When your Mac slows down, give it a tune-up


Mac Tune Up
Tune up your Macintosh, and clean out the cruft

Macs are solid machines, but just like their owners they have a tendency to get lethargic as they age. Launching and switching programs takes longer, simple tasks become arduous, and the dreaded beach ball of doom appears more often than it did when your machine was new. The operating system just starts to feel crufty, and can get worse over time. I see these issues in my IT consulting business regularly.

You may be asking, why does this happen? There are many reasons, but some are more common than others. Sometimes your hard disk (or solid-state drive) gets too full and interferes with normal computer operations. Crashes or misbehaving programs can corrupt the disk directory or application cache files. Remnants from old software may still be running behind the scenes, or you don’t have enough RAM to deal with your OS and workflow.

Is there some sort of tune-up you can do to sort it out? Your tech always tells you to just reboot the computer, but there’s got to be more than that. The good news: Yes, there are some things you can do. And, perhaps, adopt some more efficient computing practices for yourself along the way.

See super-rare prototypes of iconic Macs and other Apple marvels


From Henry Plain’s collection, this clear-sided Macintosh SE was used for engineering tests to check airflow and heat dissipation. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
This clear-sided Macintosh SE from Henry Plain's collection was used for engineering tests to check airflow and heat dissipation. Photos: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Some Apple collectors gather one of every Mac, iPod or iPhone, while others specialize in portables or all-in-ones. Then there are the outliers, the super-collectors who search out the incredibly rare items most people never get a chance to see.

“I’m always on the hunt,” says Henry Plain, a California man who specializes in tracking down impossible-to-find Mac prototypes.

Plain owns some of the rarest, most unusual Apple machines ever produced. These are the speed bumps, works in progress or developer’s editions that the secretive Cupertino company never intended for outside eyes. His vast knowledge of Apple’s production gave him a role in facilitating the sale of the Storage Wars-esque Macintosh collection of Marion Stokes that came to light last month. I like to think of him as Prototype Man.

What’s in Plain’s amazing Apple menagerie? Transparent versions of the Macintosh SE and PowerBook 140. A Mac mini with a built-in iPod dock. Prototypes of the Twentieth Anniversary Macintosh (TAM), the Power Mac G4 Cube and iDevices too numerous to mention. Even to other collectors — and I have a Mac Museum in my house — his inventory is crazy-impressive.

Apple Fixes: Paving The Way To A Smoother Work Day [MacRx]



The workplace can be stressful enough, without adding computer snafus to the mix. As an IT consultant, I hear about a lot of them, usually after disaster has struck.

Here’s how to deal with some of the more common workplace issues – email problems, contacts not syncing, WiFi headaches, deleted files – and keep rolling with your Mac.

Vintage Computer Festivals Rock On, VCF East 2014 Larger Than Ever


Vintage Computers at VCF
A Univac mainframe, early hard disk drives, Zork, and an Altair 8800 at VCF East 2014.

What do you get when you combine several hundred serious geeks, two large rooms, five decades’ worth of vintage computers, and a weekend in New Jersey? The Vintage Computer Festival East, of course!

The ninth running of the VCF East was held April 4-7 at the InfoAge Science Center in Wall Township, New Jersey. Hosted by MARCH, the MidAtlantic Retro Computing Hobbyists group, the 2014 show saw the largest number of exhibitors and attendees for a VCF East yet, with exhibit halls expanded from one to two rooms and three days of lectures and seminars available for attendees. The show featured a wide range of computing history, from a seminal, room-size UNIVAC computer, through the DEC, Prime and HP minicomputer era, to the workstations and home computers of the 1970s and ’80s.

Macs in the Box: The Incredible Mac Collection of Marion Stokes. Now For Sale.


Stokes Collection 1
Marion Stokes Macintosh Collection in a Rhode Island storage locker

Are you a Mac collector? An Apple investor? Do you like to buy old computers still new in their original packaging? If so, do we have a storage locker for you!

Marion Stokes was a librarian, activist and local access television producer from Philadelphia. Recently she made news for her incredible archive of 35 years of TV news broadcasts, recorded continuously on home videotapes from 1977 until her death in 2012. But Stokes was also a longtime Apple investor and Macintosh fan. Over the same timeframe she acquired nearly two hundred new-in-box Macintosh computers and related Apple gear, and kept much of this equipment sealed for posterity.

It’s another incredible history, about technology and one unique Silicon Valley tech entity. And it can be yours, if the price is right. The whole kit and caboodle is available on eBay, listed for the Buy It Now price of $100,000!