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Archive for June, 2016

by Tom Nelson

Apple’s iCloud provides a host of cloud-based services you can use on your Mac, including Mail & Notes, Contacts, Calendars, Bookmarks, Photo Stream, Documents & Data, Back to My Mac, Find My Mac, and more. Each service lets you store data on the iCloud servers, and keep your Mac and all of your devices, including Windows and iOS devices, in sync.

iCloudList

Screen shot © Coyote Moon, Inc.

What You Need to Use the iCloud Service

iCloud on the Mac requires OS X 10.7.2 or later, or macOS Sierra or later.

Once you have the proper version of OS X or macOS installed, you’ll need to turn iCloud on. If you updated to OS X 10.7.2 or later after the launch of the iCloud service, the iCloud preferences pane will open automatically the first time you boot your Mac after updating the OS. If you updated to OS X 10.7.2 or later before the iCloud service launched, you’ll need to access the iCloud preferences pane manually.

Read more on About: Macs.

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by Tom Nelson

The Dock is one of the Mac’s great organizational tools. It serves as an application launcher as well as a way to gain quick access to commonly used folders and documents.

DockPreferencePaneYosemite

Screen shot © Coyote Moon, Inc.

The Dock appears as a row of icons along the bottom of your Mac’s display. By using the Dock preferences pane, you can adjust the size of the Dock and make the icons bigger or smaller; change the Dock’s location on your screen; enable or disable animation effects when opening or minimizing applications and windows, and control the Dock’s visibility.

Read more on About: Macs.

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by Tom Nelson

Apple has been fine-tuning how the scroll bars in OS X and macOS work. Starting with OS X Lion, Apple changed how scroll bars are displayed in any window that has a need for scrolling. This is different from the issue of natural vs. unnatural scrolling, which is a fancy way of saying which way a window’s contents move when you scroll.

GeneralPreferencesMacOSSierra

Screen shot © Coyote Moon, Inc.

I’ll let others argue about natural and unnatural scrolling, which can be successfully argued by either side; in other words, I think it’s a toss-up. But the issue of scroll bars not appearing, or only appearing if you’re in the process of scrolling, is I believe, a user interface mistake on Apple’s part. Apple may have gone a little too far in its zeal to bring all things iOS to the Mac OS. While adding the option to allow scroll bars to behave like those in iOS is fine, the mistake was to set the scroll bars to work like iOS as the default. iOS and Mac devices have much in common, but one thing that is very different is the amount of screen real estate that is available to an app.

Read more on About: Macs.

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by Tom Nelson

Startup items, also know as login items, are apps, utilities, and helpers that run automatically during the startup or login process. In many cases, application installers add login items that an app may need. In other cases, the installers add login items because they assume you want to run their precious app every time you start your Mac.

LoginItemmacOSSierra

Screen shot © Coyote Moon, Inc.

Regardless of the reason they’re installed, if you’re not using them, login items take up resources by eating CPU cycles, reserving memory for their use, or running background processes that you may not even use.

Read more on About: Macs.

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by Tom Nelson

Mac minis are back in stock this week, and not just the base model, which in my opinion is best avoided as being underpowered and overpriced. The other Mac mini configurations, however, are well worth looking at.

I also noticed one or two new configurations of MacBook Air in the refurb store. So, I’m wondering if you can guess what this week’s deals of the week are?

2015macbookair

Image courtesy of Apple

Deals of the Week

Our first deal this week is for a mid-model of the Mac mini. Decked out with 8 GB of RAM and a 1 TB Fusion drive, it has enough RAM to meet the needs of most Mac mini users, plus a Fusion drive, which is a much better performer than a standard 1 TB hard drive.

Our second deal is for mobile users who like to take their Macs with them on the road. A dual-core i7 processor, 8 GB RAM, and a wonderfully fast 512 GB PCIe flash storage device make this current generation MacBook Air a great deal and a power, portable performer.

Read more on About: Macs.

