Tag Archives: Guides

How to send your Android device’s photos to Apple iPhoto with Dropbox

android-logoA friend of mine recently got his first smartphone, and it happens to be an Android phone. He asked me how he could get his photos and video off of the phone and into iPhoto on his Mac. I had no idea, so I told him to try to connect the phone to the Mac via USB and see if it shows up in iPhoto like a camera. Unfortunately, that would be too easy and did not work.

The Dropbox solution

After researching the problem on the Internet I determined that the easiest method would be to use Dropbox and its automatic photo upload feature.

Step 1: Install Dropbox on your Mac

Before getting started you need to have a Dropbox account, if you don’t have one already. An account is free and comes with 2GB of storage (with ways to get more free storage through referrals and more). You then need to download and install Dropbox onto your Mac. The application will download automatically when you set up an account. You will need you login information when you install Dropbox on the computer.

Step 2: Install Dropbox on your Android phone and enable automatic photo uploads

Once the account is set up and Dropbox is installed on your Mac, you will want to install the Dropbox app from Google Play on your phone. Once installed on your phone, open the app and follow the steps to set it up using your account information. At one point in the setup you will be given the option to turn on the ability to automatically upload photos from your phone to Dropbox. You want to do this. There will also be an option to only enable this feature over WiFi. If you are on a limited data plan you will want to use the WiFi only option. Uploading photos uses data and you do not want to burn up your plan sending photos to Dropbox. Let the phone do this when you are connected to WiFi instead. If your plan is unlimited the choice is up to you, since you don’t have to worry about a data limit.

Once you complete this step, the phone will begin uploading the images already on your phone to your Dropbox account to a folder called Camera Uploads. It will also automatically upload any photo and video you take to Dropbox from this point forward.

Now you want to go back to your Mac and open your Dropbox folder . The easiest way to do this is to go to the Dropbox icon in your menu bar and click “Dropbox Folder.” The folder will open and you should notice a folder called Camera Uploads. This is the same folder that the phone is not loading your photos and videos into. If you open it you should see all of you content appearing.

dropbox

Step 3: Add your photos to iPhoto

Now you have to get those photos into iPhoto. To do this make sure you are in the Dropbox folder. Drag and drop the Camera Uploads folder to iPhoto in your dock. All of the content in the folder will be placed into an event in iPhoto and you are free to edit and share from iPhoto.

Step 4: Manage your limited Dropbox space

There is one final and important step. Your Dropbox account is not unlimited storage. You want to empty the Camera Uploads folder each time you import into iPhoto and free up that space. To do this open your Camera Uploads folder and choose “Select All” from the Edit menu. Next choose “Move to Trash” from the File menu. At some point you will want to empty the trash, but that is not required right now. This will empty the folder and free up that space. Keep in mind that this only deletes the photos from your Dropbox account. It does not delete them off the phone.

If you followed these steps correctly you are set and able to take photos and video off your Android phone and import them into iPhoto thanks to some help from Dropbox.

How to make a DIY smartphone stand for under $1

7816754688_487dd75457_hSmartphone stands are a great way to watch content on your phone without having to hold the phone upright, and there are a ton of different DIY methods for making them. A lot of them are made so that they’ll hold your phone horizontally, but some users want stands that prop up their phones vertically, similar to an iPhone dock from Apple.

If you want to make something similar, I’ve discovered an insanely-cheap method for building a smartphone stand that will prop up your phone vertically. It’s cheap, but it does take a little bit of assembly. Here’s how to do it.

Supplies You’ll Need

  • MiniDV tape case or a regular cassette tape case
  • A handful of pennies
  • Hot glue gun w/ glue sticks
  • Rubber tape
  • Dremel power tool

How to Make It

Technically, just the tape case will do the trick if you want a barebones solution; just open up the case all way and stick your phone in the slot. A MiniDV tape case is the perfect size for most phones, but a regular cassette tape case will do the trick.

However, if you want to take the stand to the next level, you can add a few things to make it perfect:

1. Take your pennies and hot glue gun and glue the pennies inside the case. This adds weight to the stand so that it doesn’t slide around. Pennies aren’t the best option, since they’re currency and all, so if you have any other tiny objects that weigh a lot, you can use those instead.

