Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Tips & Tricks’ Category

by Tom Nelson

The Preview app is a handy tool for viewing and working with PDF (Portable Document Format) files, as outlined in the Rocket Yard guide: macOS 101: Mark It Up with Preview.  In Part Two of the guide, we’ll look at how Preview can be used for viewing and editing images.

We’ll be using Preview’s Markup toolbar, which is usually hidden. You can use the instructions from the Mark it Up with Preview guide, linked above, to access the Markup toolbar.

While it’s not a full-featured image-editing app, Preview does have some remarkable capabilities that make it a good choice for working with images, especially when you consider it’s supplied free as part of the macOS.

Destructive Editing, Auto-Save, and Versions
Preview is one of the apps that work with the Mac’s auto-save system. This means that Preview will automatically save a document as you work on it. The practical aspect to this is that Preview will use destructive editing by automatically periodically saving the changes you make to the file you’re working on. In other words, if you want to change an image back to the way it looked earlier, chances are it’s too late. Earlier versions of the image are history.

For this reason, I highly recommend that you work on a duplicate of the image file. This can be done by after opening an image in Preview by selecting Duplicate from the File menu. Give the file a new name, then use Save from the File menu. This will ensure any changes won’t affect the original file.

Optionally, you can make use of the Revert to command in the File menu to return to a previous version of the file that existed before you made any edits. This means you will lose all of the edits you made, even the ones you might want to keep.

Remove Objects from an Image
Preview has a number of tools that allow you to select an object and copy or remove the selected object from the image. One of the problems with selecting an object is the difficulty in performing a precise selection to isolate the object from the background. Preview offers two tools to perform this task: the Selection tool, which allows you to draw a rectangle, an elliptical, a free-form lasso, or a smart lasso around the desired object, and the Instant Alpha tool, which can perform a selection based on colors of objects.

Instant Alpha: This tool has been included with the Preview app for some time. It allows you to remove an object from an image, or remove the background from around an object. Instant Alpha works by making selections based on color matching, making it an ideal tool when there’s distinct difference between the object and the background.

Using Instant Alpha, you can remove the background from around an object, such as these glasses, making it easier to copy them for later use.

The instant alpha tool can be found in the Markup toolbar. It looks like a magic wand, and is usually the second tool from the left in the Markup toolbar.

To use the Instant Alpha tool, make sure the object within the image is visible in the Preview window. You may want to use the Zoom in or Zoom out icons in the standard toolbar to better focus on the object you wish to work with.

Once everything looks right, click or tap the magic wand icon.

Place your cursor near the object above the background you wish to remove.

Click and hold the mouse or touchpad while very slowly dragging the cursor over the background.

As you drag, you’ll notice the background starts to turn pink. The more you drag, the larger the area of the background is turning pink. What is happening is, as you drag the cursor, the Instant Alpha tool adjusts the range of color it will accept as a match. This lets you select more of the background as a wider color match is used. If you select too much area, you can simply drag in the opposite direction to reduce the match range.

Once you have the background selected, stop dragging, and release the mouse or trackpad button.

The pink highlight will be replaced by a dotted selection line.

Click the Delete key on the keyboard, or select Delete from the Edit menu, to remove the selected background.

You’ll likely see a sheet appear asking if it’s OK to convert the image format to PNG. This is done to ensure the deleted areas of the image are replaced with a transparent background.

You may need to repeat the process to remove background areas near the desired object that were a different color.

Once you’ve removed the background around the object, you can use any of the Selection tool types to select the object, and then select Copy from the file menu.

The selected object will be saved to your Mac’s clipboard for use in other apps.

You can save the object to a file by selecting File, New from Clipboard.

Preview will open a new image file with the object you just copied.

You can then select Save from the file menu.

Smart Lasso: The Smart Lasso tool is part of the Selection tool’s options. It allows you to draw a freeform selection line around the object you wish to copy or delete. The smart lasso will attempt to automatically adjust the selection path based on color intensity. This allows it to conform to the object you’re attempting to select.

The Smart Lasso lets you draw around an object you want to select, and will automatically resize itself to follow the outline of the selected object. Photo © Coyote Moon, Inc.

To use the Smart Lasso, make sure the object of your desire is visible within the image. Adjust the zoom in or zoom out settings as needed.

