Mac users: If you’re still holding out, should you upgrade to El Capitan?

BANNER Apple Mac OS X El Capitan 640x400Apple released OS X 10.11 El Capitan in September 2015, with the promise of “refining the experience and improving performance in lots of little ways.” That’s marketing speak for “you may not notice hardly any difference.” But just because the changes are minor doesn’t make the decision to upgrade any easier. Here’s why.

For the most part, El Capitan hasn’t caused compatibility problems, and most of those that did crop up immediately have been resolved…

On the one hand, you shouldn’t worry about El Capitan’s new features being hard to learn. Split View is the only truly new feature, and by merely clicking and holding the green zoom button in a window, you can assign it to a side of your screen, after which you can pick another window to occupy the other half. Other new features, such as expanded Spotlight searches, the shake-to-zoom feature for finding the lost pointer, more swipe gestures in Mail, the capability to mute tabs in Safari and pin other tabs so they can’t be closed accidentally, and an all-new Notes app, are all easy to figure out and at least moderately useful.

On the other hand, if whatever version of OS X you’re using now is working fine, why mess with it? If it ain’t broke… For the most part, El Capitan hasn’t caused compatibility problems, and most of those that did crop up immediately have been resolved, either by updates from other developers or by subsequent minor updates, which fixed nasty crashing problems experienced by Microsoft Office 2016 users.

Nevertheless, upgrading to El Capitan may require you to update many of your applications, and if you’re relying on a significantly older version of expensive software, like Adobe Creative Suite, it’s hard to justify even a free operating system upgrade if it comes with lots of hidden app upgrade costs.

Here, then, is the answer. First, don’t upgrade until you’ve talked it over with whoever helps you with technical problems you can’t solve on your own. (If you purchased your Mac from Connecting Point, call or drop in to talk it over with us.) There’s never any harm in waiting for Apple and other developers to fix more bugs.

But you will have to upgrade eventually, and that’s particularly true if you use an iPhone or iPad running iOS 9 and want to sync Notes between them. An El Capitan upgrade will also give you certain useful features in the included Apple apps, such as geotagging and editing extensions in Photos, and transit directions in Maps. And if something were to happen to your Mac and you had to buy a new one, it would come with El Capitan, so you don’t want to be caught flat-footed with incompatible software and a looming deadline.

So yes, do upgrade to El Capitan once you’ve been given the go-ahead by your tech, and do it on your own terms and your own schedule. It’s not hard, but if you’re anxious about it, an ebook called Take Control of Upgrading to El Capitan will walk you through the entire process.

TUTORIAL: How to launch apps from your Mac’s keyboard with Spotlight

ICON Mac OS X SpotlightThere are oodles of ways to launch apps in OS X. You can double-click an app in the Applications folder, click an app icon in the Dock, invoke Launchpad and click the desired app, or choose an app from the Apple menu’s Recent Items > Applications submenu. You can even add commonly used apps to the toolbar of Finder windows by Command-dragging them up there.

But what if you don’t want to take your hands off the keyboard? Is there any way to open an app without touching the mouse or trackpad? Indeed there is, courtesy of Spotlight.

You’re probably familiar with Spotlight as a search tool, both for finding files and folders on your Mac, and for ferreting out information on the Internet (in OS X 10.11 El Capitan, Spotlight can even find weather forecasts, sports scores, and stock prices). But what you may not realize is that among the files that Spotlight can find are all the apps on your Mac, and you can launch them with just a few keys. Follow these steps:

  1. Press Command-Space to display the Spotlight window.
  2. Begin typing an app’s name, such as “ac” for Activity Monitor. For apps whose names have multiple words, you can type the first letter of each, as in “ic” for Image Capture. And if an app name is a single InterCapped word, it’s fine to enter just the capitalized letters, as in “ft” for FaceTime. Spotlight searches, and while it should be nearly instantaneous, if it doesn’t show the app you want at first, give it a few seconds.Activity Monitor detail
  3. If the app you want to launch is highlighted as the top hit, press Return to launch it. If it’s not the top hit, you can either continue typing to narrow the search or arrow down to it in the list, and then press Return.

That’s all there is to it! As you might guess, you can use the same technique to open documents or even System Preferences panes.

Cleverly, Spotlight is adaptive so if the first time you type “ac” it suggests Adobe Content Viewer, once you select Activity Monitor instead, it will know that “ac” should open Activity Monitor in the future.

On the downside, Spotlight isn’t always as fast as you might like, and while it guesses relatively well, you may find that its conception of what an app is called doesn’t always match with what you want to type.

So give Spotlight a try, and if you find that you like launching apps from the keyboard but want the best possible experience, try one of the four excellent keyboard launcher utilities on the Mac: Alfred, Butler, LaunchBar, or QuickSilver. Alfred and QuickSilver are both free, whereas Butler costs $20 and LaunchBar—the most powerful and popular of the pack, is $29.

