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Archive for May, 2014

by Tom Nelson

This weekend’s do-it-yourself project is to customize your Mac so that it better expresses your personality. Now, we could go hog wild and break out paint, cutting torches, and 3D printers to create a pretty fantastic custom enclosure to put your Mac into, but that’s more than a weekend of work. For now, let’s concentrate on changing your Mac’s desktop, icons, and screen saver.

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Screen shot © Coyote Moon, Inc.

Personalize Your Mac by Changing Desktop Icons

The icons you see on your desktop are one of our first targets for customization, especially the drive icons, as they tend to be one of the more prominent features of the desktop. The guide above not only shows you how to change your desktop and folder icons, but also how to find new icons to use.

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by Tom Nelson

Over the last week or so, my 2010 Mac Pro has occasionally suffered from a sleep-related issue. A few times after I wandered off and my Mac went to sleep, I returned to find the login screen, instead of the locked screen that usually displays when the Mac wakes from sleep. After logging in, I would see a notice that my Mac had crashed during sleep and automatically restarted to the login screen.

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Image courtesy of Apple

Looking at the log files, it appears that the error involved the Mac’s processor(s), which failed to respond to a hardware interrupt. The result was that the Mac ended up in an unknown state, and had the courtesy to restart itself.

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by Tom Nelson

Although the cat had already been let out of the bag about the Beats purchase, Apple made the acquisition official today with a press release and an interview with the New York Times.

Beats co-founders Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine will become employees of Apple, reporting to Eddy Cue, Senior Vice President of Internet Software and Services.

“Music is such an important part of Apple’s DNA and always will be,” said Eddy Cue. “The addition of Beats will make our music lineup even better, from free streaming with iTunes Radio to a world-class subscription service in Beats, and of course buying music from the iTunes Store as customers have loved to do for years.”

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by Tom Nelson

With less than a week until WWDC, which will open its doors on Monday, June 2nd, Apple has updated its events page to include the keynote time (10:00 am PDT). In addition, Apple will be providing a live stream of the keynote address. This is the second year in a row that Apple will stream the event live, as opposed to providing a video of the event a few days later.

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Image courtesy of Apple

In addition to the live stream, Apple is also promising that exciting announcements will be made at the event. Well, I certainly hope so. I look forward to some new hardware; aMac mini, Apple TV, perhaps even a new iMac or a Retina version of the MacBook Air. But those are all natural evolutions of existing products. What always really gets people excited is something new. This year, that may be a move into home automation, with a new Apple TV taking on the role of a core server for the home, dishing up entertainment and providing control over third-party devices that will automate your home.

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by Tom Nelson

The Financial Times (subscription required) is reporting that Apple plans to offer a development platform that will turn iOS devices into control systems for home automation networks.

Described as a move into the “internet of things,” Apple’s remote management system will take on Google, which recently acquired Nest Labs, maker of popular self-learning home thermostats. Samsung has also started offering smart home products, including refrigerators and other home appliances.

Apple’s approach is said to add a set of APIs to the iOS platform that will allow developers to create home automation platforms that will use various iOS devices, such as an iPhone, as a remote controller or as part of the overall automation platform. An example can be found in a recent patent filing in which Apple describes a system that detects the location of a wireless communication device (an iPhone), and then responds by setting lighting, adjusting temperature, opening or closing garage doors, or configuring entertainment systems appropriately for the detected event.

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by Tom Nelson

The Mac refurb store remains well stocked this holiday weekend, with plenty of choices to keep you busy trying to decide which Mac to buy. There’s a nice selection of Mac minis, including one model outfitted with the server version of OS X. But the real news this week is the three, count ’em, three best deals of the week that we uncovered.

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Screen shot © Coyote Moon, Inc.

Best Deals of the Week

This week, two 15-inch MacBook Pro models get our nod for best deal of the week. With price cuts of 23% and 24%, it’s nice to be able to pick up the most recent MacBook Pro and still have a little money left in your pocket.

Our third best deal of the week goes to a 2012 Mac Pro with a 12-core Xeon processor. It’s actually a pair of 6-core Xeons; the 12-core Mac Pro models are a popular, although usually expensive, configuration. Check out this deal if you’re looking for a slightly more budget-friendly 12-core model.

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by Tom Nelson

AMPPS is a cross-platform development stack of popular free and open source web applications. AMPPS includes Apache, MySQL, PHP, Perl, Python, and a Softaculous auto-installer that lets you quickly install and configure 300-plus popular web applications, ranging from blogging apps, such as WordPress, to popular mail systems, such as SquirrelMail, and cloud-based services, such as ownCloud.

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Image courtesy of Softaculous

AMPPS is easy to install and doesn’t replace any of OS X’s built-in versions of Apache, PHP, Perl, or other development tools. This means you don’t need to worry about misconfiguring a service and causing problems with OS X or any utility that uses OS X installed versions of Apache, MySQL, or other open source web apps.

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by Tom Nelson

We’re not suggesting that you jump into a wayback machine and install an older version of OS X just for the sake of nostalgia. But there are a few good reasons to have an older OS installed on your Mac.

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Screen shot © Coyote Moon, Inc.

I keep a copy of Snow Leopard, Lion, Mountain Lion, and Mavericks on my Mac. Of course, I need all of the recent versions of OS X so I can write how to’s, features, and troubleshooting tips for these still-popular versions of OS X. But you may also have a need for an older version of OS X. Perhaps you need to run a work-related app that isn’t compatible with Mavericks. Or maybe you need a diversion from work, but one (or more) of your favorite older games hasn’t been updated since Snow Leopard, and won’t work with Mavericks.

With the Mac’s support for booting up to multiple operating systems, having Snow Leopard and Mavericks available with just a keyboard combo is really quite easy.

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by Tom Nelson

According to MacNN, the most recent update to Mavericks (OS X 10.9.3) is causing some users to have rendering issues with the twin GPUs installed in their late 2013 Mac Pros.

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Image courtesy of Apple

Reported problems include graphical artifacts, system crashes, and rendering processes that fail to complete. All of the issues occur when hardware rendering is used, and are absent when rendering is performed only in software (using the CPU).

Affected applications so far include Adobe Premiere and Blackmagic DaVinci Resolve.

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by Tom Nelson

I really like larger displays with higher pixel resolution. I enjoy having multiple windows spread out across my display, without any overlap. It makes my workflow easier when I can have two browser windows open, as well as a Word document and my email client.

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Screen shot © Coyote Moon, Inc.

But productivity comes to a screeching halt when I can’t find my mouse cursor in the array of windows, text, and whatnot. I have to grab the mouse and drag it back and forth across the mouse pad, just to figure out the cursor’s current location. Once I manage to find the cursor, I have to move it back to where I want it, which for some reason, is usually near where I lost track of it.

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