Tag: mac

Jan 6 2016

A Twitter For Mac Bug That Breaks My Heart – And Workflow

Let’s start with my bias. I love Twitter, use it all the time (a lot more than Facebook), and will continue to love and root for Twitter.

I’ve been a Twitter for Mac user for a long time. I know it’s out of favor with all the cool kids, but it works for me.

It sits quietly on the left side of my giant screen and whenever a little dot shows up next to the second icon (I think it’s a tilted bell) I know I have something that has @bfeld in it that I should look at or respond to. And, when I feel like tweeting something, the app is right there on the left side of my screen.

Last week when Twitter for Mac was upgraded to raving from folks like Cult of Mac in their post Twitter for Mac doesn’t suck anymore I was psyched to install the update from the Mac App Store. So I did.

Here’s the problem. Suddenly refresh no longer works on the notification page (second icon). Now, when there’s a little dot there, I have to click the first icon (Home) and then the second icon (titled bell).

Sadness ensued. I presume that this has already been reported to gang at Black Pixel. I was hoping this would get fixed in version 4.0.1 which came out yesterday. But it didn’t. So here’s hoping for 4.02.

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Dec 20 2015

What To Do When Google Chrome Helper Eats Your Mac’s Battery Life

A few days ago, I noticed that my MacBook Air fully charged battery life had suddenly gone from around seven hours to under two hours and the fan was going full speed.

This has happened in the past and I couldn’t remember what I did to fix it. I blew it off for a few days until I got tired of having to plug my computer in every few hours. A quick look at Mac Activity Monitor showed me that Google Chrome Helper was eating up all my CPU (often at 100%) and subsequently crushing the battery life.

A search on Google didn’t turn up anything terribly satisfying. I found lots of complaints, a few suggestions to turn of automatic plug-in loading, and lots of “hey Google, fix this” dating back to 2011. Buried somewhere in one of the threads was a note to try clearing my browser cache.

Clear Google Browser Cache

Of course, there is no “clear browser cache” option any more, but there is now a “hamburger menu: More Tools: Clear Browsing Data” option.

That solved it. I saw over seven hours of battery life today. No fan. Simple, but buried.

Some day all this shit will just work. Well – maybe not.

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Feb 26 2011

Disabling Horizontal Scroll on the Mac

I love when the combination of Google Search and the a great discussion board quickly solve something that has been driving me batshit for a while.

I finally stopped procrastinating and started the final two day edit push on Venture Financings: How To Be Smarter Than Your Lawyer And VC. However, for the last month I’ve become increasingly annoyed by the horizontal scrolling thing that happens within Microsoft Word 2011 on the Mac when I accidentally brush my fingers horizontally on the magic mouse. In an effort to continue procrastinating (which I clearly have succeeded at) I went looking for a solution this morning.

Two minutes later I found it after typing mac word 2011 horizontal scrolling with mouse into Google. The post is on the Apple Discussions board and titled “Topic : Magic Mouse – Disable horizontal scrolling ?” The solution is:

Run Terminal (in your Applications/Utilities folder)

Paste the following command into the Terminal window:

defaults write com.apple.driver.AppleBluetoothMultitouch.mouse MouseHorizontalScroll -bool NO

Turn off your magic mouse with the power switch and wait until it disconnects

Turn your magic mouse back on

I have now banished horizontal scroll from my life and exhausted my last good reason to procrastinate right now.

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Aug 13 2010

What Do You Hate The Most About Your Mac?

Now that my complete and total infatuation with my Mac has worn off and shifted into delight and love, I’m starting to explore the weaknesses of the Mac for not other reason than I’m trying to figure out where the real rough edges are.

So – if you are a Mac user, I’m very interested in the things you don’t like about the Mac, especially the things you hate.  I offered up the Address Book as a burnt offering the other day.  Anything else out there that blows?

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Aug 11 2010

An Alternative For The Mac Address Book App?

I’ve been all Mac for the past six weeks and in general I’m loving everything about it.  I am, however, starting to bump into a few things that are stinky.

The Mac Address Book is one of them.  Mail and iCal are good, but Address Book just sucks.  I’m constrained by an Exchange server on the back end which is nicely abstracted away across all my devices (multiple computers, iPad, iPhone).  My actual contact database is just fine, it’s just that the Address Book app is incredible weak.

Is there a known alternative out there other than using an entirely different mail client such as Entourage, Thunderbird, or Zimbra?  I just want a better Address Book – I don’t want to change Mail and Calendar.

