If you read my last post about water damage to my Mac, you’ll know that I’m now working from a brand new MacBook Pro.
Buying it was something I really could have done without. I haven’t yet had time to see whether I can get my previous keyboard fixed under warranty, but time and work pressures meant I had to quickly get something new. As such, I am down on a significant sum of money.
So, as you can imagine, I am very keen to keep my NEW MacBook Pro in totally pristine condition. This means that if I’m using it in bed at night, I now walk through and place it carefully on the desk or dining table before I go to sleep. I’m also keen to avoid the day-to-day dinks and scratches that afflicted my old one and allow drinks nowhere near it!
I chose a clear one because, let’s face it, it’s daft to spend thousands on a Mac and not be able to show it off a little bit! I’m pleased to say the case is perfect, adding mere millimeters to the shell of my laptop but also the peace of mind of knowing that all the little dinks and scratches will affect the shell and not the pricey Apple kit.
The case is designed in such a way as to leave all the external interfaces fully accessible including the tiny button which displays available battery life (something I always use in the morning to tell me if I can immediately start work or if I have to remember where I left my power adaptor). The only thing the cover doesn’t do is protect my keyboard if I spill liquid on it – so my own precautions must remain in place!
Delivery service from Gearzap was great, with the cover arriving very quickly by courier at my home in Portugal – something that, for some reason, many companies find near impossible to achieve.
So, top marks for my new cover, and the same for Gearzap!
In the interests of full disclosure, this review was prompted by the company’s offer of a review unit, but I have made no concessions in my honesty – I was truly impressed by both cover and service, and I have received no payment for this review.
I’ve now (sadly) had two direct experiences of Mac water damage.
My first ever Apple Macbook (one of the white ones) died after I spliied a mere three drips of liquid onto it.
Now, I have had to replace my Macbook Pro as the keyboard decided to short out, causing certain keys to fail or produce incorrect characters. This is typical behaviour after liquid damage. In this case, I don’t even remember a spillage, but one must have occurred.
There’s a long and frustrating story attached to why this meant I had to buy a new Mac almost immediately. Basically I had to get work finished before a holiday and was left with no option.
Now I’m back, I can see about having my old MacBook Pro keyboard replaced, or perhaps replacing it myself.
There’s a valuable lesson here, however: Mac water damage happens VERY easily. I have seen Windows laptops go through countless far more severe spillages and live to tell the tale, but I have now lost two Mac laptops to mere drips of liquid. Do yourself a favour – never drink anything anwhere NEAR your Mac!
Have you damaged a Mac with liquid? Share your experiences in the comments section.
Anyone who’s read Windows to Mac before will know that I am a total convert to the world of Apple. I’ve begun to display an almost evangelical enthusiasm for converting others. So, when my wife found herself needing a new computer, I thought I may be able to convince her. I had no luck! Here in this guest post, she tells you why.
Having found myself unexpectedly facing a freelance career, after being made redundant from my fulltime job, it was time for me to buy my first laptop. I’ve had laptops before – company ones, ones my husband passed on when he upgraded his own machine – but this was to be my very first brand new laptop.
My husband suggested that I seriously consider buying a Mac. I’ve always been a PC person, but some of the features he showed me on his Mac did get me thinking. I’m not a techie and expressions like ‘SSD storage’ mean nothing to me and certainly don’t get my pulse racing (to my husband’s dismay, my key criterion was that my laptop should be pink).
Now although I’m a PC lover, I’m definitely not an Apple hater. I had a company iPad, which I loved, and have just bought an iPhone, which I adore. To own a Mac was a tempting prospect. I love how intuitive Apple’s devices are – both the iPad and iPhone are a genuine pleasure to use and I’m sure that having my own Mac would be the same.
I’ve used Macs on occasion and there are some features that I find annoying, but mainly they boil down to me trying to use PC commands, such as Ctrl+B instead of the little Apple key+B. I’m sure that in a short space of time I would learn to do things the Apple way and the irritations would vanish.
With all this in mind, I was sorely tempted to go for a Mac. What it came down to in the end was price. To buy the very cheapest MacBook Pro would have cost me £999. As I was just beginning my freelance career and wasn’t sure how much money I would be making, I simply couldn’t justify spending that much.
After a great deal of review-reading and hunting around in stores and online, I made my choice – an Asus X401A laptop. I’m very happy with it. It’s fast, easy to use and has the lovely two-finger scrolling and pinch-to-zoom features that the Mac does, all for the bargain price of £299.99. I won’t say that I’ll never buy a Mac, but for now I’m happy to stick with my Asus – it does everything I need it to and is a pleasure to use.
Oh and by the way, it’s pink
There is plenty of debate amongst techies as to how to clean up a Mac. Many say that Macs essentially “clean themselves” – with discs that automatically defragment and cache files that users don’t need to worry about.
