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by Tom Nelson

Mid-summer malaise seems to be spreading in the Apple refurb store, with no Mac minis, Mac Pros, or Thunderbolt displays in stock. Luckily, what seems like an annual summer slowdown in stock usually passes quickly, so I expect an increase in choices to be coming our way soon.

AppleRefurb

Screen shot © Coyote Moon, Inc.

Deals of the Week

Our deals of the week cover MacBook Pros and iMacs, with substantial savings over new versions of these nicely configured Macs. Both 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Pros made the deals list; both are Retina Display versions. The iMac is the 27-inch model, with a nice discount and cool features.

Read more on About: Macs.

by Tom Nelson

WeatherSnoop from Tee-Boy is a weather center app that connects your Mac to your personal weather station, or to publicly available weather stations in your area that are hosted by Weather Underground. Either way, WeatherSnoop provides a rich collection of tools for viewing and analyzing weather events in your area.

WeatherSnoop

Image courtesy of Tee-Boy

WeatherSnoop interfaces with many of the most popular available weather stations, such as those from Ambient Weather, Davis Instruments, RainWise, and WeatherHawk. Once you have WeatherSnoop and your weather station up and running, you can share your weather data with the world, or keep it to yourself; it’s up to you. WeatherSnoop supports sending weather data to Weather Underground, WeatherBug, the Citizen Weather Observer Program (CWOP), and others. You can even set up an automated FTP upload service to the server of your choice.

Read more on About: Macs.

by Tom Nelson

Weekly Mac news roundup for the week of July 25, 2014.

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Screen shot © Coyote Moon, Inc.

Apple released the public beta of OS X Yosemite, Apple manufacturing is kicking it up a notch in preparation for fall product releases, and Swatch says that it isn’t involved in any potential iWatch products.

Read more on About: Macs.

by Tom Nelson

The OS X Yosemite public beta will be available starting 07/24/2014, and I expect that many of you will want to get a jump on working with the latest version of OS X. You’ll want to check out the new UI (User Interface), new features such as Handoff, Instant Hotspot, and iCloud Drive, and, of course, updates to existing apps, such as Mail and Safari.

InstallYosemiteBeta

Screen shot © Coyote Moon, Inc.

But before you dive in there are a few precautions to take; this is a beta, after all, and it will be full of issues, errors, and warts. Some of the problems you’ll encounter will be very basic; for example, there may be a feature you want to try out, and you’ll be disappointed to learn that it’s not included in the beta. That’s right; the current version of the beta is far from complete, and lacks a few of the capabilities that were demonstrated at WWDC 2014. Don’t worry; these features will be added to the preview as time goes on.

Beyond the features you want to try out that aren’t yet present, you may also discover that some of the apps you currently use on your Mac may not work with the beta. The beta may also be prone to crash, freeze, or just behave badly from time to time. That’s the nature of a beta program; it’s not complete and it’s full of bugs. Not security flaws; just things that may not work quite the way they should.

Read more on About: Macs.

by Tom Nelson

According to CPU World, Intel has released minor speed bump updates to the i5 and i7 processors that Apple is likely to use in a fall update to its MacBook Pro lineup.

2014MacBookProFamily

Image courtesy of Apple

After reading through the information on the new Intel processors, and trying very hard to stifle quite a few yawns, I came to the conclusion that it wasn’t worth the effort; I should have just slept through the announcement.

The newly released processors will gain, on average, a 200 MHz speed bump, and be available in dual core i5s and quad core i7s. The i7s will have an integrated Iris Pro 5200 graphics system, while the i5s will use the Iris 5100.

Read more on About: Macs.

by Tom Nelson

Apple promised that there would be a public beta of OS X Yosemite available sometime this summer. This is only the second time Apple has offered a public beta of its flagship OS while the product was still under development. The original version of OS X was offered as a public beta/preview for $29.95 in September of 2000, with the full release version of OS X released in March of the following year. Unlike the original public beta, this one will be free.

OSXYostemiteUI

Image courtesy of Apple

Apple was vague about when the public beta of OS X Yosemite would be made available, just “sometime this summer.” That gives Apple up to the middle of September to meet the deadline.

In following the development process of Yosemite, I thought an early August release of the beta would be likely. Today (07/21/2014) Apple released the fourth version of the developer preview. This preview includes some missing components that a public beta would need to have, including a new version of iTunes with the ability to share app purchases with family members, and a functioning OS X Yosemite Recovery system, similar to the Recovery HD service in recent versions of OS X.

Read more on About: Macs.

by Tom Nelson

The refurb store remains nicely stocked this week, including multiple models of the Mac mini. You can choose between server and desktop versions of the mini to fit your needs. Remember that you don’t need to use the server version of the Mac mini as a server; it will work just as well as a normal desktop Mac, and you get a pair of 1 TB drives with the server configuration.

AppleRefurb

Screen shot © Coyote Moon, Inc.

Deals of the Week

We have two deals of the week, a 13.3-inch MacBook Pro with Retina Display that is just waiting for a good home, and a 27-inch iMac. We haven’t had an iMac in our deals category for quite a while. This iMac made the cut because it’s nicely configured at a very decent price.

Read more on About: Macs.

by Tom Nelson

coconutBattery is an application that no portable Mac user should be without. While the Mac’s built-in battery monitor will let you know if the battery is charged, coconutBattery takes a much closer look at how well your MacBook’s power source is operating.

CoconutBattery

Image courtesy of coconut-flavour.com

coconutBattery can display information about your Mac battery’s age, health, the number of times it’s been charged, its current capacity in relation to its original capacity, temperature, and much more. You can also save the information to an online database that lets you track how well your Mac’s battery is performing compared to all the other people who are using coconutBattery.

Read more on About: Macs.

by Tom Nelson

Mac News roundup for the week of 07/18/2014.

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Image courtesy of Apple

Mac news this week includes Apple and IBM working together on moving iOS devices into the hands of enterprise customers, Bill Campbell stepping down from the Apple board, and the possibility of secret tunnels being built under Apple’s spaceship campus.

Read more on About: Macs.

by Tom Nelson

Graphics professionals used to be the only ones who needed to worry about the color accuracy of their monitors. These pros make their living working with images in one form or another. Making sure the colors they see on their monitors are the same colors seen in a project’s final form can mean the difference between keeping clients and losing them to other graphics pros.

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Image courtesy of Apple

Display Calibration For Everyone

Nowadays, just about everyone works with images, although not all of our livings depend on them. We keep a library of photos on our Macs; we print images using color printers; and we use digital cameras that can make capturing images as simple as point and click.

But what happens when that bright red flower you remember seeing in your camera’s viewfinder looks a bit muddy on your Mac’s display, and downright orange when it comes out of your inkjet printer? The problem is that the devices in the chain – your camera, display, and printer – aren’t working in the same color space. They haven’t been calibrated to ensure that a color remains the same throughout an entire process, no matter which device is displaying or producing the image.

Getting photos on your Mac to match the colors of the original images starts with calibrating your display. The best calibration systems use hardware-based colorimeters, devices that attach to a display and measure the way it behaves in response to various images. Colorimeter-based systems then tweak a graphics card’s LUTs (lookup tables) to produce the correct colors.

Hardware-based calibration systems can be very accurate, but most of the time, they’re a bit on the pricey side for casual use (though inexpensive models are available). But that doesn’t mean you have to suffer from bad colors. With a little bit of help from software-based calibration systems, you can ensure your monitor is at least in the right ballpark, so that under careful scrutiny, the images you see on your display are a pretty close match to the original versions.

Read more on About: Macs.

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