Here are two quick Mac tips that will give you strength, whiten your teeth, and eliminate doggy breath.
Adjust Your Mac’s Volume in Fine Increments.
Want to fine tune the volume on your Mac? Press shift+option while pressing the volume or brightness keys. It will adjust in quarter increments instead of full increments.
This also works with the Touch Bar.
Open The Current Application’s Preferences.
If you need to get to an application’s preferences, simply type command+, (comma). I had no idea this existed until a few days ago. I mean, it’s not like I could have known about this, right?
Do you have a favorite tip to share? Let us know in the comments below!
Last year I purchased an early 2020 MacBook Air. It’s the base model with an Intel Core i3 dual core processor. At the time I purchased the M1 Air was just around the corner. However, I couldn’t pass up the new-at-the-time Magic Keyboard. I have to say that keyboard was worth the upgrade alone. The new keyboard is so much better that my fingers thank me every day I use it.
However, it’s been almost a year and the M1 machines are out and the new MacBook Air is the machine you recommend to anyone who is looking for a new laptop. My older 2020 dual core Air seems almost… quaint. So what is it like to use a dual core Air in the face of more modern hardware?
Honestly, it’s fine. Is it fast as lightning? No. However, it more than gets the job done. My usage is writing, surfing, mail, and other not terribly taxing tasks. For that, it’s fantastic. the speakers are surprisingly good for music or podcasts. However, it shows its pre-pandemic roots when you do video calls or connect it to an external monitor. At that point the Air gets hot and the fans spin up in a vain attempt to cool it down. The built-in camera is at best a potato and while on calls everyone hears the fan.
To be fair, on the plus side the Air keeps me warm in the winter. Seriously though, it’s fine for most uses. Plus, the keyboard is still great.
Am I jealous of those of you who own an M1 Air? No. I’ll eventually upgrade, but for now it’s running the Monterey beta and it doesn’t seem to mind.
So in short, don’t be jealous of those who have the M1 Air. There will be plenty of time to get revenge when the new, more powerful MacBook Pro with more ports comes out. The rest of you will be green with envy!
I’m lazy. So, instead of writing about hideous Safari 15 tabs like everyone else, I’m going to share a few Mac tips.
App Switcher The App Switcher shortcut (Command + Tab) is a handy tool. Want to quit an app while in the App Switcher? Type the letter Q while the Command key is still held down to quit the highlighted app.
Copy Current URL To copy the current URL in Safari, hit Command + L to highlight the current URL. Then press Command + C to copy the URL to the clipboard. That tip has saved me quite a bit of time.
Screenshots Lastly, this is a new one for me. The normal screenshot shortcut is Shift + Command + 3, which takes a screenshot of your desktop. Shift + Command + 4 allows you to select an area of the screen. If you press the spacebar you get a screenshot of just that window or whatever area you have highlighted.
Bonus tip: Command + Control + Shift + 4 takes a screenshot and copies it to the clipboard.
If you have a tip to share please add it to the comments below. We are always up for new tips!
One thing not on my bingo card this year was a faithful recreation of the Dashboard iTunes widget from Mac OS X Tiger. However, developer Mario Guzman, who appears to be of sound mind and body, has produced Music Widget for macOS for modern versions of macOS, starting with Big Sur.
I downloaded and I have to say it is pretty cool. It works just as I remember the OS X widget worked. Yes, I’m old.
Be aware that this works with Apple Music only. Spotify need not apply.
The app is in beta, and is compatible with Big Sur and above.
Apple previewed new features for people with disabilities in a post on their newsroom page. There are several great features being added but the one feature that stood out to me was AssistiveTouch on Apple Watch. It allows users to control their watch without touching the screen.
According to TechCrunch “You can activate it either by selecting it in the Assistive Touch menu, or by shaking your wrist vigorously. It then detects the position of your hand as you move it around, allowing you to “swipe” by letting the cursor linger at the edge of the screen, or interact with things using a pinch or clench.” How great is that?
Apple says this and the other features will be available as an update, though no timetable was released. The sooner the better, please.
Intel is having quite a marketing run of late. This latest ad (courtesy of 9to5Mac) is just about the worst of the lot:
If I had to guess I would say someone in marketing at Intel is not paying attention. No Mac as of this writing is using Intel’s 11th generation processors. The “gamer” in the photo is wearing Beats headphones. He appears to be wearing a watch, and it wouldn’t shock me to learn it is an Apple Watch. It’s just sloppy. Intel is a multi-billion dollar company. I’m pretty sure they have good people in their marketing department. How did this get through?
After much thought and a generous sale price I purchased a new M1 Mac mini. It’s the step up version (8GB of RAM and 512GB of storage). I’ve used it for a couple of weeks now and I’m enjoying it.
Without getting too deep in the weeds, here are the pros and cons:
Compatible with every app I use (your mileage may vary).
Hardware works as expected.
Runs cool no matter what I’m doing.
I can no longer use my mini as a space heater.
Can only use two monitors (that’s not really a con for me).
Bluetooth issues at times.
