Archives

Oct
24

How to make the iWork suite a free download for current Mac owners that don’t own the apps already

For anyone having issues getting the upgrade, or if you’ve never owned the iWork suite, so don’t have the apps to update, you can just download the iWork ’09 trial version
The App Store will then allow you to upgrade to the new versions, for free.

1) Visit http://mac.softpedia.com/get/Business/Apple-iWork-06.shtml
2) Click Download
3) Click External Mirror 1
4) It will just be a DMG file so install like normal
5) I had to wait a few minutes / I also Quit App Store and reopened. After a few minutes it showed I had 3 updates available to Pages, Numbers, Keynote.
6) Updated as normal.

A common issue is an error message “cannot be installed because it’s from an unidentified developer”. To fix this:
System Preferences -> Security -> General -> Allow apps downloaded from “Everywhere”

Jun
02

How To Set Up Dual External Monitors On Your MacBook, MacBook Pro or Mac Mini

I’ve always been a bigger is better kind of guy. The biggest hard drive, biggest laptop screen, biggest monitor on my desktop, etc. It really has no end. What’s funny about me, though, is every 6 months or so I go through this big life cleaning thing and start downsizing everything. I suppose it’s some kind of self-preservation mechanism that keeps me from getting overrun by too much crap in my life.

Recently, on the tail end of a big declutter phase, I decided it would be very handy to have two 24″ monitors on my desk. Let me pause to say my dream system is a MacPro with dual 30″ Apple Display monitors connected to it. Some day, I’m going to get this setup. Course the $7,000 to $8,000 price tag to go with such a setup will definitely require me to be in a different tax bracket before I can even consider it.

Needless to say, I wanted dual monitors, which I happened to have at my disposal. The only problem is I sold both of my MacPro machines a couple of “declutter” cycles ago. I’ve got a new MacBook Pro that I use for everything. So I set out to see if I could somehow drive 2 external displays from the Mini DisplayPort on the MacBook Pro 15″.

To my surprise, it’s not only doable, it’s darn easy. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Matrox Dual Head 2 Go DP Edition (here’s a link to it on Amazon.com: Matrox Dual Head 2 Go DP Edition)
  • DisplayPort to Mini DisplayPort Cable
  • 2 DisplayPort to DVI Cables

That’s it. That setup will let you connect two monitors of all different sizes to your single MacBook, MacBook Pro or Mac Mini display port connection.

Setup of the device and monitors is pretty easy and straightforward. Once you unpack the Matrox DualHead2Go device, you plug in the cables and your hardware is ready to go. No power cable needed since it will pull power from the USB port on your laptop.

Next you install the Matrox PowerDesk software. This allows you to control settings across the monitors and handles a single stretched image across both monitors. I didn’t run the laptop display alongside the dual monitors. I just used the 2 external Dell 24″ displays and was very pleased. The picture was gorgeous and it was just like other dual monitor setups I’d used on desktop machines in the past. Here are a couple of pictures of where I placed the Matrox and MBP under my desk:

There were, however, a few wrinkles. First, your Mac won’t see the external displays as separate devices. Instead it sees it as one monster monitor. My displays were each running at 1920×1200, but as far as the Mac was concerned, it was just one device. This kills the ability to dock applications or other windows onto a particular display. You have to manually move things around most times. Also, the dock, which I typically have centered at the bottom was in the middle…..of the one monster display. This means it was half on one monitor and half on the other. Moving it to the left-hand side fixed that though.

The other problem I’ve run in to is some weird issue where my MacBook Pro loses the ability to display to the monitors. I have to go through a painful unplugging, plugging in and sometimes restart process to get things working again. Of course it comes at the worst times too. I finally broke down and called tech support (which I HATE doing) because I thought there might be an issue with the Matrox device itself. Turns out DisplayPort connections are some of the most finicky. Didn’t really get that problem solved.

Overall, this was a cool experiment, but not a realistic long term setup. If you’re desperate, give it a try, but keep your expectations realistic. It’s not without it’s faults.

Also, there are different Matrox devices for analog, DVI and even a triple display device.

