TKMT


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The Kingwood Mac Tech  

 

 


Welcome to The Kingwood Mac Tech web site. I specialize in setup, installing, upgrading (software and hardware), tuning up, maintaining, troubleshooting and basic tutoring on Macintosh computers (and iPhones). I have years (since 1980) of experience helping hundreds of satisfied families and businesses throughout Houston with their Apple and Macintosh needs. Most referrals have been from satisfied customers through word of mouth. My clients range from a young family with school age children to retirees who want to make better use of their Macs and iPhones.

        I can help you get the most out of your Mac and iPhone, or you owe nothing!

                                                                                                    Bruce Sprague


Table of Contents (scroll down):

Contact Information

Services

Rates

Links

FAQs: Frequently Asked Questions

Testimonials



 

Contact Information:

Bruce Sprague

The Kingwood Mac Tech

Kingwood, Texas

iPhone (voice/texts):  (281) 989-6562

email:  brucesprague@mac.com

website: www.brucesprague.com/tkmt


If you can not reach me on my iPhone, please leave a message or send a text or email.  When I get voice messages, emails or texts, I will try to answer back as soon as possible on the same day.


Macintosh Computer Setup, Help, Tutoring, Tuneups, Upgrades

  - find your ideal Mac system at the best price

  - set it all up in your home the right way

  - help get you started, saving you years of frustration

  - interfacing all your Apple products with your Mac

  - maintain and tuneup your Mac

- iPhone / iPad support and integration

  - software and system upgrades

  - memory and hard drive upgrades

  - honest Apple and Macintosh service since 1980


 







Bruce, a Kingwood-area retired airline pilot with many years (since 1980) of experience with 

Apple and Macintosh computers through his former business (Sprague Computer Services).



Services:

Help on buying the right Mac at the best price:

Don’t get the wrong equipment at the wrong price

Includes advising on optional items: printers, peripherals, hard drives, and more

Assist in correctly setting up your system


On-site help:

Save you time and convenience

Setting up your system and personal tutoring one on one (in your home) to help you get started

       including setting up your home network

Pick up and delivery on hardware upgrades and maintenance work

Convenient and easy-to-use "screen sharing" capabilities from my Mac to your Mac 

        (when applicable) for tutoring and troubleshooting (see FAQs)

Help you find the right technical support resources for future troubleshooting needs


Basic tutoring:

A few hours initial help can save you years of frustration and lost productivity

Includes programs such as e-mail, internet, photos, movies, music, web sites, word

       processing, spreadsheets, contacts, calendar, eBay, TimeMachine and more

Some assistance available to help transfer Windows data to new Mac (I solely 

        specialize in the Macintosh operating system)


Mac Maintenance:

Avoid unnecessary downtime and prevent losing valuable and irreplaceable data, such

as family or business data, photos, music, movies, etc. It is not IF but WHEN trouble will

eventually strike!

Tuneup, clean and defragment hard drives, repair hard drive directories, run 

       maintenance routines, backups (this is MOST important), troubleshooting problems

        and much more


Mac software upgrades:

Stay up to date and avoid headaches and potential data loss

Mac Operating System upgrades and updates

Mac program upgrades and updates


Mac hardware upgrades:

Help your computer run faster and more efficiently

Installing RAM memory and hard drive upgrades on select Mac models


Interface your Apple products with your Mac:

The beauty of the Mac system: everything is linked together

iCloud internet service, iPhone, iPads, AppleTV, Airport Express, and much more



Rates:


My rates are less than half what you would pay thru other services, and I give 

    personalized, one on one attention, including coming to your home.


For a relatively small investment, you will get much more

    productivity and use out of your Macintosh computer and peripherals, and save 

    you years of potential frustration. My first goal is make sure you are up and 

    running, and can do all the basic things your Mac is capable of...making you

    far more productive than a typical Windows computer user.


I can help you get the most out of your Mac, or you owe nothing!


Basic Rate $30 per hour (less than half normal tech rates):

I usually give more time than what I charge 

If I can't help you out, you owe nothing

Extra hourly travel charges apply if out of the Kingwood /Humble area

All rates subject to change



Special Flat Rates:

All SetupUpgrades and Tuneups are done in my home office to save you hourly costs

Tutorials and Help are done in your home or via screen share for your personal benefit

     - Most services are a cheaper flat rate, and you know what to expect

     - Additional charges may apply if more time is needed for unusual problems with your computer,

           including transfer of data from your Windows computer, etc.


New Turn Key Mac Computer Package (9+ hours of service) -- $249

     • Advise on purchase of ALL your computer system and peripherals, at the best price

     • Setting it all up and diagnostically testing everything (in my office)

     • Installing and setting up all extra software, OS upgrades, tuneup, etc. (in my office)

      Installing printer driver and testing setup (in my office)

     • Deliver and setup in your home the entire system, make sure all is ok

     • Setup Airport Extreme wifi network in your home

     • set up iCloud for your Mac and iPhones

     • In home tutoring on how to use your new Mac computer system (2 hours)

     • Handhold you with “screen sharing” tech support over first 45-day period (for 1.5 hours)


 Mac System Tutoring (3.5+ hours of service) -- $89

     • In home tutoring on how to use your Mac computer system (2 hours)

     • Handhold you with “screen sharing” tech support over first 45-day period (for 1.5 hours)


Existing Mac TuneUp / Upgrade (4-8 hours of service) -- $99 to $199

     • Setting it all up for optimum use and diagnostically testing everything

     • Installing and setting up all extra software, OS upgrades, tuneup, etc

     * 4 to 8 hours: depends on how messed up your Mac is!  iPhone support is extra.




LINKS:

 

Here are some important web sites that help support the Macintosh experience:


Apple resources:

Apple for their main home page

Apple Store to see what Mac options you can buy

Apple Discussions to find help on Mac issues and troubleshooting

Apple Support to get support, manuals, downloads, upgrades and much more


Apple Tutorials:

Mac Basics  basic information

Mac Support for all devices support

Mac Apps for application support


For Mac and peripheral sales:

Amazon you can most if not all your items right here; great prices, free shipping, etc.

MacMall

MacConnection

CDW

MacZone

OWC for memory and internal hard drives

LaCie for external hard drives


For Mac information resources:

MacSurfer’s Headline News for the latest news and advice on the Mac

Alltop for the latest news and advice on the Mac and LINKS to almost all Mac sources


Multi Function All-in-One inkjet printers (printer, scanner, fax, copier):

Brother Printers

HP Printers



 

FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

Specialize Question:

Question: What exactly do you “specialize” in when helping me with my Mac computer?

Answer: I “specialize” in helping the brand new user to a Mac, OR someone who has had a Mac but really does not know how to get the most from it. Many folks are comfortable with computers and know how to run them, figure out program use, and where to find help when they need it....they do not need me. For the rest of you, I can help you. First I will help you with making sure it is properly set up (hardware and software), to get you started out right. I can give BASIC help on all the routine software that you need: Mail (email), Safari (internet browser), Calendar, Contacts (database of contacts and information), Photos, iMovie (home movies), iTunes (music, iPhone, AppleTV, and more), TimeMachine (backups...very important), iWork (word processing, spreadsheet, presentation), Microsoft Office, Print Shop (print everything...cards, certificates, labels, and much more), general utility software, and much more. A few hours here can save you years of frustration. My intention is not to make a “power user” out of you....but rather teach you how to do the “basics” so you can effectively make good use of your computer. Most users are hardly using their computers to the full potential. The other thing that I will help you with is keeping your Mac up-to-date and running smoothly if and when you have problems. Finally, I will teach you how and where to look for help on problems or things you don’t know how to do. The basic premise here is that “I will teach you how to fish...and not me do the fishing for you”. My number one goal is to make sure you are fully up and running, to become far more productive than a typical Windows computer user.


Set Up and Tutoring Questions:

Question: What exactly does proper setup mean?

Answer: First, the physical getting it all plugged in right: the keyboard, mouse, printer, external hard drives, internet hub router, and more. Then diagnostically checking the computer to make sure all is well. Second, getting the computer settings properly set up for your use and maximum efficiency. Third, making sure you have the right drivers and software to interface properly with all your equipment (router, printer, iPhone, and much more).


Question: Why does having a few hours tutoring help my Mac experience?

Answer: A few hours spent in the beginning will save you years of frustration and lack of productivity on your Mac. You need to get started out right, then you will be off and running. As stated above in the “specialize” section, I will give you the basics of what you need to know to get started and start being productive. You will run circles around typical Windows PC users on what you can do with your Mac computer...they will think you are a genius.


What To Buy Questions:

Question: What Mac model should I get (assuming I don’t already have a Mac)?

Answer: For the basic home use, you can not beat an iMac, which comes in a standard size 21.5” or larger size 27” screen. I would not recommend the 27”…..the fonts on the screen are harder to read, it costs a lot more, and it would be better to add a second monitor to the 21.5” iMac for better use. The Mac Mini is not practical for most, and the more powerful Mac Pro tower models are simply way overkill for most users (and cost a LOT more). If you are getting a laptop, the best bang for the buck is the MacBook Air. If you have lots of money, then you can go for the more professional MacBook Pro laptops. If you will only have a laptop, then it might be practical to also get an external LCD screen for more viewing area (Samsung LCD monitors are great), and also an external keyboard and mouse when you are using it at home. There are other choices of processor speeds, graphics cards, and hard drive sizes. When I talk with you we can come up with a plan best for you.


Question: What other peripherals will I need to buy with my Mac system?

Answer: For your wifi network, you will need an Airport Extreme router. For backups, you will need an external hard drive...maybe two of them. To protect your hardware, I would recommend a UPS backup battery. Of course, you will need a printer to print....I recommend a multifunction printer (see below). You may need extras like a USB hub, cables, etc. For a laptop, you really might want to get an external LCD screen, keyboard and mouse for home use. External speakers will really sound better for music. An AppleTV will make it easy for you to show your photos and movies and more on your big screen TV. Last...getting the iCloud internet service will make it much easier to interface all your equipment, manage your email, and much more (see below). Again, we can come up with a plan to fit your needs.


Question: What printer should I get?

Answer: You can get either an inkjet or laser printer. Unless you are running a business, an inkjet is more practical. And getting a multifunction printer is a must...it includes the printer, scanner, fax, and copier. You will love this in your home. There are many different brands of printers, and many of them are great printers. However....many of them will eat your lunch with printer ink costs. I will show you which printers are the best bang for the buck. For starters, you can not beat an HP or Brother printer. Steer clear of Epson, Dell, and Lexmark (problems and high ink costs). Ink jet printers take either print cartridges with the print heads built in (ie: you get new heads every time you change the cartridge), OR print cartridges that are simply “tanks” of new ink, which supply ink to the heads that are built into the printer. There are advantages for both systems. We will go over your needs and come up with a printer that fits your needs.


Question: If I am getting a new system, how do I know what to get and where?

Answer: I can help you come up with a shopping list of the best stuff for the best price (where ever that may be), and you can order it, then bring it to me so I can set it all up properly, then deliver it back to you when we can sit down and get you started, making it all turn key for you. In some cases, we may be able to come up with some small savings in pricing, sales tax, etc. by ordering online from various sources vs. getting it locally.


Question: What Mac equipment do you personally use?

Answer: I have a classic set up for the typical home.....two computers. One is a desktop....a basic iMac, and the other is a laptop....a basic Macbook Air. The iMac runs most of the household functions in my office, and the laptop serves as a portable for the rest of the family, or when we travel. Everything is networked together to stay in sync. In addition to the two computers, we have 2 iPhones, AppleTV, Airport Extreme wifi router, and iCloud internet service to sync ALL of these items together. I use an HP multifunction printer, and an APC UPS battery backup protects everything. For backups I have several external hard drives, and use the online backup service Carbonite.


Mac Program and Product Questions:

Question: How do all the Apple programs interface with each other?

Answer: That is the beauty of the Mac system. All the basic Mac software programs (Mail, Safari, iMovie, iPhoto, Contacts, Calendar, iTunes, iWork, and much more) talk and work TOGETHER and coordinate with each other as needed to accomplish tasks. For instance, Contacts works with Mail to easily keep people’s email address handy. iMovie grabs photos from iPhoto or music from iTunes very easily. The iPhone will interface with all your Mac data (data base, calendar, browser, email and more via iCloud). Windows users would die for this simplicity.


Question: What other Apple products interface with the Mac?

Answer: iPhone, iPad, AppleTV, Airport Extreme router, Airport Express (music to stereo), and more.


Question: What is iCloud and what will it do for me?

Answer: iCloud is an internet service from Apple that keeps everything in sync, anywhere you are, and much more. First, it makes it easy for you to have a dedicated email address, and never have to worry about all the problems associated with changing cable companies, AOL, and more. It coordinates your email, contacts, calendar events, browser bookmarks, passwords and more. It keeps all your Macs and iPhones in perfect sync.  iCloud will greatly enhance your Mac / iPhone system experience.


Question: How do I handle programs that only operate under the Windows OS?

Answer: The vast majority of programs will always have a Mac version, but for those very few obscure programs that do not, you can use one of the virtual PC programs that will allow you to run Windows right on your Mac’s desktop!  It will allow you to run Windows programs and easily share data with your Mac.  Obviously I can not provide extensive Windows tech support (that is one reason why you got a Mac)!


Service Questions:

Question: What exactly goes into a Mac tuneup?

