Performing a hard shutdown on a Mac

It is always preferred to shut a Mac down or restart it by using the options in the Apple menu. This allows services to be stopped, settings and documents to be saved, and hardware to be cleanly unmounted and put in a state where it's ready to be shut off. However, there are times when a hard reset may be necessary, which besides obvious kernel panics, includes system freezes and hangs. These are generally characterized by the following behaviors:

Kernel panics: When these happen, the screen darkens and instructs you to press and hold the power button.

System freezes: … Read more

Apple posts record revenue, earnings for Q1 2011

In a display of perfect timing, Apple blew past analyst expectations in reporting the best financial performance in its history today.

Apple reported revenue of $26.74 billion and profits of $6 billion, or $6.43 per share. Revenue was up 71 percent from a year ago, and earnings were up 78 percent. Analysts were expecting revenue of $24.38 billion and earnings per share of $5.38.

The company's gross margins dipped slightly to 38.5 percent compared with 40.9 percent a year ago, as Apple had forecast during the company's last earnings call.

The report … Read more

Dell drops Adamo 13 to $799

Dell continues to cut the price on the ultrathin Adamo 13, now dropping it $500 below the least expensive 13-inch MacBook Air from Apple.

Dell's Adamo page is showing the price of the aluminum-clad laptop at $799. The Adamo is a 0.65-inch thick alternative to Apple's 13-inch MacBook Air, which now starts at $1,299. Apple's least-expensive Air is an 11.6-inch model, priced at $999. Dell last cut the price of the Adamo 13 in December.

Rolled out at the 2009 Consumer Electronics Show, it was Dell's answer to the svelte line of Apple MacBooks. Compared to the Air, the Dell laptop has a slightly larger 13.4-inch screen and is a bit heftier, at just under 4 pounds. The new 13-inch Air weighs just under 3 pounds. … Read more

Intelligent travel abroad with Apple's World Travel Adapter Kit

When traveling abroad, one of the most important things to consider is how you will charge your Apple devices. Apple's World Travel Adapter Kit provides the most elegant approach to doing just that.

Power issues can be detrimental to electronic devices and Apple's devices are no exception. Ensuring that your Mac, iPhone, iPad, or iPod has proper power while traveling abroad is essential to the longevity of your battery.

Apple's World Travel Adapter Kit is the perfect precautionary purchase when planning your trip. It is compatible with every Apple MagSafe Power Adapter, including those provided with iPhones, … Read more

In Singapore, even airplanes can have paparazzi

CHANGI AIRPORT, SINGAPORE--If you don't think airplanes can have paparazzi, consider the following scene.

I was here last month, having flown in from San Francisco the night before, only to wait about 18 hours for my flight to Calcutta, India. Carrying my camera around in search of things to photograph at what I had been told was one of the world's most-interesting airports, I spotted my most-desired prey: An Airbus A380.

But a clear view of the plane was blocked by some walls, as well as a locked gate lounge, and I couldn't figure out how best … Read more

Crave giveaway: Nuance Dragon software package

OK, this week we're serving up a 2-for-1 software special here on Crave. Thanks to a donation from Nuance, we've got both a Windows version of the company's speech-recognition software--Dragon NaturallySpeaking (Version 11/Home edition)--as well as Dragon Dictate for Mac.

Both the Mac and Windows versions are powered by Nuance's "state-of-the-art" Dragon v11 speech-recognition engine, which Nuance says is much more accurate out of the box and responds faster to spoken commands (you can edit documents, compose e-mails, navigate applications, search the Web, and more). And because you don't have to … Read more

Calling all coding cowboys

If you don't quite need the sweeping feature set (and steeper price tag) of bigger-name text editors, BareBones software's TextWrangler is a free but still impressive alternative. This versatile text editor lacks the extensive Web-authoring capabilities of its big brother, BBEdit, but TextWrangler still delivers many useful text-wrangling capabilities above and beyond the basics, like spell-checking and unlimited undo/redo. This latest update fixes bugs for a smoother user experience.

Also this week we have the latest version of Audio Hijack Pro, the software that lets you record and add effects to any audio streamed through your Mac. … Read more

Antivirus utilities and recommendations for OS X

Readers periodically ask about antivirus recommendations for OS X, especially given some of the past rhetoric about Macs not having any viruses. Though it is true that OS X has been relatively free of viruses and other malware, in large part this has been because the small Mac market share has made the platform an insignificant target for malware developers; however, the landscape is steadily changing. Recent reports have shown Apple's market share in the U.S. to be one of the fastest growing, leaving the company just shy of 10 percent market share by some estimates. As the … Read more

How to diagnose a Mac that will not boot after updating

On rare occurrences people may find that after updating their Macs the system will not boot. Sometimes the system will hang at a specific boot screen such as the gray Apple, or at a blank blue screen. At other times, the system may not boot at all and show a blank screen even though the fans are spinning.

If this happens, there are a few steps you can take to try to clear the problem before taking the computer in for servicing:

Strip the Mac Sometimes interference from third-party hardware can cause odd boot problems, especially when the OS configuration … Read more

Apple's CES absence doesn't blunt laptop presence

Even though Apple the company is a traditional no-show at the Consumer Electronics Show, its new MacBook Airs were there in force. And on the PC side of the ledger, plenty of attendees were packing Netbooks, too.

After traversing the acres and acres of show floor space at the Las Vegas Convention Center last week for three days, I noticed a trend among attendees. In the rare pockets of open space where people actually found space to sit down, I saw the new MacBook Air again and again (the wedge design of the new 11.6-inch and 13.3-inch models … Read more