English assistance for Apple users in the Bangkok area
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UPDATE (JAN. 2018): I'M NOW SEMI-RETIRED AND ONLY WORK IN THE UPPER SUKHUMVIT AREA (EKAMAI TO BANGNA, ETC.) However, all are welcome to come to my place near Udom Suk BTS station.
Also: I can't work around 1) barking dogs, 2) people yapping on phones, 3) bad music (electronic dance music, etc.). Sorry.

(Sorry, but I get too many inquiries about these things.)

Welcome to Bangkok Mac! Click article headers below to toggle up and down.

March 9, 2018: All About Them


Wow--over 4 years since I added a post here!

Why? Well, nothing very significant happens in the Apple world anymore. (At least that's my opinion.) I'm not interested in their new 'Home' apps and gizmos, that allow you to run your house by remote control. Nor am I interested in their Apple TV, Watch or AirPods wireless earbuds. (Let alone "the cloud.") Call me a curmudgeon; I don't care. My mac has been able to do what I want to do for over 10 years. I can't think of anything in that time that has made any difference in how I work. (I might be forgetting something, but this is basically correct.) Computers were "finished" a long time ago.

The image (above, right) is from the App Store on my iPhone. As you can see, it's informing me that sixteen of the apps on my phone are "out of date" or have "updates." I've probably said this before but, in the old days (say, 1990s), an update could well have a significant improvement that you could really benefit from. For example, I remember when a new version of Microsoft Word included an AUTOMATIC SPELL CHECKER! Can you imagine how cool that was?

"Updates" nowadays are usually to benefit the software developer, not the user. The new "features" are actually new ideas (read: tricks), the developer has come up with to entice you into spending more money, seeing more ads, or getting you more dependent or addicted to their app. That's why they come so fast and furious.
I could go on, but I have better things to do. But I did try to write a little poem about it recently:

The Team
It’s easiest if you sign in with Facebook
(And we’ll get all your contacts)
And the cloud, so soft and fluffy
Let me find a vein.
You’ll never know how you lived without it
Settings? Oh, don’t bother with those.
(Water melts the Tech of the West)
Why bother your pretty head with the details?
Just sign on the line,
Now bow your head slightly
(The harness is velvet lined)
Congratulations, your on The Team!
Now giddyap, that’s a good pony.
Huh? What’s that you say?
Ugh, I feel weak.

Dave P.

January 15, 2014: My Take On Mavericks (OS 10.9)

Mac/Apple Friends,

I recently wrote some notes about Mavericks, or Mac OS 10.9, to try and distill my feelings about it. I grouped my observations into the following categories: Improvements, OK, Don't Care, Sucks, Sucks Hard and Deal Breaker.

The Good News
From reading the web boards, most people appear to like it. It's free, which is undoubtedly one of the reasons for it's rapid adoption. (Released in October 2013, it now runs on about 20% of all Macs.) If you're using it and like it, I'm happy for you; but here's my reaction.

The only improvement I've found should, I think, actually be termed a bug fix. In Mac OS 10.8 ("Mt. Lion"), the Mail app would often complain that it couldn't download mail from one account because the "certificate on the server expired." In Mavericks they added a checkbox in Mail preferences to "always trust" a particular server, if you wanted.

Now that I think of it, Mail in Mavericks also seemed to connect to my servers more dependably than in Mt. Lion.

It also seems pretty easy to install, and almost all my apps still worked. One exception was Little Snitch (an app that monitors incoming and outgoing internet activity; it cost me $42 to get the compatible version).

Another was Flip4Mac (allows you to view Windows Media on a Mac). And I had one client who needed to buy the latest version of Amadeus (sound editing software).

It's also nice that it can run on about any Mac from 2008 or newer that has at least 2GB of memory.

Don't Care
A couple things that were hyped were the new iBooks and Maps. I don't have an iPad, so I don't need iBooks. When I want a map, I google one.

Another new feature I don't care about is Tabbed Folders. I like Tabs in a web browser, but I don't think I'd ever use a tabbed folder. Ditto the new Tags feature.

I also don't care about any of the other "200 new features." They're mostly marketing wind.

I use Labels, which lets you apply a color to a file to remind yourself it's important (or whatever). In Mavericks, Labels have been subsumed into the Tags feature, and whatever color you choose is now just a small dot over to the side somewhere so you don't see it unless you look closely.

Up until the new 10.9, choosing Find from the File menu would bring up a window with a search field. In Mavericks, if you had an active Finder window, it now becomes a search window (the window you had open is gone, unless you hit the back button).

They also changed the keyboard shortcut for opening a folder in a new window, or opening a folder and closing the parent window. (Most people may not care about this, but I do.)

