Goodbye, White MacBook!

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Apple recently announced a refresh to the MacBook Air line which includes a much faster processor, bringing it up to par with other more-powerful machines. I didn’t think of it as much – MacBook Air is less slow and more go. This means that instead of being a shiny piece of cutlery, it can now actually be used for real life applications.

But what Apple didn’t make obvious is that they have completely eliminated the white MacBook from the line of their computers. Completely.

It’s gone.

Not a trace of polycarbonate shells anywhere.

This means that the MacBook Air is now the entry-level MacBook, and it features a faster processor and better graphics card while only taking up half of the space – for the same price. Sounds pretty good, right?

However there’s a downside: for the entry-level Macbook Air, you only get half as much storage as you would for the now eliminated entry-level white MacBook. The entry-level white MacBook came with a 160GB internal HDD standard, but the identically-priced entry-level MacBook Air comes with a mere 64GB of Solid State Storage. Solid State does have a benefit over normal HDDs in that they boast much faster read and write speeds, however media junkies will have to pay a bit more to get the space that their data craves in the MacBook Air.

I’m afraid this marks the end of the MacBook in general. Now there are only two notebook lines from Apple, both of which have a three letter word stuck to the end (Pro and Air). This also means that we are unibody-only; you will now be seeing VERY little plastic in the Apple stores in general (including the fake ones in china).

The MacBook had a great run and attracted TONS of sales – but with everyone investing their money in more updated and capable aluminum MacBooks, the original MacBook simply had to go.

A Few New Little Features in OS X Lion

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Yes, there’s those few big announcements that Apple made at Back to the Mac and are constantly being advertised. But here’s a few little features that people don’t really take note of.

Change Background on Desktop Right Click

 

In the past, to change your desktop background you had to open System Preferences and open Desktop & Screensaver to change your Desktop Background. Now, you can simply right click anywhere on the desktop and there is a selection to change your background.

Different Backgrounds for Different Spaces

It used to be that you could have different wallpapers on different displays, but now you can also have different wallpapers on different spaces. Just go to the space for which background you would like to change, then right-click and select “Change Desktop Background.” Make sure you quit System Preferences every time you change the background on a Space.

Web Search in Spotlight

Spotlight is a great way for you to find files, look up definitions, and do basic arithmetic problems. With the update to OS X Lion, you can now also use it to search the Web or Wikipedia. Just type in your search and the Web and Wikipedia selections will always show up in the list.

Plus Button now Maximizes 

In the top left of every window, there are three distinct buttons: an x to close, a – to minimize, and a +. The + usually made the window some weird bigger size, and you could set it and toggle between them. It was so confusing that nobody really ever bothered to try and figure out how to use it. Now, however, it will actually make the window take up the screen (without using Lion’s full screen application feature).

With an External Display, closing the lid no longer sleeps

Previously, to use an external display with your MacBook’s lid closed you had to close the lid, wait for the computer to fall asleep, then use a bluetooth/external mouse to wake it up again. This is no longer the case; when you close the lid with an external monitor connected, your display will flash blue to adjust to the new display settings, but your computer will not go to sleep.

I hope you enjoyed this little guide on a few of the hidden features of Lion. They may come in handy someday, and they’re good to know. I’ll continue to post as I find others.

About This Mac in Lion

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For the longest time, if you wanted to get to your information about your computer, you used System Profiler. The interface was clunky and confusing, obviously aimed at more advanced users.

Although it’s not advertised much, there is a new app replacing System Profiler called About This Mac, introduced in Lion.

Unlike system profiler, About This Mac is easy to use, and makes the more important things stand out. It also uses graphics to make explanations easier to understand.

As you can tell by the above picture, it’s a very easy to understand and streamlined interface.

Displays

The Displays Pane is simple and easy to understand.

As you can tell, it’s quite easy to understand.

It gives you a graphic of the display, and the name of the display. Then, in smaller text (indicating that it’s probably less important to you) it tells you the dimensions, size, and graphics card.

If it’s an Apple monitor, it will even give you a link to the user manual – handy!

Storage

The storage pane gives you some quite-welcome insight into what’s taking up your disk space. It may seem similar to something you’ve seen in iTunes.

It’s definitely handy that it gives you this info.

It also lists other volumes that you have mounted/installed, such as your CD/DVD Drive and any USB drives.

Memory

Memory, the easier term for RAM, is crucial to your computer. If you didn’t have any Memory installed, you would have an EXTREMELY slow computer.  The Memory Pane gives you an easy explanation using graphics and easy to understand english.

It gives you a simple box telling you how much total memory you’ve installed in your computer. It then tells you how many slots your computer has, and tells you the specifications for what Memory modules can go in .

