GOMUG: Mac Users Group Blog

6 Ways to Speed Up Your Macbook For Free

We all know that installing 4gb of RAM will speed up a MacBook and make the whole experience that little bit more smoother and quicker – but what can you do NOW for FREE that will help speed your bundle of joy along and keep it’s user happier? I will tell you 6 things that will help.

1. Remove files from the desktop

Each time that OS X loads it has to index the contents of the desktop, create thumbnail icons for each file and catalog the contents of each folder there.

Do yourself a favor and move those files to the relevant folders they belong in. This will increase the speed at which your desktop loads and therefore make your MacBook faster.

2. Remove unwanted start up applications

Go into System Preferences and User Accounts. View the list of applications that have been set to start against your user name and remove (untick) any that you don’t need any longer.

It’s great to have iChat start automatically – but not essential.

You can view a list of applications running in the background by using the top command from the Terminal window or by using the Activity Monitor application.

3. Disable the Dashboard

This is my favorite “speed up” fix for the MacBook and it works wonders each time. The OS X dashboard is great if you use it all the time, but each one of those swish little widgets and web clips is taking up memory – and you can’t even see them unless you ask for them!

To disable the dashboard, open Terminal and enter the following command:

defaults write com.apple.dashboard mcx-disabled -boolean YES

You can then either reboot the MacBook or enter the following command into the Terminal window:

killall Dock

If you miss your weather widgets and stocks information, you can reverse the command by entering:

defaults write com.apple.dashboard mcx-disabled -boolean NO

And again either reboot or enter:

killall Dock

4. Clear the PRAM (intel MacBooks only)

Reboot your computer while holding down the command + option + p + r keys together. Don’t stop until you have heard the start up chime three or four times.

This is not a real way of speeding up your MacBook, but it will kill any gremlins that have worked their way into the non-volatile RAM settings. I found that it seemed to allow my MacBook to boot faster.

5. Clear the PMU (MacBook, Pro and Air)

You can use this method to clear non-volatile RAM and settings on the MacBook products. Whilst it will not cause your MacBook to suddenly leap into speed mode, it will get rid of any mis-configurations and setting issues.

MacBook, MacBook Pro

1. Ensure that the MacBook is turned off.

2. Remove the power adapter and remove the battery.

3. Press and hold down the power button for 5 seconds and then release.

4. Reconnect the battery and power adapter.

5. Press the power button to restart the MacBook.

MacBook Air

1. Ensure that the MacBook Air is turned off.

2. Connect the power adaptor to a working power source.

3. On the MacBook Air keyboard, press (left) Shift-Control-Option along with the power button once.

Note: You must use the keys on the left side of the MacBook Air keyboard.

4. Wait 5 seconds and press the power button to start the MacBook Air.

6. Disable unneeded system options.

If you are not using Wireless, Bluetooth, Speech Recognition or Internet Sharing – then turn them off! Not only will you see a speed increase but you will save battery life too!

Life of Steve Jobs: 9 Lessons That We Can Learn From

The death of Steve Jobs rocked the world as he was considered one of the world’s most innovative men. Under his leadership, Apple has never been short of creating beautifully designed products that has wowed the world and also becoming of the world’s most valuable company (US $341 Billion as of 10 August 2011).

When I first heard the news that he passed away, in my mind I was asking my friends, “Are you kidding?” A quick search on the Internet yielded much talk about his demise and even apple website created a webpage for him.

Here are some life lessons that I have personally learnt from him:

1. Its not about how well you start in life

Steve Jobs was born out of wedlock and put up for adoption for birth. In fact, he mentioned in one of his talks that he was so poor that he had to sleep in the floor of friends’ rooms during his college days. In addition, he earned little money for food after returning Coke bottles. Furthermore, he had to walk seven miles every week across town to the Hare Krishna temple for the Sunday feast. If such a person like Steve Jobs could face adversity and still make it in society, what is our excuse?

