Alex Kaloostian

Apple Certified Master Trainer | Systems Integrator | Video Editor | Motion Graphics Artist

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What are all these hidden items on my Mac? Part 1

If you open the root of your Mac’s hard drive, you’ll see four very neatly organized folders: Applications, Library, System, and Users. But there is much, much more hidden from you, that your Mac needs to do what it does. Do you need to know what any of them are? Absolutely not. But you’re a geek, and you’re curious, so lets find out anyway. Continue reading

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Mandatory Reading for Mac Geeks

In classes I often mention a couple articles from John Siracusa of, but it can be difficult to find them. I’m finally compiling them here for my own convenience, and yours. Warning: these articles are deep and technical, but very good reading if you want a deeper understanding and respect of OS X.

Metdata, the Mac, and you

John’s in-depth review of OS X 10.4 Tiger, or jump directly to the page about Extensible metadata & uniform type creators

OS X 10.9 Mavericks: The Ars Technica Review, especially the section about Mavericks’ energy saving features.

Edit: Mr. Siracusa would like me to remind you you can find ALL of his writing here:

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Wiping the slate clean

I’ve got a bad feeling about this…

Yesterday my boot drive started acting up.

Its an OEM 512GB SSD that came in my lastest-gen 13″ Macbook Pro Retina. I haven’t heard widespread reports of these units failing, so I think it was just a stroke of bad luck. I wanted to create a new partition to install Yosemite, but it wouldn’t let me. I assumed it was because I was using FileVault, so I turned it off. Three hours later, I tried again- but DiskUtility still listed it as a Logical Volume. no dice. I tried the command line, I tried repairing permissions, repairing the disk, no dice.

Okay, fine, I guess Ill wipe and restore. I am one of the precious few people who actually regularly back up, so I wasn’t too worried, but just to be sure, I wanted to run Time Machine one more time. My backups were at home, but I had a nice, fast USB3 SSD, so I set up a new backup of everything, after deleting things that would waste my time like Dropbox, Google Drive, Adobe apps  and Warcraft. Those four folders saved me 100GB. I could just get it all back from the cloud, anyway.

So that left me with about 150GB to back up. No problem, I was expecting about 2 hours, and the progress bar agreed. But then a funny thing happened: it finished in a half hour. And the backup was only 40GB.Okay, something is clearly not right here, so I looked at the settings… somehow, I had excluded my entire home folder. So I un-excluded it (TimeMachine settings are weird) and backed up again. Again, it excluded the home directory.

Okay, so something is definitely strange. I booted into target disk mode, plugged in a thunderbolt cable, and tried to make a disk image with Disk Utility. After 20 minutes it was only 3GB into it. Okay, something is clearly not right here! Ran repair disk, it found some errors. Ran it again, more errors. Okay, something is clearly not right here!

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Streaming media around your house

This past spring, I guest blogged at, and never linked to it here! I wrote a semi-in-depth article about converting media, sorting it in iTunes, and streaming music & video around your house with Airport and iPads. Here it is.

Part 1: Music, audio formats, metadata & lyrics

Part 2: Video, Handbrake, batch processing & Subler

Part 3: Home Sharing, AirPlay & streaming music

Part 4: AppleTV, Remote app & streaming video

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Interop 2013

Hello to everyone who was in my session at Interop today! I had fun, and I hope you got some useful info.

Here is a link to the slides in PDF format:

Better late than never: the iPad Fundamentals slides:

If you left early, and were unable to take the test on your own, there may have been trouble with the voucher we gave you. Denise will be emailing you with info on where and when you can come and take the test in a nice quiet environment, and will help with any other problems you may have. You can reach her at if you don’t hear from her.

Ill be upadting this post with info as details emerge, so check back again. Hope to see some of you at Interop NY!