Mac How-Tos

WordPress logo How to make a free WordPress Blog (Part 3) - Looking for the first two parts? Here’s How to make a free WordPress Blog (Part 1) and here’s How to make a free WordPress Blog (Part 2). This post focuses on the WordPress.com Dashboard. Let’s work our way down. At the top you’ll find a button labeled My Sites. Once clicked, it stays clicked. You need to click it once to get the rest of the options in the Dashboard. The next button down is Switch Site. I didn’t tell you this before, but you can have multiple WordPress.com websites under a single account. If… Continue Reading How to make a free WordPress Blog (Part 3)
WordPress logo How to make a free WordPress Blog (Part 2) - Looking for Part 1? Here it is: How to make a free WordPress Blog (Part 1). You’ve created an account, you’ve given your blog a theme, and you’ve chosen a URL. At that point, WordPress shows you a sample blog post, or a mocked-up home page, depending on choices you made when first setting things up. Let’s write our first blog post, add a picture, and categorize it. Start by clicking the “Write” button. The button may have the word “Write” on it, or may simply be a picture. See below. It depends on how… Continue Reading How to make a free WordPress Blog (Part 2)
WordPress logo How to make a free WordPress blog (Part 1) - Got something to say? Want to show off your pictures? Want to document your vacation, or the 4th grade, or comment on your favorite sports team’s season? You need a blog. Here’s how you make a free blog using WordPress. All you need is a web browser and an internet connection. WordPress is a very popular platform for blogging, and it’s free, and you can learn how in a hurry by reading this article. (The screenshots here are from a Mac using Google Chrome, but you can use Safari or Firefox or any other modern… Continue Reading How to make a free WordPress blog (Part 1)
Text replacements are awesome! Set Up Your Own iPhone and Mac Text Replacements for Auto-Correct - Whether you’re using an iPhone or a Mac, Auto-Correct is a real time-saver. Turns out you can set up your own “corrections” that expand into frequently-used words, phrases, sentences– even whole paragraphs! (On the Mac, they call them “text expansions.” On the iPhone, they’re “text replacements.” Either way, think of them as Auto-Corrects that substitute a lot of text for a little. Imagine typing a couple of characters in Messages on your iPhone and seeing it expand into a whole bunch of stuff that you didn’t have to type! That’s the power of these things.)… Continue Reading Set Up Your Own iPhone and Mac Text Replacements for Auto-Correct
College Football on December Calendar page 2016-2017 College Football Bowl Games Calendar for iPhone, iPad, and Mac - — 2016-2017 College Football Bowl Games Calendar for iPhone, iPad, and Mac — I’ve created the 2016-2017 College Football Bowl Game calendar for you and your iPhone and iPad and Mac. Click here to get it. When asked whether you want to subscribe, the answer is YES, you want to subscribe. That way you get updates in case I have to change something. The calendar has all the important information (dates, times, teams, TV network, and if I get the time I will also update the scores). Click the link, remember to tell it to… Continue Reading 2016-2017 College Football Bowl Games Calendar for iPhone, iPad, and Mac
Moom, Paste, and Alfred Essential Mac Add-on apps - — Essential Mac Add-on apps — Whenever I set up a Mac I always advise adding three great apps that make using a Mac easier, faster, and just plain nicer. Those apps are Moom, Paste, and Alfred, and to me, they’re essential. Try them out and I think you’ll agree. MoomThe name “Moom” comes from “Move and Zoom,” which is what this app does. This is way, way faster than dragging the edges of windows to resize them and then, in a separate step, dragging them to position. If you routinely have to shuffle windows… Continue Reading Essential Mac Add-on apps
Sad Finder How I Rescued a Mac Whose Finder Didn’t Work - — How I Rescued a Mac Whose Finder Didn’t Work — I run into some really interesting problems. Here’s a problem I hadn’t seen before– and how I solved it. I got a call from someone with an iMac whose Finder didn’t Work. The Mac started up fine, and the user could sign into her account, but the Desktop files were missing and no menu bar appeared. The machine was running– the mouse worked, the screen was lit up, the Dock was present– but I couldn’t get to the Desktop to open a file, and… Continue Reading How I Rescued a Mac Whose Finder Didn’t Work
Library Folder Option Key tip #12: Open your Library folder - — Option Key tip #12: Open your Library folder — Apple stores a lot of important stuff in your Library folder. Your mail messages, your preferences and settings, your keychains and passwords, and many, many other critical information is stored there. In some ways, your Library folder is the most important folder on your Mac– and you’ve probably never seen it. That’s the way Apple wants it; they don’t want you messing around with your Library folder, so they make it invisible. This keeps you from accidentally throwing your Library folder away, or accidentally putting… Continue Reading Option Key tip #12: Open your Library folder
Messages icon, 256 x 241 Option Key tip #11: Delete a Messages conversation with one click - — Option Key tip #11: Delete a Messages conversation with one click — You use the Messages app on your Mac, don’t you? (You should– you can tied it into your phone’s text messaging using your iCloud address, so the same messages show up on both devices, and it’s a lot easier to type on the Mac than on your phone.) Anyhow, sometimes you want to delete a conversation, and when you do it goes like this: 1. Hover over the conversation until you see the “x” 2. Click the “x” and wait for the… Continue Reading Option Key tip #11: Delete a Messages conversation with one click
Option Key tip #10: One-click System Information - — Option Key tip #10: One-click System Information — I have to admit, I thought I might not get to Option key Tip Number 10… but here it is! I’ll bet you’ve chosen “About This Mac” from the Apple menu– it shows you a box something like this. The “System Report…” button launches the System Informatoin application, an important trouble-shooting tool. Not too hard. But, if you hold the Option key, the first item in the Apple menu changes from “About This Mac” to “System Information,” saving you a click. It doesn’t sound like much… Continue Reading Option Key tip #10: One-click System Information
Special characters Option Key tip #9: Special Characters - — Option Key tip #9: Special Characters — Our Option key Tip-a-Palooza continues… Your documents will look better if you use the right characters. For example, mañana looks better than “manana,” and resumé looks better than “resume.” The Mac’s always been able to generate these characters (not true for PCs), so why not learn how and start using the right characters today. Check out the handy table below. Character Keystroke(s) • (bullet) Option-8 ¢ Option-4 ñ Option-n, then n é Option-e, then e ™ Option-2 ® Option-r º (degree symbol) Option-0 (that’s a zero) … Continue Reading Option Key tip #9: Special Characters
Option Key tip #8: Option-Empty Trash - — Option Key tip #8: Option-Empty Trash — Ever try to empty the Trash and get a message like this? Of course you have. Then you click “Empty Trash” (or hit Enter on the keyboard), and then you might get this message too: Most likely you will click “Remove All Items” and then– finally– the trash empties. Yay. Skip all of this trouble by holding down the Option key when you choose “Empty Trash” from the Finder’s “Finder” menu. Then it’s a one-stepper. No messages, just a satisfying whooshy-crumply sound. Try it! Note: when you… Continue Reading Option Key tip #8: Option-Empty Trash
Option Key tip #7: Option-Click - — Option Key tip #7: Option-Click — Ever click a link in Safari, hoping to download a PDF, and instead of downloading, the thing opens up in the browser (or worse, in Acrobat)? That’s a drag. Try it fifty times and fifty times it’s the same– you don’t actually download the PDF, you just see it in the browser. But, if you hold the Option key when you click the link, you will download a copy to your Mac for later use. Here’s an example. Suppose you’re looking for tax forms on the IRS website.… Continue Reading Option Key tip #7: Option-Click
Option Key tip #6: Option-Drag - — Option Key tip #6: Option-Drag — The Option Key Tip-a-Palooza continues with one of the handiest tips ever, namely the Option-drag technique. Basically, it comes down to this: when you drag things around they move, right? Right. At least that’s how it usually works. But, if you hold the Option key when you drag stuff you’ll make copies while leaving the original in place. Here’s an example, using the Calendar. Suppose you set aside time on Tuesday to work on a website and you put it into your calendar, like so: Let’s say you… Continue Reading Option Key tip #6: Option-Drag
Option Key tip #5: Rotate the Other Way - — Option Key tip #5: Rotate the Other Way — You took this photo…and now you want to rotate it so the label is readable, right-side up.. If you’re using Preview, the Rotate Button looks like this: Here’s the “Rotate Left” button in Photos. If you click either of those buttosn three times the picture will rotate, in 90 degree steps, to the proper position. Yay. But it takes three clicks. But, if you press the Option key, the Rotate Left Button changes to rotate the other way, so you can turn your sausage right-side-up… Continue Reading Option Key tip #5: Rotate the Other Way
Contacts icon Option Key tip #4: Reveal a Contact’s Groups - — Option Key tip #4: Reveal a Contact’s Groups — You probably know that Apple’s Contacts app lets you create “Groups” of people, and you might also know that a given person can be in multiple groups. For example, you might have a Family group, a Soccer Team group, and a Christmas Card group, and your brother might be in all three of them. That’s pretty neat, but unless you have an incredible memory there’s no way you’re going to remember which groups your brother is in. And there’s no indication in the Address Book… Continue Reading Option Key tip #4: Reveal a Contact’s Groups
10.11.6: thumbs up! Should I update my Mac to 10.11.6? - — Should I Update My Mac to 10.11.6? — The answer to “Should I update my Mac to 10.11.6?” is easy if you’re already on 10.11.0, or 10.11.1, or 10.11.2, or 10.11.3, or 10.11.4, or 10.11.5. In those situations, the answer is definitely YES. Upgrade to 10.11.6 (using the 10.11.6 combo update, which I describe and link to further down). (Those of you who are not on 10.11 already: continue reading as I have advice for you as well.) Apple provides a tiny bit of information about what they’re delivering with this update “Resolves an… Continue Reading Should I update my Mac to 10.11.6?
Option Key tip #3: Close All Finder Windows - — Option Key tip #3: Close All Finder Windows — Our Option Key Super-Tip marathon continues with Tip #3. Here’s the situation: you have a mess of Finder windows open, like so– Now you want to close them. So you either go to the File menu and choose “Close Window” over and over, or you click the red button at the top left of the first window over and over. The days of doing things over and over are over! All you need to do is hold the Option key when you go to the… Continue Reading Option Key tip #3: Close All Finder Windows
Battery Status menu on MacBook Pro showing battery needing service Option Key tip #2: the Battery Status Menu - –Option Key tip #2: the Battery Status Menu — If you hold the Option key down before you click on the battery icon you will see “Condition: Normal” (I hope) or “Replace Now” or “Replace Soon.” And, if you actually do choose that “Condition: ” menu item you’ll get a Help screen that gives you some explanation. Pretty neat. If your battery is in terrible shape it will say “Service Battery” whether you hold the Option key down or not. Like it does on my Mac. Waaaaaaah. By the way, when an Apple laptop’s battery… Continue Reading Option Key tip #2: the Battery Status Menu
Apple's WiFi icon Option Key tip #1: the WiFi Menu - — Option Key tip #1: the WiFi Menu — First in a series. You really ought to get to know the Option key on your Mac’s keyboard. It helps you do all sorts of neat stuff. I am going to write Option key tips until I can’t think of any more, or until enough people ask me to stop. Anyhoo, here’s Option Key tip #1. Hold the Option key and click the WiFi icon in your menubar to learn all sorts of interesting things about the wireless networks around you. Here’s what the WiFi icon… Continue Reading Option Key tip #1: the WiFi Menu
Google Search Tips: eliminate results you don't want How to get better Google search results - — How to get better Google search results — Fifth in a series of Google search tips. Read them all: How to restrict your Google search to a single website How to search Google Images by color How to search Google for different kinds of pictures How to search Google for the newest results How to get better Google search results Sometimes Google finds too much. You look for information about making a carrot cake and it gives you seven million results. That’s overwhelming. Maybe you want to make a carrot cake for your friend… Continue Reading How to get better Google search results
Google Search Tips: how to get only the newest articles. How to search Google for the newest results - — How to search Google for the newest results — Fourth in a series of Google search tips. Read them all: How to restrict your Google search to a single website How to search Google Images by color How to search Google for different kinds of pictures How to search Google for the newest results How to get better Google search results Sometimes Google gives you articles that are too old to be useful to you. For example, if you’re searching for restaurant reviews you probably don’t want articles that are ten years old. Here’s… Continue Reading How to search Google for the newest results
Google Search Tips: search for different kinds of pictures How to search Google for different kinds of pictures - — How to search Google for different kinds of pictures — Third in a series of Google search tips. Read them all: How to restrict your Google search to a single website How to search Google Images by color How to search Google for different kinds of pictures How to search Google for the newest results How to get better Google search results You already know how to search Google images by color. Here’s how you narrow down Google image search results by type. For example, let’s say you start by searching for birds and… Continue Reading How to search Google for different kinds of pictures
Google Search Tips: search images by color How to search Google images by color - — How to search Google images by color — Second in a series of Google search tips. Read them all: How to restrict your Google search to a single website How to search Google Images by color How to search Google for different kinds of pictures How to search Google for the newest results How to get better Google search results You know you can use Google to search for images, yes? Just click the “images” label at the top of your search results. But, did you know you can filter your search by color?… Continue Reading How to search Google images by color
How to restrict your Google search to a single website - — How to restrict your Google search to a single website — First in a series of Google search tips. Read them all: How to restrict your Google search to a single website How to search Google Images by color How to search Google for different kinds of pictures How to search Google for the newest results How to get better Google search results Let’s say you’re using Google to search for something, and you know where on the web to look. You can tell Google to search a specified site exclusively– often getting better… Continue Reading How to restrict your Google search to a single website
Transcend JetDrive Lite How to Expand Storage on MacBook Pro Retina and MacBook Air - I hear variations of “How can I get more storage space on my MacBook Air?” and “I’m out of room on my MacBook Pro Retina” all the time. Until recently, all we could do was delete stuff from the SSD in order to free up space. Now, however, we can actually add storage space to our machines. There are two ways to do it. Option Number 1: Transcend JetDrive Lite* Many MacBook Airs and all MacBook Pro Retinas come with an SD or SDXC card slot on the side. Here’s what it looks like: The… Continue Reading How to Expand Storage on MacBook Pro Retina and MacBook Air
How to Show (and Hide) Invisible Characters like Paragraph Marks in Microsoft Word on a Mac - — How to Show (and Hide) Invisible Characters in Microsoft Word on a Mac — Short Answer: Command-8 (⌘-8) There’s a keyboard shortcut for toggling invisible characters (like paragraph marks, and spaces, and tabs) in Microsoft Word on a Mac and as far as I know it’s worked in every version, since the beginning. Command-8 does it. Command-8 to show them, Command-8 again to hide them. Easy as pie! Microsoft Word on the Mac has a nice feature that lets you show invisible characters such as returns, tabs, and spaces. Those characters are just as… Continue Reading How to Show (and Hide) Invisible Characters like Paragraph Marks in Microsoft Word on a Mac
What to Do When You Can’t Log Into Your User Acount on a Mac - — What to Do When You Can’t Log Into Your User Account on a Mac — Holy cow, was I in trouble. My Mac wouldn’t start. Actually, it started part-way– it got to the sign-in screen, and it even let me enter my password. But then it spun, and spun, and spun, but never showed my desktop. I waited a long time but it just wouldn’t bring up my stuff. This wasn’t a matter of forgetting my password– the box didn’t shake, so I knew I got it right (I even tried entering an incorrect… Continue Reading What to Do When You Can’t Log Into Your User Acount on a Mac
How to Open a Mac App from an Unidentified Developer - — How to Open a Mac App from an Unidentified Developer — Sometimes you download a Mac app and it won’t open. You get a dialog box that says the app can’t be opened because it’s from an unidentified developer and your security settings won’t allow it. Apple protects your Mac from rogue apps by requiring them to either be from the Mac App Store (a place that Apple controls) or from a developer who is registered with Apple. You can turn off this protection by going to the System Preferences and changing the Security settings to allow… Continue Reading How to Open a Mac App from an Unidentified Developer
OpenDNS How to Block Porn Sites and Phishing Sites AND Speed Up Your Home Network - — How to Block Porn Sites and Phishing Sites AND Speed Up Your Home Network using OpenDNS– EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Improve your home network by using OpenDNS. Web pages will load more quickly, and dangerous/inappropriate websites will be blocked. All you have to do is change your router’s DNS numbers. Read the whole article to know which numbers to change them to. If you could protect your home network, blocking porn sites and phishing sites, and you could do it simply, would you do it? What if it also made your network faster? What if it… Continue Reading How to Block Porn Sites and Phishing Sites AND Speed Up Your Home Network
10.11.5 thumbs up Should I update my Mac to 10.11.5? - — Should I Update My Mac to 10.11.5? — UPDATE: the Mac OS is up to 10.11.6 now. Here’s my article about the 10.11.6 update. The answer to “Should I update my Mac to 10.11.5?” is easy if you’re already on 10.11.0, or 10.11.1, or 10.11.2, or 10.11.3, or 10.11.4. In those situations, the answer is definitely YES. Upgrade to 10.11.5 (using the 10.11.5 combo update, which I describe and link to further down). (Those of you who are not on 10.11 already: continue reading as I have advice for you as well.) I’ve been… Continue Reading Should I update my Mac to 10.11.5?
