Top 7 Parallels Features for IT Pros Using Macs

If you’re a follower of mine you know that I’m a big fan of Parallels Desktop for the Mac because I’ve already done two videos in the past on how to use Parallels to install Windows on your Mac.

Now that Parallels 10 is available I wanted to do a video showing you my top 7 favorite features of Parallels as it relates to IT professionals who use Mac OS X.

If you work in information technology like me and you use a Mac then Parallels is definitely one of the best apps you can have because it allows you to virtually run other operating systems inside your Mac without rebooting. Let’s get into this list.

1. OS Options

Not only can you run Windows 7, 8, and 8.1 with Parallels but you can also run Linux distros, Google Chrome OS, and even older versions of Mac OS X like Mavericks. It can handle all of those operating systems which is nice for scalability and machine diversity. I love being able to run both Windows 8.1 and Ubuntu on my Mac.

2. Fast Installation

Parallels makes the installation process of a virtual machine quick and simple. It has preset installation options that allow the machine to be set up within minutes. It doesn’t get much easier than this. This is also why I recommend it to non-IT folks too because it’s that darn easy.

3. Sandboxing

A virtual machine functions as a non-production machine that you can use to test certain installations or updates before releasing them to production machines. This is extremely important to have because certain software changes can affect other software and break a system’s configuration. Using a Parallels virtual machine is not only cost efficient but it lets you avoid breaking a user’s production machine by testing it first without any consequences.

4. Snapshots

With Parallels you can take snapshots or system images at any time in case you need to revert back to a particular system state with just the click of a button. For example, if you just did a clean install of Windows along with all the Microsoft updates you can then take a snapshot of the current system state. That snapshot will be saved. Then you can do whatever you want inside of that Windows virtual machine. You can install all kinds of applications, risk getting viruses, test whatever you need to test, and then revert back to that clean install snapshot whenever you want.

5. Multiple Viewpoints

Since you’re running two separate systems simultaneously you can have two different viewpoints for working or troubleshooting. For example, your Parallels virtual machine can be connected to a VPN while your Mac will still be on an external network connection so you can see from both perspectives. This comes in handy when you need to be able to have these two different angles but you only have one computer to do it on.

6. Seamless Sharing

You can easily share folders, files, text, and pictures between your Mac and the virtual machine. Instead of having to email files to yourself or upload them to Dropbox then download them on the virtual machine, with Parallels it’s all done through copy/paste or drag-and-drop. Plus, the default installation of Windows is set up by mirroring your existing folders on your Mac to your new virtual machine. That means all your current folders and files will be accessible on both operating systems.

7. Easy Switching

Most IT professionals use Mac laptops so that means you’ll have the trackpad which allows you to use quick three-finger swipe gestures to switch between the Mac and the virtual machine. This little feature will enhance your workflow and boost your productivity, and trust me you’ll never want to go back. The swipe gestures will get you hooked very quickly.

So those were my top 7 Parallels features for IT professionals using Mac OS X. I highly recommend this app. It’s one that I use on all my Macs, and it helps me get the best of all the OS worlds on one machine.

Click here to get your free trial of Parallels 10 so you can take advantage of these awesome features. Thanks to the Parallels team for sponsoring this post!

By Andy Slye

Apple Watch Sport Unboxing

How to Format an External Hard Drive on Mac OS X

Video Transcript:

