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You paid a truckload for it, Protect your MacBook!

Unlike many devices, MacBook Pro Retinas have incredibly long life spans, and due to their ability to retain greater resale value (comparable to other devices, such as Windows-based machines), many MacBook users will often sell it after a year or two, and then upgrade to newer models.

Having a clean, properly maintained and scratch-free laptop will ensure it keeps its value when it finally comes time to sell. So, I put together a few simple tips and tricks that will ensure your MacBook Retina remains in the best possible condition throughout its life.


1. Take care of your screen

Aside from the obvious, such as not stabbing your screen with pens and man-handling with dirty fingers, the best way to keep your brilliant retina screen in good condition is to give it a light clean every so often.

Try to use a soft cloth, I’d personally recommend using one of those small clothes that you receive with a pair of glasses, coupled with warm breath. This, however, isn’t going to work on oily marks, as you’re simply going to be moving the dirt around. In this case, the best product to use is the iKlear screen cleaning spray, a product many Apple Geniuses themselves would recommend.

Unfortunately, with most laptops, whether MacBook Pro Retina or even a low-end laptop you picked up for a few hundred dollars, the screen is often one of the first things to go.

Users of cheaper laptops will typically just upgrade or change models when the screen finally decides to give up, however, given the base price of the Retina Macbook it’s often more cost-effective to consider screen replacement.

Fortunately, screen replacement for your MacBook Pro Retina is one of the things that can be done relatively quickly and successfully.

There are countless professionals out there who have devoted their careers to MacBook screen repairs, so finding someone to do a repair for you, should be relatively easy.

If, however, you are technically minded and have experience repairing computers yourself, you can find reputable MacBook Pro Retina screen replacement parts vendors and undertake the screen replacement yourself.


2. Protect the MacBook’s […]

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Eat the Forbidden Fruit… How to rip a Blu-ray on a Mac

As most of you know, Apple and Blu-ray aren’t good friends. Mac’s don’t come with Blu-ray players and don’t offer any playback and support what so ever for Blu-ray discs. Nevertheless you can rip Blu-rays on your Mac, and to be honest, it’s not that hard to do.

— If you want to rip the subtitles of a Blu-ray disc too, you need Windows! —

In this tutorial, we’ll need the following software:

MakeMKV (Free, Mac OS) Link Handbrake (Free, Mac OS 64 bit) Link Subler (Free, Mac OS) Link MKVtools (Shareware, Mac OS) Link Subrip (Free, Windows) Link

If you only want to rip the Blu-ray disc without the subtitles, you only need MakeMKV and Handbrake and Subler. The next thing we need is off course an Blu-ray drive. They aren’t cheap, but if you look around, you can find them for as little as $70.

Now, hook everything up to each other and we’re ready to rip some Blu-rays. Note that the time needed to rip a Blu-ray depends on your hardware. I have a Mac Mini that needs just about 7-8 hours for one Blu-ray disc while my iMac does the job in 1-2 hours. For that reason I often let my Mac rip my Blu-rays at night when I don’t need my computer.

First up: Make a copy of the Blu-ray with all the information you need with MakeMKV.

With your external Blu-ray drive hooked up to your computer, insert the disc in the player. After a few seconds you should see your Blu-ray pop up in the Finder. Now open MakeMKV. Before you can actually make an MKV, you’ll have to go through some screens. In the first screen, MakeMKV will read the disc’s information. Now you’ll have to click a button to decrypt the Blu-ray. The button should look like this:


Now you’ll see another screen saying that it’s opening and decrypting the Blu-ray disc. The following screen should be one with a few to a lot of checkboxes. Now read carefully. The files you are now seeing are all video files. They probably are advertising and extras. […]

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Lion’s local backup devours disk space

If you’re running Lion on a portable Mac, you might notice that your hard disk space declines with every passing day, not because you have so many things on your Mac but because Lion is continuously taking local backups. According to Apple:

“Time Machine keeps local snapshots as space permits.”

That’s all great no? Well not really as my backups have swollen to over 40 GB. What makes this all worse is the fact that you have no control over this process what so ever! You can not say how long he may keep the backups, how much space he can use and you can’t delete the folder as it is hidden and secured. Lucky you can delete the folder with a little extra help and you can disable Local “Snapshots” with a simple Terminal command.

As a Lion user you can see how big your backup has become simply by going to “About this Mac” and then click “More Info”. the screen you get looks like this:

As you see, backups take up 46,32GB on my Mac

This feature sure is handy when you’re abroad and you accidentally deleted a few files and want to put them back. But on the other hand, the feature also devours space, and I don’t want that (even though I get it back when I need it).

Apparently there’s a folder on your Macintosh HD that hosts all those backups, it’s called “.MobileBackups” which is hidden by default. This folder is only accessible by the system itself.

I tried everything from renaming and deleting the folder with Terminal, but every time I got the warning that I do not have enough privileges to do so.


I looked further and realized I have one app that can delete locked files from my Trash, the app is called CleanMyMac. It also has a function “Quick Erase Files” and I decided to give it a try using a Terminal command I made hidden files visible:

defaults write com.apple.finder AppleShowAllFiles TRUE; killall Finder

To undo, repeat the same command but change TRUE to FALSE.

I dropped the folder “.MobileBackups” onto the “Quick Erase Files” in CleanMyMac and […]

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OS X Lion Survival Guide

OS X Lion is the seventh version of Mac OS X. It packs a bunch of new features that might be confusing to upgrading users. Some are as small as changing preferences while other feature’s are a bit harder to access. We want your transition to run as smooth as possible. By giving you 5 tips you’ll be on top of Lion as soon as it’s available on the Mac App Store.

Dude, where’s my Hard disk?

Apple made a strange move by hiding your hard disk from your desktop in Leopard, but we got used to it. Something most of us won’t get used to is not being able to access our hard disk at all, so hiding the hard disk from within the Finder was a dumb decision. Lucky for us, you can easily put it right back where it belongs.

First, go to your Finder’s Preferences (Finder -> Preferences). Go to the Sidebar menu and click Hard disks under Devices. Now you should see a “v” instead of a “-”. This means that all hard disks will be shown in your Finder.

Now you can check your Finder again and you’ll see that you hard drive is back! It’s at the bottom of the Finder now instead of at the top, at least you can access it now.

How can I see how much space I have left?

Another thing Apple hid by default is the Finder’s Status Bar, you know, the little bar on the bottom of the Finder window showing you how much space you have left or how many files there are. You’re just two clicks away of bringing it back, so you can keep on monitoring all your space.

Simply click View and Show Status Bar and it should be back!


I can’t find the Library in my user’s folder.

If you’re used to doing a lot of things yourself in your system, you often use the Library in your user’s folder. In Lion it’s hidden by default, but lucky for us you can easily access it from anywhere in the Finder. Simply clock Go -> Go to Folder and […]

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iOS 5 Survival Guide

Apple has just released a major update to it’s iOS software. We’ve been using iOS5 since June, let’s talk iOS!

At first, you wouldn’t think much has changed in iOS5. But there are a lot of under the hood goodies that make it worthwhile. Let’s get to some of the more important changes.


iOS 5 brings us an improved notification system called Notification Center.

In iOS you get all kinds of notifications, ever since Apple brought notifications to developers in 2008, you’ve been overloaded with notifications. We’ve been swearing for so long that notifications weren’t what they should be. Finally in iOS5 Apple managed to get notifications right. Let us show you how you can manage all your notifications in seconds.

When in lock-screen, push notifications list themselves when having multiple. From there you can slide on them (from icon to the right) to go to the app that send the notification.

When you are on the home-screen or in an app, push notifications behave as banners that roll over the top of the screen. Tapping them will get you directly to the app. You can change this notification behavior on an app per app basis in settings-> notifications. In iOS 5’s home-screen, there is a new screen called “Notification Center”.

A swipe-able overview screen where all your notifications are listed together. You can view notification center by swiping down from the top of the screen. To go back to the home screen or your app, you can drag it up or push the home button. You can customize what get’s to be in notification center in settings -> notifications. Also, a weather widget and stock widget can be viewed from notification center. In full-screen apps, you swipe down and then drag the little grey box at the top of the screen down to view notification center.


PC-free and cable-free sync.

Remember when you got your iPhone from the store and the first thing you saw on the screen was “Connect to iTunes”? Well , finally it’s no more! With iOS 5, you no longer need a computer to start using your iDevice. The first time you boot your iDevice, you’ll see a setup menu […]

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Mac 101 – Older iMac having display issues

My intel iMac started having display problems and It shows random horizontal lines across the display that would disappear when you resize or move a window.