Feb
08

Build Your Own iPad

Can’t wait for Apple to release the new iPad? Build your own iPad…well, sort of. This is more like an iPaperPad, but it will be one heck of a sweet piece of “gear” until you get your hands on the real thing. The process is pretty easy. Here it is:

1. Go here to print out the front and back of the iPad: Front, Back. Make sure you print in color on a printer capable of borderless printing.
2. Cut along the dotted lines and fold.
3. Put either a pad of paper, or a stack of heavy paper into the middle.
4. Glue everything together.
5. VOILA! You’ll be the envy of the coffee shop.

If you’ve got a large format A3 printer, you can grab a PDF that will print an iPad to full size here: iPad A3 PDF.

Personally I think it looks pretty nice. A great mod would be to use a bound pad of paper and keep the front page loose so you can use the pad underneath it. Then it would serve a useful purpose as well as be some eye candy.

Oct
06

Changing Default Microsoft Word Template

I’ve had a nagging problem since installing Microsoft Word 2008 for the Mac. For some reason the default template adds an additional 10pt space after each line making it look like double spacing is turned on. I have to change it every time I type a doc, not a big deal. The bigger deal is having to change it EVERY TIME one of my kids or wife wants to type something. I finally sat down to change it today once and for all. Here’s what you need to do to make a change to the default template for Word 2008:

1. Make a backup copy of Normal.dotm (Default Word Document Template) found in /Users/~/Library/Application Support/Microsoft/Office/User Templates/.
2. Open the Normal.dotm.
3. Make whatever changes you’d like to make to set it up the way you’d like to start each new document in Word.
4. Save the template.

That’s it. Keep in mind that whatever changes you make to the template will change the starting point/default template for all future Word documents.  This process should also work for other default templates for Microsoft Office for the Mac applications.

Jul
15

Living In The iPhone Void

Last Thursday, July 10…”iPhone Eve,” I tossed my sleeping bag and tent into the ol’ rig and set off to camp out. No, I wasn’t camping out for the iPhone, I was literally camping out — trees, lake, bugs — the whole nine yards. I had a previous commitment that turned out to be on the same weekend as the V2 release, and couldn’t join in on all the hoopla for the new version when it came out.

Last year I was one of the first couple of people in our town to get an iPhone. I brought down my RV and we played Halo and Guitar Hero all night long, got in the local paper, had friends bringing down food and drinks — really made a party out of it. This year, nada. My camp out buddies from last year went down at 5 am the day of, got in a then-short line, and walked out with iPhones.

During a lull in the camp out this year, I headed into a fairly large town around noon, only to find out that this years iPhone was actually a bigger seller than last years. Apple has reported that it’s sold 1 million iPhones over the weekend, whereas last year it took 74 days to accomplish the same goal. I could have told you that…because there are NO phones to be had around here. Checking in daily since I got back from my trip…ugh:

They had black 8gb iPhones available yesterday, but I’m fairly set on the white 16gb model, so here I sit, in an iPhone 3G void. All is not lost though, I have been enjoying the V2 update for the V1 iPhone mentioned in the previous post. I still have the beta version, and I think it’s acting a little funky, but downloading and playing around with stuff from the iPhone App Store is keeping me entertained while I wait.

Anyone else still waiting, waiting, waiting?

Nov
19

Replace MacBook Screen – A Tutorial

A client of mine sent me a MacBook with a broken screen. It was his daughter’s computer, and she had accidentally broken the screen. I told him I couldn’t help him repair the screen, and he should look to Apple to make the repair for him. I turns out that the repair is 90% of the cost of the computer itself.

He decided to buy a new MacBook, and asked me to transfer the data from old computer, to new. I agreed, and for my services, I inherited a new MacBook; albeit one without a usable screen. We here at Tweak pride ourselves on being ahead of the curve when it comes to DIY attitudes (especially with computers). So, I consulted with some of the other editors about my dilemma.

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Nov
08

Customizing Leopard: The Dock

dockfront.jpgAfter using Leopard for the past week and resisting the urge to “play”, I finally gave in and began messing with some of my Dock settings. These leopard tweaks and hints have appeared several places and this is our experience with them.

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