BlueLounge Kickflip: An incredibly useful MacBookPro accessory.

BlueLounge KickFlip for MacBook Pro

I write a ton of hardware reviews for TUAW, and I really get tired of seeing overpriced stands for MacBooks. The idea of these things is to just put your device into a comfortable position for typing while you’re using the laptop on a flat surface or lap, but some of the accessory designers think that you want an expensive museum piece instead. Not so with the BlueLounge Kickflip, a US$19.95 (for 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display) or $17.95 (for 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina Display) adjustable stand that adds no bulk and almost no weight to your favorite Apple laptop. The Kickflip was released today by BlueLounge, in an act of perfect timing for the back-to-school crowd in another month.

Design Highlights

The Kickflip is made of a piece of black polyurethane that is hinged in the middle. It’s attached to your MacBook Pro (or in my situation, a Speck SmartShell case) with a special gel adhesive band that makes it possible to remove it without damage.

Normally, the Kickflip adds just a little height — maybe about a quarter-inch — to the back of your MacBook Pro. But when you flip down the hinged piece it raises the back of your laptop by about 1-1/4 inches, enough to really make a difference.

Functionality HIghlights

Installation of the Kickflip on either a “naked” MacBook Pro or on a shell like that I have installed on my MBP is quite simple — you just remove a piece of paper off of the gel adhesive, align the top of the sticky portion with the back of your laptop, and press it into place. The adhesive has a strong grip and inadvertent removal of the Kickflip should not be an issue.

So, now you’re typing away on your MacBook Pro and need a little bit of angle to the keyboard to make it a bit more comfortable? Just reach under and flick that “kickstand” down and you’re good to go. Ready to pop your MacBook Pro back into its carrying bag? With one hand, you can flip the Kickflip back up and get it out of the way.

Conclusion

I’m a sucker for well-designed products that are inexpensive, and the Kickflip from BlueLounge fits that bill. It works with either size (13- or 15-inch) MacBook Pro, and as you can see in my photo at the top of the page, it’s also compatible with third-party shells. I just wish it had the ability to lock into one more interim position as well in order to give it just a tad more flexibility.

5 Mac fundamentals everyone needs to know.

As user-friendly as they are, Macs are complex machines. They’re absolutely loaded with features, some of which might not be obvious from the start. In today’s video, we take a look at five basic tips that can help make everyday use of your Mac much more enjoyable. Find out how to clean up your desktop, customize your Dock, tweak audio settings and more with just a few quick clicks.

Why usage of OS X Yosemite beta is nearly 4x that of Mavericks last year.

yosemiteosx

The developer preview of OS X Yosemite is already seeing rapid adoption numbers, and it isn’t even officially available yet.

According to new research, Yosemite accounted for 0.2% of OS X ad impressions in North America between the dates of June 2nd and July 2nd. That’s nearly four times the number of Macs running the developer preview of OS X Mavericks this time last year.

Why the big spike in usage? The answer is actually simple.

“In the three days following the release of the first OS X Yosemite Developer Preview, adoption jumped significantly – hitting 0.15% of total U.S. and Canadian Mac OS X Web traffic,” according to Chitika. “That figure is particularly impressive considering that adoption of the OS X Mavericks Developer Preview achieved only a 0.05% share after 30 days. The increased level of aggregate activity for Yosemite is likely partially driven by the prominent changes present in this OS version fueling a higher degree of developer curiosity and experimentation.”

Yosemite-Mavericks-Comparison-ChitikaInsights

More importantly, Apple isn’t limiting who can test Yosemite to just registered Mac developers this year. Anyone can sign up to help test Yosemite through Apple’s OS X Beta Program.

All you need to give Apple is your Apple ID, and you’ll get sent a redemption code that will let you download the latest Yosemite preview through the Mac App Store.

You have to sign an agreement with Apple before joining the program, because Yosemite is in beta and not intended for normal use like Mavericks. Apple doesn’t want you to be mad if apps don’t work and things randomly crash, because that’s the price you pay for testing software that’s unfinished.

The third developer preview of Yosemite came out just yesterday, and Apple still has several updates to go before it will be ready for public download in the fall.

Chitika also has an interesting graph on the different versions of OS X in use right now. Mavericks is of course leading the race with nearly half of North American adoption.

OSX-Distribution-July2014-ChitikaInsights-1

Original Mac team member boots up Mac 512K stored for 30 years.

