Category: General

Get the most out of your laptop battery

If you know the right tricks, you can maximise the lifespan and battery life of you MacBook or MacBook Pro. The way you charge the battery, the conditions is which you use and store your laptop and the way you have your energy saver preferences set all have an effect on how long your battery will last and how well if performs. The OSX System Profiler can help you assess the condition of your battery’s current health.

MacOSXTips recently published Get the most out of your laptop battery, which covers some best-practices for maintaining a healthy battery life on your MacBook and MacBook Pro. My recommendations are to power-off your laptop overnight, cycle the battery completely each time you use it – which means to run the laptop on battery power until it’s down to at least 20% charge before you plug it in to recharge, and make sure you have the battery optimization set to “Better Battery Life” in the Energy Saver system prefs pane. And if you plan on not using the laptop for a few days, such as a vacation or long weekend, take the battery out of the laptop completely after powering it off. The laptop battery only has so many recharge cycles in its life, recharging the battery when it’s still at 80% needlessly uses up a cycle, thereby shortening the life of the battery. Using the tips provided in the article will go a long way in prolonging your investment.

Free digital photography e-magazine available

Photographybb.com has their latest e-Magazine available for download now. The holiday season is upon us and what better way to celebrate than to grab a cup of hot chocolate, kick back, and enjoy the December Issue of the PhotographyBB Online Magazine. This month, we head back to Moscow where Jon Ayres gives us a look at how the holidays are celebrated in Russia. We’ve also made some slight changes to the magazine to include more “how-to” style articles. Check out this month’s issue for:

  • Night photography techniques – Part II – Painting with Light and Holiday Lights
  • Best Shooting Gear for the Holidays
  • Better Portrait Posing Techniques
  • Mastering Photoshop Brushes
  • Pro Retouching Techniques
  • and more!

Be sure to grab all the back issues while you’re there. All PhotogrpahyBB issues are available as downloadable PDFs, ranging in size from 5-12MB each.

Fixing various power issues on MacBook/MacBook Pro

If you find your MacBook or MacBook Pro having various power issues such as:

  • backlighting
  • hard disk spin down
  • sleep or wake issues
  • battery issues
  • trackpad control

the first thing you should try doing (after simply restarting your computer to see if that fixes it) is resetting the System Management Controller (SMC). The SMC is a chip on the logic board which is responsible for power management of the computer. Issues can and do pop up that render the settings in the SMC unusable, resulting in problems with the above mentioned items. Many times, resetting the SMC is all that is necessary to fix the problems. To reset the System Management Controller on the MacBook or MacBook Pro, do the following:

  1. Turn the computer off
  2. Disconnect the AC Adapter and remove the computer’s battery
  3. Press and hold the power button for 5 seconds, then release it
  4. Reconnect the battery and AC adapter
  5. Press the power button to restart the computer

The process is similar for MacBook Air users, as well as users of older Apple laptops which use the Power Management Unit (PMU) rather than the SMC. You can view this Apple support document for more info.

Who owns that Web site you designed?

It’s the age-old question of designers. “Who owns the design you just created for a Web site?” Most designers think they do, while most clients believe it’s work-for-hire and they own it. Pixelita Designs has an informative article covering the subject titled Who Owns Your Web Site? The article dates back to 2007, but the information is valid, and quite informative. You should also consider the same advice when dealing with print design work as well. The article also features some additional resources on the subject at the end.

Optimize PDF files with better results

Most people who work with PDFs in Acrobat versions older than version 8 know you can quickly reduce the file size of a PDF by going to the File menu and selecting Reduce File Size. The problem with using that method was that it virtually destroys your images, making them so blurry that you can barely see what they are. Thankfully, with Acrobat 8 and 9, a new PDF optimization method is available. The PDF Optimizer can be found in two places. The first place is in the menubar under Advanced>Print Production>PDF Optimizer. The second, and more handy location, is in the Save As dialog box, where you click the drop-down menu and select Adobe PDF Files, Optimized as seen below. Clicking the Settings button offers you complete control over how your PDF files get optimized. The first thing to do is figure out what’s taking up so much space in the file. You do this by clicking the Audit space usage button in the upper right corner of the PDF Optimizer dialog box. A window will open offering you a breakdown of what’s eating up all the space (see image below). As you can see in the image above, the images in my test PDF file are what’s taking up the most space, so that’s where I need to focus my attention. Close the Audit window to return to the PDF Optimize dialog box. In the panel list on the left side of the PDF Optimizer you can choose which areas of the PDF file you wish to work with. In the case of my test file, I chose Images. As you can see in the screenshot below, you can downsample your images, select the quality settings, and more. This as opposed to older versions of Acrobat where the program just decided for you to reduce everything to the bare minimum. The new PDF Optimizer gives YOU the control and the choice. Selecting other source items such as Transparency, Discard Objects, Fonts, and Clean Up are also available. I recommend you take a look at all of these to see where you might be able to save a few “k” in file size. It all adds up. I also recommend you don’t overwrite the original PDF file, just in case you’re not happy with the results. If you wish to see the PDF Optimizer in action, visit the Acrobat 9 PDF Optimizer page at CreativeTechs, where they have a brief video you can watch to learn more.

Organize your client file names & invoicing

Keeping your client’s digital files and invoice numbers is something no designer wants to deal with. But you’ll thank yourself later as your client list, and number of jobs grows beyond just a few. Here’s one way I’ve found very helpful in keeping my client’s digital files organized, and cross-referenced with the invoices I send out. Read on for how it works. (more…)

Quick and easy color management with Pantone ColorMunki

One of the most difficult aspects of graphic design is color management. It’s one of those things you know you should do, but often overwhelms all but the most expert of users. Thankfully, Pantone offers ColorMunki Design, a suite of hardware/software tools for designers and digital photographers to ensure accurate color from design to output. I recently wrote a full review of Pantone ColorMunki for Macworld, where I found that ColorMunki not only makes color calibration of your display and printer easy, but capturing colors from any substrate you can think of a snap! (more…)