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Archive for May, 2016

by Tom Nelson

The Finder is your window into the Mac’s file system. Designed to be used primarily via a system of menus and pop-up menus, the Finder works very well with a mouse and trackpad. But it can also be controlled directly from the keyboard.

The keyboard has the advantage of allowing you to navigate through the Finder and interact with devices, files, and folders, all without ever having to take your fingers off the keys.

CreateKeyboardShortcuts

Screen shot © Coyote Moon, Inc.

The disadvantage of the keyboard is that your interaction with the Finder is achieved through the use of keyboard shortcuts, a combination of two or more keys that, when pressed at the same time, perform a specific function, such as pressing the Command key and the W key to close the front-most Finder window.

Trying to remember all of the Finder keyboard shortcuts would be quite an undertaking, especially for shortcuts that are rarely used. Instead, it’s best to pick out a few that you’ll use all the time. Some commonly used shortcuts to add to your arsenal could include the various Finder viewing options, along with the Arrange By option, to quickly sort a window’s contents for you.

These keyboard shortcuts for the Finder can help you streamline how you work and play with your Mac.

Read more on About: Macs.

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by Tom Nelson

When is it time to buy a new iMac? When is it time to just upgrade your iMac? Those are difficult questions, because the right answer varies from individual to individual, depending on needs and wants. The first step in making the right decision about whether to upgrade or buy new is to become familiar with the upgrades that are available for your iMac.

PhotosiMac

Image courtesy of Apple

Intel iMacs

In this upgrade guide, we’ll look at just the Intel-based iMacs that have been available from Apple since the first Intel iMac was introduced in early 2006.

iMacs are typically considered one-piece Macs, with few, if any, upgrades available. You may be surprised to discover that you do have some upgrade options, from simple upgrades that may boost your iMac’s performance, to somewhat advanced DIY projects that you may or may not be willing to tackle.

Read more on About: Macs.

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by Tom Nelson

Mac minis are in short supply this week, with just two models in stock. If you’re interested in a mini, remember that the 2014 models use soldered-in-place memory, which is not user upgradeable. So, don’t let the low-cost models with only 4 GB of RAM entice you; instead, look for at least 8 GB of memory.

MacBookAir2013

Image courtesy of Apple

Deals of the Week

Our deals this week include a 2015 13.5-inch MacBook Air with i7 processor and 512 GB of flash storage. I like this configuration because it provides the performance of an i7 processor with enough flash-based storage to make this MacBook Air a real workhorse. You may even be able to use it as your primary Mac, and not just your go-to Mac for travel.

Our second deal is for a 21.5-inch iMac with Retina display. I don’t usually recommend the smaller iMac, but in this case, if you’re looking for a desktop Mac with a smaller footprint than the huge 27-inch iMac, and are tempted by the thought of having 256 GB of fast PCIe-based flash storage, along with a very nice 4K display, then this may be the desktop Mac for you.

Read more on About: Macs.

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by Tom Nelson

TableEdit is a fairly new spreadsheet app for the Mac, and that newness brings with it both advantages and disadvantages. For the most part, TableEdit is a fine app that can serve as a general-purpose spreadsheet creator for the type of activity an average user needs.

You should have no problems calculating your mortgage, deciding if you can afford that new car lease, or simply keeping track of chores, events, and schedules.
TableEditGraph

Image courtesy of CoreCode

Because it’s a new app, there will likely be features you expect, but haven’t been implemented yet, such as the ability to perform a search within the spreadsheet, use find and replace, or apply more versatile cell formatting.

Nevertheless, TableEdit hits the right notes when it comes to a target audience of Mac users who don’t already have a spreadsheet app installed on their Macs, and who only need to use an app like TableEdit occasionally. For them, the price is right – free – and the features are more than adequate for creating useful spreadsheets.

Read more on About: Macs.

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by Tom Nelson

The basic look and feel of your Mac’s user interface can be customized in many ways. The General preference pane (OS X Lion and later), found in System Preferences, is the logical place to begin. If you’re using an earlier version of OS X, this preference pane was known as Appearance, and provided many of the same capabilities. We’ll concentrate on more recent versions of OS X, which use the General preference pane to control the basics of how a Mac looks and operates.

