS itself, and iPod syncing was taken over at mid-year by iTunes 4.8.
Paradigm shift in sync services
By late 2009, with the release of iSync 3.1 and Mac OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard), the bulk of iSync’s original functionality had been absorbed by the Sync Services framework, Apple code that enables developers to build syncing into their programs. Ongoing refinement has brought us to where we are today, with all syncing – iPods, iMac rentals, smart phones, laptops – now taking place in iTunes exclusively. In fact, syncing with iTunes lets you manage project files among multiple devices, people and locations.
Of course, with the advent of the cloud the whole notion of syncing files by duplicating them among devices is silly. It is also inefficient, and tracking changes is a challenge. Now, with such low- and no-cost services as Zumodrive, you store a single set of files on a password-protected, encrypted network server and access them from your other devices – smart phones, tablet PC rentals or an Internet cafe computer in Vienna. It’s a simple and elegant solution.
Customized (and simple) apps
Evernote, Zumodrive and other cloud-based apps typically support such common “work file” formats as Word’s .doc format, .pdf, .txt, .jpeg and other image files. Along with various dedicated PDF readers/editors, including freebies, they allow markup and comments. Establish a few simple rules for the people using these files – name, date and markup guidelines – and you have a simple, straightforward “remote workflow.” Don’t complicate things.
CRE can help you keep things simple as well as secure. If you already know what you need, use our Quick Rental Quote form. Need some help with deciding? Call or e-mail an experienced Account Executive about remote workflows, cloud-based services, production support, digital media management – even office equipment rentals! We can help you see the forest and the trees, and chart a route to the right destination.
There’s been a ton of talk lately about “net neutrality,” but one of the major problems in the discussion is the lack of an accepted definition. Google has been explaining for a few years where they stand on the subject: “Network neutrality,” Google says, “is the principle that Internet users should be in control of what content they view and what applications they use on the Internet.”
This issue, hopefully, will be worked out in the marketplace and not in the halls of Congress. But you don’t have to wait to establish your own kind of net and computer neutrality. With Mac computer rentals, you can run both Windows (XP, Vista or 7) and Mac OS X, and “be in control” of what applications you use, whatever OS they run on.
Third party saviors
Back in Spring 2009, one of our first blog posts concerned Steve Jobs’ decision to begin using Intel processors in Macs in 2006-2007. By 2008 the transition was complete, from the Mac mini to the potent Mac Pro rentals. What “changed everything,” as Jobs remarked, was an Apple utility, Boot Camp, that let users install and run Windows.
By May 2009, a few “virtualization” utilities from Parallels Computing and VMware had brought a new dimension to multi-OS computing. With them, you can run Windows and the Mac OS simultaneously, even cutting and pasting between programs on the different platforms. These applications now run swiftly on the entire Mac line, from the latest iMac rentals to the powerful Mac towers.
A clear advantage of an OS-neutral Mac
The advantages of the “OS-neutral Macintosh” to regular users are clear. You don’t have to be a “code head” to understand how efficient it is to use a single computer to run both Windows and Mac OS X. Many artists and engineers that work with AJA Io HD rentals and massive video files settled on Macs long ago – as did graphic artists, writers, musicians, publishers and other “creatives.” Now, they can avail themselves of important Windows applications and be right at home in the firm’s Windows-based network environment, too.
Our Account Executives know the hardware and software, and understand what you need to accomplish your project. They’ll converse in fluent “computerese” if you want, but can translate for you too either by e-mail or over the phone. Know what you need? Complete the Quick Rental Quote and be on your way to “OS-neutrality”.
You know the old saw about people using only 10% of their brainpower? It’s total rubbish say leading scientists. There is a similar statement about people using software, though, that really is true. Whether it’s Adobe Photoshop or InDesign, or Microsoft Word or Excel, people really do use only about 10% of the available tools. Think about it: Why else are there “light” versions like Photoshop Elements? There are two answers, actually: (1) Because people don’t need all the power offered by the full-boat programs and (2) people don’t know how to use most of the tools anyway.
