These are questions that pro users should be able to answer about their machine right away, can you?
Microsoft NTFS for Mac by Paragon Software
If not, follow along as we look at four different methods for digging into your system and pulling out any information that you need about hardware, software and more. The first step to learning about any Mac is to check out the System Information application, which is a built in utility that helps you learn all of the basic information associated with your Mac.
To begin, click on the Apple menu in the upper left corner of your screen and go to "About This Mac. As you can see, this little window tells you a lot of useful information. Without any further work we know the operating system, processor, memory and startup disk for this Mac. From here, click the "More Info" button to launch the System Information application. Note that if you're on an older version of OS X, this app will be called "System Profiler" and will look considerably different.
In this app, we can find out nearly everything we need to know about a given Mac. As you can see, there are four primary tabs to choose from: Overview, Displays, Storage and Memory.
Why Doesn't Anyone Give a Crap About Freedom Zero?
On the Overview tab, we can see roughly when a Mac was made, along with a more detailed version of the information that we saw in the previous screen. Some great resources here are your graphics card and serial number, the latter of which will come in handy if repairs or replacement parts ever need to be be ordered.
If you're an old school Mac user who doesn't like this new System Information app as much as the old utility, click the "System Report" button to access a breakdown of your system that should be more familiar. The Displays tab simply tells you the resolution and size of your screen along with a redundant bit about your graphics card. Far more useful are the next two tabs: Storage and Memory. As you can see, Apple has picked up the graph that iTunes uses to analyze the storage on your iOS device and applied it to your hard disk.
This is a fantastic way to get a quick look at what's eating up your hard drive space. This shot shows me that I have over 40GBs in photos that I could offload to an external hard drive to save space on my Mac.
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Note that there's also a link here to open Disk utility, another vital source of information about your hardware. I happen to know that the RAM on my Retina MacBook Pro is actually soldered onto the logic board and is therefore non-upgradeable, but Apple does nothing to inform me of that here!
Unfortunately, this link doesn't take me anywhere but the Apple Support home page. This is an important lesson: the System Information app is great, but it certainly doesn't tell you all that you need to know. Any time you really want to dig into something technical, odds are Terminal can provide you with the information that you're looking for. Unfortunately, for some, Terminal seems like an intimidating place where a small typo can have disastrous effects.
Though you can indeed get into a decent amount of trouble in Terminal, for the most part, it's not half as scary as people make it out to be. As long as you do your research and are confident in the consequences of the commands that you're typing in, you should be fine. The resulting text is a fairly massive data dump with all kinds of information about your machine.
However, despite the fact that this is a fairly cool and tech savvy way to get this information, it's really just the same data that we saw in the System Report before. Though is seems redundant, this plain text output can be a more useful format for your system information than what we saw before, especially if you want to share or save it.
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The built-in utilities for getting a breakdown of your system are nice, but sometimes you just need more. Wouldn't it be nice to have an app that stored detailed information about nearly every Apple product ever made? Wouldn't it be great if that app allowed you to keep a catalog of all of your devices for quick access? How cool would it be if this app were free? The fairy tale app that we just described does indeed exist! It's called Mactracker and it's awesome. Mactracker is a must have utility for all Mac hardware geeks. Not only does it have detailed information on the Mac currently sitting on your desk, it also covers all of the other Apple products that have been on your desk throughout the years.
The app serves as an awesome walk down the long line of failed and obscure Apple products. Far more than a catalog of antiques, Mactracker serves as your one-stop destination for information regarding the products that you currently own. For instance, my poor wife is still working on a late 13" MacBook that needs all the help it can get. To see where I can make some potential upgrades, I can pull the machine up in Mactracker and find everything I need to know: model number, processor, which RAM to buy and the actual RAM capacity which is often different than Apple tells you ; I can even tell you minute details like the dimensions and weight of the machine!
