Writings about Macs, music and more by Kirk McElhearn



Mac Pro

Even with a Mac Pro…


It’s amazing that even running a Mac Pro (the latest model), iTunes can beachball or freeze up…

Second Impressions: New Mac Pro


You may have seen that I got a new Mac Pro; I wrote some first impressions of it last week. Now that I’ve been using it for a while – well, a few days – I have some more thoughts about this computer. First, like the Mac it replaced (a Mac mini), it’s essentially invisible. […]

First Impressions: New Mac Pro


Note: I know the Mac Pro isn’t really new, but it’s new to me, hence the title of this article… Yesterday, I took delivery of a new Mac Pro. Replacing a Mac mini, about two and a half years old, this is only the second time that I’ve opted for Apple’s top-of-the-line computer. Back in […]

How Much Can You Spend on a Mac Pro?


This much: That’s for the Mac Pro itself, with the maximum amount of RAM and storage, and the fastest CPU and video cards. And I added a trackpad and keyboard. (Related: Apple, are you really that cheap that you can’t include input devices with a computer at this price?) If I add a 4K display […]

Mac Pro Take 4: Bluetooth Mighty Mouse is a No-Go – Now it Works!


A bit more than a month ago, I wrote a positive review of Apple’s wireless Mighty Mouse. At the time, I was using it with an iMac G5. Since then, having replaced my iMac by a new Mac Pro, I’ve had nothing but trouble with the Mighty Mouse. It stutters and skips, with the mouse about 3 feet away from the Mac Pro. (The Mac Pro is on the floor to the left of my desk; I’m right handed, so the mouse is on the right side of my keyboard, on my desk.) I have no other Bluetooth devices, so there is nothing that interferes with the transmission. It’s clearly a Mac Pro problem, not a mouse problem, since the erratic behavior occurs even when the mouse is in line-of-sight with the Mac Pro at more than 3 or 4 feet.

Mac Pro: Take 3 – The Weird USB Extension Cord


The Mac Pro doesn’t come with many extras: a keyboard and mouse, of course, a DVI-VGA adapter, so you can connect an older monitor, and installation DVDs, a small user’s guide, and some other papers. And two white Apple stickers.

But it also comes with a weird USB extension cord (see the above photo). This cord is weird because it is designed to work only with Apple keyboards. As you can see in the photo, the female end of the cord has a nib in it, which corresponds to a groove on the male end of the keyboard’s USB plug.

Mac Pro: Take 2 – The Power of Spotlight


When Apple introduced Spotlight, the powerful search technology which is part of Mac OS X 10.4, Tiger, this was the first real-world application of instant searches of files, their content and their metadata. It was also the first consumer application of real-time searches of this data; except that, on most Macs, it wasn’t quite real-time. Many users lamented the time it took to run Spotlight searches, and it’s true that on slower Macs, the time necessary is excessive. On my previous Mac, an iMac G5, some searches would take several seconds, and searches that resulted in thousands of hits (kind:music, for example) could take a couple dozen seconds.

Some of my colleagues have railed against not only Spotlight but the lack of simple Finder searches, such as were available in previous versions of Mac OS X. You can no longer simply “find files” from the Finder; you have to use the Finder search bar, which is simply a different interface for Spotlight. The complaints are the same: this can be very, very slow.

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