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How to Set Time Limits for Computer Use in Mac OS X

Set time limits for computer use in Mac OS X

Mac OS X allows you to set time limits for computer usage by way of Parental Controls. With the feature, you can set different limits to computer use for weekdays, weekends, and even set bed times, whereby the Mac would be unusable between some specified hours. This is obviously a good way to set computer use time limits for kids, but it can also be a handy way to force some self control on yourself if you struggle separating work from play, and otherwise just spend too much time on the computer.

If you haven't done so yet, you will need to create a new user account on the Mac, this can be done quickly through the Users and Groups control panel. Assuming you have the new account created:

  • From System Preferences in the  Apple menu, choose "Parental Controls"
  • Click the lock icon in the corner to unlock the control panel and enter the administrator password
  • Select the user account to set time limits for from the left side, then select the "Time Limits" tab
  • Check boxes and adjust the sliders as appropriate for the desired time limitations
  • Close out of Parental Controls when finished

Set Time Limits for computer use in Mac OS X

With Time Limits configured, the next time the user accesses that account they will be confined to the timing restrictions that were indicated. The "Limit computer use" options are generic in that a restriction of 3 hours a day can be used for a grand total of 3 hours a day at any time of the day. The "Bedtime" feature allows you to specify clock hours if you want the user account to only have access during specified hours.

Parental Controls has a lot of other helpful options available too, like preventing certain apps from being used, limiting contact with certain people, profanity filters, and more. The name makes it obvious that the feature set is geared towards parents for their children, but I know several individuals who use different user accounts for separating their home and work lives, and also to limit distractions from apps like Twitter.

OCDock Offers iPhone Dock Integration with iMac or Thunderbolt Display [iOS Blog]

With Apple's change to the Lightning dock connector for the iPhone 5 and its other mobile devices, customers have been struggling to find dock solutions compatible with the new standard. Users started with several workarounds and do-it-yourself mods, but gradually unofficial docks and some more official workarounds have appeared to meet customer demand.

One new entrant with some unique features is the OCDock, a Kickstarter project focused on a clean design compatible specifically with the iMac and the Apple Thunderbolt Display. The OCDock's features include:

- A Lightning connector officially licensed under Apple's MFi program, paired with a custom paper-thin cable that allows it to be run underneath the foot of the iMac or display, essentially hiding it from view entirely.

- Strong, residue-free adhesive to mount the OCDock to the foot of the iMac or display, allowing for easy one-handed undocking. One of the Elevation Dock's main selling points under the previous 30-pin standard was a custom low-friction connector that allowed for easy one-handed undocking, but that advantage has been lost with the move to the standard tight-fitting Lightning connector. OCDock solves the problem by using the weight of the iMac or display and a strong adhesive to allow for easy device removal.

- Multiple silicone spacer options for rear support of both naked and cased iPhones, as well as a spring-loaded plate in the bottom of the dock to help provide stability for devices in a broad array of cases.

We chatted a bit with Rait Ojasaar, co-founder of OCDesk, the company behind OCDock, who noted that unlike many crowd-funded Kickstarter projects that have considerable work left to do once the funding goal has been reached, the OCDock is essentially ready for mass production. The OCDesk team has bankrolled the product development and prototyping phases entirely on its own, and simply needs Kickstarter backing to be able to place a large enough order with its manufacturing partners to keep the dock affordable. As a result, OCDesk is currently estimating that the products will launch next month, just weeks after the close of funding later this week, and the team is confident with that stated timeframe.

We were especially interested in hearing more about OCDock's participation in the MFi program, given how slow the rollout of official third-party Lightning accessories has been, but unfortunately much of the information is covered by a non-disclosure agreement. Ojasaar did note that there are several approved MFi vendors to work with who can provide Lightning connectors, but that it still involved a considerable amount of work to build relationships, negotiate a deal beneficial to both sides, and deal with the bureaucracy of Apple's stringent licensing requirements.

The OCDock has already met its Kickstarter goal, nearly doubling the original $49,000 target, meaning that the project is ready to go once funding closes and the team knows how many orders it has. There are currently two versions of the OCDock available: the full-size OCDock intended for a wide variety of iPhone cases, and the OCDock Mini intended for naked iPhones and those in ultra slim cases. Each model is also available in both 30-pin and Lightning connector varieties, as well as silver and jet black color options.

The full-size OCDock is priced at $59 under the Kickstarter campaign, with the OCDock Mini priced at $55. Both docks will retail for $79 once they launch for broader availability. The Kickstarter campaign closes at 12:00 AM this Saturday, December 22.

Apple Seeds Build 12D43 of OS X Beta 10.8.3 to Developers

After releasing iOS version 6.0.2 to fix issues with Wi-Fi on the iPhone 5 and the iPad mini, Apple today seeded build 12D43 of OS X 10.8.3 Mountain Lion to developers.
Though the update comes with no known issues or new features, Apple has asked developers to focus on AirPlay, AirPort, Game Center, Graphics Drivers, and Safari in their testing.

This is the third beta release since the first 10.8.3 beta was seeded back in November. Registered developers can download it via the Apple Developer Page.