Mac Tips

Changing the language on your Mac

Posted by on in Mac Tips.

Unlike Windows, it is very easy to change the language on your Mac.  If you prefer to use your Mac in a language other than English, you should go to the Apple Menu, select System Preferences and then locate the Language & Text  panel.

languagesIn the first tab, which is marked "Languages", you will see a list of the available languages on your system.  Simply drag the languages into the order that you prefer, putting the language that you want to be the main language for your system at the top of the list.

You can also use the "Region" tab to set your region, so for example if you wanted the language to be Spanish but the Region to be UK, using the standard UK layout for times, decimal points and currencies, you would select United Kingdom from the Region tab.

Now all you have to do is logout of your account and log back in again, or restart your Mac if you prefer, and the language will have changed just like that!  The beautiful thing about Mac apps is that the majority of them also change language according to the system language that you've set, so you most likely will now find all your apps in that language too!

Problems with Mac Mail 6.2 in Mountain Lion

Posted by on in Mac Tips.

Ever since I've updated to the latest Mac Mail program, I'm having nothing but problems with sending mail.  In the outgoing server list, when you disable SSL it simply re-selects itself.  You can't turn it off.  This creates significant problems as there are no SSL certificates installed for the mail server.

Has anyone else experienced this?  Any solutions?  I've tried pretty much everything and still the same.  Others I know are starting to have similar problems.  There have been Mac OS X updates since and no fix for this problem as yet.  It's not cool.

Selecting A Startup Volume in Mac OS X

Posted by on in Mac Tips.

Sometimes you will want to start up your Mac from a volume (hard disk, CD/DVD, pen drive etc.) which is different to the one you usually use.  The Mac is configured to start from the internal hard disk by default, so how do you tell it to start from somewhere else?

startup-diskThere are a couple of ways to do it.  If your Mac is starting normally, you can simply go to the Apple Menu and select System Preferences.  Then, look for the Startup Disk panel.  This panel will show you all the disks that you have available to startup from.  Select the disk you want, then click the Restart button.  The Mac will restart and it will attempt to boot up from the disk you've selected.

If your Mac is not able to start normally and you therefore can't get to the Startup Disk panel, you can use the other method.  First, switch off the Mac.  Then, make sure you have connected the disk you want to start up from.  (If it's a DVD, you will have to quickly slip the DVD into the drive immediately after pressing the power button.)

bootNext, you need to hold down the Option Key on the keyboard.  Sometimes it's labelled as Alt.  Keep holding down this key while you switch on the Mac and keep holding it until you see the Boot Volume Selection Screen.  This screen will show you all the available volumes that you can use to boot, much like the Startup Disk panel.  Use the arrow keys on your keyboard to select which volume to boot from, then press the Enter key or click the arrow to start booting!

This is the same procedure that you should use if you need to boot from the hidden Recovery Partition on your Mac.  Booting from the Recovery Partition will allow you to run tests on your disk and perform other disk related actions, as well as providing the facility to completely re-install your copy of Mac OS X if that's what you need to do.

Live Streaming In Your Home – AppleTV & More

Posted by on in Coolest Apps, iPad Tips, iPhone Tips, iPod Tips, Mac Tips.

