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Apple OS Mac iMac MacBook tips and fixes
Old 03-21-2016, 10:45 AM   #1
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Apple OS Mac iMac MacBook tips and fixes

There are lots of Apple Mac owners here so I thought it would be good to have one group of messages for fixes and tips.

I'll start with a battery condition app I learned about today - Coconut Battery.

CB examines the battery and gives quite a bit of information on the condition of the battery, including how much of the original capacity is left. My eight year old MacBook still has 76% of its capacity left. Very nice.

It also includes the batteries age and the number of load cycles it has been through. Mine is pushing 300.

It also allows you to keep a history of each check. Very Nice #2!!

Edited to add: Be careful you only download Coconut Battery and not MacKeeper or other apps you may not want. Take your time and click on the right button.

coconutBattery 3.3 - by coconut-flavour.com
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Old 03-21-2016, 11:04 AM   #2
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Very nice, Chuckanut - thanks for posting. My almost 5-year-old MacBook pro is at just over 200 cycles and 87% capacity, which surprised me. Guess the battery won't give me an excuse for a new toy anytime soon!

One warning - the download page almost tricked me into downloading MacKeeper (bad stuff) as there was an ad for it with a download button right above the actual download link. So be careful if you don't use adblockers.

My tip is the best site for Apple news and tips, including ebooks on many useful topics - TidBITS — Apple news for the rest of us. I've subscribed to their weekly newsletter for more than 20 years and learn something useful nearly every week.
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Old 03-21-2016, 11:17 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by MBAustin View Post

One warning - the download page almost tricked me into downloading MacKeeper (bad stuff) as there was an ad for it with a download button right above the actual download link. So be careful if you don't use adblockers.
Interesting, I did not see anything about MacKeeper but perhaps the Privacy Badger App suppressed it. Thanks for the warning I have added it to my post.
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Old 03-21-2016, 12:36 PM   #4
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Thanks for an area for tips. Here's what little I can offer. I had many PCs in my life and generally found they had a useful life of 3 yrs, maybe up to 5 if I really stretched them. Therefore I minimized cost of maintenance / repairs when they got near 3 yrs due to a history of 3-5 yrs being end of life.

I found that I don't like that philosophy on my Mac. Instead I plan for much longer life (assuming 8-9 yrs as a basis now for lack of better data). I still am using my 1st Mac I bought in 5/09 - Macbook (13" Aluminum, Late 2008 model, 2GHZ processor, 2GB memory chip, 160 MB hard drive). At 5.5 yrs my hard drive failed so I did the three things below. Hope the comments may help other Mac newbies like I was.


(1) Hard disc failure - original 160 GB, 5400 rpm hard drive failed at 5.5 yrs. Replaced with similar design but more memory - 1 TB, 5400 RPM for ~$70. Was an easy self install. Now that I realize how long this computer lasts, wish I had spent the extra $30 to buy a 240GB solid state drive. I personally don't need the added hard drive space I have and would prefer the faster opening/closing of programs that I hear SSD provides over the old drive types. Live and learn.

(2) RAM Upgrade - Since I had to replace hard drive, decided to upgrade RAM at the same time. Basic reason was that when I had many (4-6) windows opened, the RAM was fully used and the computer was using virtual memory as backup which slowed things noticeably. Originally I had 2 GB ram and original specs said it could only be upgraded to 4 (2GB x 2 slots = 4 GB). Apple website still said the same. Searched the standard offerings from other suppliers like Crucial and OWC and found 8GB (4GB x 2 slots) available. Bought the 8GB and found speed back to normal even with many windows open. Again, was an easy self install.

(3) Battery replacement - at 5.5 yrs my battery still showed good but didn't hold a charge long enough to see a full movie anymore. I went online and found non-OEM batteries with good reviews and bought one for less than 1/2 price of OEM battery. Mistake. Wasn't any better than my 5.5 yr old OEM battery. Decided to return and replace with new OEM battery at 2x cost. Now very happy.

One other tidbit that Mac Newbies may find helpful. I had lots of Microsoft Office files that I wanted to continue to have access to when I switched to a Mac. Most were Word and Excell. A few Powerpoint. Found that the free softward OpenOffice works fine on all of them and requires very little learning to use as my program for new files. Saved $$ by not having to buy a new MS Office version for my Mac.
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Old 03-21-2016, 01:07 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Whisper66 View Post

One other tidbit that Mac Newbies may find helpful. I had lots of Microsoft Office files that I wanted to continue to have access to when I switched to a Mac. Most were Word and Excell. A few Powerpoint. Found that the free softward OpenOffice works fine on all of them and requires very little learning to use as my program for new files. Saved $$ by not having to buy a new MS Office version for my Mac.
+1

When I switched to a Mac in January this year I found it easier than expected to move all my files. I plugged in the external disk I had been using to backup by Windows PC and copied all the files and file structure (folders) onto my Mac. Downloaded OpenOffice for the Mac from the web, and all Excel and Word files were readable with no conversions needed.
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Old 03-24-2016, 09:37 AM   #6
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Learn all of the touch gestures for the trackpad/ Magic Mouse. You can see these in the system tools. I find it makes a huge difference in usability and I find these much easier than hot keys.

Get SuperDuper or CCC and make a bootable clone of your start disk.

Remember to unplug your laptop and run down the batteries every once in a while.

Turn on full disk encryption with FileVault. Just make sure you don't lose the key.

To save space on my laptop I turn off the option where time machine will make local backups when the time machine disk isn't available. I forget how to do this but you can google it.

I exclude certain directories from time machine like games and caches. This help especially if your game tends to get a lot of updates (eg blizzard).

To fine tune brightness of the screen you can hold down the option key and the screen will adjust fractionally - useful if you calibrate your screen for photography.








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