How to Remotely Sleep a Mac from Anywhere with SSH or an iPhone

Mar 14, 2012 - 24 Comments

Ever been away from your Mac and wished you could put it to sleep remotely? Maybe you accidentally left a Mac on at home or at work, or maybe you just left a Mac running so a download could complete. You don’t have to leave it running while you’re gone though, here are two different ways you can remotely sleep a Mac. The first method uses SSH and thus requires Terminal access, and the other uses just email which allows you to sleep a Mac with an iPhone or iPad just by sending a message from a verified email address.

Remotely Sleep a Mac
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By William Pearson - Mac OS X, Tips & Tricks - 24 Comments

MacUpdate Bundle: 11 Mac Apps for $49.99, with VMWare Fusion, PDFPen, ForkLift, etc

Mar 14, 2012 - 2 Comments

MacUpdate Bundle for Spring 2012

MacUpdate has announced their Spring bundle for 2012, offering a great selection of 11 Mac apps for $49.99. The price for the bundle if each app was purchased separately is $378, so buying the pack is a great way to save some money on a solid collection of Mac software. Apps included are:

  • VMWare Fusion 4 – the easiest and fastest way to run Windows on a Mac
  • DriveGenius 3 – Disk optimization utility, includes defrag, drive health monitoring, and more
  • PDFPen 5 – PDF editing tool to add text, images, signatures, and more
  • ForkLift 2.5 – FTP client and file manager
  • Typinator 5 – Text expansion and substitution to make typing faster
  • DesktopShelves 2 – Creates virtual shelves on the Mac desktop to reduce clutter
  • Snapheal – Photo retouching app
  • Boom – Boost the system volume output of a Mac beyond what OS X allows
  • Phone to Mac – Easy Mac-to-iOS transfer utility with drag & drop support
  • Star Wars: The Force Unleashed – Action-adventure game set in the Star Wars universe
  • Worms: Special Edition – Classic strategy game

Head on over to MacUpdate to read more about each app, check out some demos, or to buy the bundle. Video showing off the apps is below.

By Paul Horowitz - Mac OS X, News - 2 Comments

Where to Buy a New iPad 3

Mar 14, 2012 - 5 Comments

iPad 3

Update 3/15/2012: Walmart will begin selling the new iPad tonight at midnight, 12:01AM local time. We confirmed this with several Walmart stores, each apparently has about 15-25 units on hand.

The new iPad will be released this Friday at 8AM. As usual with a new iPad or iPhone release, you can expect to see some pretty major lines and it’ll be tough to get your hands on one if you didn’t pre-order. Knowing who is carrying the device and where they are will increase your odds of grabbing an iPad early, though don’t be surprised if they all sell out quickly.

iPad 3 Retailers

  • Apple Store – Opens at 8AM. Guaranteed to have the most stock and widest model variety of new iPads, but almost certain to sell out within a short amount of time every morning. Your best bet is to get there early and wait in line, with a little patience in the morning you’ll probably get your hands on an iPad 3 sooner than later.
  • Best Buy – Usually opens at 10AM, but you’ll want to confirm with your local store beforehand to insure that you arrive early enough to get one. Expect Best Buy to sell out quick.
  • Radio Shack – Typically opens at 9AM, verify your local store. Radio Shack is a lesser known iPad retailer and so you may be able to get one on launch day if you’re quick. Don’t expect large stock in the earlier days though.
  • Target – A traditionally reliable source of new iPads if you move quick. They open at 8AM and even have a reliable stock indicator on their website. Expect sell outs.
  • Walmart – Because the average Walmart customer is less tech-conscious, Walmarts often have a fairly good record of having a few iPads in stock. You will almost certainly see lines during the initial availability periods though, and more rural stores may not get iPads on launch day at all.
  • Sam’s Club – Same story as Walmart means a potentially higher likelihood of getting an iPad quickly, the downside is that you need a membership to shop at Sams
  • AT&T Store – If you’re in the market exclusively for an iPad 4G LTE on AT&T, aiming to be at an AT&T store when they open gives you a fairly decent chance of buying one. Expect sell outs.
  • Verizon Store – Verizon is known for having a large 4G coverage area, so if this is that is the iPad you want, heading to a Verizon Wireless store early in the morning just may be enough to get your hands on one

Traditionally, retailers get significantly fewer iPads than the Apple Stores do, and often in fewer model choices. If you aren’t picky about which iPad 3 you buy, any store that you can get to early should work. Just be aware you may only have 32GB White models, or 16GB Black 4G, or 64GB Wi-Fi, or some other slim variety of models to choose from. The widest variety of choices are almost always at Apple Stores this early in the buying cycle. Plan accordingly, and remember that other than the storage capacity and wi-fi/4G ability, the features and specs of each iPad 3 are the same.