Also bothersome is that tapping the Mac's power button on my MacBook now puts it to sleep, instead of bringing up the Shut Down/Restart panel, which I liked.

Whereas Preview seemed to handle all PDF documents by default in previous systems, now Adobe Acrobat has taken over as default PDF plugin in Safari. And, being Adobe, they have to pester you every time, asking, "Do you want to trust PDF content from this website?" Why wouldn't I?

Sucks Hard
Despite the welcome bug fix in Mail, I was frustrated to discover the Rules I had created stopped working in 10.9. I'd made Rules in Mail Preferences to automatically move certain kinds of messages to folders I'd created. Searching online for a solution, I found others also had experienced this. Way to go; break something that used to work fine.

I use Calendar to keep track of appointments, etc., and often set alerts a few hours (or days), before the scheduled event to remind me. In Mavericks, editing Calendar events now is ridiculously convoluted. It seems like they throw the new-hires at the task of "upgrading" Calendar. These kids have no appreciation for the history or functionality of the app; they just want to give it this year's color scheme and otherwise change it for the sake of it.

Deal Breaker
You may have read my polemic against iCloud a few blogs ago. (Again, if it works for you, that's great.) It's been exceedingly obvious that iCloud is Apple's new baby and they really think it's (really) in everyone's best interest to sign up and connect all our iDevices so everyone's connected to everything 25 hours a day. To the extent that you just had to laugh, they've so wanted you to opt in. (I found it buggy.)

And you may have seen my angry reaction when Google forced all content providers on their video sharing property (YouTube), to join their social network (Google Plus), or have certain key features of their YouTube channel removed. This outraged even one of the creators of YouTube.

No More Wire Syncing
So here's what happened. After installing Mavericks, when I connected my iPhone to let it sync my Contacts and Calendar, I noticed it failed to do so. So, I opened iTunes while the phone was connected to check under the Info tab that it was still set to automatically sync. "What the hell?," I said to myself, when I saw there was no Info tab in iTunes. I googled to see what the problem was, only to find the awful truth: Apple had removed it. You could no longer sync your Info by connecting with a wire.

The only way to sync your Contacts and Calendar under Mavericks was now through iCloud! As unbelievable as it seemed, Apple was no longer satisfied to merely plead with users to use iCloud. Just as Google had forced their social network on their partners, Apple hobbled its own software in order to force users onto iCloud.

I have no doubt that their fine print states they will not inspect your contacts or calendar once they are on their servers. But besides simply not wanting to use iCloud (and not even wanting to turn on web access on my phone), I also think it's likely their fine print stipulates they "may run data mining apps on the data collected to find what domains or Zip codes, etc. are listed for targeted marketing purposes, etc.," (for example).

Bye-Bye Mavericks
Though I can't remember the last time I actually removed a new OS after installing it, I've done so with Mavericks. To me, there is only one significant bug fix, some 'change for change's sake,' several annoying/disappointing things...and one deal breaker. Luckily, I'd cloned my Mt. Lion hard drive before installing 10.9. So, even though it was a hassle and took a couple days to revert, I made the time to do it.

Now that I've been back on Mt. Lion for a week or so, I've calmed down a bit. There's still a lot I like about my Mac, and I currently have no viable option to the apps I depend on to make my guitar videos (for example).
But don't imagine I won't be researching what other options there are. Off the top of my head, I'll bet Linux and a few other Unix-based systems (Mac OS is Unix based), would install easily on Mac (or other) hardware, and I'll also bet they still retain the Open Source values they were founded on.

I'm still a Mac user and still enjoy helping others with Mac/Apple issues, but unless they get back to running the company the way Steve and Woz did, my estimation of them will dwindle and dwindle.

Happy New Year,

Dave P.

September 18, 2013: Defrag, iTunes Match, Tunnelbear
Fragmentation    Match    Tunnelbear  

• Fragmentation?
• Match That iTune
• Tunnel to the U.S....

Howdy Appleheads,

I was in the U.S. for a month and a half and almost decided to move back...but not quite. I had to come back to the Big Mango, as I still had stuff in my room. Then I realized it's cheaper to hang out here and work on my guitar videos (my main passion), than in the states. So, here I remain. ;-)

Fragged Flash
If you had a Mac before 2003, you may recall that "fragmentation" was something you had to be aware of. Hard disks would get fragmented after a while, which means the data would start to get written in little sections all over the disk, instead of all in one spot. This could make your computer slow--or worse. Sometimes you'd have to run a "defragmenting" application to straighten things out, which was time consuming. Luckily, since 2003, Mac OS X automatically defragments your disk in the background.

