Power line networking basically turns a building's existing electrical wiring -- the wires that carry electricity to different outlets in the house -- into network cables, meaning they also carry data signals for a computer network. And this means virtually all households, in the U.S at least, are "wired for" power line networking. It doesn't replace a regular network, so you'll still need a router, but it's a good way to extend … Read more
When determining how space is divided on a hard drive, some, more visual users may want a way to have the information represented graphically, rather than in numbers. While simple and of limited overall use, GrandPerspective for Mac is a good option for those looking for a different way to analyze folder and hard drive space.
Download and installation of GrandPerspective for Mac completed easily, but it only contained a basic readme file with no dedicated instructions, which was a detriment due to the complex nature of the program and its interface. It was also unclear if technical support existed. … Read more
Users with a large collection of disc media might want a way to customize labels for easier identification. Despite its dated interface, Disketch CD Label Software for Mac performs well and has a number of features one would expect from similar, more popular programs.
Being a rather light application, at around 634KB Disketch CD Label Software for Mac downloads quickly. After accepting a lengthy user agreement, the app's installation completed without any problems. There were no user instructions or tutorials readily available, but the main menu was intuitive, making this less of an issue. Technical support was also lacking. … Read more
MacFixIt Answers is a feature in which I answer Mac-related questions e-mailed in by our readers.
This week, readers wrote in asking about the potential drawbacks from using Little Snitch to block updates from XProtect, the media browser not properly handling Aperture libraries, the OS X Trash hanging when instructed to empty, and a problem with incoming network connection requests flashing too fast to make changes.
I welcome contributions from readers, so if you have any suggestions or alternative approaches to these problems, please post them in the comments!
Question: Potential drawbacks from blocking XProtect updates MacFixIt reader Paul asks:… Read more
Mac users may want the ability to alter their keyboard settings to change keys, as well as other options. KeyRamp4MacBook for Mac permits a number of settings and key changes that could be useful for a small number of users.
KeyRemap4MacBook for Mac downloaded quickly, but to install it the system needed a complete restart, which was an inconvenience. Technical support was not available, but the program did not reveal any bugs during testing. The lack of tutorials would be problematic for early Mac users since the interface was very cluttered and difficult to decipher. After the computer restarted, the … Read more
While not easily completed with native programs, users may still want the ability to create a bootable USB of their Mac OS. Lion DiskMaker for Mac lacks any other features, but completes this function well.
The free program downloaded and installed easily. Minimal instructions were included beyond a frequently asked questions section and it was not clear if technical support was available. At startup, Lion DiskMaker for Mac immediately asks which operating system the user would like to use, whether OS X 10.7 or 10.8. The menu is small, but uncomplicated and walks the user through the process. … Read more
Mac users are constantly trying to find ways to operate their systems using the least number of keystrokes or clicks. Sunlight for Mac does allow a different method for showing and hiding windows, but ultimately saves few steps and will not appeal to most users.
After a quick download, the installation of Sunlight for Mac took place quickly, despite the atypical location for the installer program. Technical support and user instruction were both unavailable. Despite the simple nature of the program, the lack of tutorial requires the user to play with the interface to learn how to use it, which … Read more
The Common Unix Printing System (CUPS) is a collection of utilities and background services (along with their configuration files) that OS X uses to manage printers attached to your Mac.
If you are having difficulty configuring your printers or even just printing to them in OS X, one thing to try is to reset the print system, which will clear out your printers and allow you to set them up again from scratch. This service may appear to only remove your printers, but it in fact does a number of checks on the system and restores configuration files to factory … Read more
Apple has released a firmware update for the Thunderbolt controllers in its Mac systems, which should address problems with using Target Disk Mode to mount a Mac's internal drive on another system as an external drive. Target Disk Mode is commonly used for troubleshooting hard-drive function, or when migrating data to a new Mac.
The update is a 1.22MB download that can be obtained by running the Software Update service in OS X (in the Apple menu), or by downloading it from Apple's Support Downloads Web site and applying it manually.
Though small, the update contains firmware … Read more
Menu extras in OS X are small menu bar additions that appear on the far right of the system menu; they include a number of built-in controls such as the volume, Wi-Fi, and date and time menus. Third-party developers can also create their own menu extras. I've written about managing menu bar additions before -- usually you can just hold the Command key and drag the menu extra off the menu bar to remove it. But sometimes, depending on the development method used to create it, the menu extra won't allow you to disable or delete it.
These … Read more