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Archive for February, 2016

by Tom Nelson

Last week, the Mac minis were available in just about every configuration; this week, not so much. Just a single configuration is available, and I suspect that will be gone soon.

The rest of the Mac refurb store, however, is well stocked, and I was able to select two deals of the week that represent pretty good value for the Mac hunter.

imac2014hero

Image courtesy of Apple

Deals of the Week

Our first deal is for a 2014 15.4-inch MacBook Pro. I like this model for the amount of RAM it includes; it also has an SSD that’s large enough to hold plenty of apps and data when you’re on the road.

My second pick for a deal this week is a 2014 27-inch Retina iMac with a 4.0 GHz i7 processor. This happens to be my favorite configuration for the large Retina iMac; well, at least when it comes to the processor. It’s also amply outfitted with 32 GB of RAM and a generous 3 TB Fusion drive.

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by Tom Nelson

Let’s start with the obvious: Malwarebytes Anti-Malware for Mac needs a new name. It’s excessively long, and doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue. In fact, it’s more like a tongue twister that tries to trip you up every time you say it. I prefer the old name, Adware Medic; simple, easy to say, and describes what it does.

MalwarebytesForMac

Screen shot © Coyote Moon, Inc.

Yes, that’s right; last year, Malwarebytes bought the only anti-adware app I’ve ever recommended, rewrote the program, dropped support for OS X 10.7 and earlier, and then released it under its new tongue-twisting name.

Which brings us to the real question, one I’ve been wondering about since Adware Medic was originally purchased: is it still the clean, ultra-fast, safe, non-intrusive adware detector that I originally praised? Or did Malwarebytes upgrade the app to the point that it’s a bloated anti-everything app?

Let’s find out.

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by Tom Nelson

Having a CD or DVD stuck in your Mac or an optical drive isn’t a fun situation. And while there are a number of ways to force the media to be ejected, most require you to shut down. If that presents a problem, you can use Terminal to force eject the CD or DVD, without shutting down your Mac.

 

Terminal, an app included with OS X, provides access to the Mac’s command line. The fact that the Mac has a command line is often times a bit of a shock to Mac users and Windows switchers.

But when you realize that OS X is built using Unix components, such as the Mach kernel and portions of BSD (Berkeley Software Distribution), then it makes sense that a command line tool is available.

 

 

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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.

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.

Read more on About: Macs.

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by Tom Nelson

When you first turned on your Mac, or installed the OS X software, an administrator account was automatically created. If you’re the only one who uses your Mac, then you may not need any of the other user account types. But if you share your Mac with family or friends, you should know how to create additional user accounts, as well as which types of accounts to create.

AdminAccountSetup

Screen shot © Coyote Moon, Inc.

When you first set up your Mac, the setup assistant created an Administrator account automatically. The Administrator account has special privileges that allow it to make changes to the Mac operating system, including adding other account types, installing apps, and accessing some special areas of the system that are protected from other user account types.

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by Tom Nelson

iPhoto stores all of the images it imports in a single photo library. It can actually work with multiple photo libraries, although only a single photo library can be open at any one time. But even with this limitation, using multiple iPhoto libraries is a great way to organize your images, especially if you have a very large collection; large collections of images have been known to slow down iPhoto’s performance.

iPhotoLibraryDialog

Screen shot © Coyote Moon, Inc.

Creating multiple photo libraries can be a great solution if you have a large number of photos, and need an easier way to manage them. For example, if you run a home-based business, you might want to keep business-related photos in a different photo library than personal photos. Or, if you tend to go a little crazy taking photos of your pets, as we do, you might want to give them their own photo library.

Read more on About: Macs.

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by Tom Nelson

Screenium 3 from Synium Software is a screen recording app that can capture any video (as well as audio) on your Mac’s display. Screenium is designed for ease of use, but it packs all the capabilities needed for turning the recordings into a professional screencast.

Screenium

Screen shot © Coyote Moon, Inc.

Screenium includes a built-in editor that allows you to edit your recording by adding text, images, videos, voiceovers, animations, and other audio and video effects.

When you’re ready, you can export your recording to a file, upload it to YouTube, or send it via Mail, among other possibilities.

Read more on About: Macs.

 

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by Tom Nelson

Safari has long had an undo feature, letting you recover from accidental mistakes, such as entry errors and general typing mistakes. But ever since Safari 5 and OS X Lion, the undo feature has grown to include the ability to reopen tabs and windows that you accidentally closed.

SafariUndoTab2

Screen shot © Coyote Moon, Inc.

Restore Closed Tabs

If you’ve ever been working in Safari with multiple tabs open, perhaps researching a problem, then you know the sheer agony of accidentally closing one of the tabs.

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by Tom Nelson

Starting up your Mac is usually just a matter of pressing the power button and waiting for the login screen or the desktop to appear. But once in a while, you might want something different to happen when you start your Mac.

These startup shortcuts come in handy if you need to troubleshoot your Mac, or you just want to boot from a different volume than usual.

Startup Shortcuts

  • Hold the ‘x’ key during startup. This will force the Mac to boot from OS X, no matter which disk is specified as the startup disk. You may find this useful if you have your Mac set to boot to a non-OS X volume, such as Windows or Linux. In some cases, an alternate OS may prevent the Mac’s normal boot manager from running.

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by Tom Nelson and Mary F. O’Connor

Apple Mail flags can be used to mark incoming messages that need further attention. But while that may be their primary purpose, Mail flags can do much more. That’s because Mail flags aren’t just a bit of color attached to emails; they’re actually a form of smart mailboxes, and can do many of the things other mailboxes in the Mail app can do, including being used in Mail rules to automate and organize your messages.

MailFlags

Screen shot © Coyote Moon, Inc.

Mail Flag Colors

Mail flags come in seven different colors: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, and gray. You can use any flag color to mark a message type. For instance, red flags may indicate emails you need to respond to within 24 hours, while green flags might indicate tasks that have been completed.

You can use the colors any way you wish, but over time, it can be difficult to remember just what each color was supposed to mean. After we show you how to assign flags to messages, we’ll show you how to change the names of the flags.

Read more on About: Macs.

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