When Your Mac Slows Down, Give It A Tune Up [MacRx]

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Mac Tune Up
Tune up your Macintosh and do a bit of spring cleaning
This article first appeared in Cult of Mac magazine.

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. 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 SSD) 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.

OK, so is there some sort of tune up or spring cleaning you can do that sorts 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.

Meet the Unitron Mac 512 – the World’s First Macintosh Clone

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Unitron 512 Front
The Unitron Mac 512 was the world's first Macintosh clone (photo: Chester's blog)

The first Macintosh clone in the world was not one of the Apple sanctioned systems released in 1995, such as those from companies like PowerComputing, Radius, Umax or Daystar Digital. Nor was it the Outbound laptop in 1989, a hybrid system produced using Mac ROMs taken from working Mac Plus systems.

No, the first Macintosh clone was the Unitron Mac 512, a unauthorized copy of the 512k “Fat Mac” produced by a Brazilian company in 1986. And it was a pretty darn impressive copy. The fallout from that effort nearly help start a trade war between Brazil and the United States; to prevent theft of Intellectual Property, Apple and other companies lobbied Congress to hike import taxes on Brazilian goods like oranges and shoes as a response.

And as we know, nobody messes with Tropicana …

It’s not a widely known story. Pieces of this long-forgotten chapter in Mac history can be found scattered on websites around the world. Here is the fascinating tale of the first Macintosh clone in the world.

Macintosh “Picasso” Artwork Was Actually Inspired By Matisse, Artist Says

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Matisse Picasso Artwork
Artwork by Matisse (left) inspired the Mac Picasso graphics.

The famous Macintosh “Picasso” trademark logo was developed for the introduction of the original 128k Mac back in 1984. A minimalist line drawing reminiscent of the style of Pablo Picasso, this whimsical graphic implied the whole of a computer in a few simple strokes. It was an icon of what was inside the box, and became as famous as the computer it represented.

The logo was designed by Tom Hughes and John Casado, art directors on the Macintosh development team. Originally the logo was to be a different concept by artist Jean-Michel Folon, but before launch it was replaced by the colorful line drawing. It’s been famous ever since, and the style has endured across decades.

Casado recently attended the 30th Anniversary of the Mac celebration, and emailed Cult of Mac to shed some light on the history of this famous graphic. It turns out Picasso was not the primary inspiration for this after all – rather, it was Henri Matisse!

Watch Steve Jobs Introduce the Macintosh on January 24, 1984

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Macintosh-Insanely-Great
On January 24, 1984, Apple Computer introduced the Macintosh.

Back in 1984, the birth of the Macintosh was not a quiet affair. Among his many talents, Steve Jobs was one of the great orators and inspiring speakers of our time. Part sage, part showman, Jobs combined the wizardry of a magician with the skills of a master salesman. The Macintosh was his baby, the intended salvation for Apple, and he wanted it launched with flair.

Many people have heard about, but not seen, one of the most influential demos of all — the actual unveiling of the Macintosh on January 24, 1984. In front of a group of Apple shareholders and VIPs, and giving a hint of Apple keynotes to come, a tuxedo-clad Jobs and his magical child stole the show. Now you can relive that glorious moment.

Cult of Mac and iFixit Teardown the Original Macintosh 128k [Feature]

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128k Mac Teardown
Cult of Mac and iFixit teardown the 128k Macintosh

It’s the 30th anniversary of the launch of the Macintosh, and we wondered at Cult of Mac what can we do to celebrate? Then we thought, let’s dissect an original Macintosh and see what made it tick! There’s nothing like destruction in the persuit of knowledge.

In full retro spirit, we asked our friends at iFixit if they would help perform a special anniversary teardown of the 128k Mac. How does our silicon hero compare to modern Macs in terms of components, assembly and ease of repair? Of course being true geeks themselves, they jumped at the chance.

There was only one problem: where to find an original 128k Mac.