Work is progressing rapidly at our new flagship store up in South Burlington. I was there late last night and Matt Kiedaisch was working on installing the floor which is almost finished thanks to his (and many others!) hard work. We are putting the finishing touches on the painting and carpentry and next week the display fixtures arrive and inventory will start to be received at our new location. We are all very “pumped” about our new store and have a lot of great events planned for our grand opening. More information on that will be in this and next week’s issue of Kibbles & Bytes. There will be a lot of special values, vendor give-aways and vendor presentations. We have several of our friends from Apple coming for “Apple Day” that will include among other things, free Apple pie from the Mystic Pie company.
We’ve been doing training for the staff of our new Burlington store all week and will be repeating it again next week. Its great to see a whole new crew of Mac people learning the Small Dog way of doing business. We have been extremely fortunate to find many very qualified individuals with specific skills in the areas of design, publishing, photography, video and music. This team led by Hannah, Rob Berkey and Matt Kiedaisch is our insurance policy for success in this important new venture for Small Dog Electronics.
I’m making some improvements to my home and the project which was supposed to start in the summer got underway this week with the carpenters coming early in the morning and ripping off the entrance to my house. I’m doing a project that I’ve meant to do for years. I am connecting my house to the old Small Dog office. You see, many moons ago, after Small Dog Electronics out-grew my living room we dug up my strawberry patch and built an office and repair shop next to my house. We figured that would be all we needed for several years. By the time we had 12 people working there every day, it became clear that we’d have to do something else. We moved to our new facilities here in Waitsfield about 18 months after we built that office and I inherited a new building. Over the years it has become our living room with the TV and exercise equipment upstairs and my shop in the lower level. The drawback is that in the winter it is pretty cold when you have to go from that room across the deck to the house. So, we are connecting them and of course, the project has gotten more complex because I also wanted to create a place to put my motorcycles to sleep in the winter. My builder promises that they will be done before the snow flies but then again there are flurries in the forecast for Friday.
My debate on TV with the “every tax is a bad tax” guy went pretty well. I got over my nervousness pretty quick and we had a spirited discussion about what is in the common good and what is not. Today, I am on a panel on another TV station with my friend and former business partner and noted architect Dave Sellers. We are discussing energy policy and planning for the Mad River Valley. Should be some fun.
Easy Maintenance – Clear that Desktop! By Ed @ Smalldog.com
Did you know that having many folders, images, old installers, and other files on your OS X desktop can cramp your Mac’s performance, including start-up time? This is because Desktop images are treated like dynamic windows, rather than static images.
Ideally, the OS X Desktop should only be used for temporary, short term storage. It’s best to keep all your files stored in their proper locations, as much a possible – documents in the Documents folder, photos and images in iPhoto or the Pictures folder, etc.
You can keep a junk folder in your Home Directory, or Documents folder, where you simply stash everything. You can drag that junk folder into your Dock, where it is always easily accessible.
There are a number of freeware and shareware apps to help you keep a clean desktop – Tinker Tools and sterCleanDesk are examples.
No go clean your room!
How to Effectively Use Apple’s Knowledge Base By Art @ Smalldog.com
One resource I find myself turning to almost daily is Apple’s Knowledge Base website located from within Apple.com/Support.
Being able to quickly find help is important as we take tech support phone calls, answer email, and research questions for our customers.
I have found that knowing some keywords becomes handy in order to narrow down the vast amount of documents that one has to search through to find a matching topic.
Here is a link to the Apple Knowledge Base document dealing with keywords and their usage within the site;
There are plenty of tips for putting keywords to use, and making the visit to this section of the Apple support site effective and efficient.
We hope that you get as much out of the Apple Knowledge Base as we have.
Google & Apple Sitting In A Tree… By Ed @ Smalldog.com
Google and Apple are getting awfully cozy these days. A few years ago, Google’s support for Macs and OS X was rather paltry. As Mac users complained about this, Google added a few Apple-friendly features. For example, you could go to google.com/mac.html to constrain your search results to Mac sites – useful for finding arcane Mac info. However, many of Google’s services and software, like Google Earth simply didn’t work on a Mac. This despite the fact that a huge number of Google employees reportedly use Macs every day on the job.
In the past year, Google and Apple have moved much closer together. Dr. Eric Schmidt, Google’s influential CEO, joined Apple’s board of directors in August. He said “Apple is one of the companies in the world that I most admire.”
Google has expanded the google.com/mac.html site with six downloadable software apps – including the powerful Google Earth and SketchUp (we used SketchUp for the layout of our new retail store.)
Google’s free web-based productivity apps, Docs & Spreadsheets work well on a Mac, as long you’re using Firefox, Camino or Mozzilla (but not Safari.) Calendar, Gmail, and Google video all work well with Safari, but Google Talk and Page Creator do not (again, you need Firefox, Camino or Mozzilla.) At Small Dog, we use Google Analytics and Adwords extensively.
