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#728: Tip of the Week, All About Video Adapters, De-authorize iTunes, Specials


Happy Tuesday,

I had the pleasure of watching five dogs, Owen included, over the weekend. It was good for all involved to have some very active days filled with swimming and hiking and lots of dogs in a beautiful setting at the base of Stark Mountain. Moxie, the six-month-old red heeler, seems to have a problem with Owen and continued her chronic misbehavior by lunging, barking, and snapping at Owen. She’s much better now than she was in her very early months, so we’re hoping to see that trend continue.

I’m amazed at my dog’s tolerance of this kind of behavior. When Owen is in our stores, it’s not uncommon to see children climbing on him, tugging his ears or tail, and he’s always taken it in stride and insisted on more play.

We strive to show the same patience to our customers are our technicians and sales associates help you on the phone or in our stores. It’s written right into our mission statement:

Service mission: To offer the best possible customer service by providing a wide range of products, competitive pricing, superior tech support, and excellent customer support. Each customer is treated fairly and honestly as we ourselves would expect to be treated.”

If, for some reason, you are unsatisfied with a Small Dog experience, we want to know!

As always, thanks for reading, and keep in touch.


  Tip of the Week: Sort Spotlight Searches  

I am a huge fan of Spotlight, and use it so constantly that I’d be completely lost without it. Years ago, before Spotlight debuted in MacOS X 10.4, I had neatly organized folders and a filing system that worked very well–when I used it. Spotlight takes file search several steps further and actually allows you to search within files.

If you’re an advanced Spotlight user, you already know that you can tweak your search terms to find what you need. I detailed this process in Tech Tails #683, and I still receive e-mails from readers thanking me for publishing it. If you’re Spotlighting like a pro, this tip will be of comparatively less use, but for the rest of us who use Spotlight differently, it’s a useful piece of knowledge.

Open the Spotlight preference pane in System Preferences, and ensure the “Search Results” tab is selected. You can drag the items in this list up and down; those items at the top of the list will appear first in your search results, while those at the bottom of this will will appear last in your results.

  De-authorize your iTunes Account Before Hardware Repair or Sale  

Pretty much everyone has downloaded from the iTunes store, but not too many of us know just how iTunes keeps track of computer authorization. Every device on the internet has at least two unique identifiers: a MAC address and an IP address.

MAC is an acronym for Media Access Control. Many believe that Mac, the abbreviation for Macintosh, should be written with capital letters – this is incorrect. Likewise, iPod – not iPOD or IPOD; iMac – not iMAC or IMAC; etc. Network interfaces have MAC addresses; Macintoshes can be called Macs.

Since your MAC address is completely unique, it’s the ideal way for iTunes to know that you’re authorized to play purchased content on any given machines. Trouble is, your ethernet port is part of the main logic board, which requires replacement in some repairs. With a new main logic board comes a new MAC address, which confuses iTunes and some other, generally high-end, software.

You’re allowed to authorize up to five computers at any one time to play your purchased content, but replacing your logic board changes the MAC address. If you didn’t de-authorize before repair, you’ve lost 20% of your available authorizations. I made this mistake a few years ago when I had to replace the logic board in a Mac Mini hooked up to my television, and when I sold my iBook. I also lost an authorization when my two-week-old PowerBook G4 flew off the roof of my car at highway speed. Thankfully, iTunes allows you to de-authorize all computers on your account once annually.

I only have one Machine these days, a 17-inch MacBook Pro, so this hasn’t been a problem of late for me. It’s a common question asked our technical support team, and a good fix to file in your troubleshooting arsenal.

The full details from Apple can be found here:

  All About Video Adapters  

We’ve seen several generations of Macs in the last decade, and at some, a new adapter was introduced to connect video devices to our Macs. At first I thought it’d be shorter making this list by adapters rather than machines, although I may have been mistaken. I’ve listed them in order of age, and hence, relevance to some extent. For Small Dog’s complete list of video adapter offerings, check out our online store.

I will be following this up with an article in regards to connecting your recent Mac to most televisions.

HDMI (Connects to HDMI, DVI) Only in use on the newest Mac mini, mid-2010 model. HDMI is an audio/video standard in use for about half this past decade in A/V equipment.

