The MacValley blog


Welcome to the MacValley blog, your first stop for all the latest MacValley news and views.


Tom Briant

The MacValley blog

Editor: Tom Briant


Click here to email Tom

Click here for Tom's profile



To search the blog posts please use the box below

Sunday, October 31, 2010

What's in your trick or treat bag? (I mean your hard drive)

If you bought a MacBook Air 2010, congratulations! I played with one recently at an Apple Store and wanted it.

All laptops have the problem of limited hard drive space. Unlike a desktop, you can't attach another drive to it. You have to monitor how much space you've used.

I recommend you download the Omni Group's Omni Disk Sweeper. It's FREE and periodic use helps you see how full your hard disk, SSD, or flash drive has become.

Warding off the vampire of power outages

Recently the power went out at editorial headquarters. The wind blew hard in the Valley, so the power went out for 15 minutes.

The power outage didn’t affect my MacBook, since it went over to its battery. It did affect two external hard drives.

I use a trick that I picked up from M. Christopher Stevens of Otherworld Computing. You can move your User Folder for 1 or more user accounts to a larger external drive. M. Christopher describes the procedure in detail here.

He does include some caveats at the end. You must ALWAYS have your external hard drive with your data powered up and plugged into the Mac before starting the Mac. Most of the time, you will have no problems. When the power goes out at 3 in the morning...that’s a problem. Even if the power went out for 15 minutes. Your Mac has lost contact with the external hard drives.

So I solved this problem with the purchase of an external uninterruptible power supply (UPS) from Fry’s Electronics. It cost me $50. The brand is APC. It’s compact but heavy. The instructions are simple to follow and well-illustrated.

Now OS X comes with UPS management software. Just go to the Energy Saver preference pane. It looks like a light bulb, either conventional or compact fluorescent, depending on which version of OS X you have.

My UPS included a cable with an RJ-45 plug on one end, for the UPS, and a USB plug on the other, for the Mac. When I plugged them in, I got a new icon on my menu bar. Now I know the UPS connects to my Mac.

So if you try this trick to put your user folder on an external hard drive, plug that external hard drive into a UPS!

Monday, October 18, 2010

iPad everywhere except Costco

You may have read that the iPad is coming to, oh, Target (now), Walmart (in November), ATT and Verizon stores (October 28), and of course, your Apple Stores and Best Buy. Where can't you find the iPad? Oh, and don't forget Sam's Club warehouse stores.

Oh, Costco. According to Apple and Costco failed to come to terms. Costco will just sell the rest of its iPods and that's it.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Welcome to America, Linus Torvald!

This news was buried inside MaximumPC magazine. Linus Torvald, the father of Linux, recently became an American citizen.

Thank you, Finland, for sharing him with us.

The December issue of the Voice will contain an article on using Linux, particularly Ubuntu Linux, with your Mac. Why would you want to use Linux? If you have an old Windows XP box around, like I did, converting it to Linux can add years to its life. You can't run Windows 7 on it, but you can run the latest version of Linux on it.

And Linux is the antecedent of Android and Chromium, two operating systems from Google that will give Apple iOS competition. The iPad is the king of tablets right now, but Android and Chromium look to give it competition. And nothing fuels Apple like competition.

In the meantime, America and California can drink a toast to this new citizen.

Is it too late to nominate him for Senator on November 2nd?

Tom Briant
Editor, Macvalley Voce

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Apple holding event October 20th

Apple announced that they will hold an event to announce OS X 10.7 at 10:00 AM, 10/20/2010.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Target Sells the iPad and How to Print from an iPad for free

I went to the Northridge Target today and didn’t see the iPad on display. I saw iPad accessories, but no iPad. No line eagerly awaiting the “magical and revolutionary device” either.

The Northridge Target store, just to give some location, is no more than 20 minutes from the Apple Store at the Northridge Fashion Center or the BestBuy on Tampa Avenue. That includes time to get the kids buckled into their seats. So my guess is that if anyone in Northridge wanted a iPad real bad, they have purchased it already.

Target only sells the iPad in the stores. If you want to order it via the ‘Net, go to Apple.

I’ve made fun of marketing in this blog and elsewhere, but I gladly admit that Apple has covered a lot of territory between the Apple Store, Best Buy, and now Target. Got those demographics covered!

Onto other iOS device news. Tech blogger Amit Agarwal wrote and published on his blog how to print from a smartphone with a DropBox account to a Windows computer and its attached printer. I recommend seeing the video he posted, too. My link is to his article. Go there first.

Look around on Lifehacker and you’ll also find a method using OS X Automator to accomplish printing from a smartphone using DropBox to a Mac and its local printer.

And yes, there’s a way to do this with a Linux computer, too. Mr. Agarwal has a link to that in his article. I’ll leave that to the Linux enthusiasts.

I’ve played with the Windows version and I must say it solves the problem of printing from a Mac to a Windows 7 machine better than any solution I’ve tried.

Simply install Dropbox, download and install this script, and…and you’re printing. It’s GENIUS.



Blog Archive