Convert your AOL Username to an Apple ID

If you use an AOL Username to sign in to the iTunes Store, App Store or iBooks Store, you must convert to an Apple ID before March 31, 2015. Starting that day, AOL will no longer allow customers to use their AOL Usernames (also known as an AOL Screen Name) to sign in. Without converting to an Apple ID, you’ll lose access to the stores and any content you may have already purchased.

To convert your AOL Username to an Apple ID, sign in to iTunes on a Mac or PC with your AOL Username. Then follow the on-screen instructions. To sign in:

  1. Open iTunes on your Mac or PC. Make sure that you have the latest version.
  2. If you’re signed in with a different username, choose Store > Sign Out from the menu bar.
  3. Then choose Store > Sign In.
  4. Enter your AOL Username and password, and then click Sign In.
  5. Create an Apple ID

When you convert your AOL Username to an Apple ID, you might not be able to convert it to one that ends in if you have used your AOL email address to create a separate Apple ID.

Your new Apple ID will maintain your access to the iTunes Store, App Store, and iBooks Store, as well as all of the content you bought using your AOL Username. You can also use your Apple ID with iCloud and other Apple services.

As of March 31, Apple can’t provide support for AOL Username accounts that aren’t converted. The conversion process applies only to AOL Usernames. You don’t need to convert an Apple ID that ends in Also, this transition doesn’t affect any AOL services that you use with your AOL Username.

If you already created an Apple ID using your AOL email address, you might have purchases (such as music, movies, TV shows, or apps) associated with both your AOL Username account and your Apple ID.

You still need to convert your AOL Username account into a new Apple ID, so you don’t lose access to the content you already purchased with that account. You must provide a different, non-AOL email address to use as your new Apple ID during the conversion process. You won’t be able to combine the two accounts or their purchases.

If you run into any problems or have any concerns about converting your AOL username to an Apple ID, call us – 973-433-6676 – or email us. We can walk you through the process.



Checking my Apple Watch for my Apple Car

The Apple Watch is due out soon, and that’s exciting. I can’t help but wonder if an Apple Watch will sound an alarm when my Apple Car is in. Regardless, I love what technology enables us to do.

When I use my Apple Watch – you all know I will have one as soon as it hits the market – I’ll be reminded of how technology affects our lives. It doesn’t seem that long ago that my father held a pager to a telephone to send the codes to his answering machine to pick up messages – which we now refer to as voice mail (that we can get through our cellphones).

That seems so primitive today. In setting up medical releases for our parents to use while caring for our children during our upcoming vacation, I realized that we had the wrong name on one set of instructions. Because I could go online with my iPhone and because I have Microsoft Word for my phone, I had the document already. So, I made the necessary changes and sent it back to the bank. How great is that?

Many of you take it for granted at your offices and homes that you can answer email, respond to text messages and update calendars seamlessly using computers and mobile devices – cellphones and tablets. If it’s not seamless, speak to us, and we can resolve that for you. I’m able to go online with my iPhone or iPad at clients to check things within their systems, and I can troubleshoot many problems remotely from anywhere – as long as I can get an Internet connection.

Those same Internet connections enable you and your associates to work remotely and access critical information to conduct your business more effectively. You not only ever give it a second thought, you demand it.

This spills into our personal use of technology. I have an app that allows me to see who’s ringing my doorbell – whether I’m home or not. If I’m not home, I can talk to the person at the door, and that’s very useful when I can’t be there to accept delivery of a package I need for a client.

Will I be able to use this app with an Apple Watch? Will I be able to use a lot of the apps from my iPhone, including Apple Pay? Will I be able to do things I haven’t been able to do before? The answer to the last question holds the most promise for me.

Indications are that answer is “yes.” I should be able to find out for sure well before the end of this month, and I should have mine by the middle of next month. You will need to have an iPhone (5c, 5s, 6 and 6+) to use the Apple Watch.

You can read a lot about the expected functions of the Apple Watch in this article by the British publication   ITPro. Some highlights, as reported in the article, include:

  • An expected price of about $350
  • Use with Apple Pay and health applications
  • The ability to build your own watch for appearance and function
  • Get messages and use other communications tools through your iPhone, including Siri to get directions
  • Customized applications, such as one with a hotel chain to automate the check-in process

Needless to say, app developers are already hard at work. For me, however, anticipation has wheels: a possible Apple car. Rumors have been abundant for the past few months about Apple entering the car business. As one recent TV news report shows, the company has a lot of cash and a lot of ambitions, especially as electric cars and more software and electronics become parts of all cars. Apple’s strength has been using hardware to house its software innovations, and as the video clip shows, software and electronics are an increasing part of a car’s value.