Click or tap the chevron just to the right of the Selection tool.

In the dropdown menu that appears, make sure that Smart Lasso is chosen.

Place the cursor along one of the edges of the object, then click and hold the mouse or trackpad. Start dragging a line around the object. As you drag, you will notice the freeform line being drawn has a thick border. Make sure the edge of the object you wish to extract is within the thick border of the line you are drawing.

Finish the Smart Lasso by completely surrounding the object, and returning to the starting point.

Release the mouse or trackpad; the thick line will become a dotted selection line hugging the selected object.

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

by Tom Nelson

Preview, the free PDF viewing app included with the Mac, can do a lot more than view images or open PDF files to view. It includes a number of features and services that can be used for editing PDFs, working with images, even creating electronic signatures to use to sign important documents.

In this Rocket Yard guide, we’re going to explore the Preview app’s ability to fill out PDF forms and mark up files, even files that weren’t designed to be completed electronically.

Using Preview for Markup
PDF (Portable Document Format) is a file format intended to ensure that documents can be exchanged reliably, independent of the type of software or hardware being used to view, print, or edit them. In other words, that PDF file you’re viewing on a Mac will look the same when viewed on a PC, or for that matter, any device that supports PDFs.

Preview supports more than just viewing; you can also mark up a PDF file in order to add additional information. One of the most common uses for a PDF file is as a form intended for an individual to fill out. When a PDF file is created for this purpose, the creator of the file can make the process easier by adding predefined text boxes, check boxes, graphics, links to instructions, just about anything that will make the process of completing the form an easier one. A well-designed PDF form can make the process an easy one.

But even PDFs that weren’t designed as forms can still have information added to them in a process commonly referred to as marking up a document, or simply mark up.

Finding the Markup Tools
Launch Preview, which you’ll find in the /Applications folder.

Preview opens by asking for a document to load. If you don’t have a PDF document to experiment with, I suggest a trip to the IRS.gov website. Download any of the IRS forms, which are available as PDFs ready to be filled in. You can also elect to open a JPG image file, or perhaps one of the OWC manuals you’ve downloaded from the OWC support website.

The Markup toolbar is usually hidden, and has to be opened before you can use it. Screen shot © Coyote Moon, Inc.

Select the file you wish to open, and click the Open button.

With the selected PDF file now open, you can access the Markup tools by ensuring that Preview’s toolbar is displayed. Select Show Toolbar from Preview’s View menu.

If the toolbar wasn’t displayed before, you’ll now see a small toolbar across the top of the Preview window. It will include buttons for zooming in or out, sharing, rotating, search, and a few other options.

Just to the left of the search bar is a button that looks like the tip of a pen or pencil within a circle. (Depending on the version of the Mac OS you’re using, the button may look like a little toolbox.) Clicking or tapping this button will display the Markup toolbar just below the standard toolbar.

Using the Markup Toolbar
At the time of this writing, the Markup toolbar contains eleven or twelve tools (depending on the Mac model you’re using) you can use for marking up a PDF file. We will look at each one, and how it is used. The markup tool list below starts with the first tool on the left-hand side of the window and moves to the right:

Text Selection: This tool is used for selecting and copying text. To select text, click the Text Selection button (it turns blue when active), and then drag over the text you wish to choose. In many cases, the Text Selection tool may already be selected, allowing you to simply drag across text to make the selection; in other cases, the Text Selection tool may need to be enabled first.

Once text is selected, you can copy it by selecting Edit, Copy, or by using the keyboard shortcut Command + C, or right-clicking and selecting Copy from the popup menu. Text you have selected can also be subject to other markup tools, as mentioned below.

Rectangular Selection: Use this tool to draw a selection rectangle over an image.  The rectangle can be resized using the selection handles as well as moved about the PDF document by dragging from any side. Once in place, you can then copy or remove the area selected.

Sketch: The sketch tool allows you to draw an arbitrary shape using a single stroke.  If the shape you draw looks like a standard shape (arc, square, rectangle, circle, oval, star) it will be replaced by the standard shape. A palette will also be displayed, showing the original and the standard shape. Use the palette to pick which of the two shapes you wish to use.