10.11.4: I say thumbs up! Should I Update My Mac to 10.11.4? - — Should I Update My Mac to 10.11.4? — UPDATE: They’re up to 10.11.5. Here’s my article on updating to 10.11.5. The answer to “Should I update my Mac to 10.11.4?” is easy if you’re already on 10.11.0, or 10.11.1, or 10.11.2, or 10.11.3. In those situations, the answer is definitely YES. Upgrade to 10.11.4 (using the 10.11.4 combo update, which I will describe further down). (Those of you who are not on 10.11 already: continue reading as I have advice for you as well.) I’ve been testing 10.11.4 here since the day it came… Continue Reading Should I Update My Mac to 10.11.4?
This is how I do it. How to Make “Recent Items” More Useful - — How to Make “Recent Items” More Useful — Second in a series of short blog posts explaining how I use my Mac– shortcuts, techniques, settings, etc. Each post is self-contained but I suggest you read them all. How to Make “Recent Items” More Useful Executive Summary: Apple menu, System Preferences, General, Change Recent Items to 50 There’s a semi-handy menu under the Apple menu called Recent Items. Choose an item from that menu and it opens right up– no need to hunt all over for it. It’s only semi-handy because the Recent Items list… Continue Reading How to Make “Recent Items” More Useful
This is how I do it. How to Bring Back the Mac’s Scroll Bars - How to Bring Back the Mac’s Scroll Bars Executive Summary: Apple menu, System Preferences, General, Show Scroll Bars “Always.” First thing I do when setting up a new Mac is bring back the scroll bars. I shouldn’t have to “bring back” the scroll bars, because they never should have gone away… but starting in Mac OS X 10.9, Apple turned them off! I think Apple was thinking “The iPhone doesn’t have scroll bars, and the iPad doesn’t have scroll bars… maybe the Mac shouldn’t have scroll bars either.” Apple got this one wrong. The Mac… Continue Reading How to Bring Back the Mac’s Scroll Bars
Mac OS X 10.11.3 update: don’t do it - I’m seeing a lot of problems with Apple’s 10.11.3 update. If you’ve already installed the 10.11.3 update and everything seems fine, consider yourself lucky; if you haven’t installed it, play it safe and don’t install it. I’ve never seen a more problematic update. UPDATE: the 10.11.4 update is out and I’ve seen zero problems with it. Read “Should I Update My Mac to 10.11.4” for more info. UPDATE #2: now we’re at 10.11.5. It too has no problems. See my article about how to install 10.11.5 the pro way. (Join the mailing list and get… Continue Reading Mac OS X 10.11.3 update: don’t do it
How to protect your Mac and iPhone against phony virus scams - — How to protect your Mac and iPhone against phony virus scams — Most of the blog posts I write are positive, upbeat, “Looky what you can do with your Apple thing!” articles. Lots of how-tos, lots of reviews, all designed to help you do more with your Macs, iPhones, and iPads. Basically, I show you what to do. This time, I’m going to show you what not to do. Namely, I’m going to show you how not to be taken in by expensive fake virus scams. I hate to take up time and space… Continue Reading How to protect your Mac and iPhone against phony virus scams
How to know when it’s going to rain - UPDATE: forecast.io has changed. It’s still great, but it’s now called darksky.net. Read my new article about darksky.net, written in October 2016. When it comes to rain, most of us have questions like these: “Do I have time to walk the dog before it rains?” “Can I put off cutting the grass until tomorrow?” “Do I need to carry an umbrella with me all day?” “Is the rain going to stop soon?” These are simple yes-no questions, yet the typical weather forecast doesn’t come close to answering them. Instead, they give us the ol’ “40%… Continue Reading How to know when it’s going to rain
NFL Post-Season Calendar for iPhone and Mac - Executive Summary: click the link to get the NFL Post-Season Calendar on your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, or Mac. The calendar will work forever– this season, next season, and so on. This article tells you how to do it. Looking for the entire NFL Calendar? Scott Crevier at Southendzone.com has updated his server with the latest NFL schedule. Follow the instructions in this blog post and you’ll be all set– not just for this year, but forever! Read more about it in my NFL Schedules and Calendars blog post. Subscribing to one of Southendzone’s calendars… Continue Reading NFL Post-Season Calendar for iPhone and Mac
2015-2016 College Football Bowl Game Calendar for iPhone and Mac - — 2015-2016 College Football Bowl Game Calendar for iPhone and Mac — UPDATE: I’ve created the 2016-2017 College Football Bowl Game calendar for you. Click here to get it. When asked whether you want to subscribe, click YES. UPDATE: here is the 2016 College Football schedule, for each team in America. The nice people at collegefootballcalendar.net have put out a calendar showing every college football bowl game. It has dates, times, teams, and TV channels (and it will update to show the scores). Subscribe to the calendar, set it to refresh daily (so you get… Continue Reading 2015-2016 College Football Bowl Game Calendar for iPhone and Mac
How to password-protect a Numbers 3.5 document on a Mac - Apple’s Numbers 3.5 app on the Mac has a nice feature that lets you protect a document with a password. Without the password, the document won’t open. You don’t need this every day but someday you will, and here’s how you do it. (You do it exactly the same way you do it for a Pages 5.5 document. If you know how to password-protect a document in Pages 5.5 you know how to do it in Numbers 3.5 too.) First, get your Numbers document up. Go to File and slide down to Set Password… Next,… Continue Reading How to password-protect a Numbers 3.5 document on a Mac
How to password-protect a Numbers ’09 document on a Mac - You can password-protect a Numbers ’09 document. That means no one can open the document unless he has the password. This can be very handy if you share your Mac with other members of the family, or if you have roommates who “borrow” your stuff, or if you have a very, very special cat. You password-protect a Numbers ’09 document just like you password-protect a Pages ’09 document: 1. Open the Inspector (View menu/Show Inspector) 2. Click on the Document button in the Inspector (top left), then click “Require password to open” 3. Enter a… Continue Reading How to password-protect a Numbers ’09 document on a Mac
How to password-protect a Pages 5.5 document on the Mac - Apple’s Pages 5.5 app on the Mac has a nice feature that lets you protect a document with a password. Without the password, the document won’t open. You don’t need this every day but someday you will, and here’s how you do it. First, get your Pages document up. Go to File and slide down to Set Password… Enter a password, enter it again, and enter a hint. The hint is there in case you forget the password. Warning: I can’t get your document open if you forget the password. Give yourself a good hint.… Continue Reading How to password-protect a Pages 5.5 document on the Mac
How to password-protect a Pages ’09 document on a Mac - You might have a reason to want to password-protect a Pages ’09 document. Maybe it’s your Christmas list. Maybe it has performance review notes. Maybe it’s your diary. Whatever it is, you might not want people to be able to open it unless they’re invited. You need a way of locking your Pages ’09 document so it can’t be opened without a password. Here’s how you do it. In Pages ’09, look at the Document section of the Inspector. You get to the Document section by clicking the button at the top left of the… Continue Reading How to password-protect a Pages ’09 document on a Mac
How to password-protect an Excel document on a Mac - There are lots of Excel documents you might want to keep private: spreadsheets with financial information, a Christmas gift list, a list of countries you’re thinking of taking over. Fortunately, you can put a password on any Excel document, so even if people have access to your computer they won’t be able to get into your private documents.You password-protect an Excel document via the Save As… box. You can do it when you first save the document, or you can do a Save As… down the road. Either way, you’re going to see a box… Continue Reading How to password-protect an Excel document on a Mac
How to password-protect a Word document on a Mac - Sometimes you have a document that you’d like to keep private. Could be a Christmas gift list, could be a list of invitees to a surprise party, could be a diary. If your document was created in Microsoft Word there’s a way to password-protect it. No one will be able to open the document without the password. (You can actually set up two passwords: one for opening the document, and another for changing it. You can probably imagine a use for this.) The way you put a password on a Microsoft Word document is through… Continue Reading How to password-protect a Word document on a Mac
Secrets of the Mac OS Dock - Secrets of the Mac OS Dock We use the Dock all the time without thinking much about it. But, it turns out there are a lot of “Dock things” worth thinking about. The more you know the better you can use it. That goes for me too: while writing this article I learned some stuff myself. Here are some “Dock things” I think you should know. 1. Move it around. The Dock can be placed at the left edge of the screen, the right edge of the screen, or the bottom of the screen. You… Continue Reading Secrets of the Mac OS Dock
Why Don’t My Photos Sync? - I get a lot of interesting Mac, iPhone, and iPad questions. Even with 25 years in the business I encounter new problems all the time. I hate to keep the solutions to myself so I thought I’d write them up from time to time, hoping to help someone else with a similar problem. (These will be quick reading, not as detailed as my usual how-to articles.)I hope you’ll enjoy reading about these true-life situations. Here’s one from this week.One of my customers has a MacBook Air and an iPhone 4s. She’s become accustomed to taking… Continue Reading Why Don’t My Photos Sync?
Season’s Greetings, and a Present for You - — Season’s Greetings, and a Present for You — It’s been a super year for me and my blog. I published my 400th article, doubled the blog’s readership, and connected with readers from around the world. With your help– comments, suggestions, and encouragement– I turned this blog into a forum for helping a whole lot of Mac, iPhone, and iPad users in a really big way. I couldn’t have done it without you. Thank you for your support. With Christmas just barely behind us I’d like to offer Season’s Greetings, and a late gift: a… Continue Reading Season’s Greetings, and a Present for You
How to Fix Yosemite’s Spotlight Search - I get a lot of complaints about Yosemite’s Spotlight search. Generally the complaints are “Spotlight finds everything except what I’m looking for!” Actually, what often happens is Spotlight does find what you’re looking for, but it finds so many other things that the thing you’re looking for gets lost in the soup. For example, here I’m looking for my Christmas shopping list. I bring up Spotlight and type in “Christmas” and I get this: Yes, the shopping list is in there, but geez, I wasn’t looking for a Wikipedia definition, or Christmas music, or a… Continue Reading How to Fix Yosemite’s Spotlight Search
How to Get Rid of Ads in Safari, Chrome, and Firefox on the Mac - Here’s how you remove ads and adware from web pages with a simple plug-in. This speeds up your web browsing because you’re downloading less material. There are roughly a billion active websites, and whichever ones you go to, I am positive that you aren’t going there for the ads. You’d never do that. No one likes ads. Ads distract from the information we are looking for when we visit websites in the first place. Worse than that, they slow things down, because they have to load (that is, they have to come to your Mac… Continue Reading How to Get Rid of Ads in Safari, Chrome, and Firefox on the Mac
Schedule Outgoing Emails on Your Mac with SendLater - Let’s say you send a lot of emails after business hours, because that’s when you have time to do it, but you don’t want the recipients knowing you’re working so late. Or, maybe you want your emails to be at the top of your recipients’ mailboxes the next business morning rather than buried under other messages that came in after yours, as it would be if you send it at night. Or, maybe you want to be sure you remember to send a Happy Birthday email to your friend on the 29th of November but… Continue Reading Schedule Outgoing Emails on Your Mac with SendLater
Easy Automation with IFTTT - Weren’t computers supposed to make things easier, doing all sorts of work for us while we sit on the porch drinking lemonade? It hasn’t exactly turned out that way, not for most of us. A free service called IFTTT (IF This, Then That) aims to change that. I use it and it’s great. IFTTT is a web-based service, so there is no software to install, no Mac vs. PC stuff, no “your computer is too old” stuff. All you need is a computer and a web browser. You use YOUR computer to set things up,… Continue Reading Easy Automation with IFTTT
How to Update Flash Player on Your Mac - Adobe updated its Flash Player recently. Apple’s Safari browser blocks any version of Flash that isn’t the very latest, so Adobe’s update caused Safari’s blocking to kick in… and that means I’m getting the same question, over and over: “How do I update my Flash Player?” It ought to be easy but Adobe manages to confuse people with sloppy wording on their website. Read on and I’ll clarify everything and you will be back to watching YouTube videos in no time. You’ve probably seen something like this on a web page lately: (Older versions of… Continue Reading How to Update Flash Player on Your Mac
Mac OS Yosemite: Should You Install It? - Readers of this blog are likely aware of Apple’s new Mac OS “Yosemite” (aka Mac OS 10.10). They’re also likely aware that it’s a free upgrade, and that all you have to do is click a button to start the installation. The question is, should you install Yosemite? Should you click that button? In my opinion, the answer is “not just yet.” Yes, there are some nifty new features (I like the improvements to dictation, the way you can mark up an email attachment, and being able to make a phone call from my Mac),… Continue Reading Mac OS Yosemite: Should You Install It?
