Monthly Archives: August 2011

Apple Manuals & Tech Specs

There is a ton of information available on Apple’s websites. The problem is to find the right document or hint when you need it. Three places to start digging are: Apple’s manuals for their hardware, the official site for technical information or the Apple how-to video section. You may also want to check out iFixit if you need to upgrade or repair your Mac.

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MacBook Pro 2011 Power Consumption

In case you’re interested in some unofficial numbers regarding the power consumption of the new MacBook Pro 2011: Average use load ~25 Watts; Full load ~85 Watts; Standby ~1.9 Watts; Power adapter only ~0.0 Watts. Not bad, right? It’s the powerful Intel Core i7 Quad Core (2.2 GHz) we are talking about after all. Want to know about the noise of the MBP – check out Apple’s relevant numbers over here (sound power level and sound pressure level).

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Save Web Sites As PDFs On Your iPhone

Print to PDF, designed for the iPhone and iPad, is very handy tool when you want to save a web page for later or to read an article offline.  Just open the site in Safari and tap the arrow at the bottom to bring up the menu options. Tap “Print” and choose “Print to PDF” as your printer. The app now saves the site and you can access it in Print to PDF. You can do the same with e-mails by the way (saves the whole conversation). Doesn’t work perfectly with all sites, but still a great archiving and offline utility. ($3.99)

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Super Easy File Exchange

This is a neat new feature in Mac OS X Lion: Activate AirDrop in the sidebar (by selecting it) on two or more Macs and they will automatically establish a wireless connection between each other. You can then send files from one Mac to the other by dragging a picture or document or video to the appropriate user icon. No need to join the same WiFi, activate file sharing or worry about passwords. AirDrop does it for you!

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Discover The Berlin Wall

Travel along the Berlin Wall with this great app. The free guide helps you to discover the history and development of a political and physical construction, that divided Berlin for 28 years during the cold war. Original photos, short descriptions and Google Maps take you on a virtual guided tour to places like the famous Checkpoint Charlie (or a real tour if you are in Berlin). The app is free.

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Customise Mail’s E-Mail Alert

Just in case you’re the customising type, Apple Mail lets you choose your own “New message sound” in Mac OS X Lion. It is done via Mail Preferences –> General and New message sound. At the bottom you will find the option Add/Remove where you can select your favourite tunes and sound bites to play each time a new e-mail has arrived. Nice touch, Apple.

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Mac OS X Keyboard Shortcuts


Startup keyboard shortcuts, Finder keyboard shortcuts, application and other Mac OS X keyboard commands – the easiest way to often do things on your Mac is via shortcuts. Apple lists many Mac OS X shortcuts on a dedicated site. Particularly useful are the startup key combinations when you’re Mac is behaving strangely.

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Quickly Encode Audio To .M4A

This is a quick way (in Lion) to convert standard audio files (MP3, WAV, AIFF and others) to MPEG (.m4a). Select one or several audio files in the Finder and do a right-click. Almost at the bottom of the context menu you’ll find “Encode Selected Audio Files”. The next window will present several encoding options such as High-Quality (128 kbps) and iTunes Plus (256 kbps). Nice and easy!

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Lion Recovery Options

Apple provides several layers of security when it comes to your Lion installation. 1. There is a hidden partition on your hard drive if things go wrong (press Command-R during startup to access it). 2. Internet Recovery: This feature downloads Lion from an Apple server if the hard drive fails and there is no previous Lion installation available. 3. Create your own Recovery USB drive with Apple’s Lion Recovery Disk Assistant. 4. Restore from Time Machine Backup (if you have one). You can also create your own Lion restore solution, which doesn’t need Internet access.

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Change Lion’s Ugly iCal Look

If you find the new leather look of Lion’s iCal disturbing, to say the least, here is a simple solution. Head over to this friendly blog and download the necessary files to treat iCal to a more subtle (simple grey) user interface. The custom resource files are free so you only have to replace the original ones with a few clicks. Just in case – do a backup first!

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How To Re-Download Lion

In case you trashed your Lion install image already and now want to create a bootable Lion disc or USB stick, you can easily download Lion again. Hop over to the Apple App Store and before clicking on “Purchased” press the alt-key (option-key). You now have the option to re-download and reinstall Mac OS X Lion. And create your own bootable Lion backup.

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Finder View Settings In Lion

The new Lion Finder doesn’t show you file and folder sizes any more (or the number of files in a folder) by default. Also the file path is gone as is the slider to adjust the icon size in Finder’s icon view. Don’t worry you can bring it all back! Select the Finder and click on “View” in the top menu bar. There you’ll find “Show Path Bar” and “Show Status Bar”. Select the two and you’re up and running!

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Sign PDF Files In Lion

With Lion you also get a new feature called “Signature Capture”. This means you can sign PDF files by using the build in webcam of your Mac to take a picture of your signature. It’s fairly easy: Take a thick pen (a standard ballpoint pen might be a bit thin) and write your signature on a piece of paper. Open a PDF file in Preview and click on the symbol which looks like a pen to show the “Annotations Toolbar”. Here you will find the signature tool and may choose something like “Create Signature from FaceTime HD camera.” Now hold the paper straight in front of the cam and the tool will capture your signature, mirror it and add it to your PDF document. You can keep that signature for further use. Pretty cool and useful, huh!

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