Alternate Places to Buy New iPad

  • Craigslist – If all the local stores are sold out and you absolutely must get your hands on an iPad 3 right away, Craigslist works. Expect to pay inflated prices to cover the cost of whoever spent time waiting in a line somewhere, it’s not unusual to see a $100-$200 markup.
  • eBay – Similar markup to Craigslist, but you’ll have to wait until it’s shipped to you. Buying on eBay doesn’t make a whole lot of sense unless you are in a country that has a stronger currency and doesn’t have the iPad 3 near release day

Don’t Mind Waiting? Buy Online from Apple

  • Order Online from Apple – All early availability sold out quick, and there is currently a 2-3 week delay for shipment on new orders. Nonetheless, if you don’t mind waiting a couple weeks and you don’t want to wait in line somewhere or pay an inflated rate on the resale market, buying online from Apple is a no brainer.
By Matt Chan - iPad, News - 5 Comments

Set iTunes to Download 1080p Video Content as Default

Mar 14, 2012 - 1 Comment

iTunes 1080p video content

iTunes now lets you specify a preference for 1080p high definition video content from anything downloaded through the iTunes Store. The default video setting prefers 720p though, here is how to change that to true 1080p HD:

  1. Open iTunes and pull down the iTunes menu to “Preferences”
  2. Click on the “Store” tab
  3. Click the submenu next to “When downloading high definition videos, prefer:” and set to “1080p”
  4. Close out of iTunes Preferences

You will need iTunes 10.6 or later to find this option in preferences.

Most people can’t tell the difference between a 720p and 1080p video when shown on a distant television, but with the new iPad’s Retina display, the 1080p capable Apple TV 3, and whatever other upcoming high definition displays come from Apple, you’ll almost certainly notice the improved clarity and resolution fo 1080p. Just be aware that 1080p content takes up much more disk space, so you may want to keep 720p as the default if you are concerned with available storage.

This is the second media compression/quality choice that comes with the new version of iTunes, which also lets users set song bit rate from 128kbps to 256kbps on their iOS devices.

By Paul Horowitz - iPad, iPhone, iTunes, Mac OS X, Tips & Tricks - 1 Comment

Send Video VoiceMail Messages from the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch

Mar 14, 2012 - 9 Comments

Send video message

If you’ve ever had to explain to someone that iPhone visual voicemail does not literally mean video voicemail, you know the potential disappointment that comes with it. What the user probably envisioned was the ability to record a quick video message and leave that as a video voicemail for the recipient to watch when they receive it. But it turns out that the iPhone can send video messages, they just aren’t going to be labeled as voicemail or sent through FaceTime, and in some ways this makes them even more flexible.

Sending Video Messages from iOS

Here’s how to record and send a video message from the iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch:

  • Launch the Camera app
  • Tap the camera switch button to toggle the front-facing camera
  • Slide the camera mode from picture to video in the lower right corner
  • Press the red button at the bottom to start recording a video message, keep it around 30 seconds or less, and hit the stop when finished
  • Tap the thumbnail in the lower left corner to bring up the camera/video roll with the most recently recorded video
  • Tap on the square arrow icon and select either “Email Video” or “Message”
  • Send Video Message from iPhone

  • Fill out the email or message as usual, specify a recipient, and tap send

From the receiving users perspective, using “Message” will act closer to what a video voicemail may be like, with the recipient getting a notification alert informing them a video has arrived. These come in like a standard MMS, though there’s a small video icon in the lower corner to demonstrate that it’s a movie, and when tapped it plays the video. This is best with iMessage, so be sure iMessage is set up and configured for all users to get the best results.

You can use email as well, though the video message will just be lost in their standard emails and it won’t arrive as a thumbnailed alert as the messages protocol does.

Is this video voicemail? Not quite, but it’s pretty close. Hopefully a future version of FaceTime will allow for video answering machines and voicemail boxes, but until then, using iMessage gets the job done and should satisfy most users.

By Paul Horowitz - iPad, iPhone, Tips & Tricks - 9 Comments

5 MKV Video Players for Mac OS X

Mar 13, 2012 - 43 Comments

MKV files are usually high quality videos compressed within a Mastroska container format. Typically you’ll encounter these with Bluray rips or video exported from an HD stream, and you might have discovered they won’t open in a standard movie player app. Not to worry though, MKV files can be played on a Mac easily, you just need to download a free application or codec that supports playing the high quality video format.

Play MKV on a Mac

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By Paul Horowitz - Mac OS X, Tips & Tricks - 43 Comments

How to Burn an ISO Image from Command Line of Mac OS X

Mar 13, 2012 - 9 Comments

Burn ISO image from the command line The most straight forward way to burn an ISO from a Mac is using Disk Utility, but you can also burn ISO’s and disk images directly from the command line with the help of a tool called ‘dd’. This works for OS X and Linux, but we’re going to be focusing on the Mac here.

This dd burn function will work to burn an ISO to any target volume, be it a disc, hard drive, USB drive, memory card, DVD, or whatever other media you point it at.

