Tag Archives: Apple

How To Speed Up a MacBook Pro

My 2010 MacBook Pro is getting a little long in the tooth, so I’ve been working on a few ways to speed up its performance. There’s a level of wear that can’t easily be corrected for, but there are a few tricks you can perform to stretch a little more life out of the system.

Naturally, my first reaction is to add some more RAM–especially since I don’t have the maximum amount compatible with my logic board. You can see how to do that in a previous article and how-to video.

Meanwhile, if you’re still having hiccoughs and spinning beach balls of death, there’s a few software tools to help improve performance. First off, start the system in Safe Mode (yes, Mac has a Safe Mode). To access Safe Mode, shut down the MacBook and wait at least 10 seconds. Turn the MacBook back on, then press and hold the Shift key as soon as possible after the startup tone plays. Release the Shift key once the Apple logo and progress indicator appear.

Once you’ve booted into Safe Mode, open the Disk Utility located in the Utilities folder of the Launchpad. Select the startup disk in the panel on the left and click “First Aid”. If the utility indicates that the disk is about to fail, you’ll need to backup the disk and replace it. Otherwise, click “Verify Disk” to see if there are any reparable problems.

If all else fails, you can attempt to reset the System Management Controller (SMC). To reset the SMC, shut down the computer and attach the power supply. Hold Shift-Control-Option on the left-hand side of the keyboard and press the power button once. Release all the keys, then press the power button to boot the computer.

How To Upgrade RAM in a MacBook Pro

Atari shows you how to properly replace RAM in a MacBook Pro.

MacBook Pro Memory Specifications:

https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201165

How To Rip a DVD on a Mac

Despite the plethora of freeware available to rip DVDs on a Windows or Linux machine, Mac users have been somewhat cast aside for one reason or another. Most search results direct a user to expensive software that doesn’t even allow for a proper trial before use. Handbrake is a popular freeware video conversion application for Mac (and Windows and Ubuntu) that can also be used to decode and record DVD titles as soft video files with just a little bit of tweaking.

First thing to do is install the latest version of Handbrake. Download the Mac disc image, mount it, and copy the app to your applications folder like you would any other. Launch Handbrake and insert a DVD into your optical drive (assuming you actually have one still). Due to licensing restrictions, Handbrake doesn’t include the proper DVD codecs stock, but will prompt you to download the open-source libdvdcss library. Download and run the package installer, then restart Handbrake.

Now you can open your DVD in Handbrake, choose the title you wish to rip, choose the appropriate settings, and click the “start” button!

If you run into problems, the DVD probably contains some level of copy-protection that will have to be circumvented. A word of warning here: the DMCA specifically prohibits breaking copy-protection, but as a freedom-loving American, I believe that once recorded media is legitimately obtained in any format, then it is within the rights of the owner of that media to convert it to any other format for personal consumption. For more information on the moral and legal implications of the Digital Millennium Copyright Atrocity, click here. In this case, open the DVD Player app, then navigate through the menus until the title you wish to rip is playing. In the menu bar, select “Go”, then “Title”, and note the title with the check mark next to it. Back in Handbrake, select “File” and “Open Source (Title Specific)”. Select your DVD, then enter the title number in the dialog before clicking the “Open Title” button.

There are a lot more settings that drill down into the fine details for each video file to be encoded, but I will leave their explanations to the fine folks at MacWorld who wrote the article on which this tutorial is based. You can read the full article here.

Hack Brief: Ransomware Strikes Apple’s OS X for the First Time

Thanks to increased market share among persons who–on the aggregate–tend to have deeper pockets and less technical know-how. The whole “Apple products don’t get viruses” was always false; it was only a matter of time.

KeRanger ushers in a new age of Apple-focused malware.

Source: Hack Brief: Ransomware Strikes Apple’s OS X for the First Time | WIRED

The Apple-FBI Fight Isn’t About Privacy vs. Security. Don’t Be Misled

It’s about protecting the American people from dangerous precedents and even-more-dangerous overreach.

The FBI’s spin has a lot of people thinking about its Apple fight all wrong.

Source: The Apple-FBI Fight Isn’t About Privacy vs. Security. Don’t Be Misled | WIRED

What Apple’s FBI Standoff Says About Google’s Android Security

Everyone fails to recognize that the decentralised nature of Android is–while being a “mainstream flaw”–is one of its greatest strengths. Yes, Google wants to have more control over its operating system, but that goes against the very nature of what they intended when they began developing it. The point of the matter, though, is that very little would change if that asshole had used Android instead (considering the likely application of Paranoid Android in such a case). Actually, the whole matter would likely be less of an issue politically because there is not one entity to subpoena. The FBI could subpoena Google to do something, but Google could (in good faith) say that there is nothing they can do if an alternative OS were installed. The takeaway here should not be how much more secure iPhones are (they aren’t necessarily), but that compulsory cracking like this is dangerous to freedom at large.

“There is nothing new in the realization that the Constitution sometimes insulates the criminality of a few in order to protect the privacy of us all.”

Justice Antonin Scalia

Source: What Apple’s FBI Standoff Says About Google’s Android Security | Re/code

Customer Letter – Apple

Tim Cook and Apple are telling the US Government to get bent, and for good reason: encryption is vital to our individual security and to undermine that is to undermine our entire society. If the “good guys” can have a backdoor into your house, it’s only a matter of time before the bad guys copy the keys.

If your first reaction is to shrug and say, “I have nothing to hide,” I hate to break it to you, but you’re not clever enough to understand the implications, so go sit down at the kids’ table and let the grown-ups argue.

As a side note (full journalistic disclosure): If you read this website, you already know my opinions on Apple are complicated, but I do use a 2010 Macbook Pro daily, and I encourage most “casual users” to consider adopting OSX machines as their daily drivers. Despite this, I do loathe iOS since the move to “flat design”, and I vehemently refuse to “upgrade” OSX past Mavericks for design reasons as well as “integration features” that annoy me.

A Message to Our Customers

Source: Customer Letter – Apple