OS X (10.8) Mountain Lion: Unifying the Computing Experience

OS X (10.8) Mountain Lion

Within a year of Apple’s release of Lion (Mac OS X 10.7), they’re preparing to unleash Mountain Lion – providing even more of an integrated experience for those people who rely heavily on iOS devices (or, as I like to call ’em: the gateway drugs). If you take the time to watch the teaser video that’s been posted to their web site already, you’ll likely be struck with anticipation, trepidation, or envy.

I’m excited. My mom is consternated. Windows users are lashing out with outmoded arguments already.

OS X (10.8) Mountain Lion - Image, Courtesy of Apple

You can’t deny it, though: for Mac owners, there will soon be an array of convenient features floating at their fingertips. Instead of making OS X more iOS-like in operation, Apple is bringing the best tools and features to the desktop without forcing a paradigm shift in usability. This is a stark contrast to what’s expected from the competition (with Windows 8 purportedly bifurcating the user experience between Aero and Metro – and doing so in a haphazard fashion).

Again, the Mac is not turning into an iPad.

If you have an iOS device today (in conjunction with Mac OS X), you can start test driving Messages (an updated version of iChat). If this doesn’t kill the idea of voicemail, nothing will. You can send a quick text, image, or video to any one of your Messages contacts, and they’ll receive it in their own Message client – whether that’s on OS X or any registered iOS device. Maybe one day we’ll see this communications system interoperating with other platforms, but not if it remains a value-added service which further separates Apple’s offerings from the competition (mobile or desktop).

So, what else is new – that we know of?

  • Deeper iCloud integration (including automatic synching processes)
  • Reminders (just like in iOS)
  • Notifications (an iOS-esque center, plus system-level “Growl” popups)
  • Notes (which can be pinned to the desktop like in days of yore)
  • Share Sheets (apparently, Apple’s excited about making things convenient)
  • Game Center, Everywhere (but I thought there were no games for “the Mac”?)
  • AirPlay Mirroring (wireless beaming of the desktop to a TV)
  • Gatekeeper (keeping users from harmful downloads, letting them decide)

The Mountain Lion OS update isn’t just for “the Mac,” though. This revision is staged to be sold to complete one’s entire Apple computing lifestyle – sewing together disparate data management experiences between mobile and desktop environments. So, if you don’t like Apple – I’m not sure why you’d bother to have read this far?

What do people in my community think?

Alex Terek:

It should be a free update, like windows updates…

Windows updates aren’t free – they’re more expensive. Windows Vista’s update (Windows 7) costs about half as much as a new Mac mini. Now, if you’re saying that Windows 7 is a completely different OS compared to Windows Vista, then so is Mountain Lion to Lion. Or, if you’re saying that Windows service packs are free, then so are OS X point revisions. Argument 110% nullified.

Nate Johnson:

looks like apple really is going down hill they are bringing ios to mac talk about lame if i wanted to play games id play my pc ps3 or xbox 360 not a mac seriously mac is lame and really uncompatible with most programs

It seems that Nate’s computer lacks as many punctuation keys as he does logic. Apple’s been a consistent performer in the marketplace, going uphill (not downhill). Seems there are a tremendous amount of shortsighted geeks who fail to see that a smartphone is every bit of a “gaming computer” as a traditional PC. Game consoles are evolving to entertainment stations, too. I’m not sure what “really uncompatible with most programs” means, but I could probably say that Windows programs don’t work well on OS X (outside of a virtual machine or Boot Camp, that is).

Ronald Boadi:

Seems all they have done is bundle a load of apps you could have just downloaded?

Yes and no. Yes, these types of apps could be cobbled together. No, a series of cobbled-together apps doesn’t create an experience Apple’s customers have come to expect from Apple.

Man M:

Personally I think they are going the wrong way. Simplifying desktops to phone level? meh… I can’t wait for a day when I can have proper IDE tools on tablets.

