Best of the Best Mac applications

by Brandon Yap The contenders When I first started out with Macs, one of the more challenging tasks for me was to find the cream of the crop in Mac software. Sure there are lots of applications out there and most of them good, but some stand out above the others and this page aims to capture those excelling in their field. This list includes casual to intermediate level applications which I think represents the best of the best. Professional applications are not covered here. Image editing Pixelmator, Acorn Pixelmator and Acorn are part of a new breed of image …

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Firmware Restoration CD

by Brandon Yap Did you know that you could resurrect your Mac from a botched firmware update? Apple have available Firmware Restoration CD’s which will do just that. “The Firmware Restoration CD can restore the firmware of an Intel-based Macintosh computer. Note: Restoring your firmware will reset some of your computer’s preferences to defaults. You can only use this to restore the firmware after an interrupted or unsuccessful update. If your computer is already in this state, you’ll need to download the software and create the CD on another Macintosh computer, or you can take your computer to an Apple Store or …

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What to do about bad blocks on a Mac hard drive

by Brandon Yap So you’ve used something like TechTools’s Surface Scan only to discover you have bad blocks on your Mac hard drive. Now what? Bad blocks are supposed to be automatically marked as bad by the drive controller and remapped from the drive’s factory pre-assigned reallocation pool, but sometimes this doesn’t work so you end up with bits on the drive which can’t be read from and written to properly. TechTools will not map out bad blocks for you, so what will? The answer is surprisingly obvious. Because bad blocks are reallocated on writes only, erasing the disk in …

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10.5.2 upgrade blue screen

Yesterday I decided to apply the 10.5.2 update via Software Update. It downloaded and installed just fine, then proceeded to reboot my machine so I walked away to do something else. When I came back about about 10 minutes later, I was greeted by a blue screen with a black cursor. So I thought i’d wait some more. 30 minutes later and still nothing more than the same blue screen. Ok no problem, this happened to me on the Tiger to Leopard upgrade I thought, i’ll just reboot and be on my merry way. It worked for the upgrade, surely …

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Often i’ve wondered if there was a better way to keep track of serial numbers for the software i’ve purchased. This usually involves keeping a text file up to date with your serials, but an upcoming trend is for software vendors to distribute license files which makes the traditional method of tracking licenses difficult. LicenseKeeper is set to change all that by becoming the central repository of all the licenses you own.

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