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MRC Donation Helps Mississippi BoyChoir

October 19, 2020 Comments off
Mississippi Boychoir Logo
By Lorin Evans

In Jackson Mississippi can be found the Mississippi Boychoir. For the past 26 years they have trained young boys with talent to sing and to provide them with the opportunity to sing inside and outside the state.

Unfortunately, COVID-19 has restricted their community presentations. So, like good Netcitizens, they want to do concerts online. But lacking the technical stuff makes that a bit difficult.

I do not know how they found the Clinic, but the leader of the group for overseas operations wrote MacRecycleClinic a letter. Her request arrived at the same time that we were collecting Macintosh equipment from The River School in Washington, DC.

I was able to match the specifications for the online Macintosh music production application donated to them with one of the iMac models from River School. With an iMac that fit their needs, the BoyChoir paid to package and ship the computer with keyboard and mouse to Jackson.

Over the last three decades, MacRecycleClinic has donated refurbished Mac laptops, desktops, towers and Mac Minis to those who don’t have computers or who want to put together a lab for students who may not have home Internet. We recently started refurbishing Chromebooks as well. There is a great need.

The BoyChoir is a great example of a non-profit with a need that we are thrilled to help. Their YouTube channel will show you what a great choir this really is. If we could make just a small contribution for their December program, we were thrilled to do it!

Capitolmac Baltimore Closes

January 24, 2020 Comments off

The Apple Universe can be a tough one to operate in. Recently, Baltimore’s Capitolmac – an Apple authorized retailer – closed its doors after an 11 year run. Owner and president Dheeraj Vasishta told the Baltimore Business Journal late last year the closure was primarily due to money: “The margins on everything got tighter over the years,” he said. “It’s always bad when selling Apple products, but the squeeze got tighter on repairs. It really comes down to money, as it always does.”

Capitolmac in the Fells Point area of Baltimore has closed its doors.
Capitolmac in the Fells Point area of Baltimore has closed its doors.

Last week, MacRecycleClinic was invited to come see the Capitolmac Fells Point, Baltimore store (there are two others in Richmond and Williamsburg. The Williamsburg store, operated by another owner, will continue).

A panorama view of the Capitolmac sales floor in Fells Point, Baltimore.
A panorama view of the Capitolmac repair area and sales floor in Fells Point, Baltimore.

We were able to see both the front end retail store and back-end where the company did repairs and kept a ton of older machines and parts. We were able to come back later and gleen some of the older Mac parts- hopefully to use in our own refurbishing/recycling efforts here in Silver Spring.

As Vashishta noted to the Baltimore Business Journal, it is always going to be tough running a small business, but trying to be a technology retailer can be especially challenging. We’re sorry to see Captiolmac go because it has an impact on consumer choice as well as consumer experience.

AntiVirus and Malware for Macs: A Software Update

May 7, 2019 Comments off

By Jim Ritz – MacRecycleClinic

For many years we Macs users felt that antivirus software was unnecessary. Although the likelihood of a Virus remains quite low, the possibility exists. At the weekly MacRecycleClinic, we are seeing more and more indications of infection.

A more pressing concern these days is MALEWARE. Maybe not as vicious as a VIRUS, malware nonetheless, can be considerably problematic.

There are two pieces of software all Mac users should consider using today. AVAST ANTI VIRUS for the Mac and MALWAREBYTES. Both have free versions that are really worthwhile installing on your Mac.

Malwarebytes can be run within minutes and offers very reasonable protection. (See Malwarebytes video from YouTube:)

AVAST on the other hand requires considerable time (see previous post about Avast). The run time is directly proportional to the volume of material on your Mac. As an example, for my iMac – with almost 700 Gigabytes of content – the scan required six hours run time to complete. (See Avast video from YouTube.)

Both programs are easy to run. Simply open the application, initiate the SCAN and let it go. The ideal of course, is that the scan completes while finding no problems. If so, simply quit the application. In most cases the application can CLEANSE or REMOVE the threat. However, if the scan identifies something, further action is required.

Simple to run, both of these applications are worthwhile in today’s world.

How often should they be run?

I usually run them each weekly on my Macs. That is not to say that everyone should run them weekly. I would recommend running MALEWAREBYTES weekly as it is easy to use and fast. Because Avast takes longer to run, monthly may be a better choice.

