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Archive for April, 2014

by Tom Nelson

If you’re like me, the app you use most on your Mac is a web browser. It’s not unusual for me to discover that I have a dozen browser windows open when I’m researching an issue, or even just browsing the web.

Namebench

Screen shot © Coyote Moon, Inc.

Our browsers get a real workout, so when we can persuade them to provide even just a bit more performance, it may be time well spent.

Sometimes gaining more speed can be as easy as performing a tune-up, or shutting down a browser to let it release memory back to your Mac. You may even find that some keyboard shortcuts can save you a great deal of navigation time in a browser window.

Read more on About: Macs.

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by Tom Nelson

As expected, this morning Apple released newly updated versions of the 11.6-inch and 13-inch MacBook Airs. This minor update includes a 1.4 GHz Intel Dual-Core i5 processor, which is slightly faster than the 1.3 GHz Dual-Core i5 processor found in the previous version of the MacBook Air.

MacBookAir2013

Image courtesy of Apple

Storage space starts at 128 GB SSD for the baseline models, and 256 GB SSD for the step-up configuration. Graphics remain the same, powered by an Intel HD Graphics 5000 card.

There’s no new Retina display option, and the case design remains the same. The big news in this round of updates is a price drop of $100 across most configurations.

The base level 11-inch MacBook Air, which comes with a 1.4 GHz processor, 4 GB of RAM, a 128 GB SSD, and Intel HD Graphics 5000, now sells for $899.00. The previous generation model was $999.00 for roughly the same configuration. The same $100 reduction holds true across all of the standard configurations of the 11.6-inch and 13-inch MacBook Airs.

Read more on About: Macs.

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by Tom Nelson

Unconfirmed reports claim that new MacBook Airs are being stocked in Apple retail stores in time for a product release this week. Tuesday is Apple’s traditional day for product announcements, so all eyes will be on Apple tomorrow morning, waiting for a press release.

MacBookAir2013

Image courtesy of Apple

It’s important to note that the source for this rumor hasn’t publicly come forward, and seems to be merely recirculating a report issued last week by MacGenerations, a French language site that predicted new MacBook Airs before the end of the month.

The 11.6-inch and 13-inch MacBook Airs are both due for upgrades, having last been updated in June of 2013.

It’s been even longer since the MacBook Pro and Mac mini were updated, but this specific rumor suggests that the MacBook Air cut in front of them in line.

Read more on About: Macs.

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by Tom Nelson

There are more rumblings in the iPad section of the Apple refurb store, with newer models of the iPad Air and iPad minis showing up for the first time.

AppleRefurb

Screen shot © Coyote Moon, Inc.

Best Deals of the Week

This week, two members of the MacBook family of portable Macs earned spots as the best deals of the week. The first is the smallest MacBook Air, featuring a 128 GB SSD and a price point below $800. The second is a MacBook Pro, also with a 128 GB SSD and a Retina Display, for a bit over $1,000.

Read more on About: Macs.

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by Tom Nelson

TimeMachineEditor is an application that can be used to modify the automatic scheduling of Time Machine backups. Normally, Time Machine will check every hour to see if a backup needs to be performed; if so, it will back up any files that have been created or changed since the last backup.

TimeMachineEditor

TimeMachineEditor

This means that even when there is no need for a backup, your Mac takes a slight performance hit, which could adversely affect the task you’re working on.

Read more on About: Macs.

 

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by Tom Nelson

This weekend’s Mac DIY answers a few questions we received about the Mac Browser Benchmark 2014 article we published earlier this week, although you may find it useful even if you haven’t read the article.

partition500x414

Image © Coyote Moon, Inc.

In the article we mentioned that in order to ensure a clean test environment, we erased the target hard drive and started with a fresh installation of OS X.

Several readers asked if we really used the whole drive for the installation and testing, or created new partitions. If the latter, how did we create the partitions?

Although we dedicated the entire hard drive to our testing, you could just as easily use Disk Utility to repartition your startup drive, create and erase a new volume, and then install a fresh copy of OS X Mavericks.

Once you complete the testing, you can reclaim the new partition and return its space to the original startup drive.

Read more on About: Macs.

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by Tom Nelson

According to MacNN, Apple has been using shell companies – small corporate entities, in this case controlled by Apple – to file for trademarks that may be used as operating system names.

YosemiteValleyTunnelview

Image courtesy of Mark J. Miller

Because OS X has been using names and version numbers since it was first released, we can assume that it’s the target for such recent trademark filings as:

  • Yosemite, Redwood, Mammoth
  • California, Big Sur, Pacific

MacRumors discovered additional trademark filings:

  • Diablo, Miramar, Rincon, El Cap
  • Farallon, Tiburon, Monterey
  • Skyline, Shasta, Sierra

While we’re pretty sure that OS X is in line for some of these names, it’s entirely possible that Apple will also give iOS a public moniker, one more interesting than just its current version number.

Read more on About: Macs.

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Mac Browser Benchmark Bake-Off 2014

by Tom Nelson

If you follow me on Google+Facebook, or Twitter, you may have seen a sneak peek at this year’s annual Mac browser benchmark, where we test the most popular Mac web browsers to determine which one is the fastest.

HTML5-BenchmarkTotals

Screen shot © Coyote Moon, Inc.

That sneak peek showed just one of the six tests we ran on our selected browsers, and while it included an interesting graph, there wasn’t enough information to reach any type of conclusion about the 2014 Browser Benchmark results.

Read more on About: Macs.

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by Tom Nelson

New Security Update 2014-002 is now available for OS X Lion, Mountain Lion, and Mavericks; it also includes updates to Safari 7.0.3.

swupdate276x206

Image courtesy of Apple

The security update fixes a number of bugs that could impact Mac users. They include a networking fix that prevents a potential denial of service attack, removes the potential for a maliciously crafted JPEG from terminating a viewing app, and fixes a buffer overflow issue with PDFs that could have lead to arbitrary code execution.

Read more on About: Macs.

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by Tom Nelson

Apple today released two short videos, as well as an update to the environmental section of its web site, just in time for Earth Day 2014.

solarmaiden500

Image courtesy of Apple

The first of the videos is a short ad narrated by Tim Cook. Entitled Better, the video looks at the programs and initiatives Apple has in place to promote the use of renewable energy at Apple facilities, use recyclable materials, eliminate waste, and reduce its carbon footprint.

Read more on About: Macs.

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