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Archive for August, 2015

by Tom Nelson

When you turn on your Mac, it should display a gray screen as it searches for your startup drive. Once the drive is detected, you will see a blue screen as your Mac loads the boot information from your startup drive and then displays the desktop.

That’s the normal chain of events, and something most of us don’t even think about. When I start my Mac each morning, I push the power button, then head to the kitchen to make coffee, fully expecting everything to work as it should.

monitor-bluescreen

Image courtesy of Pixabay

When I get back to my Mac, the desktop is waiting for me; I hardly ever see the gray screen or the blue screen. If either screen is waiting for me, then I know something is wrong. The Mac should always be ready before the coffee.

In this tip, we look at why a Mac may get stuck at the blue screen, and how to fix the problem.

Read more on About: Macs.

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by Tom Nelson

It’s been a while since we highlighted the cylindrical Mac Pro, but this week finds a mid-range Mac Pro that pretty much hits the sweet spot for media pros, ticking off the most wanted features including 512 GB flash storage and dual D500 graphics cards. As a result, one of our Deals of the Week is a 2013 Mac Pro.

MacPro2013

Image courtesy of Apple

Additional Deals of the Week

Keeping with the 2013 was a very good year for the Mac theme, our second deal is a nicely outfitted 2013 27-inch iMac. At one time, this model of the iMac was one of our personal favorites, because it provided good performance at a reasonable cost.

Our last deal is for someone on the go who needs a portable Mac with plenty of performance. A current model 13-inch MacBook Pro with a 512 GB SSD certainly fits that bill.

Read more on About: Macs.

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by Tom Nelson

Parallels Desktop for Mac 11 from Parallels is virtualization software that allows you to run just about any x86-based operating system, including Windows, OS X, and many versions of Linux, directly on your Mac. Unlike Boot Camp, which allows you to install and run Windows as a separate operating system that you have to boot into, virtualization software like Parallels Desktop 11 allows your Mac and the guest operating system to run concurrently.

Parallels11

Image courtesy of Parallels

This lets you use shared resources, such as a display, RAM, CPU, and storage space. With the proper settings, you can share files and even apps, in some cases. Even better, you can do all of this at the same time, without having to restart to boot into another operating system environment.

Read more on About: Macs.

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by Tom Nelson

JBOD RAID set or array, also known as a concatenated or spanning RAID, is one of the many RAID levels supported by OS X and Disk Utility. JBOD (Just a Bunch Of Disks) isn’t actually a recognized RAID level, but Apple and most other vendors who create RAID-related products have chosen to include JBOD support with their RAID tools.

JBOD allows you to create a large virtual disk drive by concatenating two or more smaller drives together.

The individual hard drives that make up a JBOD RAID can be of different sizes and manufacturers. The total size of the JBOD RAID is the combined total of all the individual drives in the set.

Read more on About: Macs.

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by Tom Nelson

I’ve been using my 15-inch MacBook Pro on the go more than usual recently, and in doing so, I’ve discovered that I have battery usage issues. There’s nothing wrong with the battery; the problem is me. I’ve been amazed at how quickly I use up the battery power on my MacBook Pro.

SpinDownDrives

Screen shot © Coyote Moon, Inc.

There are a ton of ways to manage your portable Mac’s battery performance, ranging from the obvious (put your Mac to sleep or shut it down when you’re not using it) to the silly (switch to older versions of apps and OS X, the theory being that older apps don’t have as many features, so they put less stress on the CPU).

Sorry, I’m not going to install MacWord, even if I could.

There are plenty of realistic ways to manage your Mac portable’s battery life, and in this tip, we take a look at one method we often forget about.

Read more on About: Macs.

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by Tom Nelson

When you send an email message to a group of colleagues, privacy isn’t usually much of an issue. You all work together, so you know each other’s email addresses, and you mostly know what’s going on around the office, at least in terms of projects and news.

BCCField

Screen shot © Coyote Moon, Inc.