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2. Next, use the rubber tape to line the stand so that the phone won’t slip around when it’s in the stand. Since my iPhone doesn’t fit perfectly in the slot, I cut out small strips of the rubber tape and glued them into the slot to add a little padding so that my phone would fit perfectly.

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3. Lastly, take your Dremel power tool and use a small drill bit to carve out a small hole on the bottom of the tape case slot so that the phone’s sound can exit through the speaker without it being blocked by the stand.

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Conclusion

It’s a pretty janky-looking smartphone stand, but it’s dirt cheap and it does its job. Plus, it still folds up just like cassette tape does so that you can toss it in your bag and take it with you on the go.

Of course, buying a pre-made smartphone stand may be a good investment if you plan on using it all the time. Good smartphone stands can cost as much as $30, but that’s a small price to pay for something that you’ll use every day into the future.

Build it on a budget: A $500 workhorse PC

You may remember well over a year ago when we first introduced a budget build guide for DIY PC builders, and it’s long overdue for a refresh. Computer components have come a long way since then, and Intel recently launched their new 4th-generation Core Haswell chips.

As I mentioned in last year’s guide, not everyone needs an end-all tricked out custom PC with water cooling and all the bells and whistles. You most likely just want a computer that can get work done. This budget system will be great for most everyday tasks, as well as more slightly intensive activities like some gaming, streaming movies and music, and editing photos and home movies.

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This budget build assumes that you already have a mouse, keyboard, and a monitor lying around to use with your new system, and that you’ll only need the basic components to get up and running. I’ll also only be listing off my recommended parts, so if you don’t know how to build a computer but want to learn, Lifehacker has a great guide that’s perfect for the computer-building novice. With that said, let’s get to it.

Case and PSU

Thermaltake V3 Black Edition ATX Mid-Tower with 430W Power Supply – $60

We decided to go a bit more expensive with the case and power supply bundle this time around, and we think the upgrade is worth it. The Thermaltake case is way better looking than the Rosewell that we chose last time, and the 430W power supply should be more than enough to handle anything with this machine.

Motherboard

MSI B85M-P33 Motherboard – $65

It’s a low-cost motherboard, but it has all the bell and whistles that you’d need; SATA III, USB 3.0, six total USB ports, and both DVI and VGA connectors. Plus, MSI is a good brand that we trust.

Intel_i3_SB_2011Processor

Intel Core i3-4130 3.4GHz Dual-Core Processor – $130

This is Intel’s latest 4th-generation Haswell chip, and with 3.4GHz of dual-coreness, it’ll be speedy enough to breeze through most tasks you throw at it. The 4130 is one of Intel’s slowest Haswell chips, so it certainly won’t be as fast as other options, but for a budget build, this will be pretty solid.

Graphics

Intel HD Graphics 4400

We didn’t include a dedicated graphics card, mostly because we’re trying to keep this build around $500, but the 4400 integrated graphics that come with the Core i3 CPU are actually pretty solid. They won’t be able to play any of the more graphic-intensive AAA titles, but HD video playback will be flawless and casual gamers will still be able to enjoy their selection of games.

RAM

G.Skill Ripjaws Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3 1600 – $72

While we chose 4GB as the sweet spot with the last time we picked out a budget build, we feel that 8GB is now the new norm. Any more than that would be mostly unnecessary unless you plan on rendering a lot of HD video and such.

Hard Drive

Western Digital WD Blue 1TB SATA III Hard Drive – $75

WDC-Caviar-BlueHard drive prices have gone down tremendously since our last budget build, so we decided to go with a 1TB drive this time around. We feel that this is an ample amount of storage for those who have a lot of photos, music, movies, etc., but it’s also not too much storage that you wouldn’t know what to do with it.

Of course, you can never really have too much storage, so feel free to bump it up to 2TB if need be. You can usually find some pretty good deals on high-capacity hard drives.

Optical Drive

Asus 24x DVD Burner – $20

This one’s pretty simple and easy; find a 24x DVD burner and buy it. They’re stupidly cheap and there’s no reason not to get one.

