Five tips you can take advantage of to make your Mac work for you.Despite living in a world dominated by Android phones & tablets, the iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch and even the Kindle Fire, I still reach for my MacBook Pro to do all my power computing. Recently, there was quite a bit of speculation that the Mac OS would not be updated past Mountain Lion and the physical keyboard would simply become a fond memory.

That said, I believe it’s going to be a long time before the public is ready to accept either of those; especially those who are resistant to change.

The majority of us still depend on our desktop/laptop computer to do the heavy digital lifting. So with that in mind, here are five tips you can take advantage of to make your Mac work for you.

1. Time Machine on YOUR schedule.

“Time Machine” is a Apple developed, extremely simple to use backup utility that creates incremental backups of files that can be graphically restored at a later date from an external hard drive. There’s just one flaw with it. It’s TOO simple; no options to back up at a certain time, date or frequency. Enter Time Machine Editor; a very small utility that allows you to change interval or create a more sophisticated schedule that conforms to way YOU work.

2. No External Hard Drive? Backup to the Cloud – Inexpensively!

Time Machine REQUIRES an external hard drive to perform it’s backups. But what happens if you want to Time Machine but don’t have an available drive? It’s Dolly Drive to the rescue! Dolly Drive has an installer that modifies the Time Machine utility already built into your Mac telling it WHERE to backup your precious data. Dolly Drive does a lot more then just act as a Time Machine replacement; it also allows you share files (music, files, etc) directly from your cloud space! Just need some extra space to store your music or movies? No problem! Dolly Drive has several plans to fit every situation, starting at a mere $3 a month! Here’s even more incentive to give ’em a go: 4 Months Free!

3. Keep Your Mac as Cool to the Touch as it is to the Eyes

Everyday we insist our beloved Macs to do A LOT for us all of it at the same time; and for a lot of us, throughout most of the day. That considered, it’s a given they’re going to run hot. Rest assured, however, Apple knew that when they were designed and built them to take the rigorous CPU-intense processes and consequential heat. However, we, as users, think that if it’s hot to the touch there’s something wrong. Alas, for the most part, that’s not true. There are a few things you can do to dissipate some of the heat and your legs much happier!

The first is, install a free, third-party utility, SMC Fan Control. Based on the settings you choose, this minimal, menubar based app will automatically start your internal fan keeping your Mac happy & your legs smiling. Additionally, you can also monitor the Activities that your Mac uses as some of them may simply be unnecessary. When neither of those provide significant relief, backup your Mac (via Time Machine! and reinstall MacOSX. I just formatted and installed the developer preview of Mountain Lion and it seemingly made my Mac perform as though brand new!

These are just software fixes. This isn’t saying there’s a bigger issue. If you suspect there is, I wholly recommend contact your local Apple Genius to get individual help for your specific woe.

4. Friends Don’t Let Friends Buy Software.

You read that right! When given the choice, you should always choose Open Source software. Why? Many reasons! For example, it’s typically higher quality, better maintained, provides superior support and… wait for it… is free of cost! So, don’t be a drone and just give away your hard earned dinero to Microsoft or even Apple, check out OSAlt.com. It’s the best place to find the free alternative to commercial programs. For example, if you put in “Microsoft Office” it would give a number of options such as OpenOffice or LibreOffice which provide the exact same functionality for zero beans and a limited learning curve. You can even save the files as their commercial counterparts (i.e. ‘.doc’, ‘.ppt’, ‘.xls’, etc.) so your coworkers, family or friends not in the know can open your files.

5. Don’t have big bucks to spend on a new Mac? Don’t fret; buy it refurbished directly from Apple!

In this economy its a sheer waste of money to buy brand new – anything. That’s especially true for tech toys. If you can save about 30% off retail, get the same high powered, stupidly good quality beast your friend down the block has and still get an official Apple warranty… why wouldn’t you go refurb? The best part? When I was ready to sell, I made ALL of my money back if not more… unlike some my colleagues who bought it new.

Keep in mind, however, this isn’t limited to Mac goodness. You can get pretty much anything Apple sells through their “special deals” website. Dying to have the newest iPad? No sweatski. Want a bigger Apple CInema Display? Easy,peesy, no excessive money squeezy.

Despite all the “fanboy flame wars”, I wholeheartedly believe a Mac is the easiest to use, most intuitive and lowest lifetime cost for anyone… basic user to high ranking software developer. If you treat it well, it will -without a doubt- return the favor for a long time to come.

About the Author: Kelley Chambers

With over a decade of experience, Kelley Chambers revels in UX advocacy, front end development and pixel-perfect design. Her clients have continually relied upon her to design & build engaging, visually appealing and conversion friendly sites that build long-lasting, professional relationships.
Stemming from childhood, Kelley has always been enamored with all things tech and now, all things web based. Many look to her as a local expert with Mac OSX, Android and iOS devices.

 

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