Up to a point, that is. A few months back I had a client who was getting "disk full" messages on her MacBook. Basically, if it gets to this point, I think it's too late. See, the Mac needs a certain amount of "breathing room" on the disk for its "housekeeping" procedures. I recommend keeping at least 10% of the disk empty (15% is better). We ended up having to back everything up, erase the internal drive, and reinstall everything.

To be fair, part of the problem was that she had a relatively small hard drive. It was the newer "solid state drive" type (SSD; Apple now calls it "flash storage"). With no moving parts, SSD drives are super fast, light and almost unbreakable (all MacBooks now come with flash drives). However, they come at a price. My client had just a 250GB one, which she managed to fill up in just a couple years.

Match That iTune
Do you know about iTunes Match? I had a client spring for this recently (just $25/year from Apple). After you buy it, you can access all your music from any device. How it works is, it scans all the music on your computer...every song can be identified uniquely by the first few seconds of digital information. iTunes checks to see if Apple already has that song on their servers. Since they have over 26 million songs, it's a good chance they do. So, there's no need to upload the songs you own that they already have; only songs not on their servers are uploaded. Then you just sign turn on iTunes Match on all your devices and, voila: you're streamin'.

Bear In Tunnel
Have you ever been trying to do something on a website and get the message, "Sorry, you are not allowed to access this from your country," (meaning Thailand)? I've run into this mostly on financial sites, but also on other geo-restricted sites like Spotify music service.
Well, I've found something that helps. Tunnelbear is a desktop VPN (virtual private network) app that creates a secure "tunnel" though the internet and gives you an IP address from the US, UK, Canada, Germany or Japan--you choose. The basic version is free (500MB of browsing data per month--way more than I've needed). Just launch it and turn it on and websites now think I'm surfing from inside the US! It's allowed me to make financial transactions I otherwise couldn't. (When I'm done, I turn it off so I don't use up my free data allotment.) Pretty handy.

Yo, DP

January 7, 2013: Data Loss, Super Erase, Siri...
Disk Utility    Siri    iTunes  

• Don't Be A Data Loser
• Super Erase
• Fun With Siri
• iTunes 11

Don't Be A Loser
I got an email the other day from someone who's iMac would no longer boot (start up); only hanging with a grey screen. She wrote, "I am very concerned that I may have lost the data on my computer, a lot of which is not backed up (I'm an idiot I know!)." Obviously, I've encountered several like her before. I start with this just in case you've been complacent about instituting a backup plan. Again, Time Machine, which has been included with all Macs since 2008, is the easiest app to use to back up your data. Just buy an external hard drive and plug it into your Mac. Time Machine should automatically launch and ask you a couple of questions to set itself up. (See my October 2012 blog for an overview of backup strategies.)

I dropped by at her request to try a couple of things to see if I could get her Mac to boot up. Even after trying a few tricks I use in cases like these, the Mac did not respond. It was acting like some low-level circuitry or chips were damaged, as it could not even boot from an external drive or system DVD disk. Then she mentioned that she had experienced some static electricity shocks from the machine and that the electrical system in her apartment was very flakey. So, I suspect that one or both of these things eventually fried a chip or two on the mother board. I assured her that it was very unlikely the hard drive was damaged, but she'd need to take it to a shop (like iStudio in Paragon), that deals with Mac hardware and have them remove the drive, then copy the data to an external drive they would sell her.

When You *Want* To Lose Your Data
Another recent client likes to leave nothing to chance. He wanted me to reinstall the operating systems on three of his Macs. But first, he wanted to make sure the current data on the machines was completely erased--in the sense of being absolutely irretrievable. It turns out the Disk Utility app has different settings for different levels of security when erasing a disk. This client opted for the highest level, which writes seven passes of random data on the disk. Two of the Macs had 1 terabyte hard drives, which took about fifteen hours each to erase. However, the third machine had a 2 terabyte drive which, even after running all night, still needed another fourteen hours to finish. But he agreed the four passes it had completed was good enough.

Siri (Speech Interpretation and Recognition Interface)
Those of you with an iPhone 4S or 5, or a newer iPad or iPod Touch can take advantage of Siri, which is the voice-activated 'assistant' built into iOS 6. Yesterday and the day before I got to help a guy learn to use his iPhone 4S, so we spent some time working with Siri. (As I still have an iPhone 4, I haven't been able to try it.)
As usual, when I need to learn something, I just go to YouTube and look it up. Sure enough, there was a very good video introducing Siri's basic functionality.

One thing it appears Siri still can't do, as far as I know, is read your emails to you. We also learned (by trying it), that Siri could not delete email messages for you. We realized this is probably a good thing; you might inadvertently have Siri delete some things you actually wanted to keep. We also got some messages from Siri to the effect that certain kinds of searches would not work outside of the U.S. Still, it was fun playing with Siri and it's amazing to see how far speech recognition software has come. At the end of the above video, he asks Siri, "Is Android a good phone?," to which Siri replies, "You're kidding, right?"

