Battery Life Improves Slightly with OS X Mountain Lion 10.8.1

Aug 25, 2012 - 22 Comments

Mountain Lion battery life

Battery life on portable Macs running Mountain Lion improved slightly with the OS X 10.8.1 update, but still generally underperforms the same Macs running Lion. Since updating to OS X 10.8.1 from 10.8, we have conducted several unscientific tests on a variety of different Macs and found there is a minor improvement to battery life between the two versions of Mountain Lion, though most users probably won’t notice a significant change.

The hardest hit Macs tend to be any portable model with a Core i5 and Core i7 CPU from 2011 and 2012, including the MacBook Pro and MacBook Air, while, interestingly, Core 2 Duo machines seem to be less impacted with battery performance remaining mostly the same in Mountain Lion as it was in Lion.

MacBook Air 13″ Core i7 (mid-2012)

  • OS X 10.8.1 – 4:36
  • OS X 10.8 – 4:33

MacBook Air 13″ Core i5 (mid-2012)

  • OS X 10.8.1 – 4:48
  • OS X 10.8 – 4:31

MacBook Air 11″ Core i5 (mid-2011)

  • OS X 10.8.1 – 3:26
  • OS X 10.8 – 3:32

MacBook Air 11″ Core 2 Duo (late-2010)

  • OS X 10.8.1 – 5:45
  • OS X 10.8 – 5:47

Not all Macs have been impacted negatively by Mountain Lion however, a MacBook Pro 2010 model reported no noticeable change in battery life regardless of the version of OS X running on it.

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By Paul Horowitz - Mac OS X, Troubleshooting - 22 Comments

iPad Mini Release Date Set for October

Aug 25, 2012 - 15 Comments

iPad mini mockup

Though Apple plans to launch the next iPhone on September 12, the smaller 7.85″ iPad “mini” will be released later at an event in October, according to a new report from AllThingsD.

Only after the next-generation iPhone is out the door and on sale will Apple announce the smaller iPad it’s been working on. That device, which is expected to have a display of less than eight inches, will be uncrated at a second special event, which sources said is currently scheduled for October.

This confirms some speculation that has occurred about the timing of the next iPhone and iPad mini events, and AllThingsD suggests the two launches will be Apple’s biggest hardware announcements of the year.

AllThingsD is a sister publication to the Wall Street Journal and is generally viewed as a very reliable source of Apple rumors and leaks.

Little is known about the so-called “iPad Mini”, but piecing together rumors and some common sense suggests the following may be true about the hotly anticipated device:

  • 7.85″ display running at 1024 x 768
  • A5X CPU from current iPad 3
  • Front and rear cameras
  • 8GB base storage and up
  • Weight of about half the current iPad 3
  • Appearance to resemble a larger iPod touch with thin side bezels, similar to picture shown at top according to 9to5mac
  • Ships with iOS 6, which is set for a “Fall” release
  • $299 price point

All iPad models to date feature a 9.7″ display, and the smaller tablet space is currently dominated by the Kindle Fire and the Google Nexus 7 tablet.

By Matt Chan - iPad, News - 15 Comments

Mac Setups: The Director of Software Platforms Desk

Aug 25, 2012 - 13 Comments

Sweet Mac setup of a Director of Software Platforms

This weeks awesome Mac setup comes to us from John K., the Director of Software Platforms for an R&D firm. The workstation is primarily used for software development for a wide variety of platforms, including iOS, Windows 7, Ubuntu, CentOS, and Open Solaris, the latter four of which run in VMWare on the Macs. Hardware shown includes:

  • iMac 27″ (mid-2011) 2.7GHz Core i5, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD and 1TB SATA HD, running OS X 10.8
  • Thunderbolt 27″ Display connected to the iMac
  • MacBook Pro 15″ (late 2008) 2.9GHz Core 2 Duo, 8GB RAM, 480GB SSD, running OS X 10.8
  • iPad 3 64GB with iOS 5.1.1 in a Crux360 keyboard case
  • Apple Magic Mouse, Magic Trackpad, and Wireless Keyboard

The MacBook Pro looks like it’s resting on an mStand , and if you haven’t seen the Crux iPad case before it basically turns the iPad into a tiny laptop, providing both a Bluetooth keyboard and full protection for the iPad that folds like a clam.

Do you want to have your Mac setup featured here? Send a good picture or two with a list of hardware and a brief description of what the workstation is used for to

By William Pearson - Mac Setups - 13 Comments

Navigate & Flip Through Open Browser Tabs with Gestures in Safari 6

Aug 24, 2012 - 7 Comments

Flip through browser tabs in Safari

Safari 6 has a great new way to quickly navigate through open browser tabs using gestures. To access the new tab preview screen, either use a two-fingered pinch inwards, or click the little box on the far right of the tabs:

See all browser tabs in Safari and navigate between them

Once in tab previews, use a two-finger gesture left or right to flip between open tabs. Click on any preview to immediately open that tab.

