Jan 14

You can usually adjust the audio level of your Macintosh computer using the sound slider bar and also using the volume keys on your keyboard. But if you plug in a USB audio device (Focusrite, Presonus, Behringer, Rode etc) the built in Audio controls are disabled. This is so that the full volume can be sent to the device digitally which is important for professional audio applications.

But if you are just using your USB just to listen to music it is possible to adjust the volume for your own listening comfort. Here’s how to do it using a free audio utility called ‘Soundflower.

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Jan 08
ben Q monitor

You can use any monitor with the new Mac mini 2018. (Except for an Apple one because they don’t make them any more!) The Mac mini has a HDMI port for a display, but you can also plug a monitor into any of the 4 USB-C ports. My strong advice it try to get a monitor that comes with a HDMI cable or a USB-C cable – don’t rely on Apple’s Thunderbolt to USB-C adapter.

If you have a choice go for a monitor with a HDMI cable so as to leave the 4 USB-C ports free. There are a wide variety of monitors available. I went down to the local computer shop and tried a few out and the ones that stood out to me were LG, BenQ, Samsung and Dell. I’ve also read good reviews on Acer and HP. But be aware that all of these brands make low quality monitors as well. So it’s more important to look at the quality of the monitor than the brand. e.g. Check out the contrast ratio, colour reproduction and resolution.

Don’t just look at the monitor in demo mode in the store. Make sure you plug it into a computer and have a look at some text on the screen. Take your own laptop in or ask the store for a demo plugged into a MAcintosh computer. The demo modes on the monitors are made to look crystal clear and sharp, but when you plug it into you computer and display plain text some monitors can be fuzzy or blurry or even look washed out. Read more to find out what monitor I ended up buying!

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Jan 01

Today I had a go at setting up wprig. It is a development environment for making WordPress themes. I’m using it to try and update our church website. Here are some tips on how to set it up. This is very advanced – for WordPress Theme Coders.

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Dec 25

The new Mac Minis have super fast SSD Drives. I measured read times of 2500MB/s which is 5 times faster than the SSD drive in my old mac mini. But these drives are super super expensive. (An extra US$1400 for a 2TB drive). So I thought it might be an option to buy a Mac Mini with a small internal drive (256GB) and add an external SSD drive and combine them into a fusion drive. It didn’t work! But I thought I ‘d write a post in case anyone else has the same idea.

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Dec 22
Verbose mode

If you get a bit bored booting up your Mac and waiting for the Apple logo, here’s a trick that will let you see what’s going on behind the scenes.  It’s called verbose mode and it simply echoes to your screen everything that the computer is doing while it boots up.  It doesn’t change anything about the way the computer operates, it doesn’t speed it up or slow it down, it just displays it on the screen.

To enable  “Verbose mode” go into the terminal (Applications/Utilities/Terminal) and type in the following line:

sudo nvram boot-args="-v"
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Dec 18

Apple used to have a fantastic application called OSX Server (now called MacOS Server) which allowed you to run a full server from any OSX computer. A server can  allow you share files, run your own email or web server, remotely connect in to your office etc.  OSX server was particularly powerful running on a Mac Mini. With OSX Mojave Apple killed off OSX server, but it is still possible to download an older version from Apple that still works. Here’s how.

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Dec 14

The Create Booklet PDF action stopped working when Mojave was released, but it’s not broken! It’s part of the set of ‘security’ features that Apple introduced in Mojave. Here’s how to get it going again.

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Dec 12
Network attached storage

This article is about how to get your large files off your main computer hard drive and onto some external network storage that is more reliable, longer-term, and doesn’t take up precious space on your laptop or desktop computer. Appel don’t make an external storage solution but I found Synology have some great devices.

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