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Archive for November, 2015

by Tom Nelson

There’s a handy toolbar located across the top of the Mac’s Finder window. The Finder toolbar is usually populated with a collection of useful tools, such as the forward and back arrows, view buttons for changing how the Finder window displays data, and other goodies.

AddAppFinderToolbar

Screen shot © Coyote Moon, Inc.

You probably know that you can customize the Finder toolbar by adding tools from a palette of options. But you may not know that you can also easily customize the Finder toolbar with items that aren’t included in the built-in palette.

With drag-and-drop simplicity, you can add applications, files, and folders to the toolbar, and give yourself easy access to your most commonly used programs, folders, and files.

I like a tidy Finder window, so I don’t recommend going overboard and turning the Finder toolbar into a mini Dock. But you can add an application or two without cluttering things up.

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by Tom Nelson

With the holiday shopping season upon us, it’s nice to see that the Mac refurb store’s stock is in great shape. You should be able to find a Mac that will fulfill at least one of the items on your shopping list.

Aside from the new 12-inch MacBook that was just released this fall, all of the current Mac models have at least one configuration available, in most cases, there are quite a few from which to choose.

2015macbookair

Image courtesy of Apple

Deals of the Week

We found three deals this week that could make great presents for friends, family, or yourself.

Our first two deals are for portable Macs: the 13-inch MacBook Air and the 15-inch MacBook Pro. I chose these two deals because of the very fast and generous 256 GB flash storage space included with each model. When I’m taking a Mac on the road, I don’t like to have to first pare things down, taking only the apps and data I need for a specific trip. Instead, the larger space lets me pretty much bring my normal work tools with me wherever I go, and if that includes a few games, my favorite tunes, or movies, who am I to complain.

Our last deal is for a 27-inch Retina iMac. This was the baseline Retina iMac Apple introduced in May of 2015. It’s essentially a 2014 Retina iMac with a standard 1 TB 7200 RPM drive, instead of the Fusion or flash drive usually available. This allowed Apple to offer this model at a lower price, and in the refurb store, it represents the least expensive way to put a 27-inch Retina iMac on your desk.

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by Tom Nelson

Cookie from SweetP Productions may seem like just another cookie manager for your browser, but it’s so much more. Unlike many other cookie systems that run as plug-ins to a browser, Cookie is an independent application that doesn’t interfere with how your browser works. Instead, at intervals you define, Cookie will scrub your browser clean of unwanted cookies, history, caches, databases, and Flash cookies.

CookieSetup

Screen shot © Coyote Moon, Inc.

You can also tell Cookie which items you want to keep, such as login cookies for your favorite websites. This ability to keep some data while removing unwanted items is very useful in helping to keep your browsing private, while retaining the ease of using your favorite services.

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by Tom Nelson

Your Mac has a few secrets up its sleeve, hidden files and folders that are invisible to you. Apple hides these files and folders to prevent you from accidentally changing or deleting important data your Mac needs. You may occasionally need to view or edit one of these hidden files. To do so, you must first make it visible again.

OpenSaveDialogBox

Screen shot © Coyote Moon, Inc.

You can use Terminal to show or hide your Mac’s files, but Terminal can be a bit daunting for first-time users.

It also isn’t very convenient if all you need to do is open or save a file from within an application.

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by Tom Nelson

OS X includes a Migration Assistant that can help you move your user data, system settings, and applications from a previous Mac to your new one. Starting with OS X Lion (released in July of 2011), OS X has included a Migration Assistant that can work with Windows-based PCs to move user data to the Mac. Unlike the Mac’s Migration Assistant, the Windows-based version can’t move applications from your PC to your Mac, but it can move email, contacts, and calendars, as well as bookmarks, pictures, music, movies, and most user files.

ConnectToServer

Screen shot © Coyote Moon, Inc.

Unless your Mac is running Lion (OS X 10.7.x) or later, you won’t be able to use the Migration Assistant to transfer information from your PC.

But don’t despair; there are a few other options for moving your Windows data to your new Mac, and even with the Windows Migration Assistant, you may find that a few files you need didn’t make the transfer.

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by Tom Nelson

The Mac refurb store is well stocked in anticipation of the holiday season. However, keep in mind that the inventory is prone to very wild fluctuations during the holiday season, as people snap up the deals for presents for loved ones.

There are no Black Friday sales in the refurb store, so I recommend grabbing the Mac you need when you see that it’s available.

2015macbookair

Image courtesy of Apple

Deals of the Week

Our deals for this week are for Macs you can take with you, on the road, to school, or just wandering around aimlessly, looking for free Wi-Fi.

To meet your portable Mac needs, may I suggest a 2015 MacBook Air that should be able to meet all of your basic needs in a very small package. Or, if you’re looking for a bit more power on the road with only a slightly larger footprint, how about a 2015 MacBook Pro that includes a Retina display and both a faster processor and a larger SSD for storage.

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by Tom Nelson

Orbis (formerly MenuWeather) from Evan Coleman is a menu bar-based weather app that displays current weather conditions and temperature directly in the menu bar. But that’s only the beginning. Orbis offers a great deal of weather data that’s easily accessible from both the menu bar and via special keyboard shortcuts.

Orbis

Screen shot © Coyote Moon, Inc.

With just a glance, you can see the current temperature as well as the general weather conditions (rain, sunny, cloudy, snow, or windy). That might be enough if you’re just looking for a quick update before deciding what to wear when you go out, but Orbis does a good deal more.

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by Tom Nelson

Keeping track of all of the documents on your Mac can be a difficult task; remembering file names or file contents is even more difficult. And if you haven’t accessed the document it’s in recently, you may not remember where you stored a particular piece of valuable data.

SpotlightComments

Screen shot © Coyote Moon, Inc.

Luckily, Apple provides Spotlight, a pretty fast search system for the Mac. Spotlight can search on file names, as well as the contents of files.

It can also search on keywords or metadata associated with a file. How do you create keywords for files? I’m glad you asked.

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by Tom Nelson

There’s more to building an iTunes library than just collecting a lot of songs. If you want to have any control over which songs you listen to and when, you must create and manage playlists. A playlist is a group of songs that you put together based on some kind of theme. The theme could be a favorite artist or group, your favorite oldies, or the songs that motivate you to work a little harder on the treadmill.

iTunesPlaylist

Screen shot © Coyote Moon, Inc.

You can build a simple playlist using the iTunes smart playlist feature, or you can build a very complex playlist that can even dynamically change over time.

If you’re like most people, you’ll quickly build up a long list of playlists, with many songs in common.

It’s easy to lose track of which songs you’ve put on which playlists.

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by Tom Nelson

Question: I’ve always used a third-party app on my PC to zip files before I send them off to friends, or upload them to my web site. How do I do this on my new Mac?

Compress3Items

Screen shot © Coyote Moon, Inc.

Answer: There are a number of free and low-cost third-party compression apps available for the Mac. The Mac OS also comes with its own built-in compression system that can zip and unzip files.

This built-in system is fairly basic, which is why so many third-party apps are also available. A quick look at the Mac App Store revealed over 50 apps for zipping and unzipping files.

Read more on About: Macs.

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