How To Prepare Your Mac For Mountain Lion

As you all probably know by now, Mountain Lion was released yesterday. Unless, you’re one of those early adapter types, you’re probably holding out on upgrading your Mac for the weekend. In my opinion, though, the best time to upgrade to a new version of an operating system is when the first update comes out. In Mountain Lion’s case, that would be 10.8.1. The first version is when the really annoying bugs are fixed and the chances of the operating system screwing the user’s computer are really low.

If you still think you’re ready for the first version of Apple’s latest, greatest, this guide should help you prepare your Mac for the onslaught!

Backup

I cannot stress this point enough. Please make a backup of all your important documents before upgrading. While, Apple definitely tests their installation process hundreds, if not thousands, of times, this is a computer and murphy will strike when you lease expect him to. Since, I use Time Machine for backups, I always have a backup of my data with me. I still verified if all was well with the data and proceeded to the next step.

Take a backup of your data and thank me later.

Verify Disk/File System

This is a step that I’ve not seen anyone recommend but it is, in my opinion, the most important step in the whole upgrade process. Mac OS X uses the hfs file system for storing all your files. Normally, a file system is something the user should not be concerned with, but when things go wrong in the file system, the user has the most to lose. A bad sector on the hard disk or an error with the file system structures can lead to data loss and more.

Reboot your Mac and press and hold the Option key when the computer is booting up. This will bring up a menu that’ll let let you select the recovery partition to boot into. Now, select the disk utility option from the window that pops up on the screen.

When Disk Utility launches, select your hard disk volume from the column on the left and click the Repair Disk button on the right. Depending on the size of your hard disk, this process might take a little time. Use this time to find a spare USB drive or an external hard drive with atleast 5 GBs of free space. We’ll need it for the next step.

Download Mountain Lion

This one’s easy!

Reboot your computer back to Lion and start downloading Mountain Lion from the Mac App Store. It costs $19 and Apple really couldn’t have made it easier to download it. The installer is about 4.6GB so this might take a while, if you like in a Bandwidth impoverished countries of the world like I do.

When the download completes, the installer will launch automatically. Quit it (Use Command+Q since the installer doesn’t have an option to quit).

Go to the Applications folder and copy the installer (named Mountain Lion Installer) to the spare disk you found earlier. This is needed because once Mountain Lion is installed the installer is deleted and to use it again you’ll have to download the full 4.6GBs again, which may be a little painful.

Installation

That’s it! You’re all set to install Mountain Lion. The installer itself is pretty simple and doesn’t require too much user intervention. Let the installer do it’s magic.

How To Backup All Your Facebook Profile Data

FacebookFacebook is the world’s most popular social network with over 600 million users. 600 million users who post millions of status messages and upload millions of photos to the site every single day. In fact, Facebook is also the biggest online photo sharing site in the world.

But, have you ever thought what would happen to all that data if the site decides to shut down one day ? Or even worse, what if Facebook decides to ban you from using it for violation of some policy that you weren’t even aware existed ? This isn’t new and has happened to a number of people.

In such a case, wouldn’t it be nice to have an offline backup of all your activity on Facebook ?

Thankfully, the smart programmers at Facebook also realized this and built a feature that lets users take a backup of their profiles. The feature is built-in to facebook and we’re going to show you how to use it.

How To Backup All Your Facebook Data

Log in to you Facebook account and click the Account link on the top right corner of the page. From the drop down, select Account Settings.

Facebook Account Settings

Now, on the Account Settings page, you should see an option that says “Download Your Information”. Click the learn more link next to it.

Since, this option lets you download all the data in your facebook profile and the data may be a little sensitive, Facebook will ask you to authenticate again using your password. Enter your password and click the Continue button.

Download Your Facebook Data

Facebook will now tell you, approximately, the size of the data that you’re about to download. Just click on the Download Now button and Facebook will start backing up all your data. This process happens on facebook’s servers and you will receive an email once the process is complete. Be warned, if you’re a heavy facebook user, this process might take a while.

Downloading Profile Data

When your backup is ready to be downloaded, Facebook will send you an email with a link to a zip file containing all your profile data including your wall posts, pictures and any notes that you may have written. You may want to keep this file in a safe place if you’re paranoid about security.

Facebook Data Download Email

Did you find this post helpful ? Have you ever thought of taking a backup of your Facebook profile data ?

3 ways to Archive Your Tweets

Twitter LogoThere is no doubt that Twitter is an extremely valuable and powerful tool. It is not only a medium for communication, it is also at the forefront of the real-time web. In fact, some would even, arguably, claim that Twitter started the whole real-time craze.

A lot of people use Twitter to share little 140 character snippets of their daily life with their friends and family and there are others who just use Twitter to get the latest news, in real-time. And in these varied usage patterns lies the beauty of Twitter. The service by itself is so basic and simple that almost everyone who uses it has a different take on it.

But, one thing that most people would agree on is that the Twitter search service is most likely the best indicator of global trends and it is a pity that Twitter keeps an index worth only about 1.5 weeks on it’s servers ! Yes, you heard that right, 1-and-half weeks. So, if you tweet something today, 1.5 weeks later, no one will be able search for it. Yes, the Tweet will still be visible to you in your time-line but anyone who doesn’t know you, will not be able to use Twitter search to search for your tweet.

Given this limitation, it is only natural that several third party services have sprung up to fill the void and among them, here are 5 of our favorites.

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How to backup all the device drivers installed on your Windows PC

Windows Logo All of us have at one time or the other re-installed Windows and found out that driver required to run that one piece of hardware is not available by default in windows. And of course, if you’re like me, you wouldn’t even have the drivers CD that came with the hardware !

So, what did you do the last time you were faced with such a situation ?

Well, I’ll tell you what I did. I spent hours and hours on the Internet scouring various websites to find drivers that would work with my setup. I downloaded a lot of them, installed a couple and gave up when none of them worked. And then I repeated the same process again the next morning. I did eventually find what I was looking for, but I can tell you this, it really wasn’t the best use of my time.

That is about to change, though, because I think I’ve finally found a solution for this very problem. The next time I go about re-installing windows on my PC, I’ll make sure I take a backup of all the device drivers present on the system using Double Driver.

Double Driver is a free and utility which not only lets you view all the installed drivers on your system, it also lets you take a back up of all the drivers and, this is my best part, lets you restore from the backup whenever you want to.

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