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October 10, 2012 / tybeeguy

Setting Up And Configuring Your New Mac Checklist

Mac OS X comes with the ‘Migration Assistant’ that helps you migrate your previously customized settings and configurations from your Mac to your new one. It sounds like a good idea but if you want to avoid inheriting legacy files and some of the old problems that come with, you might want to start afresh.

In fact, setting up a new mac just requires a few tweaks here and there. To make it easier for you, we’ve set up a checklist for the things you need to do when setting up your new Mac.

If you are customizing a fresh copy of Mac OS X, then this post is for you. We’ve got in today’s article, or should we say checklist, some 15 things (plus a bonus mini checklist for designers and developers) you may need to do pre-installation and post-installation. We hope you will find it useful.

Read Also: 6 Simple & Effective Ways To Speed Up Your Mac

Pre-installation

Here are some of the information you need before initiating the installation process.

1. Have your Mac-related credentials ready

If this is not your first Apple device, chances are you already have an existing iCloud ID and/or App Store ID.

icloud setup

If you wish to have your emails, contacts, calendars, Safari bookmarks, iPhoto photo streams properly sync’ed, you’ll need your iCloud ID. If you wish to be able to re-download previous purchased app without paying again, you’ll need your App Store ID.

2. What to name this new Mac?

During the installation, you’ll be ask to fill in the username and the computer’s name. The username should be a no-brainer; but pay a little attention to the latter. Your computer name will show up in networks you connect to as well as if you are a Terminal user. You can get them changed later, for one reason or another, but it’s better to get it right from the start.

We suggest using the naming convention of: [Firstname]‘s [Device].

Here are some examples:

  • Yourname’s Macbook Pro
  • Yourname’s MBP15
  • Yourname’s MBPr
  • Yourname’s iMac
  • Yourname’s iMac27
  • Yourname’s Macbook Air
  • Yourname’s MBA

3. Is your Internet connection working?

To get your iCloud properly set up, you’ll need a working Internet connection. The installation can be done without an Internet connection, but it’s best to get everything set up complete from the very start.

Post-installation

4. Perform a system update

Apple releases updates from time to time, so there is a chance that the new OS installed has yet to be updated with the latest fixes. Check for a system update before doing anything else to avoid double work. Do it once, twice, or until there’s no update required.

check for system update

5. Have your mouse and/or keyboard pheriperals ready

If you’re not a fan of the trackpad, then this is the step when you get your mouse connected.

6. Adjust trackpad scrolling direction

If you work exclusively with the trackpad, you need to calibrate it. By default. when you scroll down, the trackpad page scrolls down. if during the test run, it doesn’t feel natural go to System Preferences > Trackpad > Scroll & Zoom and uncheck ‘Scroll direction: natural’

trackpad natural scroll

7. Setup sharing settings

Do you want to share screen with another Mac? Are you working with peers or have a need to share your local files with them? Do you need remote access to this Mac when you are away? Or is there a need to share other pheripheral devices (scanners, printers, etc) this mac is connected to with other people on a local network?

sharing setting

If you answer ‘Yes’ to any of this, then you might need to visit System Preferences > Sharing to check/uncheck your preferences.

8. Clean up the menu bar

Like any operating system, Mac includes pre-conditioned selections of apps to make things easier to access. if you are the minimalist type, preferring a clean menu bar, you might want to:

  • remove the sound icon (System Preference > Sound > Uncheck Show volume in the menu bar)
  • remove time machine icon (System Preference > Time Machine > Uncheck Show Time Machine status in menu bar
  • view clock as analogue (System Preference > Clock > Select Analog)

9. Personalize your menu bar

Want to display your name on the menu bar like what you see in the image below?

minimal mac menu bar

It’s simple. Just do the following:

  1. System preference > User & Group
  2. Click Login Options
  3. Select Show fast user switching menu as..

10. Enable access for assistive devices

There are some productivity apps for example, TextExpander, which requires access to Mac’s assistive devices option. If you anticipiate using such apps, it’s advisable to turn them on. To do this, go to System Preferences> Universal Access > Check Enable access for assitive devices.

