Mac News Review

Always On Scroll Bars in Lion, 'New' Mac Pro Same as the Old Mac Pro, and More

This Week's Apple and Desktop Mac News

Compiled by Charles Moore and edited by Dan Knight - 2012.06.29

Mac notebook and other portable computing is covered in The 'Book Review. iPad, iPod, iPhone, and Apple TV news is covered in iOS News Review. All prices are in US dollars unless otherwise noted.

News & Opinion

Products & Services

Software

Desktop Mac Deals

News & Opinion

Make Scroll Bars Always Display in OS X Lion and Mountain Lion

MacInstruct's Matthew Cone notes that until recently, you could always count on seeing scroll bars in windows, no matter what operating system you used. But then multitouch gestures hit the scene, and when OS X 10.7 Lion was released, the scroll bars were gone. Poof! Just like that.

scroll bar restored in Lion Finder

Okay, not quite gone. By default, scroll bars in Lion and Mountain Lion are designed to be displayed only when input from a mouse or trackpad is detected, behavior that some of us find annoying. For example, says Cone, if you need to get to a specific part of a document, you'll have use a multitouch gesture to scroll first and then click on the scroll bar after it appears.

General system preference in OS X 10.7 Lion

Cone has posted a helpful tutorial showing how to restore the scroll bars permanently.

Run Classic Mac OS Programs with SheepShaver

Former Low End Mac contributor (and now the publisher of Senior Gardening) Steve Wood says that after somewhat reluctantly making the switch to a modern Mac, he was able to install the open source SheepShaver PowerPC Mac emulator twice with no hassles.

Developers E-Maculation claim, "With the old world ROM file SheepShaver can run System 7.5.3 through Mac OS 9.0.4, with the new world ROM file SheepShaver can run Mac OS 8.5 through 9.0.4. If you want to install 8.6 through 9.0.4, best use the new world ROM." Wood ended up using both a new world ROM for a Mac OS Classic 9.0 installation on his new 13" MacBook Pro and the old world ROM for the Classic 8.1 installation on his Mid 2010 Mac mini.

Another issue with installing Classic on SheepShaver is that one needs "a general retail system install CD" of the operating system to be installed or an equivalent disk image, and Wood notes that surprisingly, new installer disks for System 9.0.4 and System 8.1 are still available online.

Classic with SheepShaver allows him to run Claris Home Page, access stuff archived in Claris Emailer, and run AppleWorks 6 on the new MacBook Pro, which only has OS X 10.7 Lion installed, and ClarisWorks/AppleWorks 5 on the Mac mini. He says he'd originally planned to reformat the MacBook Pro's drive and install OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard with its Rosetta emulator that would allow running PowerPC apps like AppleWorks 6, but ended up learning to like Mac OS X 10.7 Lion a little bit, and went with SheepShaver emulation instead.

SheepShaver has some known issues with 64-bit compatibility and fullscreen compatibility, but all in all Wood says that it's now a quite usable, free, open source application.

Further Reading on SheepShaver

'New' Mac Pro Mostly the Same as the Old Mac Pro

"The new Mac Pros released at WWDC 2012 represent a speed bump, plain and simple. The new Mac Pros use the same, highly-upgradable case design, the same graphics cards, and even the same version of USB as the last iteration."

Mac ProMacworld's James Galbraith says if you've been looking for a silver lining in the overcast of Apple's underwhelming updates to its Mac Pro line of tower computers, a straw you can grasp at is that at least Apple hasn't forgotten that it makes such a product. In an email response to a concerned Mac Pro user, Apple CEO Tim Cook has promised that the company is working on something really great for later next year, but for the time being the mild Mac Pro's refresh released during WWDC 2012 week represent a modest speed bump, plain and simple. Apple's most expensive computer is still bereft of Thunderbolt, USB 3, and current processor technology.

Products & Services

Kensington Introduces New Security Products for iMacs

PR: Kensington Computer Products Group has created the an extensive selection of physical security solutions for Apple devices. With a range of solutions for the iPad, iMac, MacBook Air, and MacBook Pro, Kensington has the security needs of Apple business and education users covered. Analysts predict that one-third of Apple iPads will be used by businesses by 2016. Security accessories designed by Kensington for specific Apple computers, with specific uses in mind, provide an important first line of defense against device theft and loss.

The average cost of device theft and liabilities associated with the resulting loss of important business data is estimated to be $49,000, according to research from the Ponemon Institute. Companies also risk reputation or regulatory consequences if sensitive customer data is lost, particularly in healthcare and financial businesses. One of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to guard against device and data loss is to use physical security, such as laptop locks and security cases.

Apple iPad adoption for business has seen phenomenal growth in the last year. According to a recent survey, over 97 percent of enterprise tablet activations in Q1 2012 were for iPads. iPad adoption is most common in the financial services sector followed by business and professional services companies and the life sciences sector. A separate study predicts that Apple tablet adoption will increase dramatically to 230 million tablets globally by 2016, and one-third of them will be purchased by businesses.

