Tag Archive for macos




Speed up Mac SMB connections to Windows

I am so glad that my colleague Johny told me this. Mac SMB connections to Windows file servers have been extremely slow to connect. It turns out that fully qualifying the server name makes the connection immediate! What a wonderful little tip.

Creeping closer …

Today, we received the first student laptops for annual maintenance, which also marks the unofficial end of summer project work within the IT department. From here on in, we fully devote ourselves to laptop maintenance and responding to user requests as teachers return to school and staff prepare for the start of term.

We finished nearly all of the faculty laptop computers last week, save those that required a trip to Apple to repair a broken or malfunctioning part. They required a lot of work. We moved all of the Windows machines to 7, since XP is now out of support. The Macs required extensive research to devise the best configuration for printers, wireless access, and network access. Attempts to automate the process were regularly foiled. It took far too much effort to reach a point of reasonable confidence that the configuration will work effectively. Hopefully, things will go more smoothly for the student machines.

Signs of the impending school year abound. Divisions heads meet this week to plan for the year. Some teachers have shown up for summer curriculum planning meetings. I’m not actually certain what all goes on next week, but August 30 brings the official start of the school year for teachers. They will attend division retreats and opening meetings. Grades 6-12 start before Labor Day weekend, whereas grades PS-5 start after. Oregon requires only 160 days of school in the year, well below the 180 in our neighboring states.

Vital Training: Mac Essentials

What could be more exciting than running a workshop on computer basics? Nothing! Today, I wrapped up a two day workshop that we called “Mac Essentials.” Five teachers attended, and we filled up the agenda ourselves between their questions and my thoughts. We covered all of the fundamental aspects of the Mac OS, such as the desktop, applications, documents, the dock, application menus, and the iLife suite.

In this age of social media and personal learning networks, it might seem antiquated to offer a workshop on computer basics. However, I suspect that most of our users have a working knowledge of their computer, not a thorough grounding. Users develop creative workarounds in place of right commands or tools. Today’s attendees expressed such gratitude for answering some very longstanding questions they had! We experienced a lot of “a-ha” moments when we covered keyboard shortcuts, PDF creation, and the Documents folder.

It remains a challenge to teach file server connections to beginning users. The fairly ordinary appearance of a network volume desktop icon does not reflect the conceptual leap of opening a window to another machine on the campus, location unknown! Perhaps the old Windows Explorer did the job better. A web browser certainly makes it clear that web pages are not on one’s computer.

What trainings do you offer your employees during the summer? How do you help your users both reinforce the basics and explore new tools?