How-To: Combine a Retina Display MacBook Pro with an external monitor to see all possible resolutions

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Date: Tuesday, September 25th, 2012, 07:29
Category: How-To, MacBook Pro, News

Ok, this is interesting.

Jim Tanous over at the mighty Mac Observer has just penned a how-to guide as to how to see all possible resolutions for your Retina Display MacBook Pro on an external monitor with a little tinkering and the option key.

Head over here to take a gander and as nifty as the Retina Display MacBook Pro is, you should be able to see all possible resolutions sans said external monitor.

How-To: Remote lock, remote wipe and restore data to a Mac via iCloud

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Date: Tuesday, August 14th, 2012, 06:11
Category: How-To, iCloud, News

You might want to take a gander at this.

Following last week’s news that Wired journalist Mat Honan had his Mac remotely wiped as part of a devastating attack by hackers, a lot of interest has been focused on how to both remotely wipe your Mac’s data via iCloud as well as restore your data via iCloud.

Jim Tanous has stepped up to the plate over at the Mac Observer and offered a useful step by step guide as to how to remote lock, remote wipe and restore data to your Mac as well as recover data from a damaged hard drive.

Take a look, see what you think and be careful out there.

How-To: Run Adobe Flash Player Content on an Adobe-Free Mac

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Date: Wednesday, January 25th, 2012, 08:00
Category: How-To, Software

You either love or hate Adobe Flash Player.

It’s there, it’s useful, but it can also act like a screaming, colicky infant and be more trouble than it’s worth.

Albeit it DOES allow you to watch hilarious cat videos on YouTube, so who are you to argue?

Even so, for those who ever wondered how they could get all the benefits of Flash Player content without having to have Flash Player itself installed on their Mac, one of the Mac Geek Gab podcast listeners contributed an outstanding how-to piece over to the cool cats at the Mac Observer.

Take a gander, see what you think and until HTML5 becomes the de facto standard, this might restore just a tiny bit of your sanity in the process.

How-To: Troubleshoot keyboard backlighting on a MacBook Pro

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Date: Monday, January 23rd, 2012, 08:07
Category: How-To, MacBook Pro

You like your MacBook Pro.

And if you paid extra for it, you’re probably pretty fond of your MacBook Pro’s backlit keyboard.

So when it goes south/doesn’t light up, there’s some room for consternation.

To this end, the cool cats over at MacFixIt have assembled a useful list of steps to take if your backlight fails at any point in time. Click the link, take a gander and with any luck, your darkened living room will soon be illuminated by that keyboard glow once again.

How-To: Repair dropped Wi-Fi connections in Mac OS X

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Date: Thursday, December 1st, 2011, 11:04
Category: How-To, wireless

You’ve gotten used to your Wi-Fi signal.

You rely on it.

You sometimes ponder writing a love note to your wireless router if it’s been reliable this month.

And still, there are times where your Wi-Fi signal breaks down and goes through the floor. Fear not, for the mighty Topher Kessler has written a killer guide to repairing Wi-Fi signal problems both via the Mac OS X end as well as the router end over on CNET.

And you should take a gander.

How To Make Your Own Lion Boot Drive

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Date: Friday, August 19th, 2011, 14:54
Category: Apple, Hacks, How-To, Installation, Lion, Mac, Retail Store, Software, Tutorial

Apple has finally released its $69.99 Lion (OS X 10.7) flash drive, but is it really worth $40 on top of the cost of the Lion upgrade? Well, yes and no. If you need to perform a clean install, perhaps due to a faulty system, or if you are an IT professional, it is essential to be able to do a clean install of Lion from some kind of external disk. If you are not particularly tech savvy, the Apple flash drive provides you with a no-worry solution, but at a premium. However, if you are willing to follow a few simple steps, you can create your own Lion flash boot drive. To start, you will need two things, an empty 4 GB flash drive (8 GB is recommended if you want to add utilities) and the Lion update download package from the Mac App Store. It is important that you create your boot drive BEFORE you run the updater, or make a backup of it on another drive. Once you run it, the updater will delete itself from your hard drive. The process involves opening the installer package and digging into the guts to find the appropriate files to copy to the flash drive so you can boot from it. You can find complete instructions on the SubRosaSoft blog here. If possible, try to get a flash drive with a fast read time. Any flash drive should be faster than a DVD, but the faster the drive, the less time it takes to boot into the installer. Personally, I choose the Patriot Xporter XT Rage 8 GB high-speed flash drive, which is rated at 27 MB/s read time, but is reported to achieve higher practical speeds. It is currently on Amazon for $16.99, a savings of $23 compared to Apple’s.

