Master-Title MAMP (for websites) Master-Title
bookstack10 bookstack10
Bookshelf BookUpright1
bookstack10 Changing Your Fonts
bookstack10 bookstack10
bookstack10 Adding eMail Links bookstack10
BookUpright1 Finding "Home" BookUpright1
bookstack10 Fast Hard Drives
BookUpright1 Junk eMail BookUpright1
bookstack10 Color-Matched Colors bookstack10
BookUpright1 Checking The Battery BookUpright1
bookstack10 Safari's Tools bookstack10
BookUpright1 Virus Protection BookUpright1
bookstack10 Blaming Apple bookstack10
BookUpright1 Buying Used Equipment BookUpright1
bookstack10 Reliable Mac Info bookstack10
Computer Humor
bookstack10 Screen Brightness bookstack10
Famous Sayings
bookstack10 Empty Your Inbox bookstack10
BookUpright1 Safari Mimics Other Browsers
bookstack10 Tech Support bookstack10
The Progression Of Bytes BookUpright1
BookUpright1 Storing Compressed Files BookUpright1
BookUpright1 Charlotte Apple Store Photos
M.A.C.S. Resource Library BookUpright1
BookUpright1 Transferring Files To A PC BookUpright1
BookUpright1 Opening PC Files On A BookUpright1
Buying An External Drive
Color-Matched Colors
Posted: 7/3/09
Paintbrush Color-Matched Colors

Well, here are two web sites which offer just that. This first one is called "Kuler" and is owned by Adobe. The other site is called "ColourLovers". Although both sites allow you to instantly create a matching colors by simply choosing one of nearly an infinite number of colors, ColourLovers goes WAY beyond what the Adobe site offers. Here you'll be able to create matching colors, color palettes and manipulate colored patterns. There's even a section which will show you professional magazine and web pages which use the color you pick. In that way, you'll be able to see how your colors are used by the pros.

When Faster Drives Are Not Faster

There's an article by the long-standing and very helpful Macsimum News site which you may be interested in. It explains why those very fast hard drives, known as "SSD" (Solid State Drive), are not as fast as they should be when they're used with a Macintosh. That article is posted below (with permission) but be sure to visit the Macsimum News web site for other Apple news.

Posted: 6/20/09

MacOS X is having trouble handling SSD hard drive speeds by Dave Merten

It appears Mac OS X is having problems handling the speed of new SSD hard drives. In fact, Apple has secretly reduced the speed at which their new laptops handle SATA speeds, from 3.0 Gig/sec down to 1.5Gig/sec. Mr. Tobias Brinkmann, from SSD manufacturer OCZ, had this to say about the issue.

“Mac OS X has an issue with couple of things, and this was bound to happen—the Apple-written SATA controller driver can get saturated by a single SSD drive on ocassion, but two will definitely saturate the bus. The underlying issue is the fact that Mac OS X comes with journaling filesystem, a feature not present on Windows-based file systems."

“The only way to avoid this is by buying an external RAID controller that comes with its own drivers, independent of the built-in SATA drivers. Now, brace for impact – upcoming Mac OSX Snow Leopard WILL NOT fix this one in its initial release, we will have to wait for an Apple Update, if it ever comes out. The issue is present in all Mac OS X releases with SATA drive support, so you lose 10MB/s if you use a very fast SSD drive.”

If you plan on putting a SSD drive in your Mac laptop down the road, and until Apple modifies Mac OS X, make sure the drive is compatible or you could run into saturation problems. OCZ makes special SSD Mac drives that are slowed down by 10MB/s in order to avoid saturation on the software side.

Posted: 5/26/09
Apple's Safari web Browser has Posted: 5/26/09
Posted: 5/26/09

The Tech Support Experience

Here's a funny, yet insightful, article of what it's like behind the scenes of computer tech support. It was written by Macintosh author Christopher Breen.

Many people involved with telephone tech support go through a very similar experience on a daily basis.