Then it gives you an easy to comprehend graphic telling you how much Memory is in each slot. So easy to understand, even your grandpa can understand it.

In case it needed to get even more useful, they added a link to the Memory Upgrade Instructions – just in case you want to add some more, and don’t want to go around fishing online. Handy!

Support

The support pane just gives you links to different online Apple support resources.

 

Service

This is definitely an extremely useful pane. Use this pane to clearly understand your warranty information, and get more information about the AppleCare support plan.

In addition to giving easy to understand repair descriptions, it also gives you links that you can use to check the status of your current warranty. It will send your serial number to Apple, then you will get a page telling you about the warranty status of your computer.

 


About This Mac is definitely a welcome replacement to system profiler, especially because it brings easier to understand graphics and descriptions, all in basic english. This will definitely be a big help for Mac users who need to learn more about their computers, but aren’t rocket scientists.

About This Mac can be found under the Utilities folder in the Applications Folder.

Magic Trackpad Getting Jumpy? Here’s a Weird Fix

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As you may know, Lion recently came out. Lion relies heavily on multi-touch gestures to be taken full advantage of. So I decided to break out the magic trackpad and try it out.

I’ve had many problems with the magic trackpad recently, mostly with it jumping around the screen a lot – I would touch it, and suddenly it would be on the other side of the screen. This time was no exception.

So why does my trackpad keep doing this? I’ve replaced the batteries, cleaned it off, and even tried someone else’s.

After a bit of research, I finally found the problem:

Time Machine.

I don’t know why, but after I read this I noticed that Time Machine was backing up. Hmm…. I stopped the backup and Voilla, the trackpad is back to its normal, behaving self.

This is going to get in the way, considering that Time Machine likes to back up every hour; make sure you keep an extra USB mouse on hand just in case.

To tell you the truth, I have absolutely NO idea why Time machine causes a problem with the trackpad. Time Machine connects over WiFi, and the Trackpad connects over Bluetooth. They’re totally seperate antennaes – why are they interfering with each other?

Although there is no explanation to this solution, it’s still a solution. So remember – if your trackpad is acting up, check to see if Time Machine is backing up. (HEY THAT RHYMES!)

Apple Releases New MacBook Air and Mac Mini

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Yesterday, everyone was so caught up in the Lion release that almost nobody knew that Apple also released a new MacBook Air and Mac mini.

The new lines of MacBook Airs and Mac Minis is merely a performance upgrade.

The MacBook Air finally comes with a Core i5 Processor, filling the complaints of a low-power Core 2 Duo. It also has a thunderbolt port – whatever (click here to learn why) -  and comes with the latest operating system OS X Lion. Other than those few internal improvements, there’s nothing new; it has the same price, design, thickness, storage, graphics, etc.

The Mac Mini gets these same improvements featuring an Core i5 Processor, Thunderbolt, and OS X Lion. In addition it has an HDMI port and a little bit smaller of a form factor. It also now comes with a 500GB hard drive standard. Other than that, same price and general design.

These improvements are just that – improvements. Welcome ones, at that, but still not the big leaps forward everyone expects from Apple.

MacBook Air Homepage

Mac Mini Homepage

Mac OS X Lion

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Two days ago, I wrote a post saying that Lion was coming the next day.

Right again.

We’ve been waiting to hear the mighty roar for quite a while, and it’s finally audible to all who desire to hear its beautiful outpour (too far?).

Mission Control

Mission Control

Mission control is the real big part of this update. It combines Spaces, Dashboard, and Exposé into one convenient view that you can navigate with different multi-touch gestures.

To access Mission Control, just swipe up with three fingers.

Spaces:

With Mission Control, your spaces show up at the top of the screen. (Tip: To add a new space, hold the option key and click the plus that appears – this one took me a while to figure out.) In addition, applications that you’ve made full screen will show up here. To navigate between the Spaces/Fullscreen apps/Dashboard, you can swipe three fingers left/right at any time to go between them. This is one of my favorite parts; the animations are extremely fluent and smooth.

Dashboard:

You might notice that on the left of your spaces, there’s your dashboard – that’s all there is to it! Other than that, you have the same dashboard that you had before, where you can add and arrange different widgets for your needs.

Exposé:

As you can tell by the picture above, all of your running applications in your current space will group and display with an icon and a label. It’s just like the previous exposé, with a couple of little visual upgrades.

 

As I mentioned, there is now support for full-screen apps. I could make a completely separate section for this, but what is there to say? You can click a little icon in the top right and the app will take up the whole screen. Whoopdidoo!

