Tag Archives: macOS

I Need a New Mac and Apple Doesn’t Want to Sell Me One

My MacBook Pro is over 7 years old now. I’m a software engineer, and I like to do my own design work for small projects. I’m also a fan of photography, and need a machine powerful enough to process large images. I even occasionally make and edit videos. Basically, I desperately need a new, far more powerful, computer. Through upgrades, my 7 year old machine has gotten upgraded memory and a solid state drive, which is why it’s been able to stay relevant for so long. But now it’s too old to keep up, the processor has been pushed to its limits, and even with more memory and a faster drive, it’s finally starting to feel sluggish. Software demands have finally outpaced what I was able to do for this plucky little machine. What do I replace it with? What could last me 5-6 years and provide the power I need? Can it also be portable?

No, not if I want to buy any of Apple’s disappointing computers.

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SteelSeries Rival 500 Review: Using a MOBA Gaming Mouse at Work

For a few months now, I tossed aside my trusty Magic Trackpad, and picked up a MOBA gaming mouse. It was the perfect mouse to replace my Magic Trackpad at work. Let me explain. For a while now, I had been feeling a pain in my wrist. I used to play tennis often, and between that at working at a desk all day, I had strained my right wrist. I began to wonder if it was actually due to the Magic Trackpad I used, if I should perhaps be using something more ergonomic (Apple’s keyboards, mice, and trackpads are known for terrible ergonomics). But how could I replace my trackpad? I had been using Apple’s gestures along with gestures from BetterTouchTool to make it a vital part of my workflow. Certain actions like looking up a word, copy and pasting, going to a method’s definition in Eclipse, were custom, and couldn’t be replaced by a standard 3 button mouse (including the mouse wheel). To me, the perfect solution was an MMO or MOBA gaming mouse. These have many buttons for in-game macros that can instead be used for day-to-day interaction. Switching spaces, activating Mission Control, opening up notifications, switching apps, looking up words, going to method definitions, or keyboard macros can all be assigned to the plethora of mouse buttons. Plus, some gaming mice can even be customized with their appearance and haptic feedback. I found one such mouse that not only had its buttons in a setup that made them quick and easy to access with a series of finger flicks and movements, but it also was highly customizable within macOS, including appearance adjustments. I picked up the 15 button SteelSeries Rival 500, a MOBA gaming mouse, and I haven’t used a better mouse for work yet. 
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iOS Reviews Getting Much Needed Changes

Apple will be addressing the complaints of both iOS users and developers with two updates to reviews on iOS. The first change will be one to alleviate a problem that has likely frustrated users: annoying rating popups. Developers often send popup notifications while people are using their app, which asks the user to rate the app. If they choose a high rating, the app will invite them to post it to the App Store. If they give a negative review, the app will usually throw up another popup asking them to send feedback. This feedback will not end up in the App Store. if you decline to send feedback, you may be asked to rate it again, and again after that. Apple wants to make this less frustrating. 

Apple’s second change will not only be delightful for app developers, but is one users may find helpful as well. Developers will be able to respond to users’ ratings in the App Store. This will allow them to provide customer support or address feedback right in the App Store, which improves everyone’s experience. Together, these changes will help make iOS apps better.
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Apple’s Decline: Does this Apple Need a Polish?

Is Apple getting rotten?

I first started writing Apple tech news over a decade ago. I wanted to write outside of the required writing for my classes (no, really) and I wanted to write about something I was passionate about. I choose technology, specifically Apple. I really wanted to get a Mac. After suffering with a PC for a few months in college, I’d eventually get a MacBook. The wonders of macOS fueled me to share just how great these machines really were. I blogged about it, I wanted everyone to know that there was something better out there. I spread Apple love like a Jehovah’s Witness, knocking door to door, asking people to join my Apple cult. Apple would go on to release the iPhone, the iPod Touch, the iPad, and more, and I would refine my journalism skills posting news stories about it. News stories that were likely read by 1, maybe 2 people, tops. But it was fun, and I was doing something I loved.

