Every Post



  1. Mac Option Key tip #5: Rotate the Other Direction
    Rotate pictures 90 degrees counter-clockwise in iPhoto, Photos, and Preview. If you want to rotate the other direction, hold the Option key.
  2. Mac Option Key tip #4: Reveal a Contact’s Groups
    The Mac's Contacts app reveals the Groups a contact is in, at the press of a key. Of course it's the Option key. This will help you one day.
  3. Mac Option Key tip #3: Close All Finder Windows
    Close all of your open Finder windows with a keystroke. You know about Command-W; try adding the Option key. Or, Option-click a Close button.
  4. How to send messages with balloons and other screen effects in iOS 12
    Here's how to send animated balloons & other screen effects in iOS 12. It's easy & fun-- but you need to know how! Here's how.
  5. How to remove adware and malware from your Mac
    Adware and malware take over your searches, spy on your browsing, and slow down your Mac. Remove it with Malwarebytes for the Mac. Here's how.
  6. Mac Option Key tip #2: the Battery Status Menu
    Hold the Option key while clicking on the Battery Status menu on your Mac laptop and find out whether your battery is in good shape or not.
  7. Mac Option Key tip #1: the WiFi Menu
    Hold the Option key, then click on the WiFi menu to see some interesting stuff about your network. Handy for trouble-shooting. Try it!
  8. Get Free Beats Wireless Headphones with Apple’s Back to School Promotion
    Apple's offering discounts on Mac and iPads for college students, along with significant savings on Beats headphones. Here are the details.The savings are big enough to make the headphones free.
  9. Blinking Yellow Light on an Apple Airport– what it means, what to do
    Blinking yellow light on your Apple Airport needs attention. Fnd out what the problem is and update firmware using the Airport Utility.
  10. Apple’s WWDC 2019 Keynote Speech
    How to watch Apple's June 3rd 2019 WWDC Keynote Speech on your iPhone, iPad, Mac, or Apple TV. What to expect. Possible surprises.
  11. How to get your AOL email working again on your iPhone and iPad
    AOL mail stopped working for a lot of iPhone users a couple of days ago. Here's how to get it going again.
  12. 7 Things to do when Setting Up a new Mac
    Everyone wants a faster Mac. But it's easier (and cheaper) to make YOU faster. Change a few settings and you'll be faster for sure. Here's how.
  13. How to Fix iMessage “Waiting for Activation” on iPhone
    iMessage on iPhone can stall "Waiting for activation." Apple's suggestions don't always work. Here's a real fix-- and it's easy.
  14. NBA Playoffs Calendar for iPhone and Mac
    NBA Playoffs Calendar for iPhone and Mac, updated as games are played and the schedule is announced. Subscribe and the NBA Playoffs will appear each year.
  15. Clean up text with Paste and Match Style
    If things look messy after you paste some text, undo it and try "Paste and Match Style" instead. It's right there in the Edit menu. And it works great.
  16. Add the 2019 NFL Schedule to your iPhone, iPad, and Mac Calendars
    Get the NFL schedule, all teams or any team, or prime-time games, or playoffs on your iPhone, iPad, or Mac. Subscribe and it works forever!
  17. How to Open PDFs on a Mac with Preview instead of Acrobat Reader
    Acrobat Reader is complicated and no fun to use. Here's how you can set Apple's clean and elegant Preview app as the default app for PDFs.
  18. Apple’s Special Event March 25th, 2019
    Apple introduced Apple Card, Apple News+, Apple TV+, and Apple Arcade at its March 25, 2019 special event. Watch the show, read my summary.
  19. How to set up a Time Machine Backup
    Time Machine backup software is part of the Mac system. It will back up your Mac automatically, every hour. Here's how to set it up.
  20. March Madness Calendar for iPhone, Mac, and iPad
    Here's the March Madness NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament calendar in ics (iCal) format. Updates automatically! Teams, times, and TV.
  21. How to quickly Capitalize words you’ve already typed on iPhone and iPad
    Here's the easy way to fix things when you forgot to capitalize something while typing on your iPhone.
