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Mac OSX Mavericks: First Impressions

Posted by J Powers at 9:34 AM on October 23, 2013
Mavericks

Mavericks

Yesterday OSX 10.9 Mavericks was released for Mac and Macbook devices. In a new direction, Apple decided to make the update free and was available just after the keynote. Better battery life and iBooks integration were the keys of the system update. The biggest feature being Mac computers as old as 2007 will be able to install the OS.

My Macbook Pro is the 2011 model with AMD Radeon HD 6750M video graphics on top of the Intel HD Graphics (the card switches on video-intense processes). I have a Hybrid HD inside.

How the Battery Life was Extended

In Mountain Lion, I had processes stuck that would make the computer work harder. For example: When I left home I would close the lid to my Macbook Pro (Chrome being the primary window open). I would get to my destination and open the lid. Instantly, Chrome would have processes that stopped responding but would never close – such as Google Chrome Helper.

I would check my processes as the Macbook started heating up and the fan would go wild. Chrome was at 200% and its child processes also were working harder than normal. To fix this, I would have to close Chrome and go back in.

Chrome wasn’t the only program that did that. Photoshop, Audition and other non-Apple apps would also hold onto the processor.

Now with the addition of App Nap it looks like those processes are in check and ones not responding are not holding the processor hostage.

Safari and Battery Life

Safari saves battery life by not running any processes that are not within the viewing screen. At first I thought it was a virtual webpage screen – similar to what your iPhone or iPad will load up. When I scrolled through a process-intense website there were no blank spots waiting for the page to continue loading.

iTunes HD Playback

I had a friend that installed Golden Master last week. He was very impressed he could watch a whole movie without plugging in, so I had to test it out when I loaded Mavericks. I watched a full movie on a fully charged battery and still had plenty of time to do other things. Apple states its a 35% savings.

cool to the touch

cool to the touch

My Macbook Pro is Cooler

I bought one of those lap-desks because my Macbook Pro would get really hot after working for only 15-20 minutes. The fans would spin out of control to keep the machine cooler.

Today, I have been working for over 90 minutes and I can lift my Macbook up and place my hand on the bottom without feeling discomfort. Makes me wonder if there was a major bug in Mountain Lion…

iBooks

iBooks

iBooks on Mavericks

I have a non-retina display, but my model is an enhanced display (pre-retina I believe). I wanted to test out iBooks on my laptop. I was able to access my books and of course get more from the store. The pages flipped with a swipe on the touchpad.

With a simple command+ and command- I could increase and decrease font size. I could also highlight sections and post notes then be able to see the highlights on my iPad.

Maps on Mavericks

I do have to admit – I am impressed with how the maps works. I looked through my city and even found my house – saw my car sitting in the driveway. Unfortunately I didn’t get the 3D view like if I lived in San Francisco. Nonetheless, I was able navigate through and have a good comprehension of where I was.

Tagging Everything

In Mavericks you have the opportunity to tag everything for easier search. Since I wasn’t tagging things before, I probably won’t be using this feature. It all depends on how easy I can navigate Mavericks without tags.

Other features include an improved calendars and the iCloud keychain. These items I don’t use because I have Google calendar and 3rd party keychain access. Still, during setup I was able to sign in and put on a secondary sign-in email.

One 3rd party program I run called “Cinch” (snaps a window to full screen or half screen like in Windows 8) had to allowed in my security settings to run. It was the only program that required an extra step for me.

I also had to install Java Runtime to continue using my Adobe products (Photoshop, Premier Pro, etc).

Ultimately, I am really enjoying the power saver and cooler Macbook Pro. For these two reasons its a good idea to update your Mac to Mavericks. The additional programs (including an updated iMovie and Garageband) updated without issue. The update took this Macbook Pro about an hour to complete – although times will vary between different models.

Gmail Contact Synching Bug

Posted by tomwiles at 5:54 PM on July 4, 2013

Last fall I got a Samsung Galaxy S3 phone. I love the S3. It’s an awesome piece of technology.

Sometime overnight a couple of evenings ago, it developed a hardware problem and the next day it would no longer boot. It was working perfectly when I went to bed, but when I woke up something had gone wrong.

So, I went by a Sprint store. The technician tried to do a hard reset, but no go. He ended up giving me a new white S3.

I ended up having a bit of a problem getting my Gmail contacts to synch to the new phone from Google’s cloud. After a bit of research, I discovered there is an apparent bug in Google+. If you have Google+ friend synching enabled on your Android phone, it ends up preventing the Gmail contacts from synching to the phone.

