Five Awesome, Useless MacBook Tricks

MacBooks are well-known for doing awesome, useful things--they don't (usually) get viruses, the battery life is great, and the user interface is simple.

What they didn't tell you is that your MacBook can do a lot of awesome useless things. Take a moment and indulge in the (mostly) unnecessary features available!

Sly's Website of the Week - June 8th, 2011

Not sure if I'll be on tonight's show as it's Game 4 of a very high-spirited (to say the least) Stanley Cup Final between my Canucks and the Boston Bruins. But I wanted to post the website of the week because it's too damn cute/funny not to.

Ever get confused playing the "Shell Game". Maybe you should take lessons from this cat.

Yes, I said cat:

Enjoy!
~Sly

How Apple can make Money from Higher Quality Songs

Whenever Apple introduces a new mobile device, I go through an anxious ritual: trying to decide how much memory I need in the device.

For example, the last time I bought a new iPhone, I stood in the store for what felt like an hour weighing the pros and cons of spending an extra $100 for the 32-gigabyte version. In the end, I decided to buy the less expensive 16-gigabyte option. My reasoning: I’ll only add the songs and videos I need to the phone at that time, and swap them out when my device fills up later.

Now that Apple announced its music software offering on Monday, iTunes Match, it’s likely that the memory decision will be made for me. And that subtle incentive for me to add memory will help Apple is some small way to make more money.

Archives for June 8th, 2011

This week's show "Lion, iOS 5 and iCloud - All Your Questions Answered!"

Lion, iOS 5 and iCloud - All Your Questions Answered!

This week on Your Mac Life, sponsored by TabGrip, Smile, Circus Ponies and PowerMax: "Lion, iOS 5 and iCloud - All Your Questions Answered!"

Live Video is on Your Mac Life thanks to MacOSG.com and available on your desktop, iPhone and iPad! You can watch the show live from anywhere at this URL:
http://yml.macosg.com

Or you can listen in to the plain old audio feed at:
http://www.ustream.tv/channel/yml-audio-only

You can also join the Chat Room that runs during the live show - on the Live Video Feed itself or on the dedicated IRC Server at irc.chat-solutions.org in the #yourmaclife Channel.

Make sure you listen in this and every Wednesday evening from 5:30pm to 8pm PT or from 8:30pm to 11pm ET, for the most fun you'll have listening to your Mac.

On Cloud Nine

On Monday Seve Jobs and a host of Apple exec u tives deliv ered the highly antic i pated keynote address to the 2011 Apple Worldwide Developer Conference. There are plenty of recaps of the annunce ments avail able and I have no inter est in run ning though the bul­let points here. If, by some mir a cle you’re unaware of what was announced, this slideshow from Macworld should fill you in.

What I want to com ment on specif i cally is the iCloud announce ment. I believe that, despite the stu pid name, iCloud will prove to be as ground break ing as any thing else announced at the Keynote. I also sus pect that iCloud will ulti mately be one of the most impor tant announce ments that Apple has ever made.

How to Burn a Lion Boot Disc

In my last post I walked you through the process of installing Lion on a bootable external hard drive and using that hard drive to install subsequent Lion installations. I thought that in the absence of Apple installation media using a full Lion installation on and external drive would be the easiest way to perform a clean install. I was wrong. Apple's official Lion Installation Media was under my nose the entire time, and I am going to show you how to get it.

MobileMe is dead. Long live iCloud

iCloud.png

Like a Hollywood movie studio trying to bring back an ailing superhero franchise, Apple today killed off one of its products by resurrecting it with something else that promises to fix many of the original's shortcomings. At the same time the company acknowledged that MobileMe has been a dud. Can iCloud put the bad memories of MobileMe in the past? Apple sure hopes so.

iCloud, in case you missed it, is Apple's new cloud sync service. It succeeds MobileMe, the $99 a year service Apple introduced three years ago, which will close down on June 30, 2012. iCloud syncs files, apps, app data and media across iOS devices, Macs and PCs. It also syncs your music across devices, though won't do that for video content.

Bandwidth Caps may Obscure iCloud

iCloud's sync services may run smack dab into a countervailing trend: bandwidth caps and overage fees. Because iCloud could potentially move many gigabytes to and from the Internet, crossing your limit could suddenly become a costly or difficult issue. If you're already running close to limits routinely with your current usage (such as streaming movies from Netflix), adding iCloud could put you over the top.

Go Canucks Go!

This is the flagpole outside the Canadian Embassy in Washington DC. :)

Why yes - we are a nation of hockey mad goobers - why do you ask? :)

Sly's Website of the Week - June 1st, 2011

The Stanley Cup Finals start tonight and I need something to calm my nerves..what better to watch then the cutest kitteh video EVAR!

