macOS

5 tips for buying a new computer

There are so many different types of computers out there, each with varying specifications and capabilities – how do you find the best one for your needs? Whether you’re purchasing a computer for yourself or for your family, here are a few things to keep in mind that will help you make the right decision.

Desktop or Laptop?

This depends on your working style and environment. The rule is quite simple: if you rarely work out of the office, get a desktop PC. If you need to work at home, on the go, or at client meetings, then go for a laptop. It’s worth noting that desktops are generally cheaper than laptops at similar specifications, have a longer usage life, and make for easier changing or upgrading of components. Laptops, on the other hand, are very portable due to their compact size, they consume less energy, and they offer a more flexible user experience.

Processor

If you want a computer that loads programs in a flash, completes tasks almost instantly, and runs smoothly at all times, then we recommend you invest in the strongest processors available. The performance of a processor is determined by its number of cores and speed, so the bigger the number, the better. These days, most users go for the latest octa-core processors, specifically if your tasks involve rendering high-definition images, animations, graphics, and analysis. For optimum results, get a processor with the higher number of cores.

RAM

Random Access Memory (RAM) allows your computer to perform multiple tasks at once without a hitch. Just like processors, the amount of RAM your computer has will determine how fast it will run when you work on several programs simultaneously. Nowadays, standard computers come with at least of 4GB of RAM, with 8GB being ideal for most users — to navigate smoothly between tasks such as email browsing, Internet surfing, and working on word processing documents and spreadsheets.

Hard Drive

The bigger the hard drive, the more space you have to store files. If you plan on using your computer with no peripherals, you’ll want to choose a computer that offers the biggest hard drive. But remember that you can always purchase an external hard drive to transfer or store files if your current hard drive is running out of space. Another thing to consider in a hard drive is its spin speed. The average speed for a desktop hard drive is 7200rpm. The faster your hard drive disk spins, the quicker the transfer of data to and from it. And one of the fastest these days are solid-state hybrid drives (SSHDs), which combines solid-state drives and HDDs for seamless data access.

Operating Systems

Picking an operating system is a big decision when it comes to choosing a new computer. You’ll probably want to stick with an operating system you’re already familiar with, since it can take some time to adapt yourself to a new OS. Here are some of the popular options available on the market:

  • Windows 10
  • Mac OS X
  • Linux
  • Ubuntu

Most people will just go for either Windows or Mac OS, because the complexity of Linux and Ubuntu mean they are are not popular among everyday users.

Want more hardware tips and tricks? Get in touch with our technology experts today.

What’s new for macOS Mojave?

MacOS Mojave is the newest addition to Apple’s long list of operating system updates, as announced on June 4, 2018. And like its predecessors, the new OS comes packed with a bunch of great new features. Here are five of them.

Dark Mode

Did you ever wish your computer windows were not just plain ole white? If yes, you’re in for a treat. The new Dark Mode feature changes the appearance of all your screen elements, such as the dock, taskbar, and windows, from deary shades of white to classier shades of black, making the screen much easier to view at night.

Desktop Stacks

Are you having a hard time finding a specific file on your desktop because it’s cluttered with documents, pictures, and music files? Mojave’s new “Desktop Stacks” automatically organizes and stacks your documents in one pile based on the type of files. For instance, PDFs will be stacked in one pile while JPEGs will be stacked in another. When you want to find a specific file, simply open the pile and go through them until you find the right one.

iOS apps on Mac

Your dependable iPhone allows you to read current news, check how your stocks are performing, record voice notes, and control your home accessories. But what if you’re on your computer, your phone is out of reach, and you wanted to do all these things? You won’t need to get out of your seat anymore with MacOS Mojave as popular iOS apps like Voice Memos, Stocks, Home, and Apple News will now be available on Mac.

What’s more, third-party developers will soon be able to make iOS apps available on Mac as Apple plans to implement UIKit, a framework Mac programmers use when developing iOS applications, to macOS. This function is expected to roll out in 2019.

Markup Screenshots

Markup, one of the most convenient tools in iOS, will soon be available for Mac users. This function allows you to write or draw over your screenshot, which is especially useful if you need to pinpoint a specific point on the image and send the file to someone else.

Continuity Camera

Remember the days when you had to email photographs to yourself, move them to iCloud, or sync your phone so it’s accessible on your computer? Say goodbye to this tedious process with macOS Mojave’s Continuity Camera. This new feature lets you capture images on your phone and have it appear on your Pages document instantly. It also allows you to scan documents on your phone and have it automatically sent to your Mac.

There are many more features that are new to macOS Mojave. If you wish to learn more about it, or understand how this update can benefit your business, call our Apple experts today.

Enlist IT help when installing CPU updates

When it comes to security updates, time is usually of the essence. The longer you wait to install a fix from a vendor, the higher the risk of being compromised. But in the cases of the Meltdown and Spectre flaws, you might be better off waiting until a more reliable patch is released. Let’s review what’s going on and what the best course of action currently is.

Unsecured data storage

Spectre and Meltdown are the names given to two hardware flaws that allow hackers to see any piece of information stored on your computer. Although slightly different in execution, both take advantage of a hardware feature that computer chips use to access and store private information. For the last 20 years, security experts believed this information could not be stolen or spied on by malicious software, but that assumption was proven false on January 3, 2018.

Now that the Spectre and Meltdown vulnerabilities are public information, hackers can use them to create programs that steal passwords, social security numbers, credit card numbers, and anything else you type into your computer.

Because these problems are hardware-based, none of the updates will be able to secure the vulnerable storage; they’ll simply prevent your computer from storing anything in it. Currently, there are patches for:

  • Operating systems (Windows, macOS, and Linux)
  • Web browsers (Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Edge, and IE)
  • Chip firmware (low-level programs installed on the processor itself)

If you’re using an Apple computer, these updates are relatively easy to install. If you’re using a Windows or Linux-based computer, these patches may cause your machine to freeze, reboot unexpectedly, or significantly slow down.

Why should I wait to install the updates?

Intel, one of the chipmakers responsible for the Spectre and Meltdown flaws, has provided contradictory recommendations on more than one occasion. As recently as January 18, Intel recommended waiting for an updated patch, but in the same announcement also recommended “consumers to keep systems up-to-date.”

Experts believe detecting an attack that is based on one of these flaws will be relatively easy and represent an alternative to installing updates that could render your computer unusable.

What should I do?

IT support experts will be able to quickly and easily assess what is the best option for your computers. For example, our team can determine whether or not your hardware will conflict with the current patches, and either install them or set up a detection strategy that will help you mitigate the risks without ruining your computer.

If you need expert IT support for quick responses and ironclad security -- give us a call today.