Whenever you conact anyone in tech support..:

  • Turn your computer ON and sit in front of it ready to go, before calling tech support.
  • Have your facts straight... The order in which problems occurred, makes a lot of difference. What exactly caused the problem? Which program were you using at the time?, Have you recently upgraded, or added new, software?, Did you recently connect or disconnect a device from the computer?
  • Even if you've already tried several things, be patient and follow the Tech's instructions -- even if they ask you to repeat what you've already done. (They have to know you didn't miss something and they have to get your computer to a foundation level before proceeding.)
  • You have to be their eyes, hands, nose and ears. Telephone tech support relies on what YOU see, feel, smell and hear. Only do what they tell you, when they tell you to do it. Then, provide feedback as different processes are taking place. NEVER use phrases like "This thing won't move", or "Uh oh. Why did that just happen?", or "I'm hitting it but nothing happens." Instead, use terms such as "menu", "key press", "mouse click", "Icon", "Pointer", etc.

The most frustrating computer problems for the average user (that's you) are those problems which seem to be associated with one device, such as the printer, but during the course of solving the problem, the printer company tells you to phone Apple and Apple tells you to phone the printer company. The solution to some of these problems requires fixing overlapping areas. This is when it's best to have a local Macintosh tech support person come over so he or she can examine your entire situation. Another way to obtain helpful information is to attend a meeting of your local Macintosh user's group -- such as M.A.C.S.

Reliable Sources Of Macintosh Information?

As a novice computer user, it's difficult enough to find answers to your questions. Even when you know which terms to use, where do you turn for "reliable" information? From my experience, I place "high value" on local Macintosh user group meetings. Because these meetings consist of Macintosh users at various levels of experience, and being able to ask your question to the entire attendance at the same time, I always receive reliable information. If the question is too technical for those attending that particular meeting, enough information is offered to point me in the right direction.

When searching for your answers online, however, I find it nearly impossible to rely on a single source every time. Troubleshooting sites, such as MacInTouch and MacFixIt do a good job of providing Macintosh tips, shortcuts and alerts but when reading the user responses, I find myself constantly having to "read between the lines", in order to sort out "fact" from "reaction". For example, whenever Apple releases a maintenance update to Mac OS X, there will always be a handful of people complaining on those sites. Of course, it's never THEIR fault. They always blame Apple for releasing "unfinished" or "faulty" software. Sometimes I can figure out whether they've used the built-in "Software Update" feature to download the updates (not always a good idea), or if they did not run DiskWarrior first (typically the best place to start), or if they've installed a "System Modifier" program (change the color of windows, the font used in menus, extra Clipboards, etc.) in their Macintosh (these can sometimes cause more harm than good). After reading through several complaints, if I still can't decide if there really is a problem, I must then skim through other troubleshooting sites in order to get a wider sampling of user experiences. (I wish troubleshooting sites would make forum contributors put checkmarks next to boxes which state: "__Ran DiskWarrior", "__Used Software Update For Installation", "__Use A System Modifier", etc.)

When searching for Macintosh information, some of you will simply "go with the popular choice" -- a Macintosh celebrity. Following the advice from one Macintosh "guru" is fine but even the best of us make mistakes. If you're about to spend a lot of money or make a major change in your Mac's software, because of advice from one source, you might want to attend a meeting of your local Macintosh user's group and run it by them. Yes, you may get 20 different answers but now you'll be better informed and should be able to refine that information with a few Internet searches.

Sometimes, missing information is as bad as wrong information. For example, a few years ago, a M.A.C.S. member told me she had purchased one of Adam Engst's (of "TidBits") $5 "Take Control" e-books (this one was a "download and print" book). She asked me to take her printout home, look it over and see what I thought about it. Overall, the information provided was not really "wrong". However, it did leave out some "watch out for this" and "if you're in this situation, do this" notes. From my experience of working with Apple ][ and Macintosh beginners since 1982, this particular e-book would have gotten a few beginners into trouble -- and it was supposed to be beginner-oriented information.

The reason I'm writing this particular blurb is because of some information I read today (4/28/09) from this Low End Mac web page. I found the link on MacSurfer, which I read every day. I usually don't visit Low End Mac, because the topics never seem to apply to what I'm looking for. However, today's topic was on "Does Using Matched RAM Make Your Mac Faster?" I already knew the answer but thought a detailed article would provide some information I may have been missing.