Me thinks I'll add about 1000 views on my own by the time the finals are over. ;-)

~Sly

Archives for June 1st, 2011

This week's show "New MBP, New Apple Announcements and New Sponsor!"

New MBP, New Apple Announcements and New Sponsor!

This week on Your Mac Life, sponsored by TabGrip, Smile, Circus Ponies and PowerMax - Malware, Dell and Devs

Live Video is on Your Mac Life thanks to MacOSG.com and available on your desktop, iPhone and iPad! You can watch the show live from anywhere at this URL:
http://yml.macosg.com

Or you can listen in to the plain old audio feed at:
http://www.ustream.tv/channel/yml-audio-only

You can also join the Chat Room that runs during the live show - on the Live Video Feed itself or on the dedicated IRC Server at irc.chat-solutions.org in the #yourmaclife Channel.

Make sure you listen in this and every Wednesday evening from 5:30pm to 8pm PT or from 8:30pm to 11pm ET, for the most fun you'll have listening to your Mac.

Considering Media in an iCloud

A few weeks ago I took the opportunity to suggest what I’d like to see from a then-rumored iCloud service. My desires haven’t changed more than a smidgen since that time—I'd like syncing that’s intuitive enough for non-geeks, useful collaboration (an iWork.com that actually works and Apple seems to have an obvious interest in), a Web presence, and cloud-based media storage and streaming.

Now I’d like to focus a bit more on what Apple might do with cloud-based media, particularly given that Google has since entered the online media fray with its Music Beta service.

iCloud mention Out of Character for Apple

For a company that operates on secrecy and the element of surprise, Apple's naming of "iCloud" earlier this morning as part of the lineup of products to be shown off at next week's Worldwide Developers Conference was out of character.

Apple has a long history of saving big announcements for a show, even if various details about a product or a service have been leaked well ahead of time. This time around though, things are a little different.

Create To-Do Items Anywhere

Use Automator to help yourself remember all those things you're supposed to do

One of the main reasons Mac users avoid Apple's automation utility, Automator, is because they believe that to do anything worthwhile with it, you have to create complex workflows. If you count yourself among this group, allow me to disabuse you of the notion by providing you with a one-step-yet-useful workflow that allows you to create iCal to-do items from within any application.

This workflow makes it a cinch to keep track of all the little things you need to do, but might otherwise not take the time to enter into iCal.

Merriam-Webster Dictionary now Free on iPad

Merriam.png

You could argue that there's not much need for a separate dictionary app any more. With dictionary services built into nearly every interface and Google and Wikipedia searches just a tap away, it's not hard to find out what a word means or how it's spelled any more.

But sometimes you may just want to browse around or look a word up for yourself, and for those times, there's the Merriam-Webster Dictionary app, which is now available on the iPad for free.

8 Tips for Travelers

As Memorial Day and summer vacations approach, the travel season is just about to heat up. But you don’t have to resign yourself to hefting unnecessary equipment through airport security or sweating out the frustrations of hotel computer connectivity. These veteran travel tips can make traveling with your Apple gear much more fun.

Amazon launches Mac Download Store

Amazon already has a mobile App Store, but the company on Thursday launched the Mac Download Store.

Competing directing with Apple’s Mac Store, Amazon says its store has 250 of the biggest software and game titles available for Mac. In fact, they have some titles that Apple’s store doesn’t.

For instance, one of the bigger titles on the Mac, Microsoft Office is available from Amazon, but not from Apple.

Piper Jaffray: Now's a Good Time to own Apple Stock

A new report from analyst firm Piper Jaffray says that despite Apple's "lagged" stock gains this year, now is a good time to own shares, based on the company's future.

"There are several reasons why some are concerned [Apple] will not move higher, including ownership reaching maximum levels among key investors, tough growth comps over the next several quarters, and lack of share appreciation following a significant beat in March," Piper Senior Research Analyst Gene Munster wrote in a note to investors this morning.

The firm expects Apple's overall revenue to grow by 28 percent over each of the next four years, with products like the iPhone and iPad exceeding that at 30 and 40 percent respectively.

Archives for May 25th, 2011

This week's show "Malware, Dell and Devs"

Malware, Dell and Devs

This week on Your Mac Life, sponsored by Smile, Circus Ponies and PowerMax - Malware, Dell and Devs

Live Video is on Your Mac Life thanks to MacOSG.com and available on your desktop, iPhone and iPad! You can watch the show live from anywhere at this URL:
http://yml.macosg.com

Or you can listen in to the plain old audio feed at:
http://www.ustream.tv/channel/yml-audio-only

You can also join the Chat Room that runs during the live show - on the Live Video Feed itself or on the dedicated IRC Server at irc.chat-solutions.org in the #yourmaclife Channel.

