Most of us who have setup the ability to use the spaces have become used to allocation applications to different spaces. However, what can be time consuming is getting information or a quick look from an application that you do not intent to use or to stay in.

I recently found a way to do this in Mac by doing the following…

So say that I am in a browser.

However, I get an email which I know because I hear the ping sound from my computer.

I can see what I received without navigating to Mac Mail and back again by simply leftmouse clicking and holding the button down.

This will bring up the Mail application in spaces mode, where I can view the mail header. If the mail does no appeal to me, by releasing the mouse button I can be returned to the original space without any other effort. This is an awesome capability that I do not know how long it has existed in Mac.


I have been frustrated with the Finder because it always searches the entire computer when I just want it to search the current folder I am in.

I recently discover that this is a setting in the Finder.

By going to the Finder Preferences….


You can set the default to search within the current folder…


…by selecting the drop down at the bottom of the page.

Next you can also set the default opening of a new Finder window to any directory you like.


Apple Turning Bad

On a blog dedicated to Mac its hard to find an anti-Apple post. However, this is going to be one of them. First lets begin by stating that Apple is doing the majority of the computer innovation in this country, and many other computer companies are basically stealing from Apple. We even see recently that Sony has copied Apple’s slim line keyboard. This needs to be greater appreciated by PC supporters who have no idea the debt they owe to Apple’s R&D department.

Google Voice and Pystar

However, recent activities by Apple such as preventing Google Voice App from being run on the iPhone and the punishing of Pystar lead us to take the stance that Apple is beginning to abuse its power. As much as Apple lawyers say it, no one has the right to prevent a consumer from running a machine on the platform of their choosing. The suit against Pystar is frivolous and anti-competitive. Apple’s restriction of Google Voice on the grounds that it is duplicate functionality is simply a lie. I would like Apple to begin acting more reasonably, and less like a monopolist. Note to Apple, acting like Microsoft is not a life’s goal.

We have lusted after the MacBook Pro for some time. We were on the verge of buying one, after we realized a few things:

  1. We don’t like typing on laptop keyboards
  2. We don’t like using laptop trackpads
  3. We don’t like the positioning of laptop screens
  4. We prefer portrait to landscape displays (we have found portrait displays better for work, and we do a lot of writing and web browsing, while landscape is better for media applications)

Obviously given all this, we are not very good candidates for a laptop. However, if one wants portability, what can one do? Well we came up with a portable solution with Mac that uses a Mac Mini. Here is the configuration:

  • Mac Mini
  • Shuttle portable monitor (which can be turned either landscape or portrait)
  • Both an external laptop battery like the one seen here:

http://www.amazon.com/Tekkeon-myPower-Extended-Battery-MP3450-10/dp/B0017DS0SS/ref=wl_it_dp?ie=UTF8&coliid=I1DQ7SXYR1987V&colid=19J51FLM164W3

While a bit more cumbersome than a laptop, for us its perfect. We would recommend the iLugger 17 inch carry bag, which is designed to carry the iMac, as our 17 inch Shuttle display would be too big for our Codi Laptop Bag. Here are the costs:

http://www.ilugger.com/black-imac-carrying-case.cfm

Mac Mini = $750 (4Gb of ram model)
Keyboard = $50
Mouse = $20
iLugger = $120
Shuttle Display = $300
Tekkon External Power = $90

$1350

However, since we already own the keyboard, mouse, and Shuttle display our cost would be $750 + 90 + 120 or roughly $1000 with shipping costs.

A little more setup buys us a more comfortable and portrait display computer in addition to more tablespace (we have to connect an external keyboard to any laptop, so for us laptops take up a lot of table space at the local Starbucks)

Internal RAID

In our previous post we decried the lack of RAIDed computers offered by Apple. We noted that except for the Mac Pro, none of Apple’s models can hold a second hard dive. Although RAID can be used for performance enhancement, our interest is in not losing the operating system configuration, which we just did when our iMac disk died and TimeMachine failed to recover the old configuration to the new disk we installed.