I Hate iTunes 11
Well, I don't hate it, but it's just the latest example of Apple needing to rewrite a piece of software with the result that it barely resembles it's former self. Suffice to say, after installing the recent iTunes 11, I scrambled to try to reset the choices in the View menu, etc., to make it look, as much as possible, like it did before. But, it appears some of the new interface choices have permanently nuked some of the old ways of doing things. Sigh. I wrote on my Facebook page, in exasperation, "I'm old; don't screw with me!"

Yo, DP

October 29, 2012: Backup: Time Machine, Cloner, Cloud
Time Machine    CCC    DropBox  

• Time Machine
• Carbon Copy Cloner
• Cloud Backup

To Backup, Or Not?

Should you back up the contents of your Mac's hard drive? Well, there's no need if you're a hundred percent sure there's nothing you care about in your computer. But if that's the case, then why have a computer? So, the easy answer is: Absolutely.

Time Machine

As you may know, all Macs come with Apple's Time Machine (TM) application. TM is "backup for dummies;" you plug in an external hard drive, it asks you if you want to use it for backup, you click OK. Done. If you accidentally delete an important file, no problem; you open the TM app, click the 'go back in time' arrow until you see it, then click Restore. You can even go back further in time to an older version of the file and retrieve that. You can also copy everything on the TM backup drive to a new drive should your internal drive fail. Because of the 'multi-version look back' feature, I use TM as part of my backup strategy. But it lacks two important elements.

Bootable Backup

You cannot boot up your Mac from your TM backup drive, which is something you will definitely want to do if your internal hard drive fails and you need to use your Mac. Luckily, there are a few apps out there that will 'clone' the contents of your hard drive such that you *can* boot from it. the one I chose is Carbon Copy Cloner (CCC), though Super Duper is another popular choice. CCC's interface is simple and it allows you to create a Scheduled Task, so it automatically copies new or changed files to an external drive every day (or however often you tell it). So, if your internal drives becomes toast, you just plug in your Cloned drive, hold the Option key on startup and you're in business. (But CCC doesn't keep older versions of files, so I still like TM for that.)

Off-site Backup

The third element of my backup strategy may not be obvious to many people, but it's just as important. So...I've got my 300-page novel in my Mac, on my TM drive and on my Cloned drive, so I'm more than safe, right? Well, if all three of these things are in the same building which burns down, then...nope. You also need a copy (or two), of your important data that you keep somewhere else.

Cloud Backup

Luckily, there are a few options for 'Cloud' backup. As you may know, Apple's iCloud lets you automatically copy your photos, music, movies, email, contacts and calendar data amongst your various Apple devices, which is real convenient. You can even 'back up' Apple iWork documents. And there may be ways to get it to back up other kinds of documents generated by non-Apple programs (like Microsoft Word, for example), but I'd have to research that. But I think there are better 'cloud backup' options.

DropBox, SkyDrive, Google Drive

Luckily, there are some folks out there who offer free backup space 'in the cloud.' They all work roughly the same way: You download a little app from their site and install it. The first time you run it, it walks you through the simple setup. It puts a folder on your hard drive and whatever you drag to that folder gets backed up to a hard disk in the cloud. Then, when your apartment burns down, there's no need to be bummed about it. (Well, at least there's no need to think your data is also lost.)

In my case, the thing I really wanted to back up offsite was the guitar lesson videos I've spent so many hours to produce. So, I tried DropBox, SkyDrive (by Microsoft) and Google Drive. Of the three, DropBox worked best, so I've stuck with that. All offer a few gigabytes of storage for free, with the option to buy more space if you need it.

So, that's my current, three-pronged, backup strategy. If you're serious about not losing your stuff, you should think about it (seriously!).

Yo, DP

September 23, 2012: FB, New Hard Drive, Mountain Lion...
Facebook Mt. Lion

• Facebook Page
• New MacBook Hard Drive
• Mac OS X "Mountain Lion"


Please join me on Facebook at facebook.com/ BangkokMac. Click 'Like!' I usually tell what sort of Mac/Apple work I've been up to for various folks around town. Plus other stuff.

New Hard Drive

The hard drive in my mid-2007 MacBook Pro started acting mighty funky (slow, slower, slowest...), so I just replaced it. If yours needs replacing, I can do it! I ended up getting a Seagate 500GB drive at Fortune Town IT Mall by Phra Ram 9 for around B2100. I also picked up an external case to put the drive in so I could copy the contents of my old drive to it before opening up the computer. Since the original drive was 250GB, I now have twice the space, which is helpful as the videos I make with iMovie take up considerable space.