Draw: This tool only appears if your Mac is equipped with a Force Touch trackpad. It works the same as the sketch tool above, but interprets the force being applied to the trackpad to determine the width of the line being drawn.

Read more on Rocket Yard, The MacSales.com Blog

Read Full Post »

by Tom Nelson

Backing up your Mac can be a very easy process. Pick a drive to use for your backups, turn on Time Machine, and you have a basic backup system in place with very little effort. Time Machine has a lot going for it, including the ability to recover older versions of a file from the backup device. That can be invaluable when you need to know what was in a document a few versions back, or even a few years back.

But there are a few things Time Machine doesn’t do well, such as restoring all of the data on a failing startup drive. The process of recovering the information from a Time Machine drive can be long and arduous, and having to wait a few hours to get back to work can really throw a monkey wrench into your schedule.

That’s one of the reasons I recommend using a second backup strategy, based around cloning the data on your startup drive. Cloning can let you get back up and running in the time it takes to restart your Mac. It lets you continue to work while you order a replacement storage device for the volume that failed. It can also take some of the tension out of what can be a very stressful time.

Using Time Machine and a cloned startup drive is such a powerful backup system that it’s the basis for all of the backups in our home and office environments.

Which brings us to this week’s Rocket Yard guide: Use Multi-Bay Enclosures for Better Backups.

Using External Enclosures with Two or More Bays
Let me be clear: a multi-drive backup system doesn’t have to be built from multi-bay enclosures. You can successfully make use of multiple single drive enclosures and achieve equivalent results. But using multi-bay enclosures has a few advantages:

  • Fewer power bricks and cords to clutter up your work area.
  • A single connection to your Mac leaves more ports available for other uses.
  • Available with 2, 4, or 6 drive bays, or even more.
  • Many multi-bay enclosures support various RAID types.
  • Can be used for multiple tasks, such as backups, media libraries, bulk storage, and media editing.

External Enclosures to Consider
With so many multi-bay drive enclosures available, you may want to look at the following as good examples of enclosures to consider for this backup system.

The Mercury Elite Pro Dual Mini houses two storage devices in the smallest of our suggested enclosures.

OWC Mercury Elite Pro Dual Mini: This dual-bay enclosure is designed to accept 2.5-inch drives, the same size used for most laptop drives as well as SATA-based SSDs. It makes use of hardware-based RAID that supports RAID 0, 1, SPAN, and Independent drive modes. The enclosure makes use of USB-C 3.1 Gen 2, providing speeds up to 10 Gb/s. Its small size and use of USB 3.1 Gen 2 connections make it a great choice for backups, as well as image or music libraries.

The Mercury Elite Pro Quad can house up to four drives, and connects using USB 3.1 Gen 2.

OWC Mercury Elite Pro Quad: This quad-bay enclosure works with both 3.5-inch and 2.5-inch SATA-based drives, with no adapters needed. It comes with SoftRAID XT Lite, supporting RAID 0, 1, JBOD. This enclosure uses USB-C 3.1 Gen 2, providing speeds up to 10Gb/s. This enclosure is also available with an advanced version of SoftRAID that adds support for RAID 4, 5, and RAID 1+0.

OWC ThunderBay 4: A quad-bay enclosure that supports 3.5-inch or 2.5-inch drives with no adapters needed. It makes use of SoftRAID XT Lite, and supports RAID 0, 1, and JBOD. This quad enclosure makes use of Thunderbolt 3 to provide the highest sustained performance of our suggested enclosures for backup.

Read more on Rocket Yard, The MacSales.com Blog

Read Full Post »

by Tom Nelson

Launch Services is a core service of the Mac OS that enables an actively running application to open other apps, documents, or URLs (Uniform Resource Locators). Launch Services is also used to prioritize which app is used to open a document or URL.

Launch Services replaced a number of earlier system managers the Mac used to use, such as the Desktop Manager, Internet Config, and File Manager, replacing them with the single Launch Services system, and the database Launch Services maintains to keep track of all things related to how documents and apps relate to each other.

Launch Services allows an app or document to:

  • Open (launch or activate) another app.
  • Open a document or URL.
  • Identify the preferred app to use to open a document or URL.
  • Register the type of documents or URLs an app is capable of working with.
  • Keep track of information needed for displaying a file or URL, including its icon, name, and kind (examples: JPEG, PDF, Folder, Volume).