GeneralPrefPane

Screen shot © Coyote Moon, Inc.

Open the General Preference Pane

  1. Click the System Preferences icon in the Dock, or select System Preferences from the Apple menu.
  2. Click the General preference pane.

The General preference pane is broken into multiple sections. Each section deals with items related to specific aspects of your Mac’s user interface.

Jot down the current settings before making any changes, just in case you decide you want to go back to the original configuration. Other than that, have fun making changes. You can’t cause any problems by using this preference pane.

Read more on About: Macs.

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by Tom Nelson

Microsoft OneDrive (formally SkyDrive) is a cloud-based storage and syncing solution that will work for just about anyone. All you need is a Mac, PC, or mobile device, plus access to the Internet.

OneDriveFolder

Screen shot © Coyote Moon, Inc.

Once you install OneDrive on your Mac, it appears to be just another folder. Drop a file or folder of any type into the OneDrive folder, and the data is immediately stored on the Windows Live cloud storage system.

You can access your OneDrive content using a supported web browser, which includes just about all of them, from any Mac, PC, or mobile device.

Read more on About: Macs.

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by Tom Nelson

iCloud, Apple’s solution to cloud-based storage and syncing, includes a free web-based email account that you can access from any Mac, Windows, or iOS device via the iCloud web site.

While it’s nice to have web-based email access when out and about, to tell you the truth, I’d much rather access the iCloud mail system from a standard desktop application than the web. I already have a couple of email accounts set up in Apple Mail; why would I want to open a web browser and log in to iCloud just to check one more email account?

iCloudMail

Screen shot © Coyote Moon, Inc.

The answer is, I wouldn’t. I want Apple Mail to check iCloud when I check the rest of my email accounts.

Fortunately, Apple thought this was a good idea, too, so you don’t have to jump through a bunch of hoops to get it working. You just have to do things in the correct order; otherwise, you’ll probably be left scratching your head and directing under-your-breath oaths in the direction of Cupertino.

Read more on About: Macs.

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by Tom Nelson

Macs are in good supply at the Mac refurb store. It’s a bit unusual to go this long without one Mac model or another disappearing from the shelves. I guess we should be thankful, but don’t be surprised if the store starts getting low on some stock; it happens every summer.

imac-retina5K

Image courtesy of Apple

Deals of the Week

This week, let’s kick off the deals with a 2014 model of the 27-inch iMac. This iMac is equipped with top-of-the-line 4.0 GHz i7 processors, a beautiful Retina display, a 1 TB Fusion drive, and 8 GB of RAM, all at a price below $2,000.

Our second deal is for the mobile Mac user looking for a powerful computing platform at a discount price. A 2014 15.4-inch MacBook Pro fits that bill, especially when it’s equipped with a 2.5 GHz i7 processor, 16 GB RAM, and 512 GB PCIe flash storage. Just like our first deal, it comes in near the $2,000 mark; this time, just slightly on the high side.

Read more on About: Macs.

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by Tom Nelson

Hazel from Noodlesoft brings Finder automation to the Mac. Think of Hazel as the incarnation of Apple’s Mail rules, but for working with files and folders on your Mac.

HazelFolders

Screen shot © Coyote Moon, Inc.

Hazel can rename files, move them about, change tags, archive or unarchive files; the list goes on. What’s important to know is that if you would like to automate a workflow involving the Finder or the trash, Hazel can probably do it.

Read more on About: Macs.

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by Tom Nelson

Google Drive is a cloud-based storage system that is currently available for Macs, PCs, iOS, and Android devices. Google Drive allows you to store and share data using Google’s cloud storage system.

GoogleDriveFolder

Screen shot © Coyote Moon, Inc.

Once you install it on your Mac, Google Drive appears to be just another folder. You can copy data to it, organize it with subfolders, and delete items from it. Any item you place in the Goggle Drive folder is copied to Google’s cloud storage system, allowing you to access the data from any supported device.

Read more on About: Macs.

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