12/4/07
1:05 pm

MacMost Now 6: Airport Virus Printer Memory

Gary Rosenzweig answers some viewer questions: Using Airport Extreme and Express, Mac viruses, inkjet printers, and upgrading memory.

Video Transcript (Click to Expand)
Hi this is Gary Rosenzweig with MacMost Now. Well, it's the holiday season. I went to the Apple Store the other day and they're all decorated for it. Another thing they are is crowded. Filled with people. And not only just customers too. There must have been 20, 25 Apple employees there helping people. I'd say they were the most staffed store outside of a big department store like Macy's. It was a mob scene. So if you're thinking of shopping the Apple store before Christmas I'd get there soon because it's probably just going to get worse. I want to take the time to answer some questions right now. I've been getting a ton of them at questions (-at-) macmost.com.
Joe wrote in, 'I've seen some of my Mac friends use Airport for various things around the house like music, for one. I've also heard that you can use these utilities for printers and hard drives and to wirelessly back up a time machine. Can you please help clarify what functions can be done with Airport products?' Well, here at MacMost we have an Airport Extreme Base Station and one of the great features of it that's not talked about too much is it has a USB port that you can hook up just about any USB hard drive to or printer. So we have a hard drive hooked up to it and it's like a networked hard drive. In the old days we used to have a whole computer just to hook up network drives to. Now you can do it with a base station. So we've got that and we can also hook up a hub and have various hard drives hooked up to it. And you can also hook printers up to it. So basically printer sharing and hard drive sharing just got really easy. Now, as for using it with music I think you'll need to use the Airport Express for that. I'll get to that in a second. But Time Machine, however, well it should work with it, you should be able to have a hard drive there and back up to it, but that functionality while rumored to have been in the beta for Leopard isn't in the final version of Leopard so it might come back soon.
Another question that Joe has is,'Would it be possible to use the Express as my wireless router and use the extreme to extend my network to other peripherals or does the Extreme base station need to serve as the main wireless router with all Express units being subservient to that?' Well, actually it doesn't have to but I'm pretty sure that's the way you want to do it. The Extreme base station is built for being the main base station so you probably want to have that as your main one. It does [????] which is faster than [???] which is what the Express does. But the Express can be subservient to it certainly and serve up your music and do other things, like have a printer. So if you're going to have both, probably you want to have the Extreme being your main base station. There's also a really good utility for it, the Airport utility, which allows you to configure all sorts of things with the Extreme and we use that quite a bit. So there we go.
More questions come from Anson. Anson has a mixed PC-Mac household. So his question is, 'Are Mac books really not able to get viruses, spyware and all that stuff?' Well, Anson, technically, it's possible for Macs to have viruses and spyware but it's very rare. Most of that stuff, most of the malicious software out there is written for the Windows operating system because that's what most people have and also there's a lot of vulnerabilities apparently. On the Mac side there's been some proof of concept things and there's been some minor viruses and minor spyware types of things coming out but really nothing to be too afraid of. I don't really know anybody that owns a Mac that has any of the anti-virus or anti-spyware software installed although some of it is available. The important thing is keep your Mac up to date because Apple seems to patch any security flaws very quickly. As long as you keep it up to date and you play it safe you should be okay.
Anson also asks about printers. He's looking for a wireless printer that will work for both his Mac and PC's. It's got color and wireless but he's not sure whether WiFi or Bluetooth. Let me stop right there. Inkjet printers. Inkjet printers suck. They all suck. Here's the problem with inkjet printers: they don't last very long, they're very cheaply made. If you look at the prices they're basically $99 or sometimes $49. Sometimes you get them free with a new computer or free with twelve pieces of printer paper, or free with just about anything, they're always throwing them in. SO the thing is they're not built to last and the inkjet more than the printers do themselves, especially if it's free or $49. My experience with all inkjet printers is that they do pretty good quality and go through the initial cartridges Then if you start using third party inks they don't work very well, or spend all the money on that, they don't work very well. So prepare to be disappointed. I like laser jet or laser printers. But laser printers are more expensive and they're typically not color, unless you want to spend a lot of money. However, it looks like you're not looking for photo printing so perhaps that's the solution for you. Some of them are wireless; most of them that are wireless use Bluetooth nowadays. I haven't heard any reports about anybody having any trouble with them but one of the interesting things is that just about any PC printer will work for a Mac. Cross platform issues are non-existent. So I wouldn't worry about that. But do prepare to be disappointed. I'd get something that sort of suits you now and plan on, if you really do a lot of printing, buying a new printer every other year or so.
Greg writes in, 'I want to add RAM to my Mac book. I was reading being able to put about three gigs in there. What's your take on this and do I have to use matched pairs? If money is no issue can I go up to four gigs?' Well, there's several steps you want to take when deciding to upgrade your memory. First thing you want to do is go to your machine and figure out what you have right now. You can do this by going over and choosing About this Mac from the Apple menu. In there you basically see how much memory you've got but what you want to do then is click on the More Info button which will take you to the System Profiler. System Profiler, if you click on memory, will actually tell you exactly how many slots you've got and what's in each slot. So for instance in this iMac there's two slots and there's one gig in each one. It'll also tell you what type of memory, in this case SD RAM. So when shopping for memory you know exactly how to answer that question. It'll also tell you what speed it's running at. So if, for instance, there was an empty slot in here I know I can get exactly the same thing, put it in there and have a matched pair. Do you need matched pairs? Well, yes and no. You don't technically need matched pairs but it's recommended and it will help performance so if money is no object then certainly do the matched pairs. Now, trying to figure out what your machine can take is a little different. What you have to do then is find a website that actually recommends what a machine can take. One such website is Crucial which sells a lot of memory; go there right now and they have a really great site, tells you exactly what you need. So for instance you go in here and you just simply select that you want a memory upgrade, you select the manufacturer of Apple, you select which one you've got, so for instance let's say selecting an iMac, and then which one, so let's select one of the fairly recent iMacs, find it and then one of the things you'll see, if we look at that window carefully here is we'll see down here it'll tell you the number of slots, how much each slot can hold and there you have your answer.
If you've got questions for me you can email me at questions (-at-) macmost.com. I'll see you next time. This is Gary Rosenzweig with MacMost Now.
Sometimes you get them free with a new computer. Or free with twelve pieces of printer paper. Or free with a new puppy. Free with a Thanksgiving turkey. Free as long as you listen to this great offer about time-shares. Free with a set of ginsu knives. Free with every Zune. Free with your early Ritz special at Denny's. Free with your Super Saver Value card. Free with a purchase of twelve or more. Free if you order now.