How to: Use your Mac’s screen as an Apple TV




You have a big 27-inch iMac sitting on the desk in the corner of your living room office, and yet you’re over there on the couch watching a movies on your iPhone or iPad. Wouldn’t it be great if you could beam one to the other, like sending video from an iPhone to an Apple TV? The good news is that you totally can, just by installing an app on your Mac. There are several available, but today we’ll use my favorite, Reflector.

AirPlay for your Mac


Reflector 2 is a media-receiving app which works with AirPlay and Google Cast, and is available for Mac, Android, and Windows. It has some other tricks, like allowing you to stream your iOS video live to YouTube, and to record video and audio using your Mac’s microphone and camera. But today we’ll be seeing how to do one simple thing: steaming video from your iPhone (or iPad) to your Mac’s big screen.

First, you should download Reflector 2. The full version costs $15, and the app runs as a free trial with a watermark over the screen. This trial is one of the reasons I like Reflector over other options like AirServer, because AirServer’s “free” trial requires you to give them your email address. Also, AirServer never works on my Mac.

After installing Reflector 2 (which requires a restart), you’re ready to go. If you ever used AirPlay or Apple TV to stream video or music, you’ll be familiar with using Reflector 2. That’s because it works by turning your Mac into an AirPlay receiver. Your iDevice requires no special software. Your Reflector-running Mac just shows up as a standard AirPlay device on the network.

Using Reflector to stream video


This is the easy part. To watch a movie or YouTube video on your Mac, just play it on your iPhone, tap the little AirPlay sharing icon (the triangle in the rectangle), and choose your Reflector-running Mac in the pop-up list. Because it is masquerading as an Apple TV, you’ll see an Apple TV icon, with the same name as your Mac. Then you tap this icon, wait a couple of seconds, and your video (and sound) will appear on your Mac’s screen. You can now sit back and enjoy a movie, or whatever. And remember, because this is AirPlay, it has other uses too. A visitor to your home can run a slideshow of their photos from their iPhone, for example, or make a Keynote presentation the same way.

That’s it — more or less. You may find that the window on the Mac is not running full screen, or that the name of your iDevice is displayed at the top of the window. This last — the name of the sending device — is there to help out in offices and classrooms. It tells you who is beaming to the device right now. This isn’t so useful at home, so let’s switch it off, as well as making the full-screen the default display.

Customizing the video


First, let’s switch off the pesky name displayed at the top of the screen. On the Mac, open up Reflector’s preferences
Reflector > Preferences…, or (Command-comma). Then, under General, change the Show Client Name popover to Off.


Next, we’ll tell Reflector to always open video in full-screen. Click on the next section in the app’s preferences: Connection. Here you can set the Default Scale to Fill Screen, and toggle Show Frame (which shows the video framed with a picture of an iPhone or iPad).


That’s about it for settings, but as you’re in here, click around to see what else can be changed. I switched off support for Google Cast, as well as support for related apps form Reflector’s developer, AirSquirrels.

Airplay apps


When researching this post, I looked into several other apps, but settled on Reflector because it works, because it looks good, and because the company behind it seems to be in the game for the long term. I’ve tried the main rival, AirServer, extensively in the past, even buying it (twice), but I could never get it to work properly. Video would fail to appear, or the iPad end of the equation wouldn’t work out. Between that and the aggressive trial mode, I’d avoid AirServer. Reflector, on the other hand, just works — even on my 2010-vintage iMac.


What’s your favorite way to stream? Tell us about it in the comments below!!

How to: clear the cache on your iPhone or iPad



Deleting junk files, memory hogs and unwanted cache items is a great way to give your iPhone (or iPad) a spring-clean speed boost and get it running faster than ever.

by Lucy Hattersley of MacWorld UK

The iPhone and iPad are user-friendly devices, but iOS still gets clogged up over time with unwanted files and memory hogs. This can slow your device down.