Mountain Lion

I'd been running OS X 10.7 "Lion" for about 9 months. Like with many major system upgrades in the past, I wheezed and whined about having to get used to the changes that had been made, but finally learned to live with it. So, since I'd just reinstalled a clean system on my new drive, I decided to go all the way and install 10.8 "Mountain Lion," as well. I did the upgrade on my Mac and a client's and had to upgrade from Lion, but today on Apple's site it says you can go directly from the final version of 10.6 "Snow Leopard" (10.6.8). Things change fast. Though Apple wants you to install the new operating systems by downloading via their App Store program, I decided to pick up disks from Fortune Town, for two reasons: 1) My *&%$#@ True Internet connection is terribly slow and unreliable, so I imagined it would be very frustrating to attempt upgrading my OS over it, and 2) I'm cheap ;-) (even though the new OS is only $20). Hey, I've bought plenty of stuff from Apple over the years....

How Is It?

Basically, Mountain Lion seems better than Lion, I'd have to say. My Mac habits are long ingrained, so I just turn off or ignore most of the new features of the new OS, for example, Mission Control, Launch Pad, Notifications, etc. I can live without them. Yeah, the new OS is more like an iPad, I guess, but I've gotten over it. I can still do the things I've always done--which is a very wide range of stuff. If you'd like help upgrading, give me a buzz.

Yo, DP
August 14, 2012: A New Beginning


A New Beginning

• New site design! An introduction.

• Is it time to upgrade to Mac OS X "Lion" (or even "Mountain Lion)"?

• Tip: How to continue using "Dot Mac" or "Mobile Me" email via Apple Mail in Snow Leopard (OS 10.6)

New Design

Hello Mac heads! Welcome to the (long overdue) upgrade of my website. I've just come off working as IT support for a company south of town for about 8 months, so feel my Mac skills are a bit better than they were. Click the Links menu to see the site I created for them (Global Menu Solutions), plus the guitar lesson site I built last year, Dave's Guitar Planet. (I used the basic layout of that site for this site, as well.) There are links to other things I've built over the years, too, plus links to local Apple shops, etc.

Have a look at the other menus, as well. A fun one to make was the Mac Apps panel. A bit frivolous maybe, but I put 'roll overs' on most of the apps I use to give a brief explanation.

I'm not a professional designer, so I had to do a lot of experimentation to get a look I liked. I started by borrowing much of the layout I used in my guitar site, then changed a few things. Let me know what you think!

Upgrade to Lion/Mountain Lion?

If you've bought a new Mac in the last year, then it probably came with Mac OS X 10.7 "Lion" pre-installed. (Since OS 10.8 "Mountain Lion" was just release on July 25, you probably don't have that yet, but new Macs will probably have it from now on.)
To be brief, I'm not thrilled with Apple's new direction with Lion (and Mountain Lion is basically just a refinement of it). Essentially, what Apple is doing is redesigning the look and feel of the Mac interface to be more like the iPad. With the overwhelming success of that new device, they must figure that an iPad user may walk into an Apple store and notice that the Mac's interface is a lot like the iPad's, so they wouldn't have to learn much if they bought one.
Apple thinks we are entering a "post PC era," and I suppose by looking at the trends, they may be right: More and more people are using tablets like the iPad and smart phones like the iPhone.

Well, I don't think too many of us are crazy about new operating systems any more--we just want to use our computers and wish we didn't have to keep changing things every year and a half or so. But as long as the hardware and Internet continue to evolve, programmers will keep coming up with operating systems to take advantage of the new realities. In order to not get left behind, we eventually have to bite the bullet and dance to their tune.

But back to the question at hand: If you're currently running an older version of the Mac OS, should you upgrade? There are two ways to look at it:

• If you can currently do everything on your Mac that you want to do and have no desire to use any of the new features of Lion/Mountain Lion, then, obviously, why upgrade?

• If, on the other hand, you have heard about some new features of the new OSs that you'd like to test out (like iCloud--the ability to keep all your Apple devices in sync), then you should do it. Or, if you're like me and just want to stay on top of the latest technology (in my case, because it's my job).

Still, in the end, if you decide to stay with Mac , you will need to upgrade. For most people I think they should hold off the move to a new operating system for 6 months or more, since early versions always have little bugs that are fixed in the incremental upgrades that subsequently come out. After a year or two, you'll start to hear about things that people are now able to do with their computers that you can't, because your OS is out of date. But even then the first rule still applies: If it's working for you, why change?