2. Education level is not the most important.

For the man who ran the most valuable company in the world, interestingly, he actually did not finish his degree education. In fact, he dropped out of Reed College after only one semester. Steve mentioned that his short stint in college was an impactful one because “If I had never dropped in on that single calligraphy course in college, the Mac would have never had multiple typefaces or proportionally spaced fonts.”

A little known fact about Steve Jobs was the fact that he was listed as either primary inventor or co-inventor in 338 US patents or patent applications related to a range of technologies from actual computer and portable devices to user interfaces (including touch-based), speakers, keyboards, power adapters, staircases, clasps, sleeves, lanyards and packages.

3. It’s not what life throws at you but how you make out of it.

The experiences faced by Steve were also rather dramatic and could be a potential storyline of a soap opera. In 1985, two years after recruiting Apple’s new CEO, John Sculley, Jobs was literally kicked out of the company out of the company he founded. This was due to deterioration in Job’s working relationship with Scully and resulted in an internal power struggle that Jobs lost. However, Jobs claimed that being fired from Apple was the best thing that could have happened to him. He said, “The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.”

The time away from Apple also gave Jobs time to start a new company called NeXT, which was to develop high-end computers at expensive prices. The company did not do so well in sales but it influenced future software developments, particularly the MAC OS X.

In 1986, Jobs bought The Graphics Group from Lucasfilm’s computer graphics division for the price of $10 million. The company decided that it would give up selling its unprofitable Pixar Image Computer and concentrate its efforts into computer-animated films. This company was later renamed as Pixar.

Pixar’s partnership with Disney was a commercial success and it bought many great films such as Toy Story, A Bug’s Life, Toy Story 2, Monsters, Inc., Finding Nemo, The Incredibles, Cars, Ratatouille, Wall-E and Toy Story 3. Finding Nemo, The Incredibles, Ratatouille, WALL-E, Up and Toy Story 3 each received the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature.

None of this would have happened if he were not fired from Apple.

4. Live each day as if it was your last.

When he was much younger at the age of 17, he read a quote which affected him a lot, “If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you’ll most certainly be right.” Since then for the past 33 years, Jobs looked into his mirror every day of his life to ask, “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” If the answer has been “No” for too many days in a row, he knew that he needed to change something.

He also mentions in his address to Stanford students in 2005, “Because almost everything – all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.”

Jobs also reminded them that “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life” and “have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.”

We are constantly being surrounded by people telling us what to do with our lives and also we may also at times in our lives, want to live the lives of other people. Live a life that you really want and have courage to live it.

5. Connect the dots in life.

Jobs reminds us to connect the dots in life. Every thing that has happened in our lives happened for a reason. We have to “trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.” Perhaps you have gone through many things in life and wondered why it had to happen? It could be repeating another semester in school, studying the wrong course, wasting 3 years in a company that didn’t improve your career or getting a lousy boss that treated you like dirt. All these ‘negative’ incidents in your life could actually be the turning point of your life from that point on!

It is my firm belief that every thing that happens to us right now is to prepare us for the future. In one of my blog articles, I mentioned about how at the age of 17, I started off as a volunteer of a youth organisation and did a lot of program planning and emceeing. I wouldn’t dare to say that every program I ran was incredibly successful but learnt a lot from the ones that failed or didn’t generate interest from participants. Later did I know that all these were necessary to prepare me for the role as a trainer and then much later to transit into being a public speaker.

Everything happens for a reason, the only thing we need to do in our lives is to make sense out of our experiences and try to connect the dots.

6. To be a trendsetter, you can’t rely on focus groups.

Steve Jobs was one of the few people that didn’t really believe in focus groups. This was contrary to most business philosophies that you had to ask people on what they wanted in their products.

“None. It’s not the consumers’ job to know what they want.” – Jobs responding to whether he did market research for the iPad.

However, most people in life don’t know what they want, especially if they have never seen it or even conceptualised a new product before. Steve relied a lot on his intuition about how people liked things and the way they operated them. This sense of intuition that he had was really ahead of his time as he could see into the future and helped created demand for products that were in his head.

