One of the toughest things a technician has to do is tell customers that their hard drive has failed and recovering the data will likely cost thousands of dollars. Recently a Small Dog customer brought in a 24-inch iMac with a failed hard drive. She only had a couple of options: replace the hard drive under warranty and return the failed drive to Apple, or send the drive to DriveSavers for professional data recovery.
The customer opted for DriveSavers. While she was happy to quickly get a new drive with 100% of her data, she was decidedly NOT happy about the bill, which was more than the cost of her computer!
We spoke at length on the phone about how all hard drives fail eventually and how she needs to have a backup system in place. She clearly understood what I was saying, and I made it clear that our conversation was not really about sales but about her protection. No backup drive was purchased.
Three weeks later, the warranty hard drive replacement failed again. She didn’t back it up and has lost three weeks of work and simply cannot afford the pricey recovery again.
David Lerner, an owner of the preeminent New York City Apple Specialist and repair shop Tekserve, has in his email signature __”May you have 1,000 backups and never need one.”__ It’s a mantra we all should take seriously.
This is just one more sad story about 100% preventable data loss. Do yourself a favor and get a Time Capsule, an external drive, even email important documents to yourself or stash them on your iDisk. A $200 Time Capsule is much cheaper than a $2200 data recovery!
Do yourself a favor… __(be sure to click the green links on the product page to view all specials)__
“Time Capsule 500GB”: from $199.99
“Time Capsule 1TB”: from $349.99

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“TidBITS”: is our *site of the week.* Many of you already subscribe to TidBITS as an excellent, essential weekly Mac newsletter. The recently-overhauled TidBITS website has much of the same information as the newsletter, and includes a great archive of back issues.
“TidBITS, begun in 1990, is an online newsletter and Web site, devoted to the person behind the most personal of personal computers, the Macintosh. TidBITS relates events and products to real life uses and concerns. New TidBITS issues go out every Monday night; breaking news and important updates appear on the Web site more frequently.”
Adam and Tonya Engst founded and publish “TidBITS”:, and contribute to it weekly. A regular roster of Mac experts also write for TidBITS. All of them have written Mac books and regularly contribute to Mac magazines.
“Click here to read the TidBITS website!”:

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In our position as one of the larger Apple Specialists, it has been interesting to observe that an increasing number of businesses are adding Macs to their IT infrastructure. We’re seeing Macs in every department (legal, accounting, administrative, creative) of businesses in many different industries. We’ve even seen quite a few business become 100% Mac-based. (Small Dog is 99% Mac based—we have a single old Gateway hooked up to the UPS shipping system in our warehouse.)

This trend really took off when Apple switched to Intel processors. It seems the “Intel Inside” designation was slightly more comforting to traditional IT professionals than the totally foreign G4 and G5-equipped Macs from years past.

As IT professionals begrudgingly allowed a few Macs to infiltrate their Windows networks, the workers they supported were finally allowed to use a Mac on the job (after using them for years at home). IT pros saw that the sky didn’t fall when Macs joined their IT ecosystem, and that Macs mostly just worked and stayed out of the way (statically Macs need less support than PCs).

InfoWorld reports that “A mid-2008 Yankee Group survey of 750 senior IT executives found nearly 80 percent have Macs onboard, up from 47 percent in 2006. Nearly a quarter of these have 30 or more Mac boxes.”

Recently we’ve noticed an uptick of interest in the Apple Xserve and in Parallels Server for Mac. The Xserve is Apple’s highly rated, rack-mountable, scalable server. It runs the relatively easy-to-use Mac OS 10.5 Server software. At Small Dog, we depend on a rack of Xserves (photo) to host, network our workstations, etc.

Many businesses embracing the Mac platform are looking for a Mac server that will still allow them to run a version of Windows (or Linux) Server. We suggest Parallels Server for Mac. Parallels is already delivering the leading desktop virtualization solution for Mac (Parallels Desktop). They also offer the industry’s only server virtualization solution designed for Mac.

At InfoWorld, Bill Earlywine (IT manager at Video Product Group), says, “We use a Mac server to manage both Windows and Mac users via Mac OS X SMB and Open Directory authentication infrastructure. Our primary enterprise controls are authentication and access control, rather than policy enforcement. Virtualization helps us homogenize management tasks. For instance, we have Windows Server supporting specific functions, running under Parallels on a Mac Xserve, and use Apple’s server management suite for server monitoring and administration.”

We like Parallels because it supports side-by-side installation of Mac OS, Windows, and Linux on existing (aka, older) as well as new systems. Parallels Server for Mac has 32/64-bit support, and the Parallels Management Console provides integrated management of servers and VMs across different platforms.

This solution allows small/medium as well as large organizations to:

  • Run server workloads such as email, databases and web applications across different platforms on Apple XServes in virtualized environment
  • Standardize server platforms on Apple XServes while incorporating Windows, Linux, FreeBSD into virtual environments
  • Fully leverage XServe utilization and IT infrastructure investments
  • Reduce cost and complexity of managing the IT infrastructure with effective cross-platform deployment and management on the XServe hardware platform
  • Ensure business continuity with cross-platform migration and system backups

The current version of Parallels Server features hardware-acceleration extensions including Intel’s Virtualization Technology (Intel VT-x) to provide optimal virtualization.

