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Archive for September, 2016

by Tom Nelson

App Tamer from St. Clair Software can take control of a wayward app that’s hogging CPU utilization and stop it in its tracks. Unlike Apple’s App Nap, which puts an app to sleep when its active window becomes covered by one or more windows, App Tamer can work to control both active foreground apps and apps that work in the background, such as Spotlight or Time Machine.

apptamer

Screen shot © Coyote Moon, Inc.

App Tamer is an easy-to-use utility to help you control how your Mac utilizes its CPU resources and assigns them to the various running apps and services. Although App Tamer is a very easy app to use, it is by its nature an app for advanced Mac users, who have a good understanding of how apps interact to use processing resources, and how that affects other variables, such as battery runtime.

Read more on About: Macs.

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by Tom Nelson

Messages, as well as the earlier iChat messaging client that Messages replaced, has a unique feature that allows you to share your Mac desktop with a Messages or iChat friend. Screen sharing lets you show off your desktop or ask your friend for help with a problem you may be having. If you allow it, you can also let your friend take control of your Mac, which can very helpful if your friend is showing you how to use an app, a feature of OS X, or simply helping you troubleshoot a problem.

messagesscreensharing

Screen shot © Coyote Moon, Inc.

This co-operative screen sharing is a great way to troubleshoot issues with a friend. It also provides a unique way for you to teach others how to use a Mac application. When you’re sharing someone’s screen, it’s just like you’re sitting down at his or her computer. You can take control and work with files, folders, and applications, anything that is available on the shared Mac’s system. You can also allow someone to share your screen.

Read more on About: Macs.

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by Tom Nelson

macOS Sierra will see its first public beta release in July of 2016, followed by a full release September 20, 2016. Along with giving the operating system a new name, Apple is adding a lot of new features to macOS Sierra. This isn’t just a simple update, or a bunch of security and bug fixes.

macossierrasiriredsox

Screen shot © Coyote Moon, Inc.

Instead, macOS Sierra will add brand new features to the operating system, including the incorporation of Siri, expansion of Bluetooth and Wi-Fi based connectivity features, and a whole new file system that will replace the venerable but quite outdated HFS+ system that Macs have been using for the last 30 years.

When an operating system encompasses such a wide range of new features and capabilities there’s bound to be a few gotcha’s; in this case, the list of Macs that will support macOS Sierra will be trimmed back by quite a bit. This is the first time in five years that Apple has removed Mac models from the list of supported devices for a Mac OS.

The last time Apple dropped Mac models from the supported list was when OS X Lion was introduced. It required Macs to have a 64-bit processor, which left the original Intel Macs off the list.

Read more on About: Macs.

 It required Macs to have a 64-bit processor, which left the original Intel Macs off the list.

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by Tom Nelson

Have you been wondering how to change the font size or icon size in the Apple Mail sidebar? How about the Finder sidebar; are its icons too small or too large?

If you find the font and icon size in the Mail or Finder sidebars a little too large, as it is for me, it’s easy to change it to one that’s a better fit for you.

sidebarsize

Screen shot © Coyote Moon, Inc.

Apple consolidated the size controls for the Mail and Finder sidebars in OS X Lion and later into a single location. This makes it easier to change the size, but it means you’re limited to a single choice for multiple applications.

While changing the size is simple, you now need to have both the Mail and Finder windows open, so you can see the effect of the changes you make. There’s a good chance that when the Finder sidebar’s text is big enough, the Mail sidebar’s text is too big. This may seem odd at first, since the two apps are using the same text and icon sizes, but the difference comes in the number of items you have in each app’s sidebar.

Read more on About: Macs.

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by Tom Nelson

This week, I’ve added a new feature to our weekly Steals & Deals; a new Mac Accessories section that will replace the old Mac Accessories section. If you’re scratching your head, wondering how this can be a new feature when it was a category that was included in the past, well, that’s understandable.

What makes the new and improved Mac Accessories section different is that we’re leaving behind the Mac refurb store as the only source for Mac accessories (mainly because Apple hasn’t updated its accessories in several years), and broadening our nets to find Mac peripherals from just about anywhere. At the same time, we’re also going to concentrate on new items and not refurbs for this category.

But don’t worry; the rest of the steals & deals will continue to be stock from Apple’s own refurb store.

iMac27Retina2015

Image courtesy of Apple

Deals of the Week

This week’s deals feature a pair of Retina iMacs, one in the 21.5-inch size, and the second in the 27-inch variety. Both are configured with Fusion drives, and both share the same $1,669.00 price tag.

So, what do you get for $1,669.00? Quite a bit. The smaller iMac comes equipped with a Quad-Core i7 processor, and the larger iMac uses a Quad-Core i5 processor. Both come with 8 GB of RAM, though the larger iMac allows for RAM upgrades, while the smaller iMac does not.

Both make use of a Retina display, so perhaps the deciding factor will be, which iMac do you have room for on your desk?

Read more on About: Macs.

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by Tom Nelson

BetterTouchTool is perhaps best known as an easy way to create custom gestures for use with a Magic Mouse, a Magic Trackpad, or a MacBook’s built-in multi-touch trackpad. The need for this app becomes apparent after the first or second time you try customizing your mouse or trackpad, Apple just doesn’t provide many gesture options, and the ones it does provide cover only the very basics of what can be done with a multi-touch surface as a pointer interface.

bettertouchtool

Screen shot © Coyote Moon, Inc.

OK, let’s start with one of the cons; you really need to read the manual to get the most out of BetterTouchTool.

Read more on About: Macs.

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by Tom Nelson

Upgrading from a previous version of OS X is the most common method of installing OS X Mavericks. An upgrade install also offers at least two benefits over a standard install; it’s a simple process, and it retains almost all of your settings, files, and apps from the version of OS X that you’re currently using.

OS-X-Mavericks-WWDC

Image courtesy of Apple

You may be wondering what the phrase “almost all” in the above sentence means. Mavericks will check to make sure that all of your apps are compatible with the OS; apps that won’t work with Mavericks will be moved to an Incompatible Software folder.

In addition, it’s possible that some preference settings, particularly for the Finder, will need to be reconfigured. That’s because the Finder, along with other parts of the OS, includes some changes that will require you to modify preference settings to meet your needs.

Aside from these minor inconveniences, performing an upgrade install of OS X Mavericks is pretty straightforward.

Read more on About: Macs.

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