Mini DisplayPort (Connects to VGA, DVI, HDMI[using non-Apple adapters]) This is the adapter used for all current Macs, be it a MacBook, MacBook Pro, Mac Pro, Mac mini, MacBook Air, or iMac. While technically supporting audio as well, Apple doesn’t yet make an adapter that offers this function, and only the newest generation of Macs can support audio over Mini DisplayPort.

If you’re using a 30” Apple Cinema Display, or other large monitor supporting a resolution of 2560×1600 or similar, the Mini DisplayPort to Dual-Link DVI Adapter will be required.

Special Note: Some devices use Mini DisplayPort as a standard input, such as the 27” iMac (Did you know it could be used as a monitor?) and the 24” Apple LED Cinema Display.

Also, MacBook Owners Beware: Do not confuse this adapter with the next one down!

MacBook Air Owners: The first generation uses Micro-DVI. See below.

Mini-DVI (Connects to VGA, DVI, S-Video, Analog Composite) This adapter is used by older Macs. Any MacBook older than October 2009 (non-unibody, with removable battery), Intel iMacs older than mid-2009, and Intel Mac minis older than summer 2010. Throughout this generation, the Mac Pro towers and MacBook Pros (silver keyboard) had full-size DVI only. For these devices, see the DVI adapter listed.

Special Note: The 12” PowerBook G4 1GHz and above also used this adapter.

Mini-VGA (Connects to VGA, S-Video, Analog Composite) We’re now going back a bit. The use of this adapter started with the white iBook 12” (2001 Dual-USB model, just after the colorful clamshells had their time). It carried on through the 12” PowerBook G4s (up to 867MHz models), iBook G4s, and G4 & G5 iMacs.

Micro-DVI (Connects to VGA, DVI, S-Video, Analog Composite) Only the first generation MacBook Air used this adapter, introduced January 2008. The MacBook Air’s body was too thin for Mini-DVI, and it wasn’t until Mini DisplayPort was released that the MacBook Air was updated.

DVI (Connects to VGA, DVI, S-Video, Analog Composite) This isn’t so much an adapter as it is a standard. Pretty much all new monitors come with this now. The PowerBook G4 & MacBook Pro 15” & 17”, as well as G4 Mac minis, Power Mac G4 (aside from those using VGA or ADC), Power Mac G5, and Mac Pros used this as a connection standard for their external monitors. It has the same adapter options as Mini-DVI because it uses the same technology.

ADC (Connects to Apple ADC Studio & Cinema Displays) This connection was in use by Apple on the Power Mac G4, Power Mac G5, and the Power Mac G4 Cube. It offered power, video, and USB over a single cable. The required adapter to use DVI displays with these machines is an ADC to DVI adapter. For using these displays with DVI machines, an Apple DVI to ADC Adapter is required, acting as a power adapter for the monitor.

DB-15 (Connects to VGA) Hardly worth mentioning in this era, is the connection Apple used to connect their Apple Displays to older Macs (Prior to 1999). While a DB-15 connector, it was a different shape than VGA. This required a small adapter, and for some, a specific pin setting was required.

iPad/iPod/iPhone Audio/Video Interface While technically not a Mac, I should include these. Via the Dock Connector on the bottom of the device, these devices support audio and video out through either Composite or Component Audio/Video adapters. These adapters also come with a charging block, and support for charging while playing. The iPad also supports VGA-out, using the Apple iPad Dock Connector to VGA Adapter, incredibly useful for giving presentations from the iPad via a standard projector.

Special Note: These devices support video output on a per-App basis, meaning the App Developer had to choose to include the video output function in their App. Only some Apps will actually give video output, those mainly being Videos, YouTube, Keynote, and certain other third-party Apps including Netflix. The video output by these is 4:3, not offering widescreen or true high-definition options.

Scattered ending notes: The second generation of iBook (Firewire, clamshell design) used a composite video cable from the headphone jack to output audio and video via composite. An older generation of iPods used composite output from the headphone jack as well, ending with the 1st Generation iPod Classic. You can also connect a DVI to HDMI cable to run a television or HDMI monitor off normal DVI, should you not have an HDMI-out option on your computer. This wouldn’t support audio, which would be needed through a separate connection.

Other adapter options for newer machines/displays:

There are several adapters available for both connecting your Apple 24” LED Cinema Display or iMac 27” to DVI/HDMI video sources, such as the Gefen DVI to Mini DisplayPort Adapter. I would also recommend using the Kanex iAdapt adapters to connect your MacBook or MacBook Pro to HDMI with audio.

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