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I want to call attention to a couple of system preferences settings that you'll find useful. So we'll go into System Preferences and I'll choose Energy Saver. If you have a 2011 or later MacBook Air, you'll see an entry here that you won't see on other Macs, and it is called Power Nap. This setting is designed so that when you put your Mac to sleep it can continue to perform certain tasks. Specifically, your Mac will update synched contacts, receive new calendar invitations and updates, update reminders, update notes, update PhotoStream, download updates from the Mac App Store, back-up to Time Machine, and update its location, meaning that find my Mac will work even when the Mac is snoozing.
You can configure Power Nap so that it works whether your Mac is plugged in or if it's running on battery power. By default, it's off using the Battery setting. Now it's a cool feature, but there are some reasons you may not want to run it. For example, if your Mac is running on battery power and you have it switched on, and you intend to let it sleep for a long time, it's possible that your Mac's battery will be drained when you next wake it up. Also, I like to have some control over the updates I install and when I install them. For example, if an update is released that's buggy or reduces the features found in an earlier version, I'd prefer to not install it.
So, up to you. If you think this sounds like a good idea, switch it on. If not, you're welcome to leave it off. Note, too, that by the time you see this, some other Mac models may be compatible with Power Nap. To find out if yours is, all you have to do is go to Energy Saver. If you see Enable Power Nap, that means it works on your Mac. Now let's go to Security & Privacy and look in the Privacy tab. This is new to System Preferences with Mountain Lion, and it offers a few capabilities. First of all, if you click on Location Services, you can see any applications that have requested location data in the last 24 hours.
If you'd like to no longer grant these applications that privilege, all you have to do is uncheck that and that app will stop looking at your current location. The next option is Contacts. This will show you any applications that have asked for your contact information. Now, whenever you launch one of these applications for the first time and that needs contact information, it will make that request. Once you've allowed it, then the application will appear within this pane. If you'd like to prevent that application from using your contacts, again, all you have to do is uncheck it and it will no longer have access to your contacts.
And then there is the Twitter setting. Much like with Contacts, whenever an application asked for permission to use your Twitter account and you grant that permission, that application will appear here. And of course, if you'd like to deny that access, simply uncheck the application that's asked for it. Power Nap and these new privacy settings are not marquee features in Mountain Lion, but they are features that you should be aware of.
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