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how to make your battery last a bit longer

Here’s a couple of tricks you can use to eek a bit more life out of your old battery between recharges.

1. Turn off the keyboard backlights by pressing F5.

2. Turn off Bluetooth in the menu bar.

3. If you’re not using the Internet, turn off Wifi in the menu bar.

4. If you are using the internet, but you’re not expecting or bothered about receiving mail for a time, quit Mail or any other email client app. If you still want to check your email and you use a web-based mail service like GMail, you’ll use less battery power if you quit Mail, and open GMail directly in your browser window.

5. Reduce the hard disk drive sleep time (formerly known as ‘spindown’). By default, your Mac will power down the hard disk after 10 minutes inactivity on battery power. You could try setting that to 5 minutes (any less, and you’ll probably lose what you gain as the the HD will end up having to power up more often than necessary).

To do so, open Terminal, and copy/paste this command:

sudo pmset -b disksleep 5

After pressing ‘Return’ on your keyboard, you will need to enter your password, which will be invisible when you type it (so type carefully).

If you want to change it back to its default anytime in the future, just use the same command but change the ‘5’ to ’10’.

 This doesn’t affect the spindown time when you’re on mains power.


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Mail won’t remember passwords




Sometimes, Mail keeps asking you for a password that you know it already has. It asks if you want it to remember the password in the keychain, and you say Yes! And still, you keep getting those password requests…

If you look in Mail > Preferences… > Account Information, you may be surprised to find the password field blank. You may be even more surprised that when you enter it, click out of the tab and hit ‘Save’, the field is blank again the next time you look!

There are a couple of different solutions to this problem, and both revolve around the keychain. One solution is to try a keychain repair. If the repair indicates nothing is wrong, then you have a problem with the access controls. Let’s deal with each in the order you should do them.


Verify and Repair Keychain
1. Go to Applications > Utilities > Keychain.app and double-click to open it.

2. From the menubar, choose Keychain Access > Keychain First Aid

3. Type in your admin password in the field, and click Start to verify the keychain. If the keychain needs repairing, click the radio button for repair and click Start again. Run the ‘Verify’ task one more time.


Repair Access controls
If the above didn’t solve your problem, or the keychain verify/repair task indicated no problems, then you’re going to need to look at the access controls on each Mail keychain.

4. In the left-hand pane, click login in the top panel, and Passwords in the bottom panel.

5. Look for your Mail/imap keychains. Click on one of them, and then press command-i on your keyboard, or click the little ‘i‘ at the bottom of the Keychain window.

6. Click the Access Control tab in the window that pops up. Click ‘Confirm before allowing access’, and make sure Mail is in the list of apps in the window underneath that is always allowed access. Go and do the same for any other Mail/imap keychains in the window, and your problem should be fixed.

7. If the settings above were already configured correctly or they do not resolve the problem, click on the Attributes tab (next to the Access Control tab).

8. Click on the ‘Show password’ box. If everything is OK, you should get a request to put in your admin password. Chances are, though, if you’ve got to this stage you will instead get a message saying ‘Access is restricted’ and no option to do anything about it.

9. If you don’t get asked for the password, close the information box (red radio button, top-left), and control-click on your mail/imap keychain in the Keychain window. Choose ‘Delete <name of keychain)'. Do the same for any other keychain's exhibiting the same problem.

10. You can now go back to Mail, and enter your password in the Account preferences box.

Problem solved! 🙂


how to take a screenshot



We all like to take happy snaps at Christmas 🙂 , but there’s no need to buy expensive software to snap the wonders you or your family produce on your Mac computer screen. Mac OS X has a number of built-in ways to take screenshots. The simplest is to use the universal hotkey combination:

Command-Shift-3

This will immediately take a snapshot of your entire screen and dump it on your desktop as .png file. Try it now and have a look!

If you want to select only a specific region, try this

Command-Shift-4

Move your cursor, and you’ll see it’s turned into a cross-hairs by which you can select any part of the screen you want. You can also press the spacebar after you invoke this command, and the cursor will turn into a camera icon. This lets you accurately select individual windows for the shot, instead of drawing round them.

If you are taking the screenshot to immediately paste it into a post, email or document and you don’t particularly want to keep a saved copy of it, then add the control key to either of the previous commands (e.g., command-control-shift-3). This will dump the screenshot into the clipboard rather than save it as a file. All you do next is go to the window you want to paste it in, and hit Command-V.

Finally, if all these hotkeys are too much to remember for the occasional screenshot, remember you can always access screenshots through the Preview.app menu (see main image above).

Happy snapping folks! 🙂

Here’s the summary of the main commands:



avoiding autosave applications



If autosave is slowing you down, there may be nothing else for it than to switch from your favourite Apple app to an alternative that doesn’t use the feature. Here’s a rundown of some of the main autosave-enabled apps and some possible non-autosave replacements.

Preview –> Skim (for pdfs)
Skim is a great little free program that is based on Preview but adds some extra functionality, especially useful if you do a lot of annotations and note-taking. All the basic controls are familiar from Preview, including trackpad zooms and rotations. There’s two limitations: it’s pdf only, and it doesn’t have the ability to create hyperlinks.

Preview –> Graphic Converter (for images)
Old standard beloved by many Mac users. Note that the latest version does support autosave, but unlike native Apple apps, gives you the option to turn it off. Available on the app store. Main drawback: it’s not free (current price about $40).

TextEdit –> Tincta
Love this free program, and you can find it in the app store. Does everything TextEdit does and more. If you do any sort of coding, you’ll love Tincta. Everyone should have this!

Terminal –> iTerm2
You’re not really going to notice autosave in Terminal if you only use it for the odd command. If you’re doing anything more than that, well, you should be using iTerm2 anyway. Free, powerful, essential.

Pages & Numbers –> Office/Libreoffice
The only real answer to these outside of the MSOffice suite is the free Libreoffice.

Keynote –> Powerpoint/OpenSong

Well, sometimes it’s just the devil you know. Yes, you can’t really beat MSPowerpoint, but of course that’s a heavy investment. A free option that might be worth giving a try is OpenSong.

Tried any of these, or found your own alternative to autosave-apps? Let us know in the Comments below!

how to back up your Mac – the best way!





iCloud? Time Machine? Noooo……! We’re talking about the best way to backup your precious data, not the most convenient way…

What’s wrong with using the cloud? The fact that you need an internet connection, a password to be accepted, to act in accordance with the T&C of your cloud provider, the fact that someone – government, corporation, hacker – could interfere with your data, lose it or just add unwanted stuff to it. Also, if you want to backup your whole system then the various free storage offers are not going to be big enough to do the job, and you’re going to end up paying a lot more than if you backup your system properly.

How about Time Machine? Yes, it’s simple and convenient and pretty much automatic, but its not secure. TM has three major problems. First, it doesn’t allow proper archiving so anything you delete from your HDD will eventually get deleted from TM. Second, it doesn’t tell you what it’s doing before it does it, meaning you are at the mercy of its automated decisions. Third, it’s not bootable. If your whole system crashes or your HDD just fails, Time Machine won’t help you. You’ll have to restore the system or replace the HDD before you can use your machine again.

But there is a much better way, and aside from you providing the hardware (a couple of external hard disks), one that’s also free. The most secure system is to run an hourly or daily scheduled cloner on one disk, and a weekly cloner on the other. You can use SuperDuper or, my own favourite, Carbon Copy Cloner.

If you want to read up on and understand the various backup options and what they entail, you can’t do better than to read this superb post by Apple Discussions member ds store.

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