11. Lock system preferences

To avoid accidental changes to the settings you’ve made, it’s good to lock the settings in system preferences. Upon locking, no further changes can be made unless you click to initiate an unlock option which requires a password.

lock settings from changes

12. Remove unwanted icons on your dock

Dock is a convenient way to fire up apps you use on a regular or daily basis. However, default installation of the Mac provides you a set of suggested apps on your doc regardless of whether or not you actually will use them. If you don’t use them, this becomes a source of flutter.

You can remove unwanted apps on your dock, by holding the icon and dragging them upwards to remove them.

remove from dock

13. Remove unwanted apps

If for some reason you got a Mac with a lower spec which gives you less storage space, you might want to remove some of the default apps you are not going to use.

To remove apps efficiently from Mac, we recommend appzapper.

Here are some default apps you may not require (depending on one’s needs of course) and therefore can remove to free up some significant amount of storage space:

  • Garage band
  • iMovie
  • iPhoto

14. Show hard disks on desktop

By default, your Mac keeps your desktop clean. That means that the icons or shortcuts to hard disks, devices or networks you are connected to as well as the discs you’ve mounted are hidden or invisible.

If you want to have these icons displayed on your desktop but have no idea how, do the following:

  1. Select Finder app
  2. Go to Finder > Preferences
  3. Check the required items under Show these items on the desktop under the General tab.

15. Customize desktop icon, grid and text size

Whether you want smaller icons on your desktop so you can fit more, or bigger icons so they are more noticable, either approach are customizable via desktop configuration menu. Just right click on on the desktop, then choose Show View Option.

adjust desktop icons settings

You can experiment with ‘Icon size’, ‘Grid spacing’ and ‘Text size’ to customize them to your preference. Select ‘Snap to grid’ to allow your icons and folders to fall nicely into the grid you set with less effort.

Essentials for Designers / Developers

I – Install java run time

Java run time may be required by a couple of applications you’ll be installing later, the Adobe Suite of apps in particular. Click here to install it.

II – Install Git

The default Mac OS X does not comes with Git. Click here to download and install Git on the fly.III

III – Get your browser of preference

If you are not a fan of Safari, it’s probably time to download an alternative browser.

And here are the links to get Firebug installed for various browsers:

And That’s It!

Will all of this set up, you’ll be heading over to the App Store, browse through your Purchased tab to re-download and install applications you’ve previosuly purchased.

Alternatively, you can also:

  • Spice up your desktop with some wallpapers. Check out our collection of Wallpapers.
  • Get some free apps for your Mac. Check out our collection of apps here and here.

Did we miss anything essential? Let us know with a comment. Now go have fun with your new Mac! .

October 5, 2012 / tybeeguy

How Audiobus, More Will Connect Your Music Workflow

The big idea: mix sound sources and inputs, add effects, and record — all in different apps on one iOS gadget, or even with multiple iPhones/iPads.

‘I am an app, I am an island…’

On iPhone and iPad, there is now no shortage of apps that make interesting sounds. But producing music is for most people organizing sounds, and so, that same abundance of apps can become a weakness. You’ve got one thing that makes great noises, another thing that records noises, and another thing that turns an input into noises.

What if you want to quickly record that sound, or use that cool effect to shape the sound of another app? On the desktop, you might load all those instruments and effects into a host. On the iPad, you’ve had a few options – copy and paste sound after it’s fully rendered, perhaps, or export to SoundCloud – but none really works intuitively the way you’d like.

That is, until now. Audiobus will route audio freely between apps – allowing you to make sounds, add effects, and record them in any combination. A later release will even work between multiple devices, so a group of friends could jam or your iPhone could record your iPad, no audio cabling required. All of this is possible via an interface that any supported app will make available at a moment’s notice.

It’s not available yet, but it’s already approved by Apple and working on devices. And that means we can look in some detail at how your music workflow will change on iOS in the very near future.

The What and Why

Here, Beatmaker demonstrates how you can use Audiobus as an input in another app.

