Month: July 2017

Using Onyx on your Mac

Using Onyx on your Mac

Onyx for Mac is a popular free utility that’s been available since 2003, and is regularly updated by Titanium software. It lets you verify the structure of your Mac’s hard drive, and perform a number of other functions in a fairly simple way. You can empty different caches, rebuild services and indexes, and loads more.
It’s not for everyone, but if you have a reasonably good understanding of how your Mac works, and want a good free tool to do some occasional cleaning up on your Mac, it’s a great tool. While I would not recommend it for complete beginners, if you’re an intermediate Mac user and would like a free maintenance tool in your arsenal, this is probably the one I would recommend.

There are different versions of Onyx specific to each macOS / OSX operating systems. From the Titanium software homepage, you can find the version that’s right for you. You can download Onyx from their homepage.

The only thing I would add is that if there are options that you don’t understand, don’t click on them until you learn more. While you’re not going to break anything, you could end up with some unintended consequences if you just click on everything. Happy cleaning !

Posted by Ian Van Slyke in Mac, Productivity, Software, 0 comments
New Apple updates

New Apple updates

This week, Apple released updates for a lot of their products, including the Mac, iPhone & iPad, the Apple watch, and Apple TV. These are mainly bug fixes and security improvements, with no real new features. But any security improvements are pretty important these days, and I would highly recommend that you do the iOS 10.3.3  update in particular, as it resolves an important Wi-Fi security issue. Overall, if you own any of these products, you should update since you’re only going to get stability improvements with no downsides.

Posted by Ian Van Slyke in Apple news, iOS, iPhone, Mac, Mac Security, 0 comments
Using the Focus app for productivity

Using the Focus app for productivity

There are times when you need to get some serious work done on your Mac, and you cannot allow yourself to be easily distracted. Of course, these days, that is easier said than done. Between Email, social media, Netflix, YouTube, web-sites, games and whatever else you might find yourself compulsively going to when working on the computer, it can be hard to resist distractions. But of course, there is technology available to help you resist those urges. I’ve been using the Focus app for a couple of years now, and I find it to be a fantastic tool.
Once installed, you can use Focus to create timed sessions during which you can either block certain applications from working, or block certain distracting web-sites, or do both. I often use Focus to block my Mac Mail application from working, while also blocking a large list of web-sites from being accessible.

You can customize a number of things about Focus, including which apps and web-sites you can block, create schedules, choose how long your focused sessions last, and plenty more. I definitely recommend this app, and you can try for free for 14 days, and buy it for $19.99 if you want to keep using it ( I am in not affiliated with this company in any way ). You can find the Focus app on their website at

Posted by Ian Van Slyke in Mac, Productivity, Recommendations, Software, 0 comments
Avoiding malware on Mac

Avoiding malware on Mac

Over the last few years of working with clients, I’ve seen a huge spike in people picking up malware/adware on their Mac. Malware is a pretty broad term which encompasses all sorts of malicious software, but the kind you’re most likely to get on your Mac is usually adware. Once on your computer it will embed itself in your web browsers and might start re-directing your web traffic, change your homepage, and probably show you all sorts of unwanted ads, warning messages and pop-ups. Malware on the Mac is not particularly harmful, but can be very annoying, and seriously limit what you can do on the web. That being said, it’s usually fairly easy to remove.

But ideally, you want to avoid picking up malware in the first place by taking some basic precautions. One of the most common ways that people pick up malware on their computer is by mistakenly downloading fake Adobe Flash updates. You’ll see some sort of pop-up that tells you need to install a newer version of Flash, but when you click on it you end up unknowingly installing malware instead. Here’s how you should install Flash updates the safe way :
Go to your System Preferences and click on the Flash Player at the bottom left of the window.

macOS system preferences

Once there, look for the Updates tab and run a check to see whether you do need updates. And if so, do it from here. This is one of the best ways you can avoid malware.

The other big precaution you can take is by not downloading movies, music, software and games from illegal sharing sites. Unfortunately, even though it may be tempting, those sites are filled with offers for free stuff that often turn out to be infected with malware. So, you just need to use good judgement there.

And finally, my other big recommendation is to stay  away from anything called MacKeeper, MacDefender, or MacSecurity at all costs. These programs are actually malware themselves, and try to fool people into downloading the software and then make the problem you’re trying to fix even worse. If you’ve ever downloaded any of these, remove them from your Mac using MalwareBytes for Mac. This is an excellent piece of software that removes malware from your Mac, and it’s free.

So, there you go, hopefully this helps to keep your Mac safe out there 🤓

Posted by Ian Van Slyke in Mac, Mac Security, Recommendations, Tips & Tricks, 0 comments
Taking screenshots on Mac

Taking screenshots on Mac

One of the most useful keyboard shortcuts on the Mac (which is not easy to remember), is the shortcut to take a screenshot. If there is something on your Mac that you’d like to save as an image , you can easily do so by doing the following : Press a combination of Shift + Command + 4 on your keyboard first, you will see a little target icon appear instead of your mouse pointer, and you can then make a selection around the area on your screen you’d like to save as a screenshot.
Once you release the keys, the image will be saved to your desktop. And there you have it 🔥

Posted by Ian Van Slyke in Mac, Productivity, Tips & Tricks, 0 comments