Operating System

Windows 7 Home Premium – $100

Yeah, we know that Windows 8 has been out for almost a year, but we’re still sticklers for Windows 7. However, if you really want Windows 8, it’s the same price as its predecessor. You can also get a copy of Linux for free, allowing to spend that saved $100 on upgrading other components.

Total Cost: $522

That final price doesn’t account for shipping, so you’ll want to make sure you set aside some cash for the guys at UPS or FedEx, but if you can find the parts at an online store with free shipping, then all the more power to you.

Obviously, don’t take my word for everything I suggested here. I know everyone has their own opinions on components. If you have any questions about your own budget build, you can leave a comment below or you can visit the many online resources available to you. Tom’s Hardware Forums is just one place that can provide you with a lot helpful feedback.

Image Credit: kodomut

Thinking about getting a standing desk? Here are some tips

You may have heard of a new trend called standing desks. They’re certainly not new by any means – Winston Churchhill used a standing desk, and so did Leonardo da Vinci and Ernest Hemmingway – but they’ve been gaining in popularity recently. It’s becoming more well known that sitting down all day is bad for your health. So bad, in fact, that exercise can’t even negate the effects of sitting all day.

standing-desk

With that said, I probably scared you enough that you’re wanting to give standing desks a try, but where do you start? First off, it’s critical to point out that a proper, professionally-built standing desk can cost well over $1,000, with the cheapest models costing at least $500, so if you’re wanting to get one without spending a lot of money, prepare for the DIY method. Plus, you don’t want to go out right away and spend $1,000 on a standing desk when you’re just wanting to give it a try.

Before you begin

The most important things to remember when trying out standing desks is to ease into it and don’t spend a lot of money. In fact, find a countertop or other standing desk-height surface that you can essentially “practice” on to get a feel for what standing while working feels like. You won’t be spending any money at all, but you’ll still get to see what it’s like — sort of like test-driving a car that you might want to buy.

Once you’ve officially decided that you’re all-in with a standing desk, it’s time to find one to build (that is, if you don’t want to spend a lot of money). Personally, I swear by the sawhorses and door desk, which essentially is just two sawhorses with a door laid across them to make a desk. From there, you can sand down the door, stain, and seal it to make it look nice.

However, there are literally tons of other ways to make a standing desk, and you’ll no doubt find a DIY project that fits your budget and your style. You can make a desk out of various Ikea parts, use metal piping with a piece of butcher block, or just put some paper reams under the legs of a regular desk to make it standing height.

Ergonomics are key

drafting-stoolBefore you measure and cut, though, it’s important to build your standing desk so that it’s ergonomic to your body. Most importantly, the height of your standing desk should be elbow height, so that when you type on your keyboard, your arms bend at a 90-degree angle. Your monitor should also be propped up on a second shelf so that it’s at eye level.

However, before you go standing all day long, it’s important to note that standing all day is just as bad as sitting all day (just with different effects). Standing all day can cause things like varicose veins, so it’s all about moderation; stand for a while and then sit for a little bit. I usually like to stand for a couple of hours and then sit for a half hour or so, and then repeat that until the work day is over. This is where something like a drafting stool can come in handy, but if you get one of those fancy electric standing desks, you can adjust the height easily whenever you want.

It’s all about movement

What if you work in an office that doesn’t allow standing desks? That sounds like a silly question, but many companies like their office buildings to be uniform and everything consistent, including the desks; a standing desk would pop out like a sore thumb in an office building. So, if you can’t get a standing desk, don’t sweat it. One of the main reasons for a standing desk is movement, so if you don’t have a standing desk, just make sure you get up out of your chair every half hour or so and walk around for a few minutes. Standing desks simply get you moving, and you’re a lot more likely to start walking around if you’re already standing up.

How to build a custom desktop computer, Part 2: The Processor

This article is part of a series on building your own custom desktop PC.

Building your own desktop PC is viewed by many as a difficult task. There are many things you need to consider before you set out to build your own machine, so in order to help you and simplify the task, I will try to cover each major component. Today we start with choosing the best processor for a desktop PC.

The two big companies that are fighting in this market are AMD and Intel. Both companies have certain advantages to their respective products and this is where your first choice already starts out. In order to eliminate or reduce any arguments between Intel and AMD processor enthusiasts, I will simply talk about your decision to buy any of the above mentioned processor brands.