Launch Services keeps track of which apps can work with a selected document. Screen shot © Coyote Moon, Inc.

In past versions of the Mac OS, this type of information was maintained by the Finder, as well as by some specific system managers. By consolidating this information to the Launch Services, it allows for greater reliability, easier (actually, automatic) registration of file and document associations, and less need to repair file association information. If you remember having to rebuild the Desktop frequently on older Macs, then you know the file associations tended to get out of whack often.

Launch Services maintains a database aptly known as the Launch Services Database, which is used to record all the needed information about apps, documents, and URLs to determine which items an app is capable of working with.

Application Registration
Launch Services automatically registers an app with the database the first time the app becomes known to the system. This can occur when:

  • The Finder reports an app has been added to the Applications folder.
  • An app installer is run.
  • When a document is opened that has no preferred app, the user is asked to select an app to use, and that app is registered with Launch Services.
  • When the built-in Launch Services tool is run whenever you boot your Mac or login as a user. This tool scans the Applications folder looking for any new apps that have been placed there.

Dragging an app to the Applications folder is one of the ways an app is registered with Launch Services. Screen shot © Coyote Moon, Inc.

Opening Documents
When you open a document or URL, Launch Services is used to determine which app to use to open the item. Launch Services uses the following specific order to check for which app to use:

User-Specified Binding: If the user has set a specific binding by manually setting a file association, then use that app to open the document or URL. Do not check further. Note: You can manually set file associations using one of the tips in: Quick Tip: Managing macOS File Associations or macOS 101: Six “Forgotten” Tips for New (and Old) Mac Users.

If the document has a file name extension, Launch Services will find all apps that list the extension as compatible.

If the document has a four-character file type, Launch Services finds all apps that accept the file type.

If more than one app is found, the following is used to determine a preference:

If the document has a four-character creator type that matches an app:

Give preference to apps on the boot volume.

Give preferences to apps residing on local volumes vs. ones on remote volumes.

If two or more files and an app still meet the criteria, give preference to the newest version.

Read more on Rocket Yard, The MacSales.com Blog

Read Full Post »

by Tom Nelson

If you’ve been using iTunes for a long time, you may have noticed how it changed from a good music player into a strong multimedia player, became a music, video, and app store, as well as a file and device manager for syncing, backing up, and restoring iOS devices.

Lost in all the changes was its original strength: simply playing and managing media on a Mac.

If iTunes now seems a bit unwieldy to you, there are alternatives available that can likely meet most of your needs. The key word here is “most” of your needs. As far as I’ve seen, there’s no single iTunes replacement that can do everything iTunes does. But if your main interest is playing media, or organizing your multimedia library, there are quite a few alternatives available. If you’re looking for an app to manage your devices, perform backups, and transfer files between devices, there are some good choices for that as well. Related article: How to Move Your iTunes Library to an External Drive

Swinsian – Free trial; $19.95
If you’re looking for a media player to play music and manage your libraries, Swinsian may be a good fit. Swinsian is easy to set up; it can import your existing iTunes music library, and you can set up specific folders for Swinsian to monitor. Drop an album or track into one of the folders, and Swinsian will import it into its library for you.

Swinsian displays your media library in a compact but customizable window. Screen shot © Coyote Moon, Inc.

Swinsian supports a large number of file formats, including FLAC, MP3, AAC, ALAC, Ogg Vorbis, WMA, WAV, Opus, AC3, AIFF, Musepack (MPC), DSF, and APE.

And while being able to play music on your Mac from different file types is helpful, it can be a problem when you want to transfer a music file to your iPod or IOS devices. Swinsian has you covered there, with automatic transcoding of file formats to ones supported by the device you’re moving them to. No need for a separate app to translate file formats.

Other features include:

  • Album art: Swinsian can find and download album art automatically, and display it within the player.
  • Duplicate track finder: If your music library looks anything like mine, the ability to find duplicate tracks and eliminate them may be worth the price of admission alone.
  • AirPlay support.
  • Smart playlists: Build new playlists based on a wide range of criteria including rating, artist, title, bit rate, play count, and much more.
  • Mini player.
  • 10 or 31 band equalizer.
  • Gapless playback.
  • Support for cue files or embedded cue information.