Launchpad

Launchpad is basically the iOS home screen for mac. You’ll get a little rocket icon in your dock, and clicking it brings up Launchpad which looks a bit like this:

Launchpad

 

You can swipe between the screens with two fingers. If you’ve ever used an iOS device, you know how this works: click and hold to rearrange the icons, or even move them into folders. You can even remove an app by clicking the X. Looks like iOS to me.

Versions, auto-save

I’m not going to cover this in too much detail.

Versions will keep track of all of your changes in your documents, and if you want to revert to an older version or get older elements, you can scroll through different “versions” of your document. Unfortunately, this isn’t available in many applications yet – mostly just the iWork suite – but should become more available as apps are updated to be compatible with Lion.

Auto-save is fairly self-explanatory: Your documents will be automatically saved.

Conclusion

There’s TONS of other features in Lion, and I’ll be posting different tips/tricks as I find them. There’s TONS of other new things in Lion, like a new prettier Mail app and more effects in Photo Booth – however these are small improvements. You can read more about all 250+ little new features over here.

Where can I get it?!

Unlike previous versions of OS X, this update won’t come on a disc. Instead, just go to the Mac App Store and Lion will be in there for $30. You can download and install instantly (time may vary, depending on your internet speed of course). Click here to open Lion in the Mac App Store.

Enjoy the roar of the lion.

RAWR!

 

 

 

How-to: Make Your Dock REALLY Big!

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Okay, this post is FAR from useful. But if you’re bored, or want to play a prank on someone, this is a cool visual effect.

If you go into System Preferences > Dock, you’ll be able to enable dock magnification. This will cause the dock icons to magnify when you hover over them.

But using this simple trick, you can make it even BIGGER!

Open Terminal (in Applications/Utilities) and type in:

defaults write com.apple.dock largesize -float 256.000000

You can change 256 to be even bigger or smaller, depending on how big or small you want your dock magnification to be.

Hit the enter key and, well, nothing will happen.

Next, type:

killall Dock

Your dock will disappear and reappear.

Now hover and enjoy!

To set it back, just type the same thing you did to activate it but replace 256 with 128.

This has absolutely nothing useful about it. But it’s fun if you’re really bored, or you’re just waiting for Lion to come out.

 

Google+ for iOS released, Welcome to Crash Central

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Google+ is Google’s stab at facebook that has some great new features that really puts it in the competition (read more here). The Android app was available immediately; the iOS app was supposed to come a few weeks after.

Well, it’s here. Unfortunately, it’s not worth getting.

You are greeted with a front page where you can view your stream, profile, huddles, circles, etc. Everything works until you hit stream; that’s where it crashes. It will give you a spinner saying that it’s loading… then it will keep spinning… and spinning… and spinning… and when you’re sick and tired of it, you just hit the grid to go back to the home screen. But it doesn’t go. So you hit it again. Same result. So you start frantically hitting buttons, but it’s not going to respond. Then, there’s the crash.

For now, this is all you’ll get. Jailbroken or not, iOS 5 or 4. The app is just a crasher.

Mac OS X Lion: Coming Tomorrow!

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During an earnings call with Apple, the CFO nonchalantly announced that Lion is being released tomorrow.

Lion is the “big cat” name for Mac OS X 10.7, the next operating system for Mac Computers. It was announced a little while ago, and was said to be announced in “July.” Lion brings some new features in Exposé and Spaces, fullscreen apps, and an iOS-like homescreen called Launchpad.

The update will be available in the Mac App Store for $30, and there’s no more discs available.

If you have a Mac, I recommend that you read this post to make sure your mac is ready for Lion.

After using Lion for a little while, I will write a post describing the good and bad of the new features.

Creating a New Operating System for Your Tablet is No Good

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You just designed an amazing tablet. It has an amazing camera, great screen, and good looks.

The only thing that it doesn’t have is software.

You contemplate Android and Windows. iOS would be nice, but as we all know Apple wouldn’t let that pass.

Android and Windows doesn’t have the base features you want, so you create a brand new operating system by your self.

Will the product succeed?

The answer is no. This is basically what is going on with things like the HP Veer and HP Touchpad. The same thing will happen with Sony’s new line of tablets.

Here’s why:

People buy tablets for a few things: Hardware, Operating System Features, internet support, and third party apps.

You need to have a good balance of all of the above.

Hardware, Operating System Features, and Internet Support are three things that as a developer you can program yourself.

However, third party apps rely on Developers. After all, you on your own can’t create every idea that all developers have.

And that’s why you’re in the end, better off going with Android. New products have domino effects.

People buy tablets with lots of apps.

Developers develop apps for tablets with lots of people. Only if there’s a lot of devs or a lot of people will it eventually balance out.

