Apple releases updates to Mail and iBooks into the wild

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Date: Friday, November 8th, 2013, 08:22
Category: Apple, Google, Mac, Mavericks, Software

maverickslogoEarly on Thursday, Apple released Mail Update for Mavericks 1.0 and iBooks Update 1.0.1. iBook got the usual “security and stability improvements”, which isn’t much, but it did add a .1 to the version number. Mail, on the other hand, only inched from version 7.0 build (1816) to 7.0 build (1822). While the number treatment makes this seem like a minor patch to Mail, it will probably be a big deal to anyone who has been wrestling with Mavericks’ Mail program and their Gmail accounts.

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New service turns RSS feeds into Safari Push Notifications

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Date: Thursday, November 7th, 2013, 09:05
Category: Mac, Mavericks, Software, Websites

prontopushIf you read yesterday’s post, I wrote about Safari’s new Push Notifications in Mavericks, and promised some news about a service that helps you use this feature while all those web sites toil to get it implemented. The name of the service is ProntoPush, and what it does is pretty simple. You create an account, add the RSS feeds of the sites you want notifications from, and next thing you know it you’ll be receiving updates from those sites in Notification Center.

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Problems with BootCamp in Mavericks?

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Date: Thursday, November 7th, 2013, 08:27
Category: BootCamp, Installation, Mac, Mavericks, Software, Windows

bootcampicon500x500It appears that some people, after updating to Mavericks, are no longer able to boot from their BootCamp partition. The reports vary, some people update and don’t experience any problems, but some are finding that the entire partition has disappeared. There are a number of threads about this on Apple’s discussion pages. Here are a few:

*any misspellings are theirs, not mine

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iTunes updated to version 11.1.3

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Date: Wednesday, November 6th, 2013, 09:53
Category: App Store, Apple, iTunes, Mac, Software

blueitunes11logoNothing too exciting here. This seems to be a minor update to Apple’s signature music software. Where version 11.1.2 brought Mavericks compatibility, support for Arabic and Hebrew, and moved all your digital books into the new iBooks app, this update brings the following:

  • Resolves an issue where the equalizer may not
    work as expected and improves performance when switching views in
    large iTunes libraries.
  • This update also
    includes additional minor bug fixes.
  • Improves
    performance and stability.

You can get the update by going to Apple’s downloads page, or it should be ready and waiting for you the next time you launch the App Store app.

Mavericks Feature Highlight: Safari Push Notifications

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Date: Wednesday, November 6th, 2013, 08:38
Category: Features, Mac, Mavericks, Software, Websites

mavericks_preview_web_notificationsWe all know about Notification Center in OS X, one of the many iOS like features that has crossed over to the desktop, but what are Safari Push Notifications? While it was mentioned in the Mavericks keynote, it hasn’t received too much fanfare or attention, probably because hardly anybody is using it yet, and by “anybody” I mean web sites. If you’ve been utilizing notifications on the Mac, this new addition won’t seem too radical, but if you’re like me, it may make Notification Center more useful. (more…)

Will Apple Mail ever play nice with Gmail?

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Date: Tuesday, November 5th, 2013, 13:24
Category: Google, Mac, Mavericks, Software

Gmail-Apple-Mail-relationship-killed-by-MavericksIf you are one of the unfortunate few many that suffered problems accessing their Google mail after upgrading to Mavericks, hope may be on the horizon. According to 9to5Mac, Apple is hard at work prepping an update for Mail that will hopefully fix the Gmail issues, such as missing messages and deleted messages that keep reappearing in the Mail app’s inbox, and has asked testers of the software seed to test the following: (more…)

MailTags and MailActOn OS X 10.9 Prerelease Builds

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Date: Tuesday, November 5th, 2013, 09:57
Category: Mac, Mavericks, News, Software

MailTags iconIf you are an OS X Mail.app user, make use of Indev Software‘s awesome plug-ins MailTags or MailActOn, and have been holding off upgrading to Mavericks because these plug-ins aren’t compatible, there is good news and mildly less good news. Indev has been making the betas of both plug-ins available to the public so that Mountain Lion users can jump on the Mavericks bandwagon, and so they can get some feedback on the new plug-ins’ operability. Please note that standard beta software warnings apply, as stated on Indev’s own website.