You can also hit Command+Shift+\ to get to the same tab view, and then use the keyboard arrow keys to navigate between the tabs.

This feature is new to Mac OS X but it’s fairly similar to how Safari on iPhone behaves when you’re switching between tabs and should be familiar to anyone who comes from an iPhone background.

Safari 6 comes with OS X Mountain Lion and is available for Lion users as well.

By William Pearson - Mac OS X, Tips & Tricks - 7 Comments

How to Disable & Clear Auto-Fill in iOS

Aug 24, 2012 - 2 Comments

Clear and disable AutoFill in iOS

Auto-fill is one of the more useful features in iOS since it prevents you from having to use the slow touch keyboard to re-enter logins and passwords and contact information like email addresses or phone numbers. The obvious problem with auto-fill though comes with shared iPads (or iPods/iPhones), where multiple people may be using the same device and going to the same web pages, only to find someone else is automatically being logged in or their information is being filled in. Not only can that be annoying, but it can be a privacy issue in some cases, so here is how to clear out the autofill information and then disable the feature:

  • Open Settings and tap on “Safari”
  • Tap “AutoFill” and then tap “Clear All” under ‘Names and Passwords’
  • Next turn “Use Contact Info” and “Names and Passwords” to OFF

Now Safari in iOS will no longer keep that information, and it won’t automatically fill it in when you’re visiting a page with forms for emails, contacts, logins, etc.

A happy medium is to also only disable the “Names and Passwords” feature, but leave Contact Info enabled, making it simple to sign up for new services but not storing the actual passwords.

It’s worth pointing out this feature is disabled by default, so unless you turned it on to begin with you won’t need to do this. For single-user devices, this feature can be extremely useful, but it’s best used in conjunction with a strong passcode to prevent people from accessing websites with sensitive data.

By Paul Horowitz - iPad, iPhone, Tips & Tricks - 2 Comments

Play SNES Games in OS X Mavericks & Mountain Lion with the BSNES Emulator

Aug 24, 2012 - 9 Comments

SNES Emulator playing in OS X Mountain Lion: BSNES

Super Nintendo was one of the greatest game consoles of yesteryear, and with BSNES you can play the SNES classics right on your Mac running OS X Yosemite, OS X Mavericks, OS X Mountain Lion, and OS X Lion.

While BSNES may not be as full featured as the popular SNES9x alternative that works only on older versions of Mac OS X, but it’s still pretty good and is more than adequate if you’re itching to jump into some retro gaming (you’ll need to find abandonware game ROMs elsewhere).

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By Paul Horowitz - Games, Mac OS X, Retro - 9 Comments

Use a Silent Ringtone to Ignore Specific Callers to Your iPhone

Aug 23, 2012 - 8 Comments

Use a Silent Ringtone on iPhone to ignore specific callers

Though you can send calls directly to voicemail and mute incoming calls, you can’t really block a specific caller on the iPhone. Rather than keeping your phone on silent all the time, you can selectively mute only specific callers by using a special silent ringtone and assigning it to a Contact you want to ignore.

Here’s how to make a silent ringtone (or download a pre-made one) and then set it to a contact.

Make a Silent Ringtone in 5 Seconds with QuickTime Player

  • Open QuickTime Player and pull down the “File” menu to select “New Audio Recording”
  • Click and unclick the red record button immediately, do it in a single motion like double-clicking something, you’ll create a tiny silent recording of 0 seconds in length
  • Save that file to the desktop as ‘silent.m4a’ then locate the file and rename it to “silent.m4r” and accept the file extension change
  • Double-click the m4r file to import it into iTunes
  • Once in iTunes connect your iPhone and drag the ringtone to the iPhone to sync it to the device as usual

If you don’t have QuickTime Player you can always download a premade m4r here or find a premade silent mp3 and convert it to m4a with iTunes.

Set the Silent Ringtone to a Contact

This is the same as setting any other unique ringtone to a contact on the iPhone:

  • From the iPhone, select the Contact to silent, tap “Edit”, tap “Ringtone” and then select your newly made silent ringtone

Now anytime the caller set to the silent ringtone calls, only they will be muted. Everyone else still rings as usual.

This is such a useful feature that I’m hoping Apple includes a “None” option for ringtones in a new version of iOS sometime down the road, but until then this blank ringtone approach works just fine.

