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How-To

There are plenty of rumours surrounding how to take care of your batteries. I remember people used to say that whenever you buy a new product, you should leave it charging for at least a day, so that the battery gets “used” to having full charge. Some other people say that’s not necessary nowadays since new batteries are designed differently. The truth is, your battery will lose capacity over time; it’s inevitable. What you can change is how fast it deteriorates.

Today we’ll be giving you some tips on how to make your Mac’s battery stay in tip-top shape through a bunch of easy and fast actions like calibration. We’ll also be taking a look at some applications that can help you with this actions, including Watts and CoconutBattery.

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Up until recently, every Apple computer came with a little white remote in the box, which many people promptly placed in a drawer to forget forever. Apple intended it to be used with iTunes and Front Row, but the feature wasn’t popular enough to keep around the product, because most current models now come sans remote.

But even those who do enjoy the use of a remote with their Mac can only use it for music and movie related functions. What if there was another way to use it?

Turns out there is, and it’s called Remote Buddy. It’s a program that allows you to program and control the functions of your Apple remote, and how it interacts with your Mac. You can even use your iPhone as the remote as well! So how does this magical program work? Luckily for you, we have the info.

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One of my all-time favorite keyboard shortcuts (right behind the 1Password Auto-Fill command) is OS X’s capture screen commands. Anywhere and anytime, you can press Command + Shift + 3 to capture the entire screen. Alternately, you can press Command + Shift + 4 and the mouse turns into a crosshair. You can then drag a box around what you need to capture.

Afterwards, you’ll have an ugly-titled .png file, sitting on your desktop. Mac OS X titles them with a date and time. This means, before I dare send it to anyone, I have to change the title. Today we’re going to be taking a look at GrabBox, a simple utility that makes the process of naming and sharing screenshots very simple, integrating with everyone’s favourite web app, Dropbox!

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Ever wanted to turn your Mac into a security camera, to snap a few pictures of what’s going on in your home when you’re away? Or how about a timelapse recorder? Periscope is a very clever application from Freeverse which utilizes your Mac’s built in camera and mic to automatically detect when to take the right photos.

Alongside some very cool motion detection, Periscope also has the ability to save and even upload the photos to a whole bunch of different places immediately after snapping them. Read on to find out more.

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There are lots of repetitive tasks that people do every day, and sometimes it can get a little bit monotonous. Uploading a file to an FTP site, installing a new application, or copying files to a folder buried deep in your system can all be annoying. After doing it for the one hundredth time, you may decide that it would be nice to have some way to do these tasks without the hassle.

Dropzone does all this and more, all via the dock. Once the program is set up, it’s just a case of dragging a file to the Dock icon, then dropping it into the correct “action”. Sounds easy, right? Well it is, and there’s so much more to it than just drag and drop…

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For many OS X users, iChat is a program only opened once. You’ll start a video chat with your other Mac-using friend, or try a screen sharing session as you both race for mouse control supremacy and try to update each other’s Facebook status. Soon, however, the novelty wears off, the Adium .dmg lands in your downloads stack and iChat sits collecting dust in the long forgotten regions of your dock.

That was my situation anyway, until I heard about Chax.

Chax is a free, BSD licensed app that promises to improve the iChat experience. In this way, it’s like a Glims for iChat, but where Glims boosts Safari with big features like full screen browsing, Chax focuses on more modest app improvements – but ones that should no doubt be indispensable for heavy iChat users.

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When Mac OS X Leopard (10.5) was released, one of the tent-pole features was Time Machine, Apple’s extremely simple, all-encompassing backup solution. With Time Machine, you simply connected your external hard drive, configured a few settings and the utility began backing up your entire computer.

So long as your hard drive is connected, Time Machine continues to make backups on an hourly basis. The hourly backups are consolidated into a single day, every 24 hours and the days consolidated into a week, and so on, as disk space allows.

So your all good, correct? Your data is backed up, you’ve done your job and no matter what happens to your computer, you’ll still have everything in your backup. Well, ideally – yes. In reality, not necessarily.

The entire reason you are backing up your computer is because hard drives fail. A bad drop, a liquid spill, or simply old age, a hard drive will not last forever. So you back up your computer’s hard drive…to another hard drive. Now, if your internal hard drive fails, you have an external hard drive containing a second copy of everything… but as I said, hard drives fail. It’s inevitable. So what to do?

Make triple and quadruple backups? Sure, if you’ve got the time and money, but an easier and more economical solution is simply to check your backups every now and then. Make sure they are running properly, make sure your data is being backed up properly, make sure your the data is not corrupt, make sure you can recover your files properly. A little care and preparation can go a long way.

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One of the key factors to becoming more productive while working with your Mac is to master keyboard shortcuts. Mac OS X includes a set of standard keyboard shortcuts that allow you to switch applications, close windows, quit programs, open new documents or browser windows/tabs and copy and paste between files.

Many Mac programs ship with application specific keyboard shortcuts as well, all in the name of streamlining your workflow and allowing your hands to remain on the keyboard. You can shave precious seconds off mundane, repetitive tasks, allowing you to focus more of your time and energy on the task at hand – rather than locating that rogue window, buried beneath 10 other applications.

Keyboard Maestro is an application that takes the idea of keyboard shortcuts and injects it with steroids. The result of which is a super-charged automation program, allowing you to execute several different actions with a single command. Read on to find out more, and see an example of just how powerful this app can be!

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Hyperspaces is a handy little add-on to the already useful Spaces virtual desktop tool built in to Mac OS. The developer says it “brings color and context to Apple’s Spaces” and I’d say that sums it up just about right. It doesn’t add a lot, but it adds in just the right places.

Today we’ll be delving into Hyperspaces to explain how the app works, and what type of improvement in can bring to your existing Spaces setup!

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We Mac users like to scoff at our PC-using peers, what with our lack of viruses, spyware and Internet Explorer. But when it comes down to it, our beloved Macs are simply computers, sharing nearly identical innards as the PC. Though we hate to admit it, our systems can become sluggish and frozen, our memory can become corrupt, and our hard drives can fail. SuperDuper! is an application from Shirt Pocket to help us through those tough times.

SuperDuper! is an extremely simple backup solution for your Macintosh. With a few simple clicks and a bit of patience, you will have yourself a fully bootable carbon copy of your hard drive. What this means is, when and if your hard drive should fail, you can boot from the backup file and run Mac OS X, your files, data, settings completely in tact, just as it were.

Today we’ll walk you through the whole process from start to finish!

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