This Holiday Season we have several exclusive coupons. Most run through the season, but for this weekend only we’re offering coupon code softserve10 to give you 10% off all Apple software! 15% Off all Mac games – Coupon code is gameoff 20% Off all Books – Use Coupon code bookclub 15% Off all iPod or […]

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*Note: this article originally ran in Small Dog’s “Tech Tails”:http://www.smalldog.com/newsletters newsletter. Reprinted here because it’s very useful for Mac users in general!*
Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard brings a multitude of under-the-hood improvements, most of which are invisible to the normal user. However, changes to the Print and Scan architecture will affect users of older printers, scanners, and all-in-one units. Here is some useful information if you are about to make this upgrade.
Apple has bundled printer drivers with recent versions of Mac OS X and has taken things a step further in Snow Leopard, currently including software drivers for multifunction devices from Apple, Brother, Canon, Epson, Fuji-Xerox, Gestentner, HP, Infotec, Lanier, Lexmark, NRG, Ricoh, Samsung, Savin, Tektronix, Xerox, as well as selected drivers for some other manufacturers. “Check your device”:http://support.apple.com/kb/HT3669 against Apple’s list to see whether it is compatible for printing and/or scanning in Snow Leopard.
Apple’s knowledge base also has an entry called “Mac 101 – Printing”:http://support.apple.com/kb/HT3771 that details the exactly how to set up your printer.
Apple is also providing driver updates through Apple Software update for devices from Brother, Canon, Epson, HP, and Lexmark (and possibly others in the future). Now instead of getting individual updates for each device from manufacturers’ websites, printer driver updates come directly through Apple’s Software Update mechanism. For other manufacturers, you can keep checking for updates in the first link above, and the respective manufacturer’s website.
A big change in Snow Leopard is the discontinuation of AppleTalk support. AppleTalk, a long-lived protocol for printing and file sharing, saw it’s final iteration in Leopard, and is now completely gone in Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard. If you have a printer that uses AppleTalk, you can try to see if it supports any other methods for printing, such as Bonjour, IP Printing, or generic PCL support. There are some very old printers that support only PCL and AppleTalk, so you can try the generic PCL drivers for those if all other options are unavailable.
In 10.5 and earlier, most scanning was done through custom applications provided by each scanner vendor. Some of that custom scanner software will continue to work on machines upgraded from 10.5 to 10.6, but most scanning devices work under Apple’s own Image Capture application found in the Applications folder. In the short run, some users with slightly older gear will have to wait for newer driver updates to use Image Capture, but anyone with a new scanner or all-in-one unit should be able to use Image Capture right out of the box. Please check the “compatibility list”:http://support.apple.com/kb/HT3669 to check for your specific unit.
Printers and scanners are often neglected as consumers and businesses upgrade their gear. If you find that your equipment isn’t fully supported in Snow Leopard, this is a great time to upgrade to more modern printers, scanners, and all-in-one units that support modern protocols like Bonjour. While our consulting staff can often coax more support out of older gear, the most cost-effective choice is often to just get new gear that works right out of the box, provides more robust features, networking, power consumption, and reliability.
Give us a call or stop in one of our stores to talk about new gear, or contact “Rob Amon”:mailto:rob@smalldog.com in corporate sales if you are interested in bigger office printers, printer leasing, and printer/scanner gear that goes beyond the list on our website.

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I’ve written to quite a few of our Kibbles readers along with our Facebook and Twitter friends about using an Apple TV or a Mac mini as a media server in the living room. This topic has inspired many passionate and well informed replies. I am about to invest in one of the two this weekend, to get everything set up before my holiday hosting madness.

So, I will be writing about this topic next week. If you haven’t yet written in with your opinion, let me know what you think. Is the Apple TV up to the task of being a living room media hub? Or is it better to simply invest in the Mac mini for this task? Inquiring minds want to know!

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At this time of year, I’m frequently asked for techie gift suggestions. I always respond with a question in kind: “Does the gift recipient own an iPhone?” If the answer is yes, I invariably suggest a backup iPhone battery, especially those that come in the form of a case.

