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by Tom Nelson

For most of OS X’s history, beta versions of OS X were reserved for Apple developers, who, being developers were pretty accustomed to working with software that tended to freeze, suddenly stop working, or even worse, cause files to become corrupt. This was just another day to a software developer.

OSXBeta

Justin Sullivan | Getty Images News

Developers know a few tricks for keeping risky beta software bottled up and away from their day-to-day Mac environment; after all, no one want to see their system crash and take their work environment down with it.

That’s why it’s common practice to run betas in virtual environments, on dedicated drive volumes, or even on entire Macs dedicated just to testing.

Read more on About: Macs.

by Tom Nelson

OS X El Capitan supports two methods of installation. The default method is an upgrade install, which will upgrade your Mac to El Capitan while preserving all of your user data and apps. The clean install method replaces the contents of a selected volume with a new, pristine version of OS X El Capitan.

MacBookElCapitan

Image courtesy of Apple

It’s the second option, a clean install of OS X El Capitan, that we’ll address in this guide.

Read more on About: Macs.

by Tom Nelson

By default, the Mac hides many system files that you may at some point need to access. Apple hides these files because an accidental change to, or the outright removal of the files could cause problems for your Mac.

ToggleHiddenFiles

Screen shot © Coyote Moon, Inc.

I’ve already shown you how to use Terminal to show or hide files and folders. That method is pretty good if you only have an occasional need to work with the hidden files and folders on your Mac.

But there’s a better way if you tend to work frequently with your Mac’s hidden goodies.

By combining the Terminal commands for showing and hiding files and folders with Automator to create a service that can be accessed from contextual menus, you can create a simple menu item to show or hide those files.

Read more on About: Macs.

by Tom Nelson

The Mac refurb store has a nice selection of Mac models this week, including Mac minis and 27-inch Retina iMacs. There are also some interesting configurations of the 2013 Mac Pro available; one of them may be just the way you would want it tricked out.

imac-retina5K

Image courtesy of Apple

Deals of the Week

Our first deal of the week may make some eyes widen, especially if you’re looking for the most mobile of Macs: a very nicely put together MacBook Air with a 512 GB SSD to keep all of your data at your fingertips. Unlike the MacBook Airs with the smaller SSDs, the 512 GB model should mean you won’t have to rely on external data storage.

Coming in below $2,000, our second deal is for a 27-inch Retina iMac with a 1 TB Fusion drive, a nice configuration for general productivity.

Our last deal this week is for a 2013 Mac Pro with a 6-core configuration and a 512 GB SSD. This model should provide plenty of CPU performance and a nicely sized SSD for pros to get started on their endeavors.

Read more on About: Macs.

by Tom Nelson

AdwareMedic, created by Thomas Reed, is one of the few anti-adware, or for that matter, anti-anything apps that I recommend for Mac users. AdwareMedic isn’t an anti-virus application, nor does it actively look for malware, viruses, or Trojans.

AdwareMedicIcon

Image courtesy of Thomas Reed

What it does do is scan your Mac for known adware; it then provides an automated way to remove these unwanted apps that usually use subterfuge to coerce you into installing them.

Read more on About: Macs.

by Tom Nelson

Wondering what’s taking up the space on any or all of your drives? Perhaps your startup drive is getting full, and you would like some insight into which type of file is hogging all the room.

StorageMap

Screen shot © Coyote Moon, Inc.

Before OS X Lion, you had to use third-party disk tools, such as DaisyDisk, to decipher which files were taking up the majority of space. And while third-party tools may still be the best choice for zeroing in on individual files taking up space, you can now use a feature of OS X to help discover who the data hogs are.

Read more on About: Macs.

by Tom Nelson

The Finder toolbar, a collection of buttons located at the top of a Finder window, is easy to customize. In addition to the Back, View, and Action buttons that are already present in the toolbar, you can add functions such as Eject, Burn, and Delete.

FinderToolbar

Screen shot © Coyote Moon, Inc.

Add Items to the Finder Toolbar

  • Open a Finder window by clicking the Finder icon in the Dock.
  • Select Customize Toolbar from the View menu, or right-click in a blank area of the Finder toolbar and select Customize Toolbar from the pop-up menu. A dialog sheet will slide into view.

Read more About: Macs.

by Tom Nelson

Partition types, or as Apple refers to them, partition schemes, define how the partition map is organized on a hard drive. Apple directly supports three different partition schemes: GUID (Globally Unique IDentifier) Partition Table, Apple Partition Map, and Master Boot Record. With three different partition maps available, which one should you use when you format or partition a hard drive?

DiskUtilityPartitionPanel

Screen shot © Coyote Moon, Inc.

Understanding Partition Schemes

GUID Partition Table: Used for startup and non-startup disks with any Mac computer that has an Intel processor.

Requires OS X 10.4 or later.

Intel-based Macs can only boot from drives that use the GUID Partition Table.

PowerPC-based Macs that are running OS X 10.4 or later can mount and use a drive formatted with the GUID Partition Table, but cannot boot from the device.

Read more on About: Macs.

 

by Tom Nelson

Like many applications, Safari lets you tweak its interface to suit your preferences. You can customize, hide, or show the toolbar, bookmarks bar, tab bar, and status bar.

CustomizeSafariToolBar

Screen shot © Coyote Moon, Inc.

Configuring each of these Safari interface bars to meet your needs can make using the web browser a lot easier and a lot more fun. So, go ahead and give the various Safari tool bars a once over. You can’t hurt anything, and you may find a few new features or capabilities you didn’t know Safari had.

Read more on About: Macs.

 

by Tom Nelson

Your Mac has a few secrets, hidden folders and files that are invisible to you. Apple hides these files and folders to prevent you from accidentally changing or deleting important data that your Mac needs.

HiddenFilesTerminal

Screen shot © Coyote Moon, Inc.

Apple’s reasoning is good, but there are times when you may need to view these out-of-the-way corners of your Mac’s file system. In fact, you will find accessing these hidden corners of your Mac one of the steps of many of our Mac troubleshooting guides as well as guides to back up important data, such as your mail messages, or your Safari bookmarks.

Fortunately, Apple includes a way to access these hidden goodies in OS X, in the form of an application called Terminal. All it takes to get your Mac to spill its secrets is a little typing in Terminal.

Read more on About: Macs.

 

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