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By Paul Horowitz - iPhone, iTunes, Tips & Tricks - 8 Comments

Bring Retro Macintosh Sound Effects to Mac OS X

Aug 23, 2012 - 7 Comments

Macintosh SE

If you’ve been using the Macintosh platform long enough you’ll undoubtedly have fond memories of the classic Mac OS system sounds like Quack, Wild Eep, moof, Boing, Droplet, Monkey, Laugh, and Logjam. Those sound effects from the wee old days of System 6, System 7, and System 8, echoed throughout many school computer labs throughout the world in the 1980’s and 90’s, but now you can add them to modern Macs running Mac OS X if you’re in the mood for a retro blast.
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By Paul Horowitz - Customize, Fun, Mac OS X, Retro - 7 Comments

OS X 10.8.2 Developer Build 12C31a Includes Facebook Integration

Aug 23, 2012 - 17 Comments

OS X 10.8.2 Developer Release 12C31a

The first developer build of OS X 10.8.2 has been made available to Mac Developers as build 12C31a, 9to5mac notes. The update focuses on features that will probably arrive in the Fall presumably alongside iOS 6 and the next iPhone, including integrating Facebook into OS X much like Twitter, in addition to updates made to iMessages, Game Center, Safari, and Reminders.

Earlier, the first update to OS X Mountain Lion arrived as 10.8.1 and has been made available to everyone to resolve a variety of bugs and issues that impacted some Macs running Mountain Lion.

Registered Mac developers can download the 10.8.2 build through Apple’s Developer Center.

By Matt Chan - Mac OS X, News - 17 Comments

OS X Mountain Lion 10.8.1 Update Released

Aug 23, 2012 - 40 Comments

OS X Mountain Lion 10.8.1 Update

OS X Mountain Lion has been updated to 10.8.1, the update is a general maintenance and bug fix release which includes assorted improvements.

The OS X 10.8.1 update can be downloaded through the Mac App Store, either launch the App Store directly or access it through the  Apple menu by selecting “Software Update”. The download is fairly small, ranging from 8MB to 30MB depending on the Mac, and you will need to restart the Mac for the Mountain Lion update to finish installing.

The official change and improvements list is as follow:

  • Resolve an issue that may cause Migration Assistant to unexpectedly quit
  • Improve compatibility when connecting to a Microsoft Exchange server in Mail
  • Address an issue playing audio through a Thunderbolt display
  • Resolve an issue that could prevent iMessages from being sent
  • Address an issue that could cause the system to become unresponsive when using Pinyin input
  • Resolve an issue when connecting to SMB servers with long names
  • Address a issue that may prevent Safari from launching when using a Proxy Automatic Configuration (PAC) file
  • Improve 802.1X authentication with Active Directory credentials

Though some individuals have reported improvements, there is no direct mention of the wireless dropping issues that some Mountain Lion users have encountered, and there is also no mention of the reported battery life drain that effects some Macs with 10.8.

All OS X Mountain Lion users are recommended to install the update.

Update: The popular “purge” command to clear inactive memory is broken in OS X 10.8.1 update, developers and users who use the command frequently may want to put off updating to 10.8.1 until a fix is available. Running the command issues the following error:
Used “purge” command in terminal and received the following error:
[ERROR] The device-file for this operating system, ‘osx-12.1.0.xml’, was not found. An attempt to revert to a previous revision of the OS devise-file: ‘osx-12.0.0.xml’ has been made. Please file a Radar report with Apple, on the ‘CoreProfile’ component, version ‘X’.

By Paul Horowitz - Mac OS X, News - 40 Comments

Show the Remaining Battery Time Indicator Again in OS X Mountain Lion

Aug 22, 2012 - 22 Comments

Battery Time Indicator in OS X Mountain Lion

OS X Mountain Lion changed the battery indicator for mobile Mac users, removing the option to show the remaining battery life time and instead displaying only a percentage, like iOS. For those of us who live on the go and rely heavily on battery life, knowing the actual remaining battery capacity in hours is much more meaningful than a percentage.

Rather than clicking on the battery icon every time you want to know how much time you have left before needing to plug in, download a great free (beta was free only) third party tool, appropriately called BatteryTimeApp:

BatteryTimeApp is ridiculously simple and works with both OS X Mountain Lion and OS X Lion for MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, or MacBook. It’s currently in beta and offers no frills, which is perfect if all you want is to see the estimated time remaining of your portable Mac before you need to connect to a power source again.

Hopefully a future update to OS X 10.8 will bring back the indicator natively and little third party tools won’t be necessary, but until then grab it while it’s free.

Update: The app beta was free but now the developer has uploaded it to the App Store and is selling it for $1. For a similar free solution, you can download SlimBatteryMonitor.

Update 2: Another great free option also pushes battery time remaining notifications to OS X Notification Center, check it out.

By Paul Horowitz - Mac OS X, Tips & Tricks - 22 Comments

Turn Off Auto-Save in OS X Mountain Lion & Mavericks

Aug 22, 2012 - 17 Comments

Turn Off Auto Save in Mac OS X

If you don’t like the Auto-Save feature of OS X, you’ll be pleased to discover that turning it off system-wide on a Mac is just a matter of checking a settings box within OS X Mountain Lion and OS X Mavericks. This will disable the automatic saving behavior for all files across all documents on a Mac.
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By William Pearson - Mac OS X, Tips & Tricks - 17 Comments

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