The New MacBook

by Kristen Abell

I know, I know, I’m supposed to be ooh-ing and ah-ing over the Applie iWatch, but I’ll be honest, I’m not a fan of wearable tech. I have a Pebble, and after being buzzed every time I got a text or a Facebook message or a Twitter mention, I turned off all the notifications so I could just have a watch again. I now only use the Misfit app on it to count my steps. That’s the limit of my desire in wearable tech.

What I’m really drooling over is the new MacBook – and not because it’s gold (maybe it’s just me, but I’ve never been a fan of the whole gold thing. Give me silver over gold any day). But dang, that is one sleek-looking new computer. Thinner than the MacBook Air, it weighs in at a mere half a pound more than the original iPad. It features a 12-inch screen and new keyboard technology to fit into that smaller space. It also, of course, features Retina display with a resolution of 2304×1440. For those not versed in tech, that means “purty.”

In addition, it features a new type of trackpad – the Force Touch. Instead of a hinge trackpad, as is traditionally featured on laptops, the Force Touch uses sensors to “detect how much pressure you’re applying and give you new ways to interact with your Mac. You can now use a Force click to enable new capabilities, like quickly looking up the definition of a word or previewing a file just by clicking and continuing to press on the trackpad” (from the Apple website).

Because of the unique new design of the processor, no fan is required for the new MacBook. This means that your computer will also be silent. What does that even sound like? I can’t remember.

 

The battery life on wifi is 9 hours. Compared to the battery life of my current MacBook Air (a 5-year-old model, to be sure), this is just phenomenal. Although my partner is doing his best to convince me that that is not a justification for buying a new laptop, I’m having a hard time seeing it (or maybe it’s all the other features that have me swayed).

The only drawback I see to the new laptop is the single port – you will now have to carry a cord with you wherever you go just to plug in a USB device.

Yeah, I’m totally fanwomaning (no, not fangirling – do I really need to explain why I hate that term?) over this laptop, but show me one that is this sleek and powerful.

In the meantime, if anyone wants to front me the $1299 starting price, just let me know.

The New MacBook

My love affair with my new Macbook Pro.

by Jennifer Keegin

This semester I had an epic decision to make. A new office laptop was needed for new duties I’m taking on at the University. Traveling from meeting to meeting, I could take an iPad, but I was using more than Evernote, I was having to access websites and show my screen to attendees to help them visualize projects. I wanted something light and portable yet powerful.

When I headed to Best Buy to look at options, I noticed the array of touch screen versions on the market. The thing was, I had purchased just months before a Sony Vaio for the AV closet in the University Union and had purchased it for the small size, “foldable” style and touch screen. For the purposes I bought it for – it worked. However, for an every day laptop – touch screen wasn’t necessary. I mean, there’s the iPad if I really need to touch something. I have also had a touch screen computer screen (all in one unit) and it was totally unnecessary.

I’m a 13″ laptop type of gal and while I was appreciating the large screens, I like a smaller frame. As I was browsing, I hit upon the Macs and just sighed. I haven’t used a Mac since I was in college and I’ve been a little hesitant to work with one. Using an iPhone or an iPad (or an iPod for that matter) are all different than using a Macbook. Different iOS, different way of saving things – but I’ve always wanted to jump back in.

The sales guy showed me how the newest iOS for Macbook allows you to utilize the Pages and Numbers programs and yet save them in other formats, which I didn’t realize you could do. I’ve always heard about conversion issues and things like, “Well I have a Mac so it just doesn’t work the same.” I was wary of getting into something that wouldn’t be compatible with PCs since that’s what all of my colleagues in the Dean of Student use. It’s just my new colleagues in the Marketing & Communications that brandish the Macs.

I also got a student discount with my University email address. So that settled it and I purchased the best laptop I’ve ever owned. (Ok, the University owns it but you know what I mean).

I have never brought home a laptop, opened it up, turned it on and just used it. There’s always programs to be loaded, security programs to be run, different browsers to download, files to be transferred. I feel spoiled with this Macbook. For me it was definitely an iPad killer. I really adore it. I take it everywhere and love being able to open it and pretty much have it just come on and it’s ready to go.

I’m sure many of the younger readers today probably had a Macbook in college, most of the Binghamton students do – but – I’m old and in college I had a word processor, than used computer lab computers, and didn’t own my own laptop until graduate school and that one only did word processing. Owning a laptop has always been a big deal to me and finding the best one for me has been a sort of obsession. I’ve purchased lots of laptops for my office and etc. and this one, hands down is my favorite.

My love affair with my new Macbook Pro.

Is Zero Inbox Achievable? With Mailbox App it is!

by Jess Samuels

Screen shot 2014-05-18 at 11.13.04 PM
No matter how hard we try, at some point we all end up using our email inbox as a to do list.  Of course, the folly in this system is that our “list” keeps getting longer and longer every day, making it harder to manage.

Enter the Mailbox App.  A new mail management app from Dropbox that allows you to manage your email from your phone or tablet.

Mailbox works by linking your gmail accounts (up to 10), icloud, and google apps.  To manage your inbox you will swipe to label, snooze, archive or delete.

By setting up messages to “snooze” you are able to get them out of your inbox and have them come back to you at a time or date that you are better able to manage them.

With a bit of ongoing dedication, this quick organization method allows you to get zero inbox (and stay there!) by allowing you to quickly label messages or bring them back later.

While I wouldn’t personally use mailbox as a day to day option for responding to all of my emails (regular gmail is too rich with tools to not use), it is great for it’s primary function – getting you on top of your overwhelming inbox.

So give it a try and see if you can achieve everyone’s dream goal: zero inbox!

Currently available for ios and Android.

Is Zero Inbox Achievable? With Mailbox App it is!