Mactracker is overflowing with great features. You can compare the specs on multiple Macs, keep a running list of your hardware and the related warranty status just type in your serial number to see this info , create Smart Categories to quickly browse lists with certain characteristics example: only models with Firewire ports ; the list goes on and on.
Microsoft NTFS for Mac | Paragon Software
One of my favorite features is the timeline, which allows you to quickly click on a year and see what was released during that time period, dating all the way back to Unfortunately, as of the time of this writing, the newest products on this timeline are from March, I'm sure there will be an update soon to remedy this issue. Again, the app is completely free so it's understandable that updates might take some time. Up to this point, we've seen three great methods for finding out information about your Mac. However, despite the wealth of information that we've uncovered, there's still a lot to learn about my specific Mac.
The built-in utilities gave me some limited information and Mactracker, despite being awesome, is a little behind with the updates, so where do I turn now? The answer is EveryMac. Here you can find detailed specs and information regarding Apple products dating back to , access detailed comparisons, get links for upgrade hardware and a lot more. This website has the answers you're looking for, whether your Mac is brand new or ancient. Just as with Mactracker, I can browse by year or model to find the machine that I'm looking for.
Unlike Mactracker, EveryMac is super fast with updates. I was able to find my specific Retina MacBook right away. That's Freedom Zero :. Freedom 0 is the freedom to run the program, for any purpose. WordPress gives me that freedom; Movable Type does not.
It never really did, but it was free enough so we all looked the other way, myself included. But Movable Type 3.
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I do not have the freedom to run the program for any purpose; I only have the limited set of freedoms that Six Apart chooses to bestow upon me, and every new version seems to bestow fewer and fewer freedoms. With Movable Type 2. WordPress is Free Software. Its rules will never change. In the event that the WordPress community disbands and development stops, a new community can form around the orphaned code. It's happened once already. In the extremely unlikely event that every single contributor including every contributor to the original b2 agrees to relicense the code under a more restrictive license, I can still fork the current GPL-licensed code and start a new community around it.
There is always a path forward. There are no dead ends. Movable Type is a dead end. In the long run, the utility of all non-Free software approaches zero. All non-Free software is a dead end. It's compelling rhetoric. As a software developer, there's no denying that open source software is a powerful and transformative force in modern software development.
The console model, and Apple's de-facto first party development model, are about as far as you can get from Mark's freedom zero — instead, you get zero freedom. You hand the vendor a pile of cash and they allow you to do a handful of specific things with their device, for only so long as they're inclined to do so. It's hardly fair. In fact it's completely unfair ; they can legally pull the rug out from under you at any time.
But it can still result in some incredibly useful relationships with products that solve very real problems for the user. As Jaron Lanier notes, the iPhone was not a product of freedom zero :. Twenty-five years later, that concern seems to have been justified.
Open wisdom-of-crowds software movements have become influential, but they haven't promoted the kind of radical creativity I love most in computer science. If anything, they've been hindrances. Some of the youngest, brightest minds have been trapped in a s intellectual framework because they are hypnotized into accepting old software designs as if they were facts of nature. Linux is a superbly polished copy of an antique, shinier than the original, perhaps, but still defined by it. Before you write me that angry e-mail, please know I'm not anti-open source.
I frequently argue for it in various specific projects. But a politically correct dogma holds that open source is automatically the best path to creativity and innovation, and that claim is not borne out by the facts. Why are so many of the more sophisticated examples of code in the online world — like the page-rank algorithms in the top search engines or like Adobe's Flash — the results of proprietary development?
Why did the adored iPhone come out of what many regard as the most closed, tyrannically managed software-development shop on Earth? An honest empiricist must conclude that while the open approach has been able to create lovely, polished copies, it hasn't been so good at creating notable originals. Even though the open-source movement has a stinging countercultural rhetoric, it has in practice been a conservative force.
So I'll ask again, since Mark brought it up: why doesn't anyone give a crap about freedom zero? You know, a dongle : A dongle is a small hardware device that connects to a computer, often to authenticate a piece of software.