Plus many more features.

Swinsian’s interface will remind you of iTunes before it became so bloated with features. The interface is easy to move about in; using the music browser simplifies finding music. And the interface is highly customizable, allowing you to rearrange and add information as you see fit.

If your main need is for a versatile and easy-to-use music player, Swinsian is a good choice. Its focus is being a music player, and library and playlist manager.

Read more on Rocket Yard, The MacSales.com Blog

Read Full Post »

by Tom Nelson

There are many features of the Mac that are often overlooked by new users, or simply forgotten about by those who have been using Macs for a while. In some cases, the feature is used once when setting up a Mac, and then vanishes from memory; other times, the feature is never stumbled upon. No matter the reason, this collection of six “forgettable” Mac tips deserves to be remembered.

Customize Icons
Icons, those little images that represent apps, documents, folders, drives, and a few other items, are used extensively throughout the Mac’s interface. They’re most prominent in the Dock, in the Finder, and on the Desktop.

Personalizing your Mac by using custom icons can add a bit of flair as well as allow you to better organize your Mac’s file system. Apple already provides custom folder icons for the Applications folder, Documents folder, Downloads, Movies, Music, Pictures, and a few others, but most of the folders on your Mac will use generic folder icons. The same is true for storage devices mounted on your desktop, and files on your Mac.

You can replace a file, folder, or drive icon with one of your own making, or one acquired from the many websites that specialize in Mac and Window icons, many of which are free.

The thumbnail icon displayed in the Get Info window can be used to copy a favorite icon, or to replace it with a new one. Screen shot © Coyote Moon, Inc.

One of the simplest ways to change an icon is to copy/paste an icon using this tip:

Right-click or control-click on the icon you wish to copy, and then select Get Info from the popup menu that appears.

In the Get Info window that opens (the window will be in the upper left corner of your display and may be hidden by other windows), you’ll see a thumbnail icon in the top left corner.

Click or tap once to select the thumbnail, then select Copy from the File menu or hit the command + C keys on your keyboard.

The icon will be copied to the Mac’s built-in clipboard.

Find the file, folder, or drive icon you wish change.

Right-click or control-click on the icon.

In the Get Info window that opens, click or tap the thumbnail icon to select it, then use Paste from the File menu, or command + V on the keyboard, to paste the icon from the clipboard onto the selected item.

That’s the easy way to copy/paste icons from one source to a new destination. But what if you want to create a custom icon from scratch?

We’ve got you covered with Create Your Own Custom Icons.

Other World Computing also has a webpage full of drive icons you’re welcome to use. You’ll find them at: Custom Drive Icons.

Read more on Rocket Yard, The MacSales.com Blog

Read Full Post »

by Tom Nelson

The release of macOS Mojave on Sept. 24, 2018, marked the 15th major release of the OS X/macOS operating system. Mojave is the first version of macOS that doesn’t have its moniker based in the mountains of California; instead, it’s one of the hot deserts of California that lends its name to the OS.

It’s been roughly three months since the release of Mojave, and in that time, Apple has delivered two minor updates and is working on the beta of the third update.

September 24, 2018: Public release of macOS 10.14.0
Apple originally announced macOS Mojave at WWDC (Worldwide Developers Conference) on June 4, which was quickly followed by the original developers release. The public beta of Mojave was made available in July, followed by the public release of macOS 10.14.0 on Sept. 24, 2018.

Unlike macOS High Sierra and Sierra, which shared equivalent minimum requirements, Mojave made changes that meant many Macs older than 2012 would not be compatible. The exception being the 2010 and 2012 models of the Mac Pro, which could be upgraded with a Metal-compatible GPU that would allow Mojave to be successfully installed, and put both Macs on an even footing with the 2013 Mac Pro.

Mojave brought significant changes and improvements, including new security and privacy protections, improvements to the Safari web browser, and UI changes, such as Stacks on the Desktop and Dark Mode.

Improved security and privacy are one of the many improvements in macOS Mojave.  Screen shot © Coyote Moon, Inc.

Mojave introduced many new features, but it also removed or disabled some features users have been enjoying for quite a while. Additionally, Mojave marks the last version of the Mac OS that will allow 32-bit apps to run.

