Mavericks issue solved

A while back I posted I was having issues with Mavericks. I am happy to say that these are now resolved. The solution that finally resolved the remaining issues left unresolved by updates to Mavericks was to remove two hard drives from my Mac Pro. I had hoped that the two hard drives in question, which were somewhat long in the tooth would be suitable for using with Parallels for the Windows side of things. Alas, it was not to be. For whatever reason they were causing problems with the Mac side of things and had to go. Since I took them out things have vastly improved. Maybe it was because they were formatted as NTFS as I wanted to use them as backup for data on the Windows side of things. Maybe it was an issue with Paragon’s NTFS for Mac. Who really knows? Certainly, as the actual need for them was minimal I decided it was simpler to remove them. Now my Mac boots up in 10 seconds and all apps run without trouble (most of the time)!

So I guess the moral of this story is, if you are going to add extra drives to the bays of your Mac Pro (pre-2013 version that is) it’s probably best to install brand-new ones. In the meantime, I wish all my readers a very Happy New Year!

Parallels Desktop for Mac

Parallels Desktop for Mac (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


MacBook Pro update sneaks in under radar


MacBook Pro at the desktop.

Apple has quietly sneaked in some updates to its MacBook range of laptops. Processors were update by miniscule amounts; just 0.1 and 0.2 GHz (yes, I’m afraid its not 1 and 2 GHz!). Hard drives were updated by 180GB and 250GB and the graphic cards have also been given a boost.

Here are the details:

  • 13″ MacBook Pro base model has a 2.4 GHz processor and 500 GB hard drive, boosted from 2.3 GHz and 320 GB.
  • 13″ MacBook Pro model has a 2.8 GHz processor and 750 GB hard drive, boosted from 2.7 GHz and 500 GB.
  • 15″ MacBook Pro base model has a 2.2 GHz processor, up from 2.0 GHz. The 500 GB hard drive remains unchanged. The AMD GPU is now a 6750M with 512MB VRAM (up from a 6490M/256).
  • 15″ MacBook Pro high-end model has a 2.4 GHz processor, up from 2.2 2.3 GHz. The 750 GB hard drive remains unchanged. The AMD GPU is now a 6770M with 1GB of VRAM.
  • 17″ MacBook Pro model has a 2.4 GHz processor, up from 2.2 GHz. The 750 GB hard drive has not changed. Its AMD GPU is also a 6770M with 1 GB VRAM (up from the 6750M).

Prices remain unchanged s although this isn’t a major update its nevertheless a welcome one.

Steve Jobs & Apple – personal reflections

The Macintosh Classic, Apple's early 1990s bud...

Image via Wikipedia

I have been a Mac user since 1992 (though I didn’t own one until 1995 – I was an Amiga owner, an A500). It was whilst working at Oasis Trust that I first fell in love with them, We had several Macs as they allowed us to do our own DTP. That was the real ‘killer app’ that helped the Mac become established in the creative industry. With a basic Mac equipped with Aldus Pagemaker and a LaserWriter it was possible to produce our own publicity in-house. The colour separations would be sent off to the printers for the final printing. We used the Apple Macintosh Plus and eventually acquired some Classic, LC, II, Quadra, Performa, and Centris models as money allowed.

We had an in-house graphic designer but the nature of the charity world is that everyone wears several hats. Although I was responsible for setting up a health project for individuals affected by homelessness, I was responsible for a lot of the design work as Erol, our graphics designer was kept busy on lots of other stuff.

My very own first Mac was actually a clone, at least initially. It was made by Power Computing. However, it failed to work properly, and after much correspondence it was replaced with a genuine Mac, a  PowerMC 7600/120. It still works too, amazing after nearly 16 years! Here a list of its features:


High performance
  • 120-MHz PowerPC 604 processor, user-upgradable to faster processor when available (up to 200 MHz)
  • Built-in floating-point processor and 32K cache
  • 256K level 2 cache
  • Built in graphic acceleration
Communications and multimedia
  • 64-bit VRAM graphics subsystem
  • Two high-speed serial ports compatible with GeoPort and LocalTalk cables
  • Quadruple-speed CD-ROM drive
  • 16-bit stereo audio input and output
  • 24-bit composite and S-video input
  • Support for speech-recognition and text-to-speech capabilities
  • Optimized for QuickTime Conferencing software
  • Three industry-standard PCI expansion slots
  • SCSI connector for hard disks, CD-ROM drives, and other SCSI devices
  • Internal expansion bay for additional hard disk drive
  • Includes 10BASE-T and AAUI Ethernet connectors
  • Supports Open Transport networking software (TCP/IP and AppleTalk)
  • Runs most 680×0 Macintosh applications as well as applications accelerated for Power Macintosh computers
  • Reads Mac OS, Windows, MS-DOS, OS/2, and ProDOS floppy disk formats
  • Runs MS-DOS and Windows applications via optional PC Compatibility Cards
  • Comes with all of the software required for Internet access
System 7.5 software
  • Makes working with different applications consistent, so they’re easier to learn and use
  • Allows easy customization of your Macintosh to reflect the way you work
  • Provides active assistance in learning new features with Apple Guide

Technical Specifications

Upgradable microprocessor
  • PowerPC 604 microprocessor running at 120 MHz, upgradable to a higher-speed processor when available (up to 200 MHz)
  • Integrated floating-point unit and 32K cache
  • High-speed system bus (up to 50 MHz)
  • 16MB of RAM, expandable to 512MB via 8 DIMM sockets
  • 4MB of ROM
  • 256K level 2 cache
Disk drives
  • Internal 1.2GB SCSI hard disk
  • Internal Apple SuperDrivefloppy disk drive
    • Accepts high-density 1.4MB disks and 800K disks
    • Reads, writes, and formats Macintosh, Windows, MS-DOS, OS/2, and ProDOS disks
  • Internal AppleCD 600i quadruple-speed CD-ROM drive
  • Expansion bay for additional 3.5-inch hard disk
  • Three PCI expansion slots compatible with PCI 2.0-compliant cards
  • Two high-speed DMA serial (RS-232/RS-422) ports compatible with LocalTalk and GeoPort cables
  • 10BASE-T and AAUI-15 Ethernet connectors; optional PC Compatibility Cards provide multinode support for simultaneous network connections
  • Internal Fast SCSI bus (up to 10MB/s)
  • External SCSI bus (up to 5MB/s)
  • Apple Desktop Bus (ADB) expansion port
  • RCA phono jacks for line-level stereo audio input and output
  • Mini jacks for stereo audio input and output
  • All sound ports support 16-bit audio and up to 44.1-kHz sampling rate
  • DB-15 connector for monitor
  • Composite connectors (RCA phono jacks) for composite video input
  • S-video input connector
  • Internal digital audio/video (DAV) connector for video compression/decompression cards 24-bit video input
  • Real-time video playthrough of up to 640 by 480 pixels with NTSC; 768 by 576 pixels with PAL and SECAM
  • Up to 320- by 240-pixel capture up to 15 frames per second with NTSC
  • Maximum capture size of 640 by 480 pixels with NTSC
Graphics support
  • 2MB of VRAM, expandable to 4MB
  • Fast 64-bit data path to VRAM
  • Support for display resolutions of up to 1,280 by 1,024 pixels
  • 24-bit color up to 1,152- by 870-pixel resolution
  • Refresh rate of up to 75 Hz
GeoPort telephony *
  • 14.4-Kbit/s modem support
  • V.17 fax support
  • GeoPort Fax and GeoPort Telephony software included
  • Speakerphone and answering-machine capability
  • Custom integrated circuit with long-life battery
Keyboard and mouse
  • Supports ADB keyboards with numeric keypads
  • Comes with an ADB Mouse II
Electrical requirements and compliance
  • Line voltage: 100 to 240 V AC, RMS single phase
  • Frequency: 50 to 60 Hz, single phase
  • Power: 150 W maximum, not including display
ADB power requirements
  • Maximum current draw for all devices: 500 mA (a maximum of three ADB devices is recommended)
  • Mouse draws 10 mA
  • Keyboard draws 25 to 80 mA (varies with keyboard used)
Size and weight
  • Height: 6.15 in. (15.6 cm)
  • Width: 14.37 in. (36.5 cm)
  • Depth: 16.93 in. (43.0 cm)
  • Weight: 22 lb. (9.97 kg)
Environmental requirements
  • Operating temperature: 50° to 104° F (10° to 40° C)
  • Storage temperature: -40° to 116° F (-40° to 47° C)
  • Relative humidity: 5% to 95% noncondensing
  • Maximum altitude: 10,000 ft. (3,048 m)

Cutting edge for its day!  It helped me with getting familiar with the internet (very basic then indeed!) and I used it to help me with all sorts of things, from learning about databases (FileMaker) to writing fundraising proposals.

For me, the Mac was so much easier to get along with than the PC and Windows was a veritable dog’s dinner by comparison. Windows 3.11  and Windows 95 were inferior to System 7 (IMHO) and the Mac was also much more stable, with hardly any crashes or system freezes, compared to the almost daily (often several times a day) BSOD crashes.

Steve Jobs and the team at Apple certainly did a great job of providing a greats et of tools and the combination of hardware and software was unbeatable. Even when Apple was in the doldrums and Steve Jobs had been forced out, the actual hardware and software was great. yes, it had its problems but so did Windows and Microsoft just didn’t seem to ‘get it’ when it came to usability and providing elegant solutions to the end-users needs. That’s why it never made great inroads into the creative and education sectors.

I have never regretted my decision to stick with Apple all these years. Even though I have bought PCs (even built a few) I have never been without a Mac. As well as the Power Computing clone, my PowerPC 7600/120 I have also owned a G3, a G4, an iMac (with he swivel screen – beautiful), the original 15-inch MacBook Pro and now a MacBook Pro unibody model (2.26 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo). I have Win XP installed on my Mac (under Parallels) but hardly ever use it as I can do 99.9% of everything I need to do on my Mac.

So, finally, I just want to finish by saying that I am very grateful to Steve Jobs and everyone at Apple for all my Mac, the software and for making it possible to do so many things with them that would have otherwise been all but impossible.

Data Rescue3.1 by ProSoft

Data Rescue 3 - For Macintosh

Data Rescue 3.1 by ProSoft is one of the programs available as part of the MacLegion Spring Bundle.


Data Rescue 3 is the best digital data recovery software on the market for recovering files from a problem hard drive or that have been previously deleted. Data Rescue 3 is for computer data recovery and works when other tools fail.

Data Rescue 3 is also completely safe to use since it does not attempt any risky repairs to the drive it’s scanning. Data Rescue 3 is the safest, most powerful software for data recovery. Data Rescue 3 is the same software used by many data recovery services, law enforcement, all major branches of the U.S. Military and major intelligence agencies.

You will need to save your recovered files to either an internal or external hard drive (USB or FireWire), removable media device (such as a Zip or MO) or a networked drive.

You can read more about Data Rescue 3.1 for Macintosh on the ProSoft site. Normally, it retails for $99 so by purchasing the MacLegion Spring Bundle not only do you save almost $50 on this program but you get lots more for free (in effect)!

The Mighty Mini

Mac mini with Snow Leopard Server.

Now there’s a special version of Mac mini with Snow Leopard Server preinstalled. It’s easy to set up and easy to run. Learn more

Apple has not let the mini wither and die on the vine, as some had anticipated so many times. Instead, it has just made it into a bigger and better product without radically changing the look and design.

It has bumped up the memory, given it a faster CPU and introduced a server version to boot!

Memory has been doubled to (up to 4GB), processor is now up to 2.66GHz and  Snow Leopard Server edition is now available for £799. For your money you get two 500GB hard drives (instead of one and a SuperDrive). Even better is that the Server Edition comes with an unlimited client version, making it excellent value. This means no additional fees, no matter how many clients you serve on your network.

At the same time, Apple hasn’t forgotten the need to be green and the new mini uses only 14 watts when its idle, better than any other desktop on the market. At a mere 6.5 inches square and 2 inches tall it remains as petite as ever, taking up less desktop space than any other pc.

When you consider that it also uses DDR3 memory (many pcs use DDR2 still) and that it comes with NVIDIA GeForce 9400M graphics, its quite a little powerhouse. It includes 5 USB 2.0 and 1 Firewire 800 ports and even lets you connect two monitors (including a TV) via its mini-DVI and Mini Displayport connectors.

All-in-all Apple have certainly not left the mini to wither slowly and eventually die but have given it a new lease of life. If anyone thought that Apple was neglecting the Mac in favour of the iPhone then they need to think again. Together with the new iMacs, the re-vamped MacBook and the new Magic Mouse they have shown they are as committed as ever to the range.

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