MacMusings

mac.column.ted: The Demise of Troubleshooters?

Written by Ted LandauJune 2009

A personal farewell. This is my final mac.column.ted column. It also represents the end of my formal association with MacFixIt. As many of you know, I founded this site back in 1996 and sold it to TechTracker in 2000. Over the ensuing years, I maintained my relationship with MacFixit, initially as editor and later as the author of this monthly column. (If you're really curious, you can read a more detailed history here.) Now, with the transition of ownership to CNET/CBS, MacFixIt is heading in new directions. And so we are … Read more

mac.column.ted: Secrets of the Dual-Band AirPort Extreme

contributed by Ted Landau

Apple's latest version of its AirPort Extreme Base Station (AEBS) supports simultaneous dual-band. As Apple explains, this means that the new Extreme has separate "2.4GHz and 5GHz bands...to ensure top performance for all your devices." As this was a feature I could definitely use, I decided to buy a new AEBS. My intention was to update my existing older and overly-complicated setup. For those of you considering buying a new Extreme, I have some good news and some bad news.

The good news is that, if you have a relatively simple … Read more

mac.column.ted: Macworld Expo remembered

Ted Landau

December 2008

Some time has gone by since the announcement that Apple is pulling out of Macworld Expo, and I still can't shake the bad feelings. Officially, Macworld's Paul Kent is firm that Macworld will continue: "We look forward to many successful years of Macworld to come." And, of course, this year's Macworld Expo 2009 is still on track for January 5th.

So it's a bit premature to be writing an obituary for the Expo. Still, a consensus (myself included) has generally acknowledged that, even if Macworld Expo survives, it won't … Read more

mac.column.ted: Searching for good searching

Ted Landau

November 2008

How is it that the Web sites of many of the world's biggest and most technology-oriented companies have such pitiful search capabilities? Searching these Web sites can be a bit like taking off in a jumbo jetliner and discovering that the aircraft's primary navigation tool is an AAA TripTik.

I first added a search capability to MacFixIt back in the 90's. It didn't cost me a penny. I got it from a site that offered the code for free. As crude as it was, it worked better than some of the search … Read more

Taking your iPhone overseas

Ted Landau

October 2008

Later this week, I'm off for a trip to Japan. I never go anywhere without my iPhone anymore. Japan will be no exception. But I will be taking the phone with some trepidation. Knowing that international charges can be exorbitant, I've spent a good deal of time determining what, if anything, I could do to keep costs to a minimum. To save you from having to do the same legwork, here's what I learned:

Q. What's the executive summary?

A. The cheapest thing you can do, by far, is leave your phone … Read more

Five "under-the-hood" things you should know about App Store apps

Ted Landau

September 2008

The App Store is no doubt one of the best things to have happened to the iPhone (and the iPod touch). Users are happily adding a wide array of apps to their devices, usually with little or no difficulty. Still, occasionally things go wrong. At such times, beyond the standard troubleshooting advice you'll find here at MacFixIt, it pays to know at least a bit about what's going on "under-the hood." Here's a Q&A detailing 5 things you should definitely know:

1. Where are iPhone apps actually stored on … Read more

mac.column.ted: iPhone 3G and MobileMe: New features add little value

Ted Landau

July 2008

The more time I spend with my new iPhone 3G and the new MobileMe software, the more I find that neither of these upgrades were worth the bother. Now, before you start sending me hate mail, let me be clear:

I still consider the iPhone to be one of the greatest technology inventions of the decade. And the new iPhone 3G is even better than the original. The iPhone 2.0 software, especially the App Store, is a significant leap forward from iPhone 1.1.4. As for MobileMe, on balance (assuming the service can ever … Read more

mac.column.ted: A Leopard Surprise (Flat) Package

Ted Landau

June 2008

If you've spent time peeking under the hood of Mac OS X, you already know about packages. What you may not know is that Leopard (Mac OS X 10.5) offers a new type of package called a flat package.

Packages are Apple's name for what are essentially folders disguised as single files in the Finder. The two most common uses of packages are for applications and installer documents. Applications (with their often hidden .app extensions) are packages/folders, with the "real" application code as well as a collection of related resources … Read more

mac.column.ted: Leopard still holds some small surprises

Ted Landau

May 2008

Leopard is a surprising cat. Here it is, more than half year after Mac OS X 10.5's release, and I'm still discovering new features. I'm not talking about the big time features that are well publicized on Apple's Web site. Rather, I am referring to those much smaller, tucked-away features ? ones that tend to appeal more to "techies" than the mass market. These are features that Apple barely mentions in its PR, if it takes note of them at all. Of course, that's probably not unrelated to … Read more

mac.column.ted: Create a Leopard startup flash drive

Ted Landau

April 2008

It's that time again. Time for me to check out the current status of creating an emergency boot drive ? this time one with Leopard installed. Let's cut right to the chase: the ease of creating these startup drives continues to move in one direction: from bad to worse.

Creating a pint-sized custom startup drive, with your own selection of utilities, was a breeze in Mac OS 9 or earlier. It became much more difficult in Mac OS X, but was still manageable, all the way through Panther. With Tiger, most previously successful methods would … Read more