MacBook Air Creaking? Check for Loose Screws

Oct 1, 2011 - 9 Comments

Pentalobe screws in a MacBook Air

My MacBook Air 11″ has been creaking a lot lately when I pick it up, the noise has gradually increased and I finally discovered the reason why: loose screws. I’m not sure what caused the screws to become loose, but I do bring my MacBook Air almost everywhere with me so this could be a gradual loosening from constant use and movement.

The solution is obviously to tighten them up again, but Apple now uses a more unique screw type, the pentalobe, which prevents your average household screw driver from working. Luckily you can buy a Pentalobe screwdriver on Amazon for $5 to a buck and considering they work on the iPhone 4 and MacBook Air, it’s not a bad purchase. The expense is further justified by the fact that it’s very hard to replace a single screw, so if you lose one you’d have to have to spring $50 for a full set from a company like iFixIt, who also sells the Pentalobe screwdriver for about $13 (image up top is from them too).

Moral of the story here: if you hear creaky sounds and squeaks coming out of a MacBook Air when it’s picked up, check the screws.

iPhone 4S Leaked in Newest iTunes Beta

Oct 1, 2011 - 9 Comments

iPhone 4S shows up in iTunes beta

Direct references to an iPhone 4S in name with corresponding images have been revealed in the newest iTunes beta, all but guaranteeing the next iPhones name. This also strongly suggests that a redesigned iPhone 5 will not launch at the October 4th Apple event.

The discovery was made today by 9to5Mac, who is “confident that the iPhone 4S will pack the CDMA iPhone design”. Shown in the screenshot are two separate references to “iPhone 4S”, each attached to an iPhone 4 CDMA model image, in black and white colors respectively.

This is yet another piece of evidence that mounts against a new looking iPhone being released anytime soon, despite a continuous supply of conflicting reports and imaginative rumors. Last week, an alleged iPhone 4S packaging label was discovered, and a week prior an ‘iPhone 4S’ labeled case was also found. With the exception of third party “iPhone 5″ cases from China, there has been no evidence that a redesigned phone exists. Furthermore, the well-connected John Gruber of DaringFireball published a lengthy piece titled “Teardrop Skepticism” that dismantles many of the rumors of a so-called ‘teardrop’ iPhone 5 design.

The iPhone 4S is expected to have an A5 CPU, 1GB of RAM, 8MP camera, include iOS 5, and has a likely release date of October 14th.

By Matt Chan - iPhone, News, Rumor - 9 Comments

This is Why Apple is Suing Samsung

Sep 30, 2011 - 62 Comments

Samsung Galaxy S alongside the Apple iPhone 3GS

If you want a simplified explanation of the ongoing Apple vs Samsung lawsuit, the giant image below sums it up fairly well. Basically, Apple feels that Samsung is infringing on a variety of iPhone and iPad patents, and Apple is fairly blunt in their accusations:

“Instead of pursuing independent product development, Samsung has chosen to slavishly copy Apple’s innovative technology, distinctive user interfaces, and elegant and distinctive product and packaging design, in violation of Apple’s valuable intellectual property rights.”

Several examples of these alleged violations can be seen in the image below, judge for yourself:

Read more »

By Paul Horowitz - Fun, iPad, iPhone - 62 Comments

Enable Remote Login to Start SSH Server in Mac OS X

Sep 30, 2011 - 15 Comments

Remote Login enables SSH and SFTP Remote Login is a feature in Mac OS X’s Sharing preferences that allow remote users to connect to a Mac in a secure fashion by using the OpenSSH protocols. Essentially, it starts an SSH server on a Mac, which includes the ability to accept incoming SSH connections, which is the secure replacement for telnet. Additionally, it includes and enables the SFTP server, which is the secure replacement for FTP, and finally it also enables SCP, for secure remote copying. If this sounds complicated or confusing, it’s really not, and we’ll walk through exactly how to quickly enable and set up the SSH server on a Mac so that it can accept inbound secured ssh, sftp, and scp connections.
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Want a Free Minimalist & Distraction-Free Writing App? Get FocusWriter

Sep 30, 2011 - 6 Comments

FocusWriting minimalist distraction free writing app

Distraction-free writing apps are becoming increasingly popular and the appeal is easy to see, if you just want to write, why do you need to be surrounded by a gazillion buttons and toolbars? These apps are fairly simple and there’s a slew of choices, many charge unreasonably high prices on the app store, but that’s why FocusWriter is so great – it’s a quality distraction-free writing app and it’s completely free (and open source).

