Is my Mac Compatible with Mountain Lion?


With the launch of Mountain Lion confirmed for later today, the question on the lips of many Mac users is ‘Will my Mac run Mountain Lion’? The high minimum requirements of Apple’s latest version of OS X actually rule out quite a high percentage of what many people will still regard as quite recent machines, so I’ve put together this guide so that prospective upgraders can tell at a glance whether it’s worth shelling out to download Mountain Lion when it becomes available.

Compatibility of older Macs with Mountain Lion is dependent on two criteria: the age and spec of the graphics card, and whether or not the hardware supports the 64-bit processor architecture required by the new OS. Because Mountain Lion will be available as a download from the Mac App Store only, Snow Leopard will be the minimum OS required to actually get hold of the upgrade. For this reason, Power PC Macs are definitely not supported, as these were left in the dark when Snow Leopard (OS X 10.6) debuted in August 2009.

In most cases the deciding factor is going to be the graphics card. The best way to confirm what Continue reading

Reattach or Re-attach? The Prefix of Repetition

When you find yourself writing for a living, things that previously seemed insignificant suddenly take on a whole new level of importance. For instance, I stumbled across a little grammatical challenge last night, as I was putting together some hardware-related tutorials for a forthcoming bookazine about how to dismantle and remantle your Mac. I like to think that I know enough about the rules of English grammar to get by, but every now and then I have to lurch from my desk and reach for the not-very-well-thumbed copy of Fowler’s Modern English Usage that lurks in the bookcase at the back of the room.
Such a case occurred last night while I was writing a tutorial step that involved plugging in a cable that had been disconnected in a previous step. At first I wrote ‘reattach’, but when I read it back it looked wrong, like the name of an esoteric brand of Scotch. So I bunged in a hyphen and got ‘re-attach’. That didn’t look right either. Time to consult Fowler.
And here’s what he replied: words beginning with ‘re’, meaning to do something for a second time, should not normally be hyphenated (reconnect, reapply, reinsert, reattach). The only times you need a hyphen are when the secondary word, the verb that’s being done again, begins with an ‘e’ (re-enter, re-establish, re-edit), or when you need to differentiate between two different meanings of what would otherwise be the same word (recollect and re-collect, recount and re-count).

Fowler gives the ‘re’ the grandiose title of ‘The Prefix of Repetition’. Sounds to me like a John Martyn album title from the 70’s, but there you go. You really do learn something new every day – in this case, that it was actually worth buying that book after all.

How to Access OS X Lion’s Hidden User Library Folder

A bit of a geeky one this – although I’m not sure how that’s going to make it any different from all the other posts here – but I found a solution today for a Mac OS-based issue that’s been bugging me for a while now, ever since I upgraded to Lion. For some reason known only to themselves, Apple have decided to make the User library folder in OS X 10.7 invisible from the Finder. When you browse to Mac HD > Users > username and try to access the Library folder, it just isn’t there. It always used to be, but now it seems that Apple think that the average Mac user is far too stupid to be granted access to this particular folder. This can make things awkward if you want to do stuff like delete a rogue preference file, manually install an AU plug-in or access any of the Application Support folders contained therein.
Until this morning, this was only slightly irksome, but when I urgently needed to delete an unwanted file from the folder where my iWork templates are stored, it suddenly became an issue for which I had to go hunting for a solution. This turned out to be so surprisingly simple, while at the same time completely counter-intuitive, that I decided to post it here for anyone with a similar issue.
To access the hidden user library folder in OS X 10.7, here’s what you do.

1. Hold down your Mac’s Alt (Option) key.
2. In the Finder’s ‘Go’ menu, click ‘Library’
3. You’re in!

Notice that, if you release the Alt key while the ‘Go’ menu is open, the Library option disappears. Why we now have to jump through hoops to get to this particular bit of our hard drives is anybody’s guess, but you do have to wonder why Apple don’t let users know why they’ve done this, and how to get around it when you really need to.

Now I just need to find a way to rearrange the items in the Finder sidebar so I don’t have to scroll down to eject my external drive, and figure out why the Help browser always floats above all other open windows, no matter which app is in the foreground. Then my post-Lion life will be complete.