Category: Mac & OS X

Mac OSX topics

How to speed-up Time Machine backups

Time Machine
Time Machine, Apple’s built-in file backup and recovery tool, is awesome… eventually. I say that because it’s sloooooowww. You can quickly speed-up Time Machine’s backup process by typing the following in the Terminal:
sudo sysctl debug.lowpri_throttle_enabled=0

Type in your password and hit return and you’re good-to-go.

Unfortunately, this trick won’t hold through a restart. To do that, you can follow Mac Kung Fu‘s advice on how to permanently speed-up Time Machine.

Tutorial: Securely erasing a Mac SSD drive

With an SSD drive, Secure Erase and Erasing Free Space are not available in Disk Utility. These options are not needed for an SSD drive because a standard erase makes it difficult to recover data from an SSD.

Even though Apple states that you really don’t need to perform a Secure Erase on an SSD Drive, Peter Cohen put together a great tutorial on how to do just that over at the BackBlaze Blog. For those who take security seriously, Peter’s “Better safe than sorry” article is worth the read.

Suitcase Fusion 7: It’s kind of a big deal

Suitcase Fusion 7 iconAs a graphic designer, I have a small set of tools that I depend on and trust. Since fonts are the lifeblood of most designers, a great font manager is vital to our workflow. I’ve been using Suitcase for decades because I’ve found it to be the best all-around tool for the job. It’s compatible with all my design apps, it’s fast and stable, and it offers just the right amount of nice new features to keep me upgrading. I fear that my reviews of each new release are beginning to sound like a broken record. (more…)

Uplet brings Instagram uploads to the Mac

UpsetI have a love/hate relationship with social media services and apps. There’s something about every one of them that I dislike. In the case of Instagram, the limitation of only being able to upload images via the smartphone app has always driven me crazy. Why Instagram doesn’t at least offer a web upload option is beyond me. I was at the point where I found myself using Instagram less and less when the folks at Eltima offered me the opportunity to try Uplet—their new app that allows you to upload images to Instagram right from your Mac.

Uplet helps you share multiple photos with one click, while keeping their resolution and quality. There are multiple advantages to using Uplet on your Mac vs. the official Instagram app on your smartphone. For starters, I find it much easier to find the pictures I want to upload using OS X’s Photos app than the iPhone counterpart. Second, I can type photo captions much faster on my Mac’s keyboard than I can even on my iPhone 6s Plus. And finally, while the Instagram app on my phone can only upload one photo at a time, Uplet allows you to upload as many images as you wish, all with one click (see warning at the end of this article).

Pros:

Using Uplet is simple. You drag one or more images into the main window (or click the + button and add them via a standard dialog box. Once the image(s) display in the window, you click the Add Caption icon.

Upset app
The window switches to edit mode where you type in your photo caption, clicking on the navigation arrows to move between images. It’s also where you can crop your images before uploading. You do this simply by dragging the image around to move it left, right, up or down. Clicking the double arrows in the lower left corner reduces the image to fit in the window, or enlarging it.

Uplet Instagram uploader
When you’re finished cropping and adding captions you click the Share All button and you’re done. The images upload and post to Instagram fairly quickly, depending on the size and resolution of your images.

Cons:

There’s only one thing about Uplet that I don’t like, it’s the way cropping works. It’s extremely limiting. If you have a tall image, Uplet sets the full width of the image leaving your only option to move the image up or down to crop. If your image is wide, Uplet sets the full height and you can only slide it side to side. You can’t zoom in to crop a specific area of an image the way you can in the Instagram app (or any other image editor).

Unfortunately, Uplet doesn’t currently support uploading of videos, nor can you apply native Instagram filters to your images. But Eltima states that they are working on adding both to the app. Disappointing to be sure, but this is a 1.0 release.

Warning:

Uplet is not sanctioned by Instagram, which doesn’t allow bulk uploading, let alone directly from your Mac. Uplet doesn’t use the official Instagram API. There’s a lengthy explanation and warning on the Eltima site to explain how Upset works and what you can do to avoid being banned by Instagram.

The gist of it is this: Instagram allows you to upload only 100 photos in a 24-hour period. Don’t push your luck. Only upload unique photos, and make sure your captions aren’t strictly a copy/paste—each one should be unique as well. Also, you should only use the app on one Mac, and not while you’re also using it on your phone.

It all sounds scary, but when you think about, it’s all common sense.

Final thoughts:

If you want to upload a lot of existing photos from your Mac to Instagram, Uplet is a bargain at only $4.99.

I’ve been using Uplet for a few weeks with no issues, and found it a pleasure to use. I’m looking forward to future versions with filters added on.

Get your OS X 10.11.4 Combo & Delta updaters here

El Capitan Update

If you’re ready to update to the latest El Capitan release, but hate amount of time it takes to download via the Mac App Store—and the fact that you don’t have an installer left behind to use on other Macs—then what you want are one of these two installers from Apple.

Combo Update: Updates any version of El Capitan, including the recent betas. I find this the most useful DMG to keep around.
Delta Update: Will only update El Capitan version 10.11.3 or the recent 10.11.4 betas. This will be the quickest download (though not by much).

Apple Watch screensaver for OS X

Apple Watch screensaver

If you like having new screensaver on your Mac, grab this Apple Watch screensaver from Rasmus Nielsen. With 5 different watch faces and 15 color combinations to choose from, it’s Retina-ready, free and looks beautiful. You can download it here.

Weather in the Mac’s menubar: Welcome back, old friend

Years ago I used to have an app that showed the weather in my designated cities in the menubar. It wasn’t overloaded with features, it was free, and it worked great. Then it stopped working, and users gave up waiting for updates.

Years went by without a peep from the developer, until…

Meteorologist
Meteorologist has finally been updated to work with Yosemite and El Capitan. Completely re-written in Swift, the new version looks the same, but works much better.

I like that I can get a snapshot of the weather where I live, where I work, and a number of other cities with a click of an icon in the menubar—without all the data-sucking maps and doc-dads of other weather apps. If you’re looking for a weather app, I encourage you to give it a try.

How to force your Mac to shut its pie-hole at startup time

Sound icon

When your Mac powers on, the process starts with a (usually) loud and obnoxious boot chime like the one below.

I love the sound the first time I boot-up a new Mac, but after that it can be quite annoying. If you have your own reasons for not wanting to hear the startup chime, you can temporarily or permanently disable it.

To temporarily disable the startup chime, simply hold down the Mute key (F-10) on any supported keyboard as soon as you hit the power button or select the restart menu item from a running system.

For a more permanent solution, enter the following text exactly as shown in the Terminal app:
sudo nvram SystemAudioVolume=%80
Enter your password, and Shut Down (it must be a Shut Down, not a Restart) your Mac to see if it works.

It should work for most Macs, but if it doesn’t then try substituting the “80” part with a pair of characters from 0-9 or A-F, depending on your system. You can check to see what method your system uses by typing the following in the Terminal:
nvram SystemAudioVolume

For those who don’t like fussing with the Terminal, you can download Onyx for free and go into the Login tab and click the Turn Off button for the Startup Sound. This method is probably going to be the easiest for most people.