They’re not forcing a mobile usability model. They’re making it easier to manage the data, regardless of your platform (so long as it’s in the Apple universe). Microsoft would be nuts not to be doing the same thing. That, and “proper” appears to be an extremely relative and bigoted term.

Joshua Cloutier (a Gnomie):

Lion OS was a great starter for integrating iOs features… now with the integration of iOS 5 features it makes for a more organized platform for continuing application support.

That’s the idea. Make the actual device(s) / hardware melt into the background.

Howard Coldham (a Gnomie):

I think it is a bit of a let down for people without iOS devices as it centers heavily on mobile device integration. Ignoring that as I am sure the majority of Mac users have iOS devices, I think that it looks great but needs to be priced correctly (As cheap as a Lion upgrade would be perfect) as at face value it does not look like much of an update.

Pricing hasn’t been announced, but I’d assume it’d be a $30 comprehensive license. I agree with you, too: I’d like to see FaceTime and Messages go cross-platform (like QuickTime, iTunes, iCloud, Bonjour, and Safari). Maybe that’ll come when Apple’s finished fleshing out the issues within their own realm? If they released something before it was ready for prime time, that’d go against their ethos.

Alex Pierro (a Gnomie):

It’s okay for Apple to release new versions of their OS, but is necessary? I know there have been some fairly large changes from version to version, but I really don’t see them as “true” upgrades. Don’t get me wrong, it’s great to see something new, but Apple needs to come up with something wild and crazy from me to upgrade again. If they keep with the digital download, I hope that it will stay for a long while. I like things simple and Apple has provided that, but again, do we really need to see a new update every year?

Depends on what you want and need. If you use an iOS device, this series of updates would be borderline “essential.” If you’re not on iOS, I’m not sure it’s as interesting of an update. The AirPlay Mirroring feature could drive up the sales of Apple TV devices, if only for conference rooms. It’s possible that there are several underlying changes that aren’t “shiny” (or marketing-speak friendly). Apple hasn’t shown its full hand yet.

Claudiu Ioan (a Gnomie):

I think that even though its a slow transition we can see that Apple is moving towards iOS integration which is a good thing as long as they keep a way for the power user to be able to tweak his system to as he pleases.

OS X has always been more “tweakable” than Windows. Pop open a terminal window and have at it. ;) If you need a place to start, my recommendation has always been Mac OS X Hints.

Your thoughts?

How to Make an OS X Lion Boot Disk

There are reports that Mac OS X Lion will be released in the coming days and here is all you need to know about creating a boot disk to install Lion from a physical media source.

When released, Lion will only be available for download and install from Apple; no physical disks will be offered for purchase. But, if you’re like me and want to keep a disk, there’s a straightforward method that will work when you download Lion. For anyone who knows their way around Finder, it’s a very simple method; all you need is a DVD to burn to and you’re good to go.

As pointed out by an email from Steve Jobs, the only way to do a complete install involves installing Snow Leopard, then installing Lion on top of that. This method is just a pain in the neck and can frustrate many users. By creating your own Lion install disk, you can take all the pain away from clean installing your Mac computers.

If you’re like me, another reason to have a physical source of Lion is having poor Internet connectivity or none at all. Apple suggests that Mac owners come into an Apple Store and download it on the store’s Internet connection; this can be useful for some but it depends on how far an Apple Store is away from your location. By making it easy to download and burn a Lion disk once, you won’t risk going over your data cap to upgrade your computers.

Once Lion is released, purchase and download it from the Mac App Store.

Once it is downloaded, locate the Lion installer and right-click on it, selecting Show Package Contents.

Navigate inside the “Contents” folder, go inside Shared Support and, inside, locate the installer: InstallESD.dmg.

Copy InstallESD.dmg to the desktop.

Now, go to Disk Utility.

Click on the Burn button on the top menu.

Navigate to the Desktop in the selector and select InstallESD.dmg.

