Make the most of your Mac by adding NAS

August 4th, 2015 | Edited by | software


Your beloved Mac sits at the center of your tech universe, but it falls short when it comes to managing and securing the scores of data you count on each day. NAS (network attached storage) fills in the gaps, acting as a central hub for all your photos, videos, music, and other files. A proper NAS-Mac setup can save time and reduce stress through easier downloads, improved organization, smoother backups, and more. Here are some great ways you can use NAS to make the most of your Mac.


Centralize your files

Storing files in the public cloud is a great way to ensure they’re always attainable, but it’s easy to fail to sync the latest version or lose track of which ones you keep where, especially if you use multiple cloud providers to avoid hitting your storage limit. NAS can coordinate all those accounts, keeping tabs on your data whether it’s stored in iCloud, Amazon S3, Dropbox, or on your Mac. NAS can also automatically import and store data from mobile devices, including photos from your iPhone or iPad. This gives you a fully connected, completely organized — and most importantly — centralized system for your data, regardless of where it’s acquired or stored.

Share files quickly and easily

Sharing files typically means emailing them or sending them through a public cloud provider. With NAS, you can create personal cloud accounts for your friends, family, and coworkers. These accounts cost nothing and give others access to whatever files they need without requiring you to send them or upload them. Account holders can also upload their own files to the NAS, allowing for easy collaboration. To share files without requiring a login, programs like QNAP’sFile Station can send a unique URL which, when clicked by the recipient, automatically downloads files from your NAS device.

Don’t waste time waiting for downloads

Downloading large files sometimes entails leaving your Mac running for hours while you wait for the download to finish. NAS devices allow you to download even when your computer is off or isn’t connected to the Internet. Set a download before heading to work, and it loads directly onto your personal cloud. Once it finishes, access the downloaded file from any connected device. For videos, QNAP’s TS-x51 model optimizes the file and format dynamically with on-the-fly transcoding, so it looks its best no matter where you watch it.

Protect your data, your equipment, and yourself

Apple’s Time Machine helps you back up your data, but it requires you to connect your Mac to an external storage device to keep it up to date. Hook up to a NAS and you can schedule automatic daily or weekly backups without having to hook up any extra hardware. QNAP’s TS-120 can also work directly with Time Machine, backing up files any time you’re connected to the home network. And if you’re concerned about security on your network, some NAS devices can be configured to operate as a VPN client, adding a layer of encryption to your web browsing. Mobile Devices can also take advantage of the VPN, as long as they can connect to WiFi.

Open Windows

If you’re like most Mac users, your computer acts as a conduit for all the data that makes your professional life run. At the office, that often requires you to work in concert with other operating systems. Some NAS devices can create a virtualized Windows environment like the TS-x53 Pro series’ Virtualization Station, running applications and files that you couldn’t otherwise open. This can be handy when collaborating with coworkers who can’t agree on which OS is superior (they’ll convert eventually).Empower your Mac to do what it does best: expedite your personal and professional advancement with awesome performance and intuitive controls. Letting NAS shoulder the burden of data management helps you and your Mac operate at the highest possible level.


Inside the Macworld Vault: A hidden collection of vintage Macs

July 30th, 2015 | Edited by | hardware


A hidden collection of vintage Macs

A lot of Apple hardware has passed through the halls of Macworld. Over time, old hardware gets donated to charities and schools. But sometimes an item is put into storage, thinking that there might be a use for it down the road. More often, though, that item is forgotten about.
I was recently asked to sort through Macworld’s storage, and I ended up taking a fun trip through memory lane. I documented much of it on my Twitter andInstagram feed, but we’ve also decided to post pictures here.
Sit back, relax with a tasty beverage, and enjoy the photos. More importantly, share you Mac stories in the comments section. Also, if you enjoy coverage of vintage Apple products, be sure to check out Christopher Phin’s Think Retrocolumn.

