Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Apple TV®, More than a Hobby

The Apple TV® has been in my house since the day it released. It’s often talked about as nothing more than a hobby. Some speak of it as little more than iTunes for your TV, but I must say the Apple TV® is so much more. 

At my house, the Apple TV® is the center of my family’s entertainment universe. Our family movie night is brought to you by Apple TV®. Every Friday night, one of my kids chooses the movie (usually a Disney or Pixar classic) and our living room transforms into a private movie theater where it doesn’t matter how loud we laugh or if we need to pause the movie to take a restroom break. And if we aren’t watching a movie then we are having a family dance party listening our favorite songs in surround sound thanks to Home Sharing.

Our Apple TV® also serves as up a way to play games together. My family has become particular fond of the Sweetland apps:
        SweetLand — Family Board Game - Tipitap Inc. (like CandyLand) 

Thanks to Apple TV® we put the game on the TV and use our iPhone® or iPad® as the game board. All of this is accomplished via feature called AirPlay®. We can even view the photos and videos we take on our iPhones® when we get together with family or friends.  

I have not experienced the Apple TV® as just iTunes for my TV. My family and I have experienced as a way to connect, spend quality time together, and have fun as a family. We enjoy our Apple TV® everyday and in a lot ways. Don’t you think it’s time you started enjoying your own Apple TV®?

- Alan Oliver

Demystifying the Apple Store Part 1: The Sales Floor

Walking into any Apple Store can be a bit overwhelming, to say the least. However with 

these few tips and tricks in the coming series you'll look like a seasoned customer when it 

comes to navigating the waters of a crowded Apple Store. One thing that will always be in 

your favor: Apple tries really hard to make their stores seem as similar as possible. Whether 

it be the store on 5th Avenue in New York or the one in Birmingham, Alabama, there are 

sections to the store that once explained, are easily recognizable. 

When you first walk into the store you will be greeted by the sales floor. Here you'll see

products neatly lined up on particular tables of the classic light grained wood. Each product

is paired with an iPad set into an acrylic stand full of information to help the researching or

buying process easier. 

At some point in time you will be greeted by a sales specialist or even a manager to check

and see how you are doing. No, don't worry, they won't be pushy, instead Apple employees

across the board are just curious as to what you're look for and want to make sure you find

what you need. Don't be alarmed if they ask for your name - it's a courtesy thing, especially

in the busier stores. This way, should you want make a purchase they can make sure you are

paired with the right person. 

Two neat facts to know about Apple Retail stores. Each sales person carries around a mobile 

payment device. There's no need to walk towards the back or search for a cash register. You

probably won't find one. The second fact: you can actually purchase lower price accessories

from the Apple Store App. It has a location services setting that recognizes when you are in

an Apple Store and turns into your own phone into your own payment device! The funds are

deducted from the card attached to the iTunes account and once the transaction is

completed, out the door you go with your new accessory in hand! 

The "Why" behind Tech⌘Ease

Technology has become an essential part of everyday life. People use it to create harmony in their personal lives and fuel growth within their businesses. And, that’s ‘why’ we’re here! As part of Apple’s Consultant Network, Tech⌘Ease specializes in delivering consulting and professional services that fit your needs - spanning the spectrum from basic ‘how to’ questions to advanced solutions (on-site or remotely) as a way of getting the most from your technology investments. At Tech⌘Ease, we love Apple products and are passionate about sharing that knowledge with you to create a solution that fits your needs! Let us show you how to streamline what you ‘need’ to do and have fun doing what you ‘want’ to do.

- Cindy Morgus

Monday, February 2, 2015

iOS Safety and Security for Families

The holidays are over and if your house is like mine then there are young people who want to spend all of their free time playing with a new electronic device. My children are crazy about their iPads and regularly want to play their games or watch their shows and movies on them. I love that the iPad is a built in babysitter and way to occupy their time in the car but can it also have negative effects? Is there too much screen time or are they at risk from predators online? How can we be sure that our children are safe in digital world? 
The reality is that there is a potential for abuse with any online devices and it takes being involved as a parent. We need to exercise a willingness to oversee our children’s activities to ensure that they are not misusing these wonderful devices. Being involved with your kids and supervising their online activities is the first step. It should be an understood rule that as the person who provides the device, there is no privacy for minors and parents should always be able to monitor their activity.
That being said, all Apple® devices come with built in parental controls which allow us to limit access to many of the components of their devices. These controls, located in settings, allow us approve access to everything from the internet browser to the ability to install apps or make in  app purchases. They also allow us to set up monitors to see what activity the kids have had…from who they text and email to what web sites they visit. Restrictions and Parental Controls are powerful tools.
We can use tools like Family Sharing to share purchases and give adults the power to approve all content being used on the kids devices. That means if you child wants that popular game or that new song, you get to give permission before they can download it. Family Sharing also gives a great way for the family to know where each other is at all times by allowing us to share our location with each other. Family Sharing offers other great features and it’s all free with your Apple products and your iCloud account. 
There are many other safety a security tools available for Mac and iOS devices depending on your level of security needs. Apps like Covenant Eyes provide accountability for older kids and filtering and blocking for everyone. OpenDNS, one of the most popular choices, provides whole home filtering that is customizable to your individual family needs and does it at no cost to you. If you have questions about internet security or safety, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us and let us know.
- Jeff Mann

There's an App for that...

Apps define how we interact with our technology. There are more apps than anyone could ever use, so we want to help point you in the direction of some apps that will enhance your experience with your Apple® products.  
Let me introduce you to one that I can’t work on my Mac without, Memory Cleanfrom FIPLAB

This app is essential for anyone who plays games, uses iPhoto regularly, browses the web with Safari (or any other browser for that matter) a lot, or keep iTunes open all of the time. Those apps tend to be memory intensive and can slow the performance of your computer down some. Memory Clean helps you reclaim memory (without restarting your computer) which helps speed up your computer. I love it and I think you will as well. It’s super simple to use and stows away nicely in the menu bar when it finishes cleaning (less than 10 seconds). This is a must have app if you like your Mac running fast and smooth. 

Memory Clean has been downloaded over 3 million times and it has also been featured by Apple on the Mac App Store as 2014’s Invaluable Utility. 

-Alan Oliver

Note from our Founder, Jeff Mann

It’s a big year for us and there are many great things in the works to bring you an even better service experience. A major part of our DNA is focused on bringing you the best experience available outside of the Apple Store and make getting your Apple® IT needs resolved a pleasure. 

This week I am pleased to announce that we are migrating to a new web address. www.tech-ease.orgis now live and the new home of our website. You will still be able to reach us through the old address and the same is true of our old email addresses. The site itself will be getting updated with new photos, enhanced content and new sections coming very soon. We want to make our website easier to reach and remember while also preparing us for the future. Stay tuned and check back regularly for updates. 

Since we launched it last week, we have enjoyed getting feedback from you through feedback@tech-ease.org. The only way we know if we are doing well is if you let us know when we are and when we are not. If you have a thought, question or comment for us, please let us know. We will also use those questions to help direct future content of this publication so keep those comments coming in! We also want to invite you to share your experiences with others. Visit us at our Facebook page and like it and give us a review. You can also visit our consultants page at https://consultants.apple.com/us/504811 and give us a review there as well.

- Jeff