Tailored training on the job
We’ve blogged a few times over the past year on employee training, but never mentioned one of the most important decisions to make concerning it: Who needs to know what, and why? Even when you decide to train, say, six of your computer artists on some iMac rentals – which will save thousands on the cost of those name-brand two-day seminars – you need a very specific curriculum for each individual employee/student. The first of several determinants for the participants is this: Do they need to know the entire toolbox, or can they get by with 10%?
Your managers that run departments where computers are used – for print, Web, audio, video, post-production, special effects, whatever – will know what each computer artist needs to contribute and, thus, needs to know. One junior staffer may be tasked with converting still photos from a digital camera’s raw RGB files to CMYK for eventual printing, perhaps after the senior artist uses them in a layout. The junior member of the team does not need full Photoshop training for this, just a decent introduction to color space and the appropriate menus and tools in the software.
In addition, a senior staffer may have gotten past the 10% threshold but still needs some training in tweaking printing press profiles. A comprehensive and overlapping curriculum can be devised to take each of these artists, and their colleagues of whatever number, where they need to go skill-wise. The veteran artists on staff, along with management, can teach the courses with the help of a touchscreen LCD monitor rentals at the front of the room. The teacher should have an iMac available, too, to take advantage of some great built-in features of Mac’s OS X.
Mac OS X for desktop sharing
It probably is true that most Mac users only use about 10% of OS X’s incredible power. For several years OS X has been making desktop sharing easier, until it now takes just a few moments to set up. Sharing desktops means the teacher can take control of the students’ computer rentals from her own computer, demonstrating procedures in real-life and real-time. With this technology, students can interact with the teacher directly and accelerate the learning process, whether it’s focused on Final Cut Pro (which has its own kind of sharing) or some other potent application.
Summary: Make a chart of the skills that need to be imparted to each employee, see where they overlap and devise the curriculum to be progressive. With a room, some Macs, desktop sharing enabled and a big-screen display in place, you’re on your way to a better trained staff. Contact an experienced Account Executive (or head to our online Quick Rental Quote form) and let us know what training obstacle we can help you knock down!
Apple has done it again – and again! The Cupertino company just recently announced updates to the Mac Pros, but that was just the start, apparently. It has also retooled its iMacs, introduced some “insanely great” accessories and debuted a new, improved LED Cinema Display. Apple has been criticized in the past for over-hyping some relatively underwhelming product changes, but every one of the recent product introductions has been certifiable Big News.
New and potent iMacs rental
The iMac will have the latest/greatest Intel Core i3, i5 and i7 processors (CRE rents i7 iMac) and no more shared graphic processing – there’s an ATI card in every model. The new iMacs can be outfitted with the new standalone Magic Trackpad (MT) similar to the new metal-and-glass built-ins on MacBook and MacBook Pro laptops, but even the new Mighty Mouse (MM) can interpret the Apple-style finger swipes. The latest iMacs continue the last generation’s 21.5-inch and 27-inch iMac sizes, but now both screen sizes are powered by Intel Core i3 or i5 chips, a solid upgrade from last year’s Core 2 Duo processors.
The base 21.5-inch iMac has a 3.06 GHz Core i3 processor, an ATI Radeon HD 4670 graphics card, 4 GB of RAM, a capacious 500GB hard drive and an SD card slot that’s SDXC-compatible. The upscale 21.5-inch iMac begins with a 3.2 GHz Core i3 but has an upgrade path to a 3.6 GHz Core i5 unit – plenty of oomph for running Final Cut Pro with CRE’s Aja Io HD rentals. The 27-inch model’s base unit has the same 3.2 GHz Core i3 paired with an ATI Radeon HD 5670 graphics card, and has an optional 3.6 GHz Core i5.
The 27-inch line-topping iMac has a 2.8 GHz Core i5 with an ATI Radeon HD 5750 graphics card, with an upgrade path to a 2.93 GHz Core i7 chip and even an optional 256GB Solid State Drive (SSD). This is the kind of power and speed that used to require Mac Pro rentals. Prefer a “real world measure” to the technical terms? Put it this way: Many functions are up to two or three times faster on these new iMacs. That’s some upgrade, and it means the work you actually do will get done faster.