Pyramid of Mac towers

This is a combination of G5 Power Macs and 2008 Mac Pros. Apple used this basic tower design for over seven years. Apple is so focused now on lightweight, small computers, and the aluminum tower was everything but lightweight and small.
With that in mind, here’s a disclaimer: Do not attempt to build your own pyramid of aluminum Mac towers. They are heavy machines, and lifting one above your knees is a difficult task. That tower up top? It nearly fell on my head when I tried to place it there. (The things I do for you people.) I really don’t want to hear about Mac enthusiasts inspired by this picture who were crushed by an avalanche of G5 Power Macs and Mac Pros. Don’t do it.


Wallstreet PowerBook

This Macintosh PowerBook G3 was code-named Wallstreet. Two things that struck me about this laptop as I inspected it some 17 years after its release: I really like the feel of its keyboard, and the six-color Apple logo under the screen (which, according to Wikipedia, was the last time Apple used this logo on its hardware).

MacBook Air and Wallstreet

Sitting on top of the Wallstreet PowerBook G3 is a 13-inch MacBook Air (which wasn’t in storage). I wanted to see how many MacBook Airs I could stack before it equaled the height of Wallstreet. But I got distracted by the next laptop…

Pismo PowerBook

The Pismo PowerBook came a generation after the Wallstreet PowerBook G3. It was the last G3 laptop.

Titanium PowerBook G4

See the broken hinge on this Titanium PowerBook G4? This laptop was in bad shape. I used a similar machine during my stint as a MacAddict/Mac|Life editor. Good laptop.

iBook G4

This one is white. Or it was white.

Macintosh SE FDHD

No vintage Mac collection is complete without an original Mac 128K. But we don’t have one, so I guess that makes our collection incomplete. We do have a Mac SE FDHD, though. My first Mac was a SE FDHD, which I bought while in college.

Graphite iMac

The graphite iMac was part of the third generation of the iMac line. This was the first model to have a slot-loading optical drive.

Flower Power iMac

There’s a Bondi Blue iMac in storage, but I was too distracted by the Flower Power iMac to take a picture of it. I did not find a Blue Dalmatian iMac, however.


The flat-panel iMac made its debut in 2002. The CRT-based eMac was released soon afterward. It was a more affordable all-in-one made available through education channels.

iMac (Flat Panel)

In 2004, I was hired as Reviews Editor for MacAddict. During my first month there, I attempted to upgrade the RAM in a 17-inch flat-panel iMac. (I never liked calling it the “sunflower” iMac or the “iLamp.”) I re-assembled it improperly and ended up destroying the computer—which was on loan from Apple. My boss was furious and I thought I was going to be fired, but Apple forgave me.

white imac
iMac G5
I was never a fan of the look of the iMac G5. To me, it made the computer look too much like a kitchen appliance. I still see one or two in public schools today.

Apple mice

I’ve never been a fan of the Apple mouse. It prioritizes style and sacrifices function. It’s a very personal piece of hardware, so everyone has an opinion. Whatever works for you.


15 new iOS 9 features that are rocking our world

July 28th, 2015 | Edited by | software


Get excited about the little things

Apple’s newest iOS is far from a drastic overhaul, and that’s OK. Sometimes it’s the most subtle tweaks that have the biggest impact. And iOS 9 proves that. Now that we’ve had the chance to play with the iOS 9 public beta, here are some of our favorite features—both big and small—that have changed our lives for the better. What iOS 9 features are you most excited about?


Low Power Mode to squeeze extra battery life

I can’t say enough good things about Low Power mode. I love that it asks at 20 percent and again at 10, and then turns itself back off automatically once you’re charged up to 80 percent. And you can still use almost all the functions of your phone: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Location Services, GPS, everything. The screen goes to sleep a little quicker than before (which means I have to keep tapping idly in Alphabears while I’m staring at the screen contemplating my next move), and you can’t use AirDrop or Continuity… but who cares when it means my phone no longer needs a mandatory topping-off every day at around 7 p.m.