The android operating system has tons of apps, and it’s easy to port. It has good base features, and people really do love it. That’s the reason that you might as well design your hardware, then take advantage of Android for your operating system as it is stable, widely used, and most importantly it already has lots of developers building on it.

 

Integrate Google Voice into Built-in Apps

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So, you’ve been using Google Voice for a while now. Everyone is switched to your new number, and everything works fine. But there’s one drawback: to send messages, you need to open the Google Voice app. Unfortunately, that google voice app is kinda buggy. Then, you have to hide the messages app so you don’t accidentally send messages with it instead of Google Voice.

However, if you’ve jailbroken, there’s a plugin that will allow you to integrate Google Voice into the Messages app.

To download it, Open cydia and search for SMS GV Extension. Install the first result.

You’ll get a trial, but it’s a good idea to get a license as a couple of times a day it will remind you asking you to buy a license. Purchase isn’t as simple as it should be, but you can read the detailed purchase method by clicking here.

Aside from the purchase of a license, setup is unfortunately not as simple as it should be.

Open Settings>SMS GV Extension. Here, put in your Google credentials and turn the send box to on.

That was easy.

For receiving, you’ll actually have to have the official app installed and working – so don’t go uninstalling just yet!

Go into Receive settings and turn on Official GV App.

You should now be able to send and receive texts through the Messages app. Functionality wasn’t too reliable, but after a little while it started working 99% of the time.

Okay, now you have Messages working. But you still want to get rid of the darned Google Voice app!

Instead of moving it to a folder somewhere secret, you can actually use a free app from Cydia to hide it.

The app is called SBsettings. It’s primary use is that you can swipe across the status bar (the bar with the time and battery at the top) and toggle WiFi, 3G, and more. But it can also hide apps.

To download it, just search SBsettings in Cydia and install the first result.

Once that’s installed, swipe across your menubar and click “more.” Here, scroll down and find “Hidden Apps.” Scroll down in the list and turn off Google Voice. You’ll never know it was there!

So now you’ve gotten messages done. But what about phone?

It’s actually much easier to get the phone to work.

Search in Cydia for GV Phone Extension. It’s made by the same creator as the Messages integrator, and it’s also the same registration and price.

Go into Settings>GV Phone Extension and enter your credentials.

That’s all the setup that’s needed!

That’s how to get Google Voice totally integrated into your phone. Your original phone number will still work, but you won’t be able to tell what the difference is between them!

If you have the Verizon iPhone 4, I would usually direct you to my post on easy jailbreaking. However, JailbreakMe.com is back! To jailbreak, just go to jailbreakme.com and you’re set from there. Easy!

The Google voice app is a bit buggy, but you no longer have to suffer. Enjoy! :)

Power Support HD Anti-Glare Screen Protector for iPhone 4

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When I first got my iPhone 4, the screen seemed really durable. Through the first couple of weeks I didn’t have a single scratch. I wasn’t worried or careful about it, and that still hasn’t proved a problem.

However I was definitely sick of all the smudges and fingerprints, and how if there was enough fingerprints on the screen it would get difficult to even move my finger across the screen.

I didn’t think I would benefit from any kind of screen protector until I was at a class and tried a friend’s.  The anti-glare cover made it much easier and smoother to run my finger across the screen. It also didn’t attract fingerprints. Cool!

I got one of these for myself, and I’m quite happy with it. As I said, it doesn’t attract fingerprints, and makes it much easier to move my finger across the screen – two things you will benefit from every time you take the phone out of your pocket.

It all sounds good, right?

Well there’s only one drawback: having the screen protector will make your screen the tiniest bit blurry.

No, it’s not terrible – you can still easily read the text, and it doesn’t make much of a difference. But if you are picky about super sharp edges on everything, this may cause a problem to arise.

Sometimes people have a VERY hard time installing the protectors, usually because of lint and air bubbles.

Well, this screen protector has something new: a sticky, clingy sticker thing that you press against the screen and remove, bringing all of the dirt and dust with it.

However, if you’re buying this at an Apple store, you can usually get around all of that. They will install it for you, and they’re pretty good at it, too. They know all of the tips and tricks, and actually installed my screen protector FLAWLESSLY. Yes, there’s not a SINGLE SPECK of dust under that screen protector, and it lines up perfectly.

If you’re looking for a screen protector, this is the way to go. However, if you’re picky about your sharp lines, you should look into a crystal style screen protector, which, in addition to providing sharper edges, attracts more fingerprints.

The Power Support Anti-Glare Film Set (a pack of two) is available online here and at most Apple Retail Stores for only $15.