Tech Tails 321

Another summer week has flown by and we have seen hot temperatures, high humidity, and much rain over the past few days. Our pond behind the warehouse filled up again when the river overflowed its banks for the third or fourth time this year. The weather certainly has been swinging between the extremes around the world which reinforces theories about global warming and its affect on our atmosphere.

The Discovery Channel is launching a special on July 16 at 9:00 pm EST focusing on global warming. Tom Brokaw hosts a show looking for clues worldwide and presenting the facts surrounding the current theories on the status of this important topic. As global warming is brought to the forefront in the worldwide forum, political leaders can begin to take meaningful action to stabilize the situation for future generations.

Tune in on July 16!


Proper iPod Diagnosis By Art @

Anyone can be an iPod expert. It’s easy once you find the right information about how to isolate an iPod’s failure.

Don Mayer wrote an excellent piece on the five “R’s” of iPod restore this last week in Kibbles & Bytes #471. Taken mostly from Apple’s Knowledge Base on their support site, these instructions will aid you in figuring out if your iPod needs to be dispatched to Apple for repair/replacement.

If your iPod isn’t merrily playing music to your ear,s give these five steps a try:

NOTE: Please make sure that your iPod is fully charged and then toggle the Hold switch on and off before performing these steps.

1) Reset your iPod, iPod nano, iPod mini, or iPod shuffle.

2) Retry your iPod with a different USB or FireWire port on your computer. (The latest iPods can only be synced through USB.)

3) Restart your computer and make sure that you have the latest software updates installed.

4) Reinstall your iPod and iTunes software. You can download the latest versions of iPod Updater < download/> and iTunes <> from Apple’s website.

5) Restore your iPod using the latest iPod Updater. IMPORTANT: Please note that restoring an iPod will erase all songs and files on your iPod and restore it back to its original settings. Make a backup of any files on your iPod before restoring it. After restoring, you can transfer your music and files from your computer to your iPod.

Here’s a QuickTime movie that shows the 5 R’s in action:

If none of the R’s work and the iPod is still under Apple warranty or AppleCare Protection Plan, you can go to Apple’s iPod support site to schedule service for your iPod.

You will need your iPod’s serial number to get service. If you have trouble reading the tiny serial number on your iPod, don’t go running out to the drugstore for reading glasses. Just launch iTunes (iTunes 6 and later) and you will be able to find the serial number even if your iPod is not connected to your computer.

How to find your iPod serial number using iTunes 6:

1) Launch iTunes.

2) Open iTunes Preferences from under the iTunes menu item in the menu bar.

3) Select the “iPod” tab.

4) If your iPod is connected, click on the Version Number in the right corner of the iPod preference screen and it will display your serial number.

5) If your iPod is not connected, click on the “No iPod is Connected” message in the center of the screen and it will display the serial number of the LAST iPOD THAT WAS CONNECTED.

Check out our blog <> for more details.


Becoming an Apple Certified Desktop and Portable Technician By Scott @

I am happy to announce that I am now both an Apple Certified Desktop and Portable Technician. With the departure of Troy, it couldn’t have come at a better time.

Some of our readers have expressed interest in the process of becoming a certified Apple tech. The best place to investigate the available certifications is the following link:

Here you will find overviews of the different certifications, training locations, pricing, and overall requirements.

Apple has three basic categories of certifications. Server Administration and Help Desk, Hardware, and Pro Applications. The Server and Help Desk certifications and training prepare you for managing small to large networks and troubleshooting individual user issues. The Portables and Desktop hardware certifications enable you to work on under-warranty computers if employed by an Apple Authorized Service Provider and recognize the skills needed to do so. The Pro Applications Certifications certify in-depth knowledge of specific Apple software such as Logic or Final Cut Pro.

All you need to do to become certified is pass the required exams. Passing grades vary by exam, but on average require a grade of 70% or better. Most certifications require multiple exams, and most exams cost about $150. The catch here is that they require a very specific depth of knowledge.

For me to get my ACDT (Apple Certified Desktop Technician) and ACPT (Apple Certified Portables Technician) I had to pass a total of three exams. Both certifications required me to pass a Mac OS X exam and a specific hardware exam. While there are books and courses you can purchase, because I work for Small Dog, an Authorized Apple Service Provider, a variety of resources was available to me. Even with my extensive experience working with OS X and doing repairs with Troy and Jon, there was still a good bit to learn.

During the past couple of months I got into the habit of going to a local WiFi coffee shop almost every weekend morning to study the online materials. At the end of last month I set up the testing dates. Apple subcontracts a company called Prometric to do their certification testing. I set up my OS and Portables exams for Monday, June 5, and my Desktop exam for Monday, June 9, at the closest testing facility in Nashua, New Hampshire. Everything went well and here I am. In a way it was fitting that our first day without Troy was was the day I completed the requirements to be a fully certified Apple technician.

My personal goal – and I’m sure that of much of the tech-minded community as well – is to always keep learning. Things are quite busy here at Small Dog, but I’m still going to be making time to learn more. I hope to have my ACHDS (Apple Certified Help Desk Specialist) and ACTC (Apple Certified Technical Coordinator) by the end of the summer. Come fall, I’ll once again be juggling Small Dog full time while attending classes for my Computer Networking degree.


Macs at Work By Art

I have been drawn to the Mac@work section of during the past several weeks. There are many creative methods for using your Mac in the workplace, and with so many great applications written for the Mac OS, there’s really no mystery as to why.

The Small Business section of Mac@work focuses on Mac and PC compatibility and the streamlining of communications standards. It’s now so easy to share common applications, data, and files that there are virtually no roadblocks to operating one type of computer vs. another.

If you ever had a question about how to exchange files, share peripherals, or use a Mac on a PC network (or vice versa), check out the topics linked here:


Art’s Widget of the Week By Art @

This week’s Dashboard Widget is Optical Illusion of the Day. There is something mystical about optical illusions. Why do some work better than others? Why do some give me a headache? How do they think up all these visual conflicts?

Written by a random blogger guy, this widget displays a daily optical illusion from the Mighty Optical Illusions website.

Here is a link to this fun widget: opticalillusionoftheday.html

For those who just want to peek at the illusions all at once, here is a link to the corresponding website:



Here are the specials for this week, valid through July 4 or while on- hand supplies last. Be sure to use the wag URL to get this special pricing.


EZQuest Monsoon 300gb FireWire 400/USB 2.0 Drive – $152

To order:


Apple iPod 40gb Clickwheel with Dock, Griffin iTrip LCD (Dock connector) FM – $224!

To order:


PowerBook 15-inch G4/1.67GHz 512/80/Super/AP/BT (r), MS Office 2004 – $1479 PLUS $50 Rebate!

To order:


MacBook Pro 15-inch 2.0GHz 2GB RAM/100/SuperDrive (r) – $2029!

To order:


$50 Rebate: Microsoft Office 2004 for Mac Student and Teacher Edition

To order:


Miglia TVMicro USB TV Tuner and DVR with remote – $84

To order:


PowerBook 15-inch G4/1.67GHz 512/80/Super/AP/BT – $1345

To order:


Apple Pro Training Series: Aperture – $29!

To order:


That’s it for this week’s Tech Tails! Thank you for supporting Small Dog Electronics.

Art, Scott, and Ed


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