Now the first thing you should do is think about the budget you have available for your system. If you are running on a small budget, chances are than an AMD processor will go better with your system. The company’s Piledriver microarchitecture processors have come out just recently and we can see some rather impressive specifications for those models. Not only that, but the top of the line model is also quite cheap at around $195.

The AMD FX8350 processor is an 8-core monster
The AMD FX8350 processor is an 8-core monster

Image via AMD.com

This new series from AMD provides you with four new processors to choose from, the AMD FX-4300, FX-6300, FX-8320 and the FX-8350. The first number will let you know how many cores you are working with and you can get them for $122, $132, $169 or $195 respectively. Note that all of these processors do come with unlocked multipliers, which will allow you to overclock them, but we will cover that further on in another article covering the best cooling for desktop computers.

By choosing any of those processors or any processors from the previous series, the one’s based on the Bulldozer microarchitecture, you are going to already set yourself up for an AM3+ based motherboard. These have rather low price tags as well, so building a powerful PC can be quite cheap and you can get quite a lot of power out of it. The big downside is that Windows 7 still has problems with using the 8-core processors from AMD, which brings major downsides in terms of performance, making these somewhat lacking compared to similarly priced Intel models.

In case your budget allows you to go a bit higher, then Intel’s new Ivy Bridge lineup is the one to opt for. The differences in performance when compared to their Sandy Bridge series are small, the biggest one being the TDP of the processor. The TDP refers to the Thermal Design Power and measures the maximum amount of heat a cooling system needs to dissipate. The new Ivy Bridge has a TDP of 77 Watts, making it more energy-efficient and cooler than its AMD FX or Intel Sandy Bridge counterparts.

The company has a wide array of processors in this lineup released this year and you can safely mount any of these processors even on motherboards that used Sandy Bridge processors. The processor socket for these models is Intel’s LGA 1155. Prices are respectable here as well, but we will discuss choosing the best motherboard for your desktop PC later.

Choosing the right CPU

In order to choose the right CPU for you, you should first think about what you will be using it for.

In order to choose the right CPU for you, you should first think about what you will be using it for. If you plan to do a bit of work, some multimedia and maybe the occasional casual game, then a dual-core processor from Intel or an entry-level quad-core from AMD should easily handle the job. These can generally be purchased for around $100, sometimes more, sometimes less, but this depends on retailer just as much as it does on the product itself.

If you want to throw some more work at your machine or if you want to get some gaming on as well, going for a quad-core or six-core processor is preferred. Again, if you have the money, I do recommend Intel’s i5 processor series, which packs quite a lot of punch. Alternatively, with a lower budget, a six-core from AMD should do the trick just as well.

Now the top of the line should be reserved for those systems that will have to work for their owners. We are talking about users that might want to go for some video editing, graphical editing, hardcore gaming, overclocking, video streaming or recording. All these tasks require powerful CPUs, so investing into a high-end model is required if not mandatory. As an example, using Xsplit to record Starcraft 2 at 20 frames per second, quality set to 8 with *.mp4 file output, sound and a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels, will chew about 35-45 percent of an Intel Core i5 2400 quad-core processor.

Of course these are very rough measurements and many things factor in, but if a simple recording in full HD at 20 fps requires that much power, then add running the game in the background, maybe an open website, an open IM application and things start piling up quickly.

Intel Core i7 Extreme Series
Intel’s Extreme Series processors is a force to be reckoned

Image via Intel.com

Choosing the best desktop processor for the job is simply knowing what its main functions will be. If you want a simple office/multimedia system, a good old dual-core or quad-core processor will easily tackle those. Those processors also use up less power, emit less heat and thus require smaller coolers. When the needs go up, so should the processor speed.

One thing that you should keep in mind is that core count is not everything. A good example is AMD’s eight-core processor lineup which has a hard time putting down all that power because of the way Windows 7 allocates tasks to it. Intel on the other hand uses Hyper Threading, which in a sense doubles the processor core count, by creating “virtual” cores. A processor with HT (the Intel i7 2600K or the Intel i7 3770K for example) will run on 4 physical cores and 8 threads. This will allow it to outperform quad-core processors without HT by quite a large margin.