For example, before the launch of iPad, most people were skeptical of Apple’s ability to compete in the market and its lack of experience in producing such devices. Even the internet was flooded with comments on the name of the iPad. However, when it was launched, it created a storm of people who wanted to own a piece of it. It was one of the best selling products Apple has ever created and is believed to dominate the market share for the next 5 years.

7. Always acknowledge the work of your staff in front of the rest.

In most of the Macworld keynotes of Steve Jobs, I recall watching many times where Jobs will usually ask everyone in the hall to give a huge round of applause for his staff who has worked so hard to make things happen. He even thank their families, loved ones, spouses, partners for being there to support his staff in their work.

In a lot of the team building activities that I run with my corporate clients, I ask members of the team to publicly acknowledge and give each other praise. This meaningful activity has helped team members to express what they always wanted to say but yet have no opportunity for it. This also created a moment where some people actually cried and hugged each other. It created a sense of belonging and appreciation for the work that they have done.

8. Show passion in what you are doing

Steve has always showed passion in what he does. In all his keynotes, he always talks about Apples products and “hopes that you will love it as much as we do”. You realise that they are not sharing just a product, but a labour of love that resulted in a product.

9. Set out to change the world

“I want to put a ding in the universe.” – Steve Jobs

“People sometimes have goals in life. Steve Jobs exceeded every goal he ever set for himself.” – Steve Wozniak, Apple co-founder, on Steve Jobs

“Here’s to the crazy ones,

the misfits, the rebels, the trouble makers,

the round pegs in square holes.

The ones who see things differently.

They’re not fond of rules,

and they have no respect for the status quo.

You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them.

About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them,

because they change things.

They push the human race forward.

And while some may see them as the crazy ones,

we see genius.

Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world,

are the ones who do.”

Apple’s 1997 ‘Think Different’ ad

I believed that Steve completely managed to fulfill his wish of changing the world. Many of us today are living so much differently with how much he influenced society with its gadgets.

My question to you is whether you have found your purpose in living and made up your mind to change the world. Well, if you think you are crazy enough to think you can, you might just be the one to do it.

Change the world, one step at a time.

Kenneth Kwan is an International Speaker and has traveled to six different countries speaking to thousands of clients on Mindset and Attitudes shift as well as Building Teams. You can get your free report of “7 Transformational Secrets to Creating a Dynamic and Cohesive Team in your workplace” from http://www.DeepImpactOnline.com/blog

Steve Jobs is dead

Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs, the founder and former CEO of Apple computers, died this evening at age 56. He had been battling pancreatic cancer for eight years.

Barely one month ago Jobs resigned from his position at Apple to pass it on to Tim Cook, who was on stage at Apple headquarters yesterday to announce details on the iPhone 4S. Jobs himself had unveiled the original iPhone back in 2007.

Apple released a statement today which became available to the media at around 7:30 pm ET this evening that reads, “Steve’s brilliance, passion and energy were the source of countless innovations that enrich and improve all of our lives. The world is immeasurably better because of Steve.”
rt.com

Steve Jobs On Medical Leave – What’s Next for Apple?

The media is rife with speculation about Steve Jobs health after it has been announced that he will be taking another medical leave. What is the future of the company? What effect will Steve Jobs absence from Apple have on its stock performance? What ails Jobs and how serious is it?

Steve Jobs has requested that his privacy be respected during his period of recuperation. Let’s hope his wishes are respected and there’s no prying into his medical records or personal family affairs by sleazy bloggers or “journalists” looking to get some kind of “scoop.”

It is not out of line, however, to speculate on Apple’s future, as many pundits and analysts are already doing. Unfortunately, Much of the speculation about the whole thing involves needless handwringing if not downright hysteria. It’s time for a few cool heads to set the record straight.

Let’s examine some of the realities and misconceptions surrounding Steve Jobs and Apple’s future.

No one can truly speculate on Steve Jobs health except his doctors.

Although cancer is certainly no minor matter, it is not the death sentence it once was. Steve Jobs was diagnosed with a cancerous pancreatic tumor in 2004 and had a liver transplant in 2009. This was successful, but the drugs needed to keep the body from rejecting such a transplant can cause side effects and other medical problems.

Steve Jobs is still with Apple.