Although 10.14.0 has seemed to be remarkably free of major bugs, there have been a number of complaints about installation, performance, and app compatibility. We’ll look at those issues a bit later, after the Mojave overview.

October 30, 2018: macOS 10.14.1 released
When macOS 10.14.1 was released, it included support for Group FaceTime, a new video conferencing capability that allows up to 32 participants to take part in a secure, encrypted video messaging system. Group FaceTime was demonstrated at WWDC in June, but disappeared as a Mojave feature during the beta process, and did not appear in the official release version.

Along with the theme of upgrades to communications, 10.14.1 added over 70 new emojis that can be used in Mail, Messages, or with just about any app that has some form of text entry.

Mojave 10.14.1 added lots of new emojis to help you express yourself. Screen shot © Coyote Moon, Inc.

Mojave 10.14.1 also includes a number of security updates in various Mac OS core components, as well as apps, such as Safari.

APFS also saw an update, bumping the version from 945.200.129 to 945.220.38. Apple provided no documentation on the changes to APFS, though we should note there have been no widespread issues reported with APFS in Mojave 10.14.0. So, the changes may be the result of routine maintenance to the APFS system, and not the result of bug fixes.

APFS is not the only app or service that was updated; Mail and Safari received updates that bumped up their version numbers; there may also have been changes to other apps and core services that were not noted in public documents.

There was also a supplemental update of 10.14.1 that was created specifically for the MacBook Pro, to support the Vega GPUs that are now available.

Read more on Rocket Yard, The MacSales.com Blog

Read Full Post »

by Tom Nelson

macOS Mojave has many new features and capabilities that make it a compelling upgrade. And while we’ve covered many of the marquee features of Mojave, sometimes it’s the lesser-known features that can have a big impact on how your use your Mac.

Now that we’ve had a chance to work with Mojave, and tried out almost all of its features, it’s time to take a closer look at lesser-known capabilities that could fundamentally change how you use your Mac.

OK, that last part may be a stretch, but give them a shot anyway. In no particular order, here are my favorite six features that are often overlooked in Mojave, but turned out to be very helpful.

Favicons in Safari
Safari has long supported favicons, those itty-bitty icons that show up within Safari’s URL field and represent the website you’re viewing. With Mojave, favicons finally are allowed to exist outside of the main URL field, and can now populate Safari’s tab bar.

This can make it much easier to scan across the tab bar, and pick a loaded website to bring to the front for viewing.

Favicons in Safari tabs make it easier to spot the tabbed website you wish to view. Screen shot © Coyote Moon, Inc.

To turn your Safari tab bar into a favicon-rich environment, launch Safari.

From the Safari menu item, select Preferences.

From the Preferences toolbar, select Tabs.

Place a checkmark in the “Show website icons in tabs” box.

Now whenever you open a website in a tab, its favicon will be part of the tab.

Safari has a number of new features introduced with Mojave. Check out: A Guide to New Features in the macOS Mojave Safari Browser.

Emoji Selector in Mail
It’s likely that you’re used to using emojis in your messaging apps; with macOS Mojave and Mail 12, you can use the same emojis available in iOS and the Messages app within the Mac’s Mail app.

With just the click of the mouse, or the tap of a finger, you can embed an emoji in your Mail message, and convey a bit of emotion that may be hard to put into words, but easy to display in a graphical shortcut.

Want to add an emoji or two to your email? Just click the Emoji & Symbols button in the toolbar. Screen shot © Coyote Moon, Inc.

To add emojis, start by opening a new message in the Mail app.

Place the insertion cursor within the body of your email, where you would like the emoji to appear.

The message window’s toolbar includes a new entry in the top right corner: a button that looks like a smiley face.

Click or tap the smiley face button to bring up a character viewer palette that shows the available emojis and symbols you can include in your email message.

Browse through the character viewer until you come across the emoji or symbol you wish to add to your message.

Double-click or tap the emoji to have it appear at the cursor location in your message.

You can make the emoji bigger by selecting Format, Style, Bigger from the Mail menu bar, or by using the keyboard shortcut ⌘ +. You can also use the font viewer shortcut Format, Show Fonts to adjust the size of an emoji. This last method is quicker for making large changes to an emoji’s size.

