The Best Way to Clean a MacBook Air Keyboard: Microfiber Cloth & KeyboardCleanTool

Apr 13, 2024 - Leave a Comment

Best way to clean a MacBook Air keyboard

Cleaning the keyboard on a MacBook Air is an essential task, but it can be challenging if you’re trying to avoid unintended keypresses. If you don’t want to type out a bunch of nonsense gibberish from cleaning the keyboard, or accidentally activated a mystery keystroke, then consider using a Mac app to lock down the keyboard and temporarily disable keypresses. Sure, you could shut down your MacBook Air or MacBook Pro too, but that’s inconvenient, so instead we’re going to focus on using a free little utility called KeyboardCleanTool, and a slightly damp microfiber or cotton cloth. If you want to get the keyboard super clean, you’ll want to use a few other items too.

This article is aimed cleaning the internal built-in keyboard of Mac laptops like the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro, but technically the KeyboardCleanTool app would work with external keyboards as well. But if you have a desktop Mac, iMac, Mac mini, or otherwise, the easiest way to clean that keyboard would be to simply disconnect it from the Mac before starting the cleaning process. So without further ado, let’s get to cleaning the MacBook Air keyboard

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By Jamie Cuevas - Mac OS, Tips & Tricks - Leave a Comment

How to Opt Out of ChatGPT Using Your Training Data While Keeping Chat History

Apr 12, 2024 - Leave a Comment

How to opt out of ChatGPT training on your content and data while keeping chat history

ChatGPT defaults to using your chat history and chat interactions as training data for the ChatGPT service and AI model. One of the most obvious reasons for this is that prior interactions with ChatGPT can be used to refine the Large Language Model and to improve the service, but there are obviously some privacy and personal ramifications here too.

Essentially this means your chats and interactions with ChatGPT are not really private, since it’s possible that machine learning, AI, or perhaps even people, could be viewing and using your chat history and engagement with the chatbot LLM to train and improve the model.

If you have ever dug around in the ChatGPT settings for privacy and data controls, you’ve likely have noticed there’s a toggle for turning off the training data usage, however it comes with also disabling your ChatGPT chat history. This leads many users to think that you can’t have ChatGPT chat history while also opting out of using your chats as training data. But it turns out that’s not entirely true.

With a little-known privacy toggle that’s buried within the OpenAI privacy page, you can opt out of using your chats as training data, while simultaneously keeping your ChatGPT chat history enabled. We’ll show you how to do this.

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By Paul Horowitz - Tips & Tricks - Leave a Comment

Opinion: Shiny Keys on MacBook Air & Pro Are Ugly and Shouldn’t Happen

Apr 11, 2024 - 19 Comments

Shiny keys on a MacBcook Air 15-inch model looking cheap and gross

One of the worst things about the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro is the shiny key issue. If you’re unfamiliar, the image above demonstrates the beginning stages of the shiny key development on my otherwise beautiful six month old MacBook Air, visible mostly on the shift key, but “A” and “S” are also beginning to display the hallmark worn key shine.

The shiny keys are unmistakable, and the wear occurs after routine use of MacBook keyboards. For some users they develop within weeks(!) and for others it can take a year or more to appear, but it seems that virtually every MacBook user who types on their built-in keyboard will eventually experience the shiny keys issue.

Many users assume the shiny key appearance is caused by skin oils or grime staining the keys, and then try unsuccessfully to clean them. But after digging into this a bit myself, it turns out the shiny keys are likely the result of physical wear to the plastic itself, whereby they’re getting polished and worn from continual usage. The shiny keys are basically the keys that are getting used the most.

I’ll cut straight to my opinion; the shiny keys look bad, marring the appearance of these otherwise beautiful, expensive, and premium Apple laptops. I think it gives the MacBook keyboards a cheap, dirty, sometimes even grotesque appearance since it makes it look like the keyboards are perpetually greasy from french-fry-munching fingers, and this simply shouldn’t be happening.

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By Jamie Cuevas - Mac OS, News - 19 Comments

How to Check Disk Health on Mac with smartctl

Apr 10, 2024 - 1 Comment

smartctl for checking Mac drive health

There are various ways to check the health of a hard disk drive (HDD) and solid state drive (SSD) that is used on a Mac with drives that support SMART, which stands for Self-Monitoring Analysis Reporting Technology. These options range from fairly simple using Disk Utility to check the SMART status of a drive, to much more complex with third party tools like DriveDX.

We’re going to introduce another excellent option for Mac users to monitor and analyze the health of their storage devices, using a command line tool called “smartctl”.

The smartctl utility will check SMART status self-assessments of drive health, provide the temperature of internal drives, as well as offer read and write information (which is relevant particularly for SSDs), and general drive health analysis.

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How to Enable Do Not Disturb on Apple Watch

Apr 9, 2024 - Leave a Comment

How to enable and disable Do Not Disturb on Apple Watch

Do Not Disturb is one of the most useful features for Apple Watch, and every other Apple device too for that matter. With Do Not Disturb, you can minimize distractions and interruptions, without completely silencing your Apple Watch or turning off all notifications completely.

