Mario called the meeting to order at 7:03pm. Attendees were Bob, Ed, Wes, Bill, Terry, Marv, David, Anna, and Bev, who brought her brother-in-law Bud to the meeting.
Jenny and Mario brought more giveaways that were displayed on the side tables, including computer cables, adaptors, software, and (old) memory! More to come…
The new Photos app was released to developers today, and Mario gave the group a first look! It converts your iPhoto or Aperture library on first launch; however, your existing library will not go away after you open Photos. You can still use those applications, but changes you make in those photo libraries will remain separate and not sync into Photos after the initial setup.
The interface is white and clean and very similar to the iOS Photos app. iPhoto’s method of grouping photos into Events has gone away, and instead Photos automatically groups items into Moments and Collections based on location and date. You can zoom out to see your whole library in tiny thumbnails; while in that mode, when you click and hold a photo, it shows a larger thumbnail. By default, the sidebar is hidden, but go to View -> Show Sidebar in the menu to bring up a sidebar similar to the one in iPhoto.
Photo editing is much improved, but still not on the level of Aperture. Auto Crop finds the horizon, straightens the photo, and crops the photo by the “rule of thirds.” Rotating is much smoother and more precise, instead of by jumps in degrees in iPhoto.
iPhoto has been around since 2002, and its age has started to show. Overall, though it won’t be as powerful as Aperture, the new Photos looks like a relatively easy transition and a nice improvement from iPhoto.
Ed showcased the new DiskWarrior. Remember how slow DiskWarrior’s DVD was to boot? Now, DiskWarrior Version 5 ($60 to upgrade, $120 new at http://www.alsoft.com/buy/) has been released on USB flash drive, but it’s no longer a bootable drive. Luckily, there’s a feature called OS X Recovery built in to every Mac since Lion (OS X 10.7). Start up your computer holding down Command+R and plug in the DiskWarrior drive. Go to Utilities > Terminal and type
/Volumes/DW/go to launch DiskWarrior. It will run all of the standard utilities, such as rebuilding the directory, on your Mac’s startup disk because you’ve started up in the Recovery mode, which is considered a separate start-up disk. Same old DiskWarrior, but a lot faster!
Ed also got the new Drive Genius from ProSoft on a flash drive, which comes on a 16 GB USB stick. He plans to install a version of OS X on there as well as DiskWarrior to make a comprehensive portable disk utility.
Mario then discussed another helpful utility to manage your Mac. In > About This Mac, your storage is broken down by file type, similar to how iTunes shows media type on your iPhone and iPod, but it’s just a high-level overview, and there’s a very generic category called Other. Disk Inventory X and Grand Perspective are two apps that help you visualize where your data is and how large it is. WhatSize is also a drive analysis tool and will list and sort items by folder and by size. Those utilities are all fine, but some are quite dated, and their output is not necessarily presented in a helpful manner. DaisyDisk ($9.99 on the App Store: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/daisydisk/id411643860) is a more modern-looking drive visualizer. DaisyDisk shows you your file breakdown in a multi-colored, radial pie chart that allows you to drill down into each folder, going from the center out to the edges of the circle. It also shows you a list view in the sidebar at the same time. It allows you to clean up and delete directly from the app, and it doesn’t need to re-scan to calculate the new amount of free space. Tools like this are incredibly helpful for cleaning out your Mac and keeping your hard disk organized.
Speaking of cleaning up your Mac, what do you do about old software that has been deleted? Are you sure all of the related preferences files and caches have been deleted too? Terry mentioned a piece of software called Hazel ($29 at: http://www.noodlesoft.com/hazel.php) that helps you stay organized, and it includes the ability to remove related files when trashing an application. Jenny uses AppTrap, a free Preference Pane that alerts you when you’ve deleted an application and will ask you to delete related files it has found. (Note: do not trash related files when you are just updating an app!) Clean My Mac ($39.95 at: http://macpaw.com/cleanmymac) is a much more comprehensive app that will find and delete files from software you may have deleted in the past, before running one of the above tools that monitor your applications live.
Jenny showed the group another tool to help your Mac run better called Memory Clean. Memory on modern computers is dynamic – you don’t “run out” of memory because operating systems know how to clear out blocks of memory from software that is no longer running or files that haven’t been accessed recently. But this clean-out process takes time, and can cause apps to run slowly while memory is managed. Memory Clean (free on the Mac App Store at: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/memory-clean/id451444120) allows you to monitor your memory usage as a menu bar app and manually start the process of cleaning your memory. This is most useful if you have either just quit or are about to start a memory-intensive application. For example, if you’ve just quit Photoshop and are about to launch Final Cut Pro, running Memory Clean will clear out the Photoshop memory usage, and that will allow Final Cut Pro to launch faster by already having free memory available.
The meeting was adjourned at 8:30pm, after which several members reconvened at the local Denny’s.