The work-around to the problem is to turn off Google+ synching. Once I turned off Google+ data synching  in the the phone settings, the Gmail contacts instantly started synching over. I’ve got quite a large contact list since the list was originally developed in Windows and has been synched over to a number of different phones as well as OS/X, so it took a while to synch over.

I don’t need the Google+ contact list to synch over to the phone anyhow, so I will keep this Google+ app feature turned off. I had noticed even before this happened that contact updates didn’t synch properly to or from the old phone, so it is likely that the bug in the Google+ synching has been around for a while and as of this writing is not resolved.

So, if you get a new Android phone and you are having trouble getting your Gmail contacts to synch over to the new device, make sure that Google+ synching is disabled then cloud synching of your contacts should begin working just like it’s supposed to.

Angry Birds Star Wars Lands on Android, iOS, Windows Phone

Posted by Alan at 2:18 PM on November 8, 2012

Angry Birds Star Wars

Depending on what time zone you live in you may or may not have been ready to grab a copy of Angry Birds Star Wars when it blasted onto mobile platforms and computers at 11pm PST last night, complete with an online launch event.  Rovio even held a live-streaming event for those who were awake at that hour, which I suppose was morning in Finland where Rovio is based.

From that Scandinavian country the company has reached out and dominated the mobile markets on Android and iOS devices and even is available now on Windows Phone and OSX and Windows computers.

The last big release from the Finnish game studio, Bad Piggies rocketed to number one on the download charts in under three hours, making it the most successful release in history, surpassing Angry Birds Space.  At the same time, the original Angry Birds game remains in the most popular download list in the Google Play Store.

You can grab a copy now.  There are both free and paid versions.  You will find some very different birds here thanks to the Star Wars branding. The game play, while similar to Angry Birds Space, is also a bit different thanks to the George Lucas (recently purchased by Disney) influence.

My Initial Review of Lion

Posted by KL Tech Muse at 11:36 AM on July 20, 2011

LionThis is not full review of Lion, but just my initial look. I downloaded Lion as soon as it became available in the Mac App Store. I know that some of you are saying you should have waited, but when it comes to OS I like to live dangerously and try the newest thing when it becomes available. It took about 55 minutes to download, there was one glitch when it stopped downloading and said please try again, I hit resume and both the download and my heart restarted. Once it finishes downloading it then starts the install process. At this point you have to agree to the EULA and fill in your user id and password. The installation itself takes about 35 minutes, once it is done the computer restarts. Clearly this not something you want to do if you are in a hurry.

At this point click on the Assistant Icon in the Dock, you can read about gestures, at the bottom of the text it will say continue to Lion, click on that. At that point the OS will tell you if you have any applications that are not Lion compatible and move them to a special folder. I had one, TotalFinder which fortunately I don’t use. At this point Lion starts up. The first thing I did was go into Magic Trackpad in System Preferences and check what gestures were available, you can uncheck the ones you don’t want. If you use a mouse, then go to the mouse icon under system preferences. While doing this I determined that Lion makes the MagicPref app I had installed to use with [Snow Leopard](http://www.apple.com/macosx/snow leopard) unnecessary. Opening up. Apple Mail also lead to another discovery, many third-party add ons may not be ready for Lion. I have both Mailtags and Mail Act-On installed, neither of them show up in Apple Mail under Lion. Mail Act-on does have a prerelease version you can download. If you have a favorite add-on you may want to check to see if it is ready for Lion, before installing Lion. Another thing I noticed right away was in the upper right hand corner in the menu, was my user name. Now you can easily switch users, this is great if you have multiple users using the same computer. The finder window also allows you to view your files, folder and application how you want including by category. This can be quite helpful if you have a lot of applications or files and folders.

Do you need to download Lion right away, no there is no reason to be in a hurry. Is there any major reason to wait (other than application and add-on incompatibility) I say no. The final decision is up to you, do the research and make the best decision based on your circumstances. As for me I am happy I installed Lion. How about you have you installed it, what do you think. If you haven’t installed it and you are on a Mac why not?

ArtRage Painting Programs For Touchscreen Computers & iPad

Posted by tomwiles at 8:06 PM on February 12, 2011

ArtRage is a series of painting program for touchscreen computers, albeit with a twist. You can paint with actual paintbrushes! ArtRage 2 sells for $20 for Windows and Mac OS/X. ArtRage 3 Studio sells for $40 for Windows and Mac OS/X. ArtRage 3 Studio Pro, which contains additional features, sells for $80 for Windows and Mac OS/X. ArtRage is also available for the iPad.

