A few of you wrote in last week offering some additional tips on use of the Application Switcher. Josh writes “I just thought I would mention another feature, which is running application switching in reverse by hitting command-~. If you have a lot of apps open, it can sometimes be frustrating to have to run thru a sequence of a dozen apps before you get to the one you want. Command-tilde goes right to left instead, which can get you there a lot faster.”
You’re absolutely right, Josh. I should add that the command-~ convention works elsewhere on the Mac, like cycling through open windows in most programs. If you have a bunch of Safari windows open and don’t want to cycle through them all, you can use command-tilde to cycle backwards.
Paul, a subscriber in Serbia (!), wrote to remind me that you can use the mouse to point to the application you want to switch to in the application switcher: “I enjoy using the application switcher very much. It is about the only Windoze utility that I am pleased to see reach the Mac platform. One thing I have discovered is you can “point” to any application in the pop-up bar using the cursor rather than rotating to it using the tab key.”
Thanks to Josh and Paul for writing. I love hearing from readers!
In our position as one of the larger Apple Specialists, it has been interesting to observe that an increasing number of businesses are adding Macs to their IT infrastructure. We’re seeing Macs in every department (legal, accounting, administrative, creative) of businesses in many different industries. We’ve even seen quite a few business become 100% Mac-based. […]
In the days of the classic MacOS, all downloaded files automatically had the web address entered into the comments field of their Info window. Of course, we had to regularly rebuild our desktop back then, and this often meant losing the contents of info windows. Thankfully, the days of rebuilding the desktop are long gone, and this feature is still present, though slightly different.
In OS X you can select a downloaded file in the Finder and select Get Info from the File menu, or press command-i to bring up the info window. Look for the “More Info” section, and click the disclosure triangle at left to reveal the file’s origin in the form of a web address.
This is a useful trick for those of us who stash away media, either for archival purposes or in a media server type environment. Sometimes these files become corrupted and re-downloading them is often the easiest way to get them back.
There are plenty of ways to secure the data on your laptop. There’s FileVault, which encrypts your entire home folder and often causes corruption-induced heartbreak; you can store your files in the cloud using your iDisk, a home server in conjunction with Back to My Mac and MobileMe, or Google Docs; you can keep your laptop free of any sensitive materials, keeping them instead on a flash drive.
You can use a firmware password to set up low-level password protection on your Mac. If it were stolen, the thief would have to know the password in order to use the computer at all. Of course, he could extract the hard drive and access your data, but the computer itself would be useless.
Setting a firmware password on your Intel Mac blocks the use of T, N, or C to put the computer into Target Disk Mode, NetBoot mode, or boot from optical media. It also blocks the ability to start up in single user mode, verbose mode, to reset the PRAM or boot disk in boot manager. Of course, you are required to enter the password to boot up normally.
If you forget your firmware password, there are ways for your authorized service provider to get around the security. Be prepared with some undeniable proof of ownership before you ask to have the protection removed. And no, I cannot disclose how to circumvent the password!
You can read more about this hidden feature of your Mac at the Apple Knowledge Base: http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1352?locale=en_US
One of the toughest things a technician has to do is tell customers that their hard drive has failed and recovering the data will likely cost thousands of dollars. A Small Dog customer brought in her 24-inch iMac earlier this month because it would not start up. It was on the bench and diagnosed as a failed hard drive a few hours later, and we contacted her with a few options: replace the hard drive under warranty and return the failed drive to Apple, or send the drive to DriveSavers for professional recovery.
DriveSavers is widely acknowledged as the most capable and best-equipped data recovery firm in the world, and our customer was happy to receive an external hard drive with 100% of her data mere days after sending in the toasted one. She was not happy about the bill, though, which was more than the cost of her computer!
We spoke at length on the phone about how all hard drives fail eventually and how she needs to have a backup system in place. She clearly understood what I was saying, and I made it clear that our conversation was not really about sales but about her protection. No backup drive was purchased.
Three weeks later, the warranty hard drive replacement has failed again. She didn’t back it up and has lost three weeks of work and simply cannot afford the pricey recovery again.
David Lerner, an owner of the preeminent New York City Apple Specialist and repair shop Tekserve, has in his e-mail signature __”May you have 1,000 backups and never need one.”__ It’s a mantra we all should take seriously.
This is just one more sad story about 100% preventable data loss. Do yourself a favor and get a Time Capsule, an external drive, even email important documents to yourself or stash them on your iDisk. A $200 Time Capsule is much cheaper than a $2200 data recovery!
Do yourself a favor!
“Time Capsule 500GB”:http://www.smalldog.com/product/70770
“Time Capsule 1TB”:http://www.smalldog.com/product/70771
It’s another beautiful Tuesday as Summer rolls in to the Green Mountains. Driving to my consults, I took full advantage of the warm weather with my windows rolled down. Toby joined in too, sticking his head far out the window and wind-drunkenly smiling all the way. We spent much of the weekend doing fun outdoor activities including spending time in my Father’s garden over Father’s Day. Gardening is a craft that runs in the family and it’s always a joy to plant and watch things grow. Unfortunately, this year the gophers and voles are __also__ enjoying watching our garden grow and they’ve been munching the broccoli, chard and beans to bits.
In more technical excitement, after updating my first generation iPhone to 3.0 and realizing there are quite a few features that I can’t take advantage of, I bit the bullet and ordered a 16GB 3G S! It comes as no surprise that despite it showing as “in stock,” after I placed the order, it’s now in the black hole of “backordered.” I’ve attempted to call AT&T a few times now to check on the backorder ETA, but each time I call and navigate through their plethora of menus I’m put on hold for 5-10 minutes and then “an error occurs” and I’m hung up on. It’s happened so many times now that I have to laugh at what an utter failure their phone system is.
I expect to wait for new products and am not the type of person who really needs the new hip thing the day it comes out, or at least this is what I keep trying to tell myself. That said, I do really care about how I’m treated as a consumer. No matter how amazing the product is, having a negative customer experience can significantly effect how one feels about the product __and__ the business. This is one of the reasons that focusing on creating a positive customer experience is so important for us at Small Dog. Not only do we sell great products at fair prices, but we have an amazing team that can walk you through your purchase in-store or over the phone and then help you with support, repairs and personal consultations as you grow with your products.
I hope you enjoy this week’s issue of Tech Tails, see you next week!