The sidebar font size for Apple Mail AND the Mac’s Finder are both controlled in the same preference. Apple has hidden tucked this setting inside System Preferences > General. Select Sidebar icon size: Small, Medium or Large.
In June 2012, Apple CEO Tim Cook made reference to their somewhat neglected Mac Pro owners. He said in an email, “…we’re working on something really great for later next year (2013).” That was good news. But since it would be a while until Apple’s specific Mac Pro plans were unveiled, I decided to do one more upgrade to my Mac Pro: I replaced the main hard drive with solid state mechanism (SSD), moving the OS X operating system and all my applications to it. The old hard drive still retained my home folder of documents, music, videos, etc. The balance of a fast solid state start-up drive coupled with a higher capacity spinning storage drive, would boost performance and thereby extend my computer’s useful life.
The verdict? After the SSD upgrade, my aging Mac Pro computer was noticeably faster and I was able to successfully delay replacing it for over a year. I wrote a blog post describing my upgrade experience.
A year after Tim Cook’s foreshadowing email message, the radically redesigned Mac Pro was announced at WWDC in June 2013. It would be smaller, faster, and cooler — both in temperature and design! It would be available for sale by the end of 2013. No pricing was announced at that time. Finally, in December 2013, two base models were announced with starting prices of $2,999 and $3,999.
The new Mac Pro would indeed be a very powerful computer. However, a fully configured system would turn out to be an considerable investment.
Because of the Mac Pro’s cost, I started to think about purchasing a new 27-inch iMac instead. These were two distinctly different hardware designs. The iMac is an all-in-one machine: display, computer, and main storage all in one very thin unit. The new Mac Pro is a beautifully designed space-age cylinder. However, unlike its predecessor, the main storage is designed to be outside the cylinder, tethered by high-speed Thunderbolt technology. Its only internal storage uses very fast solid state flash memory, but maxes out at only 1 TB. It’s really designed just to hold just the OS X operating system and applications.
Key questions for me to answer:
- Would a top-of-the-line iMac be fast enough for me?
- Would there be a noticeable speed boost compared to my older, yet still adequate Mac Pro?
- A 27-inch iMac display would be 10% smaller than my 30-inch Cinema Display. Would I miss the extra size?
- Is a new Mac Pro worth the added investment based on my current/future needs?
|4-Core Xeon E5||Processor||Quad-core Intel Core i7|
|512GB Flash||Internal Storage||3TB Fusion Drive|
|RAID-1||Backup Storage||4TB Thunderbolt Drive|
|27-inch Thunderbolt||Display||Built-in 27-inch|
|$5,605||Price as configured||$3,975|
Ordering my 27-inch iMac
|Computer and Upgrades||Price|
|Processor: 3.5GHz Quad-core Intel Core i7, Turbo Boost up to 3.9GHz||+$200|
|Memory: 32GB 1600MHz DDR3 SDRAM – 4X8GB||+$600|
|Storage: 3TB Fusion Drive||+$350|
|Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780M 4GB GDDR5||+$150|
|Apple USB SuperDrive||+$79|
|AppleCare Protection Plan||+$169|
|Total Order from Apple.com||$3,547|
The iMac took about a week to be built and delivered from Apple. I had them running side by side in just a few minutes.
Here’s how I migrated everything:
- Removed the startup SSD from my old Mac Pro. Installed it in a OWC Mercury Elite Pro mini Quad Interface Enclosure Kit. Connects with USB 2.0.
- Removed the hard drive containing my home folder. Installed it in a OWC Mercury Elite Pro Enclosure Kit. Connects with Thunderbolt. Now both the previous Startup and Home folder drives are housed in two external cases. This makes it possible for me to quickly access any file or application from my old Mac Pro.
- Installed applications:
- Re-downloaded and installed apps directly from the Apple App Store.
- Copied non-App Store applications from the SSD external drive.
- Installed Microsoft Office from its original DVD. Downloaded most recent updates.
- Downloaded and installed the latest Adobe Creative Cloud applications.
- Copied my library of fonts.
- Set up Time Machine for local backup, using a new LaCie d2 USB USB 3.0 Thunderbolt 4TB External Hard Drive.
- Transferred my Backblaze Backup State to the new machine, providing continuous off-site backup to the Cloud. It took about a day to finish syncing from the new machine.
Key Questions Answered!
Q. Would a top-of-the-line iMac be fast enough for me?
A. Yes. After several week’s use, the iMac is plenty fast enough for even my most demanding tasks.
Q. Would there be a noticeable speed boost compared to my older, yet still adequate Mac Pro?
A. Yes. It’s definitely faster than my 6-year-old Mac Pro. Even faster than I had hoped.
Q. A 27-inch iMac display would be 10% smaller than my 30-inch Cinema Display. Would I miss the extra size?
A. No. Although a bit smaller than what I was using, the iMac display is a great size.
Q. Would a new Mac Pro be worth the added investment based on my current/future needs?
A. No. I believe the 27-inch iMac is perfect for my needs. A new Mac Pro is not worth the added cost — for me.
After using my new iMac for a couple of weeks, I discovered some things that I did not anticipate:
- Cooler Office Temperature. My office is noticeably cooler! I never realized how much heat my Mac Pro and 30-inch Cinema Display generated! I live in Buffalo, NY and it’s January. I had to literally go out and purchase a small space heater for my office! The good news is my air conditioning demands should be considerably lower in the warm summer months.
- Lower Power Consumption. The reduced power demands should decrease my electric bill, even with the addition of a small space heater.
- Quieter Ambient Office Sound. The iMac is nearly silent compared to my Mac Pro. The only sound I hear is the external LaCie drive periodically doing my Time Machine backup.
- More Office Space. The computer, display, cables, power cords, etc. are either smaller or eliminated. I got rid of my external audio speakers, too. I’m really enjoying my extra desk and floor space.
- Better Quality Screen. The iMac screen is brighter and has truer colors than my aging 30-inch Cinema Display. That was a nice surprise.
Although the new Mac Pro is a very powerful computer, the price performance investment was not necessary for my current and anticipated computing needs. I’m extremely happy with my decision to replace my Mac Pro with a new iMac.
My preferred Mac OS X email application is currently Apple Mail. However, in the past year I’ve also used Postbox, Outlook, Airmail and Sparrow. All in my quest to find the perfect email app!
Rather than add my email signature to each email application, I instead use a simple and free multi-line snippet expander that’s part of OS X: the Keyboard Preference pane.
Set up multi-line snippet
First, type out your email signature in any text editor. Then select the text block and copy to the clipboard.
Go to System Preferences > Keyboard and click the Text tab. Create a new text replacement entry by clicking the + button.
Type in the unique text string in the Replace column. I use ,sig for my main email signature. Paste in the text block in the With column.
Snippet in Use
That’s it! Now when you want to quickly insert your email signature, just type ,sig and confirm the replacement by hitting return or clicking the blue text.
You can easily create separate email signatures by simply adding an additional number or letter: ,sigh .sigb ,sige — for home, business, extended, etc. You get the idea!
Note: You can also create multi-line replacement text directly within the Keyboard Preference pane. The trick is to press Option-Return to insert a new line, instead of merely Return. But I don’t prefer this method because you can only see a single line at a time – the line you’re typing. I think it’s easier to type the lines elsewhere and then copy and paste.
I was a Quicken user for many years, then switched to iBank when Quicken for Mac was essentially abandoned. iBank worked okay for me for several years, although I always had issues with its performance (sluggish), user interface (not customizable enough), and feature set (stagnant). Despite its shortcomings, I still decided to pay $29.99 for the version 5 upgrade on December 3, 2013.
At the end of 2013, as I was working on some end-of-year entries, iBank suddenly couldn’t open the data file which contained my business accounting for the last 20+ years! I was able to restore a backup from about a week before and reconstruct where I left off. But it troubled me greatly — I lost confidence in iBank’s data integrity. There’s really nothing more important.
After investigating several other Mac finance applications, I experimented with a trial version of SEE Finance. The application quickly converted all my personal and business data from iBank’s exported QIF files. The transfer was very accurate with the exception of a few reconciliation checkmarks. Those were easy to fix manually.
I’ve been running SEE Finance in parallel with iBank for about a week. The new application was very easy to use and accurate. I had a couple of questions about reconciling my accounts. I received prompt email replies from their customer support.
A week was more than enough time to convince me that SEE Finance is the way for me to go for both my personal and business accounting needs beginning January 2014. It’s a bargain at $29.99.
I bought my iPhone 5S when it was first available in late September 2013. I really like the phone, including the innovative Touch ID fingerprint sensor that I use in lieu of entering a passcode to unlock my screen.
Touch ID had been pretty reliable during my first two months of use. Lately, however, it hasn’t been working as well. After several days of frustrating “try again” messages, I finally figured out what was wrong. The weather here in Buffalo has recently turned cold and windy. And dry. Consequently, my hands are getting a bit chapped — including my memorized right thumb — which apparently looks like a different fingerprint to Touch ID!
The solution was simple. I deleted the stored fingerprint and then just added it again, this time for our very dry Buffalo winter season. Touch ID recognizes me again!
And when the conditions change again in the Spring, I’ll know exactly what to do!
Turn on the vehicle and allow your iPhone to connect. Then tap Bluetooth in the iPhone’s Settings app. Select SYNC, then tap Show Notifications on the following screen.
The next time you start your vehicle, the syncing will be automatically activated.
Now when you receive a text message while driving, you’ll see a notification message on the vehicle’s screen and hear a tone. You can press the Listen button on the screen — or press or pull the Voice button and say “Listen to text message.” SYNC will read the text message to you!
Note that this feature only works if your iPhone is locked.