Now insert a blank 4.7 GB DVD and wait for the disk to burn.

You’re done! You now have a Lion install DVD ready to go and install on all of your Macs.

You’re now ready to install Lion on all of your computers to save on bandwidth and downloading time. The DVD will work just as if you purchased it from Apple. Enjoy, and have fun with your Lion upgraded Mac!

How to Choose Between Two Computers

A LockerGnome reader asks:

I’m going to be starting college in the Fall of 2011 and I am in the hunt for a laptop. I don’t really need a Mac, but I love the ease of use the OS offers. While most of my experience is with a Windows PC, I can’t help but to consider the Mac due to its looks and overall reliability. What do you think?

Deciding between what you need and what you want can be tricky, especially when what you want can help you get the job done in much the same way without failing to achieve the need your alternative would fulfill.

Here are a few suggestions to help you decide between two computers you want, no matter what their brand or operating system may be:

Can I Afford Them?
This is a common question among people considering differences between two pieces of similar technology. Often, the computer with the most power and/or eye candy comes complete with a higher price tag. In this case, you’re deciding between a Mac and a PC, but this decision could easily be between two systems with matching operating systems.

Before you even begin to consider anything else, you should determine if you actually have the financial capacity to grab the pricier option. If you bite off more than you can chew financially, it could lead to serious problems in the short and long term. The sticker shock of some text books, for example, comes as a nasty surprise for many students as they enter college.

Which Choice Will I Be Happier With in a Year?
If you’ve determined that both computers are within your buying range, the next question to ask yourself is whether or not you believe you’ll still be happy with each system a year from your purchase date. Usually, when you buy a computer, it is expected to last anywhere from 2-5 years before becoming obsolete. For many power users, that time period can be perceived to be much shorter and create a buyer’s remorse after the fact.

Even though it is important to consider immediate needs when making your decision, you also need to take in to account what you may be taking for the next year or two. Chemistry doesn’t require powerful hardware to study or work on, but a graphics design or video editing course may. Does the operating system on the computer you choose have the ability to work with the programs you may need to use to get through your coursework?

What Are My Software Needs?
When deciding between OS X and Windows, you may also want to take in to account any software you may need to use to get through your coursework. Are you taking a class that needs you to become proficient with a program that is only available on Windows? This is less of a problem now thanks to more universal programs being developed. Macs are also able to run Windows through programs like Boot Camp or Parallels.

Some systems come with an included suite of software to help you get started. For example, new Macs come with the iLife Suite which gives you fairly powerful video, music, and photo applications that allow you to get right to work without spending more on software. With a Windows machine, you’ve got access to Windows Live Essentials as well as some third-party programs included through the manufacturer.

Do I Have Time to Learn a New Operating System?
If you need to be up and running with your new computer right away, you may not have time to tackle the learning curve of a new operating system. Early frustrations, intensified by stress of a deadline or project, can lead to serious buyer’s remorse. If you’re unfamiliar with an operating system, it’s important to make sure you have a few days to get accustomed to things prior to any desperate deadlines requiring proficiency.

What Are Their Weaknesses?
Lastly, if it looks like a stalemate, examine each option by its weaknesses rather than its strengths. This is where computer shopping can get really confusing. By wiping your mind of all the bells and whistles and concentrating on which one has faults your most willing to overlook, you’re probably going to end up with a choice you’ll be happier with in the long run.

Does one have terrible battery life? Is battery life that important to you? Is one heavy and hard to lug around, especially when compared to the other? Do you plan to take it with you often? Hopefully using this method, the choice will be easier than concentrating on the shiny bits. 16 gigs of RAM doesn’t amount to much if the battery dies on you during class.

Should I Wait Until WWDC 2011 to Buy a MacBook Pro?

In a recent email, a reader asks, “Do you think I should wait until WWDC and the release of Mac OS X Lion to purchase a MacBook Pro, or simply buy one now and upgrade later?”

