Up Your Media Apple Web and Tech Blog

Parksville / Qualicum Beach's only Apple Certified Macintosh Technician (ACMT) and Apple Support Professional, Dan LaRocque, posts semi-regular tips and blogs about his day-to-day experiences with Macintosh computer technology, social media, web marketing & design and other technology related developments.

The 4 Main Components Of Your Apple Computer, And What Can Possibly Go Wrong?

There are 4 main components to your computer that dictate performance and can periodically require maintenance

  1. Hard Drive - The hard drive is where your personal data, plus OS and other software, is stored. Most drives are mechanical (HDD) but more modern drives are Solid State (SSD). HDDs are more likely to fail than SSDs but both can experience corruptions due to volume count and directory errors. A disk repair generally costs about $100 while a disk replacement runs from $250-$300. Don’t forget to buy an external hard drive as a Tme Machine backup.
  2. RAM - or Random Access Memory is independent of the hard drive, and is available, generally, to the software and applications as the computer is operating. The more you have, the faster your computer will run. To determine how much you have, look in the About This Mac dialogue in your Apple menu. 
  3. macbook pro logic boardLogic board - This contains the CPU and the GPU (graphics processing unit). Sometimes the graphics processor will fail due to too much heat or other factors. Often this can be replaced or repaired, usually at a cost of $300-$500. IF YOU SPILL WATER, WINE, COFFEE, OR ANY OTHER LIQUID IN YOUR COMPUTER, it can “possibly” be fixed depending on the amount and location of the corrosion and electrical shorting the liquid caused. It WILL be expensive, between $300-$500. The alternative to repairing either of these situations is to replace the logic board altogether, usually around $800-$1000.
  4. Software - I like to say that over the past 10-20 years, the hardware in your personal computer hasn’t changed that dramatically. However, the software that runs that hardware changes constantly. I regularly see operating systems from 2007 (Snow Leopard 10.6.8) and every variation in between, while the current one today is Sierra (10.12.3). In addition, the other native softwares in your machine, ie., Safari, iTunes, Photos, etc need regular updates, as do third party applications like Microsoft Word, Flash, and Java. Not every operating system is appropriate for every vintage of computer, even if it’s compatible according to Apple. 

Memory (RAM) vs Storage Capacity

Memory vs Storage.

It’sScreen Shot 2017 03 01 at 12.41.55 PM important to know the difference between memory and storage capacity on your computer. RAM, or system memory, is used for temporary processing storage, and contributes to the speed of your computer.

Storage is the overall capacity of your hard drive, i.e., how manysongs, pictures and documents you can keep on your drive.  Most iMacs contain 1 TB of capacity. Newer MacBook Airs and Pros tend to use Solid State (SSD) drives, with faster speed and less capacity, although the capacity vs cost is getting better. If your startup disk should become too full, performance will be negatively affected. 

You can check both these specifications on your machine by going to the About This Mac dialogue via your Apple menu at the very top left of your screen. Click on Storage to see what is taking up the bulk of the capacity of your machine.

Screen Shot 2017 03 01 at 12.41.55 PMBoth these components can generally be upgraded. It’s best practice to have the most RAM possible in your computer to maximize performance. To find out the maximum RAM for your model, check out this webpage.  Hard drives can also be upgraded with either mechanical HDDs (low cost, high capacity, slower speed) or SSDs (high cost, low capacity, higher speed). Call 250-240-3564 to inquire about details and costs on your memory and hard drive upgrades.

Adobe Flash Update Tutorial, July 4 2016

Adobflash update tutoriale Flash received an update on April 21st 2016, and it's starting to affect usability. I had written a tutorial on how to upgrade your version a couple years ago, but here is some more current information. 

Screen Shot 2016 07 04 at 10.02.16 AMTo avoid following a link to a bogus download, I advise going directly to Adobe.com, then following the link to the Adobe Flash download. From there, you have to follow ALL the steps to download, launch and install the update (many people tend to simply click the ‘install now’ link and assume they’re done). The software will appear in your downloads folder, double click on the ‘.dmg’ file (it’s a disk mounted image) and launch the installer, then double click the ‘install flash player’ button, then agree to open the software. You’ll have to sign in with your computer login password to authenticate, then continue to follow the installation process. To complete it, you’ll have to relaunch your browser(s). Once done, you can continue to watch Youtube videos, view JacquieLawson e-cards, reserve ferries, etc.Screen Shot 2016 07 04 at 11.06.25 AM

Your OSX System Preferences Explained

System PreferencesThese are your Mac's System Preferences. They can do a lot. So, as an exercise, I'm going to go through each of them, one a day, and show you what they do. For starters, you can find them in your Apple menu, very top left of your screen.

System Preferences #1 - General


systempreferences1This one's mostly about appearance, such as highlight colour and size of sidebar icons. My suggestion, as always, is to open it up and see what each option can do. You can't ruin anything. The one that matters to me the most is the option for automatic scroll bars. After upgrading to a new OS, you may be dismayed that your scrollbars have disappeared due to the default, 'automatically based on location'. First thing I do is switch that option to 'always'. I just don't like to hover in hopes that my scrollbars will appear. You ight also want to select, 'ask to keep changes when closing a document', too. 


System Preferences #2 - Desktop and Screensaver

This is where you choose your desktop picture, whether it's from Apple's default folders or your own Photos library. You can choose to rotate through a selection of your photos on a schedule of seconds, minutes or days. If you don't want your slideshow to include your entire Photos library, you can create an album of your top 10, 50 or 200 etc photos, and select it as your target folder.

There are screensaver options on the second page, though screensaver are not as crucial as they were when we used old cathode ray tube (CRT) monitors


  • Just a quick note to thank you again for coming by……this is working ever so much better. See you next month.
  • Hi Dan,

    It was great to meet you and thanks for your help, I love the dual screen and upgrades. I seem to have forgotten how to access the iphoto shots from the original iphoto and can only find the few new ones, can you re direct me.


  • Dan retrieved the iPhoto library I had deleted from my boyfriend's computer from a Time Machine backup I didn't even know we had. Thank you Dan, you saved my bacon!

  • Hi Dan,What a difference!  My MacBook is working much faster now, and not getting hung up.  The newer OS and more memory really helped.Thank you.


  • Hi Dan, thanks for the January newsletter. I added my vote to you for "outstanding customer service".


  • Just got home. plugged the router and computer in and its working!!!  Go figuure. You must have done something right.


    Al Z

  • Hi Dan,

    I picked up quite a few useful things in class even without a laptop, and enjoyed the course. Do please let me know if you decide to offer an intermediate level follow up. Thanks,


  • Whoa .....fabulous ...wonderful ...fantastic ...beautiful......OMG ...thank you so much. I will look into the photos and see what I can do  ....touble is I don't actually know much about Marilyns life! I will make something up .....!!  wow Wonderful to what you have created...


  • Hi Dan:

    Thank you so much for helping out with my urgent problem the other day, so promptly – and from the arena! I really did appreciate it (and was so impressed!).


  • Your expeditious replacement of my hard drive is very much appreciated. I had a little trouble restoring the system, but it's now working perfectly (and it seems to be a little faster).In my excitement I forgot to ask about warranty. What do I do?Thank You again

     Trevor W Jackson