Jan 16

Adding and Removing applications on a Mac

When it comes to adding and removing applications on a Mac you might feel like something is missing. If you are a switcher from the darkside – err – Windows, you might be left wondering why Windows guides you through the removal process and the Mac doesn’t.

Is it a design flaw? Are Apple techs lazy? The answer, to both questions, is a resounding “No”


Lets start with the Removing of Applications.


A typical Windows application – as it is installing – inserts hundreds of tiny essential  little files all over the system. To track down and remove these files when you want rid of that application would be a long and complicated process. And,  considering some of these files are possibly being shared with other applications, it could be a disastrous process as well.

As a tech friend told me over 20 years ago – “Windows is a dirty little interface and you have to clean up after it.”

This is why – in a nutshell – an uninstaller program is a good idea on Windows.

Applications on the Mac are designed differently and tend to be self contained and this is why, as you will see later on, why some applications can be just dragged to the Applications folder rather than installed in the traditional sense.

Everything  important is in one place so when you want rid of that application you simply trash it.

But there is a ‘but’. Isn’t there always?

These self contained applications do create little files of their own but they don’t really take much space and they don’t interfere with anything else so you could just ignore them. But maybe you WANT rid of them.

Maybe – like me – you are a little anal about these things? Well help is at hand…..

AppZapper costs $12.95 and is worth every cent. It can be downloaded from their website and comes with a trial period of 5 removals.

It gives you the option to remove applications by simply dragging them to a special window.

Or if you’d prefer you can browse through everything you have installed and remove it that way.

Either way its simple, elegant and each application is removed with a satisfying “piown” sound.
Now, what about installing applications?

Well the Mac falls into two categories here.

There is the traditional Installer and they often come hand in hand with a removal program. Doing a spotlight search for “uninstaller” will often reveal them.

Some applications, like Firefox and Skype, want you to drag the applications to the Applications folder and can be removed by simply being dragged to the trash.

Mind you there are a number of people who get this wrong so here is the correct procedure for installing those kinds of applications.

Typically when you download an application like Firefox or skype it automatically loads a disk image like this:

From here a lot of people double click on the icon (in this case Firefox) and run it from there. A better way is to drag the icon to the Applications folder and then trash the disk image.

So there you have it in a nutshell. Use the install method recommended and remove the application by dragging them to trash or, if you’d prefer – using something like AppZapper.

Permanent link to this article: http://macservicesact.com.au/adding-and-removing-applications-on-a-mac/

Dec 19

Tethering your iPhone (death to the dongle)

I see them in offices, homes and airport lounges.

They hang on like little plastic leeches sucking the style and sophistication out of anything they happen to be plugged into.  I am of course, referring to USB dongle modems.

Thankfully there is a better way, a sexier more sophisticated way- provided you have a smart phone.

Most smart phones offer wireless hotspots or tethering but for the purposes of this article I am going to assume that you haven’t got an Android phone thus giving your credit card details to the Russian Mafia via some dodgy App downloaded from their wild west show of an App store.

But I digress!

Firstly make sure you have the essential ingredients, namely an iPhone 3GS or better and you have spoken with your  mobile phone carrier about using your phone as a modem. Both Telstra and Optus need to change your account (and charge you a little extra- of course). Only Vodafone offer tethering for free and it is turned on by default but considering they have no coverage this really helps no one.

After this is all said and done all you need do is the following:


Open your iPhone….

1. Tap on Settings.

2. Tap on General and then Network.

3. Near the bottom of the page you’ll see Set up Personal Hotspot

If you have already spoken with your provider then you will be prompted to turn the hotspot on. If not, you’ll be prompted to set it up.

Once it’s turn on- depending on the vintage of your phone, you can either use Bluetooth to connect, a USB cable or- my favourite- your iPhone will appear as a wireless network that you simply connect you from your computer or iPad.

Either way it’s simple.

You know you are using your phone as a modem because a blue banner appears at the top of the screen while it’s eating through your data plan.

When you are finished simply turn off the hotspot or disconnect from the wireless network created by your phone.

Simple, elegant and technically awesome. Nothing like sitting with a laptop on your knee with a hideous growth jutting from it USB port.

Permanent link to this article: http://macservicesact.com.au/tethering-your-iphone-death-to-the-dongle/

Nov 27

Siri and her commands

Without putting it over dramatically Siri is a giant leap forward in AI. Many people think its just voice dictation and if that were true it wouldn’t be worth me mentioning it. Android and Windows Phone 7 (WP7) has had this built into the phone for ages now and google search has been available as an app on the iPhone for at least a year.

No Siri is more, much More.

There are claims that WP7 has had similar features for a year or so; namely TellMe but this side by side test proves that while WP7 might have it built in its flaky and almost useless.

In much the same way email and browsers were in smart phones in 2004 but were so pathetic no one even bothered to use them.

Siri does actually use natural commands and considering this is just beta the future looks very bright.

Because it uses natural speech it almost impossible to each exactly how to make it work.

Here is a sample of just some of them…

Set up a meeting at 9am

Creates a calendar entry at 9.00am

Set up a meeting with Karyn at 12pm

Creates a calendar entry called “Karyn” at 12.00pm

Set up a meeting about bill payments next Wednesday at 4.30pm

Create a calendar entry called “Bill Payments” at 4.30pm the coming Wednesday.

Cancel my meeting with Karyn

Deletes the scheduled meeting with Karyn

Move my meeting with Karyn from 4.30pm to 6.00pm on Fri- day

Moves the meeting to Friday at 6.00pm

What does the rest of my day look like?

This will list all your meetings for that day

(Siri will assume that all day events are also included in this list)

What is my next appointment

Will read out your next scheduled appointment


Have fun and remember this is beta so vast improvements are on the way.

Permanent link to this article: http://macservicesact.com.au/siri-and-her-commands/

Oct 10

Steve Jobs Dead at 56

I simply do not have the words to describe how I feel about Steve Jobs’ death.

However, this article by Michael Rose comes very close.

Again, farewell Mr Jobs.

Permanent link to this article: http://macservicesact.com.au/steve-jobs-dead-at-56/

Aug 27

If you have installed Lion you really need to do this

If you have installed Lion you really need to create a recovery disk on another hard disk or USB key.

Although this takes me back to the dodgy days of Windows 98 creating an emergency floppy disk, its a worthwhile thing to and – fortunately – very easy.

First step will be to go to the shops and buy a 4GB USB key.

Its OK, I will wait…..




Welcome back!


1.Insert your USB key.

2.Go to Apples support website and download the Lion Recovery assistant

3.Once downloaded simply run the installer and follow the onscreen instructions.

4.Be sure to install the assistant on your USB key.

Thats it! Honest!

All you need do now is put that in a safe place and keep enjoying Lion.

Permanent link to this article: http://macservicesact.com.au/if-you-have-installed-lion-you-really-need-to-do-this/