What do you think about “Clean My Mac” from http://www.macpaw.com/?
It seems like an impressive app that could do a little too much in the wrong hands. I’m on a laptop and could use a little cleaning up and like the idea of dumping excessive language files and PPC binaries. Would love to hear your thoughts.
In answering, I’m going first to name, but not spend time defining, the various tasks involved in maintaining Mac OS X. Then I’ll discuss the software that I use to perform those tasks.
Oh yeah: PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE backup your entire hard drive before doing any of this. Heck, even before you read this article.
Before anything else, it’s important to know that, since Panther and even more since Tiger, Mac OS X does most of its essential maintenance in the background. It runs the daily, weekly, and monthly Unix maintenance scripts on a more fluid schedule, remembering to do them even if your Mac was asleep when they were officially scheduled. Also, ye olde venerable “disk defragmentation,” familiar to many 90′s-era Mac and PC users, is somewhat automated but mostly much less necessary, for reasons Apple spells out in this kBase doc.
One task that used to be more commonly recommended to fix lots of issues with OS X is “Repairing Disk Permissions.” I used to use Disk Utility to run this when someone said their Mac was running slow (and they had clearly adequate RAM and processor), but because developers have had time to become savvy about OS X’s file-permissions scheme, the task is less likely to do or fix anything. Still, I usually turn it on as an option when I run the software that I’ll describe below.
Also in Disk Utility one will find “Repair Disk,” which since Tiger can be run while a machine is booted — all other activities are halted — to tell you if the volume data on your startup disk is screwed up.
Finally, a step that still seems relevant to keeping a Mac running smoothly is deleting cache files, specifically the Font, Kernel, and Application Caches. I have found lots of miscellaneous, weird problems — from apps crashing to fonts not rendering — resolved by a cache zapping. Also, since the dawn of the World Wide Web, web browsers have occasionally needed their caches cleaned. Safari features Empty Cache as a menu item in its “application menu,” i.e. the menu to the immediate right of the Apple, which in Safari is called “Safari.”
This is a more nebulous topic, since different people need different things on their hard drives. Also, as drive capacity has increased, now to way more than most of our clients need, many drives wear out with plenty of unused space. But of course, the idea of removing unneeded 0s and 1s from your storage is always appealing. It’s gratifying to let slough away PPC binaries, the OS 9 System Folder, Previous Systems, obviated applications, additional language support and fonts, yadda yadda yadda.
Maintenance and Cleanup Apps
Several programs have appeared over the years to automate these maintenance tasks and more. The crucial thing to know about these applications is that they are only graphical interfaces (GUIs) to the very simple Unix commands that make the tasks happen. I learned back in 10.1 to type:
sudo periodic daily weekly monthlydiskutil repairPermissions(note the capital “P”), and
(that last from single-user mode, accessed by booting while holding down Command-S).
Those commands accomplish much of the aforementioned tasks, and do it without installing, much less buying, anything. The apps save one from having to remember this stuff, but as the tasks are rarely required, paying $15 for an app seems kind of weird. That said, many apps will let you run a full-featured trial.
(An aside: I wonder if some Mac developers could benefit from the iPhone App Store model and start looking at $1-$3 tags for certain smaller desktop apps; would sales go up?)
A search for “maintenance” at MacUpdate.com yields the most established titles. Of these, I actively used Cocktail for a while, but since the free Maintenance and Onyx from Titanium Software came about, I have seen no reason to use any other tools. Maintenance is the simplest thing going: one window with a few checkboxes; turn on the ones you want and hit go. Onyx takes the hood off a lot of system services and features, and lets you run the same tasks as Maintenance to boot. They will both wisely ask to run “Verify Disk” before they do anything else. That takes a few minutes, but it’s well spent.
This is a good point to mention that, if Disk Utility’s Verify or Repair functions find something that they cannot fix, you will need to pick up an application such as Disk Warrior or TechTool Pro. These are each pricey but rock solid, and they repair the dramatic damage or corruption of your volume information that can cause data loss.
To bring your Mac to a space- and performance-saving English-only state, I’ve always liked Monolingual. A MacOSXHints user posted an Automator script for 10.4 that strips the languages and also PowerPC code from applications, but I want to examine it before I use it in 10.6. Here’s another, also older, article and another app for removing PPC from Universal Binaries.
Regarding CleanMyMac specifically, I haven’t used it, and with a 200MB cleanup limit on the trial, I have little need to put $15 toward that. (I’m not knocking the developer’s price, just… well, see above.) Monolingual should do the language diet for you, and to maintain stability, I would greatly encourage you to download Intel-only versions of your apps. Remember, too, that Snow Leopard is itself Intel-only, so the Apple apps are not Universal.