Although Steve Jobs is on medical leave, he will continue on as CEO and be involved in strategic decisions with Apple.

Steve Jobs is a genius.

During his career Steve Jobs has revolutionized not one industry but several: computers with the Apple II and later the Macintosh, operating systems with NeXT, animation with Pixar, music and entertainment with Apple’s iTunes, the cell phone industry with the iPhone and now the entire world of tablet PCs with the iPad. Steve Jobs has had an amazing ability to intuitively grasp what the public wants and to see opportunities that others have missed. In addition, the strength of his personality and reputation had given him and Apple considerable heft when it comes to negotiation.

Steve Jobs ego has gotten in the way at times.

Certainly, much of the speculation surrounding Apple after Steve Jobs is not surprising. Steve Jobs has presented himself as Apple’s public face. He has run the keynotes, given most of the big announcements, and made Apple a very personality-driven company. Although this has built the Apple mystique over the years, it had the downside of leading to speculation about Apple’s future after Jobs is no longer with the company. Certainly, Jobs’ ego is one of the things that led to his original ouster from Apple back in 1985.

Steve Jobs is not Apple.

Apple is a multibillion dollar, multinational corporation which, according to Wikipedia, has 46,600 full time employees and 2,800 temporary full time employees worldwide, and worldwide annual sales of $65.23 billion.

Apple is much bigger than one man. In fact, Apple continued to enjoy a wide user base and popularity during the time between Steve Jobs ouster and his eventual return. Although Jobs is a unique technology visionary, runs Apple in a very hands-on fashion, and is, in fact, the public face of the corporation, it would be a mistake to think that he is the only one keeping it going.

Steve’s recent health problems have not come suddenly, nor have they been a big surprise.

Steve Jobs has been suffering from health issues for a number of years now. Being the forward-thinking guy he is, Jobs has certainly not overlooked the fact that he will not be around forever. Steve Jobs knows what it takes to succeed in business and has surrounded himself with an excellent team of very talented people. He has been careful to groom Tim Cook as his right-hand man, making sure that there will be someone available to maintain operations of the company if he should ever have to leave.

Apple has an incredible management team consisting of Steve Jobs, Tim Cook, Peter Oppenheimer, Phil Schiller, Jonathan Ive, Ron Johnson, Sina Tamaddon, Bertrand Serlet, Scott Forstall and Bob Mansfield. Ive, who has been with Apple since 1992 has been the Senior Vice President of Industrial Design since 1997.

Steve Jobs has been gone from Apple before.

It is easy to forget that Steve Jobs has not always been with Apple. He was ousted from the company in 1985, just one year after the introduction of the Macintosh, and did not return until 1997, over 10 years later.

During that time, Apple was not stagnant, either. The company introduced many innovative products, such as the Newton, a groundbreaking handheld computer; the PowerBook, which established the modern ergonomic layout and form factor of the laptop computer; System 7, a major advance in operating systems; the PowerPC processor, a new computing architecture using Motorola and IBM hardware; and TrueType font technology, an open standard for fonts that greatly simplified font management.

Sure, Apple has had some missteps during that time, but it would be a mistake to think that everything Steve Jobs touches has turned to gold either; the Xserve has been discontinued, the Macintosh Cube flopped and the Apple TV has yet to really take off.

Apple has an incredible momentum going with the Mac, iTunes, the iPod, the iPhone and now the iPad.

Apple enjoys millions of loyal customers and users. Apple store openings often draw crowds of thousands, some of whom wait in line for as long as a day before the opening, and some of whom even fly in from other countries for the event. The cube-shaped store on Fifth Avenue in New York drew crowds half a mile long for its grand opening; some of the visitors even took the opportunity to propose marriage at the event. Mac users have been fiercely loyal to their machine because of the ease of use of the operating system and applications and the industrial design of the devices themselves.

Mac users are intensely loyal.