Over a year old now, but an excellent article on Lion on the Gizmodo site: Not the Future We Were Hoping For

For specs and system requirements, go here: OS X Mountain Lion Technical Specifications

Configure Mail in Snow Leopard to Access iCloud (Successor to MobileMe/Dot Mac)

I recently got a call from a guy who had been happily using his "dot mac" email account via Apple Mail for years but all of a sudden could no longer receive mail (though he could still send). It took a little searching, but the reason turned out to be that Apple had recently turned off all support for MobileMe/Dot Mac on their end. What's worse, in order to continue to use your "whatever@mac.com" (or @me.com), email address with Apple Mail, you had to upgrade to 10.7 "Lion." At least that was Apple's official line. Luckily for us, though, some ingenious folks out on the Internet had found a way to have your Snow Leopard and eat it too (sorry).
Various web pages have the solution, but one good one is right in Apple's own discussions forum. (It's interesting that the post begins with a disclaimer from Apple: "Setting up 10.6.8 Snow Leopard is not supported by Apple's iCloud." Still, it works!
Rather than me pasting in the 15 steps, just go here if this is something you need to do. (Of course, I can also do it for you.)

What I don't do

First, let me be clear that I DO NOT sell or repair hardware of any kind. If you suspect you have a hardware problem, please try iStudio, Pantip Plaza or some other business. Sorry, but I also don't know where to look to find used Macs or cheap repairs.

What I do

Help people with (mainly) Apple products (Macs, iPods, iPhones, iPads...).

Who I help

Mainly, people who are either not so good at figuring out computer problems on their own or, because of lack of interest or time, would rather have someone else figure it out for them.
Also, people who want to learn to get more use out of their computers.

Why choose me?

You can take your Mac, iPad, etc., to one of the iStudio shops in Bangkok (or maybe they will even send someone to you?), for probably less than I will charge. The advantage of using me is that I have about 15 years experience helping people with Macs and, because I have a degree in English, am very good at explaining technical issues in a way you can understand.

How do I charge?

I charge on a sliding scale. Basically, that means if you are well-enough off to pay the full rate of B900/hour, then please do. If you can't afford that, then tell me what you *can* afford.
I have a one-hour minimum, but second and third hours will be discounted. Let's agree on a pay scheme that works for both of us before I start work.

How to contact me

I can't put my email address here, since 'spam robots' will find it. So, please click here to send me an email (briefly describe your issues).
Or call/text me at 085-141-5627. Thanks!

I first got into the Mac when I was living in Tokyo in 1990.
After a few years learning from others, I started to help those who knew even less than I did. After a few more years I had a side business doing it.

I moved to Berkeley, California in 1999 and set up my business, Mac And More, helping individuals and businesses in the San Francisco area. I also provided IT support for a grant-giving foundation, so got to learn about servers, databases, etc.

In 2006 I moved to Bangkok and started Bangkok Mac. I've had the pleasure of meeting all kinds of Mac users over the past 6+ years. Again, helping lots of individuals with all kind of needs, but also a few businesses, from travel agencies to art dealers to frozen food companies.

With the popularity of the iPhone, iPod and iPad, Apple is now much more than a computer company. Of course, the logic and values behind each product are pretty much the same.

On the first version of this site I wrote something which still applies: "Computers [and other Apple products] can be useful and fun; they can also be extremely frustrating. I want to share what I have learned with you, so you can avoid as much frustration as possible. Having a degree in English, I believe I have a broader perspective and better communication skills than many computer assistants."

Have a look around. If you're new to Apple products, then I'm sure I can help you get up to speed. If you've had an Apple for a while but think you could be using it more effectively, then I can probably help you, as well.(However, if you're using your Mac for 3-D animation, or designing websites for Fortune 500 companies, then instead of me teaching you, you can probably teach me!


