Fix the annoying Android File Transfer bug on the Macbook

Plug in another USB device (such as a flash drive) and the computer should reconnect the keyboard and trackpad again. Sometimes it takes a couple of tries. There are also more permanent solutions such as removing the Android File Transfer Agent app.

Have you been working on an app and you decided to deploy your android app to your phone, only to find out that when you plug the phone into one of the USB ports, the Android File Transfer app pops up and then you find that your built-in keyboard and trackpad does not work? Or worse, have you ever wanted to just charge your phone only to find out that you computer’s keyboard and trackpad stops working when you plug the phone into the USB port? Continue reading “Fix the annoying Android File Transfer bug on the Macbook”

The new Macbook looks to the future but are we ready?

The new Apple Macbook is definitely a nod to the future. It combines the concept of wireless inter-connectivity, minimalist design and a multi purpose port into a beautiful looking portable machine. However, the question remains over whether having one port that does everything is a practical design decision in terms of everyday use for the users.

Who are these users?

People who will be using the new Macbook machine, will be similar to those who already use either ultrabooks or Macbook Air machines. They want portability, long battery life, reasonably good display, a decent keyboard and a “good enough” processor for general computing. Another class of people who might buy the new Macbook could be people who are already using their iPad or tablet for simple creation tasks, such as creating documents, simple photo editing, video editing, and others.

Generally, people buy a notebook because they need to input large amounts of text or are more comfortable using a device with a keyboard. While convertible devices are quite nice concepts, often the execution is not quite hitting the mark for me. Many devices like Microsoft Surface show some very promising features, but they generally are heavier, have shorter battery life, have small screens or lack comfortable keyboards. With Microsoft Surface in particular, it seems that it does not really replace a notebook for me, as the kickstand design means that I have to rest it on a flat surface when I want to type using its keyboard.

With the Macbook Air, I could comfortably type with the notebook perched on my lap (kind of like a laptop, really) and I don’t have to worry about the device tilting backwards because my knees don’t have extensions to support the kickstand. This is why I am partial to the Macbook Air and other ultrabook concepts. I own a Macbook Air that I purchased way back in 2012 and it has served me wonderfully over the years. The build quality is exceptional and the keyboard, while not the best I have used, is certainly amongst the best in its class. Above all, what I cherish the most about all my Apple-made portables is the best trackpad in any portables that I have ever used.

What do people do on a Macbook Air

Having a laptop that can virtually go anywhere with you without weighing you down is one of the best aspects of owning a Macbook Air. I can take it to the library for writing tasks, I can take it to a lecture hall for presentations and amongst many other uses, I can also take it to a photo or video shoot. The very portable machine has afforded it many uses where other full-sized laptop could be considered cumbersome.

The decent (my definition and yours may vary widely) processing power means that I have used it for some media-related tasks, such as editing photos in Photoshop, design work in Illustrator and even some lightweight video editing, 3D modelling with Blender and Sketchup and UI prototyping with applications such as Adobe Fireworks.

I feel that what makes my ultraportable machine super useful is the keyboard and the assortment of ports available. The various ports such as Thunderbolt, USB ports (one for mouse and one for storage?) and charging port have all been used at the same time and the SD card slot has certainly come in handy quite a few times.

The new Macbook

The new Macbook is a visionary decision on Apple’s part. It is a manifestation of a vision when data transfers will happen mostly wirelessly (wireless flash drive anyone?) and a lot of storage will live in the cloud. The laptop of the future does not need a lot of ports. The single USB port could also disappear when Apple or other manufacturers use wireless charging.

In the (near) future, our notebook computers will become more like our smartphones and tablets, where data will enter and exit the device via some form of network connectivity. However, until that vision becomes the norm, we all still need USB ports to store and transfer data, perform backups, share files and many other purposes.

The new Macbook will face a lot of criticism from both the rest of the notebook industry and end users. It will be very much like when the first Macbook Air was released. For the new Macbook to become the norm and the design to copy, it will take a lot shorter than the time it took the Macbook Air to become a de-facto industry standard in laptop design.


How to make Chrome faster in OS X Mavericks

Ever since I upgraded to OS X Mavericks, Chrome has been running a little slow. It seems to struggle in opening and closing tabs, as well as populating auto-fill lists when I am typing a URL or a search query. I could not quite put my finger on it. At first I thought it was to do with the new updates and other enhancements. Then I started to think about getting a new laptop.

Just recently, while I was optimising a few aspects of my old Macbook Pro (circa 2010), I discovered that one could speed things up by turning off the Dashboard (does anyone use this anymore?). The Dashboard is one of those features that I hardly ever use on OS X.

During my search on how to turn off the Dashboard, I discovered another tip, that allows you to disable the “App Nap” setting of apps on an individual basis. Curious, I tried this on Chrome. I went to open Finder and then open the “Applications” directory. I right-clicked on Google Chrome and selected “Get Info”. In the Get Info window, I ticked “prevent App Nap”.

This has resulted in Chrome working as fluidly as it did before I upgraded to Mavericks. Although this worked for me, your milage may vary. Good luck.

How to avoid getting hit by the latest Mac trojans, such as Flashback

There have been lots of talks in the media about the recent Flashback infection affecting Macs. At the last read, there were reportedly over 600,000 OS X machines infected with this malware. While it maybe useful to wait for a fix from Apple (they only said something about this malware the other day, weeks after it has been known to infect machines in the wild),  Apple is not known to be very open about security issues, especially concerning IOS or Mac OS X.

Fortunately, there is one easy way this malware can be stopped, and that is by disabling Java in all your browsers. This should not affect your browsing experience, unless you specifically have to run Java Applets in your browser for some strange reason. I recommend you disable Java in Safari, Chrome and Firefox. Don’t hesitate.

While you’re at it, you should also update Flash Player. To be safe, go to to download it.

How to disable Java in Safari, Chrome, Firefox

Mac OS X security has been breached? Not the first time

How to find out if you have been infected by the “Flashback” trojan on Mac OS X and then remove it.

Despite all the hype about the breaching of Mac OS X security in the media, it pays to remember that this is not the first time it has happened. There have been many Flash Player and Java bugs in the past.

What is new here is that the bugs in Java has been exploited to carry out a silent install of the malware. This exploit has been so successful that it is estimated that up to 500,000 Apple machines have been infected so far.

If you have been unlucky you may have been infected, but there are ways to find and fortunately, remove the malware from your system.