But when you send an email message to almost any other group, privacy may indeed be an issue. The recipients of your message may not appreciate having their email address revealed to a number of people they may not even know.

The courteous thing to do is to use the BCC (blind carbon copy) option to send your message.

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by Tom Nelson

Has this ever happened to you? It’s late at night and everyone in your home is fast asleep, except you. With no prospect of sleep in sight, you decide to turn on your Mac, to play a game or check the news. But as soon as your Mac starts up, the thunderous sound of the startup chime reverberates through the house, waking everyone, including the cat and the dog.

InternalSpeakersAdjustment

Screen shot © Coyote Moon, Inc.

Apple didn’t mean to wake the entire house; it just wanted to be sure that you could hear the startup sound, and with good reason. The chime, which usually means your Mac has passed the startup diagnostic test, can instead be replaced by a sequence of audible tones that signal various hardware failures, including bad RAM or EFI ROM (Extensible Firmware Interface Read Only Memory).

Read more on About: Macs.

 

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by Tom Nelson

It’s been a while since the refurb store has had the 15-inch MacBook Pro or the Mac mini in stock. Unfortunately, that trend continues this week, leaving these two popular Mac models off the table for back-to-school purchases.

On the bright side, the iPad mini 3 is currently in stock, and there’s a nice selection of 27-inch iMacs that will allow you to have a large Retina version of the iMac at a very nice discount over the retail price.

2015macbookair

Image courtesy of Apple

Deals of the Week

Our first deal is for a 2015 model of the MacBook Air at a very attractive price. Although it only has a 128 GB SSD, it should prove more than adequate for most of you who are looking for this lightweight and sturdy Mac. If you need extra space, you can add an external drive to store all of your media files.

Up in the second deal spot is a 2015 27-inch iMac with Retina display. The 2015 version is the economy leader for this Mac model, offering all the benefits of a huge Retina display, but with a slightly slower CPU and a single 1 TB 7200 RPM internal drive.

Read more on About: Macs.

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by Tom Nelson

I’ve been using one or more digital cameras for years, ranging from my favorite, a Canon DSLR, to a smartphone, or even our iPad’s built-in camera. One thing they all have in common is susceptibility to creating digital noise in low light conditions. Not surprisingly, the Canon fares much better than the smartphone or iPad when it comes to low light photography, but it’s not perfect, and since I like taking pictures in the dark (fireflies and distant thunderstorms in the summer, night skies in the winter), noise is always an issue.

NoiselessIcon

Image courtesy of Macphun

But it’s not just nighttime photography; photos shot under other less-than-ideal lighting conditions are also subject to noise (unusually light pixels in dark areas of a scene).

That’s why I was intrigued by Noiseless from Macphun.

Read more on About: Macs.

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by Tom Nelson

Resume, first introduced in OS X Lion, is meant to be a handy method to quickly return you to what you were doing in an application the last time you used it.

Resume can be very useful; it can also be one of the most annoying of OS X’s new features. Apple needs to provide an easy-to-use interface to manage how Resume works with individual applications, as well as the overall system. Until that happens, this tip will give you some control over Resume.

Resume

Screen shot © Coyote Moon, Inc.

What’s to Like About Resume

Resume will save the state of any application windows that were open when you quit an application, as well as any data you were working with in the application. Say it’s lunchtime, and you quit your word processor and the report you were working on. When you return from lunch and fire up the word processor, you’ll be right back where you left off, with the document loaded and all of the application’s windows in the same places.

Pretty cool, right?

What’s Not to Like About Resume

What if before you leave for lunch, you’re working on a document that you don’t want anyone else to see; perhaps your letter of resignation, an updated resumé, or your will. What if your boss stops by your office right after lunch, and asks you to show him the proposal you’ve been working on for a new client. You launch your word processor, and thanks to Resume, there’s your letter of resignation, in all its glory.

Not so cool, right?

Read more on About: Macs.

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