Mac Tips for Techs: Activity Monitor -the Task Manager for a Mac



Before my Mac completely ticked me off, and I broke up with Apple, I was dealt a blow had been frustrating and ongoing (more on that in later blog posts). I had not been able to get my machine to turn off the digital optical out; my speakers were unusable on my MacBook Pro.

Because of this, and after a ton of Google research, I had been trying various troubleshooting techniques. One of them was to stop the CoreAudio service.

On a PC this is simple: you open Task Manager, you browse the running processes, and you kill them. However, how do you stop processes from running on a Mac? You can use a great utility called Activity Monitor, which is a built-in tool on the Mac that can be found by typing Activity Monitor into your spotlight.

ActivityMonitorFrom here, this should look pretty similar to Task Manager. You have your processes listed, and you can sort the list in a variety of ways. You can also select individual processes and click the X in the upper left-hand corner to kill the process.

You can also search the processes via how they affect memory, energy, disk, or the network, in addition to the default of CPU. This is crucial if you are troubleshooting certain issues with your Mac — such as whether you are low on RAM, or maybe the Mac’s battery life is dying too quickly (check the energy tab).

This is a great tool for troubleshooting a Mac, and should be included in any technician’s toolkit.


Apple’s redesigned iMac


The new iMac - Image courtesy of

Apple recently announced a number of new products but one of the most exciting was the new iMac. Aside from the radical new design that dropped the optical drive and slimmed the body down to 5mm at the edges, there are some pretty exciting things going on under the hood.

Fusion Drive - Image courtesy of apple.comTo go along with up to 16GB of RAM, faster quad-core processors, beefed up graphics, and USB 3.0 ports, Apple has included Fusion Drive. No, this is not some new way to make Macs more expensive. When the iMac is configured with both a solid state drive (SSD) and a conventional hard drive, the operating system and the built-in apps will come loaded on the SSD and the hard drive will be ready for all of your documents, games, movies, and other data. As you use the machine, the operating system will automatically move your most frequently used programs and data to the SSD, allowing them open more quickly. Programs and files that you use less often will automatically be moved to the hard drive, making sure that you get to use all of the storage. The new iMac has SSD options up to 768GB and hard drive options up to 3TB, so there is plenty of room for all of your stuff.

All of these speedy improvements make a pretty compelling argument for the iMac as a powerful all-in-one workstation that will not have a huge footprint on your desk.

Check out the new iMacs here:

If you are thinking about upgrading your workstations or have questions about integrating Macs into your office, call Everon @ 888-244-1748.

What is the difference in RAM and your hard drive space?


What is the difference between hard drive space and RAM?  That is a good question, one that arises so often in troubleshooting  calls and sales support. There is so much detail that I could go into about this question but this blog is going to be a quick  explanation that will give a pretty good idea of what each of them are and the purpose that they serve.

First off, let’s talk about your hard drive and the space that it provides.  A hard drive is a physical disk made up of blocks and sectors on a drive that stores your information in strategic areas that allows access to your information. Your hard drive permanently stores information for access.  The space on the disk (the gigabytes) is utilized for storage only.  The more or less space you have available does not directly affect the speed and performance of your computer.  The only speed or performance affected is how quickly your computer can retrieve previously stored information.  On a normal basis, this speed is not really recognizable by a normal person in normal use.

That takes us to your RAM.  RAM is defined as “random access memory” with random being the key word. This is also measure in gigabytes or in some cases, megabytes.  Unlike your hard drive, your RAM temporarily stores information for access.  Your RAM works hand in hand with your processor speed and manages the speed and ability to multitask and run programs.  The more RAM and processing speed that you have, the faster programs will run, open, and the more programs you can run simultaneously.

So to break it down in a very simple analogy, let’s look at it like a chef’s kitchen with your hard drive being the refrigerator and the RAM being the counter space.  The bigger the refrigerator the more items you can store and the fuller it gets, the more time it takes to find the items you need to cook a meal.  If you have a small counter, you can only chop the vegetables and then cut up the chicken.  You are only able to do one thing at a time.  If you have a big counter top, you can do multiple things at the same time and even get someone in there to assist you to get the meal cooked faster.

Ideally, you want a kitchen with big counter tops, a big refrigerator, and plenty of space to cook as much as you ideally want  without restrictions.  If you have any questions before buying or upgrading, Everon is a great resource to answer your questions about your hardware.