How to use the Launchpad - If you’re using Mac OS 10.7 or higher your Mac includes a very handy app called the Launchpad. Its icon (shown above) is probably in the Dock, and you’ve probably seen it, and maybe even used it– but without a little instruction you may not have realized its power. So here’s a little instruction. What it does The Launchpad gives you quick access to the applications on your Mac. It’s a lot like the Home screen on an iPhone or iPad– everything’s right there in front of you. Yes, there are other ways to get… Continue Reading How to use the Launchpad
My Four Favorite Money-Saving Shopping Websites - Our friend Ben Franklin said “A penny saved is a penny earned.” Actually, there’s some debate about whether he actually said that, but the thought is a good one. You can’t always bring in more money but if you buy stuff at a discount it’s almost the same thing. The four websites described below will do more than save you a penny. They’ll save you a bunch of dollars– maybe enough to buy an iPhone 6. Do your wallet a favor and check these sites out. These are my personal favorites– they save money for… Continue Reading My Four Favorite Money-Saving Shopping Websites
iOS 8 Tip #8: Make and Answer Phone Calls From Your iPad - Eight for 8, Day Eight. I make a point of turning off my iPhone’s ringer when I am in someone else’s office or home. Occasionally I forget to do it, and when a call comes in I rush to slide the switch to “mute.” That’s what happened last week, but when I muted the phone, the ringing didn’t stop! Turns out that the ringing was coming from my iPad. My iPad! The iPad without any cellular service (aka “the cheap one”). The iPad that doesn’t do anything internet-y without WiFi. The iPad that most definitely… Continue Reading iOS 8 Tip #8: Make and Answer Phone Calls From Your iPad
400 blog posts How to Write 400 Blog Posts, Part 1 - I recently published my 400th blog post. I thought you might want to do something like that yourself. Here’s how I did it, and how you can do it too. If you’ve ever thought “I’d like to make a blog but I don’t know where to start” you are in the right place. THIS is where to start. Look, you don’t write 400 blog posts. You write one blog post, and then you do it again 399 more times. Before you write your first post you need to get your tools in order. Tools I… Continue Reading How to Write 400 Blog Posts, Part 1
How to Make a Good Password - — How to Make a Good Password — UPDATE: even though your passwords aren’t stored as plain text at places like LinkedIn and Target it isn’t terribly hard to figure out what those passwords are should there be a data breach. This video shows you how password cracking gets done. You’ve no doubt been hearing a lot about the recent “hacking” exploits, the ones that obtained pictures of various female celebrities in compromising positions. At first glance this looks like a new level of hacking, a major break-in and invasion of privacy, but it turns… Continue Reading How to Make a Good Password
Get Full-Screen Preview using Quick Look with the Option Key - Right when you think you know everything you learn something new. You already know about Quick Look, the Mac’s handy feature that lets you pop open a preview of images, movies, and many other kinds of documents by pressing the space bar (of course it only works if you’ve clicked on an icon in the Finder first). Here’s a screenshot showing plenty of icons. It’s my desktop. Yes I know I should clean up. I click on one of those icons (once) and want to pop it open. So I press the spacebar, and I… Continue Reading Get Full-Screen Preview using Quick Look with the Option Key
Three Super Mail Tips for Mac OS X - Note: these tips work for Mac OS X 10.9, 10.8, and 10.7. Apple’s Mail program is by far the best way to read email, and it’s even better when you know how to use it better. Here are three of my favorite Mail tips. Give them a try. If they don’t help you right away I’ll give you your money back. Tip #1: Add Labels to Mail’s Toolbar Buttons Mail’s toolbar buttons have two problems: first, it’s not obvious what they do, and second, they’re too small. You can fix both of these problems by… Continue Reading Three Super Mail Tips for Mac OS X
Two Mysterious Mac Problems Solved - When things don’t work properly on a Mac we usually think it’s either a software bug, a problem with preferences, a software interaction the user isn’t aware of, or maybe user error. Thanks to Apple’s excellent quality control we rarely suspect a hardware issue, but sometimes the hardware is the problem. Here are two real-life examples I ran into in the last couple of weeks. Mysterious Mac Problem #1 The user called me and said that he couldn’t click on anything. The mouse pointer moved but clicking had no effect. This was on an iMac… Continue Reading Two Mysterious Mac Problems Solved
The Easy Way to Fix CAPITALIZATION ERRORS - Ever type something in ALL CAPS by mistake? Most people delete it, turn off the Caps Lock, and type the whole thing again. But, as I showed one of my customers last week, you can fix this sort of mistake in a couple of clicks. Click the image below to watch my video tutorial. Thanks to Patti D for asking “Why didn’t you tell me this a long time ago?” Last updated Monday, April 11, 2016
Get Faster Internet Just by Asking - I get my internet service through Time Warner Cable. I think the speed originally was 5 Mbps. Somewhere along the line I upgraded to Time Warner’s “Turbo” internet and got it up to 20 Mbps. I thought that was pretty fast. (I test the speed at www.speedtest.net. Avoid clicking the links that install MacKeeper.) A few weeks ago I set up a new Time Capsule* for one of my customers. When I ran the speed test at his place he got 100 Mbps. Holy cow– 100! I couldn’t believe it. I didn’t even know it… Continue Reading Get Faster Internet Just by Asking
WiFi Problem Solved via SMC Reset - Every so often I run into a problem that just doesn’t make sense. I ran into one like that today. A MacBook Pro could not connect to the wireless network, even though it worked fine yesterday and as far as anyone could tell, nothing had changed. The network was visible under the Airport menu, and other devices (an iPad, an iPhone, and my own MacBook Pro) were able to connect. But the other MacBook Pro– the one that connected to the WiFi yesterday– asked for a password every time we tried to join the network,… Continue Reading WiFi Problem Solved via SMC Reset
Fix Your MacBook Pro’s Trackpad (maybe) - If your laptop’s trackpad won’t click anymore, but otherwise it works fine, the problem might not be the trackpad! Weird but true. The problem might be your laptop’s battery, because when the battery goes bad, it swells, and when it swells, it presses up against the trackpad. Which makes it difficult– maybe impossible– for the trackpad to click. I saw this exact problem last week. The good news is that Mac laptop batteries are roughly $100, a lot less than a new trackpad. And, assuming your laptop has the kind of battery that comes out… Continue Reading Fix Your MacBook Pro’s Trackpad (maybe)
How to boost the maximum sound volume on a Mac - — How to boost the maximum sound volume on a Mac — Here’s how you boost the maximum sound volume beyond what your Mac thinks “full blast” is– because sometimes “full blast” isn’t loud enough. You don’t need an amplifier or external speakers to do it. All you need is a remarkable piece of software called Boom 2. How much louder will it get? Well, think of it this way: with Boom 2, your Mac’s volume goes to 11. UPDATE May 2016: you can now get Boom for iOS! It’s by Global Delight, the same… Continue Reading How to boost the maximum sound volume on a Mac
How to be a Faster Mac User, Part 1 - Want to be a faster Mac user? Watch this video and see how it’s done. Click the picture to start the movie.Dave F. wins the coffee cup because I saw him click the little tiny up/down triangles in a dialog box and that inspired me to write this blog post. You can get a cup too– just send me an email with a question worth blogging about and if I answer it on the blog you will get a cup. Last updated Monday, April 11, 2016
Clone Your Hard Disk– Automatically - (Thanks to Jana L. for inspiring this blog post. Jana wins a limited-edition Christian Boyce and Associates coffee cup, and so can you. One question (or suggestion) will be chosen (and written up) each week, and the author of the question will get a coffee cup. We only have so many cups, and when they’re gone, they’re gone– so don’t delay, send a question today.) And now, for Jana’s question(s). Q: I have a Time Machine backup already, but I’d like to periodically make an exact copy of my Mac’s hard disk on an external… Continue Reading Clone Your Hard Disk– Automatically
The Daily Tip: New Folder from Selected Items - I see a lot of Macs in a day and most of them have a giant mess of files on their desktops. Cleaning things up, for most people, is a four-step process: Make a new folder Select the files you want to drag to the new folder Realize you can’t find the new folder because now there’s even more clutter Give up There is a better way. It goes like this: Select the items that you want to put into a folder (use the Shift-click technique) Choose “New Folder with Selection” from the Finder’s File… Continue Reading The Daily Tip: New Folder from Selected Items
The Daily Tip: Tips and Shortcuts for the Mac’s Calculator - The Mac’s had a calculator from the very first day, but a lot of people have never used it at all. The ones who have used it probably don’t know everything it can do so they probably aren’t so impressed with it. Turns out the Calculator is pretty slick, and I think you’ll use it a lot once you’ve learned about its powers. So here we go with Tips and Shortcuts for the Mac’s Calculator. First Tip: Put the Calculator into the Dock. You won’t use it if it’s any trouble to launch it, so… Continue Reading The Daily Tip: Tips and Shortcuts for the Mac’s Calculator
The Daily Tip: Tips and Shortcuts for Mac Mail - If you’re a Mac user you’re probably using Apple’s Mail program for email. Here are some of my favorite Mail tips and shortcuts. 1. Command-Shift-MHide the Mailbox list if it’s showing, show it if it’s hiding. Go from this… … to this… … and back, using Command-Shift-M. Show the Mailbox list when you need it, hide it when you don’t. 2. Show the Text labels under the toolbar buttonsThe standard Mail toolbar looks like this: Hold the Control key and click in the gray part of the Mail toolbar, producing this contextual menu:Choose “Icon and… Continue Reading The Daily Tip: Tips and Shortcuts for Mac Mail
The Daily Tip: Automate ebay Searches with SearchDome - Automate ebay Searches with SearchDome ebay is great, but if the thing you’re looking for isn’t available the first time you search for it you’re going to have to come back and search for it again. That’s a bit of trouble, and half the time you forget to do it anyway. So you either put up with searching ebay for your item day after day, or you simply don’t find it ever (because you eventually forget to look, or it becomes too much trouble). All of the difficulties go away if you use a marvelous… Continue Reading The Daily Tip: Automate ebay Searches with SearchDome
The Daily Tip: Google Translate - Do you ever need to translate something into another language? Of course you do. Here’s how you do it quickly and effortlessly, using Google Translate. 1. Go to translate.google.com. Here’s what you’ll see: In this case the box on the left is set for English, which is what I’m going to type in. The box on the right is set for Spanish, which is what I want Google to translate into. You can use the menus at the top of the web page (bordered here in RED) to choose whichever languages you’d like. 2. Now… Continue Reading The Daily Tip: Google Translate
The Daily Tip: Use Spacebar to Scroll Down - Here’s a tip that makes web browsing on a Mac a whole lot easier. It works in Safari, Firefox, and Chrome, so you can learn it once and use it everywhere. It’s a simple, one-step procedure that could not be easier. Just remember: this is for Macs, not for iPhones and iPads. Ready for it? Good. All you do is press the spacebar to scroll down, in Safari, Firefox, or Chrome. When you do that the page scrolls down exactly the right amount, so what was on the bottom of the page has now moved… Continue Reading The Daily Tip: Use Spacebar to Scroll Down
The Daily Tip: Show Day, Date, and Time in the Menu Bar - That little menubar clock at the top right of your Mac’s screen is handy, as it’s always nice to know what time it is. Of course, it is also nice to know the day of the week, and by default the day of the week shows up right next to the time. That is, it looks like this: Nothing wrong with this… except that it doesn’t show the date. I know, I know: if you click on it you’ll see the date too, like this: But who wants to have to click on the clock… Continue Reading The Daily Tip: Show Day, Date, and Time in the Menu Bar
How to Use iPhoto to Fix a Bad Photo (Episode 3) - Episode 3 of a three-part series on using iPhoto on a Mac to fix bad photos. This installment: removing blemishes (and lamp posts). Click the image below to watch my video tutorial. Last updated Tuesday, April 12, 2016
How to Use iPhoto to Fix a Bad Photo (Episode 2) - Episode 2 of a three-part series on using iPhoto on a Mac to fix bad photos. This installment: fixing pictures that are washed out. Click the image below to watch my video tutorial. Last updated Tuesday, April 12, 2016
How to Use iPhoto to Fix a Bad Photo (Episode 1) - Episode 1 of a three-part series on using iPhoto on a Mac to fix bad photos. This installment: fixing pictures that are too dark. Click the image below to watch my video tutorial. Last updated Tuesday, April 12, 2016
Can’t Add a Printer? Reset the Printing System - — Can’t Add a Printer? Reset the Printing System — Many new printers from Epson, Canon and Hewlett-Packard come with instructions to NOT install the software that comes with them on CDs. Rather, the instructions say, get the software from Apple, and indeed that is excellent advice. Apple long ago tired of waiting for printer manufacturers to provide software compatible with each new version of OS X, so they started doing it themselves, and on the whole this has been a good thing for Mac users. In general, the process is Connect printer to Mac… Continue Reading Can’t Add a Printer? Reset the Printing System
One Time Machine Mystery Solved - Every so often I solve a problem and the solution involves some luck. I had one of those the other day. In an attempt to save someone else from struggling with a similar problem I’m writing it down. Or writing it up. Whatever. The problem involved Time Machine. The Mac was a brand-new MacBook Pro Retina and the Time Machine backup was set to use a Time Capsule for storage. The initial backup progressed a tiny bit (500 MB) but wouldn’t go further. By the time I got there to trouble-shoot the estimated time for… Continue Reading One Time Machine Mystery Solved
Forecast.io: Great Weather Website - UPDATE October 2016: Forecast.io is now Darksky.net. See my article about Darksky.net and the Darksky app. Forecast.io is the nicest, cleanest, and most useful weather website that I’ve ever seen. It’s from the same people who made the excellent Dark Sky app for iPhones and iPads, and like Dark Sky it’s all about presenting data in a useful way. My favorite part: they don’t hide behind any “50% chance of rain” predictions. Rather, they show you that it’s going to start raining at 2 PM, and stop raining at 3. That’s information you can really… Continue Reading Forecast.io: Great Weather Website
Another Flash Update - Once again a bug in Adobe’s Flash plug-in presents a serious security risk to Mac users, and once again Apple has disabled all but the very latest version of it. Which means that if you’re using Safari on your Mac and you try to load a webpage that requires Flash you’ll get a message about a blocked plug-in. You’ll also see, if you click on the “Blocked plug-in” message, a little “sheet” sliding down from your Safari window, telling you pretty much what I’ve told you here. Here’s Apple’s web page explaining the whole thing.… Continue Reading Another Flash Update
Macworld/iWorld 2013 - I’ll be speaking at Macworld as part of the RapidFire session. It’s a lot of fun for everyone: each of ten speakers gets 5 minutes to demonstrate something cool. I’ll be covering Moom, Desktop Curtain, and Typinator (and speaking very quickly). Here’s a link to my PDF handout. Macworld/iWorld 2013 runs this Thursday through Saturday. I’ll be on the Digital Village radio program on Saturday at approximately 10:15 AM discussing the best (and worst) things I saw at the show. You can listen at 90.7 FM in Los Angeles (KPFK FM). You can also use… Continue Reading Macworld/iWorld 2013
