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Adam Williams

Adam is a tech and music writer based in North Wales. When not working, you’ll usually find Adam tinkering with old Macintosh computers, reading history books, or exploring the countryside with his dog Finley. You can follow him on twitter here

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Rogue Amoeba’s Audio Hijack Pro is an application which promises to perform a seemingly simple function that’s actually more difficult to execute than one might imagine – to take complete control of your Mac audio card and capture any audio from any source, whether from applications like iTunes, Skype or the Mac’s built-in microphone.

Audio Hijack Pro combines this control with a genuine wealth of options and features, shoehorning just about anything that an audio user could fairly wish to see in an application of its type. Read on to find out more.

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Having discussed the very basics and some of the apps which come bundled with OS X Lion in part one of Mac 101, let’s now delve in a little deeper with the aim of getting a better idea of how to properly tweak and organise the latest and arguably greatest of Apple’s OS X. We’re going to get to grips with how one navigates the OS X file system using Finder, in addition to minor tweaks like setting up a custom background, or wallpaper.

Relatively speaking, this early part of Mac 101 will still cater toward the inexperienced Mac user but, with luck, even experienced users of Apple computers will learn something new!

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Welcome to part one of Mac 101, a series of articles helping you get to grips with everything you need to know about using a Mac. In due time we’re going to cover pretty much everything you need to know, but naturally this opening piece will focus on the very basics and introduce new users to some of the great applications and features that come pre-installed with a new Mac and OS X Lion.

So without further ado, let’s take a closer look at some of the fundamentals of Mac OS X Lion and become more acquainted with Apple’s unique method of making computing easy for all.

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SSD’s or Solid State Drives are a popular upgrade lately due to the very significant difference they can make to even an older Mac’s performance in real world use. Unfortunately, SSD’s are also still prohibitively expensive for those of us who wish to keep large quantities of media on an internal hard drive.

There are a few workarounds for this, but most rely on an external drive or cloud storage. Alternatively, the following guide will show you how to install an SSD and make use of a larger, standard hard drive in the SuperDrive bay. As far as non-standard upgrades go, it’s not too difficult, but is perhaps not best suited for complete novices and may well void your warranty.

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I love my new Mac, but I still enjoy using old hardware too and there’s nothing quite like playing retro games in the environment they were intended for. Assuming you have a PowerPC Mac lying around, there’s nothing stopping you from installing either OS 9 or OS X’s ‘Classic’ emulator and turning that aging Mac into a retro gaming rig!

Still need convincing? Read on after the break to take a look at my pick of 9 great retro OS 9 games.

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Since its inception, the Grand Theft Auto series has gained both controversy and phenomenal success for Rockstar Games and now GTA III, GTA: Vice City and GTA: San Andreas have all been made available to Mac users via the Mac App Store.

Grand Theft Auto San Andreas is the most recent title currently available and is arguably the greatest chapter in the entire GTA series, but is still over eight years old itself. How well does this aging game hold up in 2011? Let’s take a look!

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If you spend a significant duration of time on your Mac for work or play, there’s a reasonable chance that you’ve experienced some degree of discomfort directly caused by that activity. If not, the chances are that you will eventually. The human race did not evolve for countless generations towards enabling mankind to sit at a desk for hours at a time and the effects of this lifestyle on our bodies can range from annoying discomfort to severe pain, or even an early death, as recently highlighted by the somewhat alarming infographic Sitting Is Killing You.

Below we’ll take a more detailed look at RSI and touch upon the larger health issues which also come with living an office-based lifestyle to see what can be done to prevent, alleviate or even cure these problems.

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There’s a lot to like about both of Apple’s most recent operating systems: Snow Leopard is stable, fast and mature enough to ensure that any significant bugs are probably fixed by now, while Lion brings new trackpad gestures, additional eye candy, new ways of managing and launching apps, along with a slick iOS-influenced user interface.

If you have a recent model Mac and don’t rely on Snow Leopard’s Rosetta support, it’s probably going to be relatively easy to make up your mind to upgrade or not. However, if your Mac is older, this is a more complex question. Let’s explore it further…

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Now that the iconic plastic MacBook series has come to an end, many Mac owners will be considering purchasing a MacBook Air as their primary computer. The Air is an awesome choice and will provide a user experience and build quality second to none, but those blistering SSD speeds do come with some compromise in hard drive space. The article below will guide through some steps you can take and applications you can use, to get the most out of the space you have.

Keep in mind that you don’t need a MacBook Air, or even an SSD to benefit from the tips below, as it can never hurt to de-clutter your hard drive and keep your Mac in good shape, whichever model it is.

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Our Macs are capable of so much: we can play games, design graphics, record music, the list is near endless. So why is it still so awkward and time consuming to convert video and audio file formats? The answer lies with both the various proprietary licenses which each format brings to the table and the significant processing power needed to perform such tasks.

As a musician I know all too well how difficult it can be to convert your AIFF files to lossy formats such as MP3, and videos are a whole headache in of themselves, requiring the correct encoding per device. What I need is to be able to bounce my media into whichever format I desire, whether a song from the studio, an audiobook on my iPod, or a movie for iPad, and I want all of this without worrying about codecs, DRM, or screen resolution settings.

Smart Converter promises to help out with all the above, read on after the break to see if it delivers.

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