In this article, we’re going to look at how to clean out all the junk and memory-clogging files on your iPhone and get it to run a bit faster.

Giving your Apple device a spring clean and removing unwanted files will improve its performance, especially if it is an older model. But clearing out the memory also helps you get more out of iOS by enabling you to focus on the things you do need and use.
Apple iOS devices may not need the same level of maintenance as macOS (or, heaven forbid, Windows), but they still need some attention to run at optimum speed.
(For more general iOS speed tips, take a look at our broader tutorial: How to speed up a slow iPhone or How to speed up a slow iPad)

Step 1: Delete the Safari cache on iPhone or iPad

We’re going to start by clearing out the caches. Note that this will log you out of any websites you’ve signed into. Follow these steps to clear out the Safari cache on your iPhone:

1 Open the Settings app, and scroll down to the fifth group of options
(with Mail at the top). Tap Safari.
2 Scroll down again and tap ‘Clear History and Website Data’.
3 Tap ‘Clear History and Data’.

Step 2: Clean app data on iPhone or iPad

Data stored by other apps can be cleaned out using the Usage option in settings.

Follow these steps:

1 Tap Settings > General > Storage & iCloud Usage.
2 In the top section (Storage), tap Manage Storage.
3 Select an app that’s taking up a lot of space.
4 Take a look at the entry for Documents & Data. If this is taking up more
than 500MB, it’s worth deleting and reinstalling the app to clear the space.
5 Tap Delete App, then head to the App Store to re-download it. This will be
a clean install without all the data and documents.


Step 3: Free up memory by restarting your iPhone or iPad

For the most part, iOS will manage your memory effectively without you having to do anything. But we do find that restarting an iPhone occasionally is a good way to clear the memory and ensure that important apps have enough to use.
Here’s how to restart your iPhone:

1 Hold down the Sleep/Wake button (on the top or at the top-right of
the device) until “slide to power off” appears.
2 Swipe the power off slider.
3 Wait until the device has fully powered down, then press and hold
the Sleep/Wake button to turn on the iPhone.

Doing this on a regular basis used to be vital on an iPhone, and it’s still useful on older models.

Step 4: Download a cleaner app for iPhone or iPad

There are various apps available that can help you quickly get rid of files you don’t need. These apps are normally downloaded onto your Mac or PC, which you’ll then need to connect your iPhone (or iPad) to in order for it to work its magic.

A cleaner app is normally the fastest and most effective way to make space on your iPhone, but if you want a full-featured one they usually cost up to £20. That said, it’s better than having to cough up for a whole new phone when you run out of space!


PhoneClean by iMobie can be used to remove junk files from iOS. Follow these steps:

1 Attach the iPhone to your Mac using the USB Cable.
2 Open PhoneClean and click Scan.
3 Once the scan is complete, click Clean.

Some PhoneClean features, including Photo Caches, are only available in the Pro version. This costs $19.99 (around £16) per year. Read next: How to jailbreak an iPhone.

iMyFone Umate
Much like PhoneClean by iMobie, iMyFone Umate for Mac and Windows can be used to quickly and easily remove temporary and junk files from your iOS device. Read next: 

How to update iOS on an iPhone.

1 Connect your iPhone to your Mac or PC.
2 Open iMyFone Umate and click Scan on the Home tab.
3 Clear Junk files and Temporary files to clear a lot of space on your
iPhone (4GB on our test device).
4 You can also clear out any large files (videos and so on) and see, at a
glance, apps that take up a lot of space. These can also be deleted
fairly easy using iMyFone Umate.

There’s a free version if you want to try the application out for yourself. The paid version, which sets you back $19.95 (around £16), adds some more advanced features.

**Please Note: This article is from Great Britain. The Apps mentioned are available online; not in the App Store.

What’s your favorite method for freeing up Space on your phone? Tell us in the comments below!

5 troubleshooting tips for fixing your own computer





By David Nield of Popular Science

DIY computer repair.

