September 17, 2011

Update to OSX Lion 10.7

II updated to Lion as soon as it came out, while ke
eping a “Clone” of Snow Leopard handy in case I had to use Appleworks or other unsupported Power PC Software.

I find
that it really adds a good deal of pure pleasure to my Mac experience. A small part of that pleasure is just he look and animation of opening windows, but the biggest part of the pleasure is using Safari with a large screen and a magic mouse. (Or you could use a magic trackpad or a laptop trackpad.)

Using gestures, sliding finger motion on the magic mouse or track pad, enables elegant navigation backwards or forwards on page links instead of using the mouse and the navigation arrows. Once you reach a page you can tap the magic mouse to zoom in on the text block you want to read and scroll without any ratchet motion, up, down and sideways.

The new Mail application also presents messages in an attractive style, similar to what some of you have come to love on you iPads. Mail integrates nicely with Gmail, and offers the possibility of instantly archiving important files to your Mac’s hard drive or to Gmail’s cloud, or both.

dows users have long envied the Apple Preview application that opens just about any file including PDF files and those new, not so compatible Microsoft Word docx files, so Macs do not need Adobe Reader. Your Mac can create a Preview PDF, which you can keep or email, from any file that you can print. Preview also has functions to enable you to annotate, add text, lines, arrows and even your handwritten signature to PDFs that you create or ones that you receive and have to send back. You can do all of this without a scanner. Preview uses the built in iSight camera on your Mac to take a picture and create a digital version of your signature.

With Preview, you can also convert files to and from PDF, JPEG, JPEG 2000, OpenEXR, PNG and TIFF.

ple finally has made Spaces, renamed Mission Control, make sense. Now you can relieve the clutter of open windows by moving them to other desktops that you create. Then you can navigate to them with finger swipes on your “Magic” device of choice or use the keyboard or dock icon.

Incidentally you can connect multiple pointing devices to your mac use them at the same time, so you could have a wired mouse, Magic Mouse and Magic track pad all available to you at the same time if you can live with some desktop clutter. I use one wireless mouse and keyboard for watching Movies and TV on my flat screen TV with another mouse and keyboard at my desk for work.

Lion does beg a slight learning curve to learn to become finger-proficient with all the sliding and swiping, but the new dexterity pays off handsomely.

The new Calendar and Address Book also need a slight learning curve to use or to bypass the quick event helper.

lly I the new Launch Pad application boggled me because I have and need to be proficient in over 100 applications to do my work. These programs ended up spreading over 9 screens. To tame the “Lion: in Launch Pad, I created some folders (just by putting one icon over another), I dragged thsee folders screen by screen, gathering up programs I hardly use  so I could move them as a group to distant screens. Other folders collected like categories of programs together, bringing important ones to the first three screens.

Once Programs are in folders, you can drag all of them into one of the screens outside the folder for faster visual identification, and others can simply remain in folders where you know how to find them easily.

Lion requires a Mac with an Intel Core 2 Duo processor later such as the Core I5 or Core I7. It will struggle with 2 Gigs of ram, but I recommend 4 Gigs or more. Ram is cheap these days, “knock yourselves out.”


Computer Seurity Begins with a Backup Plan

Years ago I was an executive in the Photographic Industry. One of the nightmares in that line of work is telling a customer that the photo laboratory had a technical failure and all her photos are lost. To the customer who wants to get married again or take another trip of a lifetime, the contract only supplied a new roll of film, processing included.

This points out why I tend to be very insistent that people develop a back-up plan for their computers since they now hold more than photo memories, but music and critical business and personal files as well.

The Mac provides an excellent back up soluti
on in the free Time Machine Software. Not only does Time Machine keep hourly back ups, enabling you to recover files that you have accidentally discarded, but it also preserves older versions of files you may have edited and wish you hadn’t.

Another advantage of Time Machine is that it can be set to back up files that you keep on a permanently attached external drive (that you might use as your files outgrow the internal drive that came with your computer). Time Machine also gives you a choice to back up your software and system settings or not.

I recommend using Time Machine software with a USB or FireWire hard drive connected directly to your computer rather than Apple’s solution that integrates the backup drive with a wireless Airport Extreme base station. My reason is that back ups take too long over wireless and the internal hard drive plus the base station generate a lot of heat suggesting that the unit could easily fail.

Personally, I replace my Time Machine hard drive every 18 months or so using the old drive for longer-term storage of files I have taken off my computer. Of course I keep the Time Machine files on the drive until I’m comfortable that the new drive has fully backed up.

For added security USB cables may be up to 5 metres long, special FireWire cables can extend 9 metres, and even further with FireWire repeaters, so it is possible to have your back up well out of sight of the computer in case of a break in.

For even more security, you can
use a hard drive dock and internal drives, switching drives on a regular basis, keeping one well away from your computer in a safe or possibly the spare tire well of your car.

Your choice of Drive size should be equal to or greater than the total capacity of your internal hard drive plus the additional permanently attached hard drives. Single drives in sizes up to 3 terabytes are inexpensive and widely available and for more storage you can get various size Raid arrays, which use 2 or more hard drives configured to create a single larger partition.

I also
have a secondary back up to another dedicated disk. This back up, called a clone, backs up only my internal hard drive, but it backs it up so that in the event of a failure or theft of my Mac, I can connect it to another Mac and use it immediately.

For any files that were on connected externals (if those were lost too), I can access those files from my Time Machine back up.

n the same subject, I try to get my clients to use or at least to mirror their email accounts on Gmail. Since a major part of one’s life is on email, this tactic provides a secondary of back up of part of your computer in the cloud.


Recently while I was shopping at Costco, a woman recognized me from the time I worked at Westworld and remarked how she misses the help and service I provided there. I get that quite often, and Westworld is very good about giving my card and phone number to their customers who want to get in touch or need help.

Sometimes people express their appreciation in writing in which case I ask if I may include their comments on the testimonials page of my website, with or without their full name. If you are inclined to write a brief message, I would be most grateful.