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Archive for March, 2014

by Tom Nelson

OneNote has finally made its way to the Mac platform. It did so with almost all of its major features intact, and with a nice price reduction to boot (it’s free).

OneNote

Image courtesy of Microsoft

Long a popular note-taking and organizational app for Windows, OneNote has a devoted following, and for good reason; it’s a well-designed app that has been part of various Office packages for Windows for quite a while.

OneNote is now available for a number of platforms, including Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android; there is even a web-based version. All of the versions of OneNote are synced together, so notes you make on your iPad are available on your Mac or in other versions of OneNote. OneNote takes advantage of Microsoft’s cloud service to keep everything synced, and to provide a web clipping service that allows you to save any web site you visit to a OneNote clipping, very handy for storing ideas kjiyou want to work on later.

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by Tom Nelson

Tunes allows you to create as many playlists as you wish, which makes choosing the style or artist you wish to listen to an easy task. But as your iTunes library gets larger, playlist creation becomes more and more cumbersome.

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Screen shot © Coyote Moon, Inc.

Thankfully, iTunes has a Smart Playlist feature that works very similar to the Mac’s Smart Folders. This feature lets you make selections from more than 40 different types of criteria, such as artist name, ranking, number of times played, and kind.

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by Tom Nelson

Most Mac applications are pretty reliable, working day in and day out to meet your needs. But sometimes, a badly coded app can just seem to freeze, and fails to respond to any user input.

When a Mac Application Stops Working, Give It the Heave-Ho

Screen shot © Coyote Moon, Inc.

In other cases, an app you’ve used for a long time seems to pause, perhaps displaying the spinning beach ball cursor for a long time, or at least, longer than you’re willing to wait for it to recover and get back to work.

In either case, you have an app that needs to be terminated, given the heave-ho, shown the door, made to scurry back into the darkness from which it came. Or, just stopped so you can get on with other work.

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by Tom Nelson

Apple has released a preview version of OS X 10.9.3 to its employees. An internal beta release is usually an indication that Apple is getting ready for a public release of new software.

 MavericksOSXicon
Courtesy of Apple

Before the internal preview release, a beta version of OS X 10.9.3 had been distributed to Apple developers, who provide Apple with feedback on functionality and features. By releasing an internal preview, Apple opens the software up to a much wider group of users, which should help the company find any remaining issues.

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by Tom Nelson

Safe Boot has been a feature of OS X almost since its inception. Even before OS X, the Mac had a special startup method that prevented system extensions from loading. This allowed you to troubleshoot problems caused by badly coded extensions.

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Screen shot © Coyote Moon, Inc.

Safe Boot performs an equivalent task in OS X. It prevents many kernel extensions from loading, checks for problems with the startup drive and attempts to correct any problems it may find, disables all fonts not required by the system, keeps apps or services from automatically launching, and deletes most system caches.

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by Tom Nelson

As was rumored last week, Microsoft has released a Mac version of OneNote, the popular note-taking app included with versions of Microsoft Office for Windows.

Microsoft Releases Free Version of OneNote for Mac

Courtesy of Microsoft

Microsoft broke OneNote out and is offering it as a free app for many different platforms, including Mac, Windows, iOS, and Android. It’s not clear that the free version of OneNote has all of the capabilities found in the original version. Already it has been noted that support for the SharePoint service seems to be missing, but that may be because Microsoft is moving on to newer cloud-based services as a replacement.

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by Tom Nelson

Mac minis, iMacs, and Mac Pros are all in stock this week, but the best deals are in the notebook lineup, with savings up to 29 percent.

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Screen shot © Coyote Moon, Inc.

Best Deals of the Week **

This week’s outstanding deals are popular Mac notebook models. The first is a 2012 13.3-inch MacBook Pro with Retina Display. The Apple refurb store lists this desirable notebook for $1,059.00, a savings of over $440.00 off its original retail price.

The other deal this week is a 2012 13.3-inch MacBook Air; its attractively low price of $849.00 is a savings of $350.00 over its original retail price.

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by Tom Nelson

iBank 5 from IGG Software is simply one of the best personal finance apps for the Mac, and with the new version comes a nice selection of new features.

 iBank 5: Tom's Mac Software Pick

Image courtesy of IGG Software

iBank 5 can now connect to most banks, so you can use a bank’s bill paying services directly from within iBank; no need to leave the app to pay your bills. New budgeting tools take advantage of scheduled transactions to help you populate a future budget, monitor progress, and sync your budget to your iPad.

iBank also has improved investment tracking, analysis, and reporting capabilities. The number of new features and updates is impressive for a financial app that was already well respected in the Mac community.

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by Tom Nelson

Mail rules are a set of instructions that tell the Mail application how to handle specific types of messages you receive. Mail rules can handle a wide range of mail conditions, from basic to complex.

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Screen shot © Coyote Moon, Inc.

At the basic level, perhaps you have a friend who is always sending you jokes and Internet memes. Sure, you like a chuckle now and then, but the emails appear in your inbox all day long. A mail rule can quickly sweep up all of your friend’s jokes and move them to a folder for you to read when you need a good laugh.

A mail rule can also be complex, such as looking for alerts sent by the various financial institutions you do business with, highlighting the messages and letting you know they need to be dealt with swiftly.

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by Tom Nelson

In the news this week, an attack on Google and Speakeasy DNS servers prevented access to some, but not all, of Apple’s web sites.

Tom's Mac Tips: How to Change Your Mac's DNS Settings

Screen shot © Coyote Moon, Inc.

The attack came in the form of injecting bad DNS (Domain Name Server) entries into the two popular DNS servers. As a result of the incorrect entries, the targeted sites (Apple, in this case) became blocked and users were unable to access them.

Although this type of DNS attack doesn’t often happen to major DNS providers, it can be frustrating to their users when it does. When you repeatedly can’t access a web site, the problem can often be incorrect DNS entries.

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