How to Use iPhoto’s Batch Change feature - This is another one for Dad, but I’ll bet it helps a zillion other people too. Sometimes in iPhoto you want to change the names of a whole bunch of photos. For example, you might want to number them sequentially, with a prefix indicating the name of the album they’re in. That’s a great idea: a name like “Texas Barbeque Contest-001” is a lot more descriptive than “IMG_001.jpg” but who wants to do the work of renaming more than a couple of photos by hand? No one, that’s who. That’s why iPhoto has a Batch… Continue Reading How to Use iPhoto’s Batch Change feature
How to Use Dropbox’s Previous Versions feature - Or, How Dropbox Saved the Day when My Customer Somehow Lost a Very Important Document You probably know about Dropbox, the best way to keep your files in sync across Macs, iPhones, iPads, and even PCs. I put all of my current projects into my Dropbox folder and that lets me access my stuff from any of my machines. I can work on something from my MacBook Pro while I’m out, then continue the work on my iMac when I get back to my office, without sending files around by email or by USB thumb… Continue Reading How to Use Dropbox’s Previous Versions feature
How to Eject a CD from a Mac - Here’s another tip for Dad, the new iMac owner. You might be thinking “What could be so hard about ejecting a CD? Push a button and out it comes.” Well, yes, but… sometimes things go wrong. Here’s how to handle it when they do. Actually, the first thing to do is NEVER insert a CD (or a DVD) into your Mac’s SuperDrive unless it is the typical size and typical shape. That means “round and of regulation size.” It also means “not like any of those in the picture below.”No star CDs, no saw blade… Continue Reading How to Eject a CD from a Mac
Best Mac Keyboard Shortcuts - Dad is now a Mac owner. He used a Mac at work way back when but things have changed a lot. And, even the things that haven’t changed a lot are ancient memories for him. I thought it would be a good idea to put together a series of Mac hints for Dad, a little at a time, for the next thirty days or so. Here’s the first one: Best Mac Keyboard Shortcuts PC guys are friendly with the Control key, but here on the Mac side we use the Command key. A lot of… Continue Reading Best Mac Keyboard Shortcuts
How to Use Safari’s Reader - Every so often I show my Mom something on her iPad (or her iPhone, or her Mac) and her reaction is incredibly enthusiastic. Actually, sometimes it’s more along the lines of “I wish you’d shown me this before.” Either way, when that happens, I write it up for everyone. This is one of those times. Safari’s Reader feature has been around for a bit but since Mom didn’t know about it I’m assuming that there are at least a few others who don’t know about it too. In a nutshell, it makes web pages easier… Continue Reading How to Use Safari’s Reader
How to Use Safari’s iCloud Tabs - (No, that’s not the official iCloud logo, but I thought it would be fun to build one from Safari icons.) Safari’s iCloud Tabs is a feature I didn’t think I’d be interested in, and now I use it all the time. Give it a try and see if you’re not hooked, same as me. iCloud Tabs keeps track of every Safari window (and every Safari tab) on all of your Apple devices, including Macs, iPhones, iPads, and iPods. Then, it makes the combined list available from each device. What this means is you can start… Continue Reading How to Use Safari’s iCloud Tabs
Stuff I Use (2012 Mac Software Edition): Part 1 - — Stuff I Use (2012 Mac Software Edition): Part 1 — Here are some software goodies that I use on a daily basis. They don’t cost much, but man do they make a difference. Keyboard Maestro Keyboard Maestro lets me assign shortcut keys to just about everything. I can press F9 and bring up the calendar, F10 for the address book, F12 for the calculator, and so on. Extensive testing here at Boyce Labs has proven that pressing a key to launch a program is approximately 100 times faster than using a mouse, saving you… Continue Reading Stuff I Use (2012 Mac Software Edition): Part 1
Six Safari 6 Tips (for Mac) - Safari 6 is loaded with features that you’re not likely to stumble upon. Here are six of my favorites. Check ’em out: 1. If you type search criteria (or a web address) into the Unified Search Field, and hold the Shift key down when you hit Return, you get your results in a new page. So cool. For example, let’s say you’re on this web page (what a coincidence!), and now you want to do a Google search to find a Mac expert in Los Angeles. Type “Mac expert Los Angeles” into the Unified Smart… Continue Reading Six Safari 6 Tips (for Mac)
Big Day of Updates: iOS 6, Mountain Lion 10.8.2, and Lion 10.7.5 - Who says there’s nothing new under the sun? I don’t, especially after today. All in one day, Apple released: iOS 6 OS X 10.8.2 Mountain Lion OS X 10.7.5 Lion The short story: back up your devices, then go ahead with the updates.(Click here for an excellent and exhaustive Macworld article on how to back up your device and then how to install the updates.) Here’s the longer story. iOS 6 iOS 6 is the software that comes on the soon-to-be-available iPhone 5. But you don’t have to buy an iPhone 5 to enjoy iOS… Continue Reading Big Day of Updates: iOS 6, Mountain Lion 10.8.2, and Lion 10.7.5
BetterTouchTool Puts the Magic into Apple’s Magic Trackpad - This is Apple’s Magic Trackpad. It’s like a MacBook Pro’s trackpad, only bigger, and designed for use with a desktop Mac. I’m using one with my iMac and after a couple of days getting used to it, I’m hooked. I think you will be too. The Magic Trackpad has a couple of big advantages compared to the mouse. First, you don’t need a lot of room on your desk to use the Magic Trackpad. In fact, you don’t need any room on your desk to use the Magic Trackpad. Just place it on top of… Continue Reading BetterTouchTool Puts the Magic into Apple’s Magic Trackpad
Mountain Lion Hints and Tips - I’ve had Apple’s $19.99 Mountain Lion installed here on an iMac (2.7 GHz Intel Core i5) for about two weeks, enough time to find a few niceties and doodads that you might be interested in. Here goes. Address Book has been renamed “Contacts” (matching the iPhone and iPad apps) and it has some improvements. First, the no-one-understands-this-feature red bookmark is gone. Replacing it: a useful three-column view showing the Groups list, the current contacts list, and the current contract. Second, Contacts handles drag-and-drop of vCards better than Address Book did. You can click on a… Continue Reading Mountain Lion Hints and Tips
How to Use Rules in Mail to Process Email Automatically - In the olden days, mail came in an envelope and if you were lucky, a secretary went through the mail for you, prioritizing and filing and sometimes handling things personally so you wouldn’t have to. Unfortunately, most of our mail comes electronically, but fortunately, we can create a “virtual secretary” to process your mail, reducing your work and making you feel as if you’re in control of your email instead of the other way around. We do it using a feature called “Rules” in Apple’s Mail. Here’s how it works. StatCounter.com emails me a report… Continue Reading How to Use Rules in Mail to Process Email Automatically
One-Touch Google Maps Directions Using Apple’s Address Book - Apple’s Address Book has a neat feature: when you click on the label next to someone’s address it launches your web browser and shows you that address on maps.google.com (Google Maps). Very handy, but wouldn’t it be neat if it gave you directions to that address as well? Of course it would. I thought about this on and off for a few YEARS and finally decided to do something about it: namely, I wrote an Address Book Plugin to provide the “Directions To” functionality. You are welcome to try it, and welcome to use it… Continue Reading One-Touch Google Maps Directions Using Apple’s Address Book
MacBook Pro with "Good Morning" speech bubble. How to Make Your Mac Read Out Loud to You - How to Make Your Mac Read Out Loud to You As promised, here’s how to make your Mac read out loud to you. It’s very handy. Note: here’s a link to my article about making your iPhone and iPad read out loud. Let’s start with Mail.Mail will read out loud any selected text. So, if you get a long email, click in the body of it, do a Select All (or Command-A), and then go to Edit/Speech/Start Speaking. Very easy. Now, let’s look at Safari. Safari will also read out loud any selected text. It’s… Continue Reading How to Make Your Mac Read Out Loud to You
How to Make Your iPhone and iPad Read Out Loud to You - The iPhone and iPad will read out loud to you. This is more than a party trick; it’s very handy to let your iPhone or iPad read a news article or a long email to you while you drive home, or while you pour yourself a bowl of Captain Crunch cereal (for example). It’s also sort of fun, and perhaps a learning tool, to highlight a page in an iBooks book and have your iPhone or iPad read that page to you. It’s all very easy though you have to be on iOS 5 or… Continue Reading How to Make Your iPhone and iPad Read Out Loud to You
What to do about the Flashback trojan - Bad news and good news about Flashback. First the bad news. There’s this thing called Flashback and it will mess up your Mac big-time. You could get it simply by visiting an infected website. Flashback will inject code into your browser and the modification lets the bad guys collect information as you visit various websites. The information could include, for example, your online banking username and password. Ugh. You don’t want this to happen. Now the good news. Flashback is reasonably easy to detect, and reasonably easy to protect against. Let’s start with detection. This… Continue Reading What to do about the Flashback trojan
Use Preview to Mark Up Images - Apple’s Preview program is a lot more capable than most people think. Besides being the best way to open PDFs, JPEGs, and PNGs, Preview has annotation tools that let you mark things up. For example, let’s say you take a screenshot of a Google Maps picture, like so… … and you want to mark it up, like so. Turns out it’s pretty easy. Here’s how to do it. (Note: the screenshots are from Lion’s Preview program but most of the instructions will work with Preview in Snow Leopard.) Open a picture in Preview and then… Continue Reading Use Preview to Mark Up Images
Hear the Christian Boyce Macworld|iWorld Report on the Radio - I’ll be giving my annual “State of the Mac (and iPad, and iPhone)” address this Saturday on the Digital Village radio program, hosted by Ric Allan and Doran Barons. The show starts at 10 AM this Saturday, January 28th, 2012 and in Los Angeles you can listen to it live on the radio, 90.7 FM KPFK. If you aren’t within range of KPFK, listen over the internet using this link. And, if you miss the show, listen whenever you want by visiting Digital Village’s Audio Archive. My part of the show will probably start around… Continue Reading Hear the Christian Boyce Macworld|iWorld Report on the Radio
My New Favorite Keyboard Shortcut: Command-option-f - I like keyboard shortcuts. I especially like keyboard shortcuts that work in multiple programs (like Command-P for Print). Recently I learned a new one: Command-option-f, and it works in seven programs. Learn it once and get seven times the usage. I really should tell you what it does but you’ll figure it out. Safari In Safari, Command-option-f puts the insertion point into the Google search box at the upper right (outlined here in red). So, if you’re using Safari and you want to do a Google search, you can simply press Command-option-f, then type what… Continue Reading My New Favorite Keyboard Shortcut: Command-option-f
How to Add Color to Lion’s Finder Sidebar - UPDATE, Wednesday, April 20th, 2016: Sorry to say, the Lion Tweaks application is no longer available from fredrik.com. The good news is there’s a very nice app called XtraFinder which does a great job of colorizing things. Works with Mac OS 10.6.8 through 10.10.5. Can be made to work with 10.10.11 via a work-around. Finally, there’s a simple method for adding color the the Finder’s sidebar in Lion. It comes to us from Norway, thanks to Fredrik Wiker, a 16 year old developer. Click to download his “Lion Tweaks” application. Your Finder windows will go… Continue Reading How to Add Color to Lion’s Finder Sidebar
Happy Thanksgiving 2011 - Happy Thanksgiving to one and all. I’ll spend my Thanksgiving cooking a turkey in the Primo Kamado cooker on the balcony, doing a little online shopping, and keeping an eye on the key football games. Here is how I do it. You can do it too. Cooking a turkey in the Primo Kamado A Primo Kamado is a ceramic cooker, something like a Big Green Egg. I’ve cooked a lot of turkeys on my Primo over the years and they have all been delicious. Turns out that the preparation and cooking are much more important… Continue Reading Happy Thanksgiving 2011
Apple Airport 7.6 Update - Apple put out a firmware update (version 7.6) for its Airport wireless routers. It helps with AirPlay (that amazing feature that lets you show your whole iPad 2 or iPhone 4S screen on your TV, provided you have an Apple TV), and with network performance. Apple doesn’t say much more about it, but I’ve installed it here on two Airports and so far so good. Airport base stations check weekly with Apple for updates. When there is one, like this 7.6 update, your Airport base station’s light will flash orange, on and off, and you… Continue Reading Apple Airport 7.6 Update
Use Google to Search One Website - Right when you think you know everything, you learn something new. At least that’s what happens to me. Yesterday, I learned how to restrict my Google searches to a particular site. This can be very handy when you know that you read something on the internet, and you are sure you know the name of the site, but you just can’t find the article. The technique is also handy if you are wondering whether a particular website has covered a particular topic. For example: let’s say you’re looking for an alternative to Quicken, because you’re… Continue Reading Use Google to Search One Website
Automatically Open Multiple Websites, Part 2: your own AppleScript - Last time, we saw how we could open multiple websites with a single click. Problem is, the websites that we opened with one click were the ones I chose. So, now we’re going to learn how to specify which websites get opened. We’re going to write an AppleScript, and we’re going to use Script Editor to do it. You can find Script Editor in your Utilities folder, which is in your Applications folder. Bonus shortcut hint: click on the Finder in the Dock (or the Desktop, or some other Finder window so as to bring… Continue Reading Automatically Open Multiple Websites, Part 2: your own AppleScript
Automatically Open Multiple Websites, Part 1 - (There’s nothing I like better than saving people time and trouble by showing them a better way to use their Macs. These simple AppleScripts will save you time and trouble day after day after day.) I am willing to bet that you have a bunch of websites that you look at every day. Let’s pretend that every morning you have a look at Time Magazine, Google News, the New York Times, and the Los Angeles Times. Even if you use a bookmark for each site there’s enough mousing around that just opening the sites takes… Continue Reading Automatically Open Multiple Websites, Part 1
Save Money on Your AOL Bill - (This one is for AOL users. If you are one, read on. If you aren’t one, read on anyway. I’ll bet you have at least one AOL-using friend that can put this information to use.) Actually, I could have called this “Eliminate Your AOL Bill.” Keep reading. Once upon a time, AOL (America Online) was the Number One way for people to get online. AOL provided software, an email address, and a phone number with a modem at the other end that would answer your dial-up call and put you on the internet. That was… Continue Reading Save Money on Your AOL Bill
Lion’s Mail: How to Fix the Toolbar - Ah, Lion. It’s almost as if someone is trying to make our Macs harder to use. Here’s one example: the default setting for Lion’s Mail app has the toolbar displaying icons only. Problem is, some of the icons are new, and we don’t know what they do. Solution: set the toolbar to show the icons and their labels. So much better, and so easy to do. Here’s what the toolbar looks like in Lion’s Mail, by default:Yeah, I know you can figure out most of these, but it’s not supposed to be a puzzle. It… Continue Reading Lion’s Mail: How to Fix the Toolbar
