EdTech @ ISB

Transforming Teaching & Learning

Tag: system software

Talking to Your Mac

I recently tore ligaments in my wrist which has made typing difficult. The result is that I have rediscovered the dictation capability that is built into the Mac’s operating system. It’s pretty easy to set up and use. I’ve been using it to quickly answer emails and I actually wrote this post with it.

This video will show you how to set up dictation your Mac and help get started using it.



What is AirServer?

AirServer allows you to receive AirPlay feeds from another Mac or iOS device and mirror to your display. This means you can use AirPlay to mirror a student device, which promotes student collaboration and sharing.

Now, how do you get started?

First, go to http://www.airserver.com/download/mac and download the Mac version. Double click the installation file (which should be in your downloads folder) After you click to agree to the terms, drag AirServer to your Applications folder:

Screen Shot 2016-04-07 at 4.45.50 PM

When you launch AirServer for the first time, they will ask for an activation number. Go to ICT help desk and they will enter it for you.

After your activation number is set up, go to Preferences and change your Computer name and set a password. Changing your Airplay display name make it easier to find your laptop in the long list of available mirroring screens. When AirServer is running on your computer, it will be listed on any other iOS device connected to the same network. Anyone who sees your computer is able to stream to AirServer unless you enable your password settings. Devices must be on the same network, therefore personal devices not on ISB-Internal will not work. Anyone who tries to connect to AirServer would be prompted to enter the password. Without the correct password, they will not be able to stream or mirror to your computer.

MacKeeper and Other Software Installs

diskutilityimageYou’ve probably seen ads for MacKeeper. It’s hard to avoid them. They pop up at the top of webpages promising that your Mac will run much better if you install it but do you really know what MacKeeper is or what it’s doing?

These days we have to be careful. Don’t install software unless you’re sure it’s good. Just last month we learned of some ransomeware that was released that if it gets installed on a Mac it will encrypt files which will only be unlocked if the computer’s owner pays a ransom.

There are a few ways to protect yourself from these attacks. The most important thing is to be careful and know what you’re installing. With great power comes great responsibility. In this case it means informing yourself before you install software. An easy way to do this is to only install software from the MacApp Store or from Self Service at ISB. If the software you’re interested in isn’t available at these two places then you need to be more careful. Do your homework. Do a quick search online to see what others are saying about the software.

I did a quick Google search for MacKeeper. Here are some of the hits I had on the first page of Google. What ‘MacKeeper’ is and why you should avoid it | iMore, How to uninstall MacKeeper from your Mac | Macworld, Is MacKeeper Really A Scam? | Cult of Mac, 13 Million MacKeeper Users Exposed — Krebs on Security, and Here’s what MacKeeper is — and why you should avoid it.

I don’t know if MacKeeper is bad but it doesn’t pass my test for software. It isn’t available on the MacApp Store or Self Service. Also, my quick online search suggests there are a lot of people not happy with the software. I’m not installing it!

BTW the ICT Office did a quick scan and found 131 people at ISB have installed MacKeeper on their MacBooks. Here’s an article at MacWorld that shows how to uninstall it.

Upgrading to El Capitan

os_x_el_capitan_roundupHere’s the information that ran in the High School Announcements a couple of weeks ago.

The ICT Office has given us the go ahead to upgrade to Apple’s latest operating system–El Capitan. With El Capitan, Apple made some under the hood changes that make it important for us to upgrade. The upgrade takes about 45 minutes once the files have been downloaded to your computer. Downloading the files can take several hours depending on the speed of you internet connection so here are my recommendations for upgrading.

Option One (Preferred Method)

Get the software upgrade from the ICT Office or the Apple Kiosk. Here’s how it works. The technicians have the upgrade on USB drives. Copy the files to your laptop. (It takes about three minutes.) Later, when you don’t need to use your laptop for about 45 minutes run the installer.

Option Two

In the evening once you’re a finished your work for the night and you are tired of watching cat videos on your favourite video site, launch the App Store app on your Mac. Choose Updates and follow the prompts to upgrade to El Capitan.


  • Though the upgrade should not effect files on your laptop it’s always recommended to have an up-to-date backup of your laptop before you upgrade.
  • After any system upgrade there will be other software that needs updating. How many files need updating will depend on how up-to-date you have been keeping your Mac. After upgrading to El Capitan run the App Store app and Microsoft’s AutoUpdate to make sure your software is all up-to-date.

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