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Archive for October, 2015

by Tom Nelson

This week’s Mac software pick is a bit different. First, I picked two apps; second, they do absolutely nothing useful. They won’t make your Mac perform faster, keep it tidy, help with your workflow, or add a new whiz-bang feature that you just couldn’t imagine getting along without.

MooseEyeballs

Screen shot © Coyote Moon, Inc.

Instead, the two apps are throwbacks to a simpler time, when the Mac had systems with numbers less than 10.0, and having goofy apps on your Mac was just the thing to do.

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by Tom Nelson

The Finder sidebar has undergone quite a few changes since OS X Snow Leopard. While we hope that the Finder sidebar will receive some badly needed refinements in the near future, there is no reason to wait to gain back some of the productive tools that were lost with the release of OS X Lion and subsequent versions of OS X.

SidebarSearch452x466

Screen shot © Coyote Moon, Inc.

Lion’s sidebar eliminates the entire Search For group. This was a handy area in the sidebar that let you quickly find documents and applications you worked on or used today, yesterday, or during the past week.

It also listed all of the images, movies, and documents stored on your Mac.

Apple attempted to replace the sidebar’s Search For section with a single entry in the Favorites section called All My Files. All My Files displays images, PDFs, music, movies, documents, and more, all in a single Finder view that is split up by the various categories. Apple wants us to use the All My Files entry so much that it made All My Files the default view when you open a new Finder window. From what I have seen and heard, changing the default view seems to be one of the first changes most Mac users are making to the Finder, because they prefer the Finder to open on their desktop, home directory, or documents folder.

Read more on About: Macs.

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by Tom Nelson

Apple rolled out the Swift programming language at the WWDC 2014 event. Swift was designed to eventually replace Objective C, and provide a unified development environment for those who create apps for both the Mac and iOS devices.

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Image courtesy of Apple

Since the initial announcement of Swift, the new language has already seen a number of updates. It now incorporates support for watchOS as well as tvOS, letting you develop for the full gamut of Apple devices from a single development environment.

During the summer of 2014, I downloaded the original beta version of Swift that was available to Apple developers. This is a brief look at what I found, and a few recommendations for how to proceed if you’re interested in learning Swift.

Read more on About: Macs.

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by Tom Nelson

Both your Mac running Mountain Lion or later, and your Windows 8 PC must have the same Workgroup name in order for file sharing to work as easily as possible. A Workgroup is part of a WINS (Windows Internet Naming Service), a method Microsoft uses to allow computers on the same local network to share resources.

MacWorkGroup

Luckily for us, Apple included support for WINS in OS X, so we only need to confirm a few settings, or possibly make a change, to get the two systems to see each other on the network.

This guide will show you how to set up the Workgroup names on both your Mac and your PC. Although the steps outlined are specific to OS X Mountain Lion and Windows 8, the process is similar for most versions of these OSes. You can find specific instructions for earlier versions of both OSes in these guides:

Share OS X Lion Files With Windows 7 PCs

How to Share Windows 7 Files With OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard)

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by Tom Nelson

iMac inventory, especially the Retina versions of the 27-inch model, have seen improvements in availability. At the moment, there’s a wide selection of the Retina iMac in the refurb store, enough to meet just about anyone’s needs.

iMac27Retina2015

Image courtesy of Apple

There’s also a number of 2013 Mac Pro models waiting to find good homes with pro multi-media content creators.

Deals of the Week

Deals we found this week include a 13.3-inch MacBook Pro with 8 GB of RAM and 256 GB flash storage, all for an attractive price.

For desktop Mac enthusiasts, we have two deals this week, both for versions of the 27-inch iMac with Retina display. The first is for a Quad-Core i5 model that includes 256 GB of flash storage, while our second Retina iMac deal is for a nicely tricked out Quad-Core i7 model with a 1 TB Fusion drive.

The first is priced well below the $2,000 barrier, and the second just squeaks past that $2,000 figure.

Read more on About: Macs.

 

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by Tom Nelson

Did you notice when Apple first created multi-touch-based gestures, there was a lot of hoopla and gee whiz comments about what could be done with just a simple gesture on a Mac’s trackpad, Magic Mouse, or Magic Trackpad? We thought there would be new gestures and new uses coming from Apple with each OS update.

BetterTouchToolIcon

Image courtesy of Andreas Hegenberg

For the most part, we’re still waiting. But luckily for us, Andreas Hegenberg got tired of the wait and created BetterTouchTool, an app for creating your own custom gestures that work with all of the Mac’s multi-touch capable input devices.

The app also lets you create keyboard shortcuts, or define mouse button behavior in normal mice. And if that’s not enough, with the addition of another app on your iOS device, you can use gestures on your remote iOS device to control your Mac.

Read more on About: Macs.

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by Tom Nelson

With the release of OS X Yosemite, the Finder has picked up a few new tricks that can make you a bit more productive. Some of these tips may make it easier to work with files, while others can help you see the bigger picture.

FinderRename

Screen shot © Coyote Moon, Inc.

If you’re using OS X Yosemite or later, it’s time to see what new features are in store for you in the Finder.

Read more on About: Macs.

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by Tom Nelson

Cinemagraph Pro lets you create amazing cinemagraphs from just a few still images. Cinemagraphs can be thought of as a blend between video and still photographs. In a cinemagraph, most of the image remains stationary (the original photo), while some part of the image, say a river or clouds, have motion, producing a very interesting effect.

CinemagraphPro

Image courtesy of Flixel Photos, Inc.

Cinemagraph Pro takes the concept of a cinemagraph and provides all the tools you need to create your own cinemagraphs (called flixels by the folks who created the app), using two or more still images and a bit of your time.

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 & Mary F. O’Connor

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.

When the BCC option is enabled, it shows up as an additional field where you can enter recipients’ email addresses. Unlike the similar CC (Carbon Copy) field, email addresses entered into the BCC field remain hidden from other recipients of the same email.

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