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#889: Recovery HD, Apple Compatible Video Adapters, New Mid-2013 iMac Lineup Overview



Fall is here, and along with it brings the weather I love. I’m a big fan of wearing layers and going to fairs, as well as October beer.

All of our locations have been busy with the launch of the new iPhones and questions about iOS 7. It’s always super exciting whenever Apple has a launch like this; it shows just how many people love the product.

We’ve heard a lot about how different iOS 7 is. I really believe these changes are for the better and that once you get a hold of it, you will see how much easier it makes your phone experience.

There are a lot of cool features, so be sure to check out all of the recent Small Dog articles in our newsletters or come on in to a store to ask any of our employees.


  Recovery HD  

Reinstalling a computer’s operating system (OS) should not be a foreign concept to you. Whenever your computer experiences severe software issues, an effective solution is to reinstall a known-good (KG) version of your OS.

As standard as this might seem, there isn’t a day that goes by when someone doesn’t contact us about software issues and has absolutely no idea where the install DVD is.

Mountain Lion makes this easier than ever, and it’s known as the Recovery partition. Apple refers to it as OS X’s new “safety net” and does not require a physical install disc. This new feature is built into 10.8, and all you need to do is hold down Command-R during startup and OS X Recovery springs into action.

Once booted into it, you can choose from a lot of useful utilities like Disk Utility to check or repair your hard drive. You can restore your Mac from a Time Machine Backup, and even use Safari to get help from Apple Support online.

Perhaps my favorite utility that’s made available through OS X Recovery is Terminal. I strongly recommend against tinkering with this application for most users, as it gives you backdoor access to the system. Entering incorrect commands can cause major systematic issues with your computer.

However, the only command that’s easy to use is “resetpassword”. That’s right — you can reset your password free of charge! As many customers as there are who can’t recall where they placed their install discs, there are twice as many who forget their password (or worse, don’t remember even creating one).

So, when you’re in OS X Recovery, you can locate Terminal under Utilities < Terminal. Once the window opens, type in “resetpassword” and hit enter; the reset password utility will appear, at which point you can create a new one.

Please please please, write down this new one or save it in your notes on your iPhone/iPad. (Or, look into a password app or utility that saves passwords with high security.) Do whatever you need to never lose it. Do this and you can save yourself a car ride and/or phone call.

  Apple Compatible Video Adapters  

We’ve seen several generations of Macs in the last decade, and for some, a new adapter was introduced to connect video devices to our Macs. I’ve listed the following adapter types in order of age, and thus, relevance, to some extent. (I thought it’d be shorter listing this way rather than by machine, though I could be mistaken.)

For Small Dog’s complete list of video adapter offerings, check them out online.

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). The DB-15 connector 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 to connect your MacBook or MacBook Pro to HDMI with audio.

  New Mid-2013 iMac Lineup Overview  

While most Apple fans are busy gawking over the new iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c, Apple quietly updated the specs on their iMac lineup this week. A brief press release and an email blast to Apple Resellers and Specialists details the new features of the next-gen iMac.

They start with fourth generation Intel Core i5 processors, add brand new Intel Iris Pro graphics, PCIe flash storage options, and last, but certainly not least, 802.11ac Wi-Fi that is crushing previous Wi-Fi technology speeds.

The processor speeds got bumped up to start at 2.7GHz on the 21.5in base model iMac and all the way up to 3.4GHz on the beefed-up 27in model iMac. We also find the new Intel Iris Pro graphics chipset in the 21.5in base model iMac. This is a huge leap in graphics processing and speed.

According to Intel, this marks a 75x increase in graphics performance since 2006 and almost double the performance of the HD 3000 from last year. Both the 21.5in and 27in iMac come standard with a 1TB 5400rpm or 7200rpm HDD, which is certainly nothing to scoff at. It’s the PCIe 1TB Flash storage drive that is really mind-blowing!

One of the latest and greatest technologies being taken advantage of with this new lineup is the new 802.11ac Wi-Fi. We saw Apple launch the new AirPort Extreme and Time Capsules earlier this year, and after a software update, these new networking tools did not disappoint. Just imagine up to 1.3GBps transfer speeds over Wi-Fi and up to 800MBps read-and-write via the newly added PCIe bus for flash storage.

Needless to say, we’re really excited here at Small Dog to get our hands on these new machines and really see what they can do. We’ll have more info for you shortly about when they’ll be in stock.

Learn more about the new specs over at Engadget and Macworld.

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