A second, easier, option has been provided by Guillaume Gète, a programmer in Paris, who has created an app called Lion DiskMaker. Lion DiskMaker is a small application programmed with AppleScript that you can use with Mac OS X 10.6 or 10.7 to burn a DVD or build a bootable USB key from Mac OS X Lion’s Installation program. As soon as you launch the application, it checks the presence of Mac OS X Lion Installer in your Mac’s Applications folder, or tries to find one using Spotlight. Then, it offers options to build a DVD or create bootable install disk. USB and FireWire drives are supported, as well as SD-Cards. You can download the program from Guillaume’s web site here. The program is free, but if you find it useful, you can make a donation (which I recommend). I gave it a try and it works great!

I feel much better knowing I have a separate installer, especially since I have done upgrades on my current Mac from 10.4 to 10.5 and finally to 10.6. It is probably about time for me to do a clean install to shake out any possible software quirks. By the way, if you are nervous about whether your current software will play nice with Lion, check out the web site RoaringApps.com which has an ongoing list of software and its compatibility with Lion.

How-To: Successfully sync multiple calendars in iCal

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Date: Wednesday, December 22nd, 2010, 06:48
Category: How-To, News, Software

If there’s anything that’ll send you screaming over the hills per your Mac, it’s the synchronization of multiple iCal calendars for different computers and mobile devices. Fortunately, the cool cats at CNET have posted the following guide as to how to deal with syncing problems and how to work around this:

“Log out of MobileMe:
Go to the MobileMe system preferences and click the “Sign Out” button on all Macs you sync with. Doing this will ensure that nothing gets synced when you clear or alter your calendars.

Clear out iCal:
Go to all but one device (the one you will use as a master device) and remove all calendars from them. Make sure they are completely empty, then set them aside.

Set up master calendar:
On the “Master” device, remove all duplicate calendars and clean up iCal as best you can, until you have it the way you want it.

Back up the system (Time Machine) once iCal looks the way you want it:
With the calendars set up, be sure to back up your system using Time Machine, so the current calendar configuration is saved in a restorable state.

Export all calendars individually and save them as .ics files in a safe location:
Now that the calendars are backed up, export them from iCal on the master device as .ics files in a safe location. This will save all events and reminders as you like them in a way that they can be easily imported again.

Clear iCal of all calendars:
With the calendars exported, remove the calendars on your master device so it is now empty. This will allow you to start from scratch when syncing to multiple devices, having cleared any hidden metadata and other items that the calendars may use.

Enable MobileMe and reset sync data for calendars, copying from the computer to MobileMe:
Be sure to sync from your computer to MobileMe and not the other way around.

With the master calendar empty, re-enable MobileMe on the master device and then go to the “Advanced” section of the MobileMe system preferences and click the “Reset Sync Data…” button. Select “Calendars” and click the right arrow to move data from the Mac to the MobileMe “Cloud.”

Sync all devices to remove calendars on them, and ensure all calendar data on all synced devices is removed

With the cloud now reset with blank calendar data, re-enable MobileMe and syncing on all of your devices and synchronize to them. This should result in a blank calendar for all devices. If not, then remove any residual calendars and events that pop up, and sync again so all of your devices are blank.

Restore saved calendars to iCal, and check to make sure they are all intact and working.

Now go to your master device and import all your saved .ics calendar files to iCal. This should restore all of your calendars one-by-one to the master device. At this point, you can either manually sync to MobileMe or wait for the system to automatically sync, and the calendars on all of your synced devices should repopulate.”

If you’ve tried this, let us know how it worked for you.

And if you have any tips of your own on this, let us know what they are in the comments.

How-To: deactivate Network Services to improve iOS device battery life

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Date: Thursday, July 8th, 2010, 04:31
Category: How-To, iPad, iPhone, iPod, News

Although the iOS 4 software update has been lauded as improving battery life for most users, some are finding the improvements lacking. Per the Apple Toolbox Blog, one source of this may be overuse of the Location Services feature which can accompany checking Push notifications, and having many open Safari windows open.

It now appears that overactive location services usage can result in poor battery life. Specifically, apps that use location services in the background can quickly drain the battery.

The post offers the following steps for resolving this and hopefully upping your iOS device’s battery life:

“To check location services usage on an app-by-app basis, navigate to Settings > General > Location Services.

Turn location services off for all applications, then turn them back on for desired apps one by one or in groups. Via this procedure, you can identify which app’s use of location services is draining battery.

Alternatively, you can temporarily turn off location services altogether and check for increased battery life.”

How-To: Work around Mail program errors in Mac OS X 10.6.4

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Date: Friday, June 25th, 2010, 03:50
Category: How-To, News, Software

snowleopard

Following the update to Mac OS X 10.6.4, a number of users are experiencing an error where Apple’s Mail email client will not open. Per CNET, when the application is launched, a message stating “Mail version 4.3 (1081/1078) cannot be used on Mac OS X Version 10.6.4” is displayed and the program shuts down.