Using Do Not Disturb on Apple Watch is one of those features you’ll want to know how to enable and disable, so that you can get the most out the functionality and its benefits. You can toggle it on and off at will, or, you can even run Apple Watch in constant Do Not Disturb mode, if you find the default Apple Watch alerts and notifications to be annoying and distracting.

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3 Mac Tips for Working with International Teams

Apr 8, 2024 - Leave a Comment

The Mac Finder icon

If you’re a Mac user and you work with teams internationally, as many of us do nowadays, you can make your life a little easier by utilizing some handy tips and tricks to keep track of time zones, translate languages and overcome language barriers more easily, and to be aware of local holidays and customs so you don’t have scheduling mishaps.

Read along, let’s check out some of these useful tips for working with international teams with your Mac. And don’t forget to share your own tips and tricks for working with international colleagues too!

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How to Disable ChatGPT Chat History & Training Data Usage

Apr 7, 2024 - Leave a Comment

ChatGPT

ChatGPT is a phenomenal artificial intelligence chatbot that uses the Large Language Model deep learning to provide incredibly useful, powerful, and human-like responses. By default, ChatGPT will keep a history of your chats with the chatbot, and also use your interactions with ChatGPT to train and improve the models.

Some users may wish to change these settings for privacy reasons, or for personal preference, and that can be done.

How to Disable ChatGPT Chat History & Training Data Use

  1. Go to https://chat.openai.com and login with your OpenAI account as usual
  2. Click on your name in the bottom corner of the ChatGPT window
  3. Click on “Settings”
  4. Choose “Data Controls”
  5. Look for the setting for “Chat history & training” and toggle that OFF
  6. How to disable Chat History and Training Data in ChatGPT

Your chat history with ChatGPT will no longer be stored or maintained (and the sidebar with chat history will be blank), and your data and chats will no longer be used as training data or to improve the LLM.

The text below the “Chat history & training” setting explains it as follows:

“Save new chats on this browser to your history and allow them to be used to improve our models. Unsaved chats will be deleted from our systems within 30 days. This setting does not sync across browsers or devices.”

Note this only works with ChatGPT interactions from the OpenAI apps (for iPhone and iPad, or Android) or through using the ChatGPT website. Any setting adjustment made here will not have any impact on you if you use Microsoft Edge to access GPT 4 or Bing for the same purpose.

It’s really up to you whether or not this particular setting is appropriate to have enabled or disabled, and your individual privacy intentions and desires. But whatever your thoughts and perspectives, it’s good to have this setting and be aware of it, and how it impacts your ChatGPT usage.

By Paul Horowitz - Tips & Tricks - Leave a Comment

You Can Play Flappy Bird in the Mac Finder

Apr 6, 2024 - Leave a Comment

Flappy Dird is Flappy Bird implemented in the MacOS Finder

If you’re a longtime Mac and iPhone user, you likely remember the wildly popular viral iPhone game called Flappy Bird from way back in 2013, with its very challenging yet addictive gameplay. Flappy Bird was an absolutely massive hit that quickly came crashing down when the developer yanked the game from the iPhone App Store due its addictive nature and the surrounding pressures he felt as the game became a global phenomena.

Well, here we are more than a decade later, and Flappy Bird has been revived by a different developer, as “Flappy Dird”, and it’s implemented in… the MacOS Finder?!

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By Paul Horowitz - Fun, Games, Mac OS - Leave a Comment

What Does the Bell with Line Through It Mean in Messages? Bell Icon on iPhone, iPad, & Mac Explained

Apr 5, 2024 - Leave a Comment

What the bell icon with line through it means in Messages

You may occasionally see a Messages thread or a conversation in Messages app that shows a bell with a line through it next to the persons name. If you’re wondering what the bell with a line through it means in Messages app, which is the mute symbol, you’re certainly not alone, because not everyone activates the associated feature intentionally. You may come across the crossed bell symbol in Messages on iPhone, iPad, Mac, or even Apple Watch.

The crossed out bell icon poses a lot of questions, not only in what it means or indicates, but how it was enabled to begin with. We’re going to discuss and explain the crossed bell icon so that you understand what it means, how it’s enabled, how you can disable it, and to better understand how it can be accidentally toggled on.

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How to Convert MOV to MP4 on Mac Free with ffmpeg

Apr 4, 2024 - 5 Comments

Convert MOV to MP4 with ffmpeg

If you have a video file in MOV format, you may wish to convert the MOV video to MP4 format instead. While there are a variety of methods for converting MOV to MP4, the approach we’re going to address here is by using the command line, with a super easy to use and free tool called ffmpeg.

Why would you want to convert MOV to MP4?

Typically Mac users might want to convert MOV to MP4 for sharing and general compatibility reasons, since MP4 is a more widely supported video format, particularly if you want the video to be compatible across various platforms and video player apps.

And often, you can get better compression out of an MP4 file, making for a smaller file size too.

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MacOS Ventura 13.6.6 & Safari 17.4.1 Update Available

Apr 3, 2024 - 3 Comments

MacOS Ventura update

Apple has released macOS Ventura 13.6.6 for Mac users running Ventura, along with Safari 17.4.1 for Mac users running Ventura and Monterey.

