Update your Mac to macOS Sierra

macOS Sierra
Fromester, Apple macOS Sierra
not to be called MacOS 10.12

New Stuff
Apple have updated their desktop operating system to one better than the previous incarnation, but this time they’ve dropped the numbering system and given it a name instead — macOS Sierra.
Ho hum.

What do you need to know?
There’s not much difference, but you should update anyway, if you can.*

If your Mac is able to run macOS Sierra and your System Preferences are set to download available updates in the background, then you may find that the reason why your broadband has been so slow recently is because the 5Gb macOS Sierra Installer has already downloaded or is currently downloading to your Applications folder, if that’s the case then you might as well update your Mac and enjoy Apple’s 2016 offering. Of course, it goes without saying, make sure you perform a Time Machine backup first and/or call Fromester for some expert advice and Mac support.

The Detail

Siri the talking computer voice on the iPhone, comes to the Mac. So now you can talk to your laptop without using third party software; “Where is my iPhone?”, “Sorry, I can’t do that” comes the response, and still rejecting marriage proposals too. This is a change in our interaction with computers, try talking to your Mac and you’ll be surprised, just speak lingua franca or your telephone voice, it really does work.

Apple Pay is integrated into the operating system, now you can spend more money quicker than before.

Messages can send videos and larger emoji, if you need to.

Universal Clipboard is a good idea that seems to work – copy something on your Mac, paste it on your nearby iPhone / iPad. A good reason for not letting your kids use your iPad, get them their own one not signed into your personal iCloud account, maybe use a family account, just a thought.

The usual security updates apply, you could read the terms and conditions and try to understand them, but it won’t make much difference, no one’s bothered.

There are many other improvements that Apple have incorporated and as usual you should update if you can. In this case it seems to be a ‘minor’ rather than a sea-change update. Expect everything to work a little bit better, and to learn yet another new way of doing things.

* Some older devices will not work with the latest updates. Click here to check if your Mac can run macOS Sierra. Cynics will say this is done on purpose, techies may understand the reasons, are we bothered? If you believe that your early 2009 iMac does all that you need then don’t upgrade, otherwise … can you afford it now?

What Macs were made for …

One more for the MacBook Pro 2015 speakers …

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Filed under Apple, IT Support, sierra, Top Tips

El Capitan

Fromester’s guide to the latest operating system from Apple

MacOS X (10.11.x) El Capitan is the next release version of Apple’s operating system for desktop and laptop computers.

Release Date: 30th September 2015

El Capitan Review Apple NotesEl Capitan Review Split ViewEl Capitan Review Apple New cursorEl Capitan Review Apple MetalEl Capitan Review new spinning beachball

Another polish and a bit of work under the bonnet, this update is cosmetic with a speed boost for most Yosemite users and also includes some ‘snappier’ ways of working which you won’t know you need until you see someone else using them.
Here’s a quick summary of just some of the new features of El Capitan:

  • Split screen has been brought to new life with Apple’s Split View which easily divides your full screen between two apps and great though it is, I suspect most people will continue to struggle moving windows around with the mouse.
  • Notes is updated with the ability to include more than just text in your notes — you can now include Maps, pictures, videos and URLs.
    CAUTION: iOS9 wants to convert your existing Notes to the new format which will prevent synchronisation with your other devices until they have been upgraded to iOS9 and El Capitan.
    You can still upgrade to iOS9 and choose to upgrade Notes later on when you have upgraded your Mac to El Capitan.
  • Metal is a new graphics core technology which speeds up graphic performance. Gamers will be pleased and Photos should be quicker to load, in fact this should produce an overall performance boost when launching or switching between apps.
  • Photos gets an update with some tweaks to help you organise your photo library. Most of the existing user complaints about the Photos app are addressed with Extensions from third parties providing Photos with more and better editing tools.
  • Safari comes with some minor new features — such as, making it easy to find the window or tab that is playing audio so you can mute it, Airplay web video without mirroring your whole desktop, pinning your favourite web sites such as Facebook and Twitter to keep them up to date in the background (this will no doubt be another cause of the “why is my mac so slow” question).
  • Maps now includes Public Transport information, but only if you are in London.
  • Beachball — If the beachball image has been a regular visitor to your Mac then you’ll notice the newly designed beachball for El Capitan, something new to look at when you Mac goes slow.
  • Other improvements include updates to full-screen Mail, a gimmicky large cursor for when you lose track of where it is, an updated Disk Utility, some useful Spotlight enhancements and a new system font called San Francisco which is the same one used on the Apple Watch.

System Requirements — If your Mac runs Yosemite it will work with El Capitan

Overall, its another upgrade that will eventually need to be on your Mac in order to stay up to date. Apple seem to think we all live in a 4G world with a giant broadband connection where documents, music, video and photos can quickly be uploaded and downloaded at home, office and mobile. For UK users in rural areas you’ll need to avoid network bottlenecks by turning off some of the default settings.