Now Google is keeping an official Mac-centric blog, which you can see here:
Google’s Mac blog reads: “We want to provide great products and services to the tens of millions of Mac users around the world, because it’s the right thing to do, and because Mac users inside and outside Google demand it. That’s why we’ve recruited some of the best, most passionate Mac people out there for a Mac Engineering team.”
There are also hints of much deeper future collaboration. iPhoto 6 appears to have code that could allow for geotagging via Google Maps. Google and Apple are rumored to be working on making Google Video available via iTV. That could be great for Apple and iTV users, especially now that Google has purchased YouTube.
Both Apple and Google operate as innovative, entrepreneurial companies. It’s great for Apple to have such a powerful ally. And it’s great for Google to have a creative, differently thinking partner.
Skwirm Review By Ed @ Smalldog.com
I often need to move large (sometimes over ten gigabyte) files from work to home and back again. I’ve made good use of my 60GB iPod for this task. However, increasingly I’ve had to hand these large files over to other people for transferring to their computers. I didn’t like giving away my iPod for half the day. In some cases I could burn a DVD, but this can become expensive and takes more time than drag- and-dropping files onto a flash drive, iPod, or other USB or firewire device. After searching around for a high-capacity, inexpensive device I discovered the LaCie Skwarim.
The Skwarim is a small, square digital storage device available in 30GB or 60GB, for $149 or $199 respectively. Inside the hot pink or cool blue rubberized metal case is a 1.8″ (thanks to eagle eyed Tech Tails readers) disk drive, powered by USB 2.0. The Skwarim comes with a USB extension cable, for those hard-to-reach USB ports. It’s easily handled every digital file I’ve thrown at it.
I’ve been using a 30GB Skwarim for a few months, and it’s been great. My iPod is now full of music and movies, not digital work files. I keep a folder on my desktop called “Export for Home” that I load up with the Skwarim every couple of days, bring home, and dump at my home computer. Despite the hot pink color, it’s well worth the $149.
See the Skwarims here:
LaCie Skwarim HD 1.8″ 30gb/4200RPM Pink – $149
LaCie Skwarim HD 1.8″ 60gb/4200RPM Blue – $199
MacBook Pro: Care, Use, and Safety Information
Today I noticed an interesting article in Apple’s Support Pages regarding the recommended care and handling of a MacBook Pro. Most of the tips are self-evident (“Keep your computer away from sources of liquids, such as drinks, sinks, bathtubs, shower stalls, and so on.”) However, there are also some useful tips for traveling with your MacBook Pro, as well as storing and cleaning it. The tips also apply to the MacBook, or even an iBook or PowerBook. See the article here:
Some people have complained that it’s difficult to keep their MacBook clean, cool, and protected. So, Small Dog assembled a bundle of products to help with this. The bundle includes:
– MacCase Sleeve – 13.3,” nicely padded and fitted (available in black or white)
– iKlear screen polish to keep that glossy screen looking good
– Marware Protection Pack, featuring a removable hand rest keyboard cover / screen cleaner
– Postworx Snapballs, to slightly elevate your MacBook for air circulation and cooling
The bundle is available in black or white, and costs $49.00. Buying everything as a bundle saves you $22.99. The bundle was created by popular demand. It’s so popular that now some it’s components are on backorder for up to two weeks. Despite this, we’ll offer the bundle until the end of December. See the bundles here:
Love My MacBook Bundle (white) – $49.00
Love My MacBook Bundle (black) – $49.00
Here are the specials for this week, valid through Friday, October 20 or while on-hand supplies last. Be sure to use the wag URL to get this special pricing.
Over 2500 New, Apple Refurbished, and Used iPods in Stock – Starting at $139
Love My MacBook Bundle (white) – $49.00
Love My MacBook Bundle (black) – $49.00
LaCie 250gb Extreme Triple Interface Firewire 800/400/USB – $149!
Olympus Stylus 750 Digital Camera 7.1 Megapixel (Black) + FREE 512 MB xD memory card – $399!
Logitech S530 Cordless Desktop Keyboard Mouse – $69.00!
Matias Laptop Armor Expandable Bag – $79!
Circus Ponies Notebook 2.0 – $39!
Netgear 8 port Gigabit 10/100/1000 Switch – $63.00!
New* 13″ White 1.83GHz MacBook w/Brenthaven Bag & Kensington Microsaver – $1189.00!
Thank you for reading another issue of Kibbles & Bytes! Next week Edward Shepard will be writing the intro – look out for its vs it’s!
You Kibbles & Bytes Team –
Don, Ed, and Art