You will backup before running these apps, right?• I’m replacing my 2006 MBP with a shiny new one which will arrive this week – a fully loaded 15”.Woohoo!Your new Mac will ask if you have an old Mac, and instruct you through booting the old one to “Target Disk Mode,” and connecting the Macs via FireWire. Then you hit “Go,” and ALLLLL your stuff — user accounts and home folders, applications, support files, network configurations — will get brought over to the new machine, which will finish booting and reveal itself to be just like your old one.• What’s the best migration approach?I love SuperDuper, and really like to use it in conjunction with Time Machine. They can coexist on the same backup drive, even if you set SuperDuper to “SmartUpdate.”• I use SuperDuper to back up to local disks at home and at the office.• Shared drive for the family network – mainly as a music server – just hang a drive off the Airport extreme?The main thing to consider about an AirDisk (disk attached to an Airport, or the built-in hard drive of a Time Capsule) is that there’s no easy way to run daily, incremental backups from the AirDisk to another storage device. So the AirDisk is really best (read: solely) used as a backup itself. For home media server, one of my top three most favorite projects currently — which, incidentally, also include setting up a Mac mini with OS X Server in a business, and hooking a business or household together with Google Apps — is putting a beautiful little Mac mini with Server in the central entertainment system of a household, plugging it into a big flat-screen with HDMI, and making it the kickass, full-throttled media jukebox for the whole family.Plus, the mini becomes central file and backup storage for every Mac on the property. Time Machine from Mac to Server is so very sweet.Important to say at this point that there are some great, small PCs coming out with Windows Media Center (ewwwwwww!) or, better, Linux. They can run a media front-end such as Boxee that is pretty easy to operate with a simple remote. But without question, even in spite of its high price tag, the Mac — running Boxee and Plex and Hulu Desktop and maybe an EyeTV One – is currently the best platform for the job.I am, as I say above, fully ready to help any business of any size move to Google Apps. It, and services closely related, are the best thing that has happened to the internet since the Web. And we are very able to do work in Austin, and lots can be done remotely.• My colleagues and I are ready to transition away from an in-house Microsoft environment – we have an Exchange server for 4 people – to Gmail, cloud storage, etc.• Upgrade the home network – right now running one Airport extreme which is not sufficient to cover the house – at some point I may need a wiring guy to enable broader wireless coverage.Certainly ethernet cable is always the most reliable mode of networking. Everyone with a home, however, should know about PowerLine adapters: run network through your home electrical system. Sometimes cheaper per drop, depending on the house, but always more convenient than hiring a cabling contractor, especially if you only need, say, one or two more drops to attach to Airport Expresses, which are great for extending an Airport network.I’m losing patience with Image Capture in 10.6. I want to scan a multi-page document into one single PDF file. I want to use the flatbed option on my printer/scanner, because either the paper feeder leaves black lines on my scanned documents or my original images won’t feed through the paper feeder. For the life of me, I can’t figure out how NOT to scan and create single image documents.It was surprising for me to find that the consumer-level scan software distributed by scanner manufacturers no longer work in Snow Leopard. I kind of like what Apple did, but there is one major problem with it: Scanning can happen in three different places — Image Capture, Preview, and the printer/scanner queue for a given device — and while the engine is the same, and while it’s nice to have options, the whole setup strikes me as not fitting smoothly within the rest of OS X workflow. Plus it’s confusing.So the possibility you need might be tucked away in Preview (see below), or it might be worth pursuing a third-party solution (see below, but less far down). Here’s what I found:1) A freeware application: http://www.monkeybreadsoftware.de/Freeware/CombinePDFs.shtml2) A hidden app on your Mac. I played with this, and it’s a little rudimentary. Be sure not to move the makePDF app from its folder:3) Try this suggestion from Apple Discussions:You can make single page .pdf files into a multiple page .pdf files in Preview. Open Preview, and its sidebar. Then drop each page ON TOP of page in the sidebar, then go to File-Save As, and name the new multiple page .pdf.You can also scan directly from Preview. Open Preview, then go to File > Import From Scanner. It will open up an Image Capture page from which you can scan. No need to open Image Capture.Clarification from the same thread:When you open up Preview and click on File > Import From Scanner and select your device, then click on the Show Details button and select Format: PDF and the Create Single Document button.4) Finally, a hardware/software combination that I’ve been oggling. May not have to do with your problem, but it’s pretty cool nonetheless:A brief review: NeatDesk Scanner and Digital Filing System – The TWiT Netcast …Well, I can't