Category Archives: Mac OS

Connect Multiple Hard Drives To AirPort Extreme

This is pretty pretty cool, if you’re into wireless storage solutions. Get yourself an Apple AirPort Extreme Base Station, connect an active USB hub to it and you can access multiple hard drives/printers via your WiFi network. Apple isn’t exactly “promoting” this feature but it’s there (last paragraph). The attached USB drives show up in the Finder on your Mac and you can even use one for Time Machine backups. You have several access settings to fiddle with, however they don’t distinguish between the different hard drives.

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Introducing: Apple’s iCloud

With iOS 5 and the next update of Mac OS X Lion (10.7.2.) just around the corner it is time to take a look at iCloud. The free service (curtsey of Apple) keeps your different Apple devices (iPhone, iPad, Mac) synchronised over the Internet. That includes photos, music, documents, and apps among other things. You get 5GB of free storage and your purchased music, apps, books, and TV shows, as well as the photo stream (of your last 1000 pictures) don’t count against that cloud space. Only mail, documents, the camera roll, account information, settings, and other app data will fill up the 5GB (that’s not too bad, right?) If you want more storage you can buy up to 50GB for $100 per year.

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WISO Steuererklärung for Mac Users in Germany

If you are not a tax accountant you probably hate doing your tax declaration every year. If you have to declare your taxes in Germany WISO Steuer: Mac will help you getting that tedious task done. Starting from 39,95 € (yearly subscription) or 49,95 € for a single license.

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Enhance Your Scrolling Options

Scroll Reverser gives you several options to adjust the direction of scrolling in Mac OS X Lion to your personal taste. You may opt for reverse horizontal or vertical scrolling and set different scrolling behaviour for your mouse, trackpad or tablet. Scroll Reverser is free of charge and rests in the menu bar for quick access (if you want it to).

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Enable AirDrop On Unsupported Mac

So, officially you only get the benefits of easy file sharing (aka AirDrop), when you have any of the following Mac models:

MacBook Pro (Late 2008 or newer); MacBook Air (Late 2010 or newer); MacBook (Late 2008 or newer); iMac (Early 2009 or newer); Mac Mini (Mid 2010 or newer); Mac Pro (Early 2009 with AirPort Extreme card, or Mid 2010).

However there is a way around this (kind of*). Meaning you have to tinker with the Terminal first. Just type the following into the Terminal: defaults write com.apple.NetworkBrowser BrowseAllInterfaces 1 (that’s it!) Now non supported Macs will know how to “AirDrop” files *as long as the Macs are in the same network. Thanks, Mac OS X Hints! To find out which WiFi cards support AirDrop check out this web site.

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Pick A Colour With Colors

Plain and simple colour picker (and free). You may need “Colors” to pull colours from images or websites in order to “extract” that colour and its colour value –> #rrggbb; rgba; r, g, b; hex; hsl. Of course you can also put in a css colour declaration directly to see the respective colour or simlpy chose your favourite colour to find out the right colour code. Download here!

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Check Your MacBook Battery

Mac users interested in the health of their MacBook Pro battery (such as full charge capacity and cycle count) find the relevant information via the “About This Mac” menu (upper left corner) and “More Info” in the “System Report”. For even more details on your internal power supply – like the battery temperature or your current battery power usage – turn to coconutBattery!

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dupeGuru Finds Them All

Digital cameras make it easy to turn even a short holiday trip into a photo frenzy, resulting in hundreds of pictures on your hard drive. After a few years thousands of pictures and duplicates are living all over the place… On backup disks, in apps like iPhoto and other places. Well, dupeGuru is there to put an end to the mess, sorting through folders and matching EXIF data to find all the duplicates. In the end you are left with cleaned up and much smaller folders and can finally start enjoying your pics again by actually looking at them. dupeGuru is freeware and there are different version for general files or photos. It’s not the most polished interface but a great tool!

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Test Your RAM In Mac OS X

Sometimes if you experience sudden programme crashes or a kernel panic on your Mac faulty RAM is to blame. To find out get yourself a copy of Rember and do the free memory test. Also useful if you bought new RAM modules and want to check they are O.K. It’s best to quit all other applications. By the way, testing takes a while!

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Pimp Your Mac Pro To USB 3.0

Feel left out of the action of a growing number of USB 3.0 devices? HighPoint comes to the rescue and offers you the RocketU Quad USB 3.0 for Mac. The PCI-E card brings 4x USB 3.0 ports (5GB/s, type-A) to your Mac Pro. It supports up to 4 external USB HDD/SDD and handles RAID 0, 1, 5, 10 and JBOD. Of course the thing is backwards compatible with older USB devices. Unfortunately there’s no price tag yet.

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Create Folder For Multiple Files

Another helpful new feature in Mac OS X Lion is the option to create a folder for multiple files. By selecting two ore more documents the context menu offers you “New Folder with Selection.” This will create a new folder in the same location and put the chosen files right in there.

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Find Out More About Your Mac

Lion makes it much easier these days to find information and help for your specific Mac model. Go to “About This Mac” in the upper left corner of your screen (the Apple symbol) and you’ll find direct links to the user manual, specifications and hardware support. A good place to start if your want to upgrade or repair your Mac or just want to find out its noise level.

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Copy Pictures From iPhone To Mac

Copying pictures off your iPhone and onto your Mac can be a tricky process. The easiest way (though Apple is quite hush about it) is probably via the inconspicuous Image Capture. The tool lodges in your application folder. Just plug your iPhone into the Mac and open Image Capture (might take a few seconds till the iPhone appears). You can now copy selected images or all photos from the iPhone. No need to fumble with your sync settings in iTunes or iPhoto.

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Check Your Mac Storage

Not a major feature but still good to know is Lions revamped “About This Mac” info panel. You can quickly find out where all the storage on your internal drive went or how much memory (RAM) is installed. Plus there is a link to an Apple document describing how to upgrade your Mac’s memory.

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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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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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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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Open Web Links In Quick Look

Quick Look is a great tool to quickly look at pictures, Word documents, PDFs, movies and other files without opening their respective programmes. Apple’s Quick Look also supports web links in Lion. Just select a link you saved on your desktop or so with one click and press the space bar. Quick Look will now open the related website or file in a simple window. Tapping the space bar again will close the window.

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