Software

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
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 https://heyfocus.com/

Posted by Ian Van Slyke in Mac, Productivity, Recommendations, Software, 0 comments
Microsoft Outlook updates

Microsoft Outlook updates

Microsoft has consistently been adding new features to their Microsoft Office 365 suite of apps recently, by listening to users, and implementing the most requested features. This week, Outlook has added new features such as email scheduling, read and delivery receipts, and email templates. Overall, it’s just very encouraging to see Microsoft improving their Mac apps on a regular basis as they have been doing of late, and bodes well for the future of Microsoft apps on macOS and iOS.

Posted by Ian Van Slyke in Apple news, iOS, Mac, Software, 0 comments
The iWork apps have been updated

The iWork apps have been updated

Today, Apple released updates for Keynote, Numbers and Pages. The biggest new feature they’ve added is a greatly expanded shape library by adding over 500 new shapes and symbols. And these look great ! They are very high quality and you can also do some very cool things with these shapes, such as Unite, Intersect, Subtract and Exclude in order to create some brand new shapes of your own. You can also add styles to these shapes such as borders, fills, shadows and more. So, it opens up a whole lot of possibilities for creating and saving new artwork and symbols in your documents.
There is also some improvements to Auto-correction, Threaded comments, and Print Preview. The updates are available from the Mac App store and when you open up one of the apps after updating, it will show you a list of the new available features and improvements.

Posted by Ian Van Slyke in Apple news, Mac, Productivity, Software, 0 comments
Apple’s new file system

Apple’s new file system

When Apple introduces macOS High Sierra in the fall, it will introduce a new file system to the Mac. The new operating system will phase out the HFS+ file system which the Mac has been using since Mac OS 8 (which was introduced in 1997) and will replace it with the new Apple File System (APFS) which is already being used in iOS 10.3.
This new operating system introduces an advanced 64-bit architecture and a responsive design to cut down on the time it takes to do common tasks. It also brings some heavy-duty security, including built‑in encryption, crash‑safe protections, and simplified data backup on the go. Copying files and backing up your data are two areas which will be dramatically faster. Overall, it should make your Mac noticeably snappier, and make it even more secure.
Under the hood, this is a big change, and while Apple is trying to make the switch as problem-free as possible, you will still want to take every precaution possible during the upgrade process when High Sierra becomes available in the fall.

Posted by Ian Van Slyke in Apple news, Mac, Software, 0 comments
Stay away from MacKeeper

Stay away from MacKeeper

MacKeeper is one the worst applications you can have on your Mac. What was once a great application has unfortunately been turned into a very crappy piece  of malware. Under no circumstances should you ever install MacKeeper on your computer, no matter how compelling some of the reviews you may read online. Those reviews have been paid for by Kromtech Alliance, the company that acquired MacKeeper in 2013. There has been many claims of fraud regarding this company.
So, my advice is to stay away from this product at all costs. And if you’ve ever installed it on one of your Macs, make sure to fully delete it from that computer using the instructions in the article that I’m providing a link to below :
This article explains how to completely delete MacKeeper from your Mac

Posted by Ian Van Slyke in Mac, Productivity, Software, Tips & Tricks, 0 comments
Apple releases updates

Apple releases updates

Time to update ! Today Apple released iOS 10.3.2, watchOS 3.2.2, tvOS 10.2.1, and macOS Sierra 10.12.5 updates. These are mainly security and bug fixes, but I would highly recommend that you take the time to do these updates. Particularly the Sierra update as it squashes 30 security holes, some of which were pretty serious. With all the malware going around at the moment, you want to make sure you’re completely up to date, particularly on your computer.

Posted by Ian Van Slyke in iOS, iPhone, Mac, Software, 0 comments
Managing hard drive space on your Mac using Sierra

Managing hard drive space on your Mac using Sierra

The management of files on your Mac hard drive has always been an important issue, and something you should carefully monitor. And now,  because a lot of the newer Macs come with SSD drives which are quite fast but usually smaller in capacity than the older traditional hard drives, it’s become tougher for some mac users to fit all their files on their computer. Pictures, movies, TV shows, music and podcasts on your computer can gobble up your hard drive space very quickly. You can, and should, move those types of files to the cloud or to external hard drives whenever possible. But first you need to know exactly what is taking up space on your Mac, which is what I’m going to show you now.

If you’re using the latest version of macOS, which is Sierra, or 10.12, you have a very powerful built-in tool which let’s you see exactly what is taking up space on your hard drive. All you have to do is go to the Apple logo on the top left of your screen and choose > About This Mac. A little panel will open up with a few different options. Choose Storage, at which point your Mac will scan itself, and after a few minutes will show a little colored graph with a breakdown of different categories of files on your Mac. Such as System files, Documents, Apps, Photos, iTunes, and so on. Now, if you click on the Manage button, a new panel will open up showing you an exact breakdown of all these files in each categories, the size of the files, and when it was last accessed. If you find any files that are certain you will no longer need, you can right-click on the file and delete it. Just be careful and do not start just deleting stuff if you’re not sure what the file is.

Storage graph

mac file management
If you are not using macOS Sierra, but an older version of the Mac operating system, then I would highly recommend an app called DaisyDisk, which does something very similar to what I’ve just described. It’s a paid app, but definitely worth it. You can find DaisyDisk here

Posted by Ian Van Slyke in Learning, Mac, Productivity, Software, Tips & Tricks, 0 comments
The Sweet Setup website

The Sweet Setup website

Over the last couple of years, one of my favorite website to go visit once in a while is the The Sweet Setup. They review and recommend some of the best apps you can get for your iPhone, iPad, and Mac. They sort things out in categories such as Productivity, Backups, Photography, Travel, and quite a few other categories. Typically, they will review a bunch of similar products at once and tell you which one they liked best, and why. If you own any Apple products, this site is incredibly helpful in helping you make smart buying decisions for a variety of software and apps available for your devices.

You can check out The Sweet Setup here

Posted by Ian Van Slyke in iPhone, Productivity, Recommendations, Software, 0 comments
Apple makes iMovie, GarageBand and iWork apps free for all users

Apple makes iMovie, GarageBand and iWork apps free for all users

Today, iMovie, Numbers, Keynote, Pages, and GarageBand for both Mac and iOS devices have been updated and are now listed in the App Store for free.
Previously, all of these apps were provided for free to customers who purchased a new Mac or iOS device, but now a purchase is not required to get the software. Many Apple customers were already likely eligible to download the software at no cost if they had made a device purchase in the last few years. Today’s app changes will also make it easier for business and educational institutions to download Pages, Numbers, Keynote, GarageBand, and iMovie through the Volume Purchase Program store.
It will also make it easier for anyone with an older Mac to download the recent version of these apps, if they didn’t want to spend as much as $20 a piece for the newer versions.

Posted by Ian Van Slyke in iOS, Mac, Productivity, Software, 0 comments