The version of Mail that is included with OS X 10.6.4 is 4.3 or build 1081, which can be found by right-clicking the Mail application, choosing “Show Package Contents”, opening the /Contents/version.plist file, and checking the version string. Apple purposefully prevents some builds of Applications from running on different versions of OS X, and this type of error will be presented if you try to do so.

One reason this may happen if the OS X update did not complete properly and the system detects the version of Mail as being the older one. The following are a few approaches you can try to fix the problem:

“Reapply the combo updater:
If this problem happens to you, the first thing to try is to reinstall the OS X 10.6.4 update using the “Combo” updater. Download the updater, boot into Safe Mode by restarting and holding the Shift key at bootup, and then run the installer. As an extra safeguard, you can run general maintenance routines beforehand to ensure permissions and caches are in order.

The OS X 10.6.4 Combo updater can be found here: http://support.apple.com/kb/DL1048

Downgrade Mail and then reapply the combo updater:
Since the Combo updater may not have a full version of Mail included, and instead may only have updated components for Mail, you can try putting a previous version of Mail on the system and then running the combo updater to update it to the latest version. Older versions of Mail can be found in the following locations:

A Time Machine backup:
On the Snow Leopard installation DVD (use Pacifist to extract it)
From another computer running OS X 10.6.3 or earlier

Copy from another system:
Lastly, if you have access to another system that has a properly functioning version of Mail, you can copy the program from that computer to your OS X 10.6.4 installation. You can use a USB flash drive or copy the program over the network and replace the one on your system, but after doing so be sure to run a permissions fix on the boot drive.

Archive and Install:
As a last resort, if the update did not work you can either restore your whole system to a previous version by using Time Machine and then upgrading again with the “Combo” updater, or you can use the OS X 10.6 installation DVD to reinstall OS X. By default the installer will run an “Archive and Install” method, which will replace your system components and Apple-supplied applications with those that are on the DVD. From here, immediately update the system again using the “Combo” updater.”

If you’ve seen this issue on your end and have any fixes or workarounds of your own, let us know.

How-To: Work around Safari 5.0 launch crashes

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Date: Wednesday, June 9th, 2010, 05:39
Category: How-To, News

safarilogo.jpg

Since installing Safari 5.0 on Monday, my Macs have yet to catch fire and the basset hound has yet to start waltzing across the living room carpet with my cat.

This may not be the case for everyone.

Per CNET, after installing version 5.0 of the Safari browser, a few users are reporting the program crashes whenever they try to open it. Even after trying some general troubleshooting steps the browser still crashes, which could mean something small has been overlooked, but also could mean there was a problem with the installation.

The cool cats over there have offered the following advice:

“To start the troubleshooting, first determine if the problem is account-specific by either going to another existing account, but also by creating a fresh user account to try. Even if other existing accounts have similar problems, using a fresh one will ensure no modifications have been made.

If the problem only happens in one or a few accounts, then it is likely the problem is because of a faulty setting or plug-in that resides in the local account. As a first step, try removing Safari’s preferences, which are located in the /username/Library/Utilities/ folder and are called “com.apple.Safari.plist.” Remove that file from its folder and try relaunching Safari.

You might also try clearing your Web caches, which can be done with Safari using the “Reset Safari” feature if you manage to get it open; however, if not then you can use a cache cleaning program like OnyX or Snow Leopard Cache Cleaner to remove the browser caches.

If this does not clear the problem, next try launching Safari without plugins enabled. To do this, go to the Safari preference file mentioned above and open it with a text editor. Locate the “WebKitPluginsEnabled” key and change it from “true” to “false” so it looks like the following:
WebKitPluginsEnabled

This should prevent Safari from loading plugins, so save the file and relaunch Safari to test it out. This setting can be set in the “Security” section of the Safari preferences; however, if the program will not launch then this is an alternative way to disable the plugins.

While disabling the plugins should keep Safari launching in a bare state, you can also try removing plugins manually. These are located in the following folders, so move all of them from these folders to another location and try relaunching the program.

/Library/Internet Plug-Ins/
/username/Library/Internet Plug-Ins/

If the program launches after doing this, then test each plugin (or small groups of plugins) by moving them back one by one and relaunching the browser each time.

Lastly, with plugins removed from the global library, try booting into Safe Mode and launching Safari from a fresh user account. If this still does not work, then download and reinstall Safari again, especially if you used Software Update to apply the previous update. A faulty installation can sometimes be remedied by reinstalling the program without using updaters (similar to reapplying a system “Combo” updater when OS updates cause bizarre problems. Before doing this you might consider running general maintenance procedures on your system and install it when booted into Safe Mode to ensure minimal interference from other system processes.”

If you’ve seen this issue on your end or have found a fix or workaround of your own, please let us know.