How to Print Faster, and Save Ink - Inkjet printers, as a group, have a couple of features in common:1. Replacing the ink costs more than the printer did, and2. Printing takes a long, looooong time. I can’t make the cost of ink go down but I can show you how to make your inkjet use less ink, and print faster (a LOT faster– in my tests, doing it “my way” cut printing time by a factor of SIX!). The trade-off is print quality, but there are plenty of times when all you want to do is print out an email, or someone’s… Continue Reading How to Print Faster, and Save Ink
Lion Update 10.7.1: Big Improvement - Today Apple released its first update to Mac OS X Lion: 10.7.1. You can read a little about it on Apple’s site. If you’re on Lion already, this update is a must. Here, 10.7.1 runs in glorious silence, quite a difference from my Mac’s “roaring” (get it? Lion? Roaring?) fans under the initial 10.7.0. That’s a big plus. It’s likely that Apple was working on this update even before Lion’s initial availability, which means that much of 10.7.1’s improvements is stuff that Apple already knew about. And that means that bugs that were found after… Continue Reading Lion Update 10.7.1: Big Improvement
How to Bring Back “Search For” in Lion’s Finder Sidebar - You have questions, we have answers. It’s a match made in Heaven. Today’s question: “What happened to “Search For” in the Finder sidebar? I liked being able to use this occasionally and don’t understand why it was dropped. Is there any way to get it back? Thanks. Sincerely, Anonymous.” What a great question, with a double-duty answer. With one blog post we can solve a problem for Lion users while simultaneously introducing Snow Leopard users to something they might not know about. I can’t wait. Here’s a refresher, for those of you wondering what Anonymous… Continue Reading How to Bring Back “Search For” in Lion’s Finder Sidebar
Clear Out Bad Addresses in Apple’s Mail - Apple’s Mail program is really smart about guessing who you are sending an email to. Type the first few letters of a person’s name (or the first few letters of his email address) and Mail fills in the rest. All you have to do is accept Mail’s suggestion, by pressing either Tab or Return on your keyboard. (Bonus Hint: alternatively, you can type the first few letters of a person’s last name. Mail will still look it up.) This works very well when Mail has only one suggestion. It works just slightly less well when… Continue Reading Clear Out Bad Addresses in Apple’s Mail
Good Stuff in Mac OS X Lion - Even though Mac OS X Lion has kept a lot of us busy looking for work-arounds and otherwise solving problems, it also has some nice touches which bear pointing out. Here are a few that I especially like. 1. Finder: New Folder with Selection. Select some files, then choose File/New Folder with Selection (n Items) and it does what it says it says it will do. (The “n” is the number of items selected.) BETTER: control-click on one of the selected items and choose New Folder with Selection (n Items). There it is, right at… Continue Reading Good Stuff in Mac OS X Lion
How to Fix Lion’s Finder Preferences - My first look at Lion’s Finder was a mix of “that looks familiar” and “holy cow, what happened here?”. Some of Lion’s Finder looked like Snow Leopard’s, but some of it didn’t. Turns out that some of the stuff that didn’t is the result of some questionable default choices (by Apple), and since it’s easy to change things, I did. Here’s how. First, I didn’t like the way Apple made Finder windows look. It felt like something was missing. Have a look. In fact, something was missing: the slider to change the size of the… Continue Reading How to Fix Lion’s Finder Preferences
Grab Bag: Your Lion Questions, My Lion Answers - A lot of people come to this blog via Google, and I get a report of what exactly they were looking for. Lately, I’ve had a lot of visits from Google searches for “Lion won’t work with Microsoft Word,” but that’s hardly the only one. I thought I’d wade through the last few days of reports and give the people what they’re looking for. If I don’t answer YOUR question send me an email. The ones I’m answering here are the ones that have been “Googled” multiple times. Funny they seem to all be about… Continue Reading Grab Bag: Your Lion Questions, My Lion Answers
Best Safari 5 Extensions - Safari 5 introduced a new feature to Apple’s web browser, namely Extensions. Extensions allow programmers to “extend” Safari’s abilities beyond what comes standard. Here’s a link to Apple’s official Safari Extensions Gallery page, with many many many Extensions to read about and download. Four extensions that I’ve found handy are AdBlock, ClickToFlash, AutoPagerize, and Page One. AdBlock does what you’d expect: it blocks ads. Check out these before-and-after shots. First the regular page, then the same page with AdBlock installed and active.Much better. Go get it. Here’s the link.Note: it’s donation-ware. Try it for free,… Continue Reading Best Safari 5 Extensions
Apple 10.6.8 Revised Update - Apple put out a “supplemental” 10.6.8 update today (July 25th, 2011). Among other important fixes, it restores network printing functionality that broke with the original 10.6.8. Apple puts it this way: “resolves issues with certain network printers that pause print jobs immediately and fail to complete.” Sounds good to me. Go to Software Update under your Apple menu and get this fix. Last updated Thursday, December 17, 2015
Breakfast with the Lion - I installed Mac OS X Lion onto my MacBook last night. Once installed, Spotlight began indexing my hard drive, and that’s a pretty intensive process that really slows everything down (except for the fans inside the MacBook, which were going full-speed). Considering the “About 10 hours remaining” in the following dialog box……I thought it would be better to leave it alone, have dessert, go to bed, and try it again in the morning. With breakfast. Which is what I did. Here’s how it went. Let’s Get StartedThe first thing I noticed about Lion is how… Continue Reading Breakfast with the Lion
A Brief Lion Update - At this very moment I am backing up my MacBook in preparation for a Lion install. I want to be able to go back to 10.6.8 in a hurry if I have to, so what I’ve done is purchase a 500 GB internal hard drive* (same size as the drive in my MacBook), stick it into my NexStar Hard Drive Dock,* and using Super Duper make a complete clone of the MacBook’s internal drive. Once that’s done, I’ll take the old drive out, put the new drive in, and then (with the original drive safely… Continue Reading A Brief Lion Update
Don’t Rush to Install Lion (Mac OS X 10.7) - We all like new stuff. With Apple’s new Mac OS X 10.7 (Lion) coming out tomorrow and for only $29.99 it’s oh-so-tempting to download it as soon as possible. But I wouldn’t do that if I were you. You might end up with a better operating system, but you might also end up with a printer that doesn’t print, a scanner that doesn’t scan, installers that don’t install, and programs that won’t launch. Your best course of action is to wait. While you’re waiting, do your homework: find out whether your printer will work with… Continue Reading Don’t Rush to Install Lion (Mac OS X 10.7)
How to Compress a PDF on a Mac, Including in Lion - Sometimes you have a PDF that you want to compress, usually because you want to email it and you know it’s too big to send. Here’s an easy way to do it, and it uses Apple’s Preview program, something that comes with every Mac. (If Acrobat opens when you double-click a PDF, try Control-clicking on a PDF’s icon and then choosing “Open With…” and then “Preview.”) Here’s the Get Info box for the Keynote ’09 Manual (you know: click on the icon once, then File/Get Info). You can see the size (boxed in red): 13.8… Continue Reading How to Compress a PDF on a Mac, Including in Lion
VIDEO TIP: My Favorite Safari Tips - Today’s tips are all about Safari. They will save you time. I guarantee it, or double your money back. Click the picture below to start the show. You’ll see, in vivid color, how to access the Google search box from the keyboard, how to open links without leaving the page you’re on, and the fastest way to type in a new web address. Last updated Tuesday, April 12, 2016
Quicken for Mac Incompatible with Lion - UPDATE (March 8th, 2012): Intuit has built a Lion-compatible version of Quicken 2007! You can read all about it on their site, at this page. Unfortunately, they do not provide a link or any information about how you go about getting the Lion-compatible version. Come on, Intuit. That’s not very nice. I managed to find the link for you: click here. They want $14.99 for the download but if you want to run Quicken on a Mac with OS X Lion (or a later system) you have no choice. Spend the $14.99. By the way,… Continue Reading Quicken for Mac Incompatible with Lion
Mac OS X 10.6.8 Printing Issue, and a Fix! - — Mac OS X 10.6.8 Printing Issue, and a Fix! — We interrupt The iMom Project to bring you this news about the Mac OS X 10.6.8 update. If you have a networked printer there is a chance that the printer won’t work after you update to 10.6.8. 10.6.7 works perfectly but 10.6.8 has a problem. Think it over before automatically clicking “Install.” UPDATE: the 10.6.8 Supplemental Update fixes the problem. (7-25-2011) The problem has been traced to a small change in the printing system. It appears to be a mistake. Fortunately, the fix is… Continue Reading Mac OS X 10.6.8 Printing Issue, and a Fix!
Search Google Images by COLOR - I know, everyone knows how to use Google… but not everyone knows how to use Google IMAGES to search by COLOR. They will if they read this blog entry. Suppose you go to Google and you search for something. Here, I’ve searched for Yoda. I want pictures, so I’ll click either of the three red-circled “Images” links.The result of course is a page full of Yoda images.Of course you can use the options in the left-hand column to choose an image size (use “Medium” or “Large” if you intend to print the image). But… how… Continue Reading Search Google Images by COLOR
Apple Security Update 2011-003 and the Mac Defender Malware - There’s this bad thing called Mac Defender. It comes from bad guys (Russians, just like in the movies). Then there’s this good thing called Apple Security Update 2011-003. It comes from good guys (Apple, Inc.). You want the Security Update 2011-003 because you DON’T want Mac Defender. So, Step One: go to your Apple menu, choose “Software Update…”, and install Apple Security Update 2011-003. You can read about it by clicking here but this is a case where you can take my word for it. Get the update and read about it later if you… Continue Reading Apple Security Update 2011-003 and the Mac Defender Malware
How to Type Perfectly, Part II - If there’s something you type all the time, and it’s more than a few characters, why not have your Mac type it for you? This tip will show you how. Let’s say, hypothetically, that your name is “Christian Boyce.” Now, let’s say you stay up late doing blog entries and AppleScripts and kitchen cleaning (I did say “hypothetically”). Wouldn’t it be a drag if staying up late made you tired and you accidentally made a typo while typing your own name? It Could Happen. Actually, it probably did happen. I don’t remember. I’m tired from… Continue Reading How to Type Perfectly, Part II
How to Type Perfectly, Part I - Suppose you were writing an email using Apple’s Mail program. Suppose you made some typing mistakes (who me?). Suppose your email looked like this: Not very good! But, those red underlines do show you where you made mistakes, and there are plenty of ways to make corrections. I will cover those in a future blog post. For now, though, let’s learn how to have Mail correct the problems as you type rather than just underline them. It’s a simple one-step procedure. All you do is get an email window up, and then go to the… Continue Reading How to Type Perfectly, Part I
Another Time Machine Backup Success Story - One of my customers has a Mac Pro tower, and the hard drive went bad last week. A replacement drive was only $60, and it was even bigger and faster than the one that died. Of course the new drive was blank… but we had a Time Machine backup so we restored from that and in less than an hour the customer was back in business. Turns out we’d only set up this backup system two weeks earlier, so we really lucked out. Let’s make sure that you’re lucky too. If you don’t have a… Continue Reading Another Time Machine Backup Success Story
How to Type Spanish Accents, French Accents, and Upside Down Question Marks - How to Type Spanish Accents, French Accents, and Upside Down Question Marks Ever try to type “¡Olé!,” with the accent and (and the proper punctuation) but all you could get was “Ole”? Maybe you’d like to type “¿Cómo estás?” but can’t figure out how to put in the accents or the upside-down question mark. Either way, if you’re using a Mac, this is the article for you. We’ll have you typing all kinds of groovy accents and symbols and other neat stuff in no time. I wrote about typing Spanish and French accents on an… Continue Reading How to Type Spanish Accents, French Accents, and Upside Down Question Marks
VIDEO TIP: How to Add PDFs to Your iPad - Recently I hit upon the idea of gathering up as many of my PDF manuals as I could– manuals for my printer, for software, for my camera, etc.– and putting them onto my iPad for reading in the iBooks app. The way I do it is easier than what I’d seen described online, so I thought I’d document my method in video form so everyone can benefit. Click the picture below to watch the video.You can see the three PDFs (Olympus camera manual, HP printer manual, and AppleScript Language Guide) on the top shelf of… Continue Reading VIDEO TIP: How to Add PDFs to Your iPad
Quick Fix for a Facebook Security Issue - Facebook has a nice little security hole, and someone has already done a “proof of concept” hack to show that it’s easy to get into someone’s account. The hack involves “listening” as people log into Facebook using an open network (such as what you’d find at Starbucks) and capturing names and passwords. Once that happens, the hacker has all he needs. He can log in with the captured Facebook credentials and post things and comment on things and delete things and generally cause a bunch of trouble. You don’t want that. Unfortunately, the person who… Continue Reading Quick Fix for a Facebook Security Issue
VIDEO TIP: How to Customize the Mail Toolbar - Mail is even better when you customize the toolbar to be just the way you like it.. This video tutorial– less than two minutes long– will show you how it’s done. Click the picture below to start the show. UPDATE: I should have mentioned that you can customize the main Mail viewer window’s toolbar AND the individual Mail message window’s toolbar– changes in one do not affect the other. So, customize Mail’s main viewer window’s toolbar, then double-click a message to open up a message window and modify that toolbar also. If you want. Last… Continue Reading VIDEO TIP: How to Customize the Mail Toolbar
QR Codes: the Next Big Thing - Qrafter icon (QR code reader). QR Codes: the Next Big Thing This is a business card. So is the black-and-white mess below. And the messy one is easier to put into your address book. That’s because it’s a “QR code,” and it turns out it contains all of the information in the card above– and you can read it using your iPhone’s camera and add it to your address book without doing any typing at all. I’m telling you, it’s the Next Big Thing. The QR code format is rather broad. Storing name, address, and… Continue Reading QR Codes: the Next Big Thing
Google Instant Previews - It’s not easy keeping up with Google— they make changes all the time, and they almost never make a big deal about them. Google Instant Previews is a good example of that. What it does is show you “Instant Previews” (hmmm!) of each website in search results, which makes it a little easier, sometimes, to figure out which website you want to go to. For example, here I’ve searched for Barbecue Recipes, and as expected I found a LOT of results: approximately thirteen million, four hundred thousand. I don’t want to plow through thirteen million… Continue Reading Google Instant Previews
Safari Shortcuts That I Just Learned - I did a little experimenting today and found some new (to me) Safari shortcuts. Maybe they are new to you too. Try ’em out and see how they work for you. Option-Down Arrow: scrolls down one windowful. Fantastic. No more “click click click” to scroll down.Option-Up Arrow: scrolls up one windowful. Duh. (Yes, the above do exactly what “Page Down” and “Page Up” do… but if you’re on a laptop, you don’t have Page Down and Page Up keys. And, even if you do have Page Down and Page Up keys, the Option-Arrow shortcuts may… Continue Reading Safari Shortcuts That I Just Learned
