There is no doubt that when compared to a mechanical hard drive, the new solid state drive (SSD) technology is by far superior in terms of speed. Data access and throughput can be well above 4x faster than a contemporary mechanical drive, and using it as your main boot drive widens a major bottleneck, resulting in exceptionally quick boot-ups, application launches, sleep and wake events, and shutdowns. Beyond speed, the drives also have a number of additional perks, including cooler operation than most mechanical drives, power efficiency resulting in longer battery life for laptops, silent operation, and higher tolerance for … Read more
When an optical disc is mounted in OS X, it cannot be ejected by pressing the button on the optical drive, as is the case with Windows PCs. In fact, even though some of Apple's OEM drives contain the standard eject button, it is hidden by the system's chassis. When mounted, the disc is locked by the system so to eject it you will have to do one of three things:
Drag to the trash Dragging a removable disc to the trash has been in the Mac OS since early on. It is how floppy disks were ejected … Read more
Apple's DVD Player is the default option for viewing DVD movies in OS X, and is set up in the "CDs and DVDs" section of the system preferences to automatically launch when a video DVD is mounted and recognized by the system. While a good tool for viewing DVDs, DVD Player does have some quirks, one of which appears to be the requirement for a properly recognized DVD player to be present in order to play DVDs. If not, then even though the external drive may read and mount DVD media, DVD Player will issue the "… Read more
In 2004, we covered Varioptic's liquid lens technology, reporting that by 2005 consumers could expect to see liquid lens cameraphones on store shelves. It's 2011, and we still don't have those products. But we're getting closer.
As a refresher, liquid lenses use two liquids--a refractive liquid (an oil), and a conductive, non-refractive liquid--together in a tiny sandwich, with the conductive liquid touching tiny electrodes. A current is applied to the electrodes to pull the liquid to them, and surface tension between the liquids changes the shape of the refractive material, and thus the optical characteristics of the lens package.
Simple liquid lenses have variable focal length, so they can focus. If you put four electrodes around the circumference of the lens, you can also change the axis of the lens, enabling image stabilization. The liquid lenses are faster to focus than current-tech voice-coil focusing lenses, and they take a fraction of the power, too. To make a liquid lens zoomable, you need a stack of three liquid lens components; that's in development. … Read more
Researchers have used a single laser to transmit data at 26 terabits per second over an optical fiber cable, a data-transmission breakthrough that promises to come in useful for cloud computing and 3D TV transmissions.
The transmission is biggest volume of data ever carried by a laser beam, according to the group of scientists, led by Germany's Karlsruhe Institute of Technology. With the demonstration, which sent the equivalent of 200,000 high-resolution images across 50 kilometers in one second, the researchers said they had broken their own record of 10Tbps, set in 2010.
"To the best of our … Read more
There's some rough news for Topeka, Kan., the city that courted Google's ultra-high-speed municipal broadband project by changing its name to Google. The Mountain View, Calif., tech giant announced Wednesday that the lucky city that gets to be its broadband guinea pig not only isn't Topeka, but it's Kansas City, Kansas--just an hour's drive away. Ouch.
More than 1,100 communities had applied since the call for applicants was announced about a year ago. Kansas City will first see the new developments next year, and Google is already looking for additional communities to join the … Read more
MacFixIt Answers is a feature in which we answer questions e-mailed from our readers. This week we have questions on the OS X keychain not saving passwords, internal speakers no longer working on a MacBook Pro, an external optical drive not reading some discs, and Apple's FaceTime application not running. We continually answer e-mail questions, and though we present a few here, we certainly welcome alternative approaches and views from readers and encourage you to post your suggestions in the comments.
Question: OS X Keychain not saving passwords
MacFixIt reader "Raul" asks:
My OS X Keychain does … Read more
When a blank CD or DVD is handled by the Finder, a special burn folder is created for that disc which appears on the Desktop or in the Finder sidebar. Burn folders in OS X usually are static folders that remain until you remove them, but the ones representing optical discs should be created when the disc is inserted, and then destroyed when the disc is either ejected or burned. Despite this, some people may find that after managing a number of blank CDs or DVDs, the Finder will retain a few burn folders in the sidebar that are labeled &… Read more
The 13-inch version of Apple's revamped MacBook Air doubles the USB ports (to two) and adds an SD card slot, but it still lacks an optical drive. And it's not alone--other recent DVD-free 13-inch systems include Toshiba Satellite T235D and the Asus U35JC.
In smaller 11- and 12-inch laptops, we're used to not having an optical drive, although they do occasionally turn up. But to some, the optical drive is becoming like the telephone modem jack that used to be standard on every laptop--a bit of legacy hardware that rarely gets used.
The main reasons we used … Read more
Most consumer level Canon printers use optical character recognition (OCR) to translate scanned images of printer or handwritten documents to editable electronic text, but the latest version of Uniflow, the company's corporate document management system, uses OCR to prevent people from printing or copying documents that contain specific words.
Uniflow is a central management system that allows administrators to keep track of copies and prints for billing and requires an accompanying Uniflow server and Uniflow-ready Canon devices. The latest version, Uniflow 5, can also block documents containing prohibited keywords--sensitive information like passwords and account numbers.
Admins can also configure … Read more