macramupgrade

Boosting Performace of Older Macs

Older MacBook Pro computers made between 2009 and 2012 are routinely retired because they seem slow or will not hold a charge.  These models can have several more useful years with some simple and inexpensive upgrades.  The newer models – like the mid 2012 has a CPU almost as fast as the 2015 models.  Apple has made major improvements in battery life and the beautiful retina display however the perceived speed hasn’t changed much.  If you bought your son or daughter a shiny new Mac when they started college in 2012, that computer, with a few upgrades would be a perfect computer for their high school sibling.  

3 Simple Upgrades for about $250 can save you from buying a new $1,800 Mac.

Number 1   Battery

After four years of frequent use a MacBook Pro battery may need to be replaced.  Symptoms of a bad battery are short operating times after a full charge or erratic battery level readings.  There are several things you can do to get the most out of a new battery but a bad battery needs to be replaced.  There are two approaches to replacing a Mac battery, buy an original Apple battery or buy a third party or OEM battery.  The Apple battery will probably work well and will certainly cost a great deal.  An OEM battery may or may not work well and will cost a lot less.  

Apple stopped making the battery user replaceable around 2009.  To get an original Apple replacement battery that is not  used or new but old, you need to have Apple do the work.

These Mac notebooks have built-in batteries:
MacBook (13-inch, Late 2009) and later 
All MacBook Air computers
All MacBook Pro computers with Retina display
MacBook Pro (13-inch, Mid 2009) and later; MacBook Pro (15-inch, Mid 2009) and later 
 
There are a handful of reputable OEM suppliers of replacement batteries and battery replacement is not difficult.  My preference is to use an OEM battery that has a one year warranty.  These sell for around $40 and if they perform well you will have saved well over $100.  If they have problems you will know within a month or two.  Order a replacement under warranty and try again.  Carefully reading reviews can help find suppliers with a good track record, but no one is perfect.  
 
Sites such as https://www.ifixit.com/ have easy to follow step by step guides. The battery replacement procedure for a mid 2012 MacBook Pro can be found here  (forget the video and just use the photos and instructions). 

Number 2 Memory

Older MacBook Pros shipped with 2 or 4 GB  (gigabytes) of memory, or RAM.  Software has gotten bigger with more features and people tend to open several applications at once which can really slow down a Mac without enough RAM.  Replacing the memory in a MacBook Pro is very easy and replacing the existing memory with 2  4 GB sticks for 8 GB costs about $40.  13 inch MacBook Pros made in 2010 or later can take up to 16 GB in 2 sticks of 8 GB and costs about $70.  For most high school students, 8 is enough.
 
Crucial.com has an excellent tool on their website to find what type of memory your specific model uses. Crucial memory is available direct or from Amazon and others however be sure to order the exact model if using the Crucial.com tool of make sure the memory is Mac compatible.  

Number 3 Hard Disk or SSD

  • Upgrade your hard disk to a higher performance drive.
  • Upgrade your disk to an SSD.

Most older MacBook Pro laptops shipped with 5400 rpm hard drives.  Switching the old drive ou for a 7200 rpm drive of larger capacity is an an inexpensive upgrade for better performance and capacity.  A 1 TB 7200 rpm drive costs about $70 (8/16/16).  Swapping out drives is relatively easy with step by step instructions at sites such as https://www.ifixit.com.   If you have a larger budget and can make due with less capacity, an SSD drive will provide a substantial performance boost and longer battery life.  The ADATA Premier SP550 480 GB 2.5 Inch SATA III SSD sells for $115 at B&H (8/16/16).

Most of the time to replace these parts is spent removing the back cover so it’s a good idea to do them all at once.  Once your computer is back together you will need to either reinstall the software from your old drive or do a fresh install.  I recommend a fresh install which will provide the latest software and eliminate lots of old software and other junk that accumulates over time.  A fresh install will also improve performance.  For more about how to do a fresh install read my article How to Create an OS/X USB Thumb-Drive Installer.

Questions?  use the contact form to get in touch.

 

GPG Tools Logo

GPG Suite for Mac – Privacy for People

The GPG Suite for Mac provides everything you need to get started with secure communication and encrypting files in one simple package.  While no longer free unless you compile the code yourself, it is still worth the cost  ($24 per major relase) untill Apple builds encryption into Mac Mail.  
 

Use GPG Suite to encrypt, decrypt, sign and verify files or messages. Manage your GPG Keychain with a few simple clicks and experience the full power of GPG without too much hassle.

One shouldn't need to set up sophisticated encryption tools to protect their private mail, documents and records.  Amendment IV to the U. S,. Constitution reads:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
 
 

 

osx Archiver icon

A Fix for Mac OSX Archiver Hanging Up -Update

A few years ago I experienced problems with Mac Archiver under Mountain Lion and posted a fix related to permissions.  Today Archiver again would not function and just hung when called.  The following fixed the problem and is much faster.  Start Activity Monitor from the Utilities folder in the Applications folder.  Sort the list alphabetically by process by clicking on the process name column heading.  Find the process “appleeventsd” and click the "force process to quit" button in the upper left of the Activity Monitor window.  The process will return the next time you uncomress a file.

logo of OSX Disk Utility

Fixing the “ACL found but not expected on …” error during OSX Volume Repair

Symptom – Running the OSX Disk Utility program and selecting Verify Disk permissions results is multiple error of ACL found but not expected on [filename]”  While these errors can be safely ignored (ACLs are Access Control Lists) it does make reading the results of the disk verify difficult.    Fix – Fletcher Tomalty has written a python script that can be run from the command line to remove these unexpected ACLs.  The script uses the OSX Disk Utility to find the files and then does a sudo chmod -h -N on each of them. I have used it successfully on Mountain Lion 10.9.9.

Viewing a winmail.dat Attachment

Problem – you receive an email that has an attachment named winmail.dat that your Mac Mail program can't view.

Reason – The Winmail.dat file is used in Outlook when sending a Rich Text-formatted message however OS/X Mail as the receiving client does not use or recognize the winmail.dat file format.

Solutions

Ask the sender of the email to change their default email settings.  Microsoft suggests 4 methods here.  Then have the sender re-send the attachment.  This is often impractical as it places the burden on the sender who may be someone you don't want to burden.  It also only the solves your problem with this one sender and not the hundreds of millions other of Outlook users. 

There are well established technical standards for email and so it may seem unfair that you are stuck with this problem because Microsoft  chose to use a proprietary format.  Life isn't fair.

   It is faster and more practical to install an add-on to view winmail.dat files on a Mac. I use TNEF's Enough written by Josh Jacob.

  Download the latest version, open the dmg file and drag the program into your applications folder.  If you receive the occasional winmail.dat attachment, save it to your desktop, open TNEFF's Enough and select FILE ->   OPEN, double click on the attachment listed in the TNEFF's Enough program window and select a save location.  If you receive winmail.dat files often, drag the TNEFF app into your dock then drag the winmail.dat file from your email and drop it onto the TNEFF icon in your dock.

 
osx Archiver icon

A Fix for Mac OSX Archiver Hanging Up – Mountain Lion 10.8.2

 see Update 2015 Mavericks

The Mac Archiver is Apple's built in archive utility that handles  ZIP archives.  Recently, when I tried to decompress a downloaded ZIP file the Mac Archiver started up and then became         unresponsive.  I found the following solution corrects the problem –

{C}

1) Using Finder, open the Applications folder then the Utilities folder inside the Applications folder.  Run Disk Utility – In the left pane select your system disk – on the right you will see the First Aid tab.  Select REPAIR DISK PERMISSIONS near the bottom. Wait until it finishes.

2) Using Finder click on the GO dropdown menu and select Go to Folder.  Enter ~/Library  – that's a squiggle forward slash and the word Library (uppercase L).

3) Open the Preferences folder and move the following files to the trash-
             com.apple.archiveutility.plist
             com.apple.archiveutility.lockfile (may or may not be there)

4) Restart your computer and test it.  Be sure to rstart before running Archiver again.

 

tmaction

How To Delete Files or Folders from a Time Machine Backup

How

1)  Using Finder, navigate to the location of the file or folder you want purged (the file may no longer be there if you deleted it).

2) Enter Time Machine by clicking on the Time Machine clock icon in your Dock.

3) Select a date when the file was on your computer by using the time slider on the right

4) Once you locate a version of the file or folder on any backup set, select the file and theb click on the action widget.  

 

 

 

 

5) Select Delete All  Backups or right-click on the file and make the same selection.

That's it.   more

Why

Mac OSX Time Machine software is my favorite method for backing up data.  If you use a Mac there is no excuse for not using this built in utility that keeps a backup of your data on an external drive, another Mac, a Apple Time Capsule or, with some tweaks, a network storage server.

Like any back-up software from the dawn of back-up software, deleting a file on your computer will not delete the file from your Time Machine back-up.  A good  back-up solution allows you to recover from an entire disk drive failure as well as  recovering one file or even one email that you accidently deleted.

There are times when you really do want to not only delete a file or folder or email but to purge it from your back-ups.  For example, you work on a project that involves material covered under a confidentiality agreement that requires all material to be returned or destroyed at the end of the project.  Just deleting the files and folders on your computer will still leave copies on your back-up drive leaving you in breach of the agreement and potentially liable for damages if the drive is stolen and the information disclosed.  

 

Image of Mac Mail icon

How To Transfer Mac Mail Junk Training Data to another Mac

Back Up or Copy Your Mac OS X Mail Junk Mail Training Data

 

Like most modern email clients, Mac Mail includes a junk mail filter that can be trained for more accurate filtering.  By clicking on a JUNK or NOT JUNK button the system "learns" what emails to move to your Junk folder, and which ones are legitimate.  This is sometimes referred to as separating the SPAM from the HAM.

 

Using an IMAP mail server will keep your email synchronized on multiple computers – delete an email on one computer and it will be deleted from the other computer(s).  However IMAP does not do the same for the junk training data.  To avoid the hassle of retraining each new mail client and to minimize the chance that real email will be missed by being placed in your Junk folder and missed, you can manually move the training data from one Mac mail client to another.

 

To create a backup of your Mac OS X Mail junk mail training data or move it to a new computer:

  • Using Finder, navigate to Username/Library/Mail/V2/MailData
  • Find the file LSMap2
  • If moving the file to another Mac, rename the LSMap2 file on the new computer to LSMap2.old
  • Copy the LSMMap2 file either to a back up location or the new Mac.

Open Mail and test. 

Restore Lost Buetooth Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Loepard

A friend lost their Apple bluetooth keyboard and Logitech bluetooth mouse.  Bluetooth controls were grey – computer appeared to not see the bluetooth hardware.  They recently updated from 10.5.8 to 10.6.

Solutions was:

MacBook (13 inch, Late 2008), MacBook Pro (15-inch, Early 2008), and MacBook Pro (17-inch, Early 2008)

If the computer is on, turn it off.
Disconnect the AC adapter and remove the computer's battery. ( also disconnect all other cables)
Press and hold the power button for 5 seconds and then release the button.
Reconnect the battery and AC Adapter.
Press the power button to restart the computer

This resets the "SMC" see article  http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1411