VIDEO TIP: Safari Bookmark Collections and Tabs - Click the picture below and learn how to use Bookmark Collections and Tabs in Safari to speed up your web browsing. Guaranteed to save you time. Your friend(s) will be impressed. Last updated Thursday, December 17, 2015
RetailMeNot.com: Money-Saving Website - Ever buy something online, and right at the end you see a little box that says “Enter your promotional code here”? Ever wonder how you’re supposed to get those codes? I get them from RetailMeNot.com. RetailMeNot.com provides discount codes for use on other websites (and printable coupons for use in stores, and news about special offers). I’ve made checking with RetailMeNot.com a habit– every time I’m about to buy something online, I open another browser window (File/New Window, or Command-N) and see if RetailMeNot can help me save some money. A lot of the time… Continue Reading RetailMeNot.com: Money-Saving Website
VIDEO Tip: Safari Bookmarks - Back by popular demand, it’s VIDEO. A picture is worth a thousand words, so a movie should be worth even more. Let’s test that theory out. A couple of weeks ago we had a contest about Safari Bookmarks and cool ways to make them. Nine-year old Zach won it with the first tip in this video. The second tip is provided at no additional charge, though Zach probably already knows all about it. Have a look. Click the picture below to start the show. NOTE: the first tip in this video also works in Firefox.… Continue Reading VIDEO Tip: Safari Bookmarks
Safari Bookmark Tips - You probably think you know all about making bookmarks in Safari, and maybe you do. But, do you know know all about editing bookmarks in Safari? You will in a minute. Let’s start with making a bookmark. Click the plus sign to the left of the URL, or go to the Bookmarks menu and choose “Add Bookmark…” Or use Command-D. There are a couple of other ways too– more on that later. Whichever you choose, you’ll end up with this box: So far, so good. Pay attention to where you put the bookmark. For this… Continue Reading Safari Bookmark Tips
A Little Google Tip - When you search with Google you sometimes get MORE than what you want, and it clutters up the results. For example, suppose you’re looking for Mac help in Austin, Texas. You type in… Mac help Austin Texas … and you get a pretty good list. But, there are a lot of repair places listed, and you don’t need repairs, you need help. You can make the “repairs” items go away by modifying your search like so (the minus sign is the key): Mac help Austin Texas -repair Pretty good. But, it turns out there’s a… Continue Reading A Little Google Tip
New Mac App Store - Apple introduced its Mac “App Store” today and I love it. I think you will too. First things first: your Mac has to be on 10.6.6 or later. Here’s a link to the 10.6.6 Combo Update. You can’t use the update unless you’re already on 10.6.something, FYI. When you install the 10.6.6 Combo Update you get one new application– the App Store– placed into your Applications folder, and it’s also given space in your Dock. Give the App Store icon a click and you’re in– that’s all there is to it. Here’s what you see… Continue Reading New Mac App Store
Office 2011: Don’t Bother - Executive Summary: we waited three years for THIS?! Don’t bother buying it, unless you absolutely have to. And, keep in mind that in some ways it’s not even as good as the previous version. Microsoft’s Office, like McDonald’s hamburger, is very popular without being very good. Thanks to clever bundling arrangements on the PC side, Microsoft’s Word, PowerPoint and Excel have become a workplace standard. Until recently, Mac users who wanted to view documents created by PC users were essentially forced to purchase a copy of Microsoft Office for the Mac, even if they really… Continue Reading Office 2011: Don’t Bother
How to Tune Up Your Mac - If your Mac seems a little slower than it used to be it might be in need of a tuneup. Here’s the procedure I run for the Macs I’m responsible for. Done once a month, this routine will help your Mac to run its best. It’s a three-step program. Step 1: Run CocktailCocktail does a lot of important stuff that has techie-sounding names, such as “repair permissions”, “clear caches”, “clear logs”, and “perform Unix “cron” scripts.” Fortunately, Cocktail knows what all of this stuff is, even if you don’t, and it knows how to do… Continue Reading How to Tune Up Your Mac
How to Print Mailing Labels - UPDATE: Apple’s Address Book app has been renamed as “Contacts,” starting in OS 10.8. The label printing works the same way regardless. (Are you looking for how to print mailing labels from your iPhone or iPad? Here’s my article about that, updated for 2015.) Printing mailing labels is easy, especially if you’re using Apple’s Address Book. There are plenty of reasons to like the Address Book but the mailing list printing is one of my favorites. Here are some tips for printing beautiful labels with minimal work. BONUS: a lot of this applies to printing… Continue Reading How to Print Mailing Labels
How to Use the Mac’s Hidden Printing Features - — How to Use the Mac’s Hidden Printing Features — Everyone knows how to print… it’s just File/Print, or Command-P for the keyboard people. What else is there to know? Plenty. Here are some tips that will have you printing faster/better/more efficiently than ever before. Tip Number One: Expand the Print dialog box.When you bring up the Print dialog box, it might be kind of small, like this: If you like ’em small, this box will work just fine… but if you want access to a bunch of handy features, click that downward-pointing triangle in… Continue Reading How to Use the Mac’s Hidden Printing Features
Solve an Irritating Mail problem - Ever make a typo in someone’s email address, and from then on Mail keeps using that mis-typed address? Or, ever have a friend change email addresses, and every time you try to email him Mail remembers the old address instead? What an irritation. Most people just live with it, but some people complain, and thanks to them we have this here blog entry that tells you how to Fix This Problem.Step 1: in Mail, go to the Window menu and select “Previous Recipients.” You’ll get a window like this one, but less blurry:That’s a list… Continue Reading Solve an Irritating Mail problem
Quickly Edit Events in iCal - Maybe I should have known this one and maybe everyone else already does. I guess we’ll find out. When you make an event in iCal it is assigned a “calendar” (category). The one that’s assigned is the one that’s selected in the list at iCal’s left. Often, it’s not the one you want. Here’s how to change it quickly. This is my list of iCal calendars, and I’ve selected “CB & A.” If I make a new event it will belong to the CB & A calendar.If I want to change it to “cb Personal”… Continue Reading Quickly Edit Events in iCal
Time-Saving Mail Shortcut - I think you’re going to like this one. Actually, I think you are going to hit yourself on the forehead and say “I can’t believe it!” On to today’s tip, for Apple Mail users. When you’re using Mail to read email your window looks something like this (but, hopefully, not as blurry):Direct your attention to the area within the red rectangle in Picture 2:See those little arrows next to some of the messages? They mean something. The curvy one means you replied to that message. The straight one means you forwarded the message. Ah, but… Continue Reading Time-Saving Mail Shortcut
Groovy Time-Saving Command-Drag Tip - Back in July I wrote about how cool it is to have icons in the Toolbar at the top of Finder windows, making it quick and easy for you to drag and drop without going all the way to the Dock. Today I discovered a groovy time-saving shortcut that makes putting those icons into your Finder’s Toolbar super fast and easy. This only works with icons that are already in the Dock, because that’s where we are going to drag them from. First thing to do is be careful: make the wrong move and you… Continue Reading Groovy Time-Saving Command-Drag Tip
Rearrange Your Menubar Icons - Seems as though the icons in my menubar are multiplying. I know what they are but I don’t remember putting them there. (In fact, I didn’t put them there– most were placed there automatically, during the initial installation of various programs.) Regardless of how they got there, now I want to rearrange them. But how? You can’t just click on them and drag them around… can you? It turns out that you can. But you have to hold the Command key down while you do it. Using the Command key trick I was able to… Continue Reading Rearrange Your Menubar Icons
Single-click Envelope Printing - Even in this email age we often want to print an envelope. Apple’s Address Book can do it but it’s complicated, and you don’t have a lot of artistic control. Here’s the Print dialog that Address Book makes you wade through– all together now, YUCK.I decided to use Pages, part of Apple’s very excellent iWork ’09 package, to make myself an envelope template that I really liked, as shown below.(Here’s your mini “how to make a template in Pages” lesson: create a document– I started with one of Apple’s supplied envelope templates– and make it… Continue Reading Single-click Envelope Printing
Pile of old phones How to trade in your old cell phones, computers, and other electronics for cash or gift cards - — How to trade your old cell phones, computers, and other electronics for cash or gift cards — RadioShack’s Trade-and-Save program is no longer. But there are plenty of other options for trading in your old cell phones and computers and other electronic equipment, including: Apple’s Trade-in Program Amazon’s Trade-in Program Gazelle and It’s Worth More You may also like this article by me: Trade-in Your Old Smartphone for an Apple Store Gift Card. Note: Gazelle will sell you used equipment at a discount. Worth looking into. Last updated Thursday, July 7, 2016
iTunes University - Apple’s iTunes university offers more than 250,000 free lectures, videos, films, and other materials— from universities, museums and art institutions, and libraries all over the world. You’ll find courses from Stanford, Michigan, and Cal (and many, many more); lectures about past and current exhibits from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, MOMA (the Museum of Modern Art) and the US Holocaust Memorial Museum (and many, many more); and discussions and insights from The New York Public Library, The Royal Opera House in London, and the Carnegie Institution for Science (and many, many more). And it’s free.… Continue Reading iTunes University
Speed Up Your Mac (#3) - So much of what we do with files starts with a drag and a drop. You might drag an image to Mail in order to send it to someone, or to iPhoto to add it to the iPhoto Library. You might drag an image to Photoshop in order to open it for editing. All of these things are easy to do (and much more efficient than going to a program, then going to File and then Open… and then hunting around trying to find your file in the resulting “Open…” dialog box. They’re even easier… Continue Reading Speed Up Your Mac (#3)
Speed Up Your Mac (#2) - As we’ve seen before, sometimes it’s not the Mac that’s slow. Sometimes it’s the user. Even if you’re fast you can get a little faster still. Here’s another hint that will save you time, day after day after day. It’s all about checking boxes. Read on. The typical Print… dialog box looks something like this: See those checkboxes at the bottom? I’ve marked them with red. Let’s say you want to check them. Do you carefully position the pointer inside those little square checkboxes? Well, you could, and it would work– but that isn’t something… Continue Reading Speed Up Your Mac (#2)
Speed Up Your Mac (#1) - Everyone wants a faster Mac. It’s a lot easier– and cheaper– to make yourself faster at using the Mac you have. Here’s a great way to do it. First in a series. Ever seen one of these? It’s a Print dialog box with a couple of pop-up menus. If you want to make changes to the print settings you have to click the little up-down arrows in the blue area. The problem with those little up-down arrows is they’re LITTLE. So you have to be rather precise with the mouse, and that takes time, and… Continue Reading Speed Up Your Mac (#1)
iCal calendar for World Cup matches - In the “better late than never” category, here’s a calendar for your iCal with the time and date of every World Cup match. Click here to get the calendar. All you do is click on it. iCal will add it automatically. I would set it to refresh once per day– not so important now, but when we get to the knockout round it will be nice to have the country names rather than “1st place Group C vs. 2nd Place Group D.” You can turn it off with a simple uncheck-of-the-box later, or even delete… Continue Reading iCal calendar for World Cup matches
Mail Tip: Photo Browser - Apple’s Mail program gives you several ways to send digital photos via email. There’s the hard way (make a new email message, then click the paperclip icon, then hunt around for your picture, then give up); the less-hard way (switch to iPhoto, find your picture, select it, and click the Mail icon), the easy way (drag a photo to the Mail icon in the Dock), and the super-easy way: use Mail’s built-in Photo Browser. Here’s a picture of a new message’s toolbar, with the Photo Browser button circled: When you click that button you get… Continue Reading Mail Tip: Photo Browser
My Favorite Shopping Site - (Note: last week one of my customers– Tom Nevermann,AKA “The Moving Doctor“— asked me to help him find a good deal on USB-powered speakers for his Mac. I took him to www.dealnews.com and set up an email alert for him, and now every time a good deal on USB-powered speakers comes along, Tom gets notified by email. That experience inspired me to write this blog entry as I know DealNews can save you some money too.) I get a lot of questions that start with “Where’s the best place to buy…”? Generally speaking I refer… Continue Reading My Favorite Shopping Site
iPhoto: Edit Using Full Screen - I’ll bet you use iPhoto a lot– not just for storing and organizing your photos, but for editing them too. The usual method of editing starts with you choosing a photo to edit by viewing thumbnails, as shown below.Then you double-click a thumbnail and get the editing window shown below. The picture you chose is highlighted in the thumbnails across the top of the window, and the image itself is enlarged in the center of the window, ready for you to crop or straighten or whatever. That’s not a bad way to do it but… Continue Reading iPhoto: Edit Using Full Screen
Please please please back up your Macs - Another hard drive bit the dust this week. This one was in a three year old MacBook. Fortunately, the machine had been backed up regularly using Time Machine. When the hard drive died we replaced it with a new one, started up from a Snow Leopard DVD, connected the backup drive, and copied everything from the backup to the new drive. It took about an hour to get the old drive out, the new drive in, and to set up the transfer from the backup, and another hour to actually do the transfer (giving us… Continue Reading Please please please back up your Macs
iTunes App Store Wish List - All of a sudden, the iTunes App Store has a “wish list” feature. Didn’t used to, and it made shopping for apps a little harder than it had to be because you had to write down the names of apps that you thought you might want to go back to. Now (as of a week or so ago) it’s all built in. Here’s how it works: Start iTunes and go to the “iTunes Store” section Find an app that you want to add to your Wish List” Click the little triangle to the right of… Continue Reading iTunes App Store Wish List
Time Machine to the Rescue - One of the best features of Mac OS X 10.5 (and 10.6) is Time Machine. It’s automatic backup software, built into the system, and it works really well. It’s easy to set up, and you can forget all about it after that– until the day you need it. You’ll be very, VERY happy to remember it that day. Hard drives aren’t made to last forever. One of my customers found that out last week, when her iMac’s hard drive simply stopped turning. The machine was only two years old! Replacing the hard drive was the… Continue Reading Time Machine to the Rescue
Dropbox– cboyce says “Thumbs Up.” - This is Dropbox. You want it. Here’s the link. They have a little video there, right on the first page. It’s worth watching– it explains the whole thing. However, if you’d rather have ME explain it for you, read on. Suppose you have a laptop and a desktop Mac. There is bound to be some item that you would like to have with you on both machines– maybe it’s a book you’re working on, maybe it’s a folder of website files for your 30th high school reunion, maybe it’s a checklist of things you need… Continue Reading Dropbox– cboyce says “Thumbs Up.”
