Keeping A Mac Clean: What I Use

Since keeping your Mac clean seems to be a popular topic, I thought I would take a moment to highlight a couple of products I have used for quite some time.

As a Mac Consultant, I often run into keyboards and screens that are less than sparkling (Honestly, who’s really is?). Because of this, as a service to my clients I often will take a few extra minutes to spiffy up their Mac a bit before leaving. Kind of a nice value-add that anyone would appreciate.

For cleaning keyboards and other hard to reach spots, I depend on Cyber Clean. The best description I can give it is “goop”. That said, this goop molds itself into the tightest spaces and picks up dust, crumbs, dirt, and other detritus that is otherwise hard to get. It’s looks nasty, feels strange, but works like a Christmas miracle.

To clean the screen, I absolutely swear by iKlear. I have used it ever since getting a sample at Macworld about ten years ago. Nothing does a better job on portable screens. Nothing. I usually keep a stash of the iKlear Travel Singles in my bag. In less than a couple of minutes I can have a screen looking like brand new.

Between the two of these my Macs, and those of my clients, are always shiny.

Delegating Choice

I have talked before about final choices and sensible defaults as a way I bring balance to my life by reducing the number of choices I have to make. I have recently identified one other method I increasingly use to simplify in this manner – delegating choices to someone or something else.

For example, when listening to music at home, I rarely seek out a specific album or artist. Most often, I use iTunes Genius Playlists or iTunes DJ to do the selecting for me. Even more recently, since it’s release, I’ve been using the excellent KCRW Music Mine and just hitting play. In both of these cases, I’m happy to place my trust in these tools and let it run. I don’t need to think about what kind of mood I’m in and searching through thousands of choices. I simply hit play.

Another way I have been doing this, and this is an idea I learned from a good friend, is when ordering at restaurants. Instead of looking through the menu and trying to decide my meal, I delegate the choice to the server. I simply ask, “What is good today?” or “Bring me your favorite.” and they, more often than not, are happy to oblige. Now, one must have a pretty broad palate (I do) and one must be OK with the idea that what is delivered may be the most expensive item on the menu (this has been rare for me) but, in general, I’m delighted with the results of such experiments.

In both of these cases, one takes a risk that is based on the trust that the person or service will make choices that are agreeable to you. It helps that in both I have broad and curious tastes and therefore it is hard for me to be disappointed. That said, I think there is under-appreciated delight in randomness, serendipity, and surprise. I wish to fill my life with more of it and this is one way to do so.

A Week Without Social Networks

As stated last week, I plan to start going a week wIthout some things in order to best evaluate my needs. It should come as no surprise to any of my patrons that I have been struggling with how I approach social networks.

Don’t get me wrong, they are a great tool for communication and engagement. In fact, there are many people that I have met and converse with primarily through social networks that I would call my friends. I would not have been able to build these relationships without these tools.

I have no problem with advertising at all. When it is done well advertising can connect people with really useful products and ideas they may not have heard of otherwise. If a social network wants to go down the advertising path to pay the bills, I can support that.

I guess what I’m increasingly uncomfortable with, and the reason for this break, is two fold:

  • I find I spend and share far too much of my time and words there with no clear intention of why I’m doing so. Are the things I’m saying really things others need to know? Is it helping them in any way? Is it helping me by sharing them? Could the words I’m sharing there be better shared some other way? On a website or a book? With a tool that allows me better control and retains personal ownership.

  • As a writer, I make my living off of my words. Is a social network, as a tool, worth the trade of letting someone else profit from my words as well? Is it OK for them to listen into my conversation about the double-shot of espresso I pulled and then deliver a burr grinder ad into my stream? Does the fact that I happen to be in the market for a burr grinder make that transaction OK? Because, those words are ultimately what they sell to advertisers and use to deliver “relevant” advertising to us.

Once again, I’m not saying it is good or bad one way or the other. I honestly do not have an answer. These are all questions, along with many others, I will be pondering during my mini-sabbatical. I will also be pondering how to come back with a better intention and approach. Which, ultimately, is what we should be seeking with any tool we wish to use well.

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