Tag Archives: mac OS X

Kaby Lake hope, age discrimination


Intel Kaby Lake CPUs suitable for MacBook Pro refresh said to be in manufacturers’ hands — Supply chain reports sourced from laptop manufacturers claim that they are in receipt of laptop-class Kaby Lake processors earlier than expected — with the new chip possibly suitable for a MacBook Pro refresh. Low-end Kaby Lake processors have been available for a while, but not the high end a MacBook Pro would require. The Kaby Lake is seventh generation of the chip and uses the same 14-nanometer process as the 6th gen Skylake, but adds native USB 3.1 Generation 2 support, bringing full 10 Gbps speeds to the protocol.  [ Intel has released a new processor in a new model of Mac before, so here’s hoping.]

Genius Bar doesn’t hire retired Apple engineer, fires up age discrimination debate — The Apple engineer responsible for the OS X migration to Intel was never called back after an Apple retail Genius interview, and an op-ed is again sparking age discussion about alleged age bias in Silicon Valley. [How old is Cook?]

Update fights Pegasus, Screen Tint, @Apple, Spaceship, cleaning house, new MacBook Pro speculation


OS X gets security updates to combat ‘Pegasus’ — Apple has issued security updates for OS X Yosemite, OS X El Capitan and Safari to address a vulnerability called Pegasus that potentially allows nefarious agents to take over a target device with a single click. You can download the updates via the Mac App Store — and you certainly should. [Open About This Mac from the Apple menu at top left of your screen and click the software Update button.]

Ultimate Mac Cyber Security Bundle — It’s a scary world out there, but this bundle is going to make you and your Mac feel a lot more secure. The Ultimate Mac Cyber Security Bundle provides seven apps and services that not only keep your online activities and local files safe, but can improve your home security. And the sale price puts this  at just US$49.99 instead of US$247.92. [Note that some of the features are 1-year subscriptions, so presumably you’d be up for presubscription bills for them in a year’s time.]

Colour filter, brightness control & screen dimmer — Screen Tint is a handy utility app that is designed to reduce the brightness of your Mac’s screen, proving particularly useful for users with sensitive eyes and for those that wish to use their Mac in a darker environment, but find that their screen’s brightness is too harsh. A warm tint colour is preferred for working at night and a cool tint for working in artificial light.
Requires Mac OS X 10.7+; it’s available from the Mac App Store for NZ$4.49.

Another tool for shaping the Apple narrative, @Apple, comes to life — Apple sort of activated its long-held, but dormant Twitter account @Apple. It’s yet another symbol of CEO Tim Cook’s decision to take a more active role in shaping the Apple narrative.

Newest Apple Campus 2.0 flyover shows glass panels, solar panels, more — YouTube user Matthew Rogers has posted a new drone flyover video of Apple Campus 2.0, the so-called Spaceship HQ. This update features some of the glass panels that will form the outer walls of the building, solar panels on the roof, the shrinking dirt mountain on site, many of the outer buildings, fuel cells, and more. I love seeing these updates.

Apple removing abandoned titles from App Store — Apple is about to start cleaning the App Store’s house by removing outdated and abandoned apps. The change should make it easier to find the apps you’re looking for, improve discoverability, and cut down on apps that aren’t compatible with current iOS versions. Developers trying to manipulate search results with long app names are in for a surprise, too.

 CPU choices for a 2016 MacBook Pro — While no Mac update is expected at the September 7th Apple event (September 8th in New Zealand), a long-awaited refresh of the MacBook Pro is still, hopefully, due soon after. It has two obvious main processor choices [Intel 6th generation Skylake or 7th gen Kaby Lake]— but what it has selected to use will dictate if the computer releases sooner, or later.

Mac Security Update, Lurssen gets Digital Delivery, Apple Keynotes, Mac Os dipped, Sonnet 10 Gigabit


Apple issues Mac security Update — Security Update 2016-001 El Capitan and Security Update 2016-005 Yosemite OS X Yosemite v10.10.5 and OS X El Capitan v10.11.6 1 Sept 2016. Open the Mac App Store, click Updates and apply.