That’s a great question. On one hand, right now is the best time to buy a MacBook Pro since the new line just came out and you don’t run the risk of an upgrade being right around the corner. On the other hand, you may need to deal with the hassle of purchasing Lion and upgrading within a couple months of receiving your Mac.

To date, the only official estimate for Lion’s release is sometime in the summer of 2011, which may or may not coincide with WWDC. Your wait could very well be shorter, or longer than expected.

This all boils down to personal needs and preferences. If you plan on purchasing a MacBook Pro with the solid-state drive option, you’ll probably find TRIM feature included with Lion to be quite useful. That’s not to say this won’t be available to you if you decide to upgrade later.

Currently, OS X Lion is expected to release at a retail price of $129, which follows suit with previous major releases excluding the more recent Snow Leopard which acted more like a minor update than a stand-alone OS version. That’s not to say that Apple won’t change their usual pricing in this case, as they have been reducing their software prices in general lately.

Overall, the decision is yours to make. You can save a little money and hold off until Lion sees the light of day, or have an extra couple of months with an amazing system that works just fine in the meantime.

Why Macs Cost More Than PCs

Every time I hear the same argument about Macs costing so much more than a Windows PC, part of me wants to break out the calculator and explain exactly why there is a price difference. Believe it or not, you’re not paying for a “brand” as much as you are paying for actual differences in hardware and software.

First, let’s talk bloatware. Bloatware is this generally software installed in a new computer that is intended to advertise something. These are usually shareware and trial programs that offer anti-virus protection, office programs, etc. What happens here, is the computer manufacturer gets paid a significant amount of money to include these programs on their computers. This then offsets the cost and allows the company to pass on the savings to the customer. That $700 laptop is really a $900 laptop with a couple hundred dollars worth of sponsored software pre-installed.

Another difference between the two systems is included software. It can be argued that OS X and Windows are roughly the same in terms of cost and overall functionality. One does things differently than the other, but they’re both operating systems. Where the big differences lie is in Apple’s decision to include the iLife Suite with each new Mac. This suite includes a basic photo manager, audio, music, and video editors, and a DVD creation program. If you searched for programs with the same basic functionality on the PC, they would come with a significant price tag. Microsoft has made significant improvements in Windows Movie Maker and other programs offered with their Windows Live suite, giving Apple some added competition in this area recently.

Build quality is usually brought up in the Mac vs. PC debates to a roll of the eyes. The fact of the matter is that unibody designs, polycarbonate and aluminum built materials with actual glass over the trackpad and screen, and other little touches make Macs a strong competitor to even the highest priced PCs in terms of build quality. If you wanted to buy an all-in-one PC with the same screen resolution as an iMac, you’ll easily find yourself spending the same amount for either machine. You may also trade off build material quality for a touch screen, which may work out better for you depending on your actual needs.

Hardware specs are one area where PC users feel they have the best value. Macs usually come with lackluster video card choices, so-so CPU options at lower price points, and have a reputation for being behind the times. What PC users don’t take in to account is the higher demands of a Windows-based PC. Just sitting on idle, the Windows machine eats clock cycles and RAM at often double the amount of the Mac. OS X also addresses kernel requests differently than Windows. If you were to watch a movie in 1080p on a Windows machine and a Mac with the same exact hardware specs, you might find the Windows machine takes longer to load the video and may have more jerks during playback. This is because of a few fundamental differences in how the operating system communicates with the processor. There is a reason the majority of the movie industry does their edits on Mac machines, and have for quite some time.

While this article may appear to be strongly supportive of OS X and bashing of Windows, it’s important to remember that each system has its own areas where it absolutely excels. If you’re a gamer, for example, you probably want to go with a PC since they not only get the first crack at most games, but they also have targeted hardware for that very purpose. Apple has recently started to push their systems as a gaming platform, but frankly the PC is leaps and bounds ahead of the Mac in this area. There are many advantages to going with Windows over OS X in this regard. What matters most is what you intend to do with the computer.

