Speed up the shutdown process in OS X

When you shut down your Mac, OS X will attempt to cleanly exit programs and background services; however, under some circumstances this can take an exceptionally long time, so that the system waits for minutes before finally shutting down. Sometimes this is the system waiting for an interaction such as you saving a document, but at other times it is because background services have stopped responding and the system is waiting a predetermined amount of time before forcing them to quit.

Generally OS X should take only a few seconds to shut down, so if your system is consistently taking … Read more

Face off with friends in Hanging With Friends, an updated game of Hangman

Unless you haven't owned a phone for the last few years, you are likely familiar with Zynga's "with Friends" line of games. The classic Words with Friends is a global phenomenon and subsequent follow-up games have been released every few months since. Hanging with Friends HD is one of the more popular variants, putting a twist on the classic schoolyard game of Hangman, while matching friends wirelessly using their Zynga ID or Facebook log-in. The game's interface will be familiar to anyone who has played Words with Friends, allowing you to see all of your … Read more

Zynga's Matching with Friends for iOS is likely to be a hit

Matching with Friends (2.99, full version - Free, ad-supported version) is another in a long line of Zynga apps that let you play turn-based games with a friend on mobile devices. But instead of playing word games loosely based on Hangman, Scrabble, or Boggle, this time you'll be strategically placing matching colored blocks on a gameboard, then sending your move to a friend.

Like other Zynga games, Matching with Friends makes getting connected with your friends easy. Upon launch you'll be asked to sign in through either your Facebook or Twitter account. Once logged in, you can search for other players from your friends list or get automatically matched with a random player.… Read more

What to do when an app hangs in OS X

When an application hangs in OS X, you will most likely see the mouse cursor turn into a spinning color wheel or "beach ball" when hovered over the application's window. If this happens, though you will be able to move the application's window around on the screen, the program will not accept any input or respond to commands such as quitting or saving a document.

This happens because events in the application's event queue are not used in a timely manner. When an application is launched, the system sets it up with an event queue, … Read more

IOHIDEventQueue error resulting in long Mac pauses

A familiar type of computer error is the kind in which all activity seems to freeze, there's no apparent response to keyboard input, and the mouse stops moving. When this happens on Macs you may see the spinning color wheel, or the system may show no indicator of a problem. While you might think the system has fully crashed and needs to be restarted, a few seconds later the system may continue to function normally again, only to pause again shortly thereafter.

This type of random pausing is generally due to an I/O (input/output) problem. Critical devices … Read more

Play hangman online!

Hanging with Friends is a fun online multiplayer word game for iPhone where you can match up against your friends to play a unique version of Hangman. From the makers of the popular game, Words with Friends, this fun game lets you register an account or connect with Facebook to play against people in your friend list or other players who also own the game. You also have the option to pass-and-play on one iPhone.

Hanging with Friends has a colorful and cute interface in which avatars of you and your opponent hang from floating balloons above lava. If you … Read more

Play hangman online!

Hanging with Friends is a free, ad-supported multiplayer Hangman app from Zynga, the makers of Words with Friends and Chess with Friends.

Like many of Zynga's apps, Hanging with Friends is a slick, social machine, making it easy to play multiple, asynchronous games with many friends, whom you can quickly pull in through Facebook. (You can also play random online matchups.) The core game is fun, easy to learn, and fast-playing. And while Hanging with Friends mostly follows the traditional Hangman word-guessing format, it adds a few clever innovations: you choose four- to eight-letter words using a set of … Read more

Apple releases iMac Graphics firmware update 2.0

Apple has released a firmware update for iMac systems that addresses problems where iMacs have been hanging during start-up or when waking from sleep. Unfortunately Apple has not specified which specific iMac models are eligible for this update. The contents of the updater file show the Flasher utility is for ATI graphics, though this does not narrow the systems down by much because most-recent iMac models except for the early 2009 ones have used ATI graphics.

Because of the lack of specifics about the eligible models for this update, even though the updater is available as a standalone installer, we … Read more

Fix random lengthy pauses in OS X by correcting bad blocks

If you find your Mac is running slowly, generally there are a few things you can do, including running a general maintenance routine, deleting unneeded files to keep at least 10 percent of your boot drive free, increasing the installed RAM, and quitting unused applications (both foreground and background) that you may have installed. In addition to this, one possible cause of slowdowns is if your hard drive contains undetected bad blocks, and forcing the system to remap them can result in things running smoothly again.

Hard disks are "block-based" storage systems, meaning that their writing surfaces are … Read more

Submitting feedback and bug reports to Apple

There may be times when using your Mac where you might have suggestions or other feedback for Apple's engineers. Perhaps a system feature could be used in a different manner, or you would like to see a particular window be resizable, or you have noticed a bug where a program does not behave the way you think it should.

Apple has a number of methods to submit feedback, so if you have suggestions you would like to submit there are several ways to do it. Keep in mind that Apple will likely not contact you back, but submissions are … Read more