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Archive for November, 2014

by Tom Nelson

This is our first look at the refurb store with an eye towards holiday gift giving. Unless you’re willing to knit your own sock, you just can’t get a MacBook to fit into a sock hung from the fireplace. However, the new cylindrical Mac Pro may fit, and one of the models happens to be on our deals of the week list.
AppleRefurb
Screen shot © Coyote Moon, Inc.
Deals of the Week

As mentioned above, the 6-core configuration of the Mac Pro makes our deal list this week. Although the price is high compared to the other Mac products that made the list, the Mac Pro is a specialty-computing platform that can easily command its price for the performance it provides in the professional graphics marketplace. And as noted, it could fit into an oversized stocking. OK, it might have to be a very oversized stocking, but wouldn’t that be a fun discovery on Christmas morning?

Our other deals this week include a 2014 MacBook Pro with 16 GB of RAM, which makes it a go-anywhere, do-anything workhorse limited only by your imagination.

Our last deal is for desktop enthusiasts who want the big 27-inch display of an iMac. It’s too soon for refurb versions of the new Retina iMacs to be showing up, but in the meantime, this is a pretty good value that should keep anyone happy for quite a while.

Read more on About: Macs.

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by Tom Nelson

The Unarchiver from Dan Agren is one of those utilities that will make you wonder how you ever got along without it. The Unarchiver is an easy-to-use app for decompressing or unarchiving many different types of archived files.

TheUnarchiver

Image courtesy of Dan Agren

In essence, The Unarchiver serves the same purpose as Apple’s built-in Archive Utility, which zips and unzips Mac files. But the Unarchiver handles so many different types of file compression formats that it makes Apple’s Archive Utility look like a student project for programming class.

Archive Utility has one advantage over The Unarchiver: it can create compressed archives, something The Unarchiver can’t do. But if you have an archived file in a format other than the few that Archive Utility can work with, then The Unarchiver is the app for you.

Read more on About: Macs.

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by Tom Nelson

ac startup problems can take many forms, but stalling at the gray screen can be one of the most troublesome, because there are so many possible causes. In addition, there are many Mac issues that get mistaken for the gray screen startup problem.

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Screen shot © Coyote Moon, Inc.

What Is the Gray Screen Startup Problem?

The gray screen problem can occur right after you start or restart your Mac. The problem is characterized by the display changing from the blue screen that occurs at power up to a gray screen. You may see only the gray screen itself. It may also include the Apple logo, a spinning gear, a spinning globe, or a prohibitory sign (a circle with a slash drawn through it). In all cases, your Mac seems to be stuck at this point. There are no unusual noises, such as disk access, optical drive spin up or down, or excessive fan noise; just a Mac that seems stuck and won’t continue to the login screen or the desktop.

There is another common startup problem that is often mistaken for the gray screen issue: a gray screen with a folder icon and a flashing question mark. That is a separate problem, which you can usually easily fix by following this guide: How to respond to a flashing question mark on a Mac.

Read more on About: Macs.

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by Tom Nelson

External drives may be the most common way to increase a Mac’s data storage capability, but they can do more than just provide extra space. External drives are versatile, both in how they can be used, and the types of drives and form factors that are available.

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Image courtesy of Other World Computing

In this guide, we’re going to look at the various types of external drives, how they connect to a Mac, and which type might be the best fit for you.

Read more on About: Macs.

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by Tom Nelson

Apple’s search deal with Google, which saw Google’s search engine become the default search service for Safari across all of the various Apple platforms, is about to expire. Waiting in the wings are Yahoo!, Bing, and perhaps others, all vying to replace Google as the default search engine in Safari.

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Image courtesy of Apple

The big three search contenders all have deals with Apple revolving around various services. Yahoo! provides stock and other news data to iOS devices. Bing is the search service behind Siri. In addition to being Safari’s search service, Google also provides mapping services. But the big deal remains being the default search engine for Safari.

Read more on About: Macs.

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by Tom Nelson

Apple has announced its Black Friday deals for November 28, 2014. As is the norm for Apple, the Black Friday discounts aren’t deep. If you’re looking for the lowest possible price, Black Friday offers from other authorized vendors may be a better fit.

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Image courtesy of Apple

However, Apple this year is turning Black Friday, along with Cyber Monday, (RED) by providing special (RED) iTunes gift cards in various amounts to those who purchase selected Apple products. Each card can be redeemed at the iTunes Store, iTunes App Store, Mac App Store, and the iBook Store. Apple will donate a percentage of sales at its retail and online stores that occur on November 28 (Black Friday) and December 1 (Cyber Monday) to (RED), to support World AIDS Day.

Read more on About: Macs.

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by Tom Nelson

As is usual at this time of year, the Apple refurb store is seeing some shortages here and there, but for the most part, there’s plenty of stock to look over. We’re still missing Mac minis, and the iPad stock has a few configurations of specific models missing, although for the most part, iPads remain well represented in the store
AppleRefurb
Screen shot © Coyote Moon, Inc.
Deals of the Week

This week, I was able to pick out three deals to mention as our deals of the week. Each made it to our deals list because either the price is good for the way the product is equipped, or it’s a desirable model that isn’t often seen in stock.

That’s the case with the 15-inch MacBook Pro that made our deal of the week; it’s rare to find one with 16 GB of RAM installed. Usually, they have only the base level of RAM, so this was a nice change of pace.

Our second deal is on a 27-inch iMac that is nicely equipped for a decent price. And our last deal is a Mac Pro with a 6-core processor and AMD FirePro 500 graphics. What caught my eye was how well the model was equipped, making it a great choice for someone who needs the graphics performance of the Mac Pro, but doesn’t want to pay an over-the-top price for it.

Read more on About: Macs.

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by Tom Nelson

SuperDuper from Shirt Pocket is an application that makes quick work of backing up your Mac’s important data by creating bootable clones of your startup drive. If that was all SuperDuper could do, it would still be an excellent choice for making bootable clones, but SuperDuper has a few tricks up its sleeve that almost every Mac user will find extremely helpful.

SuperDuper

Image courtesy of Shirt Pocket

SuperDuper has long been one of the leaders in Mac cloning software, making its first appearance in 2004, back when OS X Jaguar and Panther were the big news in operating systems. Over the years it has acquired both new features and a following that help it remain a popular cloning app for the Mac.

Read more on About: Macs.

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by Tom Nelson

Weekly Mac news roundup for the week of November 21, 2014.

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Image courtesy of Apple

OS X Yosemite and iWork for iCloud saw new updates from Apple this week. In addition, Safari and YouTube may be experiencing playback issues, and someone thinks Apple stock is undervalued.

Read more on About: Macs.

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by Tom Nelson

Most people don’t think about backing up their Mac until after disaster strikes; by then, it’s too late. Don’t let this happen to you. Instead of waiting for that sinking feeling when you realize your Mac isn’t going to boot, or the terrifying sound of your hard drive screeching to a halt, be proactive. Check out all the possibilities, make a decision, and then back up your data.

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Image courtesy of Apple

Time Machine: Backing Up Your Data Has Never Been So Easy

Time Machine, the Apple backup utility included with Leopard (OS X 10.5), may be one of the easiest backup utilities to set up and use. It makes backing up your data so easy you may forget that it’s there, working quietly in the background, automatically backing up your data. Time Machine also offers one of the best interfaces for recovering a specific file or folder from a backup. ‘Time Machine: Backing Up Your Data Has Never Been So Easy’ provides a step-by-step guide to configuring Time Machine and creating your first backup.

Read more on About: Macs.

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