The author of the article, Simon Royal, ran benchmarks (speed tests) from two different programs -- this was a good thing. However, he concluded that, because he only saw a very slight increase in "Matched Pair" performance that it wasn't worth the extra cost and work to install Matched Memory Modules. Of course he wouldn't see any real increase in performance... Why? Because he only ran his tests on two different PowerBook G4 computers! These particular Macs don't contain Matched Memory Module technology!!! Had he used a Macintosh, such as my old iMac G5 (revision B with Ambient Light Sensor) or read this Apple article, he would have seen that Matched Memory Modules really do make a difference "in the Macs which provide this technology!

Posted: 4/28/09, Updated 6/11/10

Update (5/1/09)

Here's another example of a Macintosh "guru" who either did not gather all the facts or simply didn't communicate them clearly...

This Macworld page has an article written by world famous MacFixIt author Ted Landau. The article is titled "Bugs & Fixes: Be wary of APC battery backups for Intel Macs running Leopard". The article isn't real clear on exactly what is causing his problem. He makes it sound as though the APC BackUPS unit itself (the "hardware") is causing his frustration. However, it does appear that he installed the included "Power Chute" software.

I have two questions: 1) Why would he want to install the software? and 2) Since this APC page states that Power Chute is only compatible with Mac OS 10.4.9 and lower, why did he install the software?

Using the Power Chute software requires the included data cable to be connected between the UPS unit and your Macintosh. This allows both devices to communicate with each other. The main reason for all this is for those times when the electricity goes out completely for an extended period of time AND the computer is ON with no one around to shut it down properly. In this scenario, the UPS unit will run on its internal battery for as long as it can. Once that battery starts becoming depleted, the UPS will tell the Macintosh to shut down. In large business environments, this feature is important. However, for most home users, this feature would probably never be used.

I've been using and recommending APC-brand, UPS units for many years. I never install the included software. I've never had a problem and those I've recommended to have not informed me of any.

Update (6/11/10)

If you're relying on Kim Komando for Macintosh advice... why are you? She's been a PC user and supporter for decades. I spot-checked her info today and found this page. She explains how to erase your Mac's hard drive, so your private data is securly erased. In do so, she tells you to download a free program, so all the data will be erased 35 times. There are two problems with this advice...

  1. She fails to mention that you do not need any extra software to accomplish this task. Apple's own (and included) "Disk Utility" program will perform this low-level erase function.
  2. She fails to tell her readers that... Although a 35-time erase WILL erase all your data, it also taxes the hard drive. If you have an older Mac (with an older hard drive) and erase it 35 times, it could be the "last straw" and cause the drive to wear out faster. I'm not saying NOT to perform this particular type of erase. I'm saying, as an expert, we must be sure to explain the Pros and Cons, along with any advice we provide.

If you need Macintosh information, please visit a real Macintosh site, such as MacSurfer. If you need Macintosh advice, try these proven Macintosh links:

-- Paul Rego

Screen Brightness

(The following information was found in a MacFixIt forum.)

"My eye doctor gave me this tip: make the brightness of the room equal to the brightness of the monitor. Otherwise, your eyes are constantly trying to adjust to the contrast between the darkness around you and the brightness of the display in front of you. What you want is uniform lighting throughout the room with as little jarring contrast as possible. I’ve been using a 300 watt halogen to light the room the computer is in and eye strain has gone down to zero."

Posted: 4/26/09
Posted: 4/26/09
Empty Your Inbox

Blaming Apple

Here's something which recently came to my attention. While using "Software Update", the User in question ran into a problem (Macintosh wouldn't start). After phoning Apple and blaming them, the User called me. When probing for more information, I was told that DiskWarrior had been run but couldn't complete its job because there wasn't enough room on the hard drive. This problem was not corrected before "Software Update" was activated. The Macintosh then refused to Restart.

I've read about or have been told many similar "Apple is to blame" stories over the years. Yes, once in a while Apple IS to blame but most of the time, I've found that User error or User misunderstanding is really where the problem lies. Here are some examples...

No one would put ground beef in a traditional toaster and then complain that the toaster is faulty when the it catches fire. So why do people add System-modifiable software to their Macs and then complain that the latest Apple update is bad or that their Macintosh seems to run slower or that certain programs are not working properly. Granted, not all of these can be blamed on "System-modifiable" software but I can't tell you the number of times I've read through a list of problems in forums such as MacInTouch or MacFixIt only to realize that most of the people complaining didn't run DiskWarrior, Repair Permissions or remove any System-modifiable programs they may have been using.