The cost difference between the two isn’t as high as one might think. You get a strong value in included software, no bloatware, better build materials on average, and in many cases more punch per clock cycle. If you wanted to achieve all of this on a Windows machine, you’d likely be spending the same, if not more.

Why I Love the Idea of a Cloud OS

This morning, I wrote an article detailing why I hate the idea of an OS built with cloud dependence in some of its core features. The fact is, there are many reasons why an OS built with the cloud in mind at its base is a good idea. This is especially true for users that are frequently doing work from the road that needs to access the most up-to-date copies of files.

Files and Content Remains Synced
Doing work in the cloud can be a tremendous help, especially when you’re collaborating with a team that aren’t in a single physical location. Cloud-based office applications like Google Docs have revolutionized the way many businesses think of telecommuting and allowed them to save significantly on overhead costs and infrastructure.

Chances are, something you’re doing on a web-heavy system will likely be backed up and synced across all of your machines no matter their build and specs. My desktop at home will have the same access to the same content my Chrome OS notebook would from the coffee shop down the street.

Hardware Costs are Much Lower
While I did cite hardware is getting cheaper and faster every day, the current state of the economy can’t be ignored. Spending thousands on a powerful system capable of doing tasks that can be done on a web-based platform isn’t always a viable solution. If I can accomplish the same output from a $200 netbook or a $1,000 notebook, I’m going to pick the netbook every time.

Battery Life is Generally Better
Wi-Fi and 3G connections eat at battery life, but not nearly as quickly as a system running hot because of clock cycles being spent running intensive programs. If I streamed music from Pandora and updated my blog on a Chrome OS system, I’m more likely to have a lot more battery life than I would playing music from iTunes and running Microsoft Word on Windows 7.

A Hardware Failure Doesn’t Destroy Anything Important
If you do a lot of work on the computer, you’ve probably had a hard drive, motherboard, or other major system component die on you at one point or another. A hard drive going out is a terrible event that has causes countless hours of work, photos, and other important data to be lost. The most important benefit to working within the sphere of the cloud is that your data is completely backed up. The chances of losing your online data to hardware failure is minimal as long as you’re using reliable services.

Overall, I think the idea of a cloud OS can be both good and bad, depending on your perspective on things. It might not hurt to have one of these resource frugal operating systems installed as a dual boot option for times when you’re on battery power and need to get something out on the net. What does concern me is how Microsoft and other major operating system developers intend to integrate the cloud in to their flagship desktop systems. If they do it right, it could be the best of both worlds.

Link: Why I Hate the Idea of a Cloud OS

Mac OS X Trojan Gains Ground

It is widely known among Mac OS X users that they have a very tiny window of being infected with malware due to the nature of the operating system and how it is developed. As Apple reduces and makes Macs less expensive, it attracts a certain group that has a sole purpose to infect computers and use them for their own nasty deeds. To date, most of the exploits have been what most call “kiddie play.” Well kiddie play no longer, it seems that now attacks are becoming more complex and destructive.

The security firm Sophos has uncovered and brought to us a recent development that blows the security of Macs wide open: a trojan called OSX/MusMinim-A. The underground hacking community is taking notice of this exploit and taking it over. What this trojan exploits is the remote access of the system, fooling the user into entering their administrator password allowing the hacker to gain control of the computer.

As Sophos explains, this trojan is in its very infantile stages, but lately development around it has exploded. The development of this trojan can be implemented in many ways and poses a big threat to all applications. With that, another widely seen example is the RSPlug.A; this trojan has been in the wild for quite some time, and it disguises itself to be a plugin required to view a video file but modifies the DNS settings, redirecting users to malicious Web sites.

Sophos did extensive testing with the new trojan and says that even with the announcement of Snow Leopard, that has malware protection built-in, it is not safe. The tests only show that Snow Leopard’s protection is against Safari threats. When the RSPlug.A malware was placed on a simple USB key, it was not blocked from running.