Make sure you listen in this and every Wednesday evening from 5:30pm to 8pm PT or from 8:30pm to 11pm ET, for the most fun you'll have listening to your Mac.

Sly's Website of the Week - May 25th, 2011

This is one of those websites that amazes and confounds me at the same time.

And it will keep listeners occupied for more than a few seconds.

Mitoza

Hope you enjoy!

~Sly

Dell's XPS-15, the "World's Thinnest Laptop" - If You exclude other Laptops

Finally, the power you crave in the thinnest 15" PC on the planet*.

Wow, the thinnest? But wait, what's the asterisk?

Small print time: "Based on Dell internal analysis as at February 2011. Based on a thickness comparison (front and rear measurements) of other 15" laptop PCs manufactured by HP, Acer, Toshiba, Asus, Lenovo, Samsung, Sony, MSI. No comparison made with Apple or other manufacturers not listed."

So that would make the XPS-15 the world's thinnest... apart from any thinner 15-inch laptops it wasn't compared against.

Interview with Apple's First CEO Michael Scott

When Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak founded Apple in 1976, they couldn't be trusted to run the company. So, Mike Markkula, Apple's first backer, and the man that guided the company early on, brought in a CEO to do the adult things needed to keep a company running.

His choice for CEO was Michael Scott, who had previously worked with him at Fairchild.

In the course of our reporting about the first ten Apple employees, we managed to get Scott on the phone. Here is a transcript of our conversation.

How to avoid or remove Mac Defender

A recent phishing scam has targeted Mac users by redirecting them from legitimate websites to fake websites which tell them that their computer is infected with a virus. The user is then offered Mac Defender "anti-virus" software to solve the issue.

This “anti-virus” software is malware (i.e. malicious software). Its ultimate goal is to get the user's credit card information which may be used for fraudulent purposes.

In the coming days, Apple will deliver a Mac OS X software update that will automatically find and remove Mac Defender malware and its known variants. In the meantime, the Resolution section provides step-by-step instructions on how to avoid or manually remove this malware.

6 Things that Block Your Wi-Fi, and How to Fix Them

Does your wireless network seem slow? A recent study by Epitiro, a UK-based broadband-analysis firm, shows that consumers lose an average of 30 percent of the data speed their broadband connection supplies when they use Wi-Fi connections in the home.

Why the slowdown? You've probably heard that some household electronic devices, including microwave ovens, baby monitors, and cordless phones, hamper Wi-Fi performance. To separate fact from fiction, we did some research and consulted an expert on the topic: Nandan Kalle, networking business unit manager for router manufacturer Belkin.

Apple throws Weight behind Devs on Patent Issue

Apple has sent notice to Lodsys, as well as developers targeted by the patent holdings firm, saying it has the licensed the rights to in-app purchase, and that that license extends to developers on the iOS platform.

Developers MobileAge, the makers of the Shanghai app, received a letter from Apple's senior vice president and general counsel, Bruce Sewell, this morning telling them that the company has already licensed the four patents in Lodsys' portfolio, and that said license allows Apple's customers and business partners similar coverage to use it.

"Apple is undisputedly licensed to these (patents) and the Apple App Makers are protected by that license," Sewell wrote. "There is no basis for Lodsys' infringement allegations against Apple's App Makers."

Explosion kills 2 at Foxconn Plant

A large explosion ripped through a Foxconn high-tech plant in southwestern China Friday night, killing at least two people and suspending production at the facility.

Foxconn said the situation has been brought under control by the fire department and the "cause of the explosion is being investigated by local police." The company said it is cooperating with the investigation and production at the site has been suspended until the investigation is completed.

The facility, near Chengdu, has in the past been identified in local media as a manufacturing location for Apple Inc.'s iPad tablet computer. An Apple spokesman wasn't immediately available.

MacDefender Malware Protection and Removal Guide

The MacDefender malware has been causing trouble for Mac users all over the world; people are calling Apple Support in a panic, spending time visiting their local Apple Store Genius, and getting all stressed out about it. What's worse: the malware is mostly harmless. It's a scam trying to rip off your credit card number, not hurt your Mac.

The attack, which displays a message stating that your machine has been infected with viruses that only a "MacDefender" app can remove, has been spreading rapidly. MacDefender doesn't infect Macs with a virus, nor does it run a keylogger as a background process on your machine. It's simply trying to scare users into providing credit card information by registering an unneeded piece of software. MacSecurity and MacProtector are the same scam software, differing in name only.

It's been reported by ZDNet's Ed Bott that Apple is telling support reps not to assist with removing this malware. You're on your own, but TUAW is here to help you.