I thought about sending it in for repair, but then I realized that the graphic’s hardware may just be overheating. The solution could be as easy as cleaning the air intake’s on that iMac?

To do so 1. Shutdown, disconnect everything and lay the iMac facedown on a soft towel. 2. Now go grab the vacuum cleaner and vacuum out the grill work across the bottom, the small opening on the back under the stand and the two exhaust slots. (I clean mine this way every 3 or 4 months)

Also use the iStat Nano widget to monitor the internal temperatures of the  iMac and try to never let the GPU Diode go to far over 50°C/122°F to be safe. I believe they can go somewhere over 80C/176F but anything above that they can go flaky or bad real fast. As a test you might want to check your GPU Diode temperature before and after cleaning the air intake’s?

Unfortunately on that all-in-one Intel iMac’s the Graphic’s Chip is soldered onto the logic board and is expensive to replace. (a whopping €684! £590, $914)

It’s a shame that neither AppleCare or the local Apple Store can tell you how you might be able to last longer with the iMac by just cleaning the air intake’s! Instead, AppleCare tells you that your device is out of warranty and they can’t help you, and the local Apple Store tells you that you need to replace your logic board.


In my case, my iMac took me just one step further, even the steps mentioned before didn’t do the trick, so I went looking for yet another solution and I found one that seems to work without a hitch for now. It’s a little app called ‘Fan Control’ and it sits right in your system preferences. It allows your fans to spin faster at a lower temperature. It’s freeware, and you can find it here.

My Base speed is set to 1500RPM, the Lower Threshold […]

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Create HD-SD Dual Versions of a movie for iTunes

Have you ever noticed that movies you purchase in HD from the iTunes Store show up in your iTunes Library with a little tag that says “HD-SD”?

That’s because most movies in the iTunes Store come to you with both an HD version and a second version that’s smaller in file size and better suited for iPods, iPhones, and other portable devices. You can create your own dual versions of your home movie collection and add the HD-SD tag.


For this tutorial you need to know how to rip a DVD or Blu-Ray, and it’s a plus if you have access to an iTunes Store that sells Movies and/or TV Shows.



Step 1: Rip your video

In Handbrake you’ll have to rip the files to m4v. Just to make sure your files are AppleTV compatible, I suggest that you use the presets (an iTunes video doesn’t have to be AppleTV compatible, but an AppleTV compatible video always works with iTunes).

For the HD version, click AppleTV2 (±1280 x 720), and name it “YourMovie(HD).m4v”, add the file to the queue, now select the Universal (±720 x 400) preset and name it “YourMovie.m4v”, add the file to the queue. Click Start, this will make the two files being converted after each other.


When ripping is complete, you have two files on your Desktop (or whatever folder you chose), one called “MyMovie(HD).m4v” and one called “MyMovie.m4v”.


Step 2: Tag your files

For this phase, we’re going to use a free app called Subler. With this app you can change the tags of your video file. Depending on whether you’re converting a Movie or a TV Show, you can use a template to what information you need.


Now you can go online and check for the needed information. IMDb, Wikipedia and Apple’s iTunes Store are good places to find this kind of information. If you have any difficulties using Subler, you can use MetaX (which is more user friendly).

Make sure the settings are exactly the same for both version, if there are any changes between the two files it might not work.


Step […]

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Switch between iTunes accounts the fast way

If you’re like me, you probably have more than one iTunes account. I, for example have a Belgian, a British and an American iTunes account, with those three, I have access to virtually everything Apple provides us with. Switching between multiple accounts can be rather annoying, I spend countless minutes (maybe even hours) logging out and logging back in again on my multiple accounts to check available downloads or shop movies and music. Now, there actually is a solution, and it’s easy!

This AppleScript Application does all the work for you.

People who don’t like AppleScript or people who are not into coding, scroll down, we’re featuring an Application that does it without AppleScript

To begin, open up  AppleScript Editor (which can be found in the Applications/Utilities folder) and put the following code in there:

tell application “System Events” tell process “iTunes” set frontmost to true try click menu item “Sign Out” of menu “Store” of menu bar item “Store” of menu bar 1 end try click menu item “Sign In…” of menu “Store” of menu bar item “Store” of menu bar 1 keystroke “your_account@email.com” keystroke tab keystroke “your_password” keystroke return delay 3 keystroke return end tell end tell

After you’ve changed the username and password, click file, save as. Set script to Application, and name it how you want it to be named. (I use the countries where they’re from.)=


If you don’t save as an Application, it might not work.

Once that you’ve saved it, go ahead and place it in ~/Library/iTunes/Scripts. If the Scripts folder does not yet exist, just make it. Now you can go ahead and fire up iTunes. In the menu, you can see a Script icon, go ahead and click on it, now click on the script you just made.


That’s it! normally iTunes should log you out and back in with the account you selected. Please check out our YouTube video of the script in Action

If you experience any problems, please check that in System Preferences under Universal Access, ”enable access for assistive advices” is checked. It is possible that iTunes crashes (it doesn’t happen often)

Please note […]

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Learn developing the good, but not so easy way!

Learning to program is a long, hard road, you need to spend a lot of time doing so, but when you get there, you’ll know 4 different programming languages that contain 3 of the 5 important paradigms of programming. A paradigm is a hard word to describe a programming style. Every programming style is good for a specific group of problems and really bad for all the others. Sadly enough, there is no programming language that does everything well. You’ll learn to work with functional (Scheme), object-oriented (Java, Objective-C) and procedural (C) programming.

Why would you bother the effort? It’s a bit like riding a bike. The first bike is incredibly difficult. The second bike is a bigger one, that works differently. But if you practice very hard, you’ll get the hang of it. By the time you start with your fifth bike, you just hop on and ride off. Programming is practically the same. Paradigms are the different styles of bikes. You have a recumbent bike, you have a regular bike, you have a folding bike… They all are bikes, but all slightly different.

The main and first language that you’ll need to learn is Scheme (recently renamed to Racket (but I’ll keep saying Scheme as I’m used to it!)) This is a functional language and it will be programming like you’ve never done before. That’s the purpose. Later on you’ll never use Scheme again. Scheme is a pure language for teaching. But just because you absolutely don’t know this language and everything is so “different”, it’s the perfect language to learn programming. The book you need to read is available online (you don’t need to read it completely, the first three chapters teach you how to program in Scheme.) If you want to buy the paper version, it’s called Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs by Abelson and Sussman. You can simply download Scheme (Racket) here.

Once you’re finished with Scheme, it becomes time to take a look at Java. Java has something familiar to Scheme called BlueJ. This again is a language in which you can program reasonably fast and will see what […]

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Review: ‘World of Goo’

There may be a debate at some point in the future of iPad game development as to whether ports — App Store-ready copies of games that were originally developed for other devices — do more harm than good for the “revolutionary” tablet computer. After all, Apple has emphasized the iPad’s unique interface and challenged developers to create software that’s truly optimized for its hardware, suggesting that duplicating what’s come before devalues the “magical” capabilities of the device.

And to some extent, it’s wise to push developers towards totally new and innovative games. But the puzzle game World of Goo ($10, version 1.0) from 2D Boy makes such a compelling counter-argument that we’d expect any debate to be a long way off: ported from the two-year-old PC, Mac, and Wii title, it is a complete, console-quality game that is for the most part improved merely by shifting its controls from mouse or joypad to swiping and tapping.

Like so many other App Store releases before it, World of Goo is a physics puzzler, relying upon you to build structures while taking into account obstacles, elements such as water and wind, explosions, and machines of various sorts. But 2D Boy’s dystopian theme, interesting play mechanics, and 46 bona-fide individual levels set it apart from anything seen on the iPad before. Each side-scrolling level requires you to help balls of goo escape from an entry point to an exit at some seemingly unreachable point a screen or three away; you drag the ever-moving balls one by one to form structures that enable at least some of the goo to reach a pipe or other exit where it can survive. Different colors indicate different types of goo, some capable of forming temporary or complex structures, and others creating permanent and simple ones, while still others serve as balloons or appear as disassembled components of larger, head-shaped balls. You complete a level by rescuing a set number of balls, and earn bonuses by exceeding the minimum or meeting an “OCD” level—effectively, by saving every possible ball without having overbuilt the rescuing structure.

The levels are so diverse and interesting that the game doesn’t get old, […]

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