The Macintosh has enjoyed a “halo effect,” as users of the iPod, iPhone and other Mac products have been inspired to try Apple’s other offerings, including its desktop computers. This means that the Mac user base has been growing over the past several years. The loyalty of Mac users has inspired the phrase “Cult of Macintosh.” Users of Macs and Apple’s other products love their devices because of Apple’s innovative industrial design, software made to be easy to use from the ground up, advanced operating system, award-winning support, compatibility with PCs and third-party hardware, ability to work with Microsoft Office and other PC files, and non-susceptibility to PC viruses.

In short, Apple has a public image, brand loyalty, reputation for innovation and user base that would make most of the world’s biggest corporations green with envy. No matter what may happen in the future, one thing is certain: Apple’s future as a technology leader is secured.

You might get the impression that the Mac is the forgotten stepchild of the Internet marketing industry. But did you know that some of the top names in Internet Marketing use Macs? Get a FREE 75-page ebook that covers everything you need to know about running your Internet business using a Mac, iPhone and iPad here: http://internetmacmarketing.com/10tools.html

What Operating System Should I Get?

The three main choices are Microsoft Windows, Apple Mac and Linux. In this article I briefly summarize the advantages and disadvantages of each. We begin with MS Windows.

Microsoft Windows Advantages

A comprehensive range of software is available for Windows machines, including, of course MS Office. Modern high performance games work well on MS Windows. This is somewhat ironic given Microsoft’s image of a stuffy business oriented software house. Microsoft Windows is used on lots of systems so there is no trouble getting advice and support and also peripherals (printers mice etc) to work with it. It’s likely that you will have already used or will be expected to use a MS Windows machine in your work, since they’re pervasive in the business sector. So, being familiar with Windows might be useful in terms of your career.

Microsoft Windows Disadvantages

Windows can be expensive, particularly for the Professional and Ultimate editions. Windows has a poor (but steadily improving) security reputation. A comprehensive virus checker and internet security program is therefore an absolute must for all Windows boxes.

Apple Mac OS X Advantages

The chief advantage of Apple Mac OS X is its lovely, easy to use user interface. Apple has a well deserved reputation for making well designed products and this is reflected in OS X. Apple’s standout application area is computer graphics and multimedia application (video editing etc). While Macs have a good reputation for security, it’s still recommended that you use some kind of virus checker and internet security program. The reason for this is twofold, firstly it’s only a matter of time before a really nasty Mac or UNIX virus appears and with no good anti-virus infrastructure in place the Mac community will be very vulnerable. Secondly, even if your Mac itself isn’t adversely affected by an infected email it would be embarrassing to pass the problem on to your Windows reliant associates. There’s a more limited range of peripherals available for the Mac than MS Windows machines, but still a wide enough choice for most users. In terms of applications, a reasonable amount of software is available including MS Office for Mac.

Apple Mac OS XDisadvantage

For practical purposes Max OS X only works with Apple hardware (I’m not talking about peripherals here just the core system). Anyway, this limitation isn’t such a bad thing since Mac hardware is rather nice and it probably contributes to the reliability of Apples offerings. Cost, for a given machine performance Apples are cost competitive with brand name Windows machines, however Apple don’t produce a netbook level machine which tend to be cheap.

Linux Advantages

The first advantage is its cost, it’s free for many distributions, although business uses typically get support packages which of course need to be paid for. Secondly, Linux is considered to be very reliable, it’s open source so lots of people get to test and review its source code. Thirdly, performance, Linux performs strongly over practically all benchmarks. Lastly, security, Linux has a good reputation for security, but, as with the Mac, most users are still advised to invest in a virus checker.

There is a wide range of free high quality open source software available for Linux. There’s also a reasonable range of proprietary software available, with an emphasis on engineering and scientific packages. In addition with the aid of the wine package it’s possible to get many MS Windows application to work on certain Linux machines (ones capable of running Windows).

Linux Disadvantages

The two most common Linux graphical user interfaces, Gnome and KDE are still not as polished as either Windows 7 or Apple’s latest offerings. Users are typically either businesses or IT, engineering or scientific professionals and students.

Summary

If you’re a game playing business person buy Windows. If you’re an artist buy a Mac and if you’re an engineer download Linux.

