Tag: Apple

Maybe you’ve bought a new computer and can’t use Migration Assistant, or maybe you need to restore your data after it has been corrupted. Whatever the reason, you’ll be happy to know that replacing the data in Address Book, iCal and Keychain is as easy as replacing a file. Since OS X stores data inside standard text files, all data associated with a specific application will be found inside the user library.

Here’s where to find them.

Address Book

Navigate to userfolder / Library / Application Support / AddressBook. Inside that folder is a number of strange and mysterious file names. The one you’re looking for is AddressBook.data. If you try opening that file in a text editor, you’ll see gibberish because it is a binary data file.

Transfer that file to another Address Book instance (in the same folder), restart the application, and you’ll have all your contacts again.

Keychain

Restoring the Keychain, while basically the same process, requires slightly more work to complete. Navigate to userfolder / Library / Keychains and look for login.keychain. This file stores all the passwords and website form details that are collected whenever you save them. “Login” is the master keychain that the system always looks for. If you’re replacing this keychain with another backup, you’ll have to unlock it before you can use it properly again. To do that, open Keychain Access (inside /Applications/Utilities) and select Unlock Keychain “login” from the File menu. Enter your administration password, and you’re good to go.

iCal data

Backing up iCal calendar data is much easier if you export the calendar from inside iCal. To do that, select the calendar from the list on the left side of the window, and choose Export from the File menu. That will produce a file with a .ics extension that can be imported into iCal by double clicking the document.

If you’re looking for the iCal data specifically, the calendar files are located at userfolder / Library / Calendars. The problem with this method is that the calendars are stored inside a cryptically-named folder that can only be distinguished by opening the info.plist file inside the folder. Using the folder itself is probably only necessary when you need to rescue data and iCal cannot be opened.

Thanks to the file organization of Mac OS X, you can be sure that important personal data can be recovered or backed up if there is a problem.

[tags]Mac OS X, iCal, Keychain, Address Book, backup, troubleshooting[/tags]

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It has come to my attention recently that I am an advanced computer user. I think it was when I had Parallels, Quicktime, Mail, Safari, Adium, Transmission, iSquint and Keynote all open and working and my MacBook had slowed to a crawl. Maybe it was when I realized I didn’t have enough storage space in my house and to buy a new hard drive.

In any case, I’ve become more aware of ways in which my MacBook can’t keep up with the increased demands I’ve put on it.

I want a new MacBook

Ever since YouTube went widescreen, I’ve noticed how every website with even a small amount of Flash content causes the fans to ramp up to 6200 RPM. I can’t be certain, but I think I saw the computer rise just a little under the thrust produced. The reason for the increased air flow is because my current Core 2 Duo MacBook uses the integrated Intel GMA950 graphics chip. For casual work and operating system usage you’ll rarely notice it, but as soon as you get into anything slightly sophisticated, the graphics system steals resources and the rest of your computer experience slows down noticeably. In the new MacBooks, however, nVIDIA came through with an integrated chip that provides 5 – 6 times more graphics power than the old Intel unit.

The new machines look pretty sweet, too. I’ve always hoped that a MacBook would come in an aluminum enclosure, and now it is. Carrying my computer every day to school, it is also handy that the new laptop comes in half a pound lighter. There has been quite an uproar over the glossy screens available on the new MacBook, mostly because they almost turn into mirrors under less than ideal lighting conditions. While I have yet to try one of these things at an Apple store, the screen on my current MacBook doesn’t bother me in the least, leading me to believe the new one won’t either, assuming it’s similar to the new iMacs that I have seen.

Along with new graphics, most of the other components of the system got a serious upgrade, as well. A faster system bus, memory system, and even easier hard drive upgrades ensure that a computer like this will work properly with much of the latest technology that will inevitably come out in the next few years.

Finally, the top-of-the-line MacBook has a feature that I’ve always wanted: a backlit keyboard. I don’t really use my computer in pitch-black conditions often, but something like this really separates high quality machines from others. Of course, since it is only available on the high-end configuration, it means I’ll have to save just a little more.

…I think I’ll wait a little longer

As a semi-regular video enthusiast, I was a little disappointed when I heard there was no FireWire 400 port. The MiniDV camcorder I use has this port, and it works great. It has been pointed out on various websites that many of the latest cameras now use internal hard drives, which is likely the way of the future. I find that tapes offer an easier way to store footage, and don’t take up excessive disk space. It is also much easier to slip in a new tape when the old one is full than it is to run to a computer and transfer the footage.

In addition to the connection with video cameras, FireWire offered a time-tested method of transferring data between two computers. Target Disk Mode enables a computer to turn into a large external hard drive when connected to another system. Not only does it help when you want to set up a new computer from an old one, it can often save you when one computer goes kaput and you need your data. It was a troubleshooter’s best friend.

What does all this mean? It likely means that by the time I can afford a new computer, Apple will have come out with something lighter, faster and cooler. So until then, I’ll be sticking with my trusty MacBook, and hopefully the fans don’t break down by then.

[tags]computer, laptop, MacBook, upgrade[/tags]

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I’m a regular reader of the Mac news blog MacUser.com and today I noticed an interesting ad on the sidebar.

The ad (shown above) was for a company called Psystar, which sells computers preinstalled with OS X, Vista or XP and is currently in a legal battle with Apple to continue selling these particular machines. I understand that administrators of the site have very little (if any) control over the ads their site contains, but this image was just to amusing to pass up.

[tags]Apple, Psystar, legal, advertising[/tags]

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It finally happened. Today in Cupertino, Apple unveiled new MacBooks, MacBook Pros, and MacBook Airs that satisfy nearly everything I wanted in a MacBook. Shown in the above image from Apple.com, the new MacBooks feature an aluminum enclosure, glass trackpad, LED backlit screen and nVIDIA GeForce 9400M graphics. That last one has me most excited, as the graphics power of my current MacBook definitely leaves something to be desired. I won’t really know how badly I want a new MacBook until I can use one in person, but right now I’d say that these are some of the best, if not the best consumer laptops to come from California. It should also be mentioned that this new crop of MBs do not include FireWire 400 ports, but rather use the faster FireWire 800 standard.(Update: Ruh roh, no FW 400 either, that could be a deal breaker) Connecting your digital video camera and hard drive just required another adapter moving to a MacBook Pro.

MacBook Pro

As the flagship laptop in the Apple lineup, the MacBook Pro received an abundance of upgrades that make it an even better choice for business professionals. In addition to the glass trackpad, new aluminum enclosure and LED screen, the MBP gets a dual graphics setup that allows you to use the integrated GeForce 9400M for normal stuff, then up the ante with a GeForce 9600GT for those times when only the highest FPS will do. Personally I really like this new design as well, but I find the 15″ screen to be too big for what I use a laptop for.

MacBook Air

The only laptop in the fleet to get zero case changes, all the upgrades to the MacBook Air go on under the hood. It gets the new GeForce 9400M, the same keyboard and screen, and now has more hard drive options like 120GB HDD standard and 128GB SSD as an option. Still a niche product, but it’s always good to see more power cost less.

So another Apple presentation brought another 3 reasons to have a thinner wallet. Sadly, I must wait a few weeks months before I can even consider a new machine, but I can always dream.

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Nothing stirs up the Apple nerds in cyberspace like an invitation to an event to release new laptops. October 14 is scheduled to be a busy day on the internets for Apple, as Engadget, Gizmodo, and MacRumors all received press passes to an event in Cupertino where “The spotlight is on notebooks”. What does Apple have in store? Only time will tell, but the rumor mill has been wild with speculation.

Rumors include:

  • New MacBooks and MacBook Pros (sort of a gimme)
  • Dramatically new shell as a result of Apple’s reported “brick” manufacturing process
  • Aluminum shells to the MacBook line
  • nVidia graphics chips (Woohoo!)
  • Possible Blu-Ray?

Of course, these could all be way off the mark, but whatever Apple does release tomorrow, it should be interesting.

[tags]Apple event, MacBook, MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, Apple rumors[/tags]

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