Hey guys it’s Andy, and in this quick video tutorial I’m going to show you how to format an external hard drive on a Mac. So if you’re on a Mac, and you want to format an external hard drive, maybe you want to back up your Mac using Time Machine or another backup program. Or you just want to use an external hard drive on your Mac exclusively this is how you’ll format it so that the Mac can read it. So the first thing you want to do is connect the external hard drive to your Mac. And you may need to power it on if that’s an option. But once it’s powered on and connected it will show up on the desktop of your Mac. Mine is called Untitled. Yours may be called something else, but once you see it you know that it’s connected. Next thing you want to do is go to Spotlight search. You can click the magnifying glass in the top right or you can hit Command Space. It’ll bring up the Spotlight search and just search Disk Utility and then hit Enter. It’ll bring up the Disk Utility and this is where you’re going to partition and format the external hard drive. On the list here you’re going to select the hard drive. You’ll see it’s got two options. You got the Untitled and then you got the main disk. Click on the one above it right here, the one above the name. And then once you have that selected you’ll see an option to partition that hard drive so click on Partition. Then you want to click on Partition Layout and choose 1 Partition. Then give it a name over here so name it whatever you’d like if you want to name it like Backup. I’m just going to name mine Wet Socks just because I want to. Then right here on the Format you’re going to make sure that the format selected is the Mac OS Extended Journaled. That’s what you want okay. And here’s a warning before you partition this drive. This will erase any current data that’s on the external drive. So make sure that you don’t need any of the data that’s on the external drive because this will erase it. And one last thing before we apply it is click the Options button and make sure that the GUID partition table is selected. And then hit OK. Now we can apply it and when you apply it it’s going to format your external hard drive and wipe it and erase it. Make sure you’re ready for that and then hit Apply. And it’ll ask you are you sure you want to partition the disk. Partitioning the disk will delete all the data on this disk. And we want to go ahead and partition. It should be fairly quick. Mine did it within a few seconds, depending on your hard drive size and your computer speed it might vary. But it should be fairly quick, and when it’s done you should see the new name over here on the left hand side. Once you see that new name that you just named it you are good to go. It is now been formatted for Mac OS X operating system, and there it is right there on my desktop with the new name. When I go into it there is no data on it and it’s ready to be used with Time Machine or any other backup program like Super Duper. And I actually did a video over how to backup your Mac using Time Machine. I will leave that link right here. You can click on that and check that out. Thank you so much for watching. If this helped you out make sure you give it a thumbs up and leave comment down below if you have any questions about it. And subscribe to this channel for more Mac videos in the future. I will talk to you guys in the next video.

Which Mac Should You Buy in 2015?

Which Mac should you buy? MacBook Buyer’s Guide 2015

Since I’m a Mac user and I’ve reviewed many Apple products I decided to make a Mac Buyer’s Guide video to help you decide which MacBook would be the best for you.

3 MacBook Models
MacBook, MacBook Air, and MacBook Pro

MacBook

  • Brand new; available in April 2015; Base model starts at $1299
  • 1st MacBook to be available in silver, gold, and space gray (like iPads and iPhones)
  • 12” IPS Retina display with 3 million pixels
  • Intel Core M mobile processor
  • 8GB of RAM and at least 256GB of flash storage

 The MacBook is for you if you

  • Love having the newest Apple features (Force Touch Trackpad and new butterfly mechanism keyboard)
  • Care about looks more than performance (sexy; Retina display; colors)
  • Want something ultra portable & mobile; Apple’s thinnest & lightest laptop (2 lbs & 9 hours battery life)
  • Running basic applications like web browsing, email, productivity software, and nothing too CPU intensive (has a mobile processor)
  • Don’t use USB drives or other external devices often such as SD cards, cameras, charging phone/tablet, connecting to a monitor (has only 1 USB-C port for charging/input/output)
  • Don’t Skype/FaceTime much and don’t need to record HD videos with the webcam (only 480p)
  • Want something that resembles an iPad
  • Most of your digital life is all wireless and on the cloud
  • Have the budget for it (expensive for what you get)

MacBook Air

  • Comes in 2 sizes: 11” starting at $899 and 13” starting at $999
  • Does not have an IPS Retina display
  • 4GB of RAM (can be upgraded to 8GB) and 128GB flash storage (can be upgraded to 256GB)
  • 5th-generation Intel Core i5 dual-core processor (can be upgraded to i7)

MacBook Air is for you if you

  • Want a small, lightweight and thin laptop
  • Are always on the go (great for students and travelers)
  • Don’t mind having a non-HD display
  • Care about battery life more than anything (13″ gets up to 12 hours; longest battery life of any Apple laptop)
  • Run typical everyday applications and even do some light photo/video editing
  • Still need access to Thunderbolt & USB ports and an HD webcam (720p)