Interview by Jeffrey Powers of Geekazine.Com.

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Adobe Audition Mac Free Beta Download

Posted by tomwiles at 9:40 AM on November 13, 2010

Making the switch to Mac OS/X a few years ago as my primary computing platform was not without its sacrifices. Among these was Adobe Audition. Sure, I could use Audition in a Windows virtual machine, but it just wasn’t the same thing and entailed its own sacrifices.

Sacrifice no more. Adobe finally heeded the call for Audition for Mac OS/X, and has released a public beta that can currently be downloaded for free available at

http://labs.adobe.com/technologies/audition/

After a cursory look at this new beta, I’m impressed. They seem to have succeeded in bringing the Adobe Audition user interface I love in Windows to OS/X. I’ll be buying the final product once it is released for sale to the public.

Android Pros and Cons

Posted by tomwiles at 3:50 PM on September 25, 2010

I’ve been using Android for a while now and feel I’ve been using it long enough to make some meaningful observations.

I like Android. It’s quick. It’s powerful. It has some astounding voice recognition capability built right in that even the iPhone can’t touch. For example, hold down the search button and when the voice search box pops up say “navigate to” and then speak either a street address, the name of a business or a business category, and watch what happens. The results are something right out of science fiction and nothing short of amazing. Try THAT with your iPhone.

In other areas, Android seems to fall rather flat. While it’s possible to create, name and populate folders, the process seems clunky and rather counter-intuitive.

How about allowing me as an end-user to rename application icons to something useful? Many apps have names that don’t bear any relationship or give any hint as to what their functionality is as an app. If I could just rename the text under the app icons it would help me out as an end user quite a bit. Either give me a direct icon name that describes functionality succinctly, or give me the ability to rename an icon myself just like I can in Windows or OS/X.

Another area that falls somewhat flat is how to discover great apps. There are a ton of apps, but it’s often difficult to find the best ones. I’m willing to spend money on apps, however I want the best bang for my buck. How can I be assured if I buy an app I’m buying the best possible one?

Broken computer or operator error?

Posted by GNC at 6:32 AM on July 18, 2009

25242_3732A friend of mine’s elderly mother experienced “car trouble”.  She backed up out of her drive accross the street and into the ditch.  Finding herself in the ditch she thought “The steering must have gone out!”  Leaving the car in the ditch she went into the house to call her son for help.  Upon his arrival she explained that something in the car had broken. So like a good son he crossed the street to inspect.  He got in turned the key and it started.  He turned the steering wheel and the wheels turned.  He put it in drive and pulled the car across the street and back into the drive.  His mother of course asked “What was wrong?”  My friend replied, “Nothing much, just a short between the seat and the steering wheel.”  True story.

The tech application?  How many customer service type calls do you field from friends and family about “broken computers” that turn out to be a short between “the seat and the keyboard”?  Here is what usually replays for about 80% of my contacts.

  1. Your computer isn’t working?  “Yes . . .yada yada yada . . . MAYBE I JUST NEED A NEW COMPUTER.”
  2. Well I don’t think it is that severe. “Well I’ve tried everything.  It’s never worked right from the beginning.”  (Two problems here is that they tried to fix it and made it worse, and the mentality that suddenly it has NEVER worked correctly.)
  3. I’m pretty sure we can get it straightened out. “I knew you could you are a computer whiz.  Why I was just telling. . . .”  (Used to give me good feelings now my eyes just roll.)
  4. Ok what happened is that you did this and this and this. “No I didn’t!  You mean that I caused this?  I hate these things.  Why don’t they make them . . . .”
  5. So click on the “X” in the upper right hand corner of that window.  “What is a window?”

So my thesis of offering computer support?  Most of the time it is a short between the seat and the steering wheel.

Four Things the Mac OS Does to Confuse a Windows User

Posted by fogview at 10:43 PM on May 31, 2009

First off I will say that I love the Mac OS and I love the Windows OS. (How about that for staying neutral?) Listeners to my Fogview Podcast know I switched to the Mac about six months ago when my main Windows XP computer died. I had an iMac that I was using for video editing and my photography work so I started using that for my daily work. I know there are a lot of Mac fan-boys out there but I’m not one of them. A computer is a computer and each type has it’s advantages and disadvantages. I enjoy using and learning about the Mac OS but I still do a lot of my work on my new Windows Vista machine.

I found that the Mac has it share of “spinning beach balls” just like Windows has it hourglass when the CPU is overloaded and can’t do one more thing. I have programs crash on the Mac just like they crash on Windows. I don’t have to worry about viruses and spyware on the Mac like I do on Windows, but I know that could change in the future.

Mac_exampleWhat I would like to mention is the four things that still confuse me as a newbie “Mac switcher.”

  1. Closing a window on the Mac doesn’t close the program.
    I can’t tell you how many times I’ve clicked the close window icon and realize later that the program is still running. Most Window programs go away when they are closed.
  2. The program menu bar is at the top of the screen instead of at the top of the window. This is related to the first item because if I close a program’s window (i.e. iTunes), I now see another program underneath it but I’m still in the program I thought I closed. If I try to access the menu for the program that I see on the screen, I will be accessing the menu for the program I thought I closed. (See the screen shot on the right for an example of what I’m talking about: iTunes menu and Aperture window)
  3. Control = Alt and Alt = Command keys
    Yes, the keys are switched, at least for how I normally think of them in Windows. For example, I press Ctrl-C to copy in Windows, and Command-C in Mac. Alt-tab to switch programs in Windows and Command-tab in Mac. (The last two are not switched, which only adds to the confusion.)
  4. Home and End act like Page Up and Page Down instead of begin/end
    If I’m typing something in Windows, the Home/End keys will move the cursor to the begin/end of the line I’m typing. On the Mac it generally shifts the content of the window up and down on the screen and doesn’t change the cursor location. (I realize that each program can use the Home/End keys as they see fit, but in the Windows world these keys always seem to work the way I expect — or at least the way I’ve come to expect of them.)

Of all the differences I mentioned, #4 is the one thing I have not been able to get use too. I’m always trying to use the Home/End keys on the Mac to move my cursor around when editing text (I admit that I make lots of typing mistakes). I try to use it when entering URLs into the browser, Google search strings, emails I’m composing, and blogs entries (like this one), and I’m always surprised at the results. I would love for a Mac user to tell me what keys will do a similar thing on the Mac.

Learning to use a Mac has been a fun thing and helps to keep my brain engaged. I picked up a great book that helped answer the question of “How do I do that on the Mac.” It’s called “Switching to the Mac, The Missing Manual” by David Pogue. I highly recommend it if you’re thinking about switching too.

I’m not a Mac expert but I will write more in the future about my experience navigating in a Mac world from a Windows map. Stay tuned.

73’s, Tom

Shame on You, Apple – Leave Psystar Alone

Posted by susabelle at 11:57 PM on July 15, 2008

*NOTE: I made a couple slight corrections to highlight the points in this article. I am not siding with Apple nor Psystar. I am siding with the consumer for wanting an Apple machine at a decent price.

Apple finally went for the Psystar Jugular as they not only filed a major lawsuit, but also want “All Open Computers Sold” recalled. Therefore if you bought a Psystar with the OSX 10.5 software on it, you would have to return it to Psystar. Good luck in getting a refund or a replacement machine.

Apple is also going for Triple the amount of damages and a permanent injunction of sales. This move could easily wipe out the small Florida based company.

I cannot believe that Apple is this selfish in the game. I cannot believe that Apple is willing to put another company under for giving consumers an alternative and maybe getting them interested in Apple computers.

It seems more and more relevant that Apple is a money grubbing company. How do you expect to get more than 20% marketshare if you deny the consumer market every time? How do you expect to beat the PC if you are not willing to make it affordable?

CNet has already noted that Apple charges almost three times as much for accessories (like Memory) for their machines then a company like Dell. Yes, you can buy a Mac Mini for $600, but what do you really get? For $600 I can get a usable Windows PC or even a good laptop. The Mac Mini has no real upgrade options (video for example), and if you want to upgrade items like memory, well get out that pocketbook. The Mac Mini doesn’t even come with a mouse or keyboard (it’s only a $5-10 addition in production cost).

The only customizable machine is the Mac Pro for $2800. For $2800, I can equip 8 people with decent PC’s. I can equip 2-4 people with high-end machines.

Maybe Psystar shouldn’t be the ones who need to be sued. Don’t get me wrong here – Psystar was wrong for selling the OS and should be penalized.But did their actions really harm Apple enough for them to go for triple the damage? NO. Not even to set an “Example”.

Say what you want about Intel and Microsoft. At least you know where those snakes are. Apple is posing as the “Friendly Snake” that is just gonna bite you in the…. well… derriere. It’s understandable they want to protect their stuff. But is this really necessary? Even if it might mean a five to ten percent Marketshare increase?

Shame on you Apple. SHAME ON YOU.