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by Tom Nelson

Parallels Desktop 11 for Mac is one of the leading desktop virtualization apps for the Mac. Without too much effort, you can easily run Windows, various flavors of Linux, Unix, Chrome, and Android. You can even run versions of OS X as a guest operating system, allowing you to keep old apps available on your Mac, even when the apps no longer run under the current version of OS X.

ParallelsWizard

Screen shot © Coyote Moon, Inc.

When Apple switched from PowerPC processors to Intel, it opened up the possibility of making use of the underlying Intel architecture built in to every Mac to run Windows, not in some complex emulation, but almost directly on the underlying hardware.

Parallels turned out to be the first company to produce a desktop virtualization app for the Mac, and over the years, the app has gained performance, stability, and maturity, not to mention a lot of features that separate it from other virtualization solutions for the Mac.

Parallels Desktop 11 for the Mac is the latest version, introduced in the summer of 2015 and still going strong.

Read more on About: Macs.

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by Tom Nelson

macOS Sierra is a new name for the Mac operating system, but the same clean install and upgrade install methods that are familiar to most Mac users are fully supported by the new OS.

The clean install option is the installation method we will look at in this guide. Don’t worry if you would rather make use of the upgrade installation method; we’ve got you covered with a complete guide to upgrading to macOS Sierra.

macOSSierracleaninstall

Screen shot © Coyote Moon, Inc.

Clean or Upgrade Install of macOS Sierra?

The upgrade install is by far the easiest method of upgrading your Mac to macOS Sierra. The upgrade install preserves all of your current user data, documents, and apps, while upgrading the existing operating system on your Mac’s startup drive to macOS Sierra. The advantage is that once the upgrade is completed, your Mac is ready to go, with all your personal data intact and ready to be used.

The clean install option, on the other hand, replaces the contents of the target drive, wiping away any existing data on the drive and replacing it with a pristine copy of macOS Sierra.

Read more on About: Macs.

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by Tom Nelson

Apple Mail is one of the most popular email apps for the Mac, but if you’ve just been using Mail in its default configuration, you’ve been missing out on one of the best features of Apple Mail: rules.

AppleMailRule

Screen shot © Coyote Moon, Inc.

It’s easy to create Apple Mail rules that tell the app how to process incoming pieces of mail. With Apple Mail rules, you can automate repetitive tasks, such as moving the same type of messages to a particular folder, highlighting messages from friends and family, or getting rid of those spammy emails we all seem to get.

Read more on About: Macs.

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by Tom Nelson

Question: What’s the minimum amount of free drive space that I need? My Mac is starting to operate slowly, taking a long time to boot or to launch an application. It also seems unstable, sometimes giving me the rainbow cursor for very long periods of times, even locking up completely.

Do I need a bigger drive?

FreeSpace

Screen shot © Coyote Moon, Inc.

Answer: There are many different types of problems that can manifest the symptoms you describe. Insufficient RAM or even hardware failure could be the culprit. But one of the most common causes of the problems you describe is not having enough free space on a startup drive.

Filling your startup drive until it’s almost full is fraught with issues. First, your Mac needs some free space to use for creating swap space to manage memory use. Even when you have adequate RAM, OS X or the newer macOS will reserve some space at startup for memory swap space. In addition, individual applications usually use some disk space for temporary storage.

Read more on About: Macs.

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by Tom Nelson

Launching an application on a Windows PC and launching an application on a Mac are surprisingly similar processes. In both cases, you just click or double-click the application’s icon. The tricky part is finding where applications are stored on the Mac, and figuring out where the comparable application launchers are kept and how to use them.

LaunchPadYosemite

Screen shot © Coyote Moon, Inc.

Both Windows and the Mac try to simplify the finding and running of applications with a straightforward user interface; the Start menu in Windows and the Dock on the Mac. While the Start menu and the Dock are conceptually similar, there are some important differences.

Read more on About: Macs.

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