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Solid State Hard drive upgrade service

If you’re wondering what you can do to improve the performance of your Mac, there’s one thing above all others that will improve performance. Simply put, replace the internal mechanical hard drive (HD) with a Solid State Drive (SSD).

Even if you have buckets of free RAM available, a Mac without an SSD is being strangled. The speed with which it can read and write data to disk is the rate limiting step for almost everything you do. You could buy a tricked out 27″ iMac with bucket loads of RAM and a normal HD and find that for most real-world usage it’s slower than a creaky MacBook from 2008 that has a SSD. And the situation is worse if you’re trying to run OS X 10.10 or 10.11. I find Macs with normal HDs just agonisingly slow when running Yosemite or El Capitan.

If you’d like to rejuvenate your MacBook, MacBook Pro, Macmini, MacPro or iMac we provide a cost effective SSD upgrade service. We tell you what parts your need to buy, then once you have them we then fit and install it for you. With prices starting from £45 + cost of parts, it’s a damn sight cheaper than shelling out on a new Mac.

It’s particularly sensible if you have an 2010 or later MacBook Pro, Macmini or iMac, as typically those machines have just as fast processors as brand new Macs and have SATA-3 internal buses. Plus they have the added advantage that you can upgrade the RAM, unlike modern Macs.

In the last few weeks we’ve upgraded a number of 2010 and 2011 27″ iMacs to Samsung TB 850 EVO SSDs for customers in Bath, Bradford on Avon, Warminster and Market Lavington. The drives admittedly aren’t cheap, but the performance bump is astonishing.

Mac running so slowly its driving you nuts? Please don’t hesitate to call 01380 830224 and we’ll see if you have a machine that’s sensible to upgrade.

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Magento security patch SUPEE-7405 and PHP5.3 compatibility

In late January Magento released a pretty monolithic security patch that covered a wide range of issues, but specifically addressed a number of severe XSS ( Cross Site Scripting ) errors. As is often the cause with patching Magento, there are a few things to look out for, but one absolute howler if your website is still running on PHP5.3.

If you find that when you go to the Orders grid and view an Order the page is incomplete, it’s likely you’re running on PHP5.3 and you need to make a little tweak.

Open /app/code/core/Mage/Adminhtml/Helper/Sales.php, search for $links = [] and replace that with $links = array();

Someone at Magento decided to use the PHP5.4+ only syntax for declaring an array, thereby breaking backwards compatibility, all so they could save typing a few additional characters. A poor decision on their part…

Need help with eCommerce? Based in Somerset or Wiltshire and have a Magento or WooCommerce store that you need help with? Please give Sweet-Apple a call on 01380 830224 for efficient and sensibly priced support.

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Do Macs need anti-virus software? Yes, they really do…

Recently I was providing some On-site Mac support for a new client in Westbury. One of the first things I do with new clients is get a feel for how aware they are of security issues, and whether they use their computer for any personal or business finance. Most do. And pretty much without exception they don’t use any sort of anti-virus, or they’ve been duped into installing MacKeeper.

Whilst the number of threats specifically targeting Macs and OS X is ( at present ) massively smaller than on Windows, most people running Windows have up-to-date Anti-virus and/or Anti-Malware software installed, whereas most Macs don’t. So if you so happen to download or get sent some malicious code, if you’re using a Mac you’re disproportionately likely for the payload to get installed.

There’s also another factor to consider. In the event that you do suffer some financial loss, your bank may say you didn’t take sensible steps to protect yourself and be less likely to refund your losses.

I first encountered Mac viruses in the late 1990s with Autostart. Things went quiet for a while until DNS Changer popped up in mid 2011. Since finding DNS Changer on a number of Macs I’ve been asked to look at,  I’ve made it a matter of course to make sure my clients understand the potential security risks they face. It’s not being alarmist, it’s just being sensibly cautious.

Looking for Mac support? In or around Westbury, Warminster or Dilton Marsh? Please don’t hesitate to give Sweet-Apple a call on 01380 830224.

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Apple Mac support in Edington, Bratton and Erlestoke

It’s been a busy few months here at Sweet-Apple whilst we moved a few miles from Corsham to Edington, a lovely village on the edge of Salisbury plain. We’ll still be providing Apple and Mac support to our old customers over towards Bath, but we’re also happy to provide On-site technical support for people in Edington, Bratton and Erlestoke.

So if you’re baffled by a obstinate Mac, frustrated by your iPad or have a older machine that’s become so slow it’s driving you to distraction, please don’t hesitate to pick up the phone and give is a call on 01380 830224. We’d be happy to help.

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Mac OS X 10.10 Yosemite – 8 months on…

Apple released OS X 10.10 “Yosemite” to the great unwashed in October 2014 after a long extended “public beta”. During that beta testing phase I would install it on a test partition, have a play, shrug my shoulders and generally say “meh” quite a lot. I wasn’t keen on the new User interface and most of the new functionality was Mac to iOS integration, something I don’t really need or want particularly. In keeping with my long held view, I never ever install an OS upgrade until Apple have released at least 3 “point” releases to 10.x.3. So by rights I should be using 10.10.3 on my MacBook Pro now. I’m not. Why?

Simply put it doesn’t do anything I really need. And there have been enough reports of performance slowdowns, random problems with Mail and related unreliability issues that I’m stickling with Mavericks for now.

I’ll take a look at 10.11 “El Capitan” in a bit and might end up skipping straight to that. I’m hoping that the focus on reliability and performance as opposed to new features will make OS X 10.11 the new “Snow Leopard”. OS X 10.6* is still in my opinion the high water mark of the Mac OS. Stunningly reliable, quick on old hardware, a familiar and consistent user interface and runs legacy applications.

* So good I still run it in a virtual machine for some old programs. Still bitter that the lack of security updates forced me to upgrade from 10.6.8 to 10.9.5…

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