“Use at your own risk! Keep a a backup of critical data.”

“These builds are not fully tested and may contain stability issues and other bugs. We will try to document known issues and fixes as they occur.”

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Things 2.2.3 update released

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Date: Tuesday, November 5th, 2013, 08:14
Category: App Store, Mac, Mavericks, Software

Things for MacHot on the heels of Cultured Code‘s Things 2.2.2 update comes version 2.2.3 of the popular task manager, which adds the following changes:

  • Fixed a bug with Daylight Savings Time which can cause weekly repeating tasks to show in Daily Review a day early.
  • Fixed a bug where repeating tasks created on the Mac would show up on iOS with an end date of Dec 31, 4000.

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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: Work Around Snow Leopard Installation Issues

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Date: Wednesday, September 2nd, 2009, 04:09
Category: How-To, Mac, Software

snowleopard

As nifty as Mac OS X 10.6 (“Snow Leopard”) may be, according to MacFixIt, a number of users are reporting a problem where the installer will not recognize the current boot drive as a valid destination for Snow Leopard. Instead, it will display the drive with a yellow triangle on it, indicating something is wrong with that drive. When the drive is selected, the installer claims the system cannot boot from the drive.

Over on the Apple Discussion Boards, poster “redpola” writes:

“I closed all my apps. I ran the installer. I agreed to the terms. I am asked where to install Snow Leopard. Only one disk is available – my boot disk. It has a yellow triangle on it.

Selecting the disk tells me ‘Mac OS X cannot be installed on Macintosh HD, because this disk cannot be used to start up your computer.’ Rebooting and attempting an install direct from CD yields the same results.”

The issue occurs when the Snow Leopard installer detects a small discrepancy in the partition table of the drive, and assumes booting off the drive may not be successful. The fixes involve rewriting the table without formatting the drive, but if that does not work then formatting should definitely work (provided you have a backup).

Fixes:
1. Run drive checks.

The first thing to do is run Disk Utility or, even better, run a third-party utility program to check out the drive to ensure it is functioning correctly. Fixing any errors may require booting off a volume other than the boot volume (i.e., the Snow Leopard DVD or a Drive Genius DVD), and performing the fixes from there.

2. Repartition the drive.

This problem might happen even if the drive checks out with various disk utility software. The way around this is to have Disk Utility repartition the drive, which, luckily, can be done without having to format the drive. To do this, boot from the Snow Leopard DVD and select your language. Then launch “Disk Utility” from the “Utilities” menu and perform the following steps:

Select your boot device (the device above the boot volume name), and select the “Partition” tab.

Resize the partition by selecting the volume name in the rectangular volume representation and drag the bottom-right corner of it to change its size.

Click “Apply” to change the partition’s size.

Revert the change by dragging the same resizing corner back to the bottom, and click “apply.”

After this is done, quit out of Disk Utility and try installing Snow Leopard again. Since you are booted from the Snow Leopard DVD you should be able to continue immediately without having to reboot your system.

Workarounds:
1. Format and install.

If you have a full system backup via Time Machine or a drive clone, you can format your boot drive and do a clean install of OS X. To do this, first be sure your backups are complete and accessible, and then boot off the Snow Leopard DVD (click the “Utilities” button instead of “Continue” in the Leopard installer, or reboot and hold the “C” key to boot off the CD/DVD drive). When the installer loads, select your language and then launch “Disk Utility” from the “Utilities” menu and perform the following steps:

Select your boot device (the device above the boot volume name), and select the “Partition” tab.

Select “1 partition” from the drop-down menu, and then give the partition a name and format it as “Mac OS Extended (Journaled).

Click the “options” button and select “GUID” for the partition table.

Close this window and click “Apply” to repartition the table.

Close “Disk Utility” and continue with the Snow Leopard installation.

When the installation completes, migrate your data from your backup to the new system.
In this procedure, you can migrate from either your Time Machine backup, or from a cloned drive. Keep in mind that when you do this you may need to reinstall some programs since a clean install may break some application dependency links to system files.