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Archive for January, 2014

by Tom Nelson

A number of you have expressed interest in replacing the SSD in your Mac mini’s Fusion drive with a larger one. Some of you haven’t yet decided whether you’re going to use the larger SSD as your startup drive and the old hard drive for Time Machine backups, or create a new, larger Fusion drive.

Either way, the first step is to back up the current Fusion drive, and then split the Fusion drive into its two components: the SSD and the hard drive.

Read more on About: Macs.

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by Tom Nelson

When your Mac takes a snooze, it can use one of three supported sleep types, depending on the age and type of Mac (desktop or laptop). Each type of sleep has its advantages and disadvantages; with a bit of Terminal trickery, you can find out which sleep mode your Mac is using.

Tom's Mac Tips: How to Change How Your Mac Sleeps
Image courtesy of Apple

Apple Sleep Modes

Sleep: RAM is left fully powered, allowing for a very quick wake from sleep.

Hibernation: RAM is written to your Mac’s drive, and then powered down. Uses less energy but requires a long wake from sleep time.

Read more on About: Macs.

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by Tom Nelson

Auto-Save and Versions are system-wide services in OS X that allow apps to save your work automatically and to provide a method to access and compare versions of a document.

As system services, Auto-Save and Versions do not have to be used by application developers, but since the services first became available in OS X Lion, more and more apps can automatically save and create versions of your documents.

The services are a great idea; what is lacking is any documentation from Apple on how to use them. Apple apparently expected that developers would include any necessary documentation in an app’s help file, but for the most part, the basic information is sadly missing.

Read more on About: Macs.

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by Tom Nelson

The Apple TV may be moving beyond the hobby status that Tim Cook attributed to it. Apple has rearranged its online store to move the Apple TV out of the iPod accessory category and into its own top-level product category, along with Macs, iPads, iPhones, and iPods.

Apple TV Gets Its Own Category in Apple Store

Image courtesy of Apple

In the new Apple TV category, you will find not only the Apple TV, but also a list of accessories, community Q&As, and a link to the refurb store for discounted Apple TVs.

Read more on About: Macs.

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by Tom Nelson

OK, I’m only going to say this once, Apple: keep your paws off my icons. If I want the steamrolled look of iOS 7 icons, I’ll use an iOS device, or at least replace the standard OS X icons with custom versions. But I don’t and I won’t, because I like a user interface that has some depth to it.

Now that I’ve gotten that out of my system, 9to5Mac is reporting that Syrah (the code name for the new OS X 10.10) will include an overhaul of the user interface to produce a flatter version of the icons and windows. The information comes from an interview where Phil Schiller, Craig Federighi, and Bud Tribble told MacWorld’s Jason Snell that OS X and iOS would not be merging to form a single unified OS for all Apple devices.

Read more on About: Macs.

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by Tom Nelson

MacBook Airs are well represented in the Apple refurb store this week, with almost all of the 2013 models of the Air available, including the Dual-Core i7 variants.

AppleRefurb

Screen shot © Coyote Moon, Inc.

While the MacBook Air is well stocked, the MacBook Pro has limited availability, with only a few current models present. Missing for the second week in a row are Mac minis in any configuration. However, a 2012 version of the Mac Pro is in stock and ready for those looking for the last of the user-upgradable versions of the Mac Pro.

One other trend to note: the 27-inch Mac LED Cinema Display is currently not in stock. Because the Cinema Display is no longer manufactured, it’s likely that we’ll see fewer and fewer of these great displays showing up in the refurb store. If this display is on your wish list, don’t wait too long to grab one.

Read more on About: Macs.

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by Tom Nelson

Pixelmator 3.1 Marble is my pick this week because of its new feature set designed to support the late 2013 Mac Pro’s twin GPUs and multiple processor cores. But this fantastic image editing app isn’t just updated for the new Mac Pro; its core feature set will turn any Mac into a photo-editing powerhouse.

ALT TEXT

Image courtesy of the Pixelmator Team

Pixelmator Marble includes full support for 16-bits per color channel, allowing greater color depth, enhanced Auto Save features, and optimization for the Mac Pro’s Intel Xeon E5 processors. Pixelmator also partnered with MILK Print on Demand, to provide an easy way to order prints of your pictures directly from within the Pixelmator app.

Last but not least, the layer, type, selection, masking, and editing tools in Pixelmator are easier to use than those found in almost any other image editing app.

Read more on About: Macs.

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by Tom Nelson

It’s been 30 years since the Macintosh introduced itself to the world.

Happy 30th Birthday, Macintosh 

Image courtesy of Apple

In front of a full house at the De Anza Auditorium in Cupertino, Steve Jobs took the Macintosh out of its bag, plugged it in, turned it on, and inserted a 3-1/2″ floppy disk. The Mac then stole the show by uttering its first words:

“Hello, I’m Macintosh. It sure is great to get out of that bag. Unaccustomed as I am to public speaking, I’d like to share with you a maxim I thought of the first time I met an IBM mainframe: Never trust a computer your can’t lift.”

The 1984 Macintosh (January 24th, 1984) wasn’t the first Apple computer to use a graphical interface; that distinction belongs to the Lisa, named after Steve Jobs’ daughter, which was introduced a year earlier (January 19th, 1983). But the 1984 Macintosh certainly had the most profound impact on the computing environment, paving the way for graphical interfaces that nearly all computing platforms embraced in the years to come.

Read more on About: Macs.

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by Tom Nelson

Two rumors making the rounds suggest that in February, Apple will launch a new Mac mini, and in March, the Apple TV will add support for games and Bluetooth-based game controllers, via a firmware update.

10macminirear170x128

Image courtesy of Apple

Let’s start with the most likely rumor. Last updated in October of 2012, the current Mac minis are getting long in the tooth. I don’t expect anything radical in a Mac mini update, such as a new mini cylinder format to mimic the Mac Pro, but who knows? Maybe Apple will rename it the mini Mac instead of the Mac mini.

What I do expect is Haswell-based processor upgrades similar to the current offerings in the MacBook Pro, Intel Iris graphics, 802.11ac Wi-Fi, and USB 3 and Thunderbolt interfaces. I don’t expect FireWire to be available on a new Mac mini.

Read more on About: Macs.

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by Tom Nelson

Apple’s Disk Utility is the go-to app for working with a Mac’s storage system. With Disk Utility, you can repair, erase, partition, and format a drive.

Apple Partition Types: How and When You Can Use Them

Image courtesy of Apple

But one thing that seems to confuse many of you is which partition scheme to use when setting up a drive. Apple supports three different partition schemes: GUID, Apple Partition Map, and Master Boot Record.

Read more on About: Macs.

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