The appearance is highly customizable so you can set whatever font and background works best for you, do this by dropping from the “Settings” menu and selecting “Themes”. Outside of the eyecandy, there are also a variety of genuinely useful writing features, and it’ll keep track of word count, page count, paragraph count, character count, as well as the ability to set writing goals either by time or by words written. You see all these details by hovering over the bottom of the FocusWriter screen (see screenshot below), so they’re not always visible or in your way. Really the worst thing about FocusWriter is it’s ugly icon, but if that’s your only complaint about an app then you’ve got it pretty good.

Download FocusWriter for free

The app is cross-platform compatible, so you can run it in Mac OS X, Windows, or Linux.

Sidenote: For those that are interested, the top screenshot is using a slightly modified version of the wood floors wallpaper (JPG) that I also use as my custom Dashboard background image. The bottom two images are default themes.

FocusWriter theme
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By William Pearson - Mac OS X, Tips & Tricks - 6 Comments

Make an Invisible Folder and Hide Files in Plain Sight

Sep 30, 2011 - 24 Comments

Make an invisible folder in Mac OS X to hide files in plain sight

Want to hide some files in plain sight? You can make a folder invisible to the eye, but not to the click with this neat trick. I learned this in 6th grade to hide files and apps from prying eyes, and despite it’s simplicity it worked to store games, movies, and pictures on school computers without anyone knowing where they were kept. Believe it or not it works, and if you have limited access to the Terminal it beats using the period method to hide folders.

  • Right-click here and save this transparent PNG file to your desktop as ‘transparent.png’
  • Go to your desktop and open “transparent.png” into Preview and hit Command+A followed by Command+C – this selects the entire files contents and copies them into your clipboard
  • Now go back to the Mac OS X desktop and hit Command+Shift+N to create a new folder, name the folder nothing by hitting the spacebar a few times
  • Now select the folder named nothing (” “) and hit Command+i to “Get Info” about the folder
  • Click on the folder icon in the upper left corner and hit Command+V to paste the previously copied transparent.png file as the folders icon

Making an invisible folder

Your folder is now invisible to the eye. In some ways this is preferable to creating a hidden folder by prepending a . in front of the name because it’s still accessible from the Finder’s GUI with a well placed mouse click, and as I mentioned before it doesn’t require the use of the Terminal to create. It’s also advantageous because it doesn’t show up if someone makes hidden files visible.
Read more »

Disable the “Backup of …” Pages & iWork Files from Showing in the Mac OS X Finder

Sep 29, 2011 - 5 Comments

Disable backup of Pages files in the Finder

The iWork suite under Mac OS X 10.7 includes a rather peculiar default option that backs up every files prior version that you are working on, as a separate file in the same folder. Instead of the backups only being accessible from Versions, this spills out into the Finder, where a file called “Document.pages” will also have a “Backup of Document.pages” file stored in the same directory. This quickly turns into a giant cluttered mess for students or anyone else who works with a lot of Pages files, since essentially a duplicate of each one is stored in the same folder.

Here’s how to turn off these backups and stop them showing up in the Finder, this is the same for Pages and anything else in the iWork Suite:

  • From Pages, pull down the Pages menu and select “Preferences”
  • Choose the General tab and look next to “Saving” for “Back up previous version when saving” – uncheck this box

This will stop storing the backup files in the Finder, but unfortunately this also seems to disable the Versions feature for the app too, so keep that in mind before you turn this off and get used to hitting Command+S often again. Automatic backups and versioning are undoubtedly a useful feature, but this is rather bizarre and fairly un-Applelike to clutter folders with excess files, so maybe it’s just an oversight or a bug.

Start an FTP or SFTP Server in Mac OS X

Sep 29, 2011 - 18 Comments

FTP Server If you’ve visited the Sharing Preference panel in the newer versions of Mac OS X you may have noticed there is no longer the direct option to enable an FTP server to share files and folders. Well, at least there isn’t an obvious option, but the FTP and SFTP server function does still exist, the two have just been split into different functionalities, with the new versions of OS X preferring SFTP rather than FTP. Regardless of what you want to use, setting up a server for either of them is extremely simple, and we’ll walk through how to start either an FTP or SFTP server in OS X.