Mac 512K with Apple Hard Disk 20

Chris Espinosa was a member of the original Mac team and is still an Apple employee — with badge number 8! Yesterday he won the Internet with a series of photos on Imgur showing a Mac 512K that had been in storage for 30 years booting up as if it had just come out of the store.

The Mac belonged to Espinosa’s mother, who was just curious if it would still boot up. The 512K Mac was accompanied by an Imagewriter printer and an Apple Hard Disk 20. That’s 20 megabytes, mind you, and it was a serial bus hard disk (I owned exactly the same setup).

Above, you can see the Mac running, while below is the trio of boxes that the equipment came in. More photos are available in the Imgur gallery. All photos by Chris Espinosa.

Boxes for Mac 512K, Apple Hard Disk 20, and Imagewriter Printer

Transcend’s JetDrives add whopping 240-960GB SSD to MacBook Air at a great price.

IMG_1652

See that little $190 daughter card up there^? It houses 240GB of Transcend SSD and it could replace the 64GB or 128GB SSD that came in your MacBook Air in as little as 5 minutes. Even better, Transcend just released larger versions in 480GB and 960GB sizes to blow your SATA III MacBook Air or Pro into new worlds of space. Keep in mind these are SATA-based SSDs and Apple’s latest round of MacBook Pro/Airs came with speedier PCIe SSDs so you can’t use these on Apple’s late 2013/2014 models (see bottom of the article for compatibility list).

I got my hands on a demo unit and took it for a test drive…

My wife’s 128GB MacBook Air from 2011 has been “full” for about a year now and every few months I have to run Cocktail to remove some caches, etc. and keep it going for a few more months. Luckily, it is a Samsung drive and not the slower Toshiba drives that came with these MacBook Airs.

Spoiler alert: here’s Transcend’s video which makes it all look incredibly easy:

The Transcend packaging is extremely nice. The first level you’ll see your new SSD on top. Remove that and you’ll see the enclosure you’ll use to transfer data and which can eventually turn your old SSD into a big fast USB3 stick. One more level down, you’ll see the Torx screwdrivers you’ll need, the “paltry” instructions and cable for the enclosure.

IMG_1653

IMG_1654

The first step is hooking up the Transcend SSD to the USB3 cable with the enclosed adapter.

IMG_1655

IMG_1657

A quick BlackJack speed test to set a baseline for the upgrade.

IMG_1658

Then reboot the computer from the recovery partition. From there, go into Disk Utility.

IMG_1661

The cloning of the drive actually takes some serious time because the 2011 MacBook Air is USB 2.  A very full 128GB SSD took about 1:45 to transfer to the new Transcend SSD with the USB 2 being the big bottleneck. USB 3 shouldn’t take much more than 10 minutes for the same amount of data.

IMG_1663

The instructions provided are pretty sparse (just the way I like them). These 2 pages of a small world language book are it!

IMG_1665

Now comes the hardware part of the journey. You’ll want to remove all of the screws on the bottom of the MacBook Air with the provided Torx screwdriver. Pro Tip – the longer screws are the ones in the top middle near the hinge. Don’t forget that like I did.
IMG_1666

The inside of the MBA was surprisingly dusty. I’ve heard that this is mostly dead skin which gives me the willies. Power through this and locate the SSD on the bottom. It will either be Samsung or Toshiba and will have a Black Torx Screw holding it in. Remove the screw and remove the card. Then pop in your new cloned Transcend SSD and replace that screw.

IMG_1667

Compare the two SSDs, Samsung above, Transcend below:

IMG_1669

At this point, you might as well pop your old SSD into the enclosure and secure it with the enclosed 3 screws. Then put the back of your MacBook Air back on and power it up!

IMG_1670

The first boot up will take a few minutes longer than you are used to. The EFI Firmware has to find the new drive and all kinds of other small things are happening. Also it will be slow at first while spotlight indexes itself again. From there, everything should behave like normal. My wife’s reaction was that the MacBook was much much faster.  However that speed was likely due to having some free space rather than actually read/write speed.  A BlackJack test shows that its raw speeds were actually significantly slower than the default Samsung.

IMG_1671

However, if you download Transcend Toolbox you’ll get speeds much closer to the theoretical limit of SATA3. JetDrive Toolbox monitoring software leverages S.M.A.R.T. technology to analyze its health status. Additionally, it can enable TRIM support for your JetDrive in OS X, maintaining optimum write speeds and maximizing the lifetime of your SSD.

