Our technology editor answers your trickiest tech questions
Question I have an iMac that I bought in 2012. It won’t support Photoshop, which I tried to download. Rather than upgrading to a new iMac, could I buy a MacBook, connect it to my old iMac and use Photoshop that way? — Pat Keating
Your iMac will let you do this in a slightly quirky set of circumstances. When I say ‘quirky’, I mean that the MacBook you use needs to be one from 2019 or earlier; in other words, using your 2012 iMac as the screen for your MacBook can only be done if the Mac laptop is using a version of the Mac operating system known as macOS Catalina, which is three years old.
Newer versions, such as the current macOS Monterey (12), won’t work in this particular set-up. What’s more, your own iMac has to have no newer a Mac operating system than macOS High Sierra (which was the 2017 version of the operating system). If this sounds a bit awkward and confusing, it is. If you are really thinking of buying a new MacBook to use Photoshop, and need the larger monitor to better examine the editing details you’re doing, it would be a lot easier to simply add a new high-quality 24-inch monitor, which you can pick up for under €150.
It’s very easy to hook the two up and there are no weird operating system requirements. Moreover, you don’t need a ‘Pro’ model — the cheapest MacBook Air (€1,129) is more than adequate to do the job.
But I have to ask an even more basic question. Would you be buying a MacBook just to run Photoshop on a larger screen? If so, you’d save yourself at least another €150 (or more if you already have a keyboard and mouse) by getting a Mac Mini (€799).
I won’t ask whether you ‘need’ Photoshop as you must already have decided that you do. But for anyone else wondering whether you need Photoshop, which is very expensive, to edit photos, I decided I didn’t — even though I sometimes post professional shots online and in print. I prefer a combination of Apple’s own Photos app, iMovie and free online alternatives such as Pixlr or Fotor on a Mac instead (or Google’s Snapseed on either an iPhone or Android).
Recommendation: Mac Mini (€799)
I live in a rural area and my broadband is supplied from a mast. It’s around 10Mbps for downloads and 2Mbps for uploads. My house is old with thick stone interior dividing walls.
I purchased a Deco M5 router to help and was delighted as I could get internet in all rooms. Because of our location, we depend on Sky TV to get good reception on all stations. Having recently received my free TV licence, I extended the Sky subscription to cover another TV.
This in turn caused reception problems with the main TV. The Sky engineer reverted back to the old internet router to ensure that stations on both TVs worked. And now I’m back to poor internet reception around the house. What, if anything, can I do to remedy this?
— Marrietta Herraghty
I’d need to have a little more detail about the exact issue. From the sound of it, there is some manoeuvering you might be able to do with the routers (you may be able to plug one of them into your old router, for example). But really, the basic problem you have is the broadband package you’re on. 10Mbs is a very, very slow and basic speed. It’s barely enough to operate most modern services, even when distance isn’t an issue.
If there’s any possibility of getting a better package at an affordable price (decent rural options such as Starlink are far too expensive for most people at €100 a month), take it.
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OneSonic BB-HD1 (G2)
€80 from Onesonic.com
This Irish headphone designer has done a good job in improving some aspects of its second generation, affordable noise-cancelling wireless headphones. They’re more comfortable and slightly better for audio and keeping out unwanted external noise. They’re not as good as premium sets from the likes of Sony, but they cost only a third of the price.
Bose Soundlink Flex
€170 from Currys
Bose generally makes good speakers, so this portable model comes with high hopes. Its advantages include being effectively waterproof (it can float in water) and the ability to pair to a second one for full-room sound. The rechargeable wireless speaker has a battery life of up to 12 hours between charges.