Conclusion

As a quick round-up:

  • Think of what your budget is; based on how much money you will spend, limit your range and choose either processors from AMD or Intel
  • The FX-Series from AMD and the K-Series from Intel (i5-2500K, i7-2600K, i5-3570K, etc) have unlocked multipliers, allowing the user to overclock them; if you do not want to do that, do not pay the extra money
  • Sheer core number is not everything; find out if the applications you will use most of the time (games are included here as well) can take advantage of the added cores
  • Keep cooling in mind as well since more powerful processors need more powerful coolers!

I hope that this little article helped you in at least narrowing your search for the best desktop PC processor down. Always buy with your needs in mind and you will not be disappointed. You might even end up saving some money and if you need detailed specs for any processors or comparisons, go to CPU World and search for your processor there. Next up, choosing a motherboard for your desktop PC!

The hidden method for deleting apps on your iOS device

Have you ever been on your iOS device (iPod Touch, iPhone, iPad, or iPad mini) and gotten a message that you do not have enough storage left for the app you want to download? What do you do? Well, that message is your indicator to start deleting apps, and preferably the big ones that take up a lot of space on the device. (I also suggest purging any apps you have not used in the past thirty days. You can always reinstall them, but you will find you won’t miss 99% of them.)

There are two ways to go about deleting your apps. You can use the “regular” way of long-pressing an app icon until they all start to jiggle with the “x” on the corner. Touch the x to delete the app. The problem with this method is that you have no idea how much space these apps are taking up and how much space you are freeing on your device. You could delete ten apps but only free up 5 MB. That won’t be much help.

The better, hidden way

The second method is the hidden method for deleting apps. If you open the Settings app and choose “General” followed by “Usage” you will be presented with a screen that has a section called “Storage” at the top. In that section you will see a list of apps on your device and how much space they are using. This list is only a partial list of your apps. Scroll down and tap “Show all Apps” to see the complete list.

Once you are on this list, tapping an app will give you a screen where you can delete the app. As you delete apps you can track your free space at the top of the list.

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You might also notice apps in the list that you have already deleted. This is data left behind from those apps and I have found it to be several hundred megabytes in some cases. You definitely want to get that space back.

Another benefit of deleting apps this way (besides seeing how much storage they are using) is that it is a lot easier and faster to find apps you want to delete. There is no hunting through pages and folders for apps. They are all right there in one clean list.

Of course if deleting apps doesn’t give you the free space you need it is time to delete videos and music. However, that is another article.

ISPs vs. the cloud: Which email provider should you use?

email_featThese days, the average internet user has two options for email service: an address through his or her internet service provider (ISP) or use one of the numerous email services available on the internet (Gmail, Yahoo, iCloud, etc.). Which one should you chose? Well, there a benefits and negatives to both, and that is what this article is about.

Let’s start with reliability and service. I have used both types of email accounts, and reliability is a toss up. Companies are inevitably going to have technical issues and email will go down at some point.

What is more important is the service you get to restore your email. With an ISP account you should have access to tech support and through this support you should be able to determine if the problem is on your end or the provider’s end. If it is on your end the support tech should help resolve your issue – that is what you a paying for, after all.

However, if you are using email through a free service like Gmail, you are pretty much on your own for figuring out your problem. This is when you search the forums or call a knowledgeable friend or relative. Most of these free services do not have support. Apple’s iCloud does have support, however it is not immediate. There are email services you can pay for, if you wish, and that should give you similar, if not better, support than your ISP. If you are paying for your email provider and not getting support it might be time to move on.

The biggest reason, in my opinion, to go with an internet email service over your ISP is stability. People change internet providers all of the time. If you are using an email address from your provider, that address goes away when you cancel service. This means emailing all of your family and friends with your new address, changing login and contact information on sites that use that account, and losing any emails in that account that your do not have saved on your computer. If you use a service like Gmail or Yahoo and you change your ISP your email address does not change. It stays right where it is with your emails in tack.

Of course, if you are technically able to, you can set up your own personal email server. Then you are responsible for the reliability and you are your own tech support.