The iPhone is an incredible device, but unfortunately it doesn’t have a great battery. A backup battery is essential for anyone who travels frequently, is often away from a power socket, is an iPhone power user, or simply forgets to regularly charge their iPhone. Actually, at some point everyone with an iPhone will wish they had a backup battery. That’s why it makes such a great gift.

Small Dog sells a couple of different iPhone case / battery combos. The TruePower IV Extended Battery and Charger for iPhone 3G/3GS is the original case with built-in battery. It features up to 24hrs of talk time and lists for $99.99 (on sale for $74.99). This is definitely the biggest, bulkiest iPhone case / battery combo. However, it offers the longest talk time. It also features a built-in flash, which helps the iPhone’s camera take much better photos in low light.

For a sleeker battery / case combo, it’s hard to beat Mophie’s solutions. They don’t match the TruePower’s talk time, but are much closer to a traditional case. The Mophie Juice Pack for iPhone 3G features 6 – 12 hours of talk time, depending on network connections — $99.99, on sale for $89.99.

Meanwhile, the Mophie Juice Pack Air for iPhone 3G/3GS is the thinnest rechargeable battery case we carry. It features 4.5 – 10 hours of talk time depending on network connection. The Mophie Juice Pack Air is available in white, black, or purple – $79.99, on sale for $71.99

Don’t want to use a case with a built in battery? Prefer a stand along portable charger? Check out the Griffin TuneJuice Battery Backup for iPhone or iPod touch. – $29.99. This device uses 4 AA batteries (included). You can buy AA pretty much anywhere, or use rechargeable batteries. This is a basic device that can add up to 2 hours of talk time to an iPhone. Important caveat: it only works with iPhones that still have a little battery power left. It will not charge a fully discharged iPhone or iPod.

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I love me some “Time Machine”:http://www.apple.com/macosx/what-is-macosx/time-machine.html. It’s the easiest way for the average Mac user to reliably back up their computer. Since it’s the easiest backup method, it’s also the most likely method to be used, which is a good thing. Apple writes:
“Time Machine automatically makes incremental backups every hour, every day, copying just the files that have changed since your last backup. And it does this all in the background, so you can continue working while Time Machine is busy copying your files.”
As much as I adore and use Time Machine, there are times when it gets in my way. I frequently import and edit audio and video, which results in large files that take a long time to backup. The standard hourly Time Machine backup is often too frequent.
Fortunately, there is a free app for Mac OS 10.5 and Mac OS 10.6 called “TimeMachineEditor”:http://timesoftware.free.fr/timemachineeditor, which lets you change the default one-hour backup interval of Time Machine. You can change the interval or create more sophisticated scheduling based on a calendar. I prefer my Mac to simply backup to Time Machine once at the end of the day.
You can “click here to download TimeMachineEditor”:http://timesoftware.free.fr/timemachineeditor. It’s easy to install and uninstall. If you decide you prefer the standard one-hour Time Machine backup, simply use TimeMachineEditor one last time to turn it off, then drag the application to the trash to uninstall.

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Dear Friends,

It is over 50 degrees again today and it seems more like September than December. Of course we all know the snow is coming soon, and the skiers are well beyond hoping for snow. I am determined to ride my motorcycle once in December before I put it away. I’ve been working on the Norton in my spare time and I got an interesting phone call on Sunday when I was elbows deep in the pile of parts. It was my friend, Judy Bevans, who is the Chair of the Vermont Democratic Party.

She asked me if I would be her guest at the White House for the President’s holiday reception today! Of course, I said yes, hardly believing that it was not a prank.

So, I went to try on my only suit. You see, not many people wear suits in Vermont except to weddings, court and funerals and the last time I had one on was at Hapy’s wedding 15 years ago. That suit, of course, did not fit and I don’t think too big double breasted zoot suits are the right style. Grace took me shopping and I should be presentable when I head down today.

I’ve been working up in the Burlington store a bit over the holidays and it seems that once again this year it is MacBooks and iPod Touch leading the way for the holidays. Our Chill Pills have also been selling quite well. We have brought in a really neat 3M portable projector that we are selling with an iPod/iPhone cable that allows you to use your iPhone or iPod Touch as a media center to project movies or presentations. I like the idea of projecting it overhead to watch a movie in bed.

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