My Mac seems slow. Can you help me throw away unnecessary items from the hard drive to speed it up?
This is a common misconception. A computer hard disk is a magnetic storage medium, much like an audio cassette tape (remember those?). If you erase one song on the tape, it will not make the other songs play better/faster. However, if you suspect your Mac is running slower, there are some things we can do to try and fix that.
Should I be using anti-virus software?
I don't use it, so I can't really recommend anyone else do so. If it makes you feel better, go ahead, but I don't think it's necessary. If you want a longer answer, google it. There are a few Mac experts who disagree with me, but many who agree.
What's your attitude about pirated software?
If you use a piece of software fairly often and benefit from it, then, if you have the means, I think you should buy it. However, if you just want to try something out or will use it only a few times, then I personally don't see anything wrong with installing it.
Have you ever reported anyone for using pirated software?
No. That's none of my business.
Are you an Apple authorized technician?
No. I work for myself.
Do you do hardware repair?
No, sorry. For that, see the MacCenter in Siam Discovery (iStudio may also be able to help you).
Can you come to my home or business?
Yes, as long as it's within about 30 minutes of the Sukhumvit area. Beyond that, it may be possible, but I'd have to charge a transportation fee.
Can you discount if I pay for several hours in advance?
Yes. It depends on how many hours and what sort of work it involves.
Can you provide IT support for my small business?
Yes. I can help with most Mac issues/maintenance, peripherals, Internet, LAN network, servers, backup, etc. I do not call myself a Windows expert, but I can handle many of the same issues on a Windows computer that come up on Macs.
My computer skills are very low. Can you help me get a better understanding of how my machine works without 'leaving me in the dust' with technical rapid fire technical explanations?
This is one of the things I do best. I was not a computer major, but an English major. Most of the people I've helped have been impressed with my patience and clear explanations.
I really don't want to know anything about my computer, I just want it to work right. Can you fix it so it does, while I go watch TV or something?
Actually, no. Users need to be interested in how their machines work in order for them to help you do things you want to do. Computers are not like toasters or telephones which "just work." Once you get down the basics, you will feel comfortable with them.
Can you help me decide which Mac/iPhone/iPad to buy?
Sure. Since Apple no longer makes that many models, finding the one that fits your needs won't take long. (Make sure you get a backup drive at the same time.)
Can you upgrade my operating system?
First I'll have to find out the model and configuration (processor, memory, hard drive) of your Mac. If it supports it, sure.
I have an older Mac, but I'm hoping I can upgrade it somehow (put in the latest operating system or programs), so I can get a few more years out of it before buying a new machine. Can you help me do that?
We can take a look at your current machine, what error messages are coming up, and what you're hoping to do. But honestly, the answer is often no. In some cases a machine that is, say, more than 5 years old can not support many of the newer programs and technologies that have come out since it was new. Internet technologies, in particular, evolve so quickly that tech gear needs to be updated fairly regularly to take advantage of them.
Can you show me how to download music, movies and applications?
Do you mind if I watch you work on my computer?
Actually, I hope you will at least watch (and listen). Some things I will just do for you (as it may take too much time to teach you to do it). But, in many cases I will talk you through something, so you can improve your knowledge and skill.
Do you know most everything about the Mac?
Absolutely not. I know a lot, but no one knows it all.


"He is extremely succinct in his explanations and extraordinarily patient! His knowledge runs deep and the way that he imparts his wisdom is rarely witnessed in the world of 'computer spods.'"

— T.M., Bangkok

"I am an aging techno-klutz, and found Dave's help not only invaluable, but exactly tuned to my incompetences. I have no doubt he would do as well with someone more knowledgeable than I."

— W.M., Bangkok

"Dave has helped me three times with Mac-related problems, including a complicated reconfiguring of my email network. He is impressively Mac knowledgeable, does excellent work, takes his time to ensure the job is done right, and his fees are extremely fair. Plus, he's just a great guy with an interesting guitar-playing background. I recommend Dave without hesitation. He'll save you money and lots of frustration. "

— P.E., Bangkok

"Dave's knowledge is deep and wide ranging, so he is skilled at both teaching and troubleshooting. When I moved to Berkeley several years ago I was truly glad to find that Dave's skills were superior to help I had had in other cities. He is a Macintosh expert first of all, but in addition he is approachable and accommodating and I trust him completely."

— W. A., Berkeley, CA

"I'm writing to praise the computer skills of Dave Peterson, who worked at the Energy Foundation for five years. Dave performed both regular installations, maintenance, and upgrades as well as serving as a "troubleshooter" and fast-response desktop support specialist. He also covered server maintenance, including our main file server, our database server, and our calendar server, including IT procurement support for hardware and software procurements."

— Eric Heitz, President, Energy
    Foundation; San Francisco, CA

"For anyone seeking help, knowledge or inspiration for anything to do with their Mac, be it hardware or software, I strongly recommend Dave Peterson. His knowledge is vast, and coupled with a great sense of humor and a Zen-like patience, Dave is a joy to work with."

— David Juda, Web designer, Albany CA

"Dave is highly transparent: what you ask for is what you get. And, if not,
you'll know why in a clear, full explanation. Dave even has visual aids to make the most arcane computer information easy to understand. Good advice, good service. Stop banging your head against the wall (and your computer!) and call Dave for support."

— Jerry Garfield, Consultant,
    El Cerrito, CA

"After many years of struggling with computer frustrations, I finally have discovered a person who was the panacea to my problems. Dave Peterson, in just a few hours, was able to help me with a long list of computer "nightmares" that had been haunting me for years. He has a special talent for making what seems complicated become simple, and almost easy! I only wish I had found him years before."

— Peggy Mee, Berkeley, California

"Dave Peterson helped me use and maintain my Macintosh computer at my residence in Tokyo on various occasions from 1995 through 1998. He was always prepared, on time, patient and able to help me with my computer needs. These included layout of an "alternative" reference guide (sold in bookstores around Tokyo), a customized "name and address" database, annual New Year's cards, Internet hookup and instruction, and system troubleshooting, among others."

— Lucy Birmingham Fuji, Tokyo, Japan

"We asked David to make the Janome Homepage utilizing his knowledge of Macintosh computer. Thanks to his devoted efforts we were one of the earliest in the industry to have the homepage. He was involved in making promotional videos and CD-ROMs for our products, including sewing machine and industrial equipment. Here again his knowledge and technique of computer helped making quality CD-ROM programs."

— Tadataka Ogino, General Manager,
    Janome Sewing Machine Co., Ltd.,
    Tokyo, Japan

Stuff I've Made

Multimedia Presentations
using Adobe (formerly Macromedia) Director
Bangkok Apple Stores


Mac Apps

I've used hundreds of programs since I started using a Mac in 1990. Things have changed tremendously over that time period. Surprisingly, some of those early apps are still widely used (e.g., Microsoft Word, Adobe Photoshop), but many more have fallen by the wayside. Below is a sampling of the apps currently on my hard drive. I've used them all; some more than others. (Mouse over for details.)

Adobe CS
Microsoft Office
...3rd Party

This is basically the Agreement I created when I had my Mac business in Berkeley, California. Here in Thailand, I rarely show it to people. (I hate 'legalese' as much as most people.) However, it helps make clear that I can not be responsible for making sure you have a backup of your data. It's up to you if you back up your data or not, but if you want me to work on your computer (or iPad, etc.), I really recommend it.

— Dave

Computer Consulting Agreement

This agreement is between Dave Peterson (“Consultant”) and the person whose computer he is contracted to work on (“Client”), hereinafter the “Parties.”


All equipment, including, but not limited to, computers and other computing devices (hand-held computers, etc.) and peripheral equipment (printers, scanners, CD drives, etc.)

All software data that exists on Client’s computer, including, but not limited to, system and application programs and supporting files, word processing and spread sheet files, email messages and address books, picture and sound files, etc.

Consultant will provide Client with certain computer enhancement services, or “Work,” as discussed between Consultant and Client, on which payment is due upon completion of the Work.

The Parties agree as follows:

1) Payment

a) Consultant’s current rate is 900 baht per hour with a one hour minimum. If Client is not satisfied with Consultant’s performance, then he/she owes Consultant nothing.

b) Client agrees to pay Consultant for time he spends addressing the tasks (which are laid out by Client at the beginning of the consultation), that the Consultant has agreed to work on. Consultant is hired by Client on an hourly basis for his knowledge and experience in dealing with a variety of computer issues. Consultant does not work on a “fee per task” basis. Though I will certainly try in a systematic way, I certainly cannot promise I will be able to resolve any or all of your computer issues.

c) If Client wishes to change or cancel an appointment, they must do so 24 hours or more prior to scheduled appointment, otherwise a fee equivalent to one hour’s work will be charged.

d) At Client’s request, Consultant will research pertinent computer issues for Client. Consultant will keep track of time spent researching said issues. This time is also billable at Consultant’s aforementioned hourly rate.

2) Client’s Data
Client, not Consultant, is responsible for integrity of any data on the computer. Client agrees that any data on the computer’s internal hard disk, or any external disk connected to the computer has been reviewed by Client and has either been backed up to removable storage (flash drive, CD, etc.), or has been deemed by Client as unimportant or replaceable. While Consultant will endeavor to keep all of Client’s data intact on the computer, Consultant will not be held liable for any loss of data which may occur during the contracted consultation or which may be thought to have occurred as a result of the contracted consultation.

3) No Recourse for Loss of Data
Client shall have no recourse for unintentional or inadvertent loss of any data that may occur during or after the consultation that may be thought to have occurred as a result of Consultant’s actions.

4) No Recourse for Loss of Functionality
Consultant will endeavor to retain, if not improve on, all functionality of Client’s computer system. However, Consultant will not be liable for any loss of functionality that may occur during or after the consultation that may be thought to have occurred as a result of Consultant’s actions.

5) Confidentiality
All information and data stored on Client’s computer or to which Consultant is otherwise exposed during the course of the Work shall be held strictly confidential.

6) Any reimbursement which might occur from Consultant to Client is strictly limited to the amount of the consultation in question.


____________________________________ Date: _________________
David V. Peterson, 085-141-5627


____________________________________ Date: _________________

Print name: ___________________________

Email: ___________________________ Tel.: ____________________