The only solid way to protect your Mac is stop downloading what you shouldn’t be downloading and just use Apple’s App Store. Just like on the iPhone, all applications are checked and made sure to be virus free.

Mac OS 10.7 Lion Developer Preview Video Walkthrough

I got my hands on the Developer Preview of Mac OS 10.7 Lion, and in addition to writing up my thoughts on the new features, I also made this 5 minute video. In the video I bring you a closer look at Mac OS X 10.7 so you can see all the fancy newness and things I talked about in the Mac OS X 10.7 walkthrough.

Features covered in the video include the improved gesture support, mission control and launchpad, the newly redesigned Finder, upgrades to Mail.app and other Mac OS X core apps, as well as built-in auto save and app freezing functionality.

For the best experience, I recommend watching the Mac OS X Lion walkthrough video in full-screen HD.

Check out the video below:

New MacBook Pros To Have Larger Trackpads And Dedicated SSD

With all signs leading to a MacBook Pro refresh later this week, most likely Thursday, details on the changes may be rather exciting. A new report from BGR claims to have information on the upcoming update and what we might see. The report hints to more than just using Intel’s Sandy Bridge processors.

Something Apple has looked into and looks like it will be coming out is a larger trackpad. Like those found on the current models, a larger trackpad can help with gestures and multi-finger swipes that Apple has hinted to and made a big part in most of its devices. These gestures are what Apple is making a big focus on, allowing users to cut down on keystrokes and increase the simple gestures to switch applications or go straight to their favorite application.

The report also claims that the newest machines that are coming out will offer a dedicated solid-state drive of 8-16GB to house the Mac OS X system. This would allow for a faster boot-up and performance from the system. Additional internal storage would be made available in either traditional hard drives or solid-state drives.

The next bit of information doesn’t quite make sense to us, but we have been told the OS on the laptops will be loaded to a separate (internal) 8-16GB SSD while everything else will remain on the regular hard drive. There will be options for just SSD drives but the base models will feature regular hard disks with the SSD combo for the OS.

These reports about a dedicated hard drive for the system have been heard before back in 2006 when Apple was experimenting with “Turbo Memory” that would add the same type of function to the system to increase overall speed of the programs and computer.

Finally a small detail includes Apple shaving off a half pound from the computer on the MacBook Pro models.

How to Capture a Web Page as an Image

Having the ability to capture a web page as an image is vital for tech bloggers, IT professionals, video podcasters, and web developers. Being able to capture the entire page instead of just a visible portion requires some additional help not available in most browsers by default. Below are some tools and suggestions that can help you achieve your goal.

Capturing Web Pages in Firefox:
Firefox has an overwhelming number of plug-ins and add-ons that allow this functionality. Below are a few that the community have taken a liking to. Keep in mind this isn’t an all-inclusive list.

Screengrab captures pages either in their entirety or just what you can see in the current Firefox window. It captures mostly everything you can see in Firefox including flash components.

Abduction! adds a right click option to take screenshots of an entire web page or just part of a web page to save as an image.

FireShot boasts the most forward thinking compatibility being compatible up to 4.0b9pre. That’s not to say others aren’t either heading in that direction or already there. Unlike other extensions, this plugin provides a set of editing and annotation tools, which let users quickly modify web captures and insert text annotations and graphical annotations. Such functionality will be especially useful for web designers, testers and content reviewers.

Capturing Web Pages in Chrome:
Webpage Screenshot, is it’s called, does exactly that. It takes a picture of either part of a page or the whole thing and sends you to a built-in editor that allows you to add annotations and small edits before saving it or sending it to a free hosting service. This is one of the more robust page capturing tools I tested doing research for this article.

Capturing Web Pages in Windows:
IECapt is an open-source solution that captures images of pages rendered using the Internet Explorer engine. This is a pretty standard image capture program and it works for a variety of site styles out there. If it loads in default IE, it will capture in IECapt.