Peter Smaith has over 20 years experience in the computer industry, having worked as software engineer, manager and consultant. Peter is an occasional reviewer at http://www.review-pc.com.

10 Cool AppleScripts You Should Try

The scripting language built in to the Mac’s OS is referred to as AppleScript. It uses an English-based language to automate tasks on the Mac. AppleScripts are located in your Library/Scripts folder and the Script Editor can be launched by double-clicking a script where it describes what the script does and you can run it by clicking Run.

Here is a list of 10 cool AppleScripts that you should try.

1. Add to Folder Names

With Add To Folder Names you can add something at the beginning or end of all folder names on the front-most Finder window. Items on the desktop will be used by the script, if no Finder windows are open. This saves a lot of time as you don’t have to go through a large group of folders one by one just to add something to the folder name.

2. Add to File Names

Similarly, Add To File Names changes files in the front Finder window, instead of folders.

3. Trim Folder Names

The next two scripts are the opposite of the two mentioned above. Trim Folder Names lets one trim the text from the beginning or the end of a folder. This helps in altering the folder names that you want to change or shorten.

4. Trim File Names

Trim File Names is similar to Trim Folder Names, except that instead of folder names, this can cut the start or end of file names.

5. Finder Windows- Hide All

All the Finder windows that are open can be minimized into the dock by using the Finder Windows – Hide All script.

6. Finder Windows-Show All

Finder Windows – Show All will do the exact opposite, and bring all Finder windows that are in the Dock back out onto the Desktop.

7. Crazy Message Text

On running Crazy Message Text, a dialog asks the user to type the text to create the “crazy” mail message with. After entering text and on hitting OK, a Mail message is created, on which the text is pasted with each letter in a different size, font and colour.

8. Create New Message

The Create New Message Script is useful to browse the Web or RSS feeds. It lets you make a Mail message from whatever application you’re in at the moment. A small dialog asks the receiver’s name, address, the subject, content, signature, and the “from” address. After clicking OK, Mail opens and the message that you entered can be sent.

9. iTunes Remote Control

The iTunes Remote Control is the perfect substitute for an iTunes controller. On running the script, a dialog pops up and you can make iTunes “pause”, “play,” or “stop” among other commands.

10. Clipboard Viewer

The Clipboard Viewer script shows a dialog with whatever is on the clipboard. If you have a file copied, the filename will be displayed.

The Scripts folder contains tons of other cool Applescripts. And what’s more, You can even customize or even write your own AppleScripts!

For more Macintosh articles, resources, tools and downloads visit Macintosh Tools

How to Use FileVault

Found on Mac OSX 10.3 and later, FileVault is a great tool to make sure all your data is completely safe at all times. FileVault encrypts the files, as in it stores them as a Sparse Disc Image, which is essentially one large file and uses a key derived from the user’s password.

It is always safe to take some extra precautions for your Mac and FileVault will help you do just that by allowing you to encrypt your drive.

Encrypt the entire home folder into one file

The entire home folder can be encrypted into one big file. If iTunes, iPhotos and movies are all moved out of this, the file size can be kept small and this helps improve the reliability. By going to Preferences in iTunes, you can go to Advanced and allocate where your iTunes library need to be kept. Then by going to Consolidate Library in Advanced, your files will be moved by iTunes. The same can be done for iPhoto by just moving the iPhoto library.

Create a maintenance user account

By clicking on Accounts in System Preferences and adding the user there, a maintenance user account can be created. It should be ensured that it is an Administrator account to allow unhindered access to system privileges. This account is critical, as without it the FileVault gets corrupted.

Create a complete backup of the Mac

By logging into the maintenance account, a complete backup of the Mac’s contents can be made into an external drive. This saves everything on your Mac and a restore will return your system to its exact current condition.

Create a backup of all your files

After logging out of the maintenance user account and logging in the normal user account, a backup of all the files on the Mac can be made using the Retrospect solution.

Create a whole-drive backup solution

Creating a backup solution of the entire drive is optional, but it is advisable to do so. The SuperDuper software and an external drive can be used for this. It is always safe to have a bootable backup of all the files as you never really know when your system decides to take a walk on the wild side.

