Our utilities update report is a list of updates for Mac utilities that have been released in the past week. Though a utility can be any tool that helps you perform a routine task (including image manipulation and synchronization), our focus in this column is to bring you those tools that help in troubleshooting Mac hardware and software problems. This week there are updates for a couple of maintenance and data management and recovery utilities, as well as a partition manager and a reusable benchmarking suite.
In rare occurrences, people have found that some keys or keystrokes on their systems do not seem to be working properly. This may happen in certain software situations, indicating a configuration error, but it also may happen because of hardware malfunctions. If you experience problems with a specific character not working on your Mac, try the following set of possible fixes.
Hardware vs. softwareIf you are experiencing input issues with your keyboard, the first thing you should do is determine whether the problem is hardware-based or software-based. To do this, the best tool to use is the keyboard viewer, which … Read more
Ahead of the public release of Mac OS X 10.6.5, Apple has seeded Mac OS X 10.6.6 to developers. The update for 10.6.6 notes that developers will have support for fetching and renewing receipts in the forthcoming Mac App Store.
Apple has also announced that Xserve will no longer be available after January 31, 2011. Apple will continue to support existing Xserve units but will no longer produce new ones, leaving the MacPro with Mac OS X Server as the lone high-powered server solution.… Read more
MacFixIt Answers is a feature in which we answer questions e-mailed from our readers. This week we have questions on how to embed multimedia in PDF documents, clarification on the version numbers for iPhoto/iLife, items on the desktop rearranging themselves, and using a HDTV as a monitor for a Mac Mini. We continually answer e-mail questions, and while we present a few here, we certainly welcome alternative approaches and views from readers and encourage you to post your suggestions in the comments.
Question: Embedding movies and audio in PDF documents
MacFixIt reader "ngroves" asks:
I need to … Read more
Time Machine is a convenient backup system and we recommend all Mac users enable it or otherwise regularly back up their data. Besides its uses, Time Machine does have a couple of quirks, and one is that after using Time Machine for a while some people may find the system has created backups for multiple systems in the "backups.backupdb" folder on the Time Machine drive.
When Time Machine runs, it will store all backup instances in a folder that is given the name of the current system, so if you connect it to a computer called "… Read more
The Spotlight menu can be very useful for finding files on the hard drive; however, besides just presenting files and allowing you to open them, there are other options for Spotlight that can make using it more useful. After you have performed a search in the Spotlight menu, using the following options will allow you to change how the menu handles the results.… Read more
Every now and then you may need to enter special characters and symbols when writing, which can be for relatively common tasks such as character accents or "degree" signs, but also for more obscure or specialized symbols. In the past, many of these came from using special fonts (Wingdings or Dingbats) that contained these symbols as alternates to the standard alphanumeric characters, but these days fonts make use of the Unicode system and can include hundreds or thousands of available symbols.
As with other PC systems, the Mac keyboard layout is a standard one for the most commonly … Read more
The notes feature in Apple's Mail program can be useful for jotting down quick reminders and other items without having to send yourself e-mails. Though convenient, the feature may not work properly at times, if at all.
We were recently contacted by MacFixIt reader Richard who found that the notes feature stopped working when he migrated to his new MacBook Pro system. Usually when program features like this stop working, the first recommendation is to try refreshing some settings and delete the program's preferences files, but Richard had already done this when he contacted us. Additionally, sometimes there … Read more
Starting with iPhoto 8.0.3, Apple implemented support for editing the geographical positioning tags for photos using AppleScript. The idea in part was to encourage developers of third-party programs like HoudahGeo to edit the photo information in the iPhoto library without directly accessing the library itself.
This implementation has worked for a number of iPhoto revisions, but in the latest update from Apple it appears that setting GPS coordinates with AppleScripts is not working properly. If you run an AppleScript similar to the following that uses the "set latitude" or "set longitude" commands, then you … Read more
Sophos unveiled free antivirus software today that Macintosh users can install to detect and block malware that targets computers running the Mac operating system.
Sophos Anti-Virus Home Edition for Mac also detects malware written for Windows that Mac users can spread via USB drives and e-mail, Chet Wisniewski, a senior security adviser at Sophos, told CNET.
The software is a noncommercial version of Sophos Anti-Virus 7.2 for Mac, targeted at home users and modified so it is easier to install and use, he said.