Capturing Web Pages in OS X:
Paparazzi! is a free stand-alone program that allows you to capture an entire web page as an image file. It has a simple interface that asks for the URL you wish to capture and size requirements. You can set a minimum and maximum capture area or let it capture a page in its entirety and tell you the results.

Paparazzi! is based on WebKit and Cocoa, and while it captures a lot of different web code bases, it doesn’t render anything that requires a plug-in such as Adobe Flash. This might also be a great way to test a site for compatibility across desktop and mobile browsers. As an example, Jquery and HTML5 resources pull up fine where Flash and Silverlight do not.

If you’ve ever found yourself in the need of capturing an entire web page in the form of an image file, Paparrazi! might be worth a look at. The failure to render embedded YouTube videos, scripted menus, etc. is a drawback, though at a price tag of free there isn’t much of a reason not to keep Paparazzi in mind when searching for a solution to this often nagging problem.

Lock Your Screen in OS X

Matt Ryan of The Frugal Geek blog on Lockergnome shows you how to lock your Mac OS X Screen using a password protected screen saver.

From the Desktop & Screen Saver settings in Mac OS X, be sure you have turned on a screen saver. You then configure a hot spot on your screen to activate the screen saver when you move the cursor to that location. Configure the password for your Mac OS X user account. From the Security System Preferences page, check the box to require your password be entered when screen saver is activated.

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Printing From i0S To OS X

I was pretty excited, based on reports in the community in the past about being able to print from my iPad in the new iOS 4.2.1 operating system via my Mac computer. My Wi-Fi laser printer in my home office is a good printer, but it certainly is not AirPrint enabled. So leveraging my MacBook (which is pretty much always up and running) was to be a good option for me.

no airprintBut, alas, iOS 4.2.1 is here, and OS X 10.6.5 is installed and running on my MacBook (after some troublesome issues that finally got resolved)… But it looks like Apple removed the AirPrint capability from the 10.6.5 release of OS X. It was in the beta versions, but not in the version they finally released.

Lifehacker has a brief article describing how to manually enable AirPrint support in 10.6.5, so you can share your non-AirPrint printers with your iOS 4.2 devices via your Mac.

In a nutshell, you just do this:

  • Download a few files (which are pulled from the OS X beta)
  • Copy them to a couple of specific locations (described in the linked site, above)
  • Remove your printer from the system
  • Restart your Mac
  • and re-add your printer, and share it

Of course, this is not a supported configuration and undoubtedly there is some very real reason why it was not included in 10.6.5, so your mileage may vary should you decide to try it.

For those who may not want to break open the Terminal app in OS X, someone also built a quick Mac App called AirPrint Hacktivator that you can run, which will allow you to automagically install the proper files and configure the OS.

Again, your mileage may vary. But I can tell you, it worked for me! I used the Hacktivator app and didn’t even have to restart my computer. I ran it, removed the old shared printer and re-added it, and instantly my iPad “saw” it and was able to print.

So, I’m now printing from my iPad, via my MacBook Air on the WLAN, to my office laser printer. Pretty slick, and a nice feature to have. No more emailing links and copy/paste content to one of my other computers in order to print things I find or need from the iPad.

If you’re interested in what else is available in iOS 4.2 for the iPad, I suggest you check out the Lifehacker review and video.

To read more about this sort of thing, converting HD DVDs to Blu-ray, exchanging water-damaged iPhones, network security, Easter eggs, or whatever else Greg Hughes feels like talking about, you should drop by his blog. He may not update daily, but the wait’s always worth it!

Mac App Store Just Around The Corner

With the success of the Apple iOS App Store, it’s no wonder that nearly everyone around the world is interested in finding ways of duplicating its success at some fundamental level. But what about when that someone is Apple? That’s right, Apple is going to be launching an App Store for the desktop operating system known as OS X, a cousin to the iOS. At its heart, the idea has a lot of merit.