Each of these FTP/SFTP server tricks work in all new versions of OS X, be it OS X Yosemite 10.10.x, Mavericks 10.9, Mountain Lion 10.8, or 10.7 Lion.
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iPhone 4S Package Label Discovered, No iPhone 5 Next Week?

Sep 29, 2011 - 8 Comments

iPhone 4S Label

An alleged iPhone 4S packaging label adds adds further confusion to the iPhone 5‘s existence and possible launch next week, and could indicate that Apple will only be releasing an incremental hardware update to the existing iPhone 4, rather than an all new redesign.

The label, shown above, was discovered by 9to5mac after being posted to an unspecified Chinese forum. Though initially discounted, one of their most reliable sources said the model number on the label made sense:

The model number from the label is MD239 (a 16GB unit), while the model number for the “better” (likely 32GB unit) is MD234. According to Mr. X, this sequence is sensible, but could just be a coincidence. If legitimate, the next-generation iPhone will be marketed as the iPhone 4S

9to5Mac goes further and says the next generation iPhone is in Apple’s inventory systems now, although they point out that the ‘iPhone 4S’ name shouldn’t be considered confirmed.

This is the second piece of recent evidence to suggest the iPhone 4S exists, at least in name, the first showing up last week in the form of a ‘4S’ labeled Otterbox case.

Outside of case designs, analyst reports, and a variety of imaginative 3rd party mockups, there has been no evidence that a redesigned iPhone 5 exists, although Apple is notoriously secretive with unreleased products.

By Matt Chan - iPhone, News, Rumor - 8 Comments

Learn How to Use VIM with an Interactive Tutorial

Sep 29, 2011 - 6 Comments

VIM tutorial

VIM is a powerful command line text editor that is wildly popular with developers and system administrators that is accessible by typing ‘vim’ in the terminal. For those that haven’t used it before, it has a relatively steep learning curve, and the interface can be confusing until you figure out how it works and start memorizing some of the commands. That’s what this interactive VIM tutorial aims to do, help you learn the basics of VIM so you can start using the text editor with some confidence.

Read more »

By William Pearson - Command Line, Tips & Tricks - 6 Comments

Disable Time Machine Local Backups in Mac OS X Lion

Sep 28, 2011 - 35 Comments

Time Machine local backups

Time Machine in Mac OS X Lion initiates a sometimes useful, sometimes not feature: local backups. Called snapshots, this seems to be kicked off when your primary Mac is a laptop and the Time Machine backup is an external drive, so OS X Lion compensates for the potentially unavailable external disk by keeping an additional backup locally on the Macs primary hard drive. This has its obvious advantages, since you can restore to past Time Machine backups right away from anywhere, but if you’re trying to conserve disk space this can be a real pain.

Note: Time Machine local backups are only stored if you have Time Machine enabled in general.

Disable Time Machine Local Backup Storage

Here’s how to turn off local backups:

  • Launch Terminal from /Applications/Utilities
  • Enter the following command:
  • sudo tmutil disablelocal

  • Enter the admin password when requested to disable local backups

Re-Enable Local Time Machine Backups

Of course this tip would only be half useful if we didn’t show you how to turn this back on. The steps are the same as above, except with the following command entered into the Terminal instead:
sudo tmutil enablelocal

Remember, if you disable this feature you will not have local backups anymore, so if something goes wrong you will be out of luck. It’s important to have regular backups of your data, and so if you’re going to disable this be sure to still use Time Machine, perhaps even initiating a manual backup before you disconnect the drive, in order to preserve a recent copy of your data.

By William Pearson - Mac OS X, Tips & Tricks - 35 Comments

Comparing the iPad 2 vs Kindle Fire vs Nook Color

Sep 28, 2011 - 41 Comments

Kindle Fire vs iPad 2 vs Nook

If you’re anxious to compare the new Kindle Fire tablet to the iPad 2, or even the Nook Color, than this handy chart from The Verge makes it nice and easy.

What obviously stands out here is that the iPad 2 dominates every conceivable spec in the chart, minus the higher price point of course. For that reason (and others), I’m not sure if this is a fair comparison but people will be wanting to compare the devices anyway. The iPad 2 clearly has many more features, a larger screen, significantly more powerful CPU & GPU, but is also priced at at least 2.5x the Kindle tablet, and if anything this comparison does a great job of illustrating that the iPad is really in it’s own league.

By Paul Horowitz - Fun, iPad, News - 41 Comments

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