HARDWARE:  recommended vendors for hardware

Apple Company Store: online marketplace for Apple products.

If you are a student or educator, make sure to choose the Education Store and specify your institution. Also, check the Refurbished and Clearance sections for deals on pre-owned hardware (Macs, iPhones, iPads, iPods) — they come with an Apple manufacturer warranty.

External Hard Disk Drives (HHDs) and Solid State Drives (SSDs): Many clients ask me for recommendations for external hard disk drives for backup and storage. Most hard drives can be formatted for use with Macintosh computers, so almost any drive will work, provided it offers appropriate port connectivity. That said, here are my top three HDD/SSD choices from three different manufacturers. Choose the drive that best fits your needs, thinking about: space, speed, durability, and port connectivity. Note, all recommendations below are portable, bus-powered drives. Unless you will be using them constantly, I suggest portable drives, so you can get into a backup routine that involves taking one of two external backup drives to an off-site location, and rotating them periodically.

  1. Other World Computing’s Mercury ElitePro Mini line of HDDs and SSDs is an excellent, sturdy line of HDDs/SSDs, and offers excellent storage capacity, speed (FireWire800, USB3.0), and portability in a clean, efficient and cost-effective package. HDDs in this line come in up to 2TBs, are bus-powered, and very reliable. OWC’s Solid State Drives are excellent.
  2. G-DRIVE Mobile HDDs are excellent drives with good connectivity:  USB 3.0 (and backwards compatible to USB 2.0) and FireWire 800 (also backwards compatible to FW400) interfaces, 1TB capacity, bus-powered, all for $180, a good value for an excellent drive. This is a great drive especially for those who have or plan to purchase new MacBook Pros or other machines that have USB 3.0 connectivity.
  3. LaCie Rugged USB3 Thunderbolt Series 1TB drive is an excellent portable HDD for $250. If you have a new Mac with a Thunderbolt port, you should consider this drive, as it is one of the first portable, affordable Thunderbolt-equipped drives on the market from a trusted, tried-and-true HDD manufacturer. It is bus-powered and has an exterior case that provides protection in case you drop the drive. The LaCie Rugged Tripple USB3.0 drive (without Thunderbolt), is the old standard in portable drives, with USB3.0 and two FW800 ports, all bus-powered, for $200.

Other World Computing: hard disk drives; hardware upgrades (RAM, etc); computer, iPhone, iPad accessories. Great service and fast shipping. OWC should be your first stop!

Radtech: computer, iPhone, iPad accessories, including cases, cables, etc.Special recommendations: iPhone/iPad/iPod connector cables, car chargers, ClearCal screen protectors, ScreenSavrz protective pads, BongoTies.

*  Check RetailMeNot for coupons before purchasing — there are often 10-20% off coupon codes listed there.

Pong Research: Pong Research makes the best mobile phone (SAR) radiation-reducing iPhone and iPad cases.

 

SOFTWARE: select preferred vendors & repositories for software

Apple’s AppStore, right on your machine. Look for the round, blue “A” on your dock, or access the AppStore at any time from the Apple menu on the upper-left corner of your screen. You will need to enter (or set-up) an account with Apple. I suggest using the same account you use for iTunes purchases, it makes things easier!

IPad guides and tutorials from MacWorld. iPad 3 Superguide.

 

MacUpdate: a good site on which to research applications to fit a need and find great daily deals. Click on the banner below to see what’s on sale today!

38% off
X-Mirage 1.01.5
Mirror your iOS devices on your Mac.

Dynadot: domain name registrar, simply the best. It’s worth transferring your domain names to Dynadot — their customer service is stellar.

LogMeIn: Remote Access and Remote Desktop Client, the industry standard. Useful for MacHelper client trainings at a distance.

Expense & Budgeting applications for Mac OSX/iOS. Many clients have asked for solutions for personal finance applications for Mac OS and iOS. I generally suggest starting with Mint, and seeing if Mint will fulfill your needs. If not, moving to a true budgeting application like MoneyWell is probably the answer.

DayLite and Billings Pro from MarketCircle. CRM, Projects, Sales, Tasks, Calendars, etc. Excellent Mac-feeling Enterprise-grade Customer Relationship Management software package for businesses.

1Password, the best Password and Identity manager for Mac, Windows and iOS. Syncs with all your devices via DropBox. Expensive, but worth it!

Paragon Software: Paragon Software makes NTFS for Mac, which allows full read-write capability for Mac users who want to use hard drives formatted for Windows (NTFS).

DEVONtechnologies makes DEVONthink Pro Office, the best Mac Database application on the market for researchers. Syncs with iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad, and just generally excells in every way. If you’re doing research, processing lots of data, you must consider DEVONthink Pro Office.