What with the success seen in the mobile landscape, I can see how Apple figures that this is one gamble that could pay off. Here are the facts  that no one can deny any longer. First, the App Store and Marketplace work. They make installing software simple and ensure that some kind of form of “safety” is in place. At least that is the idea.

What is comical is that this isn’t news. The idea of installing and keeping software up to date has been in practice on various Linux distros for years. From the CLI or package mangers to Linspire’s CNR and today, Ubuntu’s Software Center. Old news. The only difference is that there will be more proprietary software selections available from Apple’s offerings. Great news for developers looking to earn a little green.

Airfoil Opens Pandora’s Box On Apple TV

There should be an image here!Do you have an Apple TV? Do you like Pandora or other Internet radio services? Sadly, you could not use Pandora on Apple TV — until now. Today I will be showing you how to use an awesome application called Airfoil to steam any sound source to your Apple TV or any iOS device. I love my Apple TV and I still wonder why Apple did not include a Pandora app or something similar. Airfoil will work with both Windows and OS X. I will be showing you how to use the OS X version. Both setups are pretty much the same though.

Stuff you need:

First, download Airfoil from the Rogue Amoeba site. Once downloaded, extract the contents of the folder to your desktop. When you open it, you will see two applications: Airfoil and Airfoil Speakers. Airfoil Speakers is an app you can copy to another Mac and stream your sound. It is a portal to your network sound stream.

If you have not already done so, set up your Apple TV and connect it to your network. It does not matter if you have wireless or wired — they both work just fine for this project.

Now let’s start up Airfoil. Once started, you should see at least two objects in the application window. First is your computer, second is your Apple TV. If you do not see your Apple TV, make sure it is on and connected to the network. Below all that, you will see a drop down. Click on it and select “Other Application.” Select your Pandora app.

Once you select Pandora, click on the speaker icon next to your Apple TV. If not already installed, Airfoil will ask you to install Instant Hijack. If don’t want to have to restart your sound source each time you run Airfoil, install this. Personally, I did not see a need for this and did not install it.

Like magic, you will hear your Pandora stream over your Apple TV. One cool feature is that Airfoil will not play the sound on your PC and TV at the same time. One of the best features of the software is that there are apps for all iOS devices. Setup is the same for each; just download the app from the App Store, open it and you will see your device in Airfoil on your Mac. The trial lasts for 10 minutes before it starts including “noise” with the stream. For $25 you can have an Apple TV (Or any iOS device) that can play any media you want! Maybe one day Apple will include this feature with future updates, especially when you can buy TVs and Blu-ray players with Pandora installed.

Happy streaming!

Chris Kader is a 22-year-old fellow from Arkansas. He’s in the Army and he loves tech. Check out his YouTube channel here.

[Photo above by Rob Boudon / CC BY-ND 2.0]

Mac Users – No USB 3.0 For You

There should be an image here!To a degree, I can see the value in Steve Jobs not wishing to support Adobe Flash on the iPhone/iPad. And yes, he might even have a limited point on how optical media is destined to become a thing of the past. Okay, I can buy into that. But when I hear that something as important as USB 3.0 will not be offered in upcoming Macs offered by Apple, well, clearly Steve is off his rocker!

The rationale is that Apple doesn’t see enough supported devices available yet, in which it can justify the hassle of supporting USB 3.0 in its OS or with its motherboards. To a very narrow degree, Apple might be right here. The technology is very early. So perhaps waiting a bit is wise on behalf of everyone.

What could prove to be a strong counter argument to this, however, is the fact that supported USB 3.0 devices are on the way. Not supporting this with new Macs, in this case, would be foolish. No doubt that Mac users will give this a pass, thanks to the speed of FireWire alternatives already on the market.

[Photo above by Ambuj Saxena / CC BY-ND 2.0]