MacBook Pro Retina

  • Comes in 2 sizes: 13″ starting at $1299 or 15″ starting at $1999
  • Both models have IPS Retina displays (13″ has over 4 million pixels; 15″ has over 5 million pixels)
  • 13″ comes with 8GB RAM (can be upgraded to 16); 15″ comes with 16GB RAM standard
  • 13″ has 128GB flash storage (can be upgraded to 256GB or 512GB); 15″ comes with 256GB flash storage (can be upgraded to 512GB)
  • 13″ comes with 5h-gen Core i5 dual-core processor (can be upgraded to i7)
  • 15″ comes with 4th-gen Core i7 quad-core processor

MacBook Pro is for you if you

  • Want the best performance and fastest speed out of all the Apple laptops
  • Run CPU-intensive or graphics-intensive applications such as gaming, HD video editing, 3D modeling, CAD, virtual machines, Photoshop
  • Don’t mind having a heavier laptop compared to the other MacBook models
  • Want a desktop replacement
  • Need as many ports as possible (HDMI, Thunderbolt, USB, SD)

13″ or 15?

Get the 13″ if you want long battery life, the new Force Touch Trackpad, and fastest read/write SSD speed.

Get the 15″ if you want the bigger display and the best processor/graphics performance.

How to Play a Blu-ray on a Mac

In this quick tutorial I’m going to show you how to play a Blu-ray on a Mac. To do this you’ll need 2 things.

1. External Blu-ray Drive

Here’s the Blu-ray drive that I recommend. It’s a #1 best seller on Amazon from Samsung.

2. Mac Blu-ray Player

A Blu-ray player app is needed because Mac OS X does not come with a Blu-ray player by default. The MacGo Mac Blu-ray Player is the best Blu-ray Player for Mac by far. You can try it out for free, but you’ll want to get the full version to get rid of the free trial limitations.

Once you have the Blu-ray drive connected to your Mac and the Mac Blu-ray Player installed, insert your Blu-ray disc into the Blu-ray drive. Open the Blu-ray Player from your Applications folder. It may automatically start playing the Blu-ray disc. If not just click the “Open Disc” button then browse to the Blu-ray disc and select it.

That’s it. It should start playing your Blu-ray on your Mac. Now excuse me while I sit back and enjoy Guardians of the Galaxy in full 1080p HD. Just living the dream.

Best Wireless Mouse? Logitech Performance MX Review


This is my review of the Logitech Wireless Performance MX mouse. For a while I was on my quest to find the best wireless mouse, and after seeing a great review from Phil V and seeing many other tech YouTubers recommending this mouse I broke down and bought it. After using it for about a month I can say it’s one of the best wireless mice you can get. It’s rated 4 out of 5 stars on Amazon and the link to the best price will be in the description below. Now I almost didn’t get this mouse because it lacks Bluetooth. I really didn’t want a mouse that required a USB receiver like this Logitech MX does, but the unifying receiver isn’t so bad. Even though it takes up a USB port, it’s very small and it does allow you to connect up to 6 compatible wireless devices to it. So if you happen to get a Logitech wireless keyboard, this single receiver could handle both the mouse and keyboard.

The Logitech Wireless Performance MX mouse is the perfect mix of functionality and design. I love the looks of it with the sleek black and silver style. Kinda reminds me of a mouse that Batman would use. So I’m very pleased with the design and build quality. The first thing I noticed when I used this mouse is how well the mouse conformed to my hand. It has a very ergonomic build. The curved sides have a slight rubberized finish which gives a perfect place for my thumb. The mouse is big enough for my hand too. It takes up about the same real estate as my iPhone 6 just to give you a comparison. It also has a nice weight to it. It weighs more than expected, but it’s still light enough to be picked up easily with one hand. The only complaint I have about the build is how sensitive the right-click button is. When I just rest my hand on the mouse, the weight of my middle finger always seems to accidentally press down on the right mouse-click which is something I’ve had to get used to.

This mouse is packed with features. First the scroll wheel is a normal notch based scroll wheel, but with the press of a button it turns the scroll wheel into a smooth hyper-fast scroll wheel that comes in handy if you need to scroll down long documents or webpages so you can creep on people’s tweets from 5 years ago. The scroll wheel can also be moved left and right to scroll horizontally which is nice. There are forward and back buttons on the side for when you’re browsing the web and want to go back and forward through pages. It has a zoom button and a window switcher button as well. If you download the free Logitech software you can customize almost all of these buttons which is awesome. On the top there’s the DPI and battery indicator lights. On the bottom you’ll find the power switch. It’s also equipped with a Darkfield sensor which lets you use this mouse on virtually any surface even glass. So if you have a glass desk you’re in luck.