"As more companies adopt Apple computing products, its important they also adopt an essential first line of defense to protect both the devices and the data they contain," says George Foot, Kensington Vice President of Global Marketing and Product Development. "Kensington's 30-year heritage in providing security products gives us a solid understanding of the need to carefully match the security accessory to the use and the design of the device. Whether people are using their Apple computers to primarily view content, create content or to display information, Kensington knows how to design physical security that works alongside them seamlessly."

New Kensington Physical Security for Apple Devices

Kensington offers a full line of protection and productivity accessories for the new iPad. The SecureBack family of cases preserves the tablet's slim design. These cases feature a unique three-piece design with a patent- pending locking system that quickly and easily secures the iPad to prevent theft. The case utilizes the best in class ClickSafe locking system that enables iPad users to easily lock their tablet in just one click.

Kensington SafeStand for iMac Keyed Locking Station (27 iMac-K64961WW; 21 iMac-K64960WW; SRP $99.99):

Kensington SafeStand for iMacThe Kensington SafeStand Keyed Locking Station delivers with our ultimate iMac lock. Bolt the SafeStand directly to a desk or table, and then secure it to the iMac with the ingenuous Kensington SafeDome. SafeStand complements the iMacs aesthetics and preserves all screen adjustments and swivel functions.

  • Highest level of physical security for iMac
  • Nearly impenetrable ClickSafe lock head
  • Bolts directly to desk or table for a permanent solution
  • Easy to setup
  • Manages cables while also securing a wired keyboard and mouse
  • Won't interfere with screen adjustments or swivel
  • Sleek design complements aesthetics of the iMac

Kensington SafeDome for iMac with Keyed Ultra Lock (K64962US; SRP $79.99):

Kensington SafeDome for iMacThe SafeDome Secure delivers with a secure and stylish lock that compliments the iMacs aesthetics. It features the revolutionary ClickSafe lock that secures in just one click with our Ultra cable for the highest level of security. And SafeDome manages your iMac accessories securing your mouse, keyboard and other peripherals.

  • Dome design complements iMac aesthetics
  • ClickSafe lock secures with just one click - no keys and no fiddling
  • Ultra cable provides the highest level of security
  • Easy to position and assemble lock
  • Sleek, modern dome design securely attaches to iMac stand
  • Built-in cable management secures iMac accessories
  • Won't interfere with iMac adjustability

These products are currently available for preorder at Kensington.com, Amazon.com, and major resellers.

Software

Free AccessMenuBarApps Tames Menubar Chaos

PR: AccessMenuBarApps does what its name promises: it gives the user instant access to all menubar apps that reside in the right side of the Mac menubar.

The problem AccessMenuBarApps addresses is f course that most of us accumulate a collection of more or less useful apps on the right side of the OS X menubar, AKA menu extras. The menu extras lets you can reposition (by CMD+click), so that the most useful apps are visible all the time, but 3rd party apps cant be repositioned. in that way, and their position on the menubar depends on launch order.

AccessMenuBarApps

Depending on the size of your screen, the space between app menu and menubar apps will either bed sufficient to see all menubar apps or it won't. With the giant display of an 27 iMac or a large display of an 17 MacBook Pro the menubar normally is no problem, because the screen is so large that there is always enough space between app menu and menubar apps. But if you have a 13 MacBook with a resolution of 1280x800, most of the time some of your menubar apps will be hidden by the app menu, Murphy's Law dictating that if you want to use a menubar app, it'll probably be the one hidden by the app menu.

If you want to avoid this annoyance, you ostensibly have two options: either to accept the inevitable or to apply Occam's razor and have only some very useful and frequently used menubar apps loaded up.

AccessMenuBarApps tries to give you a third option.

AccessMenuBarApps

The basic principle of AccessMenuBarApps is very simple: start an application that has a reduced app menu, so that there is a maximum space between app menu and menu extras. And therefore all menubar apps are visible and accessible.

AccessMenuBarApps addresses how to activate/deactivate the reduced app menu efficiently, and gives you the option to switch between full app menu of the currently running application and the reduced app menu (and vice versa) by keyboard shortcuts, mouse gestures or menubar icon.

AccessMenuBarApps

AccessMenuBarApps is a background app that is always running in the background waiting for keyboard and mouse events. You don't have to start and quit the app every time you need a reduced app menu. The app is started once and just waits to be activated or deactivated, so response time is very short.

By using a keyboard shortcut (by default Space) you can switch between full app menu of the currently running application and the reduced app menu. You can configure the keyboard shortcut in the preferences window of AccessMenuBarApps, which is available via app menu. If you don't specify a shortcut in the preferences window the default Space will be used.

By using a mouse gesture you can switch between the full app menu of the currently running application and the reduced app menu. the following mouse gestures are supported:

  • Knocking on the top border of the screen
  • Knocking two times will exchange the app menus
  • Pushing/Squeezing the top border of the screen
  • Pushing/squeezing for a second (similar to Exposé's active corner; but here is it an active border) will exchange the app menus.

Mouse gestures will work when moving and/or dragging the mouse. So, if you have a menubar app, that is a target of drag and drop, but is currently not visible in the menubar, you can work like this: drag the file, text, ... as usual, then move the dragged mouse to the top border of the screen (push/squeeze or double knock); than the reduced menu will appear and the formerly hidden menubar app is visible and you can use it as the target of your drag and drop action.

Support of mouse gestures can be enabled/disabled and configured in the preferences window, where can also specify that mouse gestures should only work for a subarea of the screen border to avoid conflicts with active corners of Exposé or conflicts with using the app menu.

If the menubar icon of AccessMenuBarApps is visible and accessible (this is the originally problem :-), you can click on that icon to switch between full app menu of the currently running application and the reduced app menu.

You can click on the Dock icon to switch between full app menu of the currently running application and the reduced app menu.

Other Preferences

Sound effects

In the preference window you can specify whether each switching, knocking and pushing/squeezing should by accompanied by sound effects. If sound effects are on, the exchange of the app menus will last a little bit longer, because the switching is synchronized with the sound effects.

So, if you want to work efficiently you shouldn't use sound effects, although they are very nice in the beginning (but they are only a gimmick).

Due to an unexpected delay Visual effects

Switching and mouse gestures (knocking and pushing/squeezing) can be visualized on the screen. So you can see the sensitive area of the top border of the screen. In the preferences window you can switch the visual effects on or off.

Animated dock icon

Because AccessMenuBarApps isn't a pure background app (the reduced app menu is at least necessary:-), the app is always shown in the dock as running application. Indeed this is a pure waste of space in the dock, because you don't need the dock to use AccessMenuBarApps. For an expedient use of the dock space

AccessMenuBarApps gives you the option to change the dock icon to an analog clock showing the current time or to some eyes tracking the mouse cursor. You can set this option in the preferences window.

Launch at startup

If you activate the option launch at startup in the preferences window, AccessMenuBarApps will be added to the front of the list of Login items, so that the AccessMenuBarApps icon should be the rightmost 3rd party menubar app and therefore most time visible and accessible.

AccessMenuBarApps in freeware.

Free iAntivirus Upgraded

PR: iAntivirus by Norton provides essential virus protection built exclusively for your Mac. This simple yet powerful on-demand malware and virus scanner helps ensure you are protected from the latest malware threats with one simple download. The free, all-new iAntivirus protects your iPhoto pictures, iTunes music and all of your Apple Stuff you cant live without. iAntivirus also scans your Facebook wall for malicious links to keep you protected from online fraud, like phishing.

iAntivirus by Symantec

Key features of iAntivirus:

  • Award-winning technology blocks Internet security threats before they damage your Mac, iPhoto pictures, iTunes media and other important Stuff.
  • Innovative carousel interfaces lets you use two fingers to swipe between your home folder and full system and other scanning options.
  • Lets you quickly and easily scan files by simply dragging and dropping them onto iAntivirus.
  • Built for speed from the ground up, so it won' get in the way of your Mac experience.
  • Works seamlessly against Windows threats too, to make sure the documents you share are safe for everyone.
  • Updates available regularly online through the App Store to help detect the latest breaking security threats.

New in Version 1.0.1

  • Updated Virus and Malware Definitions
  • Smaller memory footprint
  • Reduced size of application by 50%
  • Usability Enhancements

System requirements:

  • OS X 10.6 or later
  • 64-bit processor

Free

Philips Speech Processing Announces Dictation and Transcription Software for Mac OS X

PR: Philips Speech Processing, a longtime specialist in professional dictation systems, has announced that SpeechExec, its professional dictation and transcription solution, is now available and compatible with Mac operating systems. The new software, SpeechExec4Mac, enables Digital Pocket Memo (DPM) users to communicate with and incorporate dictation and transcription into any current network or workflow process.

SpeechExec4Mac seamlessly integrates into mixed environments and with Windows-based SpeechExec applications. Its open software design allows users to select individual workflow settings, building a user-friendly work environment. The SpeechExec4Mac software also features automatic file locking and routing after transcription which further ensures data security and minimizes duplication.

"As voice technology advances to become more prevalent in work environments and as many companies start to implement Bring Your Own Device policies, we realized the need to be able to integrate many types of hardware and software," says Thomas Brauner, managing director at Philips Speech Processing. "Apple's Mac computers are a popular choice for many professionals, and SpeechExec4Mac will enable these users to continue benefiting from the full potential of the workflow efficiencies associated with dictation and transcription without being limited to certain devices."

The new software was developed to be used on the latest Mac operating software systems (Mac OS X 10.6, Mac OS X 10.7) and to fully integrate with other Philips products, such as hand and foot controls. SpeechExec4Mac is currently the only professional dictation software that supports the DSS Pro file format from all International Voice Association (IVA) vendors in a Mac environment.

SpeechExec4Mac is now available on all SpeechExec DVDs included with all products supporting the SpeechExec software suite, like the Philips Digital Pocket Memo, SpeechMike and Transcription Kits. Customers who already have a valid SpeechExec 7.1 or newer license key may download SpeechExec4Mac from the Philips Speech Processing website.

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