  • System-modifiable programs: Software which modifies a core part of the Operating System or inserts itself before or after one of those core functions. This allows those programs to intercept certain keystokes or Operating System functions, and act on them before any other program (including the Operating System) detects them. Some other System-modifiers alter the look of the Mac's windows, menus, Dock, etc. System-modifiers slow down the Macintosh and may cause incompatibilities. A few examples are: Candybar, TypeIt4Me, Fantasktik, DockChanger, MacPilot, Cocktail, etc. (Search VersionTracker for details.)

Although I used to use lots of System-modifiers in my pre-OS X days, I haven't used any for years. I'm not saying you shouldn't use them. I simply want you to be aware of how they work and what you're trading... They typically offer eye-candy (visual effects) or shortcuts but consume RAM, hard drive space, Processor speed and can make your Macintosh a bit less stable.

Besides keeping your Macintosh free of leeching programs, such as System-modifiers, another aspect you must stay aware of is the amount of free (available) hard drive space. I can't find an official Apple answer to this but the consensus within the Apple forums is that your hard drive should always have a MINIMUM of 10% of its space available (unused). (Click the hard drive icon on the Desktop, pull down the "File" menu and choose "Get Info". Note the "Capacity".) The main reason the Operating System, such as "Leopard", uses so much hard drive space is because of "Virtual Memory". (This is when the Mac uses hard drive space as though it were real RAM.) The more real RAM your Mac has, the less Virtual Memory it will use and the hard drive will be subject to less wear-and-tear.

To see how much Virtual Memory is being used, open the "Activity Monitor". (It's in "Applications" and then "Utilities".) Notice the "Virtual Memory" column and the "VM size:" (located in the lower portion of that window). This can be an eye-opening experience. The following screenshot is from my iMac G4 with 512MB of RAM and a 60GB hard drive.


Whether you're installing a program from a CD or using Apple's built-in "Software Update" feature, the BEST procedure to follow is:

  1. Run DiskWarrior. This makes sure the "Directory Structure" of the hard drive is optimized and reliable. (If DiskWarrior returns a message stating that it cannot complete its job [write the new Directory] because there is not enough room on the hard drive, Restart your Mac in the normal manner, free up some space and run DiskWarrior again.)
  2. Repair Permissions. (Run the "Disk Utility" program for this.)
  3. Disable any System-modifying programs and virus protection -- if you're using any of these.
  4. To give your Macintosh even more reliability, while installing new software, disconnect all cables from your Mac except its electrical cord, the keyboard, mouse, monitor (if yours is seperate) and the Internet connection. This is especially true if you're about to use Apple's "Software Update" feature.
  5. Install the new software.
  6. Even though only one program may have been installed, if thousands of pieces were added to your hard drive or if you installed several different programs, run DiskWarrior again.
  7. Repair Permissions again.

It's easy to simply blame Apple when something goes wrong but we must take some personal responsibility when telling others there's a problem with the Macintosh. Apple isn't perfect and they can't test every possible combination of product possibilities but when you encounter a problem, a good starting point would be to keep this in mind... Apple wouldn't release a product which doesn't work. So the problem may be the state of my Macintosh.

-- Paul Rego


The Progression Of Bytes

Number Of Units



A unit of information expressed as a "0" or "1" in binary notation. It takes 8-bits to equal 1 Byte

(a combination of "binary" and "digit")


1 to 1023





















Some Trivia About "Bytes"

  • Yes, "technically" it does make a difference whether a lowercase "b" or uppercase "B" is used. For example, when referring to USB 2.0 speeds, you can say "60MBps" (60 megabytes per second) or "480Mbps" (480 megabits per second). Both speeds are the same and can be written either way.
  • It takes 1,024 units, in one of the above categories, to equal "1" unit of the next category. For example, it takes 1,024 bytes to equal 1KB (1 kilobyte). For the sake of Marketing or easy math, most companies use the "1000 units equals the next increment" formula when talking about hard drive capacity.
  • Leopard (Mac OS X version 10.5) can access up to 4TB (terabytes) of physical memory (RAM, hard drive space, etc.).
  • Leopard's 64-bit addressing can utilize up to 16-EB (exabytes) of virtual memory (the hard drive is used as RAM.)