This wireless mouse comes with a rechargeable AA battery which you can charge while you’re using the mouse with the micro USB cable that comes in the box. I’ve had this mouse for about 4 weeks, and yesterday was the first time I had to charge it. So the initial charge on this mouse lasted me a long time, longer than expected. I did turn the mouse off when I wasn’t using it so that probably helped. Overall, the Logitech Wireless Performance MX mouse is the best wireless mouse I’ve ever used. Wireless, rechargeable, great design, and useful features. You can’t go wrong with it.

Sound Blaster Jam Bluetooth Headset Review

Click here to buy on Amazon

If you know me or you’ve seen some of my videos you know that I’m a big fan of wireless devices. I’m also a fan of Sound Blaster products as I’ve done a couple reviews of their Bluetooth speakers in the past. That’s why I wanted to do this video review of the Sound Blaster Jam Bluetooth headset.

These are wireless headphones but not only can you connect them via Bluetooth you can also connect them via NFC if you have an NFC-enabled device. For me I’ve just been using the Bluetooth option because I have an iPhone 6. That’s all I’ve been using as I’ve been testing this headset for the past week. The Sound Blaster Jam headset comes with a red USB cable to charge it. I really wish it came with a power adapter so you could charge it anywhere, but you have to charge it through a USB port on your computer. The cool thing is you can use these headphones to listen to your computer’s audio while they’re charging.

After the first initial Bluetooth connection to your device these headphones will automatically pair with your device in the future when you turn it on. They’re very easy to use. Just use the button on the right side of the headphones. It’s an all-in-one button. Hold it down for power on and power off. It also has a play and pause button and volume control buttons so you can control your device right from the headphones.

The first best feature of the Sound Blaster Jam is the battery. The battery life is extremely long. When I first got the headphones I charged them for about 1 hour and since that initial charge I haven’t had to charge it since. I’ve been listening through the Bluetooth connection for almost 15 hours. 860 minutes to be exact. I’m loving how long the battery has been lasting.

My second favorite feature about the Sound Blaster Jam is how lightweight and comfortable it is. The first thing I noticed was it’s made entirely out of plastic, and it feels kind of cheap. It feels like I could probably break it in half if I tried, but the plastic is what makes it so lightweight. When I put these on I don’t even know that I’m wearing them, that’s how light it is. At one point I wore it for about 5 hours straight, and I had no ear strain at all when I was wearing them. It feels like wearing air. The soft padded ear cushions for your ears make these so comfortable to wear as well. I wore these around my apartment, to the gym, on a treadmill, while working out, and shooting basketball. No problem whatsoever.

The sound quality is pretty decent for how small, lightweight, and affordable the Jam is. Obviously these don’t produce the best most high-quality crisp sound like you would hear from a pair of Audio-Technica ATH-M50’s for example. But in the $50 price range you’re not going to find much better sound quality than what the Sound Blaster Jam gives. There’s also a Bass button on the right side of the headphones and when it’s enabled it gives a little bit of a bass boost within the headphones. I was not a big fan of that because when I enabled the bass boost it seemed like it boosted it a little too much for my liking. I usually listened to songs without the bass boost on. But if you’re a bass head then you’re probably going to like the bass boost feature.

There’s also a built-in microphone so when people call you can just answer right from the headset itself and talk into the microphone on the headset. When I tested the microphone out I used it on my iPhone 6 to call somebody else on an iPhone and they said they could hear a slight echo whenever I was using the Jam microphone. I don’t know if that was because of the microphone on the Jam or just my connection from my iPhone. But there is a microphone built into these headphones that you can use for calling.

Overall I’m a fan of the Sound Blaster Jam Bluetooth headset. I think this is going to be my go-to headphones whenever I go to the gym to workout or if I’m going grocery shopping and I want to listen to a quick podcast. They’re not going to replace my professional studio headphones that I use for video editing but these are perfect if you’re looking for a cheap Bluetooth headset that is extremely lightweight, that has long battery life, and is very comfortable.