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By William Pearson - Command Line, Mac OS X, Tips & Tricks - 9 Comments

iPad 3 Benchmarks Show 1GB RAM and 1GHz Processor

Mar 13, 2012 - 9 Comments

iPad 3 Benchmarks with Geekbench The iPad 3 has been benchmarked to reveal tech specs of 1GB of RAM and an A5X 1GHz processor. The RAM is double that offered by its predecessor, and the CPU appears the same as that found in iPad 2’s A5 chip, suggesting the only major changes to the processor are in graphics capabilities.

Benchmarks were ran by Tinhte.vn, who managed to get their hands on a new third gen iPad a bit early and used the popular benchmarking app GeekBench. The new iPads score of 756 is roughly the same of an iPad 2, though Geekbench does not seem to adequately test the graphics processor on either chip, thus performance of graphics intensive activities like gaming and photo or video manipulation are yet to be determined.

The A5X processor is a dual-core CPU that includes quad-core graphics capabilities. The boosted graphics and increase in RAM are necessary to work with the high resolution Retina display included on the new iPad.

The third generation iPad is available in stores this Friday, March 16.

By Matt Chan - iPad, News - 9 Comments

Turn the iPhone Camera Into a Macro Lens for Free Using a Water Drop

Mar 12, 2012 - 18 Comments

iPhone Macro Lens

Want a free instant macro lens for your iPhone camera? Carefully apply a tiny drop of water to the lens, flip the iPhone over, and voila, you can suddenly take extreme close ups of just about anything. I know that sounds a little weird, but it works, and the results are fairly impressive.

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By Paul Horowitz - Fun, iPhone, Tips & Tricks - 18 Comments

Khan Academy App for iPad Helps You Learn Just About Anything

Mar 12, 2012 - 6 Comments

Khan Academy

If you like free online learning tools, you’ll enjoy Khan Academy’s new iPad app. Khan Academy is a popular educational service that aims to offer a free world-class education to anyone by way of over 3,000 video courses. These videos and lectures cover everything from biology, chemistry, physics, humanities, world history, finance, programming, computer science fundamentals, K-12 mathematics, and much more.

All Khan Academy videos are hosted on YouTube, so why have a dedicated app? The apps primary benefit is each video becomes downloadable, allowing for offline viewing. Considering how easy it is for online distractions to interfere with learning, that’s a significant plus. Other perks to using the app are subtitles, a progress log, and soon the app will include exercises too. Other than the ugly pea-green interface elements (please, just make them gray), the app is quite nice and well worth the free download.

Khan Academy app is currently for iPad only, but if you like free education, don’t miss the official iTunes U app either, it works with iPad and iPhone and offers tons of coursework as well.

By Paul Horowitz - iPad, News - 6 Comments

Safari 5.1.4 Brings Performance Improvements and Bug Fixes

Mar 12, 2012 - 9 Comments

Safari 5.1.4

Apple has updated Safari to version 5.1.4, and although the version number signifies a minor release the update includes several notable performance enhancements and bug fixes. From the average end-users perspective, an 11% boost in Javascript performance and improved handling of Safari extensions will be most noticeable, though the update includes many more changes and bug fixes which are listed below.

Safari 5.1.4 is available for Mac OS X 10.7 and OS X 10.6.8, and is a recommended update to all Safari users. Users can download the latest version via Software Update from the  Apple menu or from Apple directly.

The official change list is as follows:

  • Improve JavaScript performance up to 11% over Safari 5.1.3* 
  • Improve responsiveness when typing into the search field after changing network configurations, or with an intermittent network connection 
  • Address an issue that could cause webpages to flash white when switching between Safari windows
  • Address issues that prevented printing U.S. Postal Service shipping labels and embedded PDFs 
  • Preserve links in PDFs saved from webpages 
  • Fix an issue that could make Flash content appear incomplete after using gesture zooming
  • Fix an issue that could cause the screen to dim while watching HTML5 video 
  • Improve stability, compatibility, and startup time when using extensions 
  • Allow cookies set during regular browsing to be available after using Private Browsing
  • Fix an issue that could cause some data to be left behind after pressing the “Remove All Website Data” button

If you use Safari as your default web browser, don’t miss it.

By Paul Horowitz - Mac OS X, News - 9 Comments

Download SoundCloud Songs as MP3 with a Bookmarklet

Mar 12, 2012 - 6 Comments

Download Mp3 from SoundCloud

SoundCloud is a popular online music and audio sharing service where a lot of bands and musicians will post their music for others to listen to. Frequently they’ll include a download link to songs, but depending on the posters account, they often have download limits that can be quickly maxed out on popular songs. The easiest solution of course is to just buy the song, but that’s not always an option either, so that’s where this bookmarklet comes into play.
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By Paul Horowitz - Tips & Tricks - 6 Comments

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