TUTORIAL: How to sign PDFs using OS X’s Preview app

Although a fully paperless office remains tantalizingly in the future, we get closer all the time. For many people, one of the most annoying uses of paper is the signature dance. You know how it goes—someone sends you a document via email that you need to sign, so you print it out and sign it. Then you have to figure out how to send it back: scan and email, run through the fax machine, or pop it in an envelope and mail it. There’s a better way, and it’s been built in to every copy of OS X since 10.7 Lion.

That’s right, the app you use to look at PDFs and images on the Mac boasts a feature that makes the signature dance a thing of the past.

You’ve likely used this surprisingly powerful program many times over the years: Preview. That’s right, the app you use to look at PDFs and images on the Mac boasts a feature that makes the signature dance a thing of the past. First, you create an image of your signature using either your Mac’s camera or its trackpad. Then you can drop that signature image into any PDF with just a couple of clicks, save the file, and email it back.

Follow these steps in Preview in OS X 10.11 El Capitan (earlier versions of OS X are similar):

  • Open the PDF you need to sign in Preview.
  • Click the Toolbox icon Preview app icon in the toolbar to reveal Preview’s markup tools.
  • Click the Signature icon: image02
  • To use the trackpad to make your signature, click Click Here to Begin, and start signing. Press any key when you’re done. Honestly, this is hard to do with a finger—click Clear to try again—so if you have a rubber-tipped iPad stylus, use that to make the writing easier. Click Done once you have a signature you like.
  • For an easier method, sign your name using a thick black marker on a white piece of paper that’s blank on the back. Then click Camera and hold your paper up to the camera. You can keep moving it around until the entire signature fits in the window and isn’t angled oddly. Once Preview captures it, click Done.image01
  • To sign the current PDF and any others in the future, click the Signature icon again and click your signature to insert it as a graphic that you can move around in the document and resize to fit into the appropriate space.image05

That’s it—you now have your own digital signature stamp! One final tip. You can create and insert multiple signatures, and while the authorities frown on forgery, Preview makes it easy for an assistant to affix the boss’s signature to documents that don’t need the real thing.

12 Days of Savings | DAY 12 (Thurs., Dec 24th): $100 OFF Mac mini 2.8GHz (reg. $999.99)

Apple Mac mini 2.8GHz Core i5 8GB 1 TB Fusion Drive for $899.99 ($100 off)12 DAYS OF SAVINGS | DAY 12 – Thursday, December 24th:
$100 OFF Apple Mac mini 2.8GHz Core i5 8GB 1TB Fusion
(Reg. $999.99 SALE $899.99)

The fastest, most capable stock Mac mini available, on sale today only. Mac mini now has fourth-generation Intel Core processors, increased graphics performance, and ultrafast 802.11ac wireless networking. It also features two Thunderbolt 2 ports, great built-in apps, and OS X El Capitan. And it’s still the world’s most power-efficient desktop.

  • 2.8GHz dual-core Intel Core i5; Turbo Boost up to 3.3GHz
  • Intel Iris Graphics
  • Two Thunderbolt 2 ports, four USB 3 ports, HDMI port, Gigabit Ethernet, SDXC card slot
  • High-performance one TB Fusion Drive storage
  • 8GB memory

Connecting Point's 12 DAYS OF SAVINGS


This offer will be available all day Thursday, December 24th, 2015, or while supplies last. Sorry, no rain checks. PLEASE NOTE: Connecting Point will be closing at 5 pm today (Christmas Eve), and will be closed Christmas Day.

Wait, what? With ANY new Mac purchase, get an Epson Expression Home XP-420 All-in-One for $25.

Head back to school or work with a new Mac from Connecting Point

So we’re having a Mac sale.

It starts today, and runs through Monday, August 31st. The occasion? The end of summer, when we put away the croquet mallets, deflate the Tahitis, and contemplate heading back.

Back to work. Back to school. Back to civilization.

We’d like to ease the transition a bit. You want to hit the ground running this fall, be it at school, work, home, or Mars. And the best way to do that is with a new Mac from Yours Truly.

Epson Expression XP-420 All-in-One Printer/Scanner/Copier

Epson Expression Home XP-420 All-in-One Printer/Scanner/Copier. MSRP: $99.99

So we’re having a Mac sale. Besides up to 18-months interest-free financing and our generous trade-in offers for your late-model used PCs and Macs, we’ve gone one very large step further:

Buy any new Mac from Connecting Point, and you can pick up a new Epson Expression Home XP-420 All-in-One printer/scanner/copier for 25 bucks. Wait, what?

This Epson normally retails for $99.99. That’s, like, 75% off.

Do we have your attention? Cool. Find out more here.