Best Portable iPhone Charger? RavPower Savior Review

RAVPower RP-PB18 Savior 9000mAh battery review
Click here to buy on Amazon

If you’re an iPhone user you probably realized by now that iPhones don’t have the best battery life. What can you do about that? For me I like to carry around an extra battery pack so I can charge my phone wherever I’m at in case the battery starts to drain down.

That’s why I wanted to do this review over the RavPower RP-PB18 Savior 9,000 mAh external battery pack with the built-in lightning connector specifically made for Apple devices (iPhone, iPad, iPod) but you can also charge other USB devices with it as well.

I’ll quickly go over the contents of the box. Of course there’s the main battery pack itself. We also have a user guide, warranty card, USB to micro USB charging cable, micro USB to Samsung 30-pin connector, micro USB to mini-USB connector, and a cool little travel pouch.

The main battery pack has a really solid build to it. It has a nice matte suede-like finish to it, and it’s supposed to have a scratch-resistant surface. It does feel really soft. I do like the way it’s built. The size is pretty portable. It’s small and lightweight, just over 8 ounces.

You may be asking yourself “Why is this 9,000 mAh battery a little bit more expensive than say a 12,000 mAh battery sold by the same company?” That’s because the Savior has all these built-in features such as the built-in AC power plug on it so you don’t have to carry around any other cables or accessories. It just plugs right into a power outlet and charges itself.

It’s also mainly made for Apple devices: iPhone, iPad or iPod. It has an Apple lightning cable on it so again you don’t need an extra cable to take with you. All you need is the battery pack. It has everything you need and if you do have another USB device it comes with the cables that you need to charge it.

Like many other external battery packs this has built-in overcharge protection and auto shut-off. It has a USB port on the bottom so you can charge other USB devices. It has a power button on the front along with the power indicator light so if you press the power button once it will show you how much battery is left on the pack (4 lights is 100%, 3 lights is 75%, 2 lights is 50%, and 1 light is 25%).

Let’s talk about some of the results I’ve seen using this RavPower Savior battery pack with my iPhone 6. The first time I charged my iPhone 6 with the battery pack it was at 42% and it took it to 96% in 57 minutes. The second time I charged it I went from 41% to 90% in 47 minutes so that gives you an idea of how fast the battery pack charges the iPhone 6. After those 2 charges I still had 75% of the battery left on the Savior.

With that 5 volt output it’s not going to be the fastest charge, but it is pretty decently fast in my opinion for a battery pack of this size. The iPhone 6 battery is 1800 mAh so the Savior can charge it about 4 times from 0 to 100% so it does pack a pretty good amount of power.

In my opinion if you own an Apple device: an iPhone, iPad, or iPod then the RavPower Savior battery pack may be one of the best options that you can get for an external battery because it has everything built in and it is way more convenient than other battery packs. It’s portable, small, has a nice finish to it, and I see it lasting a very long time.

Top 9 Best Google Chrome Extensions

Top 9 Best Google Chrome Extensions

Streamus – Streamus turns YouTube into the music player you always wanted.

Magic Actions for YouTube – Enhance your YouTube watching experience.

Save to Pocket – The best way to save articles, videos, and more.

Google Dictionary – View definitions easily as you browse the web.

Evernote Web Clipper – Use the Evernote extension to save things you see on the web into your Evernote account.

Feedly (App) – All your favorite sites in one place.

Honey – Automatically find and apply coupon codes when you shop online.

Buffer – The best way to share great content to Twitter and Facebook from anywhere on the web with just one click.

Black Menu for Google – The easiest access to the Google universe.