It was quite a while before I actually got to try an AppleTV and I hadn't had much time to even look at what it was.  One day a friend gave me one that he was having trouble with and told me to hang on to it and have a play if I wanted.  Well, as a matter of fact, I did want.  Unfortunately, I forgot about it for a whole year before I finally took it out of the box! I was glad I did. apple_tvAside from anything that you might hear about the jailbroken versions, the AppleTV itself is actually an amazing device, if you use it right.  You've got YouTube and NetFlix right there, as well as the Apple Store where you can rent movies and the lot.  That's all wonderful stuff, but then you've got Airplay.  Playing what's on your iPhone, iPod or iPad, even your laptop, directly to the AppleTV and onto your lovely plasma TV.  That too is wonderful, but you have to have the content on your device to be able to play it to the TV.  Getting it on there can sometimes be a time-consuming task and you usually have to convert the content to a specific format like .mp4 before you can put it on there anyway!  That's not so wonderful. servetome-largeEnter ServeToMe and its fantastic counterpart StreamToMe.  Download ServeToMe for your Mac (or PC), in my case I have a Mac Mini in my home office with lots of storage space.  So I installed ServeToMe and in a couple of seconds I had a folder shared for streaming.  I threw a few of my movies in there in various formats from .avi to .mp4 and .mkv. streamtomeNext, straight over to the iPad.  Now I didn't need to convert anything to any specific format, nor download it to the iPad.  All I needed to do was download StreamToMe from the App Store and bam!  Straight away I see my shared folder on my Mac Mini.  Select any movie, any format and it plays on the iPad immediately!  But that's not the best part -- it even supports AirPlay so I can send it straight to the AppleTV and onto the plasma!  So now, all my media is stored on and streamed from the Mac Mini.  It doesn't matter if my iPad is 16gb or 64gb, I never download the media to it anyway.  And I get to watch it all on my lovely plasma TV in the comfort of my own sofa. Just for the fun of it, I thought I'd open a port on the router and see if I could stream the movies over the net straight from my Mac.  From another country, I was able to stream my media straight to my iPhone and iPad.  It's amazing stuff, it works really well and ServeToMe is absolutely free!  You only have to pay for the StreamToMe app on the iDevice of your choice.  It costs less than €3.  Best €3 I ever spent, by a mile !

Sending Messages using iMessage or SMS

Posted by on in iPad Tips, iPhone Tips, iPod Tips, Mac Tips.

iMessage is a clever messaging system built into your iDevice.  You can use it on Mac OS X, on the iPhone, iPad or iPod.  It sends messages via the internet and Apple's servers directly from one iDevice to another.

imessageIn order to use iMessage, you need to activate it on your device by logging in with your Apple ID.  On the iPhone, you have the possibility to send messages via standard SMS or via iMessage.  The iOS is clever and always tries to send your message via iMessage if it can (if the other person is also using iMessage).  If it can't send the message via iMessage (maybe your internet connection is not working), it will resort to sending it via SMS instead (that's a configurable option).  It's simple and easy and it works.  In most situations that is.


This does have a certain limitation which might not be immediately obvious.  What if the person you are sending the message to does use iMessage but temporarily does not have internet access on their phone.  The message will be sent as an iMessage and will be waiting to be picked up by the receiving party.  However, they are unable to receive it.  The result is - they don't get your message.

So, assuming that you realise this and the reason why (your friend's lack of  internet connectivity on their phone), probably the best thing to do is to turn off iMessage, right?  That way the message will be sent as an SMS instead.  But what about everyone else that you send iMessages to?  You don't want to be turning on and off iMessage every few minutes, so here's a little trick to help you out:

Without having to switch off iMessage, simply create a new message to your friend and send it.  It will send as an iMessage, as expected.  However it will not show as delivered, because your friend hasn't received it.  Now, double tap the message and you will see a context menu appears.  In there, you will find the option to Send As Text Message.  This will immediately send the message as an SMS instead.  The beauty is, all your other iMessage contacts will still receive your iMessages, which is what you want!

For those of you that may not be familiar with iMessage, when it is enabled you will see a different colour scheme used in the Messages app.  Messages with a green bubble have been sent as SMS messages (which cost you money).  Messages that have a blue bubble have been sent as iMessage messages via the internet.  This helps you to easily determine at a glance which messages went as an SMS and which as an iMessage.


Tip: Removing Items from the Dock

Posted by on in Mac Tips.

A little tip for removing items from the dock which is usually located at the bottom of your Mac screen.  In the past, you simply had to drag the icon out of the dock and let go of the mouse button, upon which you would hear a little 'puff' sound and the icon would disappear.

In Mac OS X 10.7 (Lion) and 10.8 (Mountain Lion), this still works but it's slightly different and I must admit it caught me out a little at the start.  I was dragging the icon out of the dock and releasing the mouse button, but the icon would not disappear, it would simply jump back into the dock.

It turns out that you now have to move the icon a bit further away from the dock first and then wait a second before the little 'puff of smoke' icon appears.  As soon as it appears, you can release the mouse button and the icon will disappear.  If you don't do this, the icon will jump back into the dock.

At first I thought this was some kind of glitch or bug, but having looked more closely I know realise that this is intended to avoid accidentally removing icons from the dock, which actually was quite easy to do before.  The problem was, it wasn't quite so easy to know which icon you had accidentally removed!

The New Mac Mini – Rocks!

Posted by on in Mac Tips, News Articles.

So just a few days ago I've taken delivery of my new Mac Mini.  My old Mac was just running too slow and I need to upgrade to something powerful.  The trouble is, the MacPro towers are expensive and bulky.  For now, I needed something more portable and economic.  The iMacs are beautiful but not really practical for my needs.  I want multiple monitors and loads of speed.

So I've done some research on the Apple Store and much to my amazement, the new Mac Mini is a powerful little tyke 🙂  Configured with a Corei7 2.3Ghz Processor, 8gb of RAM, a 1Tb Fusion drive incorporating 128gb of Flash Memory, this baby is now eating up everything I give it and more!

Furthermore, it's tiny.  You'd hardly know it was on the desk.  It's quiet too.  Almost silent in fact.  I've connected my two 23" monitors to it and with the desktop spread across the two I can now get back to work.

Mountain Lion too is an excellent product.  Of course, it has a few bugs still as you would expect, but overall I love it.

Well done Apple, hats off to you.  You've just provided me with exactly what I was looking for!

Video Tutorial – Using The Dock in Mac OS X

Posted by on in Mac Tips, Updates.

In past posts I've given some tips on using the Dock in Mac OS X.  This Video Tutorial will show you everything you need to know about using the Dock and its features.

The tutorial resolution is 1280 x 800 and is high quality.  It's based on Mac OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion but also applies to most of the recent operating system versions.  Not too much has changed in the dock over the past releases.

Click the link below and sit back and enjoy our latest Video Tutorial:

Using The Dock in Mac OS X Video Tutorial

Have fun!

Video Tutorial – Changing Your Mac User Account Password

Posted by on in Mac Tips.

This may seem like a simple task to some people but many Mac users actually don't know where to go if they want to change their user account password, or even how to set a password if they don't have one.

Welcome to our first online Video Tutorial for Mac users!  Today, I'm not going to describe to you how to carry out this task.  I'm going to show you.  Just click on the link below and see for yourself!

Change Your Mac User Account Password - Video Tutorial

Feedback is always good, so please feel free to leave your comments below.

CMD-TAB: Switch Quickly Between Apps in Mac OS X

Posted by on in Mac Tips.

Most of us often have many Mac apps open at the same time, flicking from one to the other as we need to do different things.  In reality, many of us don't even close our apps once we're done with them.  We leave them open for quick access should be need them again. There's no real problem with doing this nowadays, since the hardware is generally fast and memory is readily available.

There are various ways to switch from one app to another, like clicking one of the windows belonging to that app, using exposé, clicking the app's icon in the dock and so on.  However, there is another way.  Many people probably don't know about this one and it's really, really useful.

At any time, you can press and hold the CMD key and while still holding the CMD key, simultaneously press the TAB key once.  You will see a new menu appear in the middle of the screen, which looks a bit like the dock, but this menu shows you all the open apps.  As long as you keep pressing the CMD key, this menu will stay on-screen.

To move from one app to the next, just keep tapping the TAB key.  When you get to the app you want, release the CMD key and that app will come to the front.

This feature also has another nice benefit, which is that you can actually issue commands to the apps while using CMD-TAB.  For example, if you want to quit various apps quickly, you can hold the CMD key and press the TAB key until you reach the first app that you want to close.  While still holding the CMD key, simple press the "Q" key.  This will ask the currently selected app to quit.  You can then, while still holding the CMD key, use the TAB key to move to the next app.  Again, press "Q".  If you repeat this a few times, you will see what a powerful way it is to close multiple apps in just a few keystrokes!