I could easily see an Apple Car – or an “Apple-driven” car – taking advantage of so many apps we use on our iPhones and iPads as well as the anticipated Apple Watch. It makes a lot of sense. Apple devices are widely used, and the company already has strong ties with all major cellular carriers. Extending those relationships to the global automotive industry would be a logical next step.

I’ll be checking my Apple Watch for new developments – but you don’t have to wait to take advantage of innovations. We can help you adopt and adapt to new technology in the office, at home and even in your car. Call us – 973-433-6676 – or email us to make sure your Wi-Fi infrastructure is capable of meeting all of your needs. We can also help you – and your office and/or family – make sure all of your devices sync to each other and your entire office or home IT systems to give you all the functionality you’ve envisioned – and more.

Network Security More Vital Than Ever

In helping a new customer work through some set-up issues, we found an outdated Wi-Fi security system. With more hackers finding more ways to get into more systems for more personal information, it’s just plain stupid not to make sure you have a secure Wi-Fi system and a strong password.

Let’s start with a secure router. The technology is mature, as far as IT goes, and the current security technology, known as WPA 2 (Wi-Fi Protected Access – the second generation), works very well if you set it up properly. It’s also not that expensive, especially in relation to the value you need to protect, but we’ll get to that farther down in this article.

We were astounded when we found an ancient WEP security system on a new Wi-Fi installation when we began servicing a new client. WEP stands for Wired Equivalent Privacy, but in today’s practical terms, you might as well call it WET, as in wet paper towel. If you have a password with a long, totally random combination of numbers and letters (that you’ll never remember), it’s probably WEP. While the password may be hard to type, it’s pretty easy for a hacker to crack.

The client still had an old WEP Wi-Fi because they were told it would be an expensive, time-consuming project. However, they “wasted” a considerable amount of money because they somehow wound up with enterprise-level equipment. Along with getting worthless advice, they had a pound-wise, penny-foolish Wi-Fi system with vulnerable security that had cumbersome management steps.

If their Wi-Fi was old enough to have the older security technology, then it was old enough to replace. The radio in the average router begins to lose its power after three or four years, anyway, so our client probably wasn’t getting performance in addition to not getting the most up-to-date security and a more efficient way to grant access to those who need it.

In today’s offices with the BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) environment, WPA 2 works very well. You can make a password easy to remember – just make it long – so that your authorized users can get their smartphones and tablets onto the network. That boosts productivity. At home, we’re streaming more, and that needs a good network.

Regardless of how you use your network, security is paramount. If an outsider gets into your network through a hole in your Wi-Fi, they’re already past the firewall. Once they get that far, it’s easy to get into any computer or server on your network and get financial information, medical records and anything that they can use to make money at your expense. You could also be responsible for somebody else’s criminal activity, such as distributing child pornography.

We can help you install and set up a new Wi-Fi with WPA 2 security. We can also help you set up filters to keep employees or children from accessing specific websites. We can do it all over the phone and through remote access. Call us – 973-433-6646 – or email us to discuss your options and set up your system.

End of Days for Windows Server 2003

In July, Microsoft will end its support for Windows Server 2003. As with the end of XP, it means that Microsoft won’t be issuing any security patches, but the consequences could be worse. You can do without a workstation, but you can’t afford to have your whole business down with a server failure.

The obvious question to ask is: Do I really need a server?

With advances in cloud technology, many small businesses can join SOHO and home users in using remote servers to run application software and store and retrieve files. Instead of housing everything on your own server, which you need to maintain and secure, you can take advantage of the large capacity, constant updates and continuous monitoring provided by the large companies that operate the servers. In addition to keeping systems up to date, they also can provide multiple storage sites for the redundancy that helps you avoid outages and lost data when one location has a problem.

We have helped clients set up apps and files using Dropbox for business and home users, and we have a number of partnerships that can provide cloud-based services. We highly recommend using the cloud.

If you want to keep a server, you may want to buy and install Windows Server 2012. However, you may need to upgrade other equipment within your IT system, and you should figure that into any comparison of maintaining your own server or going to the cloud.

You may also just want to stand pat. Windows Server 2003 will still work; Microsoft just won’t support it. It’s similar to Microsoft dropping its support for Windows XP.

We can help you make an informed decision. Call us – 973-433-6676 – or email us to set up an assessment of your current system and needs and how you anticipate your future needs.