Set a master password

A master password can be set by going to Security in the System Preferences option. It is recommended to write down the master password in a secure place in case you forget it.

Request password to wake computer

The settings on the bottom can be changed to request a password to wake the computer, whenever it is on sleep mode. Automatic login can be disabled as it leaves the system open to anyone and everyone while you are away or busy….not a very good idea if you have confidential material on your Mac.

Find more great Mac articles in our articles section.

For more great Mac articles, resources, tools and downloads, visit: Macintosh Tools. You can also visit our blog for the latest industry news and tips.

The Mac Aqua GUI

The Macintosh, commonly known as the Mac, is a range of personal computers developed by Apple Inc. The Graphical User Interface (GUI) of the Mac’s Operating System version 10.4 is referred to as Aqua. It is the successor of Platinum which was used in Mac version 8 and 9. As is suggested by the names, Aqua GUI is based on the theme of water. It makes use of droplet-like-elements and also avails of reflective and translucent effects. In the words of Steve Jobs, co-founder and CEO of Apple Inc., “One of the design goals (of Aqua GUI) was when you saw it, you wanted to lick it”.

The water themed user interface first made its introduction at the January 2000 Macworld Conference and Expo, San Francisco. The debut appearance of the Aqua GUI in a commercial product was during the July 2000 release of the iMovie 2. In that the scroll bar and the buttons had the Mac Operating Systems’ all-new Aqua look. Its second appearance was in the Mac OS X Public Beta in September of the same year. This was followed by a feature in iTunes in January the following year. Aqua was made Mac’s official graphical user interface after the release of the Mac OS X. The two basic colours which highlight Aqua’s style are blue and white.

Two of the main features of the Aqua GUI are:

  1. The gel-like buttons that control wind, which come in red, yellow and green colours.
  2. The dock which helps to launch and navigate between applications. David Pogue, a technology columnist for the New York Times, described the scrollbars as “lickable globs of Crest Berrylicious Toothpaste Gel”.

The brushed metal windows and the standard pinstriped are the two basic types of windows that come with Aqua. Both these styles seem to have the navigational button embedded into the window but in versions of Mac before 10.2, the buttons appear on top of the pinstriped windows.

As newer versions are released, the Aqua GUI has been made increasingly subtle. For instance the pinstripes have been made fainter. Also the menus as well as the system dialogs have been made more translucent. Even the appearances of the buttons and the widgets have been made softer.

Quartz Compositor which handles the underlying graphics management of the user interface powers Aqua.

To find out more about the Mac, as well as tips, downloads and reviews, visit: http://www.macintosh-tools.com

For more great Mac articles, resources, tools and downloads, visit: Macintosh Tools. You can also visit our blog for the latest industry news and tips.

iSquint – Freeware For Mac Users to Convert Video

As for Mac users, iSquint is a good iPod video converter for Mac. You can play iSquint to convert almost all video formats, including DivX and XviD AVIs, all forms of MPEG video, and many other formats QuickTime and so forth. Also you can put those converted video onto iPod, iPhone and Apple TV.

iSquint is known as its fast conversion speed, easy-to-use interface and totally free. It supports batch processing for multiple files. You can convert video files in batch with iSquint. Moreover, iSquint provides with quality setting, and you can get the quality you want by moving quality bar. Easy enough, right?

System Requirements:

  • Mac OS X 10.3.9 or higher
  • Universal Binary for PowerPC and Intel Macs.

Features of iSquint

  • Supports most of video formats DivX/XviD AVIs, all forms of MPEG video, and many other formats QuickTime chokes on are supported.WMV 7/8 files supported. With the Flip4Mac plugin, all WMV files are supported – including WMV9.
  • Batch conversion Batch Processing of multiple files. Save in-place, or to a different folder.
  • Really easy to use Just drag your files in and click “Convert”, you can begin the converting. You can choose the size of the TV and iPod, set the conversion quality.
  • Powerful compatible function On a 1GHz G4 PC, iSquint can convent most videos to the file fits for the iPod screen. It does not need the QuickTime Pro and DivX codec.
  • Fast conversion speed Fast convert the most main stream video files to MPEG-4 and H.264 or 3GP, XviD files. It supports batch conversion.

