Apple's Time Machine feature is a full-system backup routine that will maintain hourly backups for the past day, daily backups for the past week, and weekly backups for as long as there is space in the drive to store them, and uses a feature called "hard linking" to share unchanged data of previous backup files with new files copied to the backups. This routine should ensure that even with a relatively small backup drive (at least the size of the collective data you are backing up), you will have ample system restore points and access to prior … Read more
The PDF format is handy as a cross-platform approach to preserving document layout and structure; PDFs are commonly used for electronic forms with editable fields for you to fill in data. While this is convenient, if you have a PDF form you are managing, you may run into an issue if you want to save the PDF's entered data in a static form that can no longer be edited.
Doing this is called "flattening" a document, and is commonly applied to any file type that contains multiple elements to present a final rendered product. For example, a … Read more
If multiple users on an OS X system use iTunes, by default each will have a separate iTunes media folder in which music files are stored. This is convenient for privacy, but it will prevent users from sharing common music, which may be desired for household members or coworkers using the same Mac.
If you would like to share the same media files in iTunes among multiple users, there are a couple of approaches you can take.
One option is to share all iTunes music files between accounts, so while playlists and individual music organization for each account will be … Read more
Managing passwords in Firefox is relatively easy, but doesn't afford you the same flexibility you'll find in Google Chrome. When you mistype a password in Chrome, you can easily open the password manager and adjust the typo. However, in Firefox, you only have the option to delete the saved password, and start anew.
One perk that you will find with Firefox is a master password to protect your sensitive data. Although this is just a small hurdle for someone who is determined to get your information, it's better than the zero security options you'll find for … Read more
For most computer tasks, nothing beats the good ol' keyboard and mouse. But the Leap Motion Controller is here, and it's challenging the way we think about navigating our computers.
If you're one of the early adopters looking for a hint of "Minority Report" in your life, the Leap Motion is already quick to impress (or at least entertain). With it, you can play games, draw, and even perform unexpected tasks -- like unlocking your PC -- without ever touching the mouse. Sounds awesome, but the device does have some quirks that could cause some … Read more
To hear Google tell it, you'd think its Chromecast practically installed itself. I can tell you from experience that this is not the case.
To Google's credit, Chromecast setup is a breeze compared with some of the hair-pulling experiences I've had involving the Apple TV, for which I suspect Apple designed the remote control out of metal in order to help you withstand the compulsion to throw that thing back into the useless hell it spawned from. But I digress. Here's how to set up your Google Chromecast.
Plugging it in Sounds simple enough. Grab your … Read more
There are generally two relevant IP addresses that your computer will use. The first is the LAN address, configured directly on your system, which is the private IP address that computers and devices use to communicate when behind a router (such as that at your home). The second is the public IP address issued by your Internet service provider, and can usually be used either directly on your system or with a router.
In most cases, private IP addresses are set up by a router to establish a protected network for computers and other devices, and are not directly accessible … Read more
The standard method for transferring files between Macs is to use a USB drive, or conventional file-sharing services via network connections, though these days the use of synchronization services like BitTorrent Sync, Dropbox, and Google Drive offer progressively reliable alternatives. When using standard file sharing, you should be able to log in to the system and see your hard drives and home folder as share points for reading and writing files.
However, sometimes an odd snafu or two may prevent these services from working. If you find yourself unable to log in to your system and mount a shared folder, … Read more
Mac OS X is a thoroughly modern operating system, except for the shocking lack of an uninstall program. Dragging an application to the trash removes the app itself from your hard drive (well, after you empty your trash), but this method leaves behind many associated files that got installed along with the app. Thankfully, there is a free third-party app that rounds up all of the supporting files rattling around your hard drive and deletes them along with whatever app you are uninstalling.
While quitting an application in OS X generally involves pressing Command-Q or selecting "Quit" from the application menu (immediately to the right of the Apple menu), there are times when an application may be hung up and require force-quitting. This kills the running process without any checks for unsaved data, and while not always recommended, may sometimes be the last resort for restoring an application (and sometimes the system) to a functional state.
If you find yourself with an unresponsive application and see a spinning color wheel cursor whenever you attempt to interact with the program, then you … Read more