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Mac Emergency Guide: What to Do When Mac Problems Arise

Mac Emergency Guide: What to Do When Mac Problems Arise

When you use your Mac for everything, the possibility of inevitable meltdowns can keep you on your toes a bit. However, being careful about things doesn’t always prevent a problem from occurring: there always the possibility that your Mac won’t start up, or it could start up but then present you with a message you probability wouldn’t want to see. While you shouldn’t dwell on these worries, this guide will hopefully inform you of what you should do once an issue does occur.

Inaccurate Battery Life

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    You just charged your Mac fully and are ready to go on your trip. You start up the Mac in the airport terminal during a layover and find out that your Mac is almost dead! What happened between then and now? Nothing, so why is the Mac almost “dead”? This usually happens when your Mac’s battery is un-calibrated. A pop-up warning comes up when your Mac’s battery is low, and once the pop-up occurs, your Mac turns off and waits for you to charge. An un-calibrated battery will send this pop-up and turn off as usual, even with an almost full battery.

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    How do you perform a calibration? Once your Mac is fully charged, use your Mac as usual and let your Mac die out. Once dead, allow your Mac to charge in full. That’s it! Your Mac is fully calibrated, and all battery totals that show up from now on are accurate. If percentages are still off, then it may be time to get a new battery. To find out your battery’s capacity, click the Apple symbol at the extreme upper left > About This Mac > More Info. Then, under “Power” you can view battery info.

    Full Startup Disk

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      The years of heavy Mac use, saving every photo and video that comes by you, has caught up with you. Your Mac’s startup disk is full, which means that your Mac doesn’t have enough memory to even, well, start up! Due to this, you can’t go back and login to delete the files—this won’t work. Instead of just going out and purchasing a new Mac, a more reasonable solution is to purchase an external hard drive. Once you’ve provided your computer with more than enough memory to start up again, you should then move toward clearing out your Mac.

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      One program I always recommend is Magican. By presenting you with all the unnecessary files that is filing up your Mac, Magican allows you to clear files both present and hidden. Another great tip is to add your music and multimedia to your external hard drive—both alleviating the weight from your Mac, and providing you with a safe place for your precious library in the case of any future crashes.

      A “Dead” Mac

      You may have encountered a situation in which your Mac just isn’t starting up at all. Like a fever in a human body, a Mac that won’t start can be the signal of many things. Our first task is to identify what the problem is, so let’s go in order from solutions to the most trivial problems that may cause a “dead” Mac, to the most serious. First off, connect your Mac to a power source and let it charge until the light turns green.

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        This may sound too simple to fix anything, but you’d be surprised by how many people have encountered this problem and discovered all their Mac needed to do was charge. After a full charge, if you find that your Mac still won’t startup, then something less trivial may be occurring. Next, while we’re at it, let’s unplug all unessential connections to the Mac. Many times, when they are acting up, this can also cause the Mac to act up as well. Still not working? You may have to start up with your OS X installation CD, which will restart your machine from the beginning.

        A Stuck CD Disk

        Many times, the disk isn’t stuck if it doesn’t eject immediately after pressing the button. In many cases, this is done to prevent you from accidentally ejecting a CD, like when you’re watching a movie. If you want to increase the volume, guess which button is right beside the volume key? The eject button! You don’t want to accidentally eject your movie, so in many cases, when you want to eject a “stuck” CD, try pressing the eject button for three to five seconds. After releasing, wait another three to five seconds for the CD to come out. Still not working? No problem just yet.

        Now, go to the desktop and find the CD there. Once found, click and drag the CD file over the trashcan. No, it won’t delete its contents; this is a second way to eject a CD. Simply drag over the trashcan and release, but if that doesn’t work, right-click and eject the pesky CD from there. These are usually the solutions to this problem.

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        Forgetting Your System Password

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          An issue that you hope to never encounter is forgetting your Mac’s login password. Your Mac just wants to do its job and protect your stuff, but you forgot your password. What do you do? First, you’ll have to look for the installation CD. After inserting and pressing the power button, immediately press and hold “c”, causing your Mac to startup with the inserted CD, at which point you will then be asked to reset the password. Once done, restart the computer and follow the directions. It’s simple, but something no one wants to have to do every day. Choose a password that is strong and memorable.

