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Archive for May, 2015

by Tom Nelson

iTunes is one of the applications I use every day. And I seem to add new tunes to my iTunes library almost as often as I use iTunes. The iTunes library doesn’t have a practical size limit; as long as there’s space on your drive, you can keep adding tunes or other media files.

moveituneslibrary

Screen shot © Coyote Moon, Inc.

That’s not entirely a good thing. If you’re not paying attention, your iTunes library can quickly take up more than its fair share of drive space.

Moving your iTunes library from your startup drive to another internal or external drive can not only free up some space on your startup drive, it can also give you more room to grow your iTunes library.

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by Tom Nelson

We first looked at DaisyDisk back in 2010, where it went on to win one of our Readers’ Choice Awards. That was quite a while ago, especially when talking about software, so we decided to run DaisyDisk through our review process once again, and see how well this handy app is holding up.

DaisyDiskIcon

Image courtesy of Software Ambience

DaisyDisk is a powerful tool for visualizing how your Mac’s storage is being used. Able to show you the contents of any drive connected to your Mac, DaisyDisk quickly builds a sunburst map of the data, showing folder hierarchy in an easy-to-understand, at-a-glance display.

Read more on About: Macs.

 

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by Tom Nelson

OS X Yosemite follows the tradition of providing an easy upgrade install as the default installation method. As a result, the process really comes down to just following a few onscreen steps, and making a choice or two along the way.

MacBookPro15Yosemite

Screen shot © Coyote Moon, Inc.

Really, it’s hard to go wrong with this simple installation method. But before you launch the OS X Yosemite installer and start clicking through the onscreen instructions, take a moment to make sure that it’s the right install option for you, that your Mac is properly prepped, and that you have all the information you will need at your fingertips for the new version of OS X.

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by Tom Nelson

Photos for OS X, introduced with OS X Yosemite 10.10.3 as a replacement for iPhoto, provides quite a few improvements, including a much faster process for working with and displaying image libraries. Just like iPhoto, Photos has the ability to work with multiple image libraries, although only one at a time.

photosmultiplelibraries

With iPhoto, I often recommended breaking image libraries into multiple iPhoto Libraries, and only loading the library with which you intended to work.

This was especially true if you had large photo libraries, which tend to bog down iPhoto and make it run slower than molasses.

Photos for OS X doesn’t suffer from this same problem; it can breeze through a large photo library with ease. But there are other reasons you may want to maintain multiple libraries with Photos, particularly if you plan to use Photos with the iCloud Photo Library.

Read more on About: Macs.

 

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by Tom Nelson

Apple has offered a Safe Boot option ever since Jaguar (OS X 10.2.x). Safe Boot allows your Mac to start up with the minimal number of system extensions, preferences, and fonts it needs to run.

Safe Boot can get your Mac running again when you’re having problems caused by corrupt applications or data, software installation issues, or damaged fonts or preference files. In all cases, the problem you may experience is either a Mac that fails to completely boot and freezes at some point along the way to the desktop, or a Mac that boots successfully, but then freezes or crashes when you undertake specific tasks or use specific applications.

safeboot

Image courtesy of Pixabay

Safe Boot and Safe Mode

You may have heard both of these terms bandied about. Technically, they’re not interchangeable, although most people aren’t going to care which term you use. But just to clear things up, Safe Boot is the process of forcing your Mac to start up using the bare minimum of system resources. Safe Mode is the mode your Mac operates in once it completes a Safe Boot.

Read more on About: Macs.

 

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by Tom Nelson

One of the features available since OS X Lion is AirDrop, a handy method of sharing data with any Mac equipped with OS X Lion (or later) and a wireless connection that supports PAN (Personal Area Networking). PAN is a somewhat recent standard that has been added to the Wi-Fi alphabet soup of capabilities. The idea of PAN is that two or more devices that come within range of each other can communicate using a peer-to-peer connection method.

AirDrop

Image courtesy of Apple

Apple’s implementation of AirDrop relies on wireless chipsets that have built-in PAN support. This reliance on hardware-based PAN capabilities in wireless chipsets has the unfortunate consequences of limiting the use of AirDrop to pretty current versions of Mac or third-party wireless products.

It also prevents you from using AirDrop on other types of local networks, such as good old-fashioned wired Ethernet, which happens to be my network of choice here at home and in my office.

Read more on About: Macs.

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by Tom Nelson

Safari has a number of troubleshooting techniques to keep you humming along. One of these is the ability to re-render a web page. Re-rendering forces Safari to redraw the currently loaded web page, using the existing page that was already downloaded. This is different than the more common Refresh command, which downloads a fresh copy of the page.

ForceRepaint

Screen shot © Coyote Moon, Inc.

Re-render is best used when a page you are viewing begins to show strange artifacts, such as misplaced text or images, text size changes, or other viewing abnormalities.

You may not see these types of changes unless you’re scrolling through the web page, or using a function imbedded in the web page, such as a video.

Read more on About: Macs.

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by Tom Nelson

Price reductions on 27-inch Retina iMacs made their way to the refurb store this week, making the purchase of one of these gorgeous large-screen Macs even more enticing. At the other end of the Mac spectrum, the 2014 11-inch MacBook Airs are all in stock, providing a wide range of choices for this lightweight Mac.

This week marks the first appearance of the iPad Air 2 in the refurb store. Released in October of 2014, the iPad Air 2 has an amazingly slim design and a new Retina display that offers better contrast and color rendition.

MacBookAirFamily2013

Image courtesy of Apple

Deals of the Week

This week’s deals start off naturally enough with a base model of the 27-inch iMac with Retina 5K display. With the price reduction, this workhorse iMac comes in well under $2,000, less than you would pay for just a 5K monitor. Think of it as getting a free Mac with each display purchase.

Our second deal of the week is for a current generation Mac mini, with a fast 256 GB SSD for storage. The extra-fast storage should make the little mini an exceptional performer for its class.

Read more on About: Macs.

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by Tom Nelson

When it comes to using your Mac’s built-in file compression tools, you can easily find yourself wishing you were using a Windows PC instead. There, I said it. Windows PCs are better at compressing and working with archived files, at least out of the box. The Mac’s archive utility is adequate for basic zipping and unzipping of files and folders using the Finder, but that’s about all you can say for it.

BetterZipIcon

Image courtesy of MacItBetter

Thankfully, there are a number of archiving apps that can get your Mac up to snuff for working with archived files.

That’s why I was happy to spend some time trying out BetterZip from MacItBetter.

Read more on About: Macs.

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by Tom Nelson

It’s been a while since Apple has offered Macs with built-in optical drives that could make use of a CD or DVD. The last models were the 2012 Mac Pro, which could actually accommodate multiple optical drives, and the mid-year 2012 non-Retina 15-inch MacBook Pro.

Which brings us to our question: How do you eject a CD or DVD from a Mac or an externally connected optical drive?

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