begin to imagine why someone would pose an argument against font management (I'll point out that "type management" doesn't google well in place of "font management"). How could one possibly deal with, evaluate, and compare thousands of fonts without management software? If you load them all into your Mac's font library all at once, you'll crash your user account — hard. OS X's built-in Font Book lets you turn fonts off and on, but they sit in your Library, clogging up your system.From: MarinaDate: January 12, 2010We are trying to get industry feedback on why type management is an essential tool in the day-to-day business and production of graphic design. Why is type management important to your business? What type management tool do you use?For a couple of years now, designers have been able to by pass the roughly $100 expense of the well known Suitcase and FontAgent with the free FontExplorerX by Linotype. It worked very very well, all the way through OS X 10.5, but last year, Linotype released FontExplorer Pro and announced discontinued support for the free version, left without OS X 10.6 or Adobe CS4 compatibility at v1.2.3. Ah well, all things must pass. At least it's $20 less than the competition.So, we're kind of back where we started, with a few expensive options, but at least they have all matured into full-featured, efficient, and aesthetically pleasing packages, which have great tools for helping you pick the right type for the task. This AppleBlog article has a basic comparison of the apps. I have an old bias against Extensis Suitcase, which put designers through all kinds of bugs and crashes and incompatibilities through the evolution of Mac OS X. FontAgent has had an edge on Suitcase, but now the two appear neck-and-neck, with FontExplorer Pro taking a bit of a lead. The post makes the smart recommendation to kick the tires on all the trials.Meanwhile, trying to design without one of these tools would be well nigh impossible, or at least mind-numbingly inefficient, and students should learn to get a handle on their font collection, even before they start trying to crank out their first document.http://www.sanantoniostartups.com/2009/10/29/how-j2maccom-helps-individuals-small-businesses-and-enterprises-leverage-the-power-of-the-mac-platform-and-shift-to-google-apps/Thanks to Alan Weinkrantz for producing this profile of J2. Filmed at SAY Sí, we wanted to focus on the benefits of OS X Server, and the fun stuff we’re doing with Google Apps.
p>I remember the first time I became aware of the word “server.” For some reason it sounded very mysterious, something that required arcane tools and deep learning with the elves in the mountains.
p>Eventually, I came to figure out that a “server” is simply a computer — any computer — that provides “services” to other computers. If you computer can share its files, it’s a file server. If you turn iTunes music sharing on, your computer becomes a music server. If you have a shared printer, your computer has become a print server.
p>Apple makes it super-easy to turn any Mac into a server by going to Apple menu > System Preferences > Sharing (or Spotlight “sharing”) and turning on any of the services you need. Your Mac will then show up in the “Shared” section of any Finder window. Boom, you got a server.
p>That said, when most people refer to a server, they’re talking about some machine that doesn’t do anything else, a box that’s tucked away, maybe in a rack or a closet, and always on, with a nice big battery backup, maybe a few hard drives, and fans like a wind tunnel. And most servers on the planet should be that robust; I need Google’s mail servers or my web server at GoDaddy never to go down, or at least, if they do need a reboot, that there’s a backup server waiting next to it in the data center to kick in as soon as its brother goes down.
A lot of businesses have one or more servers at the workplace. Sometimes they’re just file servers, a central repository for the documents that everyone needs access. Sometimes they’re also mail servers. Running your email through a Windows Exchange Server housed in your office was a popular option among Microsoft-certified professionals at a time when outsourced email hosts weren’t as flexible or affordable as they are now.
p>Again, to be clear: most organizations with fewer than 40 or 50 users would be wasting precious money to purchase Microsoft Small Business Server, when they can sign up with Google Apps either for free or for $50/user/year (40 users for $2,000/year, versus an easy $5,000 just to install and configure, not to mention maintain and troubleshoot, a Windows Server).
p>So let’s say you just need to share documents among more than 10 people, and you need them available all the time, and time without them costs money. Until this last Tuesday, the best value in a server-class machine was Apple’s Xserve.
p>Way powerful, way configurable, way manageable – The specs on each generation of Xserve have been increasingly impressive, and it starts at a $3,000 base price that has always included the $1,000 OS X Server (unlimited-client; Windows Server starts at 5 users, and costs $50 per user after that). Most Xserve buyers should expect to pay at least $5,000-6,000 for a properly configured unit with 3 hard drives, a redundant supply, external backups, and if one is smart, the AppleCare server support plan. I can usually have a new OS X Server set up, with a few connected workstations, in under 6 hours.