Earlier this week, I sat down to lunch with developers from Audanika and nLog, along with Palm Sounds’ Ashley Elsdon. Appropriately enough, we were at a place called Fleischerei, as Audiobus co-creator, Audanika’s Sebastian Dittmann, put some meat on this story – and on the iPad’s usefulness for music making.

Imagine an ever-present interface that allows you to route sound, live, to other apps. Heck, you’d be happy to have that on desktop (JACK comes close, though its interface is not as intuitively integrated). On the iPad and iPhone, a few finger touches are all you need to get apps sending sound live to one another. Add the Moog Filtatron to your favorite synth, for instance, and then record into a beat arrangement tool like Beatmaker.

Crucially, this isn’t just about making the plumbing work. The engineering is already impressive; various tricks have enabled glitch-free audio that ‘just works.’ (There’s a blog post on how that works.) And there’s the requisite Apple approval; that arrived last month. But the other reason Audiobus looks appealing is that plenty of work has done so that non-experts can work out how to make routing work, and that an unobtrusive interface is available in all your apps. Because the SDK is standard, audio works one way in all apps; you don’t have to learn how to make it work each time.

It’s not that you have to do these things to make the iPad musically interesting. It’s that it finally helps you make sense of your collection of apps. They make each other more powerful, rather than just crowding space on the app screen and competing with one another. And while for many of us, finishing tracks will remain a job for the computer, even as a sketchpad this means that the iPad or iPhone is something you can use – in bed, on a couch, on a bus, on a plane, on a hydrofoil or a hovercraft – to make complete ideas.

Then, there’s what happens when you put several iOS gadgets together; routing between devices should also be possible.

You won’t need iOS 6 or a brand-new device to make this work, though for inter-app routing, the faster your internal processing capabilities, the better. This could make eventual multi-device routing more desirable: devices with less processing power, like older iPads and iPod touches and so on, could simply be routed into other devices. The first release will focus on single devices, though, so you will want a relatively recent iPhone, iPad, or the new iPod touch. Clarification: An earlier draft of this story suggested support for the first-generation iPad. They aren’t specifically excluded, but they’re not recommended. Dual-core processors are best for now. A later release should support multiple device routing, though, so that could be a good way to recycle these older devices – and I’d like to see support for that.)

Developers will add Audiobus by using a freely-licensed API. (I’d like to see that eventually become open source, because I think it’d ease participation – and wouldn’t have to mean incompatible forks – but it should at least be compatible with free software projects on iOS and won’t cost money.)

Users will get Audiobus by snagging a for-fee app, then making use of apps with support. (US$10 is out there as a possibility, so expect that as a maximum – and money potentially well-spent.) With hundreds of developers already signed up and more likely, this seems to have the makings of a new standard. Here’s an example (in sound, anyway) of the results:

If iOS represents a clean slate, in some cases, it’s replicated familiar problems. (That’s my major complaint with Android, which had the chance to reboot the complex audio landscape of Linux and desktop operating systems – and somehow managed to come up with something that was actually worse.) Here, we get to see something that actually looks better.

Which Apps Will Work

Add a DAW, and Audiobus gets very interesting. Image: Auria.

With hundreds of developers already signed up to receive a pre-release of the SDK, you can bet this list will grow. But Audiobus’ creators have pointed out forthcoming support in a number of favorites:

A Tasty Pixel is co-developer of Audiobus, so of course their Loopy HD live-looping app works.

So, too, does Audanika’s SoundPrism Pro – a controller, but it also makes its own sounds.

The 48-track, advanced DAW Auria is essential; the developers are working on support.

So, too, is Harmonic Dog’s Multitrack DAW, for an alternative.

Intua’s Beatmaker 2 is another essential tool, since you could then turn other apps into samples.

The beautiful NLog modeled synths all work; Tempo Rubato‘s developer was on-hand at our lunch meeting. (Read up on the details.)

Others:

Moog’s wildly-popular Animoog synth and Filtatron effect processor are both confirmed.