So what should you choose? That is really up to you, and the information in this guide should help you make a better decision. Just be aware that there are options out there and you can always change.

Top 5 Free Antivirus Software for Windows

Antivirus software provides essential protection for your PC from virus, trojan, spyware, worm, adware, root kit and key logger infections. One of these nasty infections could expose key personal information or stop your computer from working. As powerful as the web is, it is also a very dangerous place. However, installing antivirus software does not mean you have to break the bank. Some of the best antivirus software are free and have what it takes to keep your PC safe.

If you’re tired of expensive antivirus packages that slow your PC down then these free antivirus programs are the way to go.

AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition

AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition  is an excellent choice, if not the best for a free antivirus. AVG Anti-Virus Free is a full-fledged antivirus and anti-spyware tool, includes an email scanner, link scanner, scheduled scanning options, automatic updates, and more. AVG has been certified to remove 100% of in-the-wild viruses

Cons: Unfortunately AVG free has grown considerably in size, has very slow scan speeds and advertisements (but they can be disabled). AVG Free Edition does not provide adware/spyware removal (though it is available in the paid version of the product).

Avast! Free

Avast! Free Antivirus is improving its detection rates over the past few years “heuristics engine” and now ranks with the some of the best. Avast has the following features: full real-time capabilities including web, e-mail, IM, P2P and network shields, boot-time scanning, and a behavioral blocker. This program is also very light on resources.AVAST has been making this antivirus product since 1988 and is often cited as the most installed antivirus product. It also has a large user support community in case you need any help.

Cons: Average scores in PCMag’s malware blocking test.

Microsoft Security Essentials

Microsoft Security Essentials is a another fan favorite with great detection rates, particularly for rootkits. Microsoft Security Essentials has very few false positives, is light on resources and is good at removal of existing malware. MSE is a great choice for average users because of the minimal user interaction required. It is directly from Microsoft and it’s very easy to see if your computer is secure from threats: if the icon next to your clock is green, you’re in good; if it’s red, something is wrong.

Cons: The main downsides are the slow scan speeds and the lengthy amount of time it takes to quarantine malware.

Panda Cloud Antivirus

Panda Cloud Antivirus  protects you from several kinds of malware threats – viruses, worms, Trojans, adware, and more – just like all the other free antivirus programs in this list. Along with Microsoft Security Essentials, it is an excellent choice for average users with a simple interface and completely automated features with automatic updating and removal of malware. What makes Panda Cloud Antivirus one of the top free antivirus programs is that it does its job from “the cloud” meaning the  antivirus work that typically slows down a computer is done on computers elsewhere on the Internet, freeing up your computer to work like nothing is happening.

Cons: As many free program installs Panda Cloud Antivirus tries to install a toolbar and set Yahoo! as your browser’s home page during the installation process so uncheck the boxes before continuing if you don’t want them.

Avira AntiVir Personal Edition

Avira AntiVir Personal Edition protects you from viruses, Trojans, worms, spyware, adware, and various other kinds of malware, making it a fully functional anti-malware tool. AntiVir does not include web or e-mail scanning capabilities; this is only available in the paid version.

On installation, AntiVir schedules a daily full scan. You can, of course, change the schedule or add your own scheduled events. By default its configuration page shows only basic settings.

Cons: One con about Avira AntiVir Personal was the configuration you have to complete after installation which might be difficult if you’re a computer novice.

Conclusion

A lot of time was spent comparing free antivirus programs and there are many more that are not on this list. Each individual may have a different need or use for antivirus software.

Unfortunately no package excelled in every area. Some were lightweight but less accurate, others were good at detecting malware but had a significant performance on your system.Picking a winner inevitably involves some compromises and may vary depending on your requirements.

After weighing the results the program that gets my first place vote is : AVG Free 2012. It has plenty of features and is lightweight making AVG Free 2012 a good all-round winner of the best free antivirus award.

How to update your Apple iOS device to iOS 6

Recently, Apple released iOS 6 for iPods, iPads, and iPhones. Apple has stated that it comes packed with over two hundred new features. So how do you get this update onto your device? It is actually very easy to do.