p>A Bit of History
p>Apple’s server software (a.k.a. server operating system, or “OS”) is Mac OS X Server, now in version 10.6 (a.k.a. Snow Leopard Server). For so many years, AppleShare server products (still promoted in Australia!) distinguished themselves in IT discourse only by being pretty crappy. It just didn’t have the moxy that system admins were used to getting from Microsoft Windows NT or its descendants. And when OS X Server came out — it was actually the first release of OS X — it was really more of a theory than an operating system. Even though it was built on the well-established UNIX platform, it was buggy and slow, and it had these really weird quirks that made it very frustrating. Certainly it was impossible for an IT administrator to recommend that a business rely on this system for their day-to-day operations.
p>Today, OS X Server has evolved into a robust, stable platform, one that’s easy to set up, easy to expand and scale, and like the basic OS X (we might call it “OS X client”), Server is impressively compatible with other platforms and standards. Since OS X Server and the Xserve came into their own, and given products such as Xsan and Final Cut Server, Apple is officially a viable player in the world of business and enterprise.
p>The Value of a Server
p>Is all of this worth several thousand dollars to your organization? It sure can be, once you realize the other things you can do with a server, which I’ll get to in a second. First, I have to say that this article is inspired by Apple’s announcement today of a Mac mini server. This $1,000 box is now potentially my favorite item in the entire product line, as I think it spells great things for businesses large and small. Considering that Apple has now slashed the price of the software itself to an unbeatable $500 for unlimited users, buying into a Microsoft server product now just seems unwise and wasteful.
p>So what can you do with a server? Check this out:
File Sharing, Network homes, and Backups: We can tie all of your Macs to your server so that the “home folder” for each user account is stored on the server. This means anybody can use any Mac in the house, and use their own desktop and files and email and settings. And if one computer dies, you put a new one in its place, log that person in, et voila! You’re back in business.
- Portable Home Directories: This includes laptops, which can sync their accounts to the server, backing themselves up whenever they’re in the office.
Software Updates: We can have the server download all your software updates, and the administrator can pick and choose which one should be rolled out. When someone logs in, even a non-admin user, they’ll have an opportunity to install the approved updates, and their Mac only has to go across the office network, not all the way back to Apple’s servers.
Preferences: You can choose apply settings for all users in one fell swoop: adding a printer, adding items to the Dock, or automatically mounting a share point [definition]; or perhaps restricting things along the order of parental controls, or preventing or allowing certain applications.
NetBoot & NetRestore: You can actually have your Macs start up from a disk image [definition] on the server. If you need to update all Macs, just update the image. A variation on this idea is to have the Macs install themselves from a central image.
p>Of all of these possibilities, certainly it is having a centralized place for data storage and backup, and for backing up your workstations, that makes in-house servers attractive, and possibly essential, for any organization of any size.
p>Keep your head in the cloud
p>I say possibly essential, because there are now services on the internet, such as Google Docs and DropBox, that have begun replacing server hardware for many people. I am all in favor of using these online applications, with the sole caution that we don’t rely on them to back up our data. It is crucial to keep an on-premises copy of every piece of data that means anything to you, just as keeping an offsite copy is de rigueur in any comprehensive backup scheme. I use a Firefox plug-in that downloads all my Google docs, and I backup that folder to an external hard drive.
p>But if you need fast, reliable storage that all your computers can see, to centralize your data and keep your Macs humming in unison, there’s nothing like a properly configured OS X Server.
<p style="font-size: 10px;"> <a href="http://posterous.com">Posted via email</a> from <a href="http://j2mac.posterous.com/do-we-need-a-server">J2 Tech Blog</a> </p>“Any sufficiently advanced technology isindistinguishable from magic.” - Arthur C. Clarke
I’m so ready to take technology for granted. The first time I controlled the screen of one computer with another computer across a network, it felt like wizardry. Now I do it all the time. I turn on music in my house by controlling the screen of my Mac mini. In an office or a classroom, I can see the screens of dozens of computers simultaneously.Apple did something great by building screen sharing into OS X, starting with 10.5. They made it so smooth, everyone with more than one computer should know how to do it.Modified from Apple’s help docs:
To share another computer’s screen:
Go to Finder, and open any folder. In the sidebar of a Finder window, look in the Shared section for the shared computers on your network. (Click the disclosure triangle next to Shared if it’s not expanded.)