Answer: There are many things. First, one needs to make sure you have a backup of all your data. After that, there will be diagnostic checking of your computer to make sure all is well. Next will come system and program updates. Then there will be maintenance routines to run, checking the hard drive directories, cleaning “permissions”, and much more. All this takes quite awhile, but is worth it to make sure you don’t have big problems in the future.


Question: What is entailed with a system or program update?

Answer: The Mac Operating System (OS) is constantly evolving. In any case, you want to stay current with the latest OS and get the latest updates for it. Get too far behind, and big problems will arise. On the flip side, getting the latest OS will also give you many advances in the software and usually speed things up as well. Updating your OS usually means getting the updated version, installing it, and then get from the internet any further incremental updates as needed. Program updates are the same situation for individual programs. You must stay current in program updates or they simply may not work in future OS upgrades. Also at some point, your valuable data may not be able to be able to make the jump to a version that is too far ahead of what you are using now...do not get behind!


Question: Is my personal data safe when you take my computer for tuneups and upgrades?

Answer: Be rest assured it will be completely safe. I am completely honest person, and only I will have access to your computer. Before I do anything I will temporarily back up your entire hard drive.  After your computer job is complete, I erase all backups.


Question: Will you need any of my computer passwords?

Answer: I will NOT need any of your personal account passwords, but only passwords that I will need in order to setup your computer:



First, I will need to know what Administrator Password is for your computer (or I am dead in the water to repair things). If your computer is brand new, we will want to set up a password of your choice.



Second, I will need your email address (ex: thekingwoodmactech@gmail.com), email password (xxxx), email Incoming Mail Server (ex: imap.gmail.com), User Name (ex: thekingwoodmactech), and Outgoing Mail Server (ex: smtp.gmail.com). 


You need to WRITE down these passwords and information and keep safe! You would not believe how many folks forget this stuff...with disastrous results!


Question: What is involved when upgrading a hard drive?

Answer: In addition to the ordering of the correct drive and installing it correctly, I will have to first backup your present hard drive. After the new drive is installed, then I have to format it, diagnostically test it for an hour or more, then recopy all your old data and software to the new drive. A better approach might be to take this opportunity to reinstall a completely fresh new operating system and reinstall all your programs. This will get rid of all the corruption that constantly builds up on hard drives, that eventually cause them to crash. A crash is not a matter of IF, but a matter of WHEN.


Question: How can extra memory RAM help me?

Answer: The minimum RAM that you should work with is 4GB, but 8GB would be better. Extra RAM makes your computer run faster and able to have more things running at the same time. Some programs (like iMovie), need all the RAM they can get to even run at all. Going above 8GB would for now would really only apply to super power users with complicated photo editing programs and such.


Question: Why do you bring my Mac to your home office for software and hardware upgrades?

Answer: The short answer is to save you money. If I were to do this at your home, there would be many hours wasted (and extra charges!) while upgrades were installing, diagnostic tests running, and more. If I am at home, I can be doing other things while your system is getting updated, and keep your costs much lower. Also, by being in my office, I tend to “tweak” it much more (I give it more attention), and get it as clean and set up as possible. The turn around time should be not longer than two or three days....in some cases it may be next day return, as long as no complications arise. Remember, I will pick up and deliver your computer, and set it all back up and make sure all is up and running properly in your home before I leave.


Question: What is “screen sharing” and how do we accomplish this?

Answer: “Screen Sharing” is the ability of me to be able to “see” your computer screen on my computer screen, while we talk on the phone. You will have to be on a fast broadband internet connection for this to work. Once we hook up, then I can show you how to do things, or look over some problem you are having with your computer or program. If necessary, you can operate the Mac, and I can watch you to make sure you are doing it right. This great tool will allow me to help you very efficiently, and give you valuable and convenient “hand holding” for the inevitable questions you will have on using your Mac. You can have a few question ready, then we can hook up the screen sharing (we will prearrange a suitable time), and we can go thru them much faster than trying to “explain” what to do over the phone alone. Say you have 1.5 hours of paid for screen sharing for 45 days......then we could have three 30 minutes sessions, or six 15 minute sessions...or whatever works best.  I am pretty easy and flexible on this...I will let you keep track of the times...the main guideline is to make sure you are up and running and getting full use from your Mac.


Question: Will you be able to “screen share” with my Mac without my permission?

Answer: There is NO worry about me (or anyone else) getting on your computer without your permission...when we coordinate the screen share, you have to provide me with a changing password every time, and at anytime you want you can “pull the plug” to turn the screen sharing off.