Automatically organize your selfies in Photos

A new small tweak to the Photos app in iOS 9 has made it easier to keep all your pics organized, especially if you’re a selfie enthusiast. Photos taken with the front-facing camera get automatically placed ins a “Selfies” folder, while screenshots taken by pressing the Home button and the power button get their own dedicated folder as well.

The sophisticated new San Francisco font

The custom Apple-designed font that was first used on the Apple Watch interface comes to iOS 9. This new San Francisco font is used in Settings, Spotlight search, and in the native apps. You can even choose it as the default font for your iBooks collection. The sophisticated yet easy-to-read font may be subtle, but I sure did notice it from the first time I swiped open the lock screen.

Finally, an intuitive Shift key

I’m really loving the subtitle tweaks made to the standard iOS keyboard—especially the new Shift key. I know, this is far from revolutionary, but it makes it much easier to tell if the caps is turned off or on when your entire keyboard displays the letters in uppercase or lowercase letters.

Go back to previous apps with tiny, new Back button

The Back button rocks my world. If I am in, say, Twitter, and I get a notification from Instagram, I can tap that notification, switch to Instagram, tap all around inside Instagram, and still get back to Twitter with one tap. Sure, I could do that before with the application switcher, but the back button is a lot more obvious.

Sharing content into Notes is a game-changer

The Notes share sheet is a game-changer, letting you embed websites, maps, and photos in a to-do list. Once third-party apps support the share sheet, your notes will become richer and more useful than ever before.

Siri is now your new personal DJ

In iOS 9, Siri’s gotten a lot smarter. Not only does Siri serve up information about the weather or different directions, but she can answer complex queries now like, “Show me photos from last summer.” The most exciting part, however, is how well she knows my Apple Music collection. You can ask Siri to play a specific artist, playlist, or “the hottest songs from 1986.”

Want to change your Settings? Just search!

A searchable Settings app is another new feature that’s so small, yet so incredibly helpful that I don’t know why Apple hadn’t included it before! Instead of pouring through each individual setting to find what I want to adjust, I can now just do a quick Spotlight-esque search to find what i need.

Drive, walk or take public transportation

For years, Maps users had to rely on third-party apps to get reliable public transportation directions. Now anymore. Finally iOS 9 includes Transit view which incorporates subway and bus schedules/routes. Transit, however, is only available in select cities: Baltimore, Chicago, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Washington, D.C., Mexico City, London, Berlin, Toronto and 300 cities in China.

Spotlight is better (but beta)

I’m feeling the new Spotlight screen, but it needs to get a little more reliable. I use search to launch apps quite frequently, so I love that the screen is starting to guess which app I might be about to search for—and it does seem to give me different apps for different places and times. (Twitter, HipChat, Pocket Casts, and transit apps during the day. Instagram, Kindle, Two Dots, and Music in the evenings.) It doesn’t always surface the thing I’m looking for on the first try: I searched for Apple to find the Apple Store app, and it wasn’t in the results at all—no Apple apps were. But then I did the search again, and Apple Store was the first result. That’s livin’ la vida beta for you, but I’m optimistic that it’ll keep improving over time and with more use.

iPad only: Easy editing of long chunks of text

With iOS 9, you can place two fingers down on the keyboard and it instantly becomes a trackpad, letting you select large chunks of text with one swipe. The new tools on the QuickType bar help you format the text or cut/copy/paste it with one tap. I’ve never thought of the iPad as a viable replacement to my MacBook—until now.

Integration with Apple Watch Activity achievements

For Apple Watch wearers only: It’s pretty neat how the achievement medals in the Activity app are engraved with the date you earned them. Just swipe one with your finger to flip it over! It’s a tiny change, but I got a kick out of it.