Select the computer whose screen you want to share, and then click Share Screen in the main part of the window.
Select how you want to connect to the computer:As a registered user:Select this to connect to the other computer using a valid login name and password. If “Only these users” is selected on the other computer, make sure the login name you’re using is on the list of allowed users.Select this if you want to ask the current user of the other computer for permission to share their screen.
By asking permission:
To set up screen sharing:
Choose Apple menu > System Preferences and click Sharing.
Select the Screen Sharing checkbox.
To specify who can share your screen, select one of the following:All users:Select this if you want to allow any user with a user account on your computer to share your screen.Select this if you want to restrict screen sharing to specific users.
Only these users:Lots more info here: http://www.macfixit.com/article.php?story=20071102122311545Non-Leopardized Macs can use:Non-Macs can use:You’re gonna tell me to stop when I paste:
<p style="font-size: 10px;"> <a href="http://posterous.com">Posted via email</a> from <a href="http://j2mac.posterous.com/screen-sharing">J2 Tech Blog</a> </p>
This is just too freakin’ sweet. Apple has just ripped Windows Server a big one. This $1k gets you an unlimited-client license for OS X Server (which not 3 months ago cost you a full $1k itself), two software-RAID-able hard drives, and plenty of juice for most small-business needs.Just for comparison, Microsoft Small Business Server starts at $700 for a 5-user license, and that’s just the software. And OS X Server is way easier and quicker (thus cheaper) to set up.I’m further impressed that, on the configure-to-order page, Apple points directly to a 4-disk Promise RAID device that should be almost as cool as a Drobo.This box should do a lot to spread OS X Server all around the world, which is great for the whole Mac admin community.
2.53GHz : Dual 500GB
- 2.53GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
- 4GB memory
- Dual 500GB hard drives1
- NVIDIA GeForce 9400M graphics
- Mac OS X Server Snow Leopard
- Ships: Within 24hrs
Free Shipping $999.00
<p style="font-size: 10px;"> <a href="http://posterous.com">Posted via email</a> from <a href="http://j2mac.posterous.com/mac-mini-is-finally-a-proper-officially-sanct">J2 Tech Blog</a> </p>
"BlackBerry alert! BlackBerry Desktop Software for Mac arrives" – TUAW.com
It's a free download [link], and requires Mac OS X 10.5.5 or better, BlackBerry device software version 4.2 or higher, and iTunes 7.2 or newer. Key features of the software include the ability to synchronize your iTunes library with your CrackBerry, sync calendars, contacts, and appointments,
p>I like it. I like the speed. I like the sturdiness. I like that I can finally put the muthaflippin date in the slipper-lickin menu bar.
p>Big and small changes have made upgrading to 10.6 worth my effort. The assessments I’m most in line with say that Apple has dug in the closet for all the projects they’ve put off in the decade of OS X’s existence, and even some ― like date-next-to-time ― that have lingered since the 1984 Mac.
p>Before I go farther, I want to restate our official recommendation to clients: If you don’t have a compelling reason to upgrade, please wait to install Snow Leopard. Let Apple release at least the 10.6.1 or 10.6.2 update, to ensure that you don’t get bit by any of the bigger bugs. And please make sure you have complete backups before you install. Also, there are a couple of additional installers at the end that you may need.
p>Since the arrival of 10.6, I have listened to some maligning of 10.5. But our experience with the penultimate system was really smooth. So for me, Apple really didn’t have that far to go. Still, onward and upward.
p>I’m not going to list the little glitches and speedbumps I’ve encountered, as they are almost all quite picayune; I’ll venture that most non-power users who get into 10.6 early will have a very good experience. That said, problem-havers are always the loudest voices, on the Internet as elsewhere, and sites such as macfixit.com detail the issues many are having. The one I’ll mention, which is pretty specific, is that many of the system hacks and tweaks I have come to rely on, especially SafariStand, don’t work reliably in Snow Leopard, because Apple has deprecated the InputManager API. Developers will hopefully be able to find a way around that, because I need my Safari AdBlock, bad!
p>Finally, I’m very happy to report that I have Snow Leopard Server running on my network, and am similarly very pleased with its smoothness. It was a nice excuse to clean out the cobwebs and the failed experiments. So far, network homes and portable homes work great, and no issues with permissions or file sharing. I haven’t gotten Address Book or Calendar Servers up, but I’ve barely tried. iChat Server is logging something weird that I can’t find a fix for in the forums.
p>Less than briefly,