Synthetic Bits’ wonderful Funkbox, the drum machine [I’m also a fan of their Little Midi Machine, but that’s not relevant here as it … doesn’t make sound]

Percussion app Drumjam is confirmed

By the way, we can now confirm that there is no multi-app audio routing built into iOS 6. There was a slide that mentioned this at WWDC, but no other mention from Apple. So, this looks like a third-party capability, which makes sense: it’s a lot more involved than simply supporting hardware MIDI input and output. As you look at all these screenshots, you can see just how true that is, with all the UI elements needed to expose the functionality to users in order to make it useful.

What it Will Look Like

The Audiobus blog and Facebook page have given us more visual evidence, in particular demonstrating in animated GIFs some of the really lovely animations that make the interface easier to understand.

How Virtual MIDI and AudioCopy Fit In

Covering the overall iOS workflow is probably due for another post, but Audiobus is just one ingredient. Audiobus will route sound live between applications. For MIDI – notes and triggers – you want virtual MIDI, seen nicely in this video overview:

More on Virtual MIDI at iOSMusician

Then there’s AudioCopy, a technology that lets you copy and paste sounds from one app to another. In some ways, Audiobus solves the problems AudioCopy was meant to solve in a more elegant, flexible way. For any app that works best with sound live – live recording of audio as you play in an app that lacks a record feature, or adding an effect to another app – Audiobus is your best bet. AudioCopy, though, is already widely-supported and available now. It also functions well I think in edit workflows: if you already have recorded audio in one app and want to move it to another, a quick copy/paste will be faster than playing back that sound and recording it in realtime. Here’s an example of it in action:

AudioCopy / AudioPaste is best covered by its developer, Sonoma Wire Works, which explains how it works and which apps are supported.
http://www.sonomawireworks.com/iphone/audiocopy/

Note that these are three completely independent initiatives. But put together, they do provide a more-connected, more productive workflow on iOS.

iOSMusician has a number of app lists covering which apps work with technologies like AudioCopy, virtual MIDI, WIST (start/stop sync), and Dropbox.

Good Reading, Watching

The most up-to-date information is all in a terrific, in-depth interview on Synthtopia, who have also closely tracked Audiobus development:
What Is Audiobus & How Will It Change Mobile Music Making?

Michael, co-creator of Audiobus, explains the idea – on his bicycle.

Sonic State discussed their take on the tech in the spring:

Gizmodo focused on the group jamming capabilities, noting that Audiobus goes beyond what Apple can do with GarageBand alone.

Watch this space for more.

More information:
Audiobus FAQ

http://audiob.us/ with signup (including for developers)

Audiobus at Facebook

Audiobus at Tumblr

Addendum: What About Desktop?

Audiobus on the desktop isn’t out of the realm of possibility. I could imagine building it atop JACK, which is already open source and functional on Mac, Windows, and Linux, even with network features. JACK could certainly benefit from a UI that worked the way Audiobus, and integrated with iOS devices running Audiobus. For now, that’s all just theoretical, though: the Audiobus developers know users want it, but aren’t going there – yet.

(Via Create Digital Music.)

October 3, 2012 / tybeeguy

How To Remove Spam Apps & Ensure App Privacy

remove spam apps facebook
Apps on Facebook can be great, but they can also be a right pain in the neck. On one hand, there’s useful apps like Spotify or Last.fm which make it easy to share your music taste with your friends. Mostly these are welcomed and vaguely interesting for the friends to view. On the other hand, there’s annoying games and spammy viral apps that post things on your timeline.

There are several ways to clean up the apps you’re using and ensure your privacy settings for apps are set just right. There are also some easy ways to remove and report applications when required – like when you’ve accidentally clicked on a viral scam app. Here’s what you need to know.

Setting Privacy For Applications

When your absent-minded friend installs yet another dodgy application, how much information do you want the developers to find out about you? And what about this way around – if you’re using a new game, how much information do you want the developers to know about your family? Your grandmother? Your kids?

This is the reason people need to check privacy settings for applications. Until you lock down your privacy, you never really know what information is being collected about you and your friends via apps you or your friends may have installed. Scary, isn’t it?

remove spam apps facebook

Go to the drop-down menu in the top right of Facebook and choose ‘Privacy Settings‘, then choose to edit the settings for ‘Ads, Apps and Websites’. From here you can choose exactly what information can be seen by applications your friends install. Since you don’t know anything about the developers of most apps or what your friends might install, un-checking most of these boxes is a great idea. Then, if you care about your family and friends, teach them how to do this too.

remove spam applications facebook

Clean Up Your Apps

There are two main ways to get a list of all your apps. Firstly, you could go to the arrow at the top-right of Facebook and choose ‘Account settings’ and then choose ‘Applications‘. Secondly, you could navigate from the Facebook Home page to the ‘App Center’ using the links on the left hand side, then choosing ‘My Apps’ from the menu on the left.

remove spam applications facebook

remove spam applications facebook

Either of these options will give you a list of all the applications you have authorised for your account. Although, the second method has the option of sorting by ‘Last used‘, which is handy when searching for something you recently added or got annoyed by. To remove the applications, just click on the cross to the right of each application. Remove anything that looks suspicious, unfamiliar or unused and you could clean up your apps in no time. And don’t worry, if you remove something useful it can always be added again later. It’s no big deal.

How To Get A Spam App Off Your Timeline Wall

It happens all the time. People see an update in their feed from a friend claiming to let them view a certain video or see who looks at your Facebook profile. They click on it impulsively because they’re curious and instantly they have posted that same update on to all their friends. The viral app continues to annoy and intrigue their friends and the cycle continues. So, how do you get rid of it?

remove spam facebook

Every update on your timeline can be removed and the application may be reported as spam. Simply head to your timeline and click on the edit pencil in the top-right of the update. The menu for an update will show a ‘Remove’ option and a ‘Report Spam’ option, while a clustered bundle of information from an application will show options to ‘Remove Application’ or ‘Mark As Spam‘. If you accidentally remove the post first, you can use the methods above for cleaning up your apps to remove the app, which should show as recently used.

Never Get An App Request From THAT Person/App Again

If you hate getting reminders and requests from apps, there’s an easy way to block them. Head to the Facebook Home page and choose ‘App Center’ from the menu on the left, then ‘Requests‘. You’ll see a list of all your recent requests from apps. From here it’s simple – just click on the cross to the right of a request and it will give you the option to block the application completely.

Or if you’re always getting requests from the same person, you can block that person’s requests completely instead.

remove spam facebook

remove spam facebook

Hiding Apps From Your Newsfeed

We went through this in detail recently in the article ‘How To Get Rid Of Facebook Notifications & Other Annoying Things You Don’t Want To See‘, but it’s worth noting quickly here too. If an application shows up in your news feed that you find annoying, just click the drop-down arrow to the right and choose ‘Hide’ from the menu. It will then give you the option to block the application or the person who made the update. Most of the time, hiding the application is the best move.

remove spam apps facebook

(Via MakeUseOf.com.)

August 9, 2012 / tybeeguy

Now Everyone Is Free to Join Pinterest, No Invite Needed

 

Folks, it looks like Pinterest has just opened its doors to the public. If you’ve ever used Pinterest before, then probably someone invited you to join in. Now, those who are planning to sign up but were previously discouraged by the waiting process, can opt to create an account using their Facebook or Twitter account, as well as their email address. The pinboard-style social photo sharing website that allows users to create and manage theme-based image collections based on their hobbies and interests, just hit 10 million unique monthly U.S. visitors way back in February.

Ben Silbermann, and his team are hoping that by finally opening  the registration to the public after two years, more users will enjoy what Pinterest has to offer. ‘Today we’re thrilled to announce open registration! We’re really excited to have the capacity to offer Pinterest to more people and if you’re a Pinner with friends who’ve been waiting on the sidelines, we hope you’ll let them know. Happy pinning to everyone!’ the company said.

July 12, 2012 / tybeeguy

How to Make Tortilla Bowls

Here’s a great tip from The Garden Pantry. To make a tortilla bowl, just flip a muffin pan over, grease it, then bake tortillas in the open spaces.

By the way: homemade flour tortillas fresh off the griddle are freakin’ amazing.

(Via Neatorama.)