Lurssen Mastering Console for Mac/PC and iOS adds Digital Delivery Mastering feature in latest update — Lurssen Mastering Console for Mac/PC and iOS now lets musicians create Mastered for iTunes specification-compliant audio masters for digital distribution services like iTunes, Spotify, Pandora and more.
The update is complimentary for current owners of Lurssen Mastering Console for Mac/PC, and is an included feature in the HD engine in-app purchase in the iOS release. Five new style presets for Hard Rock/Heavy Metal music are also included in this update.
Lurssen Mastering Console for Mac/PC – is available from the IK Multimedia web site and select retailers worldwide for $/€199.99 (excluding taxes). Users can download and test-drive Lurssen Mastering Console’s full features at no cost for a period of 10 days. The update is free for current registered users.
For more information, please visit IK Multimedia.

Every Apple Keynote since 1997 at a glance — NotesKey has every Apple keynote event since 1997 laid out in an easy-to-grasp table. Each year is laid out by month, and each keynote event is represented with an icon that immediately conjures up memories of that event. The earlier ones use images from moments in the keynote, while recent years use the images Apple sent out in media invitations (via Mac Observer).

NetMarketShare: Mac OS X and iOS were both down in August — According to the latest market share survey from NetMarketShare, the market share for Mac OS X dipped again in August, while iOS rose a bit. Mac OS X had 7.37% of the global market share in August, down from 7.87% percent in July (that’s global market share; in the US it’s over 13%). April 2016’s 9.2% was an all-time high, according to NetMarketShare’s measurements. Windows remains dominant with 90.52% as of August.

Sonnet announces Dual-Port SFP+ 10 Gigabit Ethernet Thunderbolt 2 Adapter — Sonnet Technologies has announced the Twin 10G SFP+ Thunderbolt 2 to Dual-Port SFP+ 10 Gigabit Ethernet (10GbE) adapter, solution for adding 10GbE network connectivity to any Mac with Thunderbolt 2 or Thunderbolt ports.

Five Tip Friday ~ Mac odds and ends

1/ Remove a connected Bluetooth device on your Mac — Click the Bluetooth menu at top right of your screen and choose Bluetooth Preferences or, if you can’t see that menu, open System Preferences and click the Bluetooth tab and tick ‘Show Bluetooth in menu bar. Either way, now you see your paired devices
within that pane. Right- or Control-click (hold down the Control or CTRL key on your keyboard and then click) on the connected Bluetooth device in question and pick Rename from the contextual menu. You’ll be asked for the new name you want. Type it in, click Rename and you will be able to identify your devices more easily.

2/ iCloud is online and you can access it this way — All your iCloud connected activity is available to you online., free, thanks to your iCloud account. This is a web page dedicated securely to you. In a web browser (on any device) go to http://www.icloud.com, sign in with the email address associated with your Apple ID and your Apple ID password (that for iTunes, app Store etc, not your Mac or device password or passcode) and you can see all your information, including Contacts, email if you have a free iCloud email address, and even documents you have shared from Pages, Notes, Reminders, Numbers etc. Just make sure you sign out before closing the browser if you’re doing this on someone else device.
Signing in online also lets you find your devices on a map, as below …

3/ Make sure Find My Mac is enabled — Nothing worse than losing your Mac, but have you really turned on this feature? Open System Preferences, click iCloud and scroll down to turn this on. But if it has an exclamation mark in a  yellow triangle, you have not enabled Location Services. You may have turned this off for greater security, but you can turn it on and only have the Find my Mac feature using it. In System Preferences, click Security & Privacy and under the Privacy tab, click Enable Location Services. You can then tick what apps on your Mac use it (or not).
Now you can visit http://www.iCloud.com to see if your Mac is showing up on the map of your devices. If you need more help with how to do that, here’s an Apple support article – just follow the instructions under the ‘Find your missing Mac’ section.