Highlight An App: Office for iPad

By Brenda Bethman

If you follow tech news at all, you likely know that in late March Microsoft (finally!) released a version of Office for the iPad — and also made the iPhone version free. The iPad apps (Word, Excel, and Power Point) are also free, as are versions of OneNote for the Mac and iOS.

Well, technically free. With the free versions of the iPad apps, you can view and read files, but not edit them. Editing requires an Office 365 subscription, the cost of which varies depending on the type of plan purchased. For folks working in higher education, it’s not a bad deal. If you don’t already have a subscription through your university (which many do), you can purchase Office 365 University. The cost is $79.99 for 4 years, and includes 2 installations of Office on Macs or PCs, access to the tablet apps, 20GB of storage on OneDrive (formerly SkyDrive) and 60 Skype minutes per month.

Even if you don’t buy the subscription, I recommend downloading the apps for anyone who works with a lot of Office documents and uses their iPad in meetings. Unlike former solutions where formatting would be a hot mess, these apps preserve the formatting, meaning your documents look basically the same on your iPad (first photo below) as on your laptop (second photo below):

Word document on iPad

 

Word document on Mac laptop

While Microsoft obviously couldn’t include all the functionality of the computer apps, the important things are there, including document review and the ability to add/read comments. If you use and love (or even like) Office a lot and want to be able to work on Office documents on your iPad, you will love these apps.

What you will not love — the price (especially if you don’t qualify for a University subscription), the inability to print (which Microsoft says is coming), the lack of cloud options other than Microsoft’s OneDrive (no saving to Dropbox or iCloud), and the inability to work offline. Nonetheless, these are solid, well-built apps, and a vast improvement over previous options for the iPad.

 

Highlight An App: Office for iPad

Blogger’s Choice: How Often Do You Upgrade?

By Brenda Bethman

If you’re an Apple lover (or even not), you might have noticed that they had a little event today at which they unveiled a new “iPad Air” and an iPad Mini retina. Prior to the event, I had sworn that nothing would tempt me to upgrade as I just purchased my iPad Mini last December and it sill works just fine (a little laggy on iOS 7, but otherwise fine).

Of course, I said the same thing prior to the event in September, when the new iPhones were announced, but nonetheless found myself getting up in the middle of the night to order a new iPhone 5S. Normally, I upgrade every two years, but in this case, I was able to sell my old phone for enough to cover the new one — and I had such horrible battery problems with the 5 that I wanted to get on the S-upgrade cycle. I’m glad I did it, but don’t see myself doing an upgrade after only one year again.

Nonetheless, the lure of the retina iPad Mini is strong considering that I use it almost exclusively for reading. The state of my bank account, however, says that I will probably end up waiting for a while on this one.

What about you? How often do you upgrade your technology?

Blogger’s Choice: How Often Do You Upgrade?

Blogger’s Choice: iOS7

by Valerie Heruska

So, you’ve got the new Apple iOS7 and if you’re like me you’re probably like: did Apple have an 8th grader work on the colors?

I think iOS7 is nifty, despite the way the graphics look on my phone. I think the people at Apple were looking to get away from the simpleness of the way the apps functioned and looked to this new brightness and more diversified way to use your apps and the phone. A friend passed along this article to me: The Best Hidden Features of iOS7 and I have to admit, it was pretty darn cool to figure out this new operating system.

First, I would suggest turning down the brightness of the phone so your eyes don’t bleed. Also, this helps maintain some good battery life if you’re rocking the iPhone 4/4s/5. I haven’t had the opportunity to tinker with the new iPhone 5S and 5C (c as in cheap – it’s all plastic) and so I don’t know about the battery life. If anyone out there has a new iPhone 5s/5c, can you please share your thoughts here. I’ve had this operating system for a few days and I have to say it will drain your battery, so be sure to keep a charger with you.

For me, two of the best new features: Male Siri voice and the fact that all my apps update automatically.  I remember the last time I upgraded that everything took forever and a day to update, but now, it just does it automatically. Facebook, Nike Running, Twitter, Newsstand, are just a few that have some pretty rad updates to go along with iOS7. Oh and make Siri voice sounds a lot less harsh than female Siri voice.

All in all, iOS7 is something that you should not be afraid of, rather you should embrace the change that Apple has bestowed upon us Apple nerds. If you have any fun tips or want to share any of your favorite features, share them here!

Blogger’s Choice: iOS7

Blogger Choice: A family that Macs together, stays together.

by Colleen Riggle

Apples

We are officially a full Apple family. MacBook Pro(s), iPads, iPhones, Apple TV and recently a 27 inch iMac was added to the family of glowing screens. We are the family that needs to have a special router to accommodate all the technology running in our home.  And I’m pretty sure my husband would buy our youngest (17 months) some type of Apple device if she wouldn’t attempt to chew on it.

Although she’s too young for a Macbook Pro, she loves to use my iPhone.  However, I must admit I’m thrifty when it comes to apps. I really don’t like to pay for them, so I usually find something that is free in place of one that is .99 – yes I know that’s way less than a Starbucks but it’s besides the point.  Fisher Price has definitely won my vote.  They have over 20 children’s educational apps.  Everything from learning the alphabet, numbers, to singing Row, Row, Row Your Boat to even a small piano!  All for free! I’ve gone through and bought almost all of them.  They are in a special folder for just for Catherine.

And on the other end of the spectrum, my 18 yo son just bought a MacBook Pro.  He’s a big gamer and had been using a 5 year old Dell – it’s quite the difference now.  We had a little down time the other night and were all found sitting at our pub table with the glow of the screen on our faces.

Some families bond over sports, some food, and others television.  We definitely love food, and a good show during prime time, but we will definitely always have the bond of technology.

A family that Macs together, stays together.

Blogger Choice: A family that Macs together, stays together.