Note: Emojis in Mail aren’t new, but Mojave makes adding one a much easier task by including the Emoji and Symbol palettes directly in the Mail message toolbar.

Read more on Rocket Yard, The MacSales.com Blog

Read Full Post »

by Tom Nelson

RAM upgrades can be both the simplest and least expensive ways to extend the productive life of your Mac. They can also improve general performance by allowing you to have more windows open, have more “stuff” on your desktop, and run more apps concurrently, without taxing your Mac significantly.

Increasing memory can also be advantageous to specific apps that are either known as memory hogs or simply will perform better with more memory available to them. Video editing apps, such as Final Cut Pro, as well as image editing tools, such as Photoshop, are good examples of how adding more memory can affect an app’s performance. By default, Photoshop will use up to 70% of available RAM. There are many tricks to make the best use of available RAM, such as closing unused windows, decreasing the number of patterns and brushes loaded by Photoshop, and preventing the loading of fonts that aren’t needed, all tricks to keep the app’s performance up with available RAM.

Increasing the installed RAM in Photoshop will not only process images faster, but let you load more brushes, fonts, and add-ons to allow you to more effectively work with your images.

Video editing apps generally do well with additional RAM to allow for larger frame buffers, to help increase real-time editing performance, or to move some cache files from disk to RAM for better performance.

And it’s not just pro tools like Photoshop that benefit from additional RAM. Apps such as GarageBandPhotos, web browsers, and mail apps can all benefit from more memory if the apps load a lot of libraries, plug-ins, or add-ons. Even your word processor could be slowing down if you’re working with large documents, images, and a few add-ons.

Apps like Photoshop can perform poorly when available RAM is limited. Screen shot © Coyote Moon, Inc.

Even if you’re not using an app that needs lots of RAM, you may benefit from additional memory if you’re the type of user who likes to leave apps and windows open as you flit from one task to another. Or perhaps you’ve toned down the visual effects your Mac uses or refrained from using some of the new Mojave features, such as dynamic desktop because you often run low on free memory. These are all good reasons to consider increasing the amount of RAM installed on your Mac.

How to Know When Your Mac Needs More RAM
There are a number of ways to tell when more RAM is needed; one of the most common is the sluggish performance you encounter as free RAM space becomes smaller and smaller. This can show up as spinning cursors, jumpy scrolling, jumpy cursors, and tasks taking a longer time than usual to perform.

You can also use one of the many performance and troubleshooting utilities available to actually see how RAM is being used. You can view not only how much memory is in use, but also which apps or services are using the most RAM. This can help you see how the amount of RAM in your Mac is affecting performance.

Activity Monitor can show not only which apps are using RAM, but also how much memory compression is occurring. Screen shot © Coyote Moon, Inc.

You can use Activity Monitor, a utility that comes with your Mac, to monitor your Mac’s performance, including how memory is being used. I highly recommend keeping the Activity Monitor app open as you use your Mac during a typical day. You can find details about using Activity Monitor, as well as other memory monitoring tools, in the Rocket Yard guide: Tech Tip: How to Monitor Your Mac’s Memory Usage.

After monitoring your memory use, you may come to the conclusion that adding memory is just the thing to do to see an increase in performance and productivity, which brings us to the next question:

Which Macs Support User Upgradeable RAM?
In the early days of the Mac, most models had memory slots that allowed users to upgrade RAM as needed. This allowed buyers to bypass the more expensive RAM prices Apple charged, and purchase a Mac with the minimum memory installed. You could then upgrade the RAM yourself, at a considerable discount.

Read more on Rocket Yard, The MacSales.com Blog

Read Full Post »

by Tom Nelson

Are you getting ready to install macOS Mojave? Or perhaps you’ve already finished the upgrade and have started exploring the new Mojave system. In either case, you may discover that some of your favorite apps have stopped working, or are exhibiting problems that may be anything from a small annoyance to an outright showstopper.

In many cases, the apps you’re having problems with may only need to be updated to the most recent version. Likewise, you should also check that your copy of Mojave is up to date. Even if you just installed Mojave, you could be a minor revision behind.

After making sure you’re up to date, you may still have some apps with issues. To help, here is the Rocket Yard list of apps that are currently (as of November 24th, 2018) either not working or having known issues.

At the end of the list, I’ve included instructions on fixing one of the most common issues for an app not to work in Mojave. And as always, if you have a problem with an app, let us know by leaving a comment, below. If you had a problem with an app and figured out a workaround, please let us know how you did it.

In many cases, upgrading to the most current version of an Adobe app will get it working with macOS Mojave. Screen shot © Coyote Moon, Inc.

Adobe Apps
Some Adobe suites are still using 32-bit components, which can result in a warning message about an app not being optimized for use with your Mac. For the most part, these warning messages will not prevent the app from running.

  • Photoshop CS5 may display errors when launched, or when you quit the app. Some users have been able to get around the launch crashes using the technique outlined below, in the “How to Fix Apps That Crash in Mojave” section. If you rely on Photoshop, it’s a good idea to upgrade to a newer version.
  • Photoshop CC has a number of compatibility issues, and Adobe recommends upgrading to Photoshop CC 2019 and Mojave 10.14.1 or later.
  • Illustrator CS6 or newer should run under Mojave though there may be minor issues with using Illustrator with Mojave’s Dark Mode.
  • InDesign CS5 and CS6 are both 32-bit apps, and users have reported multiple issues with using them under Mojave. The most common problems cited are a minor issue with Dark Mode, as well as an error when quitting the application that doesn’t seem to impact any of the documents created.
  • Acrobat Pro DC and Acrobat Reader DC have numerous issues with both Mojave and High Sierra. Updating to the latest versions will correct most issues, though a few issues remain, involving printing, and converting a doc to PDF. Adobe is working to remedy the remaining issues in a future release.
  • Dreamweaver has a few issues with Mojave; most are due to Dreamweaver’s reliance on the use of other apps, such as Terminal and Finder, to perform some of its functions. Check the “How to Fix Apps That Crash in Mojave” section, below, for possible workarounds.
  • Lightroom Classic and Lightroom CC have been known to crash when used with Mojave’s Dark Mode.
  • Premiere Pro CC and After Effects CC have minor issues with Mojave, including Dark Mode support, and attempts to access other computer components, such as the microphone and camera. Check the “How to Fix Apps That Crash in Mojave” section for possible workarounds.

Apple Apps
I would like to see Apple let us know which of their apps need to be updated before installing a new OS, but for now, Apple apps are just like everyone else’s, and may need to be updated to work correctly.

  • Aperture 3 still runs but there have been reports of minor issues, even occasional crashes. Versions earlier than Aperture 3 will not run under Mojave. And since Aperture is no longer supported, you should be looking for a new photo management app to use anyway.
  • iWork (Pages, Keynote, and Numbers) versions older than 2013 are 32-bit apps, and will likely not run under Mojave, or if they do, will have various issues. Later versions of Pages, Numbers, and Keynote are 64-bit apps and should run without issue. However, it’s best to update this collection of apps to the most recent version for use with Mojave.
  • Final Cut Pro’s older versions and their components, including Final Cut Studio Pro and Soundtrack Pro, will not run in Mojave.
  • Final Cut Pro X and its related apps, Motion and Compressor, should all be updated to the latest version to ensure compatibility with Mojave. The most recent version is 10.4.4 (November 15, 2018).
  • Logic Pro X should be updated to the latest version, 10.4.2 (September 28, 2018), for use with Mojave.
  • MainStage should be updated to the latest version, 3.4.1 (November 8, 2018).
  • Grab, the screenshot utility included with macOS High Sierra and earlier, has been replaced by the newer macOS Mojave Screenshot app.

Microsoft Apps
Microsoft Office for Mac 2011 and all of its components, including:

  • Word 2011
  • Excel 2011
  • PowerPoint 2011
  • Outlook 2011

are all 32-bit apps and are no longer supported by Microsoft. There are mixed results for Office 2011 running under Mojave, although for the most part, the Office 2011 apps should be considered unreliable for serious work. It may be a good idea to plan to upgrade to a current version.

  • Office 2016 version 16.16.2 or later fully supports Mojave.
  • Office 365 and Office 2019 version 16.17.0 or later fully support Mojave.

Read more on Rocket Yard, The MacSales.com Blog

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »