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Archive for March, 2016

by Tom Nelson

The Finder comes with a couple of ways to organize your Mac’s files. One of these new features is the Arrange By option, which you can find in the toolbar of an open Finder window.

The Item Arrangement button is located just to the right of the Finder view buttons, which offer the four standard ways of displaying items in a Finder window: by Icon, List, Column, or Cover Flow.

FinderArrange

Screen shot © Coyote Moon, Inc.

Item Arrangement works with all four of the standard Finder views to give you some additional control over the order in which items display within a Finder view.

For instance, the default Icon view displays items in an alphanumeric organization, but you can also drag the item icons around to arrange them as you wish. This is handy for a folder that only contains a few items, but a pain in the rear when a folder has dozens of items to arrange.

Read more on About: Macs.

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by Tom Nelson

Fonts seem like pretty innocuous little files, and most times they are. But like any computer file, fonts can become damaged or corrupt; when that happens, they can cause problems with documents or applications.

ValidateFonts

Screen shot © Coyote Moon, Inc.

If a font won’t display correctly, or at all, in a document, the font file may be damaged. If a document won’t open, it’s possible that one of the fonts used in the document is damaged. You can use Font Book to validate installed fonts, to ensure that the files are safe to use.

In addition, you can (and should) validate fonts before you install them, to head off at least some future problems. Validating fonts at installation can’t prevent the files from becoming damaged later, but at least, it will help ensure that you’re not installing problem files.

Font Book is a free application that’s included with Mac OS X 10.3 and later.

Read more on About: Macs.

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by Tom Nelson

Contrary to what many people think, you don’t have to be a graphics pro to have a large collection of fonts. There are a number of beginner-friendly desktop publishing programs available, as well as word processors with desktop publishing features. The more fonts (and clip art) you have to choose from, the more fun you can have creating family newsletters, brochures for your small businessgreeting cards, or other projects.

FontBookAllFonts

Screen shot © Coyote Moon, Inc.

Fonts may be second only to bookmarks when it comes to things that tend to accumulate on a computer, to the point of being out of control. Part of the problem with fonts is that there are so many free fonts available on the web, it’s difficult to resist the urge to accumulate them. After all, they’re free, and who knows when you might need this very font?

Even if you have hundreds of fonts in your collection, you might not have just the right one for a particular project. (At least, that’s probably what you keep telling yourself each time you download a new font.)

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by Tom Nelson

Macs have fairly good built-in security systems. They tend to have fewer issues with malware and viruses than some of the other popular computing platforms. But that doesn’t mean they’re totally secure.

FirmwarePasswordSetup

Screen shot © Coyote Moon, Inc.

This is especially true if someone has physical access to your Mac, which can happen when a Mac is stolen or is used in an environment that allows easy access. In fact, bypassing the basic security provided by OS X’s user account system is a cakewalk.

It doesn’t require any special skills, just a bit of time and physical access.

Read more on About: Macs.

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by Tom Nelson

Finder tabs, ushered in with OS X Mavericks are very similar to tabs you see in most browsers, including Safari. Their purpose is to minimize screen clutter by gathering what used to be displayed in separate windows into a single Finder window with multiple tabs. Each tab acts like a separate Finder window, but without the clutter of having multiple windows open and scattered around your desktop.

OpenInNewFinderTab

Screen shot © Coyote Moon, Inc.

Finder tabs work independently of each other.

Each tab can have its own view (iconslistcolumn, and coverflow), and each tab can contain information from any location in your Mac’s file system. One tab could be looking at your Documents folder, while another is peering at your Applications.

Read more on About: Macs.

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by Tom Nelson

Managed accounts are specialized user accounts that include parental controls. These types of accounts are a great choice when you want to give younger children free access to your Mac, but at the same time restrict the applications they can use or the websites they can visit.

ManagedAccounts

Screen shot © Coyote Moon, Inc.

Parental Controls

Parental controls provide a means of restricting and monitoring access to a computer. You can control the applications that can be used, the websites that can be accessed, as well as control which peripherals can be used such as allowing the iSight camera or DVD player to be used.

You can also set time limits on using the computer, as well as limit iChat or Messages and email to receive messages only from accounts that you approve. If your children spend a lot of computer time playing games, you can also limit access to Game Center.

Read more on About: Macs.

 

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by Tom Nelson

Apple has released OS X El Capitan 10.11.4. This update comes on the heels of Apple’s “Let Us Loop You In” March media event, at which Apple showed off the new iPhone SE and 9.7-inch iPad Pro. Along with the hardware, iOS 9.3 was released to the public, which required Apple to move forward with the El Capitan release to keep feature parity in the Notes application.

OSXElCapitanDock

El Capitan Notes Update

One of the new Notes app features is the ability to protect the contents of a Notes entry using a passcode.

In iOS 9.3, the passcode can be a password or a fingerprint. In OS X El Capitan 10.11.4, the passcode is a password you set.

Notes in OS X El Capitan 10.11.4 also added the ability to sort notes alphabetically, by date created, or by date updated; also, Notes can now import from many popular note-taking services, including Evernote.

Read more on About: Macs.

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by Tom Nelson

Apple’s “Let Us Loop You In” media event focused on new Apple Watch bands, an iPhone SE, and an iPad Pro, plus iOS and tvOS updates. And as expected, the event didn’t have content directly related to our favorite product, Macs, although Apple will likely hold Mac events as the year rolls on. In the meantime, let’s take a quick look at some of the key announcements today, starting with new Apple products.

iPhoneSE

Image courtesy of Apple

iPhone SE

Surprising no one, Apple officially released the new iPhone SE. While the iPhone SE has impressive capabilities, perhaps the most important bit of information is that the new SE represents Apple’s commitment to having a modern iPhone lineup that encompasses both the classic 4-inch display size (iPhone SE), and the larger displays seen in the iPhone 6s products.

Apple will continue to sell the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, but these models represent older technologies, and customers upgrading or purchasing new will likely consider the new iPhone SE or the current iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus instead.

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by Tom Nelson

It was an interesting visit to the refurb store this week. I noticed Mac minis are back, as well as a good stock of 2013 Mac Pros. But what caught my eye was the availability of i7-based processors in both the portable lineup and the Mac minis.

2015macbookair

Image courtesy of Apple

Usually, the MacBook Airs, MacBook Pros, and Mac minis in the refurb store are dual-core i5 processors; the more powerful i7 variants were largely build-to-order models, so it’s a bit rare to see so many available in the refurb store at the same time.

As you might guess, our Mac deals this week all include i7 processors.

Read more on About: Macs.

 

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by Tom Nelson

TinkerTool from Marcel Bresink is a utility you can use to customize how your Mac looks and works. OS X has quite a few hidden features and preference settings that are locked away from the average user. I’ve written a few tips showing how to access these hidden system switches using the Terminal app. And while I don’t mind using Terminal, others find it a bit underwhelming in its user interface. They’re also perhaps a bit intimidated by the raw power available in Terminal, and worried they may accidentally delete important data or harm some part of the Mac system by using it.

TinkerToolIcon

Image courtesy of Marcel Bresink

TinkerTool, on the other hand, provides access to many of the same hidden preferences as Terminal does, but without the need to memorize obscure text commands. Instead, TinkerTool lays out most of the available OS X preferences in a user interface that’s easy to navigate and understand.

Read more on About: Macs.

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