No, Ross, you can’t have your $100 back.

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Aug 3 2010

The Mac Won Me Over

On June 20th, I declared that I was going to try A Month of Mac.  I took my Macbook Pro (an older model from about 18 months ago) up to Alaska, left my Lenovo x300 in Boulder, and went native Mac.

I’m typing this on my brand new spiffy MacBook Pro 2.66 GHz Intel Core i7 with 8GB RAM, with a 500GB solid state hard drive.  I can’t figure out why I’ve been so stubborn about really switching to the Mac.  This is a beautiful computer.

The key to this switch was that the native mac apps (Mail, iCal, and Address Book) sync seamlessly with Exchange.  So I don’t have to deal with the abortion that is Entourage but at the same time I don’t have to mess around with our email server and impact everyone else in our organization.  That’s sweet.  I had a feeling this would work this time since it works flawlessly on my iPhone and iPad, and it did.  The only thing missing is Tasks, but I started using Evernote instead which actually worked even better than the Outlook Task manager.

So – no Parallels or Fusion – I don’t even have a Windows image on this machine at this point.  I didn’t use Windows a single time in the last month and now that I’ve rewired my brain for Mac shortcut keys I think it’d be a pretty amusing thing to watch.

I’ve found peace and happiness with iWork as a replacement for Microsoft Office – it’s more than adequate for what I do.  MarsEdit is a spectacular blog post editor, Chrome works happily on the Mac as does Skype and TweetDeck, and Adium replaced Digsby.  Pogoplug works just like it did before – all my files are where I want them to be.  Best of all, my iPhone actually does what it’s supposed to with iTunes.

Did I say that this is a beautiful piece of hardware?  Sleep mode – check.  Flawless super high resolution screen – check.  Super fast everything – check.  Find a piece of software you want to play around with – download and run.

The most remarkable thing was the transfer of all my data, applications, and settings from my old MacBook Pro to my new MacBook Pro.  I connected them by Firewire.  I restarted my old MacBook and held down the T key.  After the transfer started, I went and had a meeting for a hour.  I came back and my new Mac was set up exactly like my old Mac.  Perfect.

Ross – you owe me $100.

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Jul 20 2010

Looking For Skype and Mac Integration Hints

Well my Mac experiment is going extremely well.  I’m not sure I remember how to use a Windows PC, nor am I sure why I’d want to. I’m using a Mac that is at least a year old (2.4 Ghz Intel Core 2 Duo with 4 GB RAM) so I’m not even tuned to the max but I’m absolutely loving the overall experience.  As so many people have told me, “shit just works.”  And so far, whenever I’ve had a problem, I’ve been able to quickly find the answer with a Google search (e.g. “three pane mail view in Mac Mail” – two choices: WideMail or LetterBox).

As I’m starting to go well beyond the things I did with my Windows PC, I’m starting to bump into some issues.  I’m using Skype constantly for video and audio calls, including regular phone calls.  It’s way better than my iPhone (oh – the irony) and given how solid the audio / video on the Mac is I feel like I can just use it whenever I’m in front of my laptop.

But – there are a few things I’m struggling to figure out.  I’ll lay them out here for y’all in case anyone has suggestions.  I’m also interested in any Skype-related Mac happiness people have found – please leave hints in the comments.

Issue 1: I’m still using Exchange for my mail, address, and calendar store.  Mac Mail, iCal, and Mac Address Book are working great – no issues at all other than sending large attachments through the Exchange server (which is a well documented issue.)  But for some reason I can’t figure out how to get Skype to include all my Address Book contacts.  I only seems to integrate with the contacts listed in the “On My Mac” folder, which is empty since I have all my contacts stored on the Exchange server.  Any clue how to get Skype on the Mac to read the Exchange contacts?

Issue 2: I can’t find a Safari plugin for Skype.  I’ve got a Firefox one – where any phone number gets highlighted.  But I’d like one for Safari also.

Oh – and if you want to reach me via Skype, it’s just bradfeld.

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Jun 25 2010

Discovering At Least One Awesome Thing A Day On My Mac

I’m a week into using a Mac as my primary computer and loving it.  Every day I discover at least one little thing that makes me go “why the fuck didn’t my PC ever do that.”

Today’s was the time zone thing.  For two decades I’ve been bedeviled by time zones whenever I travel.  For a long time I had to manually set the time.  Eventually on the PC I got things into a state with my calendar where changing the time zone worked, but I still had to do it manually.

