Oct 27

The Re-birth of my 2010 iMac

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In the months that lead up to the Yosemite launch I decided that when the update finally arrived it would be time to upgrade my hard disk and then perform a clean install.

I have had my mac since 2010 and when it shipped it had Snow Leopard installed. Since then I have upgraded in the time honoured tradition of waiting hours and hours and hours for it to download, install the update (hoping nothing goes wrong) and then deal with all the software issues. Which I must admit, over the years, have been few and far between. But while this approach is convenient it does come- after a while – with a performance hit.

The alternative that follows is time consuming and a little pricey but- as you will see- is well worth it.

My iMac is four years old and while in human years it’s not ready for school, in computer terms it’s practically retirement age. As I’ve said in the past computers age like dogs. So it’s safe to say it’s getting on but it still has a decent i7 processor, 16GB of ram and plenty of storage in the form of a 1TB hard disk.

My upgrade started with the purchase of a 1TB solid state drive (SSD) that is – and there really isn’t any other way of putting this – ridiculously expensive at $699.00 (the drive I removed is worth about $170. Let’s hope my wife never reads this post!)

I prepared to install the drive but just before I did I performed a real world test. I turned off the mac and booted it up and discovered something my jangled nerves already suspected- that it took 1 min 35 seconds to boot and 4 mins and 51 seconds after that to launch Safari. Yes it’s true what they say….. a mechanics car is always the last to get serviced.

Taking out the drive was easy and once the new one was installed I installed a fresh copy of Yosemite. As expected, once the install was over, it asked me if I wanted to migrate any data which I did from my old hard disk that was, by now, waiting patiently in a caddy. It seemed blissfully unaware that it’s days were numbered.

iMac_Dual_drive_install

Once done I had to install several updates and take care of some software titles that needed replacing under the new OS but then it was done and ready for use.
My first task – of course- was to run the same boot test as before and I was delighted to find that the boot process took 10 seconds and Safari launched in 40 seconds!!!

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Now my 4 year old mac is running like a new one and has the latest operating system. This is the perfect opportunity to have a good look at Yosemite itself.

You might recall I don’t like the icons and must admit, after two days nothing has changed. Beyond that the interface remains familiar and bristling with features.

It’s true that while my Mac is now fast it is still 4 years old so none of the handoff features work chiefly because I don’t have the required version 4 of Bluetooth. But I can use sms relay (meaning I can now send and receive texts on my Mac from anyone- not just those using iMessage) and I can receive phone calls on my Mac and use it like a speaker phone.

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Spotlight has been expanded to include detailed information when you do a search.

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Mail has also had a face lift with very handy ‘markup features’ so you can edit or annotate files right inside Mail or add a signature to a PDF before sending the email.

There is now iCloud Drive that keeps all your Pages, Numbers, Keynote documents in sync between your mac and your iOS device or your Windows PC. Plus, for the first time (and long over due) you can now store any kind of file in iCloud Drive so it’s more akin to Dropbox or One Drive.

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You don’t have to install an SSD into your computer to get the most out of Yosemite – but it helps.
Alone the new interface will squeeze more speed out of your Mac (provided you have more than 4GB of ram in my opinion) and unlike Windows 8 you won’t be spending all your time trying to figure out where anything is or how it works. Instead it will be like a room that has been renovated by one of those house shows on TV. You will instantly know how to get into the house and you’ll recognise the living-room…. you just might not be fully sold on the choice of fabric covering your favourite lounge chair.

Permanent link to this article: http://macservicesact.com.au/the-re-birth-of-my-2010-imac/

Oct 19

Yosemite – Yes or No?

Apples-OS-X-Yosemite

If you are running Mavericks and with Apple supporting hardware all the way back to 2007, it’s really not a question of if can you upgrade to Yosemite but rather would you want too?

About now I bet you are wondering why I would even question an Apple upgrade. Surely its faster? Surely its zippier? Surely there are new and exciting features just bursting to get out?

Yosemite is faster and it is zippier – thats all true. But what is also true is that many of the really cool features like Handoff and instant Hotspot will only work if you have – pretty much –  the latest of everything Apple. Your Mac cannot be older than 2012 and your iPhone has to be iPhone 5 or better. But that’s not what worries me because if you want those features then its probably time to upgrade anyway, no my issue is purely cosmetic.

I have to be honest and say thats it is not a cosmetic issue that is going to stop me from upgrading because I can get around it with some fiddling and a few choice applications. But just before you start that download I would like you to be aware of two aspects of the new update that might make you gag once the upgrade has finished and you see your new Finder for the first time.