Cool-looking articles are easy to find in News

A few publishers are adopting Apple News Format to create really cool articles in the News app with big images, animations, and videos. Luckily, it’s easy to find all these articles by subscribing to the Apple News Selections channel. So far in public beta, there are only a handful of articles in this format, but I’m expecting this section to blow up come the official release of iOS 9 in the fall.

iPad only: Picture-in-picture offers much-needed distractions

Back in school did you ever hide a comic book inside a textbook to give the impression you were studying? iOS 9 gives the iPad a similar function withpicture-in-picture. Now you can research a work project while watching Cartoon Network at the same time.

Feedback app makes it easy to report beta bugs

Beta users automatically get a Feedback app for submitting bug reports to Apple. That’s awesome, but can it please stick around when the beta is over? It’s easy to use, and since the reports are sent with crash logs and other device-specific info, they’re probably more useful to Apple than whatever we could submit through site.


FTC ponders App Store’s 30% take from streaming rivals after Apple Music launch

July 16th, 2015 | Edited by | software


The US Government may investigate whether or not Apple’s 30-percent App Store cut gives Apple Music an unfair advantage, according to Reuters.

If you’re reading this, there’s a good chance that you already know that Apple takes a 30-percent cut of all purchases made through the App Store and in-app purchases. While that setup has worked out reasonably well for both Apple and third-party developers, it’s raising some eyebrows in Washington, DC in the wake of Apple Music’s launch.


Reuters reported Friday that the US Federal Trade Commission may open an investigation into whether that 30-percent cut gives Apple Music an unfair edge over rival streaming music services like Spotify and Rdio. Streaming company executives tell Reuters that it’s difficult enough to make a profit at the customary $9.99 monthly subscription rate, and Apple’s 30-percent policy doesn’t help matters anyway.
To compensate for Apple’s policy, Spotify charges a higher monthly rate—$12.99—for subscriptions through Apple’s in-app purchasing mechanism (Apple Music, by comparison, costs $9.99 per month for individual subscriptions and $14.99 per month for family memberships). Spotify has started to promote the fact that subscriptions set up through the Spotify website cost $3 less, as MacRumors points out.
It’s important to note that Apple doesn’t force services to use in-app purchases for subscriptions or purchases, but in-app purchases help streamline things to a great degree. For example, the Kindle app for iOS requires you to visit Amazon’s website through a browser to purchase new ebooks: It works, but it isn’t as seamless of an experience.
Why this matters: Apple has the mindshare, market share, and financial resources to become an instant contender in just about any field if enters, and so far it seems that this has held true for Apple Music. If nothing else, fact that streaming services are concerned about Apple’s in-app purchasing policy—a policy that applies to all third-party apps in the App Store—is an early sign that Apple Music has already made an impact in the music streaming industry.


Apple’s $450 million e-books settlement gets final approval

November 29th, 2014 | Edited by | software


A federal judge in New York has given final approval to a settlement in which Apple will pay $450 million for its role in a conspiracy to fix prices for ebooks.
Judge Denise Cote of the U.S. District Court in Manhattan called the settlement “fair and reasonable.” It requires Apple to pay $400 million to consumers who bought certain books between 2010 and 2012, as well as $50 million in attorneys’ fees.
Although the settlement is final, Apple only has to pay that amount if it loses its appeal of a 2013 price-fixing ruling. If the appeal is successful, Apple will pay only $50 million to ebook purchasers and $20 million to attorneys.


A hearing on the appeal is scheduled for Dec. 15 in Manhattan. Lawyers for the ebook buyers have said they “strongly believe” that Apple’s appeal won’t be successful.
The iPhone maker was found guilty last year of conspiring with five big publishers to inflate prices for electronically downloaded books. The publishers—Hachette, HarperCollins, Macmillan, Penguin and Simon & Schuster—had already settled the charges against them for $166 million.
If Apple’s appeal is unsuccessful, there will be $566 million in total to divide among the affected consumers. They include millions of people who bought certain books from the five publishers between April 2010 and May 2012.
There are more details about who qualifies for the settlement here, although the period when buyers could make a claim ended last month. Those who applied could get $6.54 for each New York Times bestseller they bought. It will be less than a dollar if Apple wins its appeal.


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