Buying Used Equipment

A Note About The Apple Warranty

I phoned Apple's tech support department one day (11/5/01), to learn the details of how their warranty works. This is what I was told... Although Apple's warranty on Macintosh computers goes for one year, the warranty actually starts when that item is sold or when the box is opened --which ever comes first.

Here are two scenarios as examples:

  • Let's say a customer purchases an iMac on June 1st. They have a 1-year warranty. They return it to the store on June 30th. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this iMac so the store decides to mark it down and re-sell it. A different customer buys it on July 1st. THIS customer only has an 11-month warranty.
  • A brand new shipment of iMacs arrives at the local computer store. The store opens one of the boxes and puts that iMac on display so their customers can try it out. Six months later, Apple sends them newer iMacs. The store opens one of the new iMac boxes and puts that one on display. They take the other iMac and mark it down. A customer buys it but THEY only have a 6-month warranty.

Apple told me the warranty really begins whenever a product has a "history". In the first scenario above, that iMac's started its "history" when the first customer purchased it. The second scenario however, is slightly different. Although one box was opened by the store, Apple doesn't know about it. So this iMac still has no history. Now, let's say this iMac develops a problem or a salesperson contacts Apple tech support to learn how to install software on it, etc. The first thing the technician will ask for is the product's serial number. NOW, that iMac has a history.

Upon finding a great deal on an open box Macintosh, a smart customer will get the serial number and contact Apple to see if this particular product has a history and how long the warranty is.

Things To Look For

If you want to save some money the next time you're calling for prices on a certain product. Instead of giving up on the Apple brand, ask if they have a refurbished version of that product. To understand what that means, let me explain it a little further...

There are three types of secondhand items you can purchase: Used, Company Refurbished and Apple Refurbished.

  • Used:
    • No matter where you purchase this type of item (through your local newspaper or from a mail-order company) "used" simply means someone had it for a while and they are now selling it.
  • Company Refurbished:
    • This is the same as "used" but instead of simply selling you someone else's equipment, the technicians at the company you purchase it from have gone through this product and certified that it can now be resold. (They check it over adjusting anything that needs it and replacing components when necessary.) That company will usually provide you with a 30 to 90-day warranty.
  • Apple Refurbished:
    • This is the best type to get. "Apple Refurbished" is the same as "Company Refurbished" but with the added benefit of being certified for resale by Apple itself. (Sometimes the company you purchase it from can "Apple Refurbish" it -- because their technicians are certified by Apple.) This is also offered with a 30 to 90-day warranty. The difference is, before the warranty runs out, you can simply call Apple or any Apple Authorized Service Center and tell them you want to extend this warranty.
  • NOTE: If the warranty has run out on any Apple product (new, used or refurbished) and you want to have it covered by Apple's AppleCare warranty, you will have to take that item to an Apple Authorized Service Center and pay them their usual "examination fee" (typically $40 to $90) to certify that it can now be covered by Apple's warranty.

-- Paul Rego

Checking The Battery

You should check to see if your Mac's "clock" battery is still doing its job. No, I'm not talking about MacBook batteries and 'YES' there IS a battery inside your desktop Macintosh.

In some Macintosh models, this battery is wired differently. With some Macs, if the battery is dead, it won't even start. On other models, every time you turn it on, the printer settings will change and you might not be able to print. (Of course, all you have to do in this case is open System Preferences and reset the printer information -- every time you turn it on.

Look in the upper-right corner of the screen. Is the time displayed correctly? (If not, read below) If it is, click on it once and a menu will appear with the date in its first line. If the year is 1904, 1956 or 1957 most likely the battery is dead.

If you do not see the time displayed in the upper-right corner of the screen, do the following:

  • Pull down the Apple menu
  • Select System Preferences
  • In the window that appears, click once on "Date & Time".
  • Near the top-center, click once on "Clock".
  • Click to put a checkmark next to "Show date and time in menu bar".

NOTE: Most of the current Macs, including the iMac, do not have "user replaceable" batteries. This means it's not easy to open-up and replace your Mac's battery and doing so will void its warranty. (Check this Apple page for your model.)