Needless to say I am delighted. The Developer Transition Kits (DTK) were not known to be bastions of reliability as they were barely alpha quality hardware. The M1 mini is a different story. It has been, apart from a few bluetooth issues, very reliable, from set up to everyday usage.
My Intel mini can get very warm at times running tasks you wouldn’t think would tax the machine. For example, at set up Spotlight starts indexing the hard drive. When I did this on the Intel mini it got very warm and the fans kicked in quickly. The M1 mini didn’t even get warm during this process, and finished the task much quicker than the Intel mini. I was astonished to see how easily the computer handled this task.
If I had to pick one thing that excites me the most it is Rosetta 2. All of the software I used on the Intel mini I brought over to the M1 mini using Migration Assistant worked without issues. I would say that the most impressive feature on these new breed of Macs is Rosetta 2.
The downside for me is the bluetooth is flakey at times. The keyboard and mouse lose connection for a bit, and it comes back just as quickly. It’s better now that Apple has addressed it, but it’s something to watch.
Overall, I’d give 5 thumbs up to this new M1 mini.
Have you made the leap to the new Apple Silicon? Let me know in the comments. I’d love to hear from you.
Over the last week or so there has been quite a bit of talk about this new series of Intel ads. If you haven’t seen them, they feature Justin Long, the actor who was in the famous “I’m a Mac, I’m a PC” commercials, pointing out the differences between the M1 Macs and PCs using Intel chips in the new commercials.
The ads bash the M1 chips found in the MacBook Air and Pro. No surprise, as most benchmarks and real world performance show the M1 chipset is faster and more power efficient than most Intel chips. While the ads are effective at pointing out there is more choice on the PC side, they fail to show anything that is exclusive to Intel chips. The things they highlight can be done with AMD chips too. Oh, and there is a gratuitous “walled garden” mention on the Intel GoPC page.
My question is who is the intended target of these ads? The general public? I doubt it. If they wanted to reach the computer buying public they would give Microsoft ad money to produce these commercials. Also, why isn’t Microsoft running these ads? This is something Microsoft should be doing, not Intel.
If I had to guess who they were for, I would say Intel employees. Those employees have spent years hearing how they have repeatedly failed while Apple, the company the new Intel CEO referred to as “… a lifestyle company”, has become an innovator in the consumer chip sector.
If that is true, I get what they were going for with these ads, but I also think they are misguided and desperate. If it isn’t true, then Intel needs to put their heads down and get to work. The performance and power management gap is going to get wider, and no attack ads are going to change that narrative.
According to severalreports it appears that Apple would really, really like developers to send back the DTK (Developer Transition Kit) Mac mini.
Thanks again for participating in the Universal Quick Start Program and committing to building great apps for Mac. We’re following up with shipping instructions to return the Developer Transition Kit (DTK) that was loaned to you as part of the program. Please take a moment to review these details and ship all DTKs back to us by March 31, 2021.
As we mentioned in our last email, upon confirmed return of the DTK, you’ll receive a credit for 500USD in the form of a one-time use promo code valid until the end of 2021. You can use it toward the purchase of a new M1 Mac or other Apple products ordered through the Apple Store Online.
From what I have heard from developers who have access to the DTK, most are very happy to send them back. It appears the DTK minis are at best alpha level hardware. There are reports of many hardware and software issues. Also a bit slow compared to their M1 cousins (the DTK runs an A12Z chipset found in the current iPad Pro). Yet I know that a few of these will pop up on eBay as collectables with ridiculous pricing attached. Someone is going to buy one of these (looking at you, Stephen Hackett!) and I can’t understand it. On the other hand, Nisus still has a Power Mac G4 Cube in near perfect working order, so there is that.
I say send it back, get your 500USD credit and get a new M1 Mac and hope they fix this issue.
I have to admit my resistance to the new M1 Macs is eroding quickly. Between the universally positive reviews from both reviewers and customers alike, I’m struggling to stay M1 clean. I have my eye on a Mac mini, but I think I would also enjoy a fanless MacBook Air or a MacBook Pro that has all day battery life.
It’s not that I need one of these computers. I have a fairly recent mini that I quite like. I really don’t need to upgrade. Yet, I’m being pulled into upgrading like a moth to a flame, or Guy Fieri to a diner. I’ve seen the mini for as low as $599 US at more than one place, and these sales are making things worse. Twice as fast and off the charts efficient is a combination that’s hard to resist. Add in sale pricing and I’m in serious trouble.
Do any of you have one of these new M1 Macs? If so, please leave a comment below. I’m interested in your opinions on these new machines.
In the meantime I’m going to keep resisting. For now.
Remember when you needed to use various keyboard shortcuts to boot your Mac into Recovery Mode, or to reset your PRAM? If you have a Mac with an Intel chipset, you still need to remember these shortcuts. However, if you have a new M1 Mac (I’m not jealous of those of you who purchased one, not at all!), it appears that you can forget those shortcuts.
According to an Apple support document, you now access the various boot modes by holding down the power button for 10 seconds. You’ll then see a new Recovery Options screen that shows your boot drive and an Options icon that will show you the various boot modes that are available. All the boot modes you are used to are there, plus a few new ones.
