The 2008 MacBook is better than your modern MacBook in many, many ways [Review]

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macbook review ports
Look and weep, modern MacBook owners.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

This is Apple’s 2008 aluminum unibody MacBook, model A1278. It replaced the white polycarbonate MacBook, but was itself replaced by, or rather rebranded as, the MacBook Pro, which was more or less the same computer1.

Apple introduced this magnificent MacBook on October 14, 2008, and produced them until June 8, 2009. And it was one of Apple’s best notebooks ever. It had a fantastic keyboard, and many comfy extras that today’s skinny MacBook owners can only dream about, from a battery indicator light to an almost hot-swappable hard drive (or SSD).

It’s so good that it’s still viable today as a daily driver, with the added bonus that its weight will help keep you fit during lockdown. How do I know? Because I have one right here, and I use it for music recording and production. I’m also using it to write this article. I thought, as my last post for Cult of Mac, that I’d review the 2008 unibody MacBook as if it were new. Let’s go.

How to find a COVID-19 testing station with Apple Maps

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See all the local COVID-19 testing locations on a map.
See all the local testing locations on a map.
Photo: Capturing the human heart/Unsplash

As of yesterday, Apple Maps can now show you local COVID-19 testing stations, so you can find the nearest one and get yourself checked out. It’s really easy to do, but it does require a search to activate the new map layer.

Here’s how to find a COVID-19 test near you. Note: This currently only works in the United States.

Force Mac apps to open in glorious full-screen mode

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Full-screen works great on a MacBook.
Full-screen works great on a MacBook.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Full-screen mode on a Mac is pretty great. Unlike Windows, where full-screen apps have been the default since forever, the Mac’s full-screen abilities are a fairly recent addition. And the default is still for apps to launch in smaller windows, which is the Mac Way. But what if you want those apps to launch in full-screen every time you open them? Well, by changing one setting — and abandoning in ingrained habit — you can have exactly that.

Bonus: Full-screen app launching will only apply to the apps you choose, leaving the rest of them to behave normally.

If your MacBook Pro overheats, you might be charging it from the wrong side

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It takes years of professional training to place MacBook stickers this badly.
Even the new-ish 16-inch MacBook Pro runs hot.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Does your brand new MacBook Pro go into meltdown when it’s plugged into power? Do the fans spin up into a blast of white noise, while the heat makes your hands sweat as you type? Is your kernel\_task pegged using 100% of the CPU when you check things out in the Activity Monitor app?

If so, don’t worry — it’s not your Mac’s fault. It’s you. You’re charging it wrong.

Yes, if you plug your USB-C power cable into the left-hand side of your MacBook Pro, you might make it overheat.

Using the Space bar for Push to Talk makes Zoom calls bearable

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filthy spacebar zoom push to talk mute
Would you touch this Space bar?
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Zoom is the world’s favorite app during the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite its flagrant privacy abuses, and a history of startlingly bad security holes, people are using the videoconferencing service for remote teaching, conference calls and virtual get-togethers.

If you — or your boss or a stubborn family member — insist on using this software rather than one of the safer Zoom alternatives, this Mac tip will save you a lot of trouble. Using the Push to Talk feature will make your Zoom life a lot easier.

How to add a Smart Folder to your Mac’s Dock (and why you’ll want to)

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A Smart Folder can make a powerful addition to your Dock.
A Smart Folder can make a powerful addition to your Dock.
Photo: Dan Counsell/Unsplash CC

I have an app I use every day, but whenever I open it, it opens to a new, blank document, instead of the project I was working on when I closed the app. To open that project, I have to mouse up to my Mac’s menu bar, click on File > Recent Items…, and find it in there.

To fix this, I set out to find a way to easily access the last few projects from this app. What if I could put this list of recent projects into my Mac’s Dock? It turns out that you can easily do this, using a quick Spotlight search, a Smart Folder and a drag to the Dock.

Amazing Darkroom photo app now does video

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Darkroom, the amazing iOS photo-editing app, now edits video
Darkroom, the amazing iOS photo-editing app, now edits video
Photo: Darkroom

Darkroom, one of the best photo library and editing apps on iOS, is now also one of the best video library and editing apps on iOS. In today’s update, Darkroom adds support for editing your videos. Not cutting and chopping them up, like iMove, but changing how they look, as if you were applying filters and edits to a still photograph. And the along thing is, it’s instant, just as fast as editing a still image.

How to protect yourself against the iOS Mail attack

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insecure mailbox
Would you put your mail in this mailbox?
Photo: Pineapple L/Unsplash

Right now, you shouldn’t be using the Mail app on your iPhone or iPad. Thanks to a serious exploit, a hacker can take control of your iOS Mail app just by sending you a malicious email.

You don’t need to open that mail for it to do its bad business. In fact, you don’t even have to have the Mail app open for the attack to work. Yesterday, we covered the news of this attack, and you can read all about the consequences. Today we’ll show you how to protect yourself by changing just one setting.

Hook up Digitakt and Ableton Live with Overbridge [Part 2]

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Digitakt on a table
The Digitakt is good alone, better in a group.
Photo: Cult of Mac

This is the second of a two-part video feature on integrating your Elektron synthesizers, samplers and drum machines with Ableton Live on your Mac.

In this video, we’ll show you how to use the brand new Overbridge 2 app and plugin to record up to eight tracks simultaneously over a single USB connection. We’ll also dive into FX routing on the Elektron’s Digitakt sampling drum machine, which is powerful but confusing at first. Finally, we’ll explain how to use the Overbridge plugin to sync Ableton and the Digitakt, and to record loops through a normal analog mixer.