Parallels Server and its integrated tools cost just $919.99 from Small Dog Electronics.

In January, 2008, the editors of Macworld wrote that “Parallels Server for Mac enables you to run almost any server OS in virtualized environments on the reliable Mac platform — and that’s something you can’t do today on a Windows machine.”

Learn more about Parallels for Mac, including the Desktop and Server versions, click here.

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I love Spotlight, the search technology built into Mac OS 10.4 and 10.5. I find it easy to use and speedy (especially on 10.5 Leopard). The Spotlight search field in the menu bar usually provides almost instant results for finding files, folders, and documents, along with emails, contacts, iCal calendars, items in System Preferences, applications, and even dictionary definitions.

Recently, however, I noticed that Spotlight wasn’t finding files I knew existed on my Mac’s hard drive, and was running slower than expected. After making Spotlight reindex the drive, it’s now back to full speed. Since it’s not obvious how to make Spotlight reindex a drive; here’s how to do it:

  • From the Apple menu, choose System Preferences.
  • Click Spotlight.
  • Click the Privacy tab.
  • Drag a folder or even an entire volume (your hard drive) to the list.
  • Remove the item or volume you just added.
  • Spotlight will reindex the contents of the item you initially dragged to the list.

You can also do this to index any number of external hard drives. If you have a large-capacity hard drive, this may take up to a couple of hours.

You can tell that Spotlight is indexing a drive when a little dot is pulsing in the middle of the Spotlight magnifying glass icon. Also, when you click on the Spotlight icon, it will show a progress bar instead of results. Note that you can continue to use your computer as usual while Spotlight reindexed its hard drive.

Note that many Mac maintenance and utility programs such as Onyx will also force Spotlight to reindex a drive.

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Hey, Kibbles & Bytes readers! We will be off next Friday, July 3 in observance of Independence Day, so Happy 4th of July holiday to all of you!
The Small Doggers will be BBQing, drinking daiquiris (virgin and otherwise) and reveling at Don’s house for his annual 4th of July party.
We’ll be back the following Friday, July 10 with a double issue of Kibbles & Bytes.
Be safe!
__Image credit:__ “OGIM”:

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Dear Friends,
The cool weather seems to have passed but the rain is still sticking around. I have a strange micro-climate at my house. Because I live on the side of a mountain, my growing season seems to be a few weeks shorter on both ends. While friends are already eating strawberries, mine are green or only have flowers. On the other hand, my arctic kiwis are fruiting for the first time in five years. They produce a grape-sized fruit that is quite good but seems like only once every five years.
Grace flew back from Hawaii on Sunday and after about 20 hours of flying, I convinced her we needed to take a motorcycle ride to find some fresh strawberries. We got caught in a nice big rain storm but got our berries and even though we were soaked, we were laughing and having some fun.
When I read motorcycle magazines, I like the “long-term” bike reports. This is where they report on their impressions of a motorcycle a year or two after they bought it. I thought I would do that for my MacBook Air. It has been about a year since I decided to just have the MacBook Air as my sole computer for work and home. I thought the small hard drive and lack of an optical drive (CD/DVD) would be a big issue, but it has not.
The MacBook Air retains its allure of size and weight. It still gets “ooohs” and “ahhhs” when I pull it out of my bag for meetings. While there have been occasions where the lack of an optical drive was inconvenient, my external optical drive at my office set-up is now gathering dust and serves as a platform for some of my hippo figurines.
At the office, I have the MacBook Air connected to the Apple 24-inch LED Cinema Display. This display has three USB ports and I use them all. One goes directly to my LaCie back-up drive (YOU DO BACK UP, TOO, RIGHT?!), one goes to my Kinesis Advantage Pro ergonomic keyboard and the last one goes to my Targus powered USB hub where I have my optical drive, my scanner and my iPhone cable connected. I use both the MacBook Air display and the LED to organize my work.
When I am on the road I carry another USB hub as well as a Western Digital Passport drive for some added storage. I also carry the USB to ethernet adapter but have only used it once in a hotel that did not have wireless. If I know I am going to be on a very long flight or in an all day meeting, I’ll also pack QuickerTek’s external battery to extend the life of the battery.
With new MacBook Air models out, I’m keeping to my deal with Hapy that I get the newest latest portable and he gets the newest latest Mac Pro. I think that the only significant limitation for me is the size of the solid state drive (SSD), but with a 128GB option now, it’s much better (although it would be nice if the 256GB SSD drive that is available in the MacBook Pro would fit in the MacBook Air). I guess I’ll have to call battery life a limitation as well; I’d like to see a true six hour battery for the Air, too!
My long-term evaluation of the MacBook Air is definitely 4-paws up!

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