Google Translate, now even easier - Ever use Google Translate? It’s really handy. I know there are other options but there are things about Google Translate that are hard to beat. Have a look by clicking here. Better yet, have a look by Control-clicking here, and then choosing “Open Link in New Window.” That way, you can play around with Google Translate and read all about it here, with the windows side-by-side. The first thing that I especially like about Google Translate is that it translates what you type as you type it. Try it. I don’t know how they do… Continue Reading Google Translate, now even easier
How to Save Time with Auto-Fill in Excel - — How to Save Time with Auto-Fill in Excel — Take a look at the Excel document below. Notice anything? Of course you did– each column is a series, progressing from a starting item to an ending item in some sort of regular way. It took me 59.4 seconds to enter this data. Really. That’s one cell of data per second– very, very, very quick, and it’s not because I’m such an amazing typist. Actually, I let Excel do most of the typing for me, using a feature called Auto Fill. All I did was… Continue Reading How to Save Time with Auto-Fill in Excel
Interesting Dock Behavior - Pictured above: a Dock with the magnification feature turned on. This feature, which makes Dock icons squirm as you move your mouse over them, is absolutely adored by some people, but not by me, because a squirming target is harder to click on. Tonight, for some reason, I thought it would be fun to experiment with the Dock (which was better in OS X 10.5 than it is in 10.6), and I found an interesting shortcut: if you hold the Control and Shift keys you will temporarily switch the Dock’s magnification feature ON if it’s… Continue Reading Interesting Dock Behavior
Save Time and Trouble with Tripit.com - You know that feeling you get when you suddenly discover that there’s a much easier way to do things? That’s the feeling I got when I “discovered” Tripit.com, because Tripit makes one of my more tedious tasks go away. Which task is that? The one where I type flight information into my calendar so I have it when I need it. Anyone who’s done it knows the routine: you make your travel plans online (typity-type, clickety-click), then you get to type even more into the calendar, trying very hard to be careful, but take it… Continue Reading Save Time and Trouble with Tripit.com
How to Compress Movies for Email - I wrote a couple of days ago about Photo Booth and how you can use it to record a movie and then email it. It’s easy, and it’s fun– so easy, and so fun, that just about all of you recorded a movie and emailed it to me. That’s the good news. The bad news is that these files are a little on the large side. But, there’s more good news: you can easily compress a movie to less than half its original size while retaining almost all of the quality. All you need is… Continue Reading How to Compress Movies for Email
VIDEO: How to use Photo Booth - Doing a little experimenting today– thought it might be fun to make a video showing how to use Photo Booth. Click the picture and you should see a movie. You MIGHT have to click a little triangular button after that– look around, it’s worth it. And no, I don’t know why you might have to click that button. I’ll try to find out. Last updated Tuesday, April 12, 2016
Another Reason to Like Snow Leopard - Ever use the “Help” menu in 10.3 or 10.4. or 10.5? If you have, you know it’s the slowest thing ever. But, in 10.6 (Snow Leopard), it’s fast. Really fast. So, now, it’s useful. If you’d previously given up on getting help from the Help menu, and you’re now on 10.6, give it another try. You’ll like it. Last updated Tuesday, December 15, 2015
Address Book to Google Maps - Google Maps is fantastic, better than Mapquest in my opinion. If you’re not using it you are missing out on a terrific service, and of course you can’t beat the price (it’s free). Enter maps.google.com into your browser, type in any address, and presto, you’re looking at a map of that location. You’re only a click away from getting directions, and traffic, and more. It’s super. Even more super is being able to bring up the map without typing in the address. That’s what you can do if you use Apple’s Address Book (the brown… Continue Reading Address Book to Google Maps
Even More Stuff I Like: Cameras preference pane - One of the things I like about iPhoto is it kicks in automatically when I connect my camera. One of the things I don’t like about iPhoto is it kicks in automatically when I connect my iPhone for synching or charging (iPhoto kicks in because it thinks of the iPhone as a camera, and wants to import its pictures). You might be thinking “Go into iPhoto’s preferences and tell it not to connect automatically, as shown below”– … but if I do that, iPhoto will NEVER launch automatically, and I usually want it to– just… Continue Reading Even More Stuff I Like: Cameras preference pane
More Stuff I Like: Automatic Time Zone - Well looky here: another nifty improvement in the Date & Time preference pane, thanks to Snow Leopard! Finally, all of a sudden, and only in Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard, your Mac can show you the correct time for wherever you are– automatically! Those of you who travel with a Mac laptop will appreciate this– no more trips to the Date & Time preference panel to set the proper time zone. You do have to turn this feature on, so get in there and do it now! Last updated Tuesday, December 15, 2015
Stuff I Like: Snow Leopard Date options - I’ve been digging around in Snow Leopard, looking for something new, and I found something in the Date & Time preference panel. Finally, after years of waiting, we can display the day, the date, and the time in the menu bar, all at the same time! Until Snow Leopard, you got the day and the time, but not the date (not without clicking on the time). Now you get all three at once. Here’s what it looks like. No click required! Maybe you’re good at remembering the date. I’m not. I found myself heading to… Continue Reading Stuff I Like: Snow Leopard Date options
Time to Upgrade to Snow Leopard - Apple released the 10.6.2 Snow Leopard update and it fixes a whole lot of issues (click the link and start the download while you read). I had been waiting for this update before moving to Snow Leopard, and I’m glad I did. Apple had already put out the 10.6.1 update, but that didn’t address the problems that early adopters of 10.6 had been reporting. For those problems, we’d have to wait for 10.6.2, and now it’s here. Armed with the 10.6.2 update, I installed 10.6 on my original Intel iMac (the white one), and then… Continue Reading Time to Upgrade to Snow Leopard
All You Need is the Command-L Keyboard Shortcut - According to the Beatles, All You Need is Love. If I had been a Beatle I would have suggested All You Need is Command-L because Command-L does so many things for a Mac user. First, this Quiz:Question: how can you tell when someone’s a long-time Mac user?Answer: because he calls that crazy cloverleaf/open apple key on either side of the space bar “the Command Key.” You can call it anything you want, but technically it’s a Sevärdhet, an ancient Viking symbol used today by Scandinavian road-sign makers to signify “point of interest.” Apparently, you can… Continue Reading All You Need is the Command-L Keyboard Shortcut
Introducing Managed Service from Christian Boyce - We’re introducing something new today: Managed Service from Christian Boyce. In a nutshell, you get the same great service as always, but you get it sooner and it costs you less. Click this link to read all about it. Last updated Monday, December 14, 2015
Google Stuff You Didn’t Know - — Google Stuff You Didn’t Know — UPDATE: I’ve written a new series of articles on Google search. Read this one, and then use these links. How to restrict your Google search to a single website How to search Google Images by color How to search Google for different kinds of pictures How to search Google for the newest results How to get better Google search results When you want to find something on the web I’ll bet you head for Google. It’s so easy, so fast, so powerful– and so free! I’m sure you… Continue Reading Google Stuff You Didn’t Know
Another Time-Saving Safari Tip - Part 2 of a continuing series, apparently. Ever come across a word you don’t know on a web page? Unless you’re my Dad, I’m sure this has happened to you. Assuming that you’re not my Dad, when you do find a word you don’t know, do you stop what you’re doing and reach for the dictionary? I’ll bet not. Luckily for the rest of us (the ones who aren’t my Dad), Safari offers a shortcut to look up the word using the Mac’s dictionary. All you do is hold the Control key and click on… Continue Reading Another Time-Saving Safari Tip
Time-Saving Tips for Safari 4 - You probably spend a lot of time with Safari. Use these tips and you’ll have more time for other things. Tip #1: Send a web page link via emailYou would not believe how many people ask me how to do this. My own mother asked how to do this tonight (sorry, Mom– I should have shown you this a long time ago!). Here’s how simple it is: Go to the web page in question Choose File/Mail Link to This Page That’s it! Your Mac will create an email with the web page’s address already in… Continue Reading Time-Saving Tips for Safari 4
Make the Web More Readable - Don’t you hate it when you’re trying to read a story on a web page, and everything else on that page is trying to distract you? “Click here!” they say. “No, here!” “And here!” It’s enough to drive you bonkers. Here’s an example, taken from tonight’s USAToday.com. More than half of the page is a distraction. It would be nice if there was a way to hide everything that wasn’t the story. Turns out there’s a way, and it’s called “Readability.” And it’s free. Here’s that same USAToday.com page, after the Readability treatment:Quite a bit… Continue Reading Make the Web More Readable
How to Eject a Stuck Disc - (above: international “eject” symbol, at the top right of a keyboard near you)One of these days a CD or a DVD is going to get stuck inside your Mac. That’s a total drag, but it’s easy enough to get it out. Try these moves before you bring it to the Apple Store: Press the Eject key and keep it down a little longer than usual. No? Restart your Mac, and right after you hear the chimes hold down the mouse button. No mouse button? Hold the clicker on the trackpad. No clicker, because you have… Continue Reading How to Eject a Stuck Disc
Your Appointments, Sir - No matter how careful you are about putting stuff into your calendar you still have to look at it to see where you’re supposed to be. I had the same problem, but not anymore, because I figured out how to have my Mac read my appointments to me out loud, every day, on a timer. It’s very cool, and since it’s scheduled to run every morning at 7:30 AM, I think it’s going to help me out quite a bit. Especially on weekends, when I tend to forget to check the calendar. I was hoping… Continue Reading Your Appointments, Sir
How to Use the Genius Mix feature in iTunes - Apple’s new iTunes 9 has a couple of nice new features. One of the nicest is called “Genius Mixes.” Previous versions of iTunes has Genius Playlists, which I knew about but never used because it didn’t seem all that groovy, but Genius Mixes are exclusive to iTunes 9– and they are very groovy. Before we learn about Genius Mixes, let’s review Genius Playlists so we have something to compare to. Genius PlaylistsMillions of people use iTunes. Apple figures that, on average, people know how to group songs into collections (playlists) that sound good together. Apple… Continue Reading How to Use the Genius Mix feature in iTunes
Your Photo on NationalGeographic.com - Hey, photographers: National Geographic wants YOU. Rather, they want your pictures. Only if they’re good though. Every day they publish “The Daily Dozen” online, twelve photos submitted by regular people. Maybe even you. Some of the photos selected for the Daily Dozen will also be published in National Geographic’s print edition. Here’s the link to get started. Read the fine print, especially if you’re interested in getting paid, because they’ll not be paying at all, not ever. You really should check it out. Here’s the Daily Dozen from September 16th, 2009. You can do it.… Continue Reading Your Photo on NationalGeographic.com
Sports Calendars for iCal and iPhone - — Sports Calendars for iCal and iPhone — UPDATE: here is the 2016 College Football schedule, for each team in America. It’s really handy to have the schedules of your favorite teams on your Mac and iPhone. But, it’s no fun at all to have to type them all in. Luckily for us, someone else has already done it, and all you have to do is know where to click. Let’s say you want the UCLA Bruin football schedule on your Mac and iPhone. Click this link (using your Mac– we’ll take care of your… Continue Reading Sports Calendars for iCal and iPhone
Scroll through Mail messages the easy way - You learned way back in July of 2008 that pressing the spacebar in Safari will scroll the window down. You also learned that holding the shift key and pressing the spacebar in Safari will scroll the window up. I just figured out that the same moves work in Apple’s Mail program. Press the spacebar to scroll down, hold the shift key and press the spacebar to scroll up. Incredible. What a time-saver. BONUS: if you’re reading an email and you’re scrolling along with the space bar, and then you come to the end of the… Continue Reading Scroll through Mail messages the easy way
Time Machine to the rescue - I mentioned in a previous post that installed 10.6 “Snow Leopard” on my MacBook, didn’t like it, and “rolled back” to 10.5.8. Rolling back meant using Time Machine, and I’m here to sing its praises and to talk you into using it. What’s Time Machine?Time Machine is backup software provided as part of Mac OS X 10.5 (and 10.6). It backs up EVERYTHING on your hard disk(s). All you need is a place to put it. Typically that’s an external hard drive, such as these from Amazon*. All you do is connect the drive. The… Continue Reading Time Machine to the rescue
Command-D, your time-saving friend - I’ll bet you’ve seen a dialog box like this before: Or maybe like this one: Or this one: You probably already know the keyboard shortcut that lets you click the Save button without using the mouse: you hit Enter, or Return. That’s great, when you want it. But what about the rest of the time? What about when you really don’t care about the document, and you DON’T want to save the changes? How can you click the Don’t Save button from the keyboard? The answer, in almost every case, is Command-D. Memorize this one… Continue Reading Command-D, your time-saving friend
More About the Dock (part 2) - Every Mac has a Dock, and every Dock has things in it, and just about everyone clicks on things in the Dock to launch various programs. Nothing wrong with that, nothing at all… but you can do more with the Dock than just click on things. For example: Let’s say you have something on your desktop (or in a folder) and you want to send that thing as an email attachment. The typical routine is something like this (and let’s keep track of the clicks): Launch your email program (Apple Mail or Entourage, probably) or… Continue Reading More About the Dock (part 2)
More About the Dock (part 1) - I wrote about the Dock (“Hickory Dickory Dock”) in July of last year. It was a decent little article and the stuff I wrote then is still helpful today. Lately, though, I’ve noticed that a lot of Mac users are unaware of some of the Dock’s finer points. Here, then, is More About the Dock (part 1). Here’s a very plain and sparsely populated Dock. Just a few items in it. No one’s Dock looks this empty, but it’s going to make our examples neater and cleaner. Let’s review: the items in the Dock in… Continue Reading More About the Dock (part 1)
Customize Safari’s Toolbar - Safari’s a nice browser but you can make it nicer by customizing the toolbar. What you learn in this blog post will help you in other programs (Mail, the Finder, Pages, Keynote, and many more) so you’re getting a lot for your money here. This is Safari’s toolbar, right out of the box. (This is Safari 4 but it’s similar in version 3.) Click the toolbar below for a larger version. Pretty basic. You get “back,” “forward,” and “Add to Bookmarks.” Ho hum. But… if you choose “Customize Toolbar…” from Safari’s View menu, you get… Continue Reading Customize Safari’s Toolbar