General Questions:

Question: Tell me a little about yourself?

Answer: I am a retired airline pilot (28 years flying for Continental Airlines) here in Kingwood, Texas. Prior to that I was a pilot in the United States Air Force (for 14 years). I have four children and seven grand children. I enjoy computers (Mac of course!), home theater, genealogy, photo/movie cataloging, home automation, biking the green belts and puttering around making and fixing things. My computer business is more about a “labor of love”, rather than trying to make a lot of money. I have been doing this since 1980.



Testimonials


 


I have helped many hundreds of satisfied Houston customers set up their Apple and Mac computer systems since 1980, with full service and complete hand holding.  Most of my referrals are from word of mouth.   Here are just a few entries:


Dave Waldo, Kingwood, Texas (Dec 2009):

“Bruce is a real Mac expert that can speak in plain helpful words.  He really knows his Mac stuff and has helped me many, many times for many years.  His greatest assets are his helpful nature and ability to pinpoint problems and solutions quickly.  As you can tell, I highly recommend him.  Thanks, Bruce!”



Ron McCommas, Kingwood, Texas (Feb 2010):

When I started looking for a solution for a Birthday gift for my son, I only dreamed I could find a Mac.  This seemed like an extravagance even for someone who in the past was able to give this kind of gift with ease.  I spotted a possible solution on Craigslist, but it was older and I would need to find someone close to where I lived, whom I could trust to help me make sure this was a gift that my boy could use for several years, without all the frustration of a previous owner’s issues.  I had just about given up, when I found your name on KingwoodYardSales.com.

After taking a risk buying an older G5, and even older Apple Flat Panel, you were kind enough to help me restore this excellent computer to fully operational at peak performance level.  You took such care in the work as well in daily communication.  You could have probably just gone a little way and I would have been happy, but you taught me how to use the machine, as well and provide step by step instruction for continued good experience for my son.

Needless to say, the gift is a smashing success and my son is very proud of his “new” computer.  He finally asked me yesterday if it was new when he overheard me discussing the Mac with his sister who owns the Macbook Pro 2009 model.  Even she could not really tell a difference.  He is so happy to have the machine and says it works better than a new one… (I will let him think that for awhile longer)

The only real issue I have because of your workmanship, is the requests from my wife and other child for one like it.  But, as long as you are close by I am confident we can keep up with the requests.

Thanks for your friendship and excellent knowledgeable approach to helping us with this solution.

All the best,

Ron



Dick & Robin Komosinski, Kingwood, Texas (March 2010)

Bruce Sprague has finally succeeded in bringing us into the 21st century, by helping us retire our laptop,  which was purchased over 10 years ago. He knows Macs “inside-out.” His expertise and enthusiasm about his “Macs” immediately catches your attention. We  have always felt that he was looking out for our best interests. 

A few weeks ago, we were seriously considering buying a Dell Laptop, since we’ve been Dell (Windows) users for a long time. Without trying to influence us, Bruce offered to show us his Mac computer system. Initially, getting a Mac was the furthest thing from our minds; but it it didn’t take us long to change our mindset. As it turned out, the very next day with Bruce’s guidance, we purchased an iMac, a MacBook, peripherals to hook up the computers to two LCD Monitors that we had and a hard drive backup.  Bruce did all the research, obtained the best competitive price and offered his recommendations. Within a few days, the computers arrived and Bruce took over from there. He performed all of the system checks and set the computer systems up in our house.  We were up and running all within a week from making the purchases. Needless to say, we are extremely satisfied, especially my spouse (she gets the MacBook).

We would have never made the switch to Mac, were it not for Bruce, his expertise and most importantly, our complete trust in him. He continues to help us using our new Mac’s, converting from a Windows environment, using iChat and other Mac functionalities and facilitating hooking us up with MobileMe. 

We are currently relying on his guidance in helping us upload our ancient VHS and Super 8 family videos and digital photos into the Mac’s. This alone was worth every penny of a Mac for my wife. 

We have total confidence in Bruce’s capabilities and recommend him very highly

If we ever need him, we know Bruce will be there unselfishly offering his assistance. 

Thanks Bruce  !!!

Robin and Dick 



Leonard and Marsha Garland, Kingwood, Texas (April 2010)

Bruce facilitated and organized the acquisition and installation of our new iMac system. Relying on his expertise, we selected a dual screen set-up with external hard drive back-up and expanded RAM, all of which he expertly installed. He has exceeded all of our expectations by continually to remain available and tutor us on all aspects of the system. We highly recommend his services. 

Marsha & Leonard Garland