Mac OS X

Inside: I’m back! Protecting your backups. OS X.

The last newsletter I sent started with those same words. Back in 2012! My Mom and many other readers have asked numerous times when I would start publishing newsletters again. Many long-time readers like Jac may have thought I retired to a tropical island. In reality, life and working on other people’s projects kept me away, but now I’m back.

A lot has happened in those three years. My son went off to college, I met and married a wonderful woman (and honeymooned a couple weeks on tropical islands!), and Apple upgraded their operating system THREE times (more on that below). They introduced a lot of changes, both major and subtle, so there are many new features, tools, and tips to discuss in future newsletters, articles, and videos.

There’s so much in fact that I could use your help prioritizing. Your answers to my very quick “Let Me Know What You Want” survey will help me decide what topics to write and record videos about. You can click on that link now, take the survey, and be back here in a minute or less. Thanks! I’ll wait… Really… [click to continue…]


Mac Help For Mom readers obviously want to protect their computer files (photos, music, videos, documents) for the future. How can I tell? How to set up Time Machine backups to an external USB drive is the all-time most popular article on the website, has received the most comments, and is the most popular Mac Help For Mom video on YouTube with over 120,000 views!

A comment there from Darwin highlights one of the biggest weaknesses in backing up: What happens if the power goes out while files are being backed up?
[click to continue…]


All popular web browsers let you save your favorite web pages as “bookmarks” (or some browsers call them “favorites”), but there are other ways to save a web page that you might want to come back to later. Which method is best depends on how often you expect to return to the page, how you like to organize your projects, and if you need to view the page when you don’t have an Internet connection.

Watch this video to see four different ways to save a web page. Three of them are available in any browser (possibly with minor terminology changes) and one (the Reading List) is specific to Safari. [click to continue…]


Do you regularly visit some websites just to check one section of a web page? Maybe a “Most Popular Now” list, a local weather forecast, sports scores, or a frequently updated featured video? Wouldn’t it be great if you could easily keep tabs on those sections with a single keystroke?

Safari and the Mac Dashboard makes this easy with a feature called Web Clips. You highlight the web page section that interests you and Safari can place it right on your Dashboard as a new widget. Then, every time you view your Dashboard (usually with the F4 key), the widget you made will display an always updated view of that Web Clip. You really have to see it to believe it, so watch this video to see how easy it is. [click to continue…]


When Apple launched the Mac App Store in January 2011, it not only gave Mac users an easy way to buy and install a huge variety of applications (apps), but it also gave us the ability to buy portions of packages that previously weren’t available separately.

I’m a Microsoft Word user so when a friend recently sent me a document created in Apple’s Pages application, I had no way to edit it. I didn’t want to buy the complete iWork package for $79.99 just to get Pages, so I was very happy to see that I could use the App Store to buy just Pages for just $19.99. Not only that, but I had it purchased, downloaded, and installed in less time than it would have taken to drive to my local Apple Store. Watch this video to see just how easy it is to buy Pages or any other application from the App Store. [click to continue…]


The award for the most humbly-named application goes to…Preview! Not only does Preview live up to its name and let you view the contents of PDF and numerous types of graphics files, it also gives you numerous ways to modify your PDF files.

I already showed its annotation capabilities in “How to annotate a printout or PDF in Preview”. I recently learned that Preview makes it easy to copy pages from one PDF file into another PDF file. Watch this video to see how easy it is to move pages and also rotate and delete individual pages. [click to continue…]


How to set up Time Machine backups to an external USB drive

October 21, 2011 Mac OS X

There are two types of people in the world: Those who have forever lost important computer files, and those who haven’t…YET! Most people in the first group have learned their lesson (the hard way) and are now backing up their computer on a regular basis. If you are in the second group you have two […]

99 comments Read the full article →

How to check what size memory modules are in your Mac

October 14, 2011 Mac OS X

I was afraid that my article and video on “How to upgrade memory in your Mac” may have been a bit geeky, but I was overwhelmed by how many readers were interested in the topic. Some dove right in and bought more memory for their Mac. Newsletter subscriber Dean wanted to upgrade his MacBook Pro […]

1 comment Read the full article →

How to make a zip file on a Mac

October 14, 2011 Mac OS X

You may have received emails with attached zip files, or maybe you’ve downloaded some. Depending on your settings, your Mac may automatically “unzip” them (extracting all the files contained within) or require at most a double-click on the file name. But what if you have some files or folders and want to create a zip […]

5 comments Read the full article →

Dashboard weather widget tricks

October 6, 2011 Mac OS X

I like to keep tabs on the weather in my neighborhood but also other places I like to visit. All the weather widgets I reviewed in “Dashboard weather widget review” only display information for one location, but that’s not a problem since the Dashboard lets you add multiple copies of a widget. Watch this video […]

6 comments Read the full article →