Given the time required for the Avast scan I would recommend setting it to run when you do not plan to use your computer for several hours. After the first run you will know how long it requires for a full scan.

If you feel comfortable doing so, each can be downloaded and installed onto your Mac. Once installed each will automatically check for periodic updates, inform you and install updates ONLY with your approval.

It’s Time To Add Antivirus Software To Protect Your Mac

July 6, 2018 Comments off

Title

(Silver Spring, Md.)  It’s been a long time coming, but it is now time for you to seriously consider adding antivirus software for your Mac.

The reason is actually very simple. Our Macs have been around for a long time, grown in popularity and numbers and hackers have taken notice. Over the past few years, there have been increasing reports of vulnerabilities in the Mac OS (that Apple may or may not fix), security issues, ransomware and much more.

So we’re at a point here at MacRecycleClinic where we’ve decided to add a free version of Avast (rated as the best free antivirus software for the Mac by MacWorld) to every machine we refurbish for donation.  I would strongly recommend you read their article (or search online – there are many more) and make a decision for yourself. As you’ll see, the best paid programs offer everything from malware protection to ransomware monitoring and much more.

Macworld author Glenn Fleishman notes that “antivirus software should be able to neutralize a threat before it can begin wreaking havoc. That means preventing the download, installation, or execution of malicious software.”

For our purposes, Avast will do a fine job as freeware on our refurbished Macs. If the user (the person or family to whom we donate a machine) wants more protection, they can either move to the paid version of Avast or try one of the other companies that sell antivirus software (Avast Pro is $59.99 per year.)

I will note that the U.S. Government has banned one company selling antivirus software – Kaspersky Labs – because of “fears of Russian intelligence.”

Read more…

Why Is It Getting More Difficult to Recycle Macs?

June 1, 2016 Comments off

MacBooks - like these being used by student reporters at the University of Maryland - are becoming impossible to repair or refurbish.

Even older MacBooks are challenging to repair.

We have talked in the past about how much more difficult it is getting to recycle Macs, and frankly many other PC brands – especially laptops.

Now word that the upcoming MacBook will be even worse. A beautifully thin machine glued together with a battery that literally can’t be replaced. Shredding is not even an option.

This article by Huffington Post Reporter Andy Campbell tells the tale. But it reflects what we continue to see at the Clinic. We are only accepting and working on Intel machines now, so we are already having to deal with issues of machines that – for example – might only need a new hard drive, but it’s just too difficult to open up to replace. And that means it is harder for us to meet our goal of getting perfectly good machines back to folks who need them.

Frustration, thy name is increasingly Mac.

The Huffington Post article can be found here:

Apple’s Next MacBook Will Probably Be Terrible For The Planet
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2016/05/31/apple-new-macbook-unsustainable_n_10228840.html

 

Helping People is What We Do!

June 13, 2014 Comments off

One of our favorite shots of Jim - here at a MacWorld Conference in NYC many years ago.

One of our favorite shots of Jim – here at a MacWorld Conference in NYC many years ago.

Always great to hear these kinds of stories that we can pass along to our Recyclemac readers.

This one comes from our own Jim Ritz – a long-time member of the MacRecycleClinic and the old Tuesday Night Crew at Washington Apple Pi when the club had a physical office in Rockville.

Jim writes:

Recently one of (MRC volunteer) Phil Marchetti’s clients said she had an old iMac that was of unknown status. She asked Phil if he could fix it and maybe she could pass it in to her handyman who couldn’t afford to buy a computer.

Phil said it worked but needed ram and who knows what else. Hearing the specs I knew we had ram of the type it needed. We increased the ram from 256 MB to 2.0 GB and installed the latest Mac OS that early Intel could handle and passed it on. The client gave MRC a donation as well.

This was a Win, Win, Win situation for all involved!

It is what MRC does.

Heading into August: Craigslist

August 4, 2013 Comments off

We’ve finally made it to Craigslist – a great way to get a free message out there that MRC is alive and well. We’ve continued to meet weekly at Marvin Church and have been busy helping folks, recycling older Macs by tearing them down into their components and refurbishing Macs for donation or sale (yes, we do sell refurbished Macs).

Here’s the ad you can find on the Maryland Craigslist page – “All Services Listed” -> Computer Services.
Craigslist interface is still pretty basic but they do allow you to add photos and a map these days, which can make a huge difference.

 

Screen Shot 2013-08-04 at 5.17.28 PM

 

Critical Exposure’s Spring Exhibit a Hit with MRC Macs!

May 24, 2013 Comments off

The Washington, D.C. non-profit group Critical Exposure is celebrating it’s 8th annual spring exhibit – Zoom In: National Lens, Local Focus.  We are thrilled that they are using Macs donated by MacRecycleClinic for the exhibit, which features photography and writing by D.C. youth who are creating real change in their schools and communities.

The exhibit is at the Pepco Edison Gallery at 702 8th St. NW (a block from the Gallery Place metro).

Thanks to Merrill College of Journalism Lecturer and PhotoJournalist Bethany Swain for this great pic of a young visitor enjoying the Critical Exposure reception this past week. All the Mac PPC towers and monitors were donated by MRC.

Thanks to Merrill College of Journalism (University of Maryland) Lecturer and PhotoJournalist Bethany Swain for this great pic of a young visitor enjoying the Critical Exposure reception this past week. All the Mac PPC towers and monitors were donated by MRC.

A Thank You From The Blair HS PTSA

May 22, 2013 Comments off

English: It is the cupola at the front of Mont...

The cupola at the front of Montgomery Blair High School. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Posting this letter from Blair High School (Silver Spring, Md) PTSA “Prize Patrol” chair Christine White for the school’s popular After-Prom celebration. MRC donated computers and other prizes for the celebration – designed to keep students safe and secure after their Prom.

 

To Dave Ottalini and the MacRecycleClinic,

Thank you so much for your generous donation of two refurbished laptops, satellite radio and digital bank for this year’s After-Prom. We always know that the laptops are going to make a couple of Blair kids unbelievably happy (and this year is no exception!) but you’ll also be happy to know how incredibly popular the satellite radio turned out to be, with more than a hundred kids anxious to compete for the radio in our mini-raffle!

Extremely generous contributions like yours from friends and family of our Blair community are what makes the After-Prom festivities such a huge success, and what keeps our kids safe and healthy on the one night every year that our hardworking teens look forward to spending a fun and entertaining night together celebrating the many memories and good times of their four-year high school experience!!

We know how challenging it can be to juggle all the many worthy community causes that you service as part of the MacRecycleClinic, so we definitely want to let you to know how much we appreciate your continued support over many years to our students at Blair. Thank you again.

– And thank you to the Blair PTSA for the volunteer work all your parents contribute to the school (and to all parents frankly who give so much to their own school’s PTA/PTSA organizations – they all do good work!)

 

 

Tower Computers for Critical Exposure

May 10, 2013 Comments off

Critical Exposure LogoMacRecycleClinic has been working for a few weeks to get a number of PPC towers ready for a Washington, D.C. based non profit called Critical Exposure.

We found out about this non-profit that “teaches youth to use the power of photography and their own voices to become effective advocates for school reform and social change” through Bethany Swain, a former CNNer and current lecturer at the Philip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland. Bethany’s students have gone to Critical Exposure’s offices to mentor their students. One of the Merrill Journalists as they are called, Louie Dane, wrote a retrospective for the Merrill News website.

Maryland journalism student Louie Dane mentors a Critical Exposure participant.

Maryland journalism student Louie Dane mentors a Critical Exposure participant.

When we get a request like this – the first questions we always ask at the MacRecycleClinic is what do you want to DO with the computers and what software would you LIKE to have. The answers to those questions provide the focus we need to put together the “package” they receive.

In Critical Exposure’s case, their students want to do multimedia – video, photo and audio editing. So on top of the “regular” OS X install we do, there were some additional things to add. Since none of these machines can go higher than OS 10.5.8, we had to make sure that the software we included could work with the last PPC Tower from Apple before the company moved to Intel. We would have loved to provide Intel machines with Final Cut Express (donations welcome), but folks are holding on to their Intel towers these days because Apple has not come out with a new update in quite a while. And FCE is hard to come by in numbers (Apple no longer offers it in fact).

That said, these machines run a good, stable and powerful version of the Mac OS and are very capable computers for what Critical Exposures students would like to do. There may be issues with third party software – Flash, Adobe Reader, etc. but not enough to make that much of a difference. These machines are ignored by hackers as well – one less worry.

Read more…

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