 

Take Executive Action and save BIG on a new Mac during our Presidents’ Day Sale | Feb. 13-16, 2015

Connecting Point's Presdidents' Day Sale - Feb. 13-16, 2015For over 200 years, American Presidents have grappled with some tough decisions. But this President’s Day, you can make your best – and easiest – decision ever: Getting a new Mac from Connecting Point. Save your tens, twenties, fifties – even your hundreds – and get a Mac, the American leader everyone supports.

Apple iMac 21.5- and 27-inch models, side by sideDuring Connecting Point’s Presidents’ Day Sale, you’ll save on every Mac in stock, when you buy it along with AppleCare:

  • $50 off Mac mini and MacBook Air
  • $75 off 13-inch MacBook Pro Retina and iMac (21.5-inch or 27-inch)
  • $100 off 15” MacBook Pro and Mac Pro

EPSON Expression XP-310 All-in-One

 

And with any new Mac, get the $99.99 Epson Expression XP-310 all-in-one printer/scanner/copier for half price (while supplies last).

Plus we’ll take trade-ins on any Mac or PC you have, ANY AGE, ANY CONDITION (working or not!) – and guarantee at least $25 towards your new Mac.

Special financing makes the decision even easier. With your good credit, you can take home a new Mac today and get six, 12, even 18 months interest-deferred financing. You can go Mac – and never look back!

This calls for Executive Action: Take command this long weekend, during Connecting Point’s Presidents’ Day Sale.

Offers end at close of business Monday, February 16th, 2015. Sale is limited to stock on hand. No rainchecks. No extensions of the sale period.

’12 Days of Savings 2014′ | DAY 1: Buy Apple Magic Mouse or Magic Trackpad for $69.99, get $25 Gift Card

Connecting Point presents "12 Days of Savings 2014" - Special deals every day!Wires are so yesterday.

Cut the cord, and drastically improve your computing experience with one or both of these extremely well-designed Bluetooth input devices.

Buy Apple Magic Mouse or Magic Trackpad for $69.99, get a $25 Connecting Point Gift CardMagic Mouse – the world’s first Multi-Touch mouse:

  • Laser technology delivers 20 times the performance of standard optical tracking
  • Miniature sensors detect even the slightest movement
  • Top-shell design matches other Apple products
  • Bluetooth technology and touch/gesture-sensitive Multi-Touch technology

Magic Trackpad – the world’s first Multi-Touch trackpad:

  • A whole new way to control what’s on your Mac desktop
  • Swiping through pages on screen is just like flipping magazine pages
  • Inertial scrolling senses momentum in your fingers as you move up and down a page
  • Nearly 80 percent larger than the built-in trackpad on the MacBook Pro, so you get plenty of room to perform gestures
  • Like Magic Mouse, Magic Trackpad also connects to your Mac via Bluetooth wireless technology

Buy either one for $69.99, and we’ll give you a $25 Connecting Point Gift Card!*

*Gift cards will be mailed at a later date. Value may not be applied to initial purchase. This offer will be available all day Thursday, December 11th, 2014.

Now the entry price for a new iMac is $200 less, as Apple debuts $1099 model

Apple iMac 21.5-inch, front viewToday, Apple announced a new entry-level iMac priced at $1099 – $200 less than the previous entry-level model (which, like all the other iMac® models, remains current). It retains many features identical to its two 21.5-inch brethren:

  • 21.5-inch (diagonal) LED-backlit display with IPS technology, 1920×1080 pixels
  • 8GB DDR3 memory (not expandable)
  • FaceTime HD camera
  • Built-in downward-firing stereo speakers
  • Dual microphones
  • Headphone/optical digital output
  • Four USB 3.0 ports; Two Thunderbolt ports; SDXC card slot
  • Gigabit Ethernet; 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi; Bluetooth 4.0
  • Apple Wireless Keyboard and wireless Magic Mouse
  • OS X Mavericks operating system

So what’s different? A few key changes have been made to reduce the cost:

  • 1.4GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor, with Turbo Boost up to 2.7GHz. Contrast this with the substantially faster (2.7GHz and 2.9GHz) quad-core processors in the other two models. The L3 cache is smaller, too, and shared by the two processor cores.
  • 500GB 5400 RPM SATA hard drive, in place of the 1 TB hard drives in the other models.
  • Intel HD Graphics 5000, in lieu of Intel Iris Pro graphics in the $1299 model, and  the 1GB NVIDIA GT 750M graphics in the $1499 model.

To better see how the new model fits in with the other 21-5-inch models, click here.

AVAILABILITY: We’ll be accepting orders for this new iMac model immediately. Fulfillment will depend on initial supplies and demand, which could push delivery to as much as two weeks away.

Apple, the Apple logo, Mac, and Macintosh are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries.