Average Joe's Tips

Keyboard shortcuts for the Mac Genius!

Most of us know about shortcuts. If you have ever copied something by clicking the Command button and the C button, you know that shortcuts can be a very quick and efficient way of working. You should take advantage of the different shortcuts incorporated into OS X to make things a lot easier for yourself. Some shortcuts seem to be more important than others. There are some shortcuts that are more commonly used, but that doesn’t necessarily make it the most important. I will talk about my top 3 shortcuts.

One shortcut that is very convenient is the Command-Delete shortcut. This shortcut allows you to automatically send whatever items you have selected to the Trash. This is helpful especially when you are prone to accidentally dropping whatever you have selected elsewhere instead of the Trash. That is actually something I do quite frequently, so the Command-Delete shortcut is really useful.

My second top shortcut is the Option-Command-Esc shortcut. If you’re familiar with Windows, you will recognize that this shortcut will bring up the force-quit window, which is very similar to the Task Manager. On Windows, you would click Control-Alt-Delete whenever you needed to end a program. As I am very accustomed to Windows, this shortcut is easy for me to get used to and depend on.

My third top shortcut is Control-Option-Command-Eject. This shortcut results in shutting down your computer. Most people shut off their computers off when they are done using it for awhile, so this shortcut can be used frequently.

Those are my top three shortcuts. That doesn’t mean I don’t use other shortcuts. There are many other shortcuts that are very helpful. They can range from being as simple as two buttons, or it could be much more. Whatever the shortcut, it is meant for your convenience, so take advantage of it. If you have any questions or comments, leave it below and we’ll get back to it as soon as possible. What are your top keyboard shortcuts for OS X?

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50 Billionth Download for the Apple App Store

Say The Same ThingOn May 16th, Apple announced that customers had downloaded over 50 billion apps from the App Store. To commemorate the 50 billionth app downloaded, which was Say the Same Thing by Space Inch, LLC, Apple gave Brandon Ashmore from Mentor, Ohio a $10,000 App Store Gift Card. Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of Internet Software and Services also noted that it took less than five years to hit this momentous milestone and that Apple thanks all its customers and developers for making the App Store what it is today.

The App Store has been consistently growing, with downloads over 800 apps per second. Customers are downloading over two billion apps per month on the App Store. The App Store offers more than 850,000 apps to iOS device users in 155 countries. Apple has revolutionized how we use mobile devices with the creation of app ecosystem. Apple also noted that the App Store paid out over nine billion dollars to developers. The App Store provides opportunities for developers to mold their ideas into apps, while at the same time providing users the opportunities to use these apps. It’s whole different way of doing business, right from your iOS device.

An important note is that this article is in regards to the App Store for iOS devices and does not include the Mac App Store, which provides apps for OS X.

Feel free to leave questions and comments. One question we have at The Real Mac Genius is: “What is your favorite app?”

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Apple iOS 6 to come this fall

Apple has announced that this fall, iOS 6 will be released. Most current iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch users will end up upgrading to iOS 6 in hopes of new features, and we hope that Apple doesn’t let us down. Based on what Apple has announced so far, most people are excited to get iOS 6 on their devices and take advantage of the newest features. I will go over some of the new features that Apple has announced so far.

The first thing that iOS 6 will provide is an upgrade for the Maps app. For those who have used the Maps app on previous iOS, they will notice that Apple has completely redesigned the app and has made it much more vivid and detailed. The new Maps app also provided turn-by-turn directions and offers different routes if traffic conditions have changed. Maps uses real-time traffic conditions to help you avoid traffic accidents and slowdowns. The app also has a 3D view of major areas that gives you a very clear image of the location you are viewing. Siri works well with Maps to help you get to your destination. You can even tap a pin on the map and view different information about that location, especially with the integration of Yelp into the Maps app.

Siri has also been improved. Siri works in more countries, understands more languages, and will now be available on the new iPad. You can tell Siri to look up the scores for a sports game, look up movie show times, find local restaurants, and even tweet or update your Facebook. Siri can even launch apps for you.  Apple is also working on getting Siri integrated in cars, a feature called Eyes Free. This will allow you to press a button on your steering wheel to communicate to Siri and allow you to call people, select music, text message your friends, and much more, without even lighting up the device’s screen.

Facebook will now be integrated into iOS 6. You can share photos from your Camera or Photos app, post your location from Maps, post your score from Game Center, integrate your friend’s profile information into Contacts and integrate events into Calendars.  Facebook is now part of every aspect of your device and you can even click the Like button in iTunes and the App Store. Not only are Apple apps integrated with Facebook, non-Apple apps can also connect to Facebook. This update is definitely going to be attract those who use Facebook frequently to post updates and pictures because it adds even more convenience to the use of mobile applications.

iOS 6 also gives you the option to Share photos from the Photos app with friends and family. If they are using iCloud on an iOS 6 device or a Mac running OS X Mountain Lion, the photos you share with them are delivered straight to their Photos app or iPhoto.  People can even like or comment it, similar to Facebook. If you want to share it with someone who doesn’t have an iOS 6 device or Mac running OS X Mountain Lion, they can view it on the web on the iCloud website.

A new application that Apple is adding is Passbook. Passbook is your organizer that replaces a wallet for coupons, tickets, boarding passes, etc. Passbook also takes advantage of time and location to coupons and passes will appear on your lock screen when it is appropriate, like when you are about to reach the airport or walk into the store where you will use the coupon. Airplane tickets also update if the airline announced changes. Passbook provides convenience in one simple application. The only problem is that companies need to support the app for it to be useful.

Apple has finally announced the use of FaceTime over cellular networks, instead of only Wi-Fi. This means you can FaceTime with your iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, and Mac, wherever you are as long as you have Wi-Fi or a cellular network. This feature is something I would have expected of FaceTime previously, but it’s better late than never.

iOS 6 also improves the Phone app. This improvement will be very useful for those using the iPhone.  The new feature gives you the option to send a preset text message or custom text message if you can’t answer a call. You can also set a time- or location-based reminder to alert you to call someone back. There is also a Do Not Disturb setting that will silence all incoming calls and notifications for a certain period of time or schedule, depending what you choose. It can even allow calls from specific people but silence the rest. This provides you with a whole new set of features for your iPhone.

With iOS 6, even the Mail and Safari app is updated. In the Mail app, you can set up a VIP list for important contacts. When you receive an email from someone on your VIP list, there will be a notification on your lock screen and those emails can be found in your VIP mailbox. Apple has made it easier to add photos and videos with just a few taps and allows you to use the swipe down to refresh your mailbox. Safari now has iCloud Tabs to keep track of webpages open on any device connected to your iCloud account. Safari also saves webpages in your Reading List so you can view them while not connected to the Internet. You can also post a photo or video from your Camera Roll or take a photo or video to post without even leaving Safari.

There are many new features on the new iOS, but some features will also be removed. Something of note is that Apple will remove the YouTube app with the update of iOS 6. Its license with Google to include the YouTube app has expired, but Google is already developing a standalone app for the Apple App Store. This isn’t a major difference but may be taken as a move by Apple to deviate away from Google apps.

With all these new features with the coming of iOS 6, who can wait? Improvements to many of the apps already provided by the previous iOS will make a big impact on the user experience. I’m definitely going to upgrade to iOS 6. The most exciting thing about iOS 6 for me is the new features with Maps and Phone, and the use of Passbooks. What are you looking forward too?

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The New MacBook Pro with Retina display

On June 11, Apple introduced the new 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display. But what has changed? Well, the screen’s resolution is 2,880-by-1,800, which is about 5.1 million pixels on a 15.4 inch display. Compared to an HDTV, which has a screen resolution of 1,920-by-1,080, the Retina Display has a significantly larger amount of pixels. This gives the screen a clearer, crisper look. It can change the way you look at a computer screen when you see how finely defined the images are on the screen, and at a certain point, it can make you forget that you’re looking at a screen in the first place. Apple also noted that the new Retina display reduces glare, making it easier to see the screen even in the sunlight, which is very helpful in outdoor environments. The New MacBook Pro with Retina display is only 0.71 inch thin and 4.46 pounds, so it is lighter and thinner than previous MacBook Pros, which increases ease of portability by a significant amount. The only aspect of the new MacBook Pro that  you will have to watch out for is compatibility. There are still some applications and websites that aren’t suitable for the Retina Display which may look pixelated, but they will hopefully be updated to suit the capacity of the Retina Display.

The New MacBook Pro with Retina Display takes full advantage of the all-flash storage to make the MacBook faster, quieter, and lighter than previous MacBook Pros that used optical drives. The MacBook Pro with Retina display also uses the Intel Core i7, Intel HD Graphics 4000 and NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M with 1GB of GDDR5 memory. These components give it amazing performance and have the capabilities to produce vivid images, videos, and games on the screen. Although it is a high-performance notebook, it still packs a 7-hour battery life due to the large 95-watt hour battery.

What else is different? Well, the ports have definitely changed. On one side, we have the MagSafe 2 port. This poses a disadvantage to those who have the older MagSafe Power Adapter. Without a $10 MagSafe to MagSafe 2 Convertor, you are forced to use the new MagSafe 2 Power Adapter. Also, Apple got rid of the FireWire 800 port and Ethernet port, but it now has two USB 3.0 ports and two Thunderbolt ports. They also included an HDMI port and the SDXC card slot. The HDMI port is a great addition to the MacBook Pro with Retina Display, since adapters always had to be used to hook up previous MacBook Pros to HDTVs and projectors. To keep the MacBook Pro with Retina Display slim, they also removed the DVD drive.

When it comes to pricing, the MacBook Pro with Retina Display starts at $2,199.00 for the 15-inch compared to the 15-inch MacBook Pro, which is $1,799.00. That’s an extra $400 for the Retina Display. It does also come with 8GB of memory, compared to the 4GB of memory in the MacBook Pro. So you have to decide whether the extra memory, Retina Display, and flash storage is worth the extra money or not.

In conclusion, the new MacBook Pro with Retina Display has an amazing display that surpasses previous MacBook Pros, as well as better performance, while still having great battery life. The MacBook Pro with Retina Display does deviate from previous models, as the ports are very different, but mostly in a positive direction. OS X Mountain Lion will also really compliment the MacBook Pro with Retina Display, as will other applications when they are updated for the Retina Display.

Feel free to leave a comment or suggestion.

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October 20th, 10.7 Lion Preview?

Lion + Back to the Mac =  Mac OS X 10.7 Lion?

“Come see what’s new for the Mac on October 20, including a sneak peek of the next major version of Mac OS X.”

What are you expecting. Will 10.7 run iOS apps? Let us know what you think. Leave a comment.