Dec 08

I wanted to print a large Christmas banner and the printer wanted an image file (png or jpg). Our file was in a pdf format. I needed to convert the pdf file to a very high resolution png file so that it would look good on a large banner. Here’s how to do it using Apple’s built in Preview app.

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Dec 08

There’s a bug in Apple’s software that means you can’t clone your hard disk on a Silicon Mac yet. You will be able to use Time Machine or Carbon Copy Cloner to make a backup, but you can’t yet make a bootable backup.

Here’s the message from Carbon Copy Cloner:

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Nov 30

If you don’t yet have an SSD in your Mac, it’s time to upgrade!

By far the biggest speed boost on a Mac comes with upgrading the Hard Disk to an SSD. A faster processor (i7 etc) will improve the speed of some tasks, more RAM can avoid a slowdown, but a faster SSD improves the speed of everything. If you still have an old Hard Disk I can’t say how strongly I suggest upgrading.

a faster SSD improves the speed of everything

I received an email today from Amazon telling me that 240GB SSD drives are AU$42.19. I just checked the US store and you can get a 1TB Crucial MX500 drive for $94.99. These prices are ridiculously cheap.

I wrote this article back in August 2018 about how to upgrade to an SSD drive . Back then a 480GB drive was $1579.99!

So if you are running a 2012 MacBook with an old SATA drive, or even a 2018 iMac without an SSD, grab one, and install it. It’s not complicated.

There are good instructions at macfixit.

How to pull apart an iMac

How to pull apart a macbook

How to pull apart a Mac mini

Check out your Mac first to see if the Hard disk is upgradable.

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Oct 29

If you own a new Apple magic keyboard or extended keyboard you may not realise how to use those extra function keys on the top right of the keyboard. You can set them up to launch and control applications. For example I have my f-19 key set up to toggle my Dragon Dictate microphone and I have f-18 set up to launch my Google Calendar calendar in a specific browser.

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Oct 13

Answer: Use Mac OS Extended.

Mac OS Extended, also known as HFS Plus or HFS+, is the file system that was used on all Macs from 1998 until the last couple of years. APFS is the new file system for OSX and it works well for an SSD drive. But you can’t backup to an APFS drive using Time Machine (even if the external drive is an SSD drive). It sounds a bit backwards I know but that’s the way Apple are doing it at the moment.

There’s a work-around: you can use a sparse image to create a DMG to back up to an APFS SSD drive, (see here). I would not recommend this because the Apple recovery mode will not be able to find your backup.

From Apple Support:

Important: You can back up from an HFS+ or APFS-formatted disk to an HFS+ disk; however, Time Machine can’t back up to an APFS-formatted disk. If you select a back up disk formatted as APFS, Time Machine offers to reformat it as HFS+.

[retrieved Oct 7 2020 from ‘https://support.apple.com/en-au/guide/mac-help/mh15139/mac’]

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Oct 06

I recently received a warning from Google Play Music that they are closing their Music service and migrating it across to YouTube Music. I wrote an article 4 years ago about the advantages of Google Play Music over iTunes. Unfortunately this has come back to bite me as I’ll now need to import all my songs back into iTunes again!

Google offered to transfer all my music for free from Google Play over to YouTube Music. I took them up on this offer, only to discover that ‘Youtube Music’ has ads unless you take up their paid subscription. So I paid Google to purchase these songs, and now I am required to pay a further subscription if I want to listen to them ad free through YouTube Music.

I have a lot of songs in Google Play Music – nearly 2000. Some of these are from CD. Some were purchased though iTunes, some were purchased through Google Play Music. At 0.99c a song that’s $2000 worth of music that I own. I don’t want to have to pay a subscription to listen to it!

Thankfully Google also has the option to download all of your songs. To do this you need to go to a website called Google Takeout.

When you are selecting what you want to export, it looks as if it won’t download the actual audio files (see this screenshot below.) But don’t worry, even though it says ‘list of tracks….in your library’ it will do more than just a list of tracks – it will send you the actual audio files.

You can then choose the compression type (zip) and maximum file size (I choose 50MB).

That’s how to export all your music files from Google Play Music.

A few hours later I received a link in an email to download all my music files:

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Sep 28

Screen Shot 2020-03-28 at 10.39.53 pm.png

Zoom is optimised for speaking.  If there is any other noise (e.g. a guitar or piano) Zoom will think it is background noise and try to remove it!  To share a movie or song over a zoom meeting you need to change some settings. Here’s how.

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Sep 18

This article is a bit technical. I have an office at home but I wanted to be able to log into the church computer to control it remotely, upload files, and also print to the printer there. Here’s how to do that.

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