OS X November 5

AAPL: 120.92

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Several months ago, I wrote a three-part guide to making amazing wall art from your Mac’s photos (part 1part 2part 3) — a popular series that readers told me they’d really enjoyed. The premise: as photography has gone digital, most of the pictures we take have become trapped on our computers, rarely seeing the light of day. Turning your favorite photos into large-format wall art is a great way to decorate your home or office, and with the recent introduction of the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus, higher-resolution photos and ultra-high-res panoramas are possible, increasing the image quality of even your everyday snaps.

Even though Apple’s OS X Photos app focuses on making small prints, photo books, and calendars, there are some great third-party photo-to-wall art services out there. Previously, I looked at how to turn your photos into large-sized metal, acrylic, and canvas wall art. This brand new part 4 explores three additional services, looking for the first time at photo prints on wood, as well as spotlighting several nice variations on prior themes…

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OS X November 3

AAPL: 122.57

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Apple today released the second iOS 9.2 beta for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch to registered developers. iOS 9.2 beta 2 follows the initial iOS 9.2 beta release just one week ago. The update is available over-the-air through the Settings app for developers already testing the release. The prior release contained few changes including extension support on Safari View Controller. The release notes only highlight bug fixes and improvements. expand full story

OS X October 27

AAPL: 114.55

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Apple and Intel’s Thunderbolt 2 standard has given Mac users — particularly professional Mac users — a premium, high-speed connector option for situations where bandwidth and speed are necessary: hooking up big, fast hard drives, high-resolution monitors, or even external graphics cards. The latest iMacs, Mac Pros, MacBook Pros and MacBook Airs all feature at least one Thunderbolt 2 port, a boon for expandability.

This year, Thunderbolt 2 docks have really taken off. Long-time Mac accessory makers have come up with a few different riffs on the same basic idea, leveraging a single cable to connect a bunch of Thunderbolt, USB, and audio/video accessories all at once to a Mac. This enables MacBook users to return home and make one connection to everything from an external monitor and speakers to external hard drives and card readers; it can also allow iMac, Mac Pro, and Mac mini users to connect devices built with connectors not found on their machines.

Here are the best Thunderbolt 2 dock options out there — and my suggestions as to which of them are best-suited to various usage scenarios…

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OS X October 21

AAPL: 113.76

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OS X October 19

AAPL: 111.73

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OS X October 16

AAPL: 111.04

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As expected, Apple’s release of OS X El Capitan for Macs was less about adding major new features than “refining the experience and improving performance” from Yosemite — in other words, under-the-hood optimizations to make any Mac run more reliably than before. Thanks to El Capitan, my older (mid-2011) 27″ iMac is running better than it has in years: fast, quiet, and cool enough that it might as well be fanless. Rarely does the volume level in my office climb above a whisper, an experience I’ve come to love so much that I’d never want to return to a loud computer.

“WAIT!,” you might be saying. “My Mac’s fan is on all the time. Apple didn’t start selling iMacs with silent solid state drives (SSDs) or hybrid Fusion Drives until late 2012. How could your older Mac be that quiet?”

Below, I’ll walk you through seven steps that will help you bring your older Mac to a hushed, zen-like state. The first four involve mostly free software, and the last three are small hardware upgrades…

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