Do you need to upgrade? If you want to use some of the new features and if you have an iPhone or iPad with iOS 9 then go ahead and update now.

If you’d like some help with upgrading to El Capitan on your Mac(s) and tailoring iCloud to suit your setup then please get in touch.

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Filed under Apple, iOS, MacOS X

Mac OS X Yosemite 10.10.3 Update

Apple Mac OS X Yosemite 10.10.3

STOP **** UK MAC User ALERT ****

iPhoto No More, the end of iPhoto by the usurper Photos


Apple’s latest update to Yosemite has arrived in the UK and to start the new tax year off Apple is demanding monies to store your precious photos, videos, slo-mo and timelapse as highest quality originals only in the [i]cloud. It really does make a lot of sense to do this and takes us even closer to the ultimate ‘dumb terminal’ that Larry Ellison predicted back in the 90s. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Network_Computer

A word of caution, upgrading to 10.10.3 will replace the iPhoto icon in your Mac’s dock with the new Photos icon. If you go ahead and open the new Photos app from the dock and follow the prompts you’ll see it looks just like your iPhone or iPad photos and not at all like it used to. Fear not, your iPhoto library and all your pictures are still on your computer and the iPhoto app is still there in the Applications folder. You can carry on using iPhoto and ignore the Photos app but will be stuck in the pre-2015 digital photo storage era, which is fine for now.

Apple Photos

If you have just a few photos, say 100 taken with your iPhone or iPad, then the upgrade will be fairly painless and take an hour or so. You’ll be able to store all your photos in the cloud and access them from all your Apple devices and anyone else’s for that matter, all for free. Free until you fill up your allocated storage. The new Photos app is a boosted iOS version, really easy to use and encourages you to enter more information about each photo by making it simple and quick to do so. 


If you have fifty gigabytes or more of photos stored in your existing iPhoto Library then you will be in for a long wait during the upgrade and will be expected to pay to store your entire photo library on Apple’s solar powered servers. Apple sold you the computer, now you have to pay to use it.


This is actually quite a good idea when you think about it; iCloud will automatically compress the pictures stored on your computer so that they take up less space on your internal hard drive, your fifty gigabyte iPhoto library becomes just five gigabytes or storage on your computer’s hard drive. If you need the uncompressed original photo then your computer automatically downloads it from iCloud (internet connection required).


That’s a really smart use of the internet; your personal digital picture library stored as originals safely delivered on demand, backed up, catalogued and indexed, tagged and geo-located, permanently secured and protected by an eight character password that only you know. The new Photos app is a similar concept to iTunes Match, where all your music is stored in the cloud and delivered on demand if you own the rights to listen to it. Photos on the other hand are exclusively owned by you, you don’t grant Apple the right to view or share your photos stored in iCloud. So your photos are private unless your eight character password for your AppleID is forgotten or discovered or the sun stops shining for a moment. If you can afford the monthly fees for extra iCloud storage and are lucky enough to have broadband speeds of at least 10Mbps download and 2 or 3Mbps upload, then welcome to your new digital photo library. Anything slower then stick with iPhoto, don’t use Photos but DO upgrade to 10.10.3 which fixes recent WiFi issues and has some other improvements.

Apple iPhoto

How to keep your photos after accidentally updating to MacOS X Yosemite 10.10.3

It’s OK, iPhoto and all your duplicates, memories and creativity are all still there on your internal or external drive and the iPhoto app will still work. It will just be a little more difficult to synchronise with your other devices. You can use both apps at the same time, choose the ones you want to keep on all your devices and only put those in the Photos app. Edits and additions you make in iPhoto will not appear in Photos, and vice versa.




Take some time to go through your photos and decide which ones could be stored elsewhere. Whilst you may want to keep your favourite pictures of your children, holiday, wedding, etc on all your devices you should take ownership and responsibly share (ie. store on iCloud and sync with your devices) those which you consider appropriate or wholly necessary to be available on all your devices. Garbage In, Garbage Out, as we used to say in computing in the eighties. Perhaps you could store just a few of your wedding photos in iCloud and keep the rest on a backup drive elsewhere.






Call Fromester if you need some help.

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Filed under Apple, cloud computing, iOS8, IT Support, Yosemite

Yosemite Yes


Yosemite is another step towards the perfect operating system for Mac users of all kinds.

MacOS X (10.10) Yosemite is the current release version of Apple’s operating system for desktop and laptop computers.


My MacBook Pro 2009 laptop looks quite different with Yosemite installed, it looks like a graphic designer has tweaked and sharpened pretty much everything about the appearance without the usual consideration to keen fans of the previous version. I bet it looks great on a retina display.