MCE OptiBay

We recently discovered the MCE OptiBay. This allows you to convert a Macbook’s optical drive into a second hard drive location. This is excactly what we were looking for. Interesting we learned from MCE that Apple actually went backwards on its design, as previous Mac laptops used to have the ability to switch out the optical drive for a hard disk naturally.

While we have been busily shipping SuperDrive upgrades for the PowerBook G4 for many years we’ve continued to hear from customers wishing for more internal hard drive space… yearning for the old days when the optical drive was removable so they can put a hard drive in its place.

We think this is a great idea, however we were not able to find it anywhere on-line. If anyone knows where it can be found, please comment on this post.

Adjusting After the Crash

After our iMac hard drive died and Time Machine failed to restore our computer, we decided to create a mirrored RAID external disk set to run Mac OS X on.

Sequence

At first we thought the sequence was to RAID the disks – using the disk utility – and then to create a GUID partition on the combined RAID disk. We did this, began installing OS X, but then ran into a failed installation screen. Next we decided to create GUID partitions on each disk to be RAIDed and then then RAID the disks. This has worked. We are using a two disk enclosure with one Hitachi Deskstar and one Western Digital Caviar (both 320 GB) disks. We will next do the same thing with our other two disk enclosure, so we will have two different Mac OS X installed RAID disks.

Conclusion

Recently we have become increasingly convinced that the single non-redundant disk design that almost all computers are sold with is very flawed. The Mac Pros can be purchased pre-RAIDed, but none of the other Macs have the capability to have two internal hard disks.. Considering he price of disks, this would be very inexpensive.

We recently had a pretty bad experience with our iMac that had us questioning how much Apple has the bases covered on design and backup. Here is our story..

  1. After a year and a month of use the hard drive in our iMac went out. The disk was a WD 500 GB Caviar drive. When we test ran the disk outside of the computer, we noticed it ran hotter than any drive we had tested previously. This was not a good drive to put in a computer.
  2. The Apple Store quoted us $420 to replace the hard drive
  3. We were able to remove the drive ourself, but the iMac is unnecessarily complicated to open and to work on.
  4. Finaly, after we installed a new disk, Time Machine, which we had dutifly been spending computer effort to backup, completely failed to recognize the images we had created on an external drive.

Conclusion

The entire experience was  idiotic. Why all computers don’t have mirrored RAID drives standard is beyond us. Apple needs to improve the serviceability of its computers, be more careful about the heat of the drives it selects, and improve the reliability of TimeMachine.

This is an application that we need to try soon. It basically manages an iPhone or iTouch and gives yo access to the data on the device. We were very impressed with the call history feature. The product is called PhoneView.

After testing MAMP for around a year, we have decided to move up to MAMP Pro. This will allow us to host multilple development environments on our Mac and will help us in attempting to learn PHP which we want to learn to create dynamic content and perform calculation for several of our websites.

Recently we had been having some problems with the program Deep showing all of the photo files in some of our directories. Deep works off of the Spotlight index and we learned we needed to rebuild this index. So we set about doing this. You can use a UNIX command, however, we elected instead to use the Spotlight GUI in System Preferences. Here are our disks. We want to add Media disk to Spotlight to have its index rebuilt.

All we needed to do was add the disk to the Privacy tab, and

Then remove it and it will begin to re-index the disk or folder. However, while this solution uses standard Mac tools, over time we found it to be not as reliable as we would like. Therefore we went searching for some add on that could help us manage our index for us. We found one in Spotless.

You select a drive and then delete the entire Index Directory, and then rebuild. It works very well. After this is done, we notice that Spotlight finds things quickly and extremely fast. From the difference we conclude that basic Spotlight as shipped with Apple has some type of maintenance issue and it does not index and reindex drives properly. Why this is not brought up more often in articles about Spotlight we can not be sure.

Computer Speed

The great thing about getting Spotlight working, which is something we did not consider, is that the overall computer runs faster as it is spending less time with online searching, and is performing the searching in batch mode before the fact.

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