THE ICONS

I said a few months back that the new icons were breath-takingly, overwhelmingly, stupendously ugly. I felt that the new Mail icon was misshapen, the Finder icon clownish and the System Preferences icon – for one – seemed out of step with the design and looked unfinished. I ended the article with a hope that these were ‘place holders’ until the final release. I also remarked that deep down I suspected this hope was actually hopeless. Sadly I was right.

No one else seems to be commenting on these so  maybe it’s  just me but I think it’s worth looking at these and making your own mind up before it is too late. But one set of icons that a lot of people are raging about seems to be the folder icons. And yes, for the record, I think these are ugly as well.

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OLD FOLDER ICONS

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NEW FOLDER ICONS

 

DOCK

The dock has changed as well to something more like what it used to look like in 2000. Gone is the 3D, glass shelf look, for a flatter ribbon shape. Its not something that bothers me all that much but it can be a bit of a shock when you first see it.

This image, from Reddit, probably illustrates this point (and the icons I mentioned earlier as well) the best.

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Yosemite is definitely a faster OS and, if you have the latest stuff, has some great features that will close more of the gap between your Mac and your iOS devices better than ever before. Just be ready for the new look.

Now, I am off to look for a set of icon replacements.

Permanent link to this article: http://macservicesact.com.au/yosemite-yes-or-no/

Sep 30

Shellshock- are you at risk.

bash_shellshockAbout a week ago a security flaw was discovered the Unix operating system. This immediately began sounding alarm bells around the world because the Unix operating system is imbedded in a lot of technology these days- including your Macintosh.

Despite the fact that this security issue is widespread and potentially disastrous –  in realistic terms there is little or no chance that your Mac will be exploited using this technique. Nevertheless Apple (moving a little slower than others if I’m honest) released a security update to plug the hole that has been there – by the way – for decades.

You will need to download the correct update depending on which version of the operating system you are running (Lion, Mountain Lion, Mavericks, and so on)

If you are unsure what your operating system is go to the Apple menu and choose About this Mac.

10.7.x is Lion, 10.8.x is Mountain Lion and 10.9.x is Mavericks.

All of the updates can be located here.

The process is very quick and does not require a reboot but if you receive a regular health check from us this will be done as part of your next session.

Permanent link to this article: http://macservicesact.com.au/shellshock-are-you-at-risk/

Sep 29

Have the Mac read your files to avoid mistakes

DSCN6870Eye don’t know about you but I suffer from word blindness. In case you don’t know what that is, it is a condition where you write something down and no matter how many times you look at it, read it (even out loud) it looks OK to you. This is because you KNOW what you MEANT to write so your mind fills in the blanks…. or is blinded to the mistake.

One method to avoid this is to have your Mac read your emails or fiels before your send them or give them to others and this is how its done.

1. Click and drag all or a portion of the text.

2. Right mouse click and choose Speech and then Start Speaking.

3. The Mac will start reading the text and if you hear something off, simply right mouse click again and choose Speech and then Stop Speaking. Correct the mistake and then start again.

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If its a long email or file it might be a good idea to do this in chunks because once the talking starts it will go on – relentlessly – until the end and you might very well become a little deaf to the errors…as well as blind.

 

Oh, and the errors were on purpose. Just me being silly. :-)

 

Permanent link to this article: http://macservicesact.com.au/have-the-mac-read-your-files-to-avoid-mistakes/

Sep 29

Seldom used features part 6

question_makrs_cutie_mark_by_rildraw-d4byewlHere are two features of the MacOSX I bet you don’t use because, well, because they are not often spoken about and, unless you watch Apple keynotes at 3am in the morning, Apple has never advertised.

Imagine you have a dozen or so files that you want to put into a folder. In years gone by you had to create the folder, give it a name and then drag the files to the freshly minted folder.
Not any longer.
In Mavericks you simply select the files you want, right mouse click and choose New Folder with Selection and the folder is automatically created and the files inserted.

See a demonstration

The other quick and dirty feature involves sharing. Admittedly this is a little more skewed towards people with Twitter or Facebook accounts but it works just as well if you want to share something via email.

If you have a document or picture you want to email to someone, simply right mouse click on the file(s) and choose Share and then Email.

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Of course if you wanted to Tweet or post the file on Facebook you could choose one of those instead.

The same action can be found in most Mavericks applications but the one most likely to be used is found in Safari.

Imagine you are surfing the web and you find an article or a page that just must be shared!!!

In the menubar of the browser is an icon that looks something like a box with an arrow coming out of it. By clicking on this icon you are presented with the , now very familiar, sharing options of email, Facebook and so on.

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If you choose Twitter or Facebook from the list the page is neatly clipped to a little note – that you can add your own thoughts to – and then it is quickly posted. (or tweeted depending on your chosen social media obsession)

 

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Happy organising. Oh, and happy sharing.

Permanent link to this article: http://macservicesact.com.au/seldom-used-features-part-6/

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