Many of us are so reliant on our computers, that when something goes wrong it’s a serious problem—like the power going out or the water getting cut off. Of course you want to get your system back up and running as quickly as you can, but that’s often easier said than done. It’s no exaggeration to say an almost limitless number of things can go wrong with a computer, because everyone’s system and settings are different. It can seem almost impossible knowing where to begin when it comes to troubleshooting your way back to a working machine.

That said, you’d be surprised by just how many issues have the same simple root cause. Before you get professional help—which we’d still advise in a lot of cases—run through these simple measures to see if you can get the problem fixed yourself.

1. Run a thorough virus scan

It’s obvious, but it’s effective: Fire up your virus scanning software, launch the deepest and most thorough scan available, then leave it to do its work. Note that the most comprehensive type of scan (which looks at the most files and takes the longest time to complete) may not be the scan that your computer is set to run by default, so have a check through the program settings to see what’s available. You’ll also want to make sure it’s totally updated before running the scan so it can catch the most recent wave of bad code.

Antivirus scanners can sometimes miss threats or get disabled by them, so it’s worth getting a second opinion. A lot of antivirus developers make lightweight, on-demand scanners you can install alongside your main security software as a second layer of protection—applications like Kaspersky Security Scan for Windows or macOS, or Microsoft Safety Scanner for Windows, or Emsisoft Emergency Kit for Windows.

You’ll find more antivirus programs around for Windows because it has a history of being attacked by the greater proportion of malware. While macOS is quite comprehensively locked down, especially if you stick to the Mac App Store for your applications, you can never be 100 percent sure of staying safe, so it’s always worth having an antivirus program or two on hand to troubleshoot system problems.

All kinds of computer crashes and slowdowns can be caused by viruses and other malware. It’s worth running a scan if your system has become sluggish, or is suddenly behaving strangely, or seems overrun with advertising. If threats are found, your antivirus program will know how to combat them; or if you get a clean bill of health then you can try some other troubleshooting options to fix whatever issue you’re having.


2. Update your software

Many computer problems are caused by outdated and un-patched software, from outbreaks of ransomware to glitchy keyboards that refuse to spit out the correct letters when you tap them. Fortunately, many updates are now applied automatically, because they’re so important—which is why your computer might suddenly reboot when you weren’t expecting it to.

Focus on your operating system first. In Windows you can look for updates by opening up Settings then clicking Update & security; on macOS, launch the App Store from the dock or the Applications screen in Finder, then switch to the Updates tab. Make sure you apply any updates that are pending.

It’s important to check for updates to your other applications, including your web browser and your antivirus program, though again this is often handled automatically so you shouldn’t have anything to worry about. The update feature should be fairly prominent in any app, but consult the built-in help if you get stuck.

After applying all the updates you can find, your issues might well be fixed, though this is as much of a technique for preventing future problems as it is for fixing existing ones. Make sure as many of your installed applications are updating themselves automatically in the background, and you should run into fewer computer issues as a result.

3. Cut down on the bloat

You might think that leaving older, unused programs on your hard drive is pretty harmless, but as more and more applications mount up, it means your operating system has to work harder, and the files on your computer get broken up more often and spread out further as your computer tries to save them—something known as fragmentation. As a result the amount of free storage space can quickly become limited.

If you’ve noticed your computer is running more slowly, crashing at odd times, or showing some other kind of buggy behavior, it might be that it’s simply creaking under the weight of all the software you’ve got installed. You can uninstall applications you no longer need from the Apps section of Settings in Windows, or by dragging the app shortcut down to the Trash on macOS. Some macOS apps can be removed from the Launcher by clicking and holding on an icon until it shakes, then clicking the cross icon.

The same goes for your browser—having too many extensions and add-ons installed can lead to a serious slowdown or some erratic behavior, so limit your extensions to the ones you actually need and use. In Chrome, go to More Tools then Extensions from the main app menu; in Firefox choose Add-ons from the main app menu; and in Microsoft Edge, choose Extensions from the main app menu.

If your computer is running low on disk space then it can lead to a number of problems, including occasional crashes and slow performance. As well as removing unneeded apps, try removing unneeded files too, like movies you’ve already watched or duplicate photos you’ve got safely backed up somewhere else. Generally speaking, the less bloated your system, the fewer system problems you’ll run into.

4. Test your Wi-Fi connection

Of course this troubleshooting technique only applies to internet-related problems—one very specific category of issue. The key to getting your internet up and running again is to work out where the problem lies, and the detective work isn’t as difficult as you might think. Once you know what’s wrong you can go about trying to fix it.

If you can, plug your laptop or desktop computer straight into your router with an Ethernet cable. If you still don’t get internet, and nothing connected to Wi-Fi is getting internet (like phones and tablets), then the problem may well lie with your router hardware or the service provided by your internet service provider—just about your only option is to get on the phone to the company and ask for assistance.

If some devices can get online and others can’t, then that points to problems with those specific devices. We can’t cover every conceivable issue here, but rebooting those devices, updating the software installed on them, and switching Wi-Fi off and then back on again to establish the connection from scratch are good first steps.

If your computer can get online when plugged directly into the router but not when it’s browsing over Wi-Fi, you might well be looking at a problem with your Wi-Fi network. We’ve written before about getting the strongest possible signal around your house, but if that doesn’t get you anywhere, then reboot your router and dive into its on-board settings—a quick web search based on the router make and model should surface some information about troubleshooting tricks you can try.

5. Reinstall the operating system

Reinstalling Windows or macOS and starting again from scratch is a more extreme version of the “cut down on the bloat” solution we mentioned above. It wipes out troublesome programs, erases many viruses and types of malware, resets your internet connection settings and generally gives you a blank slate to start from again.
You’ll want to make sure that you have all your data backed up before starting the reinstallation process.

What makes this worth trying is that Microsoft and Apple have made reinstalling their operating systems so straightforward now. On Windows, you can head to Update & security from Settings and then choose Reset this PC to get started (more here), whereas on macOS you need to hold down Cmd+R as you press the power button to turn on your Mac to launch the Utilities program (more here).

By setting your system back to square one, you’re theoretically wiping away whatever was causing the issue you’re having, though there’s no guarantee it’ll work. You also need to weigh up the hassle of getting all your applications and files back on the system afterwards, so it’s not the right choice for everyone in every situation. In our experience though, we’ve found it to be an effective fix for a lot of computer ills.

We can’t promise that these five tips will solve every problem you’re having but they at least enable you to rule out some basic possibilities as far as root causes go. We’re also not trying to diminish the importance of your local PC repair shop—and that should be your next port of call if your computer’s still struggling at the end of this guide.

WIT: Meet the Wonderfully Nerdy CEO Who Is Now America’s Richest Self-Made Woman in Tech


Judy Faulkner, founder and CEO of Epic; courtesy of HIMSS Media



by Rob Wile of Time

Judy Faulkner hates high heels.

Stockings too.

“High heels hurt,” she told The Capital Times. “Stockings — stockings are probably like ties. They constrain your thinking.”

Faulkner discussed the issue during a long interview in April at the headquarters of Epic Systems, the Wisconsin-based electronic healthcare records management company she founded in 1979 when she was in her mid-30s.

Today, Epic has 9,000 employees and annual revenues of $1.75 billion, and the 73-year-old Faulkner is worth $2.6 billion according to Forbes. That makes her one of the top 10 richest self-made women in the U.S. Though she’s hardly a household name, Faulkner is America’s wealthiest self-made woman in tech, with a net worth slightly higher than Hewlett-Packard CEO Meg Whitman ($2.5 billion).

Why has Faulkner remained fairly unknown? Until recently, she rarely granted interviews, preferring to focus on building Epic. But lately, healthcare becomes politicized, and control of the marketplace has been increasingly being fought in public, so Faulkner has felt compelled to talk more to the media.

“It has to do with our growth in the industry,” she told HealthcareITNews last fall. “When we were smaller, it was fairly easy just to stay below the radar and concentrate simply on ‘Are we developing good software? And are we doing a good job with our customers?’ That’s how life was.”

Now, healthcare has become “more of a media battle than a quality-of-products and quality-of-services and support battle,” Faulkner told HealthcareITNews, and she understands she must discuss a wide range of issues in public, sometimes even including how she thinks uncomfortable office attire can affect workplace productivity.

A New Jersey native, Faulkner has spent her entire adult life in Wisconsin after enrolling at the University of Wisconsin to pursue a master’s degree in computer science. She and her husband have lived the same Madison subdivision for the better part of three decades, and she drives around in a five-year-old Audi. She recently joined wealthy philanthropists like Bill Gates and Warren Buffett by signing the Giving Pledge and promising to bequeath her assets to foundations upon her death.

Faulkner got her start after taking what she says was one of the country’s first-ever computers-in-medicine courses at UW. The decision reflected her interest in both medicine — her mother was a co-winner of the Nobel Prize Peace Prize for her work with the Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility, and her father was a pharmacist — and tech.

“Math is truth and computer science is what works. It’s great to put them together because you need both,” she told The Capital Times.

Faulkner says she grew up as a “nerd,” and credits the advent of Microsoft for making life for people like her easier.

“It was painful to be nerdy when I was growing up and I clearly was nerdy,” she told The Capital Times. “But I think it became a perfectly fine thing to be nerdy after Bill Gates.”

Faulkner founded what was then called Human Services Computing, in 1979. At launch, the only employees were two assistants, in addition to the founders.

For a tech company based in the Midwest, growth was initially modest. Eleven years after its founding, the company, which by then had changed its name to Epic, still only had 30 employees, according to the International Directory of Company Histories. But it had already captured some major clients, including the Harvard Community Health Plan, the Ontario (Canada) Ministry of Health, and a 490-bed hospital constructed by the Sultan of Brunei. Epic’s bookkeeping software was being used by approximately 100 hospitals in Asia, Canada, and the United States.

One of the company’s biggest turning points was when it rolled out a Windows-based electronic medical record (EMR) product called EpicCare. Through word of mouth, and thanks to the growth of Windows itself, the product became the industry standard. By 1997, according to the Directory, Epic had net income of $6.6 million on sales of $30.9 million, and EpicCare was officially the nation’s largest electronic medical records system, with some 18,000 licenses sold. Epic attributed more than half of its revenues to EpicCare in 1997, the Directory says. As it expanded into more and more hospitals, revenue hit $162 million in 2003, the year Epic “stunned the industry,” in the words of the according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, by landing the Kaiser Permanente contract.

Even as Epic’s value soared, Faulkner steadfastly refused to take the company public or accept a buyout. She has also become known for creating an atmosphere that combines grueling hours with unabashed geekiness. Today, the Epic campus in Verona, Wisc., contains a Harry Potter-themed buildings, an Indiana Jones-styled hallway, and a treehouse. For the company’s annual client meeting group, Faulkner is known for dressing in costumes — including Supergirl, the Mad Hatter from Alice in Wonderland, and a Harley-Davidson biker.

At the same time, there have been grumbles about Epic’s corporate culture. These have manifested themselves in a series of class-action lawsuits challenging the company’s overtime pay rules. In fact, one of these suits will soon be heard by the Supreme Court.

The overtime disputes are perhaps the outgrowth of Faulkner’s own extreme work ethic. Employees say that Faulkner is always willing to stay up and work all night to get tasks completed, and she expected others to do the same.

“There may be some people who work as hard as Judy,” Epic co-founder John Greist told The Capital Times. “But I’m pretty sure there’s nobody who’s worked harder.”

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