So to sum up, booting into Recovery mode on an M1 Mac no longer requires memorizing keyboard shortcuts. I have to admit it’s going to take a while before I unlearn these shortcuts, but this is progress I suppose.
Oh, and if you do own one of these M1 Macs, please hesitate to tell me, even though I’m really not jealous of you at all. Really.
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If you have been wondering how fast the upcoming Apple Silicon Macs will be, it appears that they will be quite robust, to be polite.
Appleinsider found a mysterious Geekbench entry for an “A14X.” This 8 core chip could, judging by the benchmarks, be very fast. I normally have no use for benchmarks but if true, these new Macs are going to be quite speedy.
There is no way to know if this is real, but I want to believe. I guess we’ll find out Tuesday.
I know I shouldn’t have purchased so close to the release of new Macs, but I did. A bit of background: I own a 2018/2019 MacBook Air (2018 and 2019 models are the same, apart from very minor upgrades) and I love it, apart from the infamous butterfly keyboard. This Air has been very reliable for me. However, that keyboard… let’s just say I have feelings about it that I can’t express without using words I shouldn’t. I was going to hold out until next year or the year after, but the price was too good to pass up, so I pulled the trigger on the 2020 Air.
So what’s it like? I haven’t used it much, but I’m going to take the weekend and migrate my stuff over to the new machine after I’m done posting this. I can say that the keyboard is wonderful. Not mushy, decent travel, good feel… all the things the butterfly keyboard isn’t. My fingertips will thank me for making this purchase.
I’ll post more after I’ve used it a bit, but so far I’m happy.
Do any of you own one of the new Magic Keyboard equipped MacBooks? Let me know in the comments. I’d love to hear about your experiences with these new MacBooks.
However, I was referring to Big Sur the operating system. There have been two Apple events and quite a few products released over the past two months. As of this writing, there has been no official release. The beta program is still ongoing, with developer beta 10 and public beta 9 as the latest releases.
So what’s the hold up? If I had to guess, it’s waiting for yet another Apple Event sometime in the next few weeks. I would imagine this event would feature all things Mac, so it makes sense to wait for said event.
Personally I’m fine with waiting. Big Sur is going to be a big change, so I’m ok waiting for a stable release. It also gives us (Nisus) more time to be ready with compatibility updates for our apps.
In the meantime, I’ll keep using the developer beta and hope for the best.
I have been using developer betas of macOS Big Sur and in my opinion it is less problematic at this point than macOS Catalina. That operating system filled me with rage in a way none has since Leopard. Big Sur does not make me want to chuck my computer in the bin, so I guess that is progress.
If you haven’t already you should familiarize yourself with how Big Sur looks and works. It’s quite a change! There is a distinct iOS-like feel in Big Sur, with its bold colors and translucent menu bar. The new squared app icons only add to that perception. Again, it feels like iOS has come to the Mac.
Really though, it’s not that different in practice. It still works like a Mac with an updated interface. That happens every few years on macOS. I’m very curious to see this on one of the new Apple Silicon Macs that are coming soon.
I’ve hit some bugs to be sure, but most of them have already been fixed. I’m sure there are still a few nasty ones out there, but I haven’t hit them yet. I will say that Mail currently is a train wreck, but Mail has always been a train wreck in macOS betas.
I’m eager to see the final release. I’d prefer it be less buggy than Catalina, and I think that will happen. I can dream, can’t I?
Over the past year Apple has updated their entire MacBook line. Some of the line, like the MacBook Air, received updated Intel chipsets that make the machines so hot I worry that your expensive Mac will destroy itself from the inside. Some machines like the base MacBook Pro 13″ received nothing more than a storage upgrade. That’s great, but boring. The MacBook Pro 16″ was revamped significantly. However, the big news is all received updated keyboards that finally ends the reign of terror that is the butterfly keyboard.
The new keyboard now uses scissor switches with more travel. Anyone who has read past editions of our newsletter know how much the author (me) intensely dislikes the butterfly switch keyboards. While I don’t yet own a MacBook with the new Magic Keyboard I got a chance to try one of these new machines for a few days. I have to say that while it doesn’t have as much travel as the pre-2016 keyboards it feels much better. It’s also not loud, which is an added bonus.
I’m sure it was tough for Apple to admit defeat, but they did the right thing fixing these keyboards. If they fix the thermals on these machines (especially the MacBook Air) I will have to find something else to complain about.
Back when we travelled to places other than the grocery store I owned a 12” MacBook. I loved almost everything about it. The size and weight was perfect for me. It was like carrying a macOS powered iPad.
It was somewhat frustrating, however. I could live with the one port, and that it was underpowered. The biggest problem was the keyboard. The MacBook was the first to use the hated butterfly keyboard. I knew before I purchased the keyboard was a compromise. It wasn’t the reason I sold it, but it didn’t help. Still, I have always thought that the 12″ MacBook would be great with an improved keyboard.
Now, if the rumors are correct, Apple is resurrecting the MacBook. This time, powered by Apple Silicon. This mythical MacBook will have 15 hours of battery life and be more powerful than some current MacBook Pro models. Seemingly an improved keyboard as well.
I know this is just a rumor, but if this turns out to be true all I can say is: