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Archive for April, 2015

by Tom Nelson

Safari, Apple’s popular web browser, has a lot going for it. It’s easy to use, fast, and versatile, and it adheres to web standards. It does, however, have one slightly annoying feature, or should I say it lacks a feature: a convenient way to import and export bookmarks.

SafariBookmarksFavorites

Screen shot © Coyote Moon, Inc.

Yes, there are ‘Import Bookmarks’ and ‘Export Bookmarks’ options in the Safari File menu. But if you have ever used these Import or Export options, you probably didn’t get what you expected. The Import option brings your bookmarks into Safari as a folder full of bookmarks that can’t actually be accessed from the Bookmarks menu or from the Bookmarks Bar. Instead, you have to open the Bookmarks manager, sort though the imported bookmarks, and manually put them where you want them.

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by Tom Nelson

Safari’s ability to render text puts it ahead of most web browsers. It faithfully follows a web site’s style sheets or embedded HTML text height tags. This means that Safari consistently displays pages as their designers intended, which isn’t always a good thing. There’s no way for a web designer to know what size monitor a site visitor has, or how good their vision is.

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Screen shot © Coyote Moon, Inc.

If you’re like me, you might sometimes wish a web site’s text was just a little bit bigger.

I occasionally misplace my reading glasses; sometimes, even with my glasses, the default type size is just too small. A quick click of the mouse brings everything back into perspective.

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by Tom Nelson

Apple reported its second quarter 2015 results today, with numbers that show Apple’s development of the greater China market is paying off big-time. Sales in China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan rose 71% in year-over-year growth, surpassing U.S. iPhone sales for the first time.

Apple currently has 21 regional stores in China, and is planning to raise that number to at least 40 by 2016. When you include the sales force of China Mobile, the world’s largest cellular carrier, then it’s obvious that Apple has built a large footprint in China over a very short time frame.

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by Tom Nelson

Startup items, also commonly referred to as login items, are applications, documents, shared volumes, or other items you wish to automatically start up or open when you boot or log in to your Mac.

startupitems

Screen shot © Coyote Moon, Inc.

A common use for startup items is to launch an application that you always use when you sit down at your Mac. You may, for instance, always launch Apple MailSafari, and Messages every time you use your Mac.

Instead of launching these items manually, you can designate them as startup items and let your Mac do the work for you.

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by Tom Nelson

A fresh supply of MacBook Airs hit the refurb store this week, providing a large selection of 2014 models of this very portable Mac. And although it’s a bit early to consider the upcoming school year, these one-year-old MacBook Airs may be a great choice for the back-to-school crowd, who like to save some cash.

Speaking of cash, how about a couple of Deals of the Week that can save you over $400 and $600 on current generation Macs?

2014macbookair

Image courtesy of Apple

Deals of the Week

Our first deal can save you over $400 on a current generation 27-inch iMac with 5K display. What makes this deal appealing are not only the price tag and Retina display, but also the configuration, which has bumped the processor to a 4 GHz Quad-Core i7.

Want more processing power for really extreme computing? How about a $600 savings on a 2013 Mac Pro with six processor cores and dual graphics cards. This Mac Pro is just the thing for the video enthusiast looking to produce the next great indie movie. See you at Sundance.

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by Tom Nelson

I’m a firm believer in performing routine maintenance to keep my Mac running at its best. By maintenance, I mean checking my drive for issues, and keeping my startup drive from filling up with junk, so there’s plenty of free space. I’ve even been known to defragment my drives from time to time, even though I’ve gone on record as saying that most Mac users don’t need to worry about startup drive fragmentation.

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Screen shot © Coyote Moon, Inc.

I usually use Disk Utility to take care of routine upkeep, and Drive Genius for more advanced maintenance and repair needs, as well as for actively monitoring my drives for potential issues, and defragging them when I think it’s needed. That’s why I was very interested when Prosoft Engineering announced a major update, bumping the app to Drive Genius 4.

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by Tom Nelson

The Notification Center, introduced to the Mac in OS X Mountain Lion, provides a unified method for applications to provide you with status, updates, and other informational messages. The messages are organized in a single location that’s easy to access, use, and dismiss.

NotificationCenterPrefPane

Screen shot © Coyote Moon, Inc.

The Notification Center is an outgrowth of a similar service originally introduced on Apple’s iOS devices. And since many Mac users have a wide collection of iOS devices, it’s no wonder that the Notification Center in OS X parallels the one in iOS.

Notifications appear in the upper-right hand corner of the Mac display. You can receive notifications from many sources, including your Mail app, TwitterFacebookiPhoto, and Messages. Any app can send messages to the Notification Center if the app’s developer chooses to make use of this messaging facility. In most cases, developers seem to love to have their apps send you messages.

Fortunately, you have control over which apps are allowed to send you messages and how the messages are displayed in the Notification Center.

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by Tom Nelson

Configuring your Mac’s DNS (Domain Name Server) settings is a pretty straightforward process. Even so, there are a few subtle nuances to be aware of that will help you get the most out of your DNS server.

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Screen shot © Coyote Moon, Inc.

You configure your Mac’s DNS settings using the Network preference pane. In this example, we will configure the DNS settings for a Mac that connects via an Ethernet wired network. These same instructions can be used for any network connection type, including AirPort wireless connections.

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by Tom Nelson

Adding an Eject CD/DVD menu item to your Mac’s menu bar is a handy way to quickly eject or insert a CD or DVD. The menu bar provides access to its items at all times, so no matter what application you are running, no matter how many windows are cluttering up your desktop, you can quickly eject a CD or DVD without having to move windows around to drag its icon to the trash.

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The Eject menu bar item also provides some additional benefits. If you have multiple CD or DVD drives, the Eject menu will list each drive, allowing you to select the drive you want to open or close. The Eject menu also comes in handy for ejecting stubborn CDs or DVDs, such a CD or DVD that your Mac doesn’t recognize. Because the CD or DVD never mounts, there’s no icon to drag to the trash and no contextual pop-up menu you can use to eject the media.

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by Tom Nelson

Long ago, when cats ruled the Mac and OS X Lion was the king, Apple began including a hidden partition on the Mac’s startup device. Known as the Recovery HD, it was a special partition that could be used for troubleshooting a Mac, fixing common startup problems, or, if worse came to worst, reinstalling OS X.

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Screen shot © Coyote Moon, Inc.

Pretty nifty, although nothing really new; competing computing systems offered similar capabilities.

But one thing that set the Mac’s Recovery HD system apart from others was that the operating system was installed using the Internet, by downloading a fresh install of OS X when needed.

Which brings us to the questions we’re going to answer in this article.

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