I don’t really agree. I admit that I come from a Windows background where running Disc Cleanups and Defrags were routine activities. While these utilities don’t have the same importance in a Mac OS X environment, I still think it’s good practice to stick to a regular maintenance regime. A bit of TLC will go a long way to keeping your Mac running well.
So, I’m going to tell you how to clean up a Mac the way that I do it. As with anything remotely technical, it’s wise to take a backup before a clean up operation.
1. Remove Unnecessary Programs
If you’re anything like me, you’ll often try out new programs and downloads. Once every few months, it’s worth having a good look at your Mac and getting rid of those you don’t need any more.
Removing programs is really easy under OS X – you just find them in the Applications folder and drag them to the trash.
2. Run Software Update
Various programs (and the OS X operating system,) all download updates for themselves over the Internet, but it’s easy to get into the habit of clicking “not now” when the updates try to install.
Once in a while, it’s good to make sure everything is up to date. All you need to do is click on the Apple menu and select “Software Update.” Follow the prompts and wait until everything is installed. You’ll probably have to restart your Mac.
3. Clear the Desktop and the Trash
If you clutter your Mac’s desktop with files, make sure you have a frequent tidy up. If you don’t need files any more, stick them in the trash. If you need to keep things, drag them into organised folders.
Once you reach this stage, there’s probably plenty of files and old applications in the trash – so click in there and empty it.
4. Run MacKeeper
I use a utility called MacKeeper to clear up temporary and unnecessary files on my Mac. If I use it every few months, its “Fast Cleanup” mode typically frees up at least 1GB of extra disc space. I wrote a full review of this product some time ago.
5. Restart and Backup
Once you’ve finished your cleanup, restart your Mac and run a fresh backup. Hopefully, by this stage, you’ll notice your Mac is slightly more snappy and responsive than before.
So there you have it: how to clean up a Mac. If you have any questions, leave them in the comments section below.
I love my MacBook Pro trackpad. I use the sophisticated gesture control that it provides all day long; four fingers to switch “spaces” into my virtual Windows 7 environment, a 3-fingered swipe to go back and forth on my Web browser, and the “pinch-to-zoom” motion that’s the same as the iPhone.
While most modern laptops do their best to emphasise this multi-touch functionality, none I have used come close in reliability – which is why I am a little worried by recent events.
Randomly, my Macbook Pro trackpad has decided to occasionally refuse to recognize my three-fingered swipes. This seems random, although it is within Gmail via Google Chrome that I seem to notice it most.
Has anyone else experienced this phenomenon? Is your MacBook Pro trackpad losing reliability? If so, please let me know in the comments.
PS. I run Windows on my Mac using Parallels – click below for further info:
Windows to Mac Recommends: MacKeeper – while some say that the Mac “cleans itself up” I still think it’s important to clear out caches and unnecessary files – buy MacKeeper by following this link.
A Parallels 7 upgrade wasn’t really top of my priority list at the start of last week, but I discovered that it was something I had to do in order to upgrade to OS X Mountain Lion. As I use my Windows 7 virtual machine on a daily basis, upgrading Parallels became a must before I could try out Apple’s new OS.
Finding the Parallels 7 upgrade and buying it was nice and easy and I was pleased to find some clear online documentation to help me with the preparation.
All I had to do was remove the Parallels Tools and antivirus from my existing virtual machine, shut it down and proceed with the upgrade.
Before I got started, I used MacKeeper to have a good clear out of my temporary and cache files. MacKeeper gets a mixed reception from Mac users, with many traditionalists saying Macs “clean themselves up.” I disagree, and frequently use the program to clear a good chunk of disk space – you can read my review of MacKeeper here or buy MacKeeper by following this link.
Anyway, with my cleanup complete, I went ahead and began preparing my virtual machine for the upgrade. At this point, disaster struck! Due to no fault of Parallels, my Mac hit a “Kernel Panic” and crashed.
When I booted back up, my Windows virtual machine refused to start with a “disk read error” message. I began cursing myself for even considering a Parallels 7 upgrade! Luckily, a restoration of the VM files from a recent Time Machine backup was all it took to restore things to their former glory.
With this all out of the way, the Parallels 7 upgrade was flawless. The new version installed over the top, and my virtual machine was soon up and running under the new version of the program.
In truth, I haven’t yet noticed many significant changes in terms of functionality but performance seems to have improved. One minor change that really helps is that the Parallels menu bar now appears when you hover at the top of the screen in full screen mode – a small thing that saves me time when previously I would have had to switch to windowed mode.
As I said at the start, a Parallels 7 upgrade was never a priority of mine, but the extra performance has been an unexpected bonus and, as before, the virtual machine environment is wonderfully stable. I am still happy to report that Parallels desktop is better than using Bootcamp!
You can find out more about Parallels using the link below:
Oh dear. It’s been quite some time since I posted here at Windows to Mac. I’m about to take some time off, so I thought I’d better find time for a little post before I neglect the blog again for a while!
So here are a few small updates about my recent life with my Mac:
1. I Dented my MacBook Pro
I love my Mac. I love it’s metal unibody frame. Sadly, it now has a dent in it. There’s an amusing irony to how this happened: I dented it by dropping my iPhone on it. It turns out the solid nature of Apple products can be a disadvantage when they decide to attack each other.
2. I haven’t Installed Mountain Lion
I was an “early adopter” of OS X Lion and it didn’t work out well. I have still, however, been tempted to install Mountain Lion, especially as online reports seem to suggest it is a fast stable OS release.
Unfortunately I have found out that Parallels, my favourite way of running Windows on my Mac, needs to be upgraded to version 7 to work with Mountain Lion. I am still using version 6 (and completely happy with version 6). My Mountain Lion upgrade will have to wait until I get round to it.
3. I haven’t Purchased a Retina Macbook Pro
I was rabidly excited about the release of the Retina Macbook Pro, and thought I’d be jumping at the chance of buying it. As it turned out, I was a little disappointed with what Apple gave us. I want the ability to upgrade my own SSD and RAM, and, quite honestly, I don’t WANT a 15” MacBook Pro.
I went to an Apple store, ready to be persuaded to hand over my credit card, but just didn’t feel suitably inspired. I’m prepared to wait to see if, as rumored, Apple bring us a 13” model in the coming months.
Before I discuss why I think that Parallels is better than Bootcamp, I need to offer my apologies for my long-term absence from Windows to Mac. Things have been busy, and, sadly, I have to prioritize paying work!
Anyway. As I can see that many people arrive at this site looking for information about running Windows on a Mac, I thought I would include some basic, helpful information, staring with this article.
There are various reasons why you may want to run Windows on your Mac. I personally still have a couple of Windows programs that are not available on Mac, and I work in IT and therefore need access to both operating systems.
Regardless of your reason, you have to make a choice – whether to use Apple’s Bootcamp, or to use a virtual machine style program like Parallels that allows you to Run Windows on Mac OS X without rebooting!
Bootcamp is a free program, supplied with Mac OS X, that allows you to set aside an area of your hard disk for the installation of Microsoft Windows. Having installed Windows, you can choose to shut down your computer and restart it in Windows mode. This essentially gives you the ability to switch, at will, between Mac and Windows.
Parallels takes this a step further. Instead of requiring you to choose whether to run in Mac or Windows mode, it runs Windows as a virtual machine within the OS X operating system. Your whole Windows environment, including its own programs, just works like any other Mac application. So if you want to do something in Windows, you don’t even need to shut down and restart – you have both operating systems instantly available.
There are a couple of disadvantages to be aware of. As you have both operating systems in use at once, there is an impact on your computer’s performance in terms of memory and processor power. Parallels allows you to choose how much RAM you dedicate to Windows. If you are likely to make heavy use of Windows, you may wish to upgrade your RAM to assume that the memory you dedicate to it doesn’t have an impact on the performance of Mac OS.
This site will help you find the right memory for your Mac.
The other disadvantage is that a virtual environment doesn’t lend itself well to being a gaming environment. If you are a hardcore gamer, Bootcamp is probably better for you. In fact, a PC is probably a better idea than a Mac, but that’s a whole other story!
Other than these considerations, Parallels is better than Bootcamp if you need ongoing access to both operating systems. I have Parallels configured so that it operates in its own full screen “space” in Mac OS. A simple four-fingered swipe on the trackpad switches me instantly to Windows and back.
There is also no limit to how many Parallels virtual machines you have set up, assuming of course that you have the resources available. I have a VM containing the preview of Windows 8, as well as my main Windows 7 “machine.”
If you decide to go down this virtual machine route, there are other solutions available including VM Ware. I don’t mean to ignore these, I simply found Parallels and was very happy with it. Magazine group tests generally find little to choose between the solutions.
If you like the idea of Parallels, click the link below to find out more.
Anyone with even a passing interest in Apple’s laptop range is likely to know that an announcement about the new 2012 MacBook Pro range is (supposedly) imminent.
Mac forums are brimming with rumours, predictions and heated debates – a lot of which are due to the potential removal of the optical drive, something that I am personally rather indifferent about.
Rather than joining in the debates, I thought I would lay down here what I personally want to see in the 2012 MacBook Pro – if Apple ticks the majority of these boxes I may take my fanboyism to a new level and go and queue outside the Apple store.
1. RETINA DISPLAY. I’ll be honest – there ARE some days when the limited resolution on my 13″ MacBook Pro is restrictive. On the bright side, the low resolution has trained me to make effective use of Spaces, but before this I had a laptop with a 1680×1050 display. I want my pixels back.
2. USB 3. Make my backups quicker and I’ll be inclined to get round to doing them more often. Shameful but true.
3. CONTINUED SEPARATION FROM THE MACBOOK AIR RANGE. I don’t want a MacBook Air. My MBP is portable enough for me, thank you very much. Give us more “Pro” features instead, such as….
4. DEDICATED GRAPHICS. The 2012 MacBook Pro range needs dedicated graphics across the board. Integrated just ain’t “pro.” Although the integrated graphics in my current MBP hasn’t been a problem, it is getting frustrating seeing more and more games I can’t play, so the time has come….and if not, what’s going to drive all those lovely pixels on my new Retina display?!
5. HYBRID SSD/HDD DRIVES. A 256GB SSD just isn’t big enough for me I’m afraid, and I suspect a bigger one is out of the question for standard issue due to cost. So, let’s comprimise and have a hybrid drive so my OS and apps still have a speed boost and I still have enough storage space for a “Pro” laptop.
6. SOME FORM OF OPTICAL DRIVE INCLUDED. As I said above, I am indifferent as to whether Apple remove the optical drive from the 2012 MacBook Pro…..BUT…..if they take it away, I would like an external one IN THE BOX – take it away by all means, but give us a way to watch DVDs and import CDs if we need to without scamming us for an expensive part.
7. SOMETHING NEW AND UNEXPECTED. Surprise us please Apple. Let’s have a “one other thing” that makes buying the 2012 MacBook Pro ESSENTIAL.
What do you want to see in the 2012 MacBook Pro range? Share your ideas in the comments section!
Today I am going to tell you about my Mac problems. As this site is here to give a full and true account of my computing life after
switching from Windows to Mac, I wouldn’t be doing my job if I weren’t as honest about the bad as I am about the good.
So, on that basis, here is a short list of my current Mac problems. Some are quirks, some are really rather annoying.
1. Flaky Hibernation
While my Mac is charged it performs wonderfully, and I love how quickly I can just open the lid and start working. If I let it run out of juice and then plug it in, there’s no telling what will happen. It may eventually resume to its previous state. It may start to resume and then hang before bleeping nastily at me, or it may look like it’s going to restart but then produce a kernel panic message and force me to restart.
This is probably the most annoying of my Mac problems.
2. My Dodgy MagSafe Adaptor
I can’t get too hung about the faulty MagSafe adaptor that I wrote about in this past post, as Apple quickly replaced it. But it should still be on a list of my Mac problems, or I am not giving you the full picture.
3. Disappearing Internet
This is new and so far only occasional. My Wi-Fi stays live, but the Internet connection goes away. Turning Wi-Fi off and on does not restore it, only rebooting does. Irritating.
4. OS X Cursor Jump
Sometimes when using my track pad the cursor jumps – always downwards towards the dock and always when I am clicking something. The usual outcome is that I end up clicking on an application that I don’t actually want to open.
This doesn’t happen more than a few times a week and isn’t the most annoying of my Mac problems, but it still exists. I have now moved slow-to-open programs such as iPhoto off my dock so they don’t slow me down when they accidentally open.
Now, listed together, these four Mac problems are probably enough to make committed Windows users shake their heads knowingly as if they prove all of their prejudices about Macs are true. So let me put this in perspective:
None of these things would even tempt me to go back to Windows.
It’s quite hard to quantify why. I probably now put up with more day-to-day Mac problems than I did day-to-day Windows problems (using Windows 7 on a well specified machine). However, things like wonderful battery life and hardware that is a joy to use outweigh them. And when I say “joy to use,” I mean this on a scale that I have never experienced with ANY PC laptop hardware (and as a long term IT worker, I have used plenty of all makes and prices).
I should also point out that I am using an “in-place” upgraded operating system on my Mac (Snow Leopard to Lion). Every in-place Windows upgrade I have witnessed has turned the computer in question into a slow, flaky mess, so to come out the other end with only manageable quirks could actually be considered progress!
I do always have the option of doing a clean install of Lion, which I am sure to do eventually (if Apple don’t tempt me with a new, updated MacBook Pro first!)
Before anyone calls “Apple fanboy,” I would hope that you can recognise me as quite the opposite. I have gone from Windows to Mac before and went quickly back to Windows. But now, having taken the time to thoroughly learn the OS and build up a set of applications and tools that suit my workflow perfectly, I genuinely feel I have a computer that works alongside me better than any I have had before. I’m being honest about my Mac problems, but I’m being honest about that too.