-- Paul Rego

Computer Humor


  • BACKUP - What you do when you run across a skunk in the woods
  • BAR CODE - Them's the fight'n rules down at the honkytonk
  • BUG - The reason you give for calling in sick
  • BYTE - What your pit bull dun to cusin Jethro
  • CACHE - Needed when you run out of food stamps
  • CHIP - Pasture muffins that you try not to step in
  • CRASH - When you go to Junior's party uninvited
  • DIGITAL - The art of counting on your fingers
  • DISKETTE - Female Disco dancer
  • FAX - What you lie about to the IRS
  • HACKER - Uncle Leroy after 32 years of smoking
  • HARDCOPY - Picture looked at when selecting tattoos
  • INTERNET - Where cafeteria workers put their hair
  • KEYBOARD - Where you hang the keys to the John Deere
  • MAC - Big Bubba's favorite fast food
  • MEGAHERTZ - How your head feels after 17 beers
  • MODEM - What ya did when the grass and weeds got too tall
  • MOUSE PAD - Where Mickey and Minnie live
  • NETWORK - Scoop'n up a big fish before it breaks the line
  • ONLINE - Where to stay when taking the sobriety test
  • ROM - Where the pope lives
  • SCREEN - Helps keep the skeeters off the porch
  • SCSI - What you call your week-old underwear
  • SERIAL PORT - A red wine you drink with breakfast
  • SUPERCONDUCTOR - Amtrak's Employee of the year

-- Submitted by M.A.C.S. member Frank Bly

Famous Sayings

  • You should learn something new every time you talk to another person. If you don't you are not paying attention. N.W. Sander (1936 - Still Going Strong)
  • If you never made a mistake all other mortal men would be suspicious. -- N.W. Sander (1936-Now)
  • Are you sure? -- Sylvia Rego
  • If it's not Apple, it's not worth it. -- Paul Rego
  • Apple users are loyal to the core! -- Paul Rego
  • Apple doesn't make machines to help people fit in. Apple makes tools to help people stand out! -- Apple Computer, Inc.
  • I think, therefore iMac -- Apple Computer, Inc.
  • Most people HAVE to use a PC. I GET to use a Macintosh! -- Brighid Brady-de Lambert (Apple User Group Program Manager)
  • Using a Macintosh is its own reward -- Unknown
  • Friends don't let friends do windoze -- Unknown
  • Friends don't let friends buy microsoft products -- Unknown
  • Friends don't let friends drive DOS! and I don't do windows! -- Earl Christensen
  • I complained because I had no PowerMac; then I met a man who used Windows. -- Cloyce Sutton
  • Windows: Just another pane in the glass.
  • Windows 95 (win-DOH-z), n. A thirty-two bit extension and graphical shell to a sixteen bit patch to an eight bit operating system originally coded for a four bit microprocessor which was written by a two bit company that can't stand one bit of competition. -- Unknown
  • To see tomorrow's PC, look at today's Macintosh. -- Unknown
  • In a world without walls or fences, who needs windows or gates? -- Unknown
  • If a swamp frog goes ribb-it...ribb-it...ribb-it; and a Busch frog goes; what does a Windows 95 frog sound like?... Re-boot! Re-boot! Re-boot!
  • Perhaps you can do it on a PC, but why torture yourself. Get a Mac! -- Vic Guess
  • Being a Mac user is like being a Navy SEAL: a small, elite group of people with access to the most sophisticated technology in the world, who everyone calls on to get the really tough jobs done quickly and efficiently.
  • I don't do .INI, .BAT, .DLL or .SYS files. I don't assign apps to files. I don't configure peripherals or networks before using them. I have a computer to do all that. I have a Macintosh, not a hobby. -- Shane Anderson
  • Never ask what sort of computer a guy drives. If he's a Mac user, he'll tell you. If not, why embarrass him? -- Tom Clancy
  • The software said I needed Windows '95 or better, so I bought a Mac! -- Unknown
  • I once shot an elephant in my pajamas. How he got in my pajamas, I'll never know. -- Groucho Marx

This page was updated on 6/12/10

MAMP (for websites) MAMP (for websites) Changing Your Fonts Changing Your Fonts Changing Your Fonts Changing Your Fonts Adding eMail Links Adding eMail Links Finding "Home" Junk eMail Checking The Battery Virus Protection Blaming Apple Buying Used Equipment Computer Humor Famous Sayings Empty Your Inbox Tech Support The Progression Of Bytes Storing Compressed Files M.A.C.S. Resource Library Transferring Files To A PC Opening PC Files On A Buying An External Drive item6