Other new Apple gadgets
Along with your iMac, or any time after you buy it, you can get yourself the new Magic Trackpad (MT), a standalone version of the built-in MacBook and MacBook Pro trackpads. The MT is wireless, like the iMac’s keyboard and Mighty Mouse (MM), and allows users to make the same multi-finger, multi-touch gestures, including swipes and zoom-pinches. To support the MT, MM and the wireless keyboard Apple has released a Battery Charger with six rechargeable batteries to cycle in and out of the units that need them.
Apple also introduced its new 27-inch LED Cinema Display, replacing both the 24- and 30-inch models. The new display is, like its predecessor, an LED backlit system that supports the Mini DisplayPort-equipped iMacs, minis, Mac Pros, MacBooks and MacBook Pros. With the same 2,560 x 1,440 resolution as the 27-inch iMacs, the display will be right at home with any Mac user on any platform. It will be available in September, when CRE will add it to our wide-ranging line of LCD monitor rentals and plasma rentals that offer you every type and size of large screen you could possibly need.
You know that CRE has everything you could possibly need as far as anything computer-related, but we also have you covered with entertainment industry rentals and even office equipment rentals. Call or send an e-mail to our experienced Account Executives, or fill out our Quick Rental Quote form, and get what you need to get the job done. We’re here for you, to make sure it all gets done on time, on target and on budget.
Creative professionals weigh in on the age old question…Mac or PC? An unscientific sampling at a designer site indicates that between 70-80% of designers use Macs, compared to the 80% of “regular Internet users” who use PC’s.
Although most designers acknowledge that the same design tools are available on both platforms, many tout the Mac’s ease of use and superior build quality. One respondent summed it up by saying that “the platform has nothing to do with the outcome of design. But designing on Mac feels a lot more natural to me. I’ve used both PCs and Macs extensively, each has its own advantages. For design, multimedia and other creative work, I personally feel more at home on a Mac.” Although some PC partisans – and, honestly, plenty of good work is done on PCs – brought up some good points about cost differences, it is clear that there remains a solid majority of Mac-using designers.
Some professionals use both-Mac and PC
Within that complement of Mac users, of course, are plenty of people who use both PCs and Macs, just as most companies do these days. It is not uncommon to see a Fortune 500 firm with PCs in the accounting department (although that’s changing slowly) and Macs in the art/marketing department. And with the cross-platform programs and ease of PC-Mac networking, there is no reason that both kinds of computers can’t co-exist peacefully. It’s just that when it comes time for entertainment professionals to edit the movies or master the records or finish the magazines, more of them reach for a Mac Pro rental than a PC, although CRE Rentals does rent both.
Another important development is the power of the Macs. The fastest Mac ever tested by Macworld, by the way, isn’t an eight-core Mac Pro, but the top-of-the-line iMac with the new Core i7 Intel chip. The rest of the iMac family is similarly potent, making CRE’s iMac rentals a sensible alternative to the Mac tower. However, the Mac Pro has the advantage in many areas, like PCIe slots and other expandability options, that make it a continuing favorite for use with Final Cut Studio and other audio-visual software. CRE can equip any kind of Mac, any kind of way you need. Of course, if you need a PC to run PC-only software (certain accounting packages, proprietary builds, etc.), then CRE can outfit you with speedy PC computer rentals, as well.
Which one….Mac or PC?
Comparing Mac and PC computers makes for interesting reading. The bottom line is creative professionals should use “the best tool for the job. Nowadays the OSes aren’t different enough to make the decision for you based on features. If you already know one OS, stick with it until you have a very compelling reason to switch.” This is a reasonable position however, some Mac loyalists point out that Macs can run both Windows and the Mac OS. If you need desktop rentals for your post-production work, and want to use both OSes, then you really do have just one choice – a Mac (learn more about which Mac to rent).
CRE’s Account Executives are experts at getting you what you need to push through your bottleneck of backed-up work, take on that new project or bring in new clients. Send an e-mail, make a call or fill out the Quick Rental Quote form, and you’ll be sailing smoothly in no time.