First you need to determine if your device is compatible with the update. iOS 6 is compatible with:

  • Phone 3GS and newer
  • 2nd generation iPad and newer
  • 4th generation iPod Touch and newer

You also must have a wireless internet connection and/or be connected to iTunes on your computer to install the update.

How to update via wireless

First, make sure you are plugged into a power source. Next, open the Settings app on your device. The app might actually have a red one on the icon indicating an update is available. Tap “General” and then tap “Software Update.”

You should see a screen telling you there is an update available with a button to install the update. Tap that update button and wait. The update will download and install. It will probably take a while, so you should probably go run an errand and come back in about an hour.

Once the update is finished the device will reboot and you will go through a mini set up to get up and running in iOS 6. Make sure you have your iCloud information available, if you use iCloud (you can also skip these steps).

How to update via iTunes

Start by connecting your device to the computer (which needs an internet connection). If you aren’t prompted to install an update you can manually initiate it. Click you device in the Library and go to the Info tab for the device. There will be a “Check for Updates” button on this screen. Click that and if your device is compatible you will be told an update is available.

Go through the steps and, just like above, this will take about an hour (your time may vary depending on internet connection speeds). Once finished, the device will reboot and you will go through the same procedure mentioned above.

Conclusion

So should you update? That is up to you. If you have an older device you might want to search the internet for reports on how your device works after the update. Some older devices might have issues – even though Apple has said it is compatible. Also, depending on your device, you won’t get all of the new features.

Personally, I update my devices. I like having the latest and greatest (or not so greatest) new features. You, on the other hand, may be happy with the way your device works and it does everything you want it to do. Either way, now you know how to get your device up to date with iOS 6.

How to install a SSD in a MacBook Pro

Upgrading your computer with a solid-state hard drive is probably one of the most beneficial upgrades you could make. Boot-up times decrease tremendously and programs launch almost instantly. I finally made the plunge to an SSD recently and haven’t looked back.

However, many of the how-to guides that I needed in order to properly install my SSD turned out to be pretty vague, which left me in a rut halfway through the installation. So, I’ve decided to write a proper how-to on installing an SSD in a MacBook Pro.

Note: This method can be easily translatable to any other laptop or computer, so if you don’t have a MacBook Pro, you can still follow along with your own laptop and successfully install your SSD.

Materials

Disassembling your laptop

First thing’s first: Completely turn off your laptop and make sure it’s unplugged from its power source. Lay down your small towel on your desk, table or any other flat surface and put your laptop on top of it with the bottom side up. The towel will prevent the laptop from getting scratched up while its laying on the hard surface.

Next, remove the screws from the bottom plate. These are the ten screws that are placed on the outer edge (pictured below). The screws are very tiny and can be lost easily, so put them in a small bowl — just make sure you know where they all go (three of the screws are longer, and they go in the top three holes to the right. Other than, it doesn’t matter where the rest of the screws go since they’re all the same).

After you remove all the screws, carefully lift up the bottom plate to reveal the innards of your MacBook Pro — it should pop off pretty easily.

The hard drive is located in the bottom-left corner. There will be a plastic tab that you can pull on to get the hard drive to pop out, but before you do that, you have to remove a small black plastic retaining bar that holds the hard drive in place. It’s located directly north of the hard drive and is held down by only a pair of screws (pictured below).

Remove the bar and pull on the plastic tab to pop out the hard drive. Make sure not to get too greedy, since the hard drive is still attached to the laptop via the SATA cable. In this case, the SATA cable is an extremely thin ribbon cable, so be extra careful here when unplugging it.

A view of the thin ribbon cable. Be extremely careful here!

Once the hard drive is completely out, unscrew the four torx screws on the sides of the hard drive using your T6 screwdriver (below). You’ll need these screws for your SSD, as they’re essential to holding the drive in place while it sits inside your laptop.

Go ahead and put the four screws on your SSD. All there is to do now is to plug in the SATA ribbon cable to your SSD, mount it inside, put the retaining bar back on, reattach the bottom plate with the screws, and the hardware portion is all done!

The last thing to do is insert your OS X install disc (or plug in your OS X boot USB drive), hold down the alt/option key during the boot process, and then install OS X like you would with any other drive.

Congrats! You’re all done and you should now be experiencing blazing fast speeds.