2015 MacBook Retina Rumors Explained

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Best prices on MacBook Airs

Video Transcript:

What’s up guys? Welcome to MyTechMethods. So there have been a lot of rumors about this new 2015 MacBook Air 12 inch retina that’s supposed to be coming out this year, and yesterday 9to5 Mac released some mockup photos according to their close Apple source. Again nothing has been confirmed by Apple. These are just rumors, but they’re usually right on this thing coming from their source. So we’re gonna go over the new design, everything you need to know about this new rumored 2015 MacBook Air. So remember these pictures I’m gonna show you, it’s not the final design. It’s just mockup photos that were designed by 9to5 Mac, but they designed it according to what they heard from their Apple source. So let’s go over this new rumored 2015 MacBook Air. So it is a 12 inch display. This is different from the 13 inch and 11 inch models that Apple has released in the past, and this new 12 inch MacBook Air is of course going to be smaller than the 13 inch but it’s also narrower than the current 11 inch. So Apple is trying their hardest to make this laptop the smallest and thinnest Apple laptop ever and they’re sacrificing a lot of features. So first of all the bezels around the display have been reduced on all sides so it’s an entire unibody redesign, along with the keyboard that goes from edge to edge leaving hardly any space on the left and right side of the keyboard. And Apple is also bunching up the keys making them closer together to each other, trying to make them more friendly. We all know D doesn’t get along with F. We’ve known that for years so hopefully they can reconcile their differences. So Apple is doing all this stuff just to make this thing smaller and thinner and the trackpad is also closer to the keyboard. There’s not much space between the trackpad and the bottom of the keyboard. And guess what? They took away the click feature on the trackpad. That’s a big no-no. I love my clickable trackpad. I click it all the time. I hardly do the tap to click so I’m not a big fan about that if that is true. So now looking at the MacBook Air when it’s closed, obviously it’s thinner than the current design but it still has that tapered design going from thin on the top to really thin on the bottom. And the speakers have been redesigned. There are four speaker grills above the keyboard, and those holes for the speakers act as the ventilation system for the internals because guess what? Apple took away the fans on the inside so there are no fans inside of this laptop, again to reduce the thickness and make it as compact as possible. Because some genius at Apple was like “Fans? Who needs fans. We got speakers. Holes, air, cooler, science.” The 2015 MacBook Air has the fewest number of ports ever on an Apple laptop. On the right side it’s just a headphone jack and the two microphones. On the left side it has one USB port. That USB port is a Type C port. That’s right. They took away all the standard USB ports, the SD card slot, the Thunderbolt port, and the MagSafe port. So what the heck dude like how are we gonna charge our laptop? Well this new USB type C port is able to handle charging and it’s able to handle displays so what I’m assuming is Apple’s gonna have to ship some type of hub or adapter along with this MacBook Air because you’ll be charging your MacBook Air through this USB Type C port and that’ll leave you with no other ports. So Apple’s gonna have to send something that gives you your SD card slot and your USB ports back. And since Space Gray is one of the most popular colors for iPads and iPhones there is a rumor that this new MacBook Air’s gonna come in a space gray version. So if you like space gray, I like space gray, we’ll see how that looks if that is true. And the rumored release date is mid 2015. So what do I think of this new design? I think it’s outrageous that Apple is sacrificing all these features and usability for just thinness, just to make it as thin and compact and small as possible. I mean the MacBook Air is already pretty small. It’s one of the smallest laptops out there and it’s one of the most portable laptops if you’ve seen my 2014 MacBook Air review, I’ll leave a link in the description. That is the best laptop for travelers and students in my opinion. Nobody’s thinking “Uh yeah I wish this MacBook Air was thinner and smaller and more lightweight. It’s just too heavy.” So the highlights of this new 2015 MacBook Air would obviously be the portability, the thinness, the small compact design, and the battery life. The battery life should be amazing since they have no fan inside and with the new Intel processors if they put those in there. I think that’s kind of a bogus trade-off right now. I wouldn’t want to give up all those features just for a smaller laptop. So I think this new 2015 MacBook Air is like Apple’s iPad version of their laptop models, leaving the MacBook Pro as the more powerful feature filled laptop. So heavily depending on the price and if it comes with that USB hub and how well that hub works, this MacBook Air may be a good purchase but right now I’m just not into it. So what do you think after seeing all these mockups and hearing about the new design? And again this is all rumors. Things could change. Nothing has been confirmed by Apple. We’ll have to wait and see, but let me know your thoughts about this in the comment section below. If you want to check out the full article by 9to5 Mac the link will be in the description as well. So thank you guys so much for watching. Make sure you subscribe to this channel if you want more tech videos and reviews, all that kind of stuff. And give this video a like. I will see you guys in the next video. Bye.

By Andy Slye

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