Safari 4 Tip of the Day - Usually, when you close a Safari window, you mean to do it. But sometimes you make a mistake and close the wrong one. That’s when you say “Come baaaaaack…” and of course it doesn’t. Next time that happens, try this: Go to Safari’s History menu and choose the well-named “Reopen Last Closed Window.” It looks like this: And it works. Right below “Reopen Last Closed Window” is “Reopen All Windows from Last Session.” That one’s great for when you quit Safari and then regret it (this is especially bad when you have lots of windows… Continue Reading Safari 4 Tip of the Day
Interesting Airport-HP AiO interaction - I hate to sound like a broken record– I mean, a corrupted MP3– but HP’s Mac software is the worst. I love their printers, I love their scanners, but I hate their software (and that keeps me from buying their printers and scanners). Ugh. HP sells a lot of equipment (to people who didn’t ask me first), and one of their devices is the HP All in One (AiO) Photosmart 3310. It prints, it scans, it faxes, and it copies– and it can do it all over a network. It’s pretty unusual to be able… Continue Reading Interesting Airport-HP AiO interaction
FREE job-hunting AppleScript - You might not have heard but there’s a recession on. People are looking for work. For myself, I had the brilliant idea of searching the job postings on www.craigslist.org every day for Mac-related stuff, but quickly found that craigslist is sort of picky about search terms, and if you aren’t careful, you’ll miss stuff. For example, if you’re looking for AppleScript jobs, and someone’s posted one that says “Wanted: AppleScripter” you WON’T find the job if you search for “AppleScript.” Don’t ask me why– that’s just the way it is. Search for AppleScripter, and you… Continue Reading FREE job-hunting AppleScript
10.5.7 update - Apple released the 10.5.7 update yesterday, and while it has worked fine for me on two Macs (iMac Intel 1.83 GHz, and MacBook 2.2 GHz) I have read about quite a few issues that others are having with it. As usual, it’s impossible to make sense of it all because the people who have problems are the ones more likely to write to websites such as Macintouch and MacRumors to tell about their experiences, but just to be on the safe side why not have me do the update for you. That way, if anything… Continue Reading 10.5.7 update
Bigger is Better: Mail - (Part II of a series) So, we made Safari bigger. Now Mom wants her email bigger too. But, as before, we can’t simply choose a lower resolution in the Displays preference panel (Apple menu/System Preferences…/Displays), because doing it that way has the side effect of making a flat-panel Mac’s screen a little blurry. Mom uses Apple’s Mail program. Fortunately, Mail allows us to set the size of a lot of things. We can change the size of the Mailbox font. We can change the size of the Message List font. We can change the size… Continue Reading Bigger is Better: Mail
Bigger is Better: Safari - (First in a series.) A couple of weeks ago Mom was asking me how to make things bigger on her Mac. Naturally I had her select Displays from the System Preferences (under the Apple), and in there I had her choose any size that WASN’T the one with the largest numbers. Just as naturally, Mom didn’t like the way things looked, as there’s only one “sharp” resolution on an LCD screen, and that’s the one with the largest numbers. Yes, things were bigger, but no, they weren’t better. Try again, she said. (Isn’t it funny… Continue Reading Bigger is Better: Safari
Tip of the Day: Address Book “Smart Groups” - If there’s one feature of Apple’s Address Book that is overlooked by almost everyone it’s Smart Groups. The regular kind of Group is handy, and you should read up on them (try going to the Help menu in Address Book and looking for “Groups”). In a nutshell, you add people to a Group manually, by dragging them from the “All” group. Easy enough. But not as easy (and not as cool) as Smart Groups. A Smart Group fills itself automatically, exactly like a Smart Playlist in iTunes or a Smart Album in iPhoto. (Don’t know… Continue Reading Tip of the Day: Address Book “Smart Groups”
10.5.6 update– do it (my way) - Apple’s released the 10.5.6 update, so naturally I am getting zillions of calls about whether it’s safe to install or not. It is. Just be careful, as usual. Do it like this: Restart your computer. Find the Disk Utility (in the Utilities folder, in the Applications folder, on your hard disk) and “repair permissions.” If you don’t know how to do this have me do it with you over the phone one time. Download and install the 10.5.6 COMBO update (this is better than going to the Apple menu and choosing Software Update.) The updater… Continue Reading 10.5.6 update– do it (my way)
iFixit.com - What a cool website, and gee don’t I wish I’d found it before I took apart that iBook and couldn’t put it back together again. Click the picture and have a look. How-to manuals. Parts. Friendly tips. cboyce says “Check it out.” (Here’s the manual I should have read before taking apart the iBook): Last updated Sunday, December 13, 2015
Stuff You Ought to Know - Newer Macs come with little pictures on the function keys (top row of keys, with names like “F1”) and they are supposed to tell you what the keys do. The pictures aren’t all that clear, and on older keyboards the pictures aren’t there at all. Here are some explanations. Newer keyboards:F1: make the screen dimmerF2: make the screen brighterF3: show all windows (Exposé)F4: show Dashboard widgetsF5: nothingF6: nothingF7: go back (in iTunes)F8: play/pause (in iTunes)F9: skip forward (in iTunes)F10: mute/unmute all soundsF11: make the sounds softerF12: make the sounds louderF13: nothingF14: nothingF15: nothingF16: nothing Older… Continue Reading Stuff You Ought to Know
10.5.5 update - Hard to recommend the 10.5.5 update just yet. There seem to be some installation issues. Half of the machines at Boyceworld took the installation without incident and are working fine. The other half took forever to restart after the install, then went to a blue screen, then turned themselves off. After restarting a few times all seems normal but everything leading up to that certainly wasn’t pleasant. I think you can live without it, but if you are daring and want to install 10.5.5 at the very least be sure you are completely backed up,… Continue Reading 10.5.5 update
Stuff You Didn’t Know You Had - And now, something completely different! Apple loads new Macs with a lot of software that we all use (iPhoto, Safari, Mail, iTunes, etc.). They also load new Macs with a lot of software that almost no one uses. But if more of us knew about it, more of us would use it. I think. My goal is to put that software to use, one Boyce Blog reader at a time. Today’s program that You Didn’t Know You Had is “Grapher.” It’s probably in your Utilities folder (which is in your Applications folder). The icon looks… Continue Reading Stuff You Didn’t Know You Had
Tip of the Day, September 3rd, 2008 - Today’s topic: The Desktop. We love The Desktop. We put all of our stuff there. And then we open up Safari, or Mail, or something else, and we cover everything up. When we need something from The Desktop, Step One (and Step Two, and Step 3) is “move all those windows out of the way so you can see The Desktop.” Very inefficient. No one likes it. Today we are going to learn how to use “Exposé.” Exposé allows us to get to The Desktop with a single keystroke. It will save you a ton… Continue Reading Tip of the Day, September 3rd, 2008
I love football, part 2 - — I love football, part 2 — UPDATE: here is the 2016 College Football schedule, for each team in America. The football season is finally here! And with that comes the complex time-management task of watching all the important games with a limited number of TVs in the house. My method: keep tabs on the games via the internet, and if a game starts to look interesting, switch over to it on the TV. I use this page on ESPN’s website because it lets me see the scores of all the games, real-time. I particular… Continue Reading I love football, part 2
Tip of the Day, August 25th 2008 - Here’s one for all the Apple Mail users. Ever send someone an email with an attachment? Of course you have. Most people write the message, then click the Attach button, then climb around in what some of you call “the dead-end box” (where you’re supposed to somehow track down the thing you want to attach). Here are two methods that are a lot easier. You start in the Finder, not in Mail. In this example, I have a document I want to email, and I’ve clicked on it ONCE to select it. Here’s a picture,… Continue Reading Tip of the Day, August 25th 2008
Tip of the Day, August 24th, 2008 - Did You Know– ? The Preview program that comes with OS X 10.5 can do some pretty spiffy things. In fact, it can do some of the things Photoshop can do, and some of the stuff that Acrobat can do, and a whole bunch of stuff that neither can do. And it’s free. In Part I of this tip (today’s blog entry) I’ll outline some of the really handy features built into Preview. Part II will explain how to use these features. Email me and tell me which features you want explained first– this is… Continue Reading Tip of the Day, August 24th, 2008
Tip of the Day, August 21st 2008 - Ever get a weird error message on your Mac and then try to tell someone (me) about it? The conversation goes like this: You: “I got a weird error message on my Mac.”Me: “Oh really. What did it say?”You: “Something about an error.”Me: “Right. Can you tell me a little more?”You: “No, it just said there was an error. What do you suppose it was?”Me: “Aaargh.” Today we are going to learn how to take pictures of the screen— of the whole screen, of parts of the screen, of particular windows. Here goes. Take a… Continue Reading Tip of the Day, August 21st 2008
Tip of the Day, August 20th 2008 - Assuming you’re using Leopard (Mac OS X 10.5): One of the very handy features introduced in 10.5 is “QuickLook.” With it, you can VERY quickly pop open a document and see what’s in it, without the delay of launching a program such as Preview or Word. Here’s how you use it. 1. Click ONCE on a document icon in the Finder. Here, I’m clicking on what looks to be a picture. 2. Now, with the icon highlighted, press the spacebar. Yes, the spacebar. Don’t ask me why it’s the spacebar. The document pops open, like… Continue Reading Tip of the Day, August 20th 2008
Tip of the Day, August 3rd, 2008 - Command-Spacebar. That’s it. See you tomorrow. OK, here’s a little more info. When you press Command-Spacebar, you get a little search box at the top right of your screen. Looks like this: Type something in, and as you type, Spotlight searches your hard disk(s) for matches. Big deal? Well, yeah, because it searches INSIDE documents in addition to searching document titles. So, if you’re wondering what you gave your nephew for Christmas last year, you can search for his name and find it in a document called “Naughty and Nice 2007.” Good luck finding that… Continue Reading Tip of the Day, August 3rd, 2008
Tip of the Day, July 30th, 2008 - See that row of keys across the top of your keyboard? The row you never use? How about making those keys do something useful, like opening your mail program, or Safari, or (yuck) Microsoft Word? Here’s how you do it using a FREE program called “Spark.” Step One: go to versiontracker.com and download Spark. Here’s the link.Step Two: double-click the download from Step One, and if things go right you’ll see something called Spark on your desktop. It will look like this: Open that, revealing this. That’s the Spark application. Drag it to your Applications… Continue Reading Tip of the Day, July 30th, 2008
Tip of the Day, July 29th, 2008 - Supposing you wanted to put your Mac to sleep. Or to shut it down. Or maybe restart it. Do it the way the cool kids do: press the Eject button (top row of keys, a triangle with a line under it) while also holding pressing Control (either one of the Control keys). You get a box asking “Are you sure you want to shut down your computer now?”If that’s what you want, hit Enter on your keyboard, and voila, the computer shuts down. If you want to put it to sleep, you can click the… Continue Reading Tip of the Day, July 29th, 2008
Tip of the Day, July 26th, 2008 - I would imagine that you have a few icons on your desktop. Maybe more than a few. Maybe a lot. Turns out that “a lot” is bad. The problem is that the Finder (which displays the icons) is not very good at dealing with a large number of icons at once. The effect is your machine slows down, just a little, for every icon on the desktop. Incredible, but true. So, if you want your machine to be fast again, reduce the number of items on your desktop. It’s OK to put a couple of… Continue Reading Tip of the Day, July 26th, 2008
Hickory Dickory Dock - Apple loves the Dock. Actually, I think Steve Jobs loves the Dock. That’s one way that you can tell us apart: Steve loves the Dock, and I don’t. Plus, he’s a billionaire, and I don’t love the Dock. Love it or not, we’re stuck with the Dock. So here’s how to make the best of it. Start by opening up the Dock’s preferences (Apple menu/Dock/Dock Preferences…), and then… Turn OFF magnification. That will keep the Dock’s items from squirming around when you point at them Turn OFF “Automatically hide and show the Dock.” It’s easier… Continue Reading Hickory Dickory Dock
Shortcut of the day, July 16th, 2008 - You can do a Google search without going to Google first. In Safari, look for the search area at the top right of the screen. Type in what you’re looking for, hit Enter (or Return) on the keyboard, and there you are, a page full of search results. Sure, you can go to www.google.com and do the search there, but why bother? Bonus Tip: there’s a tiny triangle pointing down at the far left of Safari’s search area. Click it and you’ll see the last ten things you searched for. Choose something from that list… Continue Reading Shortcut of the day, July 16th, 2008
If I were you - I would never let my Mac sleep. Let the screen go black but keep the machine up and alive. Waking up from sleep has been a problem for Apple over the years– sometimes machines won’t wake up at all, sometimes their keyboards/mice/printers won’t work, sometimes other problems. If you are connected to another machine (file sharing, or maybe a remote database) going to sleep will drop the connection, causing inconvenience at the least and maybe even data loss. So do it my way. Go to the Energy Saver Preference Pane (Apple menu, System Preferences, Energy… Continue Reading If I were you
Shortcut of the day, July 10th, 2008 - Press the space bar to scroll down in Safari. Hold Shift and press the space bar to scroll up. This also works in Firefox. Last updated Wednesday, July 9, 2008
Football picture I love football, part 1 (of hundreds) - — I love football, part 1 (of hundreds) — UPDATE: here is the 2016 College Football schedule, for each team in America. UPDATE: click here for the 2011 NFL Prime Time calendar in iCal format. I love football, and I especially like the “glamour” games on Monday Night, Sunday Night, and now Thursday Night. I thought it would be handy to have the NFL Prime Time schedule in my iPhone’s calendar, so I got the info from NFL.com and massaged it into an iCal calendar (which then uploads to my iPhone when I sync). You… Continue Reading I love football, part 1 (of hundreds)
Shortcut of the day, July 6th, 2008 - Hit the Escape key (esc, at top left of keyboard) instead of mousing to and clicking on the “Cancel” button in any dialog box. Bonus Shortcut: Enter (or Return) almost always clicks the default button (the one with the heavier border) in a dialog box. Double-Bonus Shortcut: Command-D almost always clicks the “Don’t Save” button. Last updated Sunday, July 6, 2008
Shortcut of the day, July 4th 2008 - Command-click links in Safari to open them in new tabs. Here’s a link to practice with. Command-click it, and look near the top of your Safari window. You’ll see two “tabs” and you can click back and forth between them. Neater and cleaner than opening separate windows. Last updated Friday, July 4, 2008

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