Once you’ve adjusted to the colours, shapes, fonts and new icons it all makes sense. I had a lot of time to adjust to the new startup screen, quite a few hours in fact. Installing Yosemite was scary even though I had backed up before I began. There was very little feedback during the process, the estimated time to install changed from 17 minutes to 18 minutes and back again for about 2 hours, and the cooling fans were blasting away all through the upgrade. The most worrying moment was midway through the 2 hour process when my iPhone alerted me that my laptop had been upgraded. My phone was telling me that my computer had been upgraded, we’ve come a long way eh?

new mail icon

After running Software Update once more to update my Apple apps to the latest versions, everything seems to be working fine, better even than Mavericks. Some things have moved around in the menus, there’s a new System Preference called “Extensions” which veteran Mac users will recall with some horror from System 7, fear not, these are different extensions. There’s lots of other new things as usual, take a look at Apple’s website to find out more.


Do you need to upgrade? If you want to use some the new features such as iCloud Drive and Family Sharing and if you have an iPhone or iPad with iOS 8 then go ahead and update now.


If you’d like some help with upgrading to Yosemite on your Mac(s) and configuring iCloud for you then please get in touch

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Filed under Apple, IT Support, Yosemite

Add a Signature to a PDF




Apple’s Preview app comes with a handy utility for creating and managing signatures which can be attached to any PDF.


Here’s how:

Edit Toolbar


Open the PDF and make sure the Edit Toolbar is visible

Screen Shot 2013-10-28 at 11.00.40


Click on Sig in the Edit Toolbar and click the + button to add a new signature. Sign your name in black ink on a white piece of paper and hold it up to your iSight camera, making sure you rest the signature on the blue line. Click Accept when ready and your done.


Now you can click anywhere on the PDF to add your signature. Move it around to place it in the correct position and then Save the document.


You can add other signatures if you need to commit fraud or your signature changes.

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Filed under Apple, IT Support, Preview, Top Tips

iPhone 5C and 5S

iphone 5c 5s reviewpicture from endgadget, copied from MacRumours

Apple announced some new phones, again.

The 5C is a plastic iPhone, as if there isn’t enough plastic in the world. Soon there will be Chinese billions of plastic iPhones cluttering up our island beaches. On the positive side at least that means billions of people will have access to a great mobile operating system, as long as they’ve got access to lots of $$. In the UK this phone will start at £469 as a SIM free phone, that’s not a cheap deal.

As for the Gold, Silver and Platinum (space grey!) 5S, have Apple looked at the world and decided we all value metal? Its not even real metal, its coated aluminium from Iceland or Australia and tin from the island beaches where the plastic iPhones will end up.

No, no, no, no, no. Wrong Apple.

Do you need to upgrade? Of course, you will always need to upgrade. Do you need to upgrade to iOS7 now (or on 20th September 2013)? No, but do it before Christmas.

The faster, quicker, zippy iPhone 5S includes a fingerprint scanner to unlock the phone. Can you use a fingerprint scanner in an emergency? Or when drunk? I don’t want to find out. But I do want a plastic iPhone, not one I have to buy a plastic case for ‘cos that is really taking the michael.

Brilliant news that iPhoto, iMovie, Pages, Numbers and Keynote are free now, but especially not after I persuaded a client to download the £10.99 iPhoto from the App Store recently.

Maybe its just because I’m a bit skint at the moment that this new phones announcement feels to me like Apple are trying to say “We serve the rich and the poor must pay”, the Jobs legacy or the Cook trumpet? I’m sure iOS7 will be brilliant and improve our digital lives and I will be downloading and installing it on my iPhone 5 as soon as I can.

I was rather hoping Apple would make a free phone, they have more money than 99% of us.

Meanwhile, in darkest Radstock, development of the courgette telephone is still underway. My hopes are pinned on vegetable telecommunications, I believe it’s the future.

1 Gourd

Image and representative technology © Thomas Pinkney c.1993

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Filed under Apple, iOS7, iPhone, iPhone 5, password, security

Offline Google Maps on your iPhone / iPad


The latest version of Google Maps for iOS (v2.0) has a new feature that allows you to download the mapping data to your device to use offline when you don’t have a WiFi connection or have a poor 3G signal.

Here’s how to get the data for offline use:

Whilst connected to WiFi or in a good 3G signal area open Google Maps and find the area you want to store offline, make sure you choose a large enough area to suit your needs. In the Search area type “OK Maps” and press Search, the map data will be pre-loaded and stored for later use.


Now you can use the data offline, zoom in and find your route. Ideal for a bicycle or walking route, use it like a paper map or road atlas, download the map data for your holiday destination and avoid roaming charges. When finished or no longer required you can clear the downloaded data from your device; choose Settings (in Google Maps), About, terms and privacy, Terms & privacy, Clear application data.

Not all areas are available for pre-loading, although I haven’t found anywhere that doesn’t work yet. Google Maps may say that the area you have chosen is too big to cache, just zoom in a bit more and try again.

Make sure you update to the latest version of Google Maps for iOS before trying this.

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Filed under Apple, Google, iOS6, iPhone, Maps, Offline, Top Tips