Lately though, my stories about new Apple products haven’t been so optimistic. I’ve traded in the fangirl card I got with that first MacBook. When Apple revealed the iPhone 7 this year, I yawned, and warned everyone to wait until next year. Then Apple released the MacBook Pro with a Touch Bar, and I did the same thing. I knew Apple wasn’t doing anything worth getting excited about right now, but believed they may do something great in 2017 or 2018. It turns out, the technology consumers of the world generally agree with me. People are buying less Apple products. With Apple losing its luster, the company has seen its first year over year (YoY) revenue decline since 2001. We have to go to pre-iPod days to see Apple perform this poorly. People weren’t excited about Apple’s iPhone or other offerings this year, and Tim Cook’s solutions appear to be temporary fixes for a company that seems to be losing its direction.
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The Wolfe Turns MacBooks Into Graphics Powerhouses

Your Mac has a weak graphics card, period. If you have a Mac Pro, you have a workstation graphics card that was powerful for video and photo editing… three years ago. If you have an iMac or 15″ Retina MacBook Pro, you have a dedicated graphics card… made for laptops, powering far too many pixels, and lacking the processing power for virtual reality (VR). If you have a 13″ MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, or MacBook, you have Intel’s integrated graphics, and therefore your iPad may have better graphics capabilities. 

So what do you do if you want to use a Mac, but also want to render video, make large changes to high resolution photos, or even play games? At this point, the best advice would be to buy a PC* or build a Hackintosh. Or rather, those would have been the best solutions, until the Wolfe was introduced yesterday on Kickstarter. I wanted to wait a few days to gauge the interest in this product and see if they could hit their Kickstarter goals before I became too enthusiastic about it reaching consumers, or before I ordered one myself. Then, this happened:

The makers of the Wolfe, a new company called Wolfepack, Inc., needed $50,000 to get production started on the Wolfe. In just one day, they raised over three times that

People really want a Mac that’s capable of doing everything without compromises, a Mac that’s finally powerful enough to play the latest games, run VR, or even do the very graphics work that made Apple popular with artists in the first place. There isn’t a single Mac I can point to and tell people to buy if they need a powerful computer, but with the Wolfe, I can point to nearly any Mac with a Thunderbolt 2 or 3 (preferred) port, and that includes every current Mac. The Wolfe can even make your lowly MacBook a powerhouse, and it does so with the strength of Nvidia’s powerful desktop graphics cards.

*Yes, an Apple fangirl just told you to buy a PC. The world is ending. 

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Apple Is Neglecting the Pros

The Mac Pro was introduced in December of 2013 and it hasn’t been updated since. The last MacBook Pro update was over a year ago, currently at 425 days. It’s usually updated, on average, every 268 days. Apple’s entire lineup has seen longer delays between updates, but the Pro lineup has gotten especially bad. The MacBook Pro has gotten thin to the point that owners can no longer upgrade anything in it, and the Mac Pro, which used to be a full tower, is now a proprietary tube, which can’t really be upgraded either. Apple wants their products to be disposable, not saved, and they’re making sure professionals need to buy each new product they release, by waiting years to upgrade anything. A Mac Pro that is three years old can be beaten in benchmarks by a consumer-grade iMac. That means the “Mac Pro” is really just a “Mac Bum.” Asking professionals to buy hardware that is ancient by computing standards is unthinkable. Anyone would be foolish to buy a Mac Pro or MacBook Pro right now, and would have been a fool to do so over the past few months. The fact that I can say that means Apple’s failing those who want the latest and greatest hardware, and that’s going to turn many Mac buyers into PC owners. 
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Yet Another macOS Malware Discovered

It wasn’t too long ago that I was sharing methods to install apps on macOS (technically, it’s currently still called OS X), and brought up GateKeeper. GateKeeper is the security system Apple put in place that prevents Macs from running unsigned code from unrecognized developers. Most malware creators are not registered Mac developers, and if they are, they’d have their status revoked the moment that malware infects a computer, so registering for a Mac developer account is a foolish waste of time and money for hackers. As such, Gatekeeper can protect your Mac from installing most malware. In my guide, I told Mac users how to shut it off, without fully explaining the security risks encountered by shutting GateKeeper off. On top of that, I didn’t show another method that allows you to bypass GateKeeper on an app-per-app basis, so you can decide what software runs on your Mac, and which unidentified developers you trust. That was my mistake, and the original post has been updated. 

I bring this up because yet another macOS malware has been found, called OSX/Keydnap. It’s a fun play on words, a portmanteau of “key” and “kidnap,” because it steals (kidnaps) your secure keys, such as your passwords and saved credit cards in macOS. This is a dangerous malware, and can easily disguise itself as something as simple as an image file or zip file. However, once it’s on your machine, it sits and waits, running in the background. It then waits until another app is opened, one that you would trust, and prompts you for your Mac password. From there, it can gain access to lower level functions of your Mac, as well as steal your now decrypted keys, credit cards, and passwords. Fortunately, GateKeeper can protect you from this malware. Unfortunately, I recently told you how to disable it. So here’s how to re-enable it, and how to avoid this particular piece of malware.
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