4/ Downloading iCloud Photo Library pictures — If you’re using iCloud Photo Library, Apple’s service for syncing all your pictures across your devices, you can choose to keep your images stored locally on your Mac, which is definitely the safe way to go. But how do you tell how your service is set up? Open Photos on your Mac and choose Preferences from the Photos menu, and chick the iCloud tab.
The topmost choice is iCloud Photo Library – this will be on if you’re syncing your library across your devices. If yours is currently turned off and you’re thinking about turning it on, be sure you’ve got a backup first! And it’d be good to read Apple’s support article on it too.
The two other options are Download Originals to this Mac and Optimize Mac Storage. The first keeps a copy of everything on your Mac; the second manages your library automatically, only storing as many pictures as you have space for.
If you have the space on your Mac (MacBooks and MacBook Airs have very small internal storage, so this may not be an option for you), most recommend the Download Originals to this Mac option. That way, you can do things like offline editing, and you can also back up your library through Time Machine (or what have you) so it’s protected in case a problem with iCloud that causes data loss crops up (rare, almost unheard of, but by no means impossible, and t’s also subject to good internet connectivity, of course). Never think of syncing services as a backup, and especially not as your ONLY backup.
If you’ve got Optimize Mac Storage on and you didn’t intend it to be, that may mean that some of your pictures are only living up in iCloud and aren’t on your Mac any more. If you’ve got the storage to accommodate all of your stuff, you can just toggle that particular setting to Download Originals to this Mac instead, and then that re-downloading will begin. Depending on the number of affected items you have, the process could take a while.

5/ Keep just a subset of your photos on your Mac — If you  just want to download a subset to your Mac, one way to do it is by configuring an album or smart album with the pictures you want to pull down. Start setting this up underneath the File menu inside Photos.
New Album and New Empty Album are both choices you can use. If you pick either of those, add items to them according to your preferences.
The New Smart Album option is pretty handy if the images you want to download meet criteria that you could configure using rules – for example, if all images you want were shot  between specific dates.
Once you’ve got your album or smart album set up, an easy way to download its contents is to first turn on Photos’ sidebar by choosing View>Show Sidebar or by pressing Option-Command-S; then you’ll right- or Control-click on your new album in the sidebar to pick the appropriate option from the contextual menu.
After the download is complete, you should have local copies of your pictures, and then you can back them up or do whatever you need to. And if you start having trouble, here’s another Apple support article on troubleshooting your iCloud Photo Library.

[These iCloud photo tips came from Mac Observer.]

Store tweaks, 10th Apple Music Festival, Crossover, solving Googles, Gliimpse


Apple tweaks its retail stores job titles and layouts — Apple met with retail employees over the weekend to introduce “major new changes, including new and renamed positions, a new credo, and new store layouts,” reports MacRumors, quoting unnamed “multiple retail sources.” Apple has 488 retail stores in 21 countries and an online store available in 39 countries [including in New Zealand, http://www.apple.com/nz/%5D.

10th anniversary Apple Music Festival to start September 18 in London — Apple has just announced the 10th anniversary Apple Music Festival, which will run from September 18th through 30th at London’s Roundhouse.

CrossOver 15 lets you run Windows apps on your Mac without the cost — If you just need to run one specific Windows app and you don’t want the expense of the VM software and a Windows license, that’s where CrossOver 15 comes in, and here it is on sale for just US$19.99.

Get rid of Google Earth Update Helper pop-ups by uninstalling Google’s hidden software updater — Large numbers of Mac users report receiving unexpected installation dialogs for Google Earth. Here’s how to solve that problem, and Google is continuing a migration away from Chrome apps, and has revealed a plan to cut packaged and hosted apps from its standalone Web browser in the next two years. [Good old Google and its InvaderWare …]

Apple scoops up Gliimpse, a personal health data company — Apple has bought Gliimpse, a personal health data startup, according to Fast Company. The acquisition apparently took place earlier this year. The company helps users collect their medical data from web portals, then help organize it into a shared and understood health story.

Music no 1s, India and Ireland, Microsoft demonstrates backdoor failure


Forbes reckons Apple Music has sent three albums to number one already — This year Apple Music secured the exclusive rights for the first week of availability for three albums that all ended up debuting at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 albums ranking, despite the fact that they were only accessible via one platform, reports Forbes. Future’s EVOL, Drake’s Views, and DJ Khaled’s first chart-topper, Major Key have all kicked off in the top spot. Apple has been the only competitor that has been able to send a record to the top spot on the charts, notes Forbes.

Apple celebrates India’s Independence Day with special App Store section — Apple continues to court favor with India. With the country’s Independence Day around the corner, Apple is celebrating the occasion by having a special featured section highlighting apps from Indian developers on the App Store, reports Business Insider.

Apple gets the green light for its data center in Ireland — An Bord Pleanala, an independent appeals review board, has granted approval for Apple’s 850 million euro Apple data center and a related electrical substation in Athenry, Ireland, reports 9to5Mac. Apple planned to start building the data center on a 500-acre site before the end of 2015. However, it was delayed when unhappy Irish citizens lodged formal complaints with the Irish government.

Microsoft expertly demonstrates why encryption backdoors are terrible ideas — Microsoft did long term privacy advocates a huge favor, even while it screwed over untold millions of customers. The company expertly demonstrated the foolhardy nature of backdoors even existing by accidentally leaking a so-called “golden key.” That key will allow anyone to bypass Microsoft’s Secure Boot protections, rendering them moot.

Art Text 3 by BeLight Software annoys yet delights


BeLight seeks odoo delight with this software, and largely succeeds. Art Text 3 is a display text editor that comes with a variety of presets (22 – Cheese, Chocolate, Donut, Lava, Fire, Metal, Road for example) and while it has enough of a selection to get you started (in fact, to get your mouth watering) and even a Sample Browser of more complex products.

The effected type is displayed centrally and you can spin it through space in 3D mode by selecting it and dragging up, down and around – you can’t edit this directly, you click the central display text to edit and a little notepad area appears at top right.
A fine typographer’s tool this is not – it’s for large-point-size display text, and while that might seem like a gimmicky approach, it’s refreshingly well done with a huge range of possible transformations once you have chosen a preset. But you can kern (manipulate the space between the letters) to some extent, make text left- or right-flush or centred, although to change a type attribute (font, size of a word etc) you have to select it at top right and invoke the OS Fonts dialogue (Command T).



Patience — With some patience, it’s possible to get really sophisticated visuals thanks to layering and a great depth of tools and features. The presets might amount to populist blunt instruments, but since their creations are almost infinitely customisable, they’re handy starting points.
Choosing the right typeface for a look is important, and the presets manage to combine typefaces very well with the effects – that’s good design. And just changing the typeface on a preset display text is interesting, although I managed to crash Art Text doing this. Fonts have long been a potential source of crashing, and repeated changes (through the Mac OS Type dialogue that appears with Command T).

A few glitches — My MacBook Pro is three years old now, but still a mean machine with a fast i7 CPU and 16GB RAM, plus SSD storage. Despite that, there were a few staggers when Art Text tried do something – it could hang for a second or two. Another one was after my screen went to sleep, Art Text did something odd to the selected text when I woke it up, and this happened repeatedly. If I closed the window or quit and reopened it, all was good; this may have been something to do with it not handling my two-monitor setup. An update, during the review process, to 3.0.1 solved some of the lagginess, but perhaps even the display problem as I couldn’t get that to replicate. So good work, there, BeLight.
Interface-wise this software could do with some streamlining, though. To get to the Sample Browser, you have to click the button on the launch screen – but if you tick the box to no longer show that dialogue at startup, it’s in the Window menu. Making layers is via a menu (the Layers menu) and you can make them 2D or 3D, and then to manipulate them you have to choose the right Content panel from the View menu; these four options (Templates, Images, Shapes and Layers) are also represented as icons you can activate at the top of the right-hand area. Then you get the layers showing up in a list on the right. Also, you only get to set the resolution of the artwork when you export; I suggest in the meantime making the artwork as big as possible in the central artboard area until that point, for maximum flexibility with your finished art.


Conclusion — It might be a bit of a mission, but this software rewards exploration and the results can be very slick, thanks to layers and an impressive array of tools and textures.
What’s great — Persevere and you’ll end up with some amazing headlines and logos.
What’s not — Quirky interface needs some patience. Slightly buggy; save as you work.
Needs — Those who make headlines, logos and display text.

What — Art Text 3, US49.99 (NZ$74.99 in the Mac App Store) upgrade from a previous version for US$29.99 (about NZ$48)
System — Mac OS X 10.10 or higher.
Available from — Online only, from BeLight Software and from the Mac App Store.

Five Tip Friday ~ Settings and extras in Mac OS X

1/ You can turn the scroll bars back on — In System Preferences, which is probably in the Dock (grey cogwheels) and if it’s not, it’s always available from the Apple menu) on the General tab, you can turn ‘Show scroll bars’ to  ‘Always,’ and your scroll bars will always be visible. Then you’ll always know if a field is scrollable.

2/ Safari Favorites (sic) — OS X by default now hides the favourites bar in Safari. To turn them back on, just choose View>Show Favorites Bar.


3/ Change the Dock appearance — The so-called stacks that appear on the right-side of the Dock (or at the bottom if you have the Dock on the side, as I do, above) can be confusing. Folders in the Dock show their contents rather than a folder icon, which means the way they look changes when something new is added to the folder it’s linked to (this is in the area to the right or bottom, between the Trash and the vertical divider line, which is the area for files and folders rather than apps as in the rest go the Dock). To switch this, right- or Control-click on one of those Dock folder icons on the right or bottom, and choose ‘Display as…Folder’ from the popout menu.

4/ Add descriptive text to Mail’s toolbar — To make Mail’s icons more understandable, right- or Control-click on Mail’s toolbar (the grey strip across the top of the window) and choose ‘Icon and Text’ from the menu that’ll appear, and those icons will actually mean something.


5/ Bluetooth’s secret Debug menu — If you’re having issues with a connected peripheral device like a Bluetooth keyboard or mouse, there’s a special menu option buried beneath the Bluetooth symbol near the top-right of your screen. (If you’re missing that icon, open System Preferences, select the Bluetooth tab and check ‘Show Bluetooth in menu bar’.)
Once you can see it at top right of your screen, hold down the Shift and the Option keys on your keyboard at the same time, then click on the icon. A Debug menu appears. This contains a few very useful choices: Reset the Bluetooth module” completely wipes all of the hardware module’s settings. Enable Bluetooth logging creates a new log file (viewable within Applications > Utilities > Console) that you can check out if you’re great at parsing log-speak.
The fourth option, Remove all devices, would be great to know about if you were moving, say, a mouse and keyboard to a new workstation, as they’d then be easy to pair with the new Mac.
The third choice, Factory reset all connected Apple devices, forces your Apple stuff back to factory settings, which is an incredible troubleshooting step if you’ve already tried things like turning the devices off and on again, unpairing and re-pairing, deleting Bluetooth preferences, resetting the SMC, and so on. Your Mac will give you a somewhat ambiguous (but still scary!) warning if you attempt to do this:

Extra: there’s one more quick trick. If you hold down Shift-Option, click on the Bluetooth menu, and then select one of your connected devices, you can choose to do a factory reset on that device only.
(Be aware that if you choose to do a factory reset on anything, you’ll have to re-pair it to your Mac, so here are Apple’s instructions on how you do so. But hopefully, whatever big bad Bluetooth problems you were having will be resolved after that, and nothing will have to get thrown at the wall or set on fire or stomped into pieces out of anger! A girl can dream.)

(These Bluetooth tips via Mac Observer.)

Five Tip Friday ~ Yosemite and the Photos app

Lots of extra features lurk under Photos' Adjust button
Lots of extra features lurk under Photos’ Adjust button

1/ Photo adjustments on Mac — This new program Photos might take a bit of getting used to. With Photos, we’ve got a lot of the same control of image editing we had in iPhoto, but it’s a bit more difficult to get to. As with iPhoto, you’ll double-click an image first, and then select the Edit button in the upper-right (or press Return).
The tools that appear should be pretty familiar. Most work the same way that they did under iPhoto, though the filters are now the ones included in recent versions of iOS.

2/ Finer edits with ‘Adjust’ — When you choose Adjust though, there is little slider under each one. To access the more advanced adjustments, you’ll hover over any of the categories, and when the drop-down arrow appears in the upper-right, click it to reveal more controls.

3/ Add more Adjustments — There are additional adjustments you can add with the Add button: if you often need Noise Reduction or White Balance, just add in those controls, then click Add again and choose Save as Default. Afterward, you’ll have your choices within the adjustments panel for every picture you edit.

4/ Advanced adjustments — Note that at the bottom of the list of adjustments you can add, there’s an Advanced section. Here are the precious Levels and White Balance controls.

5/ Undelete photos — With Photos on the Mac, the Recently Deleted album doesn’t seem to show up unless you know the trick to accessing it, that is. It’s hidden under File> Show Recently Deleted. Choose that, and you can either restore images you’ve removed or delete them permanently by selecting items and clicking the buttons in the upper right. Photos stay in this file for 30 days after you press that Delete key.

Mac OS X — hidden features

Your Mac can listen to your words and type them out.
Your Mac can listen to your words and type them out.

1/ Dictate your words instead of typing them — Your Mac can take your dictation and turn your words into text (you no longer need to buy Dragon Dictate). But it’s disabled by default. To enable it, launch System Preferences; select Dictation & Speech; and then click the Dictation tab.
Now click the On button. Enable the Use Enhanced Dictation checkbox if you want to use dictation without an Internet connection. Choose a language, if you need something other than English and your language is supported (but a lot are, from Catalan to Vietnamese) but even with English, you can choose US, Australian, UK or Canadian accents.
Add a keyboard shortcut to toggle dictation on and off without revisiting System Preferences’ Dictation & Speech pane. I made mine Control-F15 by selecting Customise (sic).
Finally, choose a microphone by clicking the little inverted caret below the microphone icon and selecting the mic you want to use if you have more than the internal one each Mac has.
The mic icon becomes your audio level meter; make a loud noise like a clap or a whoop and watch it bounce up and down.

Now, to dictate to your Mac, launch your favourite word processor and turn on dictation using the keyboard shortcut you created and just start talking. The words appear on in your word processor document like magic– especially if you have one of the supported accents, anyway.

Mac OS X dictation has improved  a lot with Yosemite
Mac OS X dictation has improved a lot with Yosemite

2/ Advanced dictation tricks — You can enable advanced dictation commands to do even cooler stuff like edit text and control other functions on your Mac using only your voice.
Launch System Preferences again, but this time select the Accessibility pane.
Click Dictation in the list on the left. Click the Dictation Commands button, and check the Enable Advanced Commands checkbox.
Now you can speak advanced commands such as: select the next or previous word, sentence, or paragraph.
Go to the beginning or end of a word, sentence, paragraph, or document.
Undo; Redo; Cut, Copy, or Paste
Switch to or launch applications. It’s not as powerful as, and lacks many advanced features of, a dedicated speech recognition program like Dragon Dictate, it still works well enough.


Customise your toolbars
Customise your toolbars

3/ Turn icon labels on in the toolbar — Hold the Control key on your keyboard down and click in the grey area at the top of a Finder window – this area is called the Title Bar. This triggers a ‘Contextual Menu’ that lets you turn on Icon and Text instead of the default Icon – now you can tell what those icons actually stand for. (This works in many programs, like Apple Mail for instance.)
A Control-click is a right click, if you have that feature turned on for a mouse or trackpad. You can also choose Customize from the pop-out list to do what we talk about next …

4/ Customise Mac OS X’s Finder toolbars — In the Finder, go to the View menu and choose Customize [sic] Toolbar or initiate it with a Control-click as above.
Now you can add or remove items by dragging and dropping for the range such as Dropbox, Connect (to remote locations), Get Info, Quick Look, Path (my personal must-have) and more. Adjust them in the order you want, and you can finally have something useful up there to help with Finder file navigation and management.

5/ Spotlight’s Privacy feature — You might have a folder full of embarrassing or otherwise private (banking, for example) files. You might have buried that folder 10-deep in an obscure place, but a Spotlight search will uncover those files in a jiffy.
Luckily, Spotlight has a built-in way to exclude certain folders – or even entire external hard drives – from its searches.
Open System Preferences, choose Spotlight, select the Privacy tab, and then click the plus button at the lower-left to add a new folder to the list or just drag items into that white box from the Finder. The folders you add and their contents are then excluded from your searches.