On the Mac, I simply check a box on the Time Zone screen that says “Set time zone automatically using current location.”  Voila – I’m in NY and the time zone is set correctly on my Mac.

While I know this is a trivial little thing, but I’ve spent N hours of my life changing the time zone manually on my Windows box.   I want those N hours back.

When I reflect on the week, I’ve started to master Quicksilver, found an automatic natural text widget that lets me type “lunch with dad from noon to 2pm on Saturday” and an item appears magically on my calendar, and I’m enjoying Ctrl-1, Ctrl-2, Ctrl-3, and Ctrl-4 to quickly switch between screen states (or “spaces”).

I’ve been stubborn for a while about this Windows / Mac thing but I’m starting to get it.

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Jun 20 2010

A Month of Mac

My post yesterday titled Rethinking The Laptop resulted in three very specific pieces of feedback followed by me taking one specific action.  The feedback was:

  1. Dump Outlook
  2. Get a solid state drive
  3. Get a Mac

After mulling things around for 24 hours, I decided to once again try my annual switch to the Mac. Fortunately, I have a very nice Mac from last year’s effort (a MacBook Pro 2.4 GHz with 2 GB) so I fired it up, configured Mail and iCal to work with my Exchange server, downloaded Chrome, Xmarks, and Tweetdeck, and away we go.  I’m still getting used to the option key and trying to learn all of the key sequences that my cool Mac friends use, but I’m enjoying the screen and so far haven’t reached for my Lenovo x300 once today.

While I was swimming I decided that since I was going to be in Alaska for July, I’d bring only my MacBook, my iPhone, and my iPad.  As much as I like my HTC EVO, I figure that if I’m going to really give the Mac a try, I need to go cold turkey (or – well – cold non-Mac) and see if I get over the shakes during my four week exile.  I’ll either come back a Mac user or not.

As one of my friends tweeted, “get a Mac – friends don’t let friends use Windows.”  So – be a good friend and remind me of all the fun apps that I need for my Mac to be extra cool.  And where’s a tutorial for all those fun keystrokes that make the windows fly around the screen?  Oh – and is there a great blogging client for WordPress or do I have to use WordPress’s web UI?  And what about Digsby – is iChat good enough or should I try something else for all of my various chat accounts.  Yeah – the list goes on, but what the hell.

Ross (my IT guy) bet me $100 that I’d beg him to ship my Windows desktop to me within a few days of getting to Alaska.  Help me win the bet.

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Jan 22 2009

An Apple in the White House?

Today’s Washington Post article titled Staff Finds White House in the Technological Dark Ages was no big surprise.  However, while I was taking a shower (in a hotel in the Houston suburbs of all places) it occurred to me that this presents an incredible marketing opportunity for Apple.

If I were king of Apple (or say, a board member with deep White House ties), I’d be on the phone with “the appropriate person” with the offer of “a Mac on every desk in the White House along with an iPhone for every White House staffer.”  I’m sure there is some law that prevents Apple from giving this away from free so I’d offer it “at cost” just to Mac-enable the White House.

You can’t buy better PR than “Apple computerizes the Obama Administration, displacing ancient PCs running Windows XP.”  Plus, the leader of the free world then would carry around an iPhone and a MacBook.

In addition, I see an executive order coming that completely changes the stupid, archaic, and limiting rules about archiving communications within the White House.  This is a regular excuse that is used to explain why it’s “hard” to use things like Blackberries if you are president.  Baloney – there are plenty of straightforward approaches that solve for whatever you want to do.  It’s not like someone archived all of Rumsfeld’s Snowflakes (or maybe someone did – if so – egads.)

While we are at it, did anyone notice that Apple reported record revenues and profits in the quarter ending 12/27/08?  Yeah, I guess you did but it’s worth repeating the numbers since all we’ve been hearing is bailouts and losses.  These are quarterly numbers.  Revenue: $10.17 billion.  Net Income: $1.61 billion.  These numbers are lower than reality because of the bullshit GAAP rules that force accounting for the iPhone to be reported ratably over the life of the iPhone contract.  If you actually accounted for this in a way that made sense, Revenue would be $11.8 billion and Net Income would be $2.3 billion.  As every good MBA knows, the key rule is to “follow the cash” which increased by $3.6 billion in the quarter.  It’s worth saying again – $3.6 billion.  Wowza.  Well done Apple.

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