In a word, iSquint is a good choice for Mac users to convert video formats and transfer to iPod.

If you want get more information, you can click here:
http://www.downloadatoz.net/download/isquint/

Ten Great Mac Apps For College Students

For many people this time of year means saying goodbye to summer, finding the old sweaters and hoodies from last year, and preparing for that familiar back-to-school ritual.  With Apple once again offering their back-to-school deal of giving an iPod Touch away with the purchase of a Mac, there will be plenty of college students looking for apps to go along with their new computer that will help them during the hectic school year. With an ever-growing number of applications available on the Mac platform it could become quite a task finding the right thing, so a few apps that stand out in their category that aid students will be spotlighted.

Studying and Management

Cram – One of the newest to the bunch is Cram, which offers students the ability to study and prepare for tests in either flash card or multiple choice testing mode. Cram also grades and keeps track of testing attempts and tweets out test results to Twitter. The application also features a user-generated test library to download existing tests.

Timeline 3D – An application that will help students add pizzaz to timeline presentations is Timeline 3D. This app allows users to present full screen interactive timelines with a 3D perspective. If you have to display any chronological events Timeline 3D is perfect for adding a unique splash to your presentation featuring the ability to add images, video, use your Apple Remote and more.

Schoolhouse – Trying to keep up with your assignments and notes for each class can be a pain. Schoolhouse offers a remedy to that problem by providing the ability to manage and keep track of assignments, notes, and tasks. Schoolhouse’s clean and easy to use interface also features the ability to manage your grades over a term, add an attachment, and email an instructor about an assignment among other features.

1Password – So you’re trying to remember all the new passwords this semester without using the same easy to hack password for every site but finding it hard to manage. Well remember no more with 1Password. 1Password is an application that manages all of your usernames and passwords and quickly restores them when it’s time to log in. Use a single password to access and manage all of your accounts. 1Password also integrates perfectly into Safari, Firefox, and other browsers for seamless one-click account log in.

Lifestyle

SousChef – You can only eat pizza and soda so many nights in a row. That’s where SousChef comes in. SousChef is a digital cooking assistant that among other features allows you to store and organize your recipes. The application also provides access to over 110,000 recipes to download when you’re in the mood to try something new. Sharing recipes with friends and family is also a simple task in SousChef.

Tweetie – Everyone has a Twitter account so why not have a slick way of using it? Introducing Tweetie, a beautiful Twitter client for Mac. Tweetie adds a layer of simplicity and style while at the same time including all of the same functions you’re used to on Twitter. Manage multiple accounts, easily view conversions, chose your favorite URL and image service and more.

The Hit List – Keeping up with college life is hard enough. Adding family, friends, work, and other outside obligations make it nearly impossible. In comes The Hit List, a simple yet sophisticated application to manage the daily chaos of your modern life. One of the strong points of the application is its ‘Today List’ which shows all of the tasks for that day in one view. The Hit List is a feature-full application with seamless integration with system applications such as iCal to access tasks with other applications and devices.

Times – Who says newspapers are dead? Well, technically they are, but an app called Times puts a classic newspaper look to your favorite blogs. Unlike most RSS readers, Times presents headlines, categories, and images in once place letting you more easily discover the news you want to read. The detail put into the presentation and animated transitions in Times is top notch.

Entertainment

World of Goo – Two words that explain this game can only be “fun” and “addictive”.  World of Goo is a physics based puzzle/construction game that features little globs of goo that can be connected together to achieve the goal at hand. Play this game and you probably won’t get any studying done, but you’ll have fun time doing so.

Hulu Desktop – With all the studying and late night projects you might have this semester, chances are some of your favorite shows will be missed. Hulu Desktop puts many of your favorite TV shows on your Mac so you can watch them on your time. Browse by channel, category, movies, and more.

Patrick Chukwura is the developer and co-founder at http://www.simpleleap.com SimpleLeap Software develops Mac and iPhone software.

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