IMG_1672

Obviously this is a great update for those running out of space in MacBook Airs and almost a no-brainer recommendation for those running out of SSD space in our Apple laptops. OWC and others have offered this kind of update for quite some time but the price points never seemed quite so competitive.

Transcend-SSD-SATA-Macbook

Everything you need.

The package includes all the tools you need:

  • MacBook-compliant SSD
  • Enclosure Case with USB 3.0 to SATA Adapter
  • Screwdrivers (T5 & P5)
  • Screws for Enclosure Case x3
  • USB Cable
  • Rubber Feet
  • Travel Pouch
  • Quick Installation Guide & Warranty Card

Match it up.

Find the right model for your Mac below1.

Model Mac Identifier JetDrive Model
MacBook Air 11″ & 13″ Late 2010
Mid 2011
MacBook Air 3,1 / 3,2 / 4,1 / 4,2
*480/960GB JDM500 does not support 3,1
JetDrive 500
(240GB / 480GB / 960GB)2
MacBook Air 11″ & 13″ Mid 2012 MacBook Air 5,1 / 5,2 JetDrive 520
(240GB / 480GB / 960GB)
MacBook Pro (Retina®) 13″ Late 2012
Early 2013
MacBook Pro 10,2 JetDrive 720
(240GB / 480GB / 960GB)
MacBook Pro (Retina®) 15″ Mid 2012
Early 2013
MacBook Pro 10,1 JetDrive 725
(240GB / 480GB / 960GB)
MacBook Pro Late 2008 – Mid 2012 MacBook Pro 5,1 / 5,2 / 5,3 / 5,5 / 6,1 / 6,2 / 7,1 / 8,1 / 8,2 / 8,3 / 9,1 / 9,2 JetDrive 420
(120GB / 240GB / 480GB / 960GB)
MacBook Late 2008 – Mid 2010 MacBook 4,1 / 5,1 / 5,2 / 6,1 / 7,1
Mac mini Mid 2010 – Late 2012 Mac mini 4,1 / 5,1 / 5,2 / 6,1 / 6,2
  • The JetDrive series is specific for certain Mac computer models. Please identify your Mac model here.
  • 480GB / 960GB JetDrive 500 does not support 11-inch MacBook Air Late 2010 due to a mechanical limitation.
  • MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, Retina, Mac, Time Machine, and Aperture are trademarks of Apple Inc.

Specifications

JetDrive™ 500

SSD
Interface SATA III 6Gb/s
Capacity 240GB/480GB/960GB
Flash Type Synchronous MLC
Max Performance
(Varies by capacity)
Seq. Read: 570MB/s
Seq. Write: 460MB/s
Operating Temperature 0°C (32°F) to 70°C (158°F)
Warranty 5 years (The 5 years warranty does not apply when JetDrive Toolbox’s wear-out indicator shows 0% within 5 years)
Enclosure Case
External Dimension 130mm x 28.2mm x 10.8mm
Weight 60g
Operating Temperature 0°C (32°F) to 70°C (158°F)
Connection Bandwidth USB 3.0: Up to 5Gb/s
USB 2.0: Up to 480Mb/s
Power Supply 5V DC from USB2.0/3.0 port
Warranty 2 years

JetDrive™ 520

SSD
Interface SATA III 6Gb/s
Capacity 240GB/480GB/960GB
Flash Type Synchronous MLC
Max Performance
(Varies by capacity)
Max Seq. Read: 570MB/s
Max Seq. Write: 460MB/s
Operating Temperature 0°C (32°F) to 70°C (158°F)
Warranty 5 years (The 5 years warranty does not apply when JetDrive Toolbox’s wear-out indicator shows 0% within 5 years)
Enclosure Case
External Dimension 130mm x 28.2mm x 10.8mm
Weight 60g
Operating Temperature 0°C (32°F) to 70°C (158°F)
LED Indicator Power, Data Transfer, USB 2.0/3.0
Connection Bandwidth USB 3.0: Up to 5Gb/s
USB 2.0: Up to 480Mb/s
Power Supply 5V DC from USB 2.0/3.0 port
Warranty 2 years

JetDrive™ 720

SSD
Interface SATA III 6Gb/s
Capacity 240GB/480GB/960GB
Flash Type Synchronous MLC
Max Performance
(Varies by capacity)
Max Seq. Read: 570MB/s
Max Seq. Write: 460MB/s
Operating Temperature 0°C (32°F) to 70°C (158°F)
Warranty 5 years (The 5 years warranty does not apply when JetDrive Toolbox’s wear-out indicator shows 0% within 5 years)
Enclosure Case
External Dimension 110.9mm x 37.2mm x 10.8mm
Weight 65g
Operating Temperature 0°C (32°F) to 70°C (158°F)
LED Indicator Power, Data Transfer, USB 2.0/3.0
Connection Bandwidth USB 3.0: Up to 5Gb/s
USB 2.0: Up to 480Mb/s
Power Supply 5V DC from USB 2.0/3.0 port
Warranty 2 years

JetDrive™ 725

SSD
Interface SATA III 6Gb/s
Capacity 240GB/480GB/960GB
Flash Type Synchronous MLC
Max Performance (Varies by capacity) Max Seq. Read: 570MB/s
Max Seq. Write: 460MB/s
Operating Temperature 0°C (32°F) to 70°C (158°F)
Warranty 5 years (The 5 years warranty does not apply when JetDrive Toolbox’s wear-out indicator shows 0% within 5 years)
Enclosure Case
External Dimension 110.9mm x 37.2mm x 10.8mm
Weight 65g
Operating Temperature 0°C (32°F) to 70°C (158°F)
LED Indicator Power, Data Transfer, USB 2.0/3.0
Connection Bandwidth USB 3.0: Up to 5Gb/s
USB 2.0: Up to 480Mb/s
Power Supply 5V DC from USB 2.0/3.0 port
Warranty 2 years

Read more at http://9to5mac.com/2014/07/04/review-transcends-jetdrives-add-whopping-240-960gb-ssd-to-macbook-air-at-a-great-price/#w0zKZMm2EFdJJ8jf.99

OS X Mavericks 10.9.4 fixes a super annoying WiFi bug.

Mavericks logo

Right on the heels of iOS 7.1.2, Apple has released an update to OS X Mavericks in the Mac App Store. Version 10.9.4 of Mavericks features a fix for a bug many have been experiencing related to WiFi connectivity.

There has been a known issue in OS X that keeps some Macs from automatically connecting to WiFi after being woken up from sleep. Apple has addressed the issue in 10.9.4 along with general reliability improvements for waking from sleep. Safari 7.0.5 is also included.

I’ve been dealing with the WiFi problem on my Retina MacBook Pro for a long time. Whenever my Mac is woken up from sleep, I have to manually connect to my WiFi network instead of it automatically connecting like it’s supposed to. I’m glad to see that I’m not alone and that Apple has finally fixed the problem.

Screen Shot 2014-06-30 at 1.27.55 PM

OS X Yosemite is launching in the fall with a new design and a ton of new features. Those of us still waiting on Mavericks should head on over to the Mac App Store and install today’s update ASAP.

Why Steve Jobs replaced the Mac’s  key with ⌘.

Screen Shot 2014-06-23 at 7.42.40 AM

Graphic designer Susan Kare is iconic — literally. The mastermind behind the friendly 32 x 32 and 16 x 16 icons used in the original Mac operating system, Kare’s work has reached more people than almost any other graphic designer on Earth.

Yet the way she stumbled into designing the icons for the Mac operating system was pretty much a lark, and in a recent presentation at the EG conference in California, Kare spoke a little bit about how she stumbled into the job.

It’s a fascinating talk, not just for the details she shares about early Mac operating system development, but also because Kare finally reveals why Apple switched from the Apple symbol to the Command key.

Kare never thought she’d be best known for designing icons for a living. A high school friend of Andy Hertzfeld, who was leading up the Macintosh OS design team, Kare says the job was offered to her “serendipitously” based on no more than her ability to draw some off-the-cuff icons on graph paper during her initial interview.

To say that Kare was good at drawing icons is an understatement. In fact, many of the icons she drew during her interview became mainstays of the Macintosh operating system. Working with a prototype Macintosh OS, Kare’s job was to make the operating system as “discoverable as an arcade game,” with “no manuals.”

Perhaps one of the most interesting stories Kare tells in the video above is about why the Macintosh replaced the  key with the Command key. Originally, all shortcuts in the Macintosh operating system were done with the  key, but when Steve Jobs saw the dropdown menus, he screamed: “There are too many Apples! You’re using our logo in vain!”

Looking for a replacement, Kare consulted a symbol dictionary and plucked a little-known symbol used almost exclusively in Swedish campgrounds — the ⌘ symbol we all know and love today.

There’s far more, and the full video is well worth watching. Kare’s one of the most influential graphic designers of the last 30 or 40 years, and she’s just as charming and beautiful today as she must have been in the early 1980s.

Source: Cult of Mac.