These software updates include some of the same critical security fixes that came with macOS Sonoma 14.4.1, and are aimed at users who are not running the Sonoma operating system on their Macs. There are no new features included in these updates.

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By Ali Khan - Mac OS, News - 3 Comments

Using M3 MacBook Air in Clamshell Mode May Reduce Performance

Apr 3, 2024 - 1 Comment

M3 MacBook Air

If you’re interested in getting a brand new M3 MacBook Air and running in clamshell mode to take advantage of the dual external display support, be aware that system performance may be reduced when the MacBook Air is run in clamshell mode (clamshell mode, meaning the lid is closed but the MacBook is powered on).

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By Ali Khan - Mac OS, News - 1 Comment

First Beta of iOS 17.5, macOS Sonoma 14.5, iPadOS 17.5 Released for Testing

Apr 2, 2024 - Leave a Comment

Betas

Apple has released the first beta versions of a round of upcoming future software updates, versioned as iOS 17.5 for iPhone, macOS Sonoma 14.5 for Mac, iPadOS 17.5 for iPad, tvOS 17.5 for Apple TV, watchOS 10.5 for Apple Watch, and visionOS 1.2 for Apple Vision Pro.

The betas are available now to users enrolled in the developer beta testing programs for Apple system software. Typically the same build is quickly released for public beta testers as well.

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By Ali Khan - News - Leave a Comment

How to Use ChatGPT-4 for Free with Microsoft Edge

Apr 2, 2024 - 1 Comment

How to use ChatGPT 4 with Microsoft Edge

The Microsoft Edge browser offers perhaps one of the best and easiest ways for an average person to access and use ChatGPT-4 for free, without having to pay for ChatGPT-4 access through OpenAI. Best of all, Edge is available for just about every major platform, including Mac, Windows, Linux, iPhone, iPad, and Android.

With the Edge browser’s Copilot feature, you can access GPT-4 at any time while in the web browser easily. Whether you’re browsing the web, or simply looking to engage in a discussion with the GPT service to summarize a webpage or article, get answers to questions, walk through code or scripts, write emails or letters, help solve complex problems, and so much more.

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By Jamie Cuevas - Tips & Tricks - 1 Comment

iOS 16.7.7 & iPadOS 16.7.7 Released for Older iPhone & iPad Models

Apr 1, 2024 - Leave a Comment

 iOS 16.7.7 is available for select older devices

Apple has released iOS 16.7.7 and iPadOS 16.7.7 for select older model iPhone and iPads. The updates seem to include the same essential and applicable security fixes that iOS 17.4.1 and iPadOS 17.4.1 included.

Specifically, iOS 16.7.7 is available for iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, iPhone X, while iPadOS 16.7.7 is available for iPad 5th generation, iPad Pro 9.7-inch, and iPad Pro 12.9-inch 1st generation. Other devices will not see this update available to them.

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By Ali Khan - iPad, iPhone, News - Leave a Comment

Fix a Repeating “Trust This Computer” Alert on iPhone & iPad

Apr 1, 2024 - 6 Comments

Trust This Computer alert on iPhone or iPad when connecting to a computer

When you connect an iPhone or iPad to a Mac or Windows PC, you will see a request on the device to “Trust this computer?” with an option to ‘Trust’ or “Don’t Trust’. This is a security feature that is part of iOS and iPadOS to ensure that you approve of a device connection to a trusted computer, since that computer could access your device and its stored data.

The “Trust This Computer?” alert message is supposed to only appear on a computer that the iPhone or iPad has not connected to before, and once trusted, it should not appear anymore. But that’s not always how things work, and sometimes you will be confronted with a constant and repeating “Trust This Computer?” request anytime you connect an iPhone or iPad to a Mac or PC, even if simply to charge the device.

This article is going to investigate the repeating “Trust This Computer?” alert request, and offer some solutions on how to stop it from appearing constantly.

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How to Install Windows WSL (Windows Subsystem for Linux)

Mar 31, 2024 - Leave a Comment

Installing Windows WSL

If you’re a Windows user, whether on a PC, in a dual boot environment with Boot Camp on an Intel Mac, or you’re running Windows 11 in a virtual machine on an Apple Silicon Mac, you may have an interest in installing Windows Subsystem for Linux, or WSL.

Windows Subsystem for Linux puts a full Ubuntu Linux shell on a Windows PC that is accessible from the command prompt or PowerShell. If you have a Mac background, you can think of Windows WSL as kind of like what Terminal and HomeBrew is for MacOS, since MacOS has a BSD shell available at any time through the command line.

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Fix “warning: unable to access /Users/Name/.config/git/attributes Permission Denied” Errors

Mar 30, 2024 - Leave a Comment

Unable to access config git attributes and other files with permission denied error at the command line

If you’re at the command line and perhaps interacting with Homebrew, Git, or similar, you may run into an error message that says something like the following “warning: unable to access /Users/Name/.config/git/attributes” : Permission denied”.

This error message sounds more alarming than it is in most cases, but regardless, you likely want to fix the error and remedy the permissions issue so that you no longer receive the ‘unable to access ~/.config/git/attributes’ error message.

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