          Do you have a tip for solving an emergency Mac issue? Is there an issue you’d like covered? Let us know in the comments below!

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          Last Updated on February 15, 2019

          7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

          7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

          Now that 2011 is well underway and most people have fallen off the bandwagon when it comes to their New Year’s resolutions (myself included), it’s a good time to step back and take an honest look at our habits and the goals that we want to achieve.

          Something that I have learned over the past few years is that if you track something, be it your eating habits, exercise, writing time, work time, etc. you become aware of the reality of the situation. This is why most diet gurus tell you to track what you eat for a week so you have an awareness of the of how you really eat before you start your diet and exercise regimen.

          Tracking daily habits and progress towards goals is another way to see reality and create a way for you clearly review what you have accomplished over a set period of time. Tracking helps motivate you too; if I can make a change in my life and do it once a day for a period of time it makes me more apt to keep doing it.

          So, if you have some goals and habits in mind that need tracked, all you need is a tracking tool. Today we’ll look at 7 different tools to help you keep track of your habits and goals.

          Joe’s Goals

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            Joe’s Goals is a web-based tool that allows users to track their habits and goals in an easy to use interface. Users can add as many goals/habits as they want and also check multiple times per day for those “extra productive days”. Something that is unique about Joe’s Goals is the way that you can keep track of negative habits such as eating out, smoking, etc. This can help you visualize the good things that you are doing as well as the negative things that you are doing in your life.

            Joe’s Goals is free with a subscription version giving you no ads and the “latest version” for $12 a year.

            Daytum

              Daytum

              is an in depth way of counting things that you do during the day and then presenting them to you in many different reports and groups. With Daytum you can add several different items to different custom categories such as work, school, home, etc. to keep track of your habits in each focus area of your life.

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              Daytum is extremely in depth and there are a ton of settings for users to tweak. There is a free version that is pretty standard, but if you want more features and unlimited items and categories you’ll need Daytum Plus which is $4 a month.

              Excel or Numbers

                If you are the spreadsheet number cruncher type and the thought of using someone else’s idea of how you should track your habits turns you off, then creating your own Excel/Numbers/Google spreadsheet is the way to go. Not only do you have pretty much limitless ways to view, enter, and manipulate your goal and habit data, but you have complete control over your stuff and can make it private.

                What’s nice about spreadsheets is you can create reports and can customize your views in any way you see fit. Also, by using Dropbox, you can keep your tracker sheets anywhere you have a connection.

                Evernote

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                  I must admit, I am an Evernote junky, mostly because this tool is so ubiquitous. There are several ways you can implement habit/goal tracking with Evernote. You won’t be able to get nifty reports and graphs and such, but you will be able to access your goal tracking anywhere your are, be it iPhone, Android, Mac, PC, or web. With Evernote you pretty much have no excuse for not entering your daily habit and goal information as it is available anywhere.

                  Evernote is free with a premium version available.

                  Access or Bento

                    If you like the idea of creating your own tracker via Excel or Numbers, you may be compelled to get even more creative with database tools like Access for Windows or Bento for Mac. These tools allow you to set up relational databases and even give you the option of setting up custom interfaces to interact with your data. Access is pretty powerful for personal database applications, and using it with other MS products, you can come up with some pretty awesome, in depth analysis and tracking of your habits and goals.

                    Bento is extremely powerful and user friendly. Also with Bento you can get the iPhone and iPad app to keep your data anywhere you go.

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                    You can check out Access and the Office Suite here and Bento here.

                    Analog Bonus: Pen and Paper

                    All these digital tools are pretty nifty and have all sorts of bells and whistles, but there are some people out there that still swear by a notebook and pen. Just like using spreadsheets or personal databases, pen and paper gives you ultimate freedom and control when it comes to your set up. It also doesn’t lock you into anyone else’s idea of just how you should track your habits.

                    Conclusion

                    I can’t necessarily recommend which tool is the best for tracking your personal habits and goals, as all of them have their quirks. What I can do however (yes, it’s a bit of a cop-out) is tell you that the tool to use is whatever works best for you. I personally keep track of my daily habits and personal goals with a combo Evernote for input and then a Google spreadsheet for long-term tracking.

                    What this all comes down to is not how or what tool you use, but finding what you are comfortable with and then getting busy with creating lasting habits and accomplishing short- and long-term goals.

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