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Tweetbot 2 review: Twitter Mac app has a crisper design but is a work in progress

When a service you use has its own free software, why turn to a third party for an alternative? The folks at Tapbots continue to answer that question with each update to their Tweetbot client for Twitter, available both in iOS and OS X. Tweetbot provides a straightforward timeline view, threaded conversations appear with a double-click, and there’s … [Read more...]

More Photos Q&A: Imports hanging, what is safe to delete, and sharing to Facebook

At WWDC last week, Apple said that Photos will be updated in OS X 10.11 El Capitan with new features. Until then (and unless you upgrade), we’re still using the sometimes manky version in Yosemite, which I’m still holding out hope Apple releases additional fixes for, rather than defer everything to El Capitan. This week, more answers to what you … [Read more...]

Change your DNS to avoid or bypass broadband ‘outages’ like Comcast’s

Comcast had a massive “outage” on Monday that affected Seattle and the San Francisco Bay Area. Note that “outage” is in quotation marks, because the problem wasn’t with the physical links that made up its broadband network, nor with routers that connect segments large and small. Instead, it was a bit of plumbing gone awry, like a faucet tap that … [Read more...]

Ghostly problems: Troubleshooting Photos smart albums, hard drive partitions, and Mail Drop

All operating systems are haunted. Ghosts wander their halls, remnants of decisions make in the past that sometimes manifest themselves and go “boo” when unexpected interactions clash. It’s always maddening to have a problem that appears regularly but inconsistently, so you cannot nail down its cause, but still have to deal with the … [Read more...]

Wearable security: Authentication apps for Apple Watch

The Apple Watch could become our central hub in a wheel of identity, in which all spokes rotate around our wrist. Some early Watch apps already have a high degree of utility. But we’re only scratching the surface of what’s to come.In this roundup, we look at six apps that offer varying forms of authentication on the Watch. Three allow a tap on the … [Read more...]

TripMode review: Tethered Mac? Your wallet will love this data monitoring app

Ever since it was possible to tether a computer to a cell modem, it's also been possible to blow through one's monthly or service-plan limit and either run out of mobile data, be throttled to a trickle, or face expensive overage fees. TripMode is the first easy-to-use OS X utility to help with that problem. It could do more, but for $8 (or $5 in … [Read more...]

The first batch of USB-C adapters and cables, tested

When Apple announced the MacBook in March, the new USB Type C (USB-C for short) port caused head shaking and chin scratching. Though the standard had been released in September and shown off at the CES trade show in January, no ecosystem existed. It was hard to know how a single-port USB-C laptop would function in the real world. In the days that … [Read more...]

Got a new MacBook? USB Target Disk Mode works with the right cable (which Apple doesn’t sell)

On Friday, you might have read my and executive editor Susie Ochs’s experiences with our out-of-the-box, retail purchased MacBooks. We had a lot of glitches in setup and configuration, many confirmed by other MacBook owners and some by people who had experienced the same problems in setting up new Macs. But the one truly unexpected part had to do … [Read more...]

How to import, merge, and consolidate your libraries in Photos for OS X

Photos for Yosemite is finally out! And that’s a real “finally” given how long we’ve all been wrestling with the limitations of iPhoto in OS X and Apple’s early announcement of its replacement. Photos for OS X has a lot going for it, especially in speed. But it’s also a ground-up rewrite of our Mac photo experience, and some pieces are missing … [Read more...]

Use an external SSD to make an old Mac feel new (without cracking it open)

My mid-2011 Mac mini had slowed down. Way down. Starting with Mavericks, the mini would eventually bog down after a number of days between restarts, and require a force restart or manual one. It took several minutes to power up and start loading apps, and then around 20 minutes, if not longer, to be fully responsive—this despite 16GB of RAM. My … [Read more...]

Mac 911: A wild Wi-Fi ride to hunt a pesky set of problems

There’s no technology simultaneously more useful and frustrating than Wi-Fi. Wireless local area networking shouldn’t be rocket science at this point, even though it involves fiendish calculations and increasingly sophisticated physics. While setting up a Wi-Fi network has become simpler over time and networks more reliable, when a connection … [Read more...]

Mac 911: Good backup habits making migrating to a new Mac easier

To go forward, you must back up. This is an old rubric and bad joke about the importance of keeping regularly updated copies on hand of your personal and work documents and, ideally, your entire drive. Backing up is often an important stage in migrating to a new machine as well. This week, I cover my recommended methods. Jim Kay writes: I’m … [Read more...]

Spring cleaning for your Mac: How to consolidate files and remove duplicates

This week we tackle some of your storage questions, including consolidating, de-duplication, and management.Too many drives Reader Jon writes that he has a pile of partly full external USB drives formatted for use with Windows that he almost always mounts on a Mac, and expects there is a lot of duplication among the different drives he’s using. I … [Read more...]

Mac 911: Making DVDs from old iMovie projects and slideshows

I still remember the glorious day when I first encountered writable CDs. It was in the early 1990s in a $100,000 system designed by Kodak to produce its Photo CDs, discs that worked with its CD/DVD player and with computer software to provide galleries to few and high-resolution scans. It took years before CD burners were cheap and then included in … [Read more...]

Thunderbolted: USB-C is our new connection overlord. Get used to it.

When news of a new Mac notebook leaked two months ago, one of the aspects that seemed most absurd was the omission of multiple ports. Instead, there would be just one hole. Weirder still, it would be USB-C, a format never before seen in a Mac and unfamiliar to most people, as it was only unveiled in production equipment last September. Turns out, … [Read more...]

How to manage cellular data usage on your iPhone and iPad with iOS 8

When Apple introduced the iPhone, it also managed to get AT&T and then other carriers to offer unlimited data plans in the United States and in a few other countries. That didn’t last, especially as networks became congested with heavy data use.There are still millions of people grandfathered into old plans that allow unlimited data use, but … [Read more...]

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