  22. NFL Post-Season Calendar for iPhone and Mac
    Get the NFL Post-Season schedule into your iPhone or Mac's Calendar app. Calendar includes teams, times, and TV info. Updated with scores. Also works with Google Calendar.
  23. How to forward (or delete) part of a text message conversation on an iPhone or iPad
    Delete or forward part of text message conversations on your iPhone, maybe NSFW photos. You can delete an entire conversation; this is better.
  24. Add the 2018-2019 College Football Bowl Game Schedule to your iPhone, iPad, and Mac Calendars
    2018-2019 College Football Bowl Game calendar in iCal (ics) format for iPhone, iPad, Mac, & Google Calendar. Includes teams, times, dates, and tv stations. Updated every year.
  25. How to Print Mailing Labels from an iPhone or iPad
    Here's how to print mailing labels straight from your iPhone or iPad. Or, make a PDF of the labels and email them to someone else to print from a computer.
  26. How to Make and Use Smart Folders on a Mac
    Quit wasting time looking for your files. Use a Smart Folder instead. Smart Folders can instantly show you all of your images, all of your recent work, and more.
  27. Extend your iPhone’s battery life by closing unneeded Safari tabs
    Long-forgotten Safari tabs, running in the background, can drain your battery, but closing one at a time takes forever. Here's how to close them all at once.
  28. Apple’s iPhone XR available for pre-order
    The new iPhone XR (slightly cheaper version of iPhone XS) is available for pre-order. I prefer the XS for a few reasons. Ask me about it.
  29. How to watch Apple’s October 30th, 2018 event
    How to watch Apple's October 30th event, and what to expect. New iPads are a good bet, as are refreshed MacBook Pros and MacBook Airs.
  30. iOS 12: First Impressions, and advice
    iOS 12 is out, and even though it's the first version of 12, it's good enough to install right now. It's faster than iOS 11 and easy to get used to. My advice: if you're on iOS 11, upgrade to 12.
  31. How to sync text messages between your iPhone and your Mac
    You want your iPhone's text messages to also show up on your Mac and iPad-- all of them, green and blue both. Here's how you set it up.
  32. How to watch Apple’s September 12th 2018 Special Event
    Here's how to watch Apple's September 2018 announcements on your Mac, iPhone, or iPad.
  33. How to Get Amazon Prime Video on your Apple TV
    Get Amazon Prime Video onto your Apple TV and authorize it easily. An Amazon Prime account gives you access to a lot of movies and TV shows.
  34. iOS 11: Should you install it? (No, not yet)
    iOS 11 wasn't so good. iOS 12 is better. If you're on 11, go to 12. If you're on iOS 10, go to 12. iOS 11 never really hit its stride but 12 is great.
  35. Christian Boyce on the radio
    Hear me discuss Apple's new iPhones and the other things they introduced in their September 12th 2017 event. Should be an interesting talk.
  36. Watch the Apple Special Event Tuesday, September 12th, 2017
    Here's how to watch Apple's event on September 12th, 2017. It starts at 10 AM Pacific time and you can watch on your Mac, your iOS device, or your Apple TV.
  37. Free 4th of July Fireworks Apps for your iPhone and Mac
    A free fireworks app for your iPhone & iPad, & another free fireworks app for your Mac! Don't play with fire-- use these apps instead.
  38. How to make a free WordPress Blog (Part 3)
    How to make a free WordPress.com website, including review of major features in the Dashboard. Posts, pages, menus, themes, and more.
  39. How to make a free WordPress Blog (Part 2)
    WordPress.com blogging basics: how to make a new post, how to edit it, how to add an image to a blog post, how to create & assign categories.
  40. How to make a free WordPress blog (Part 1)
    Learn how to make a free WordPress blog using this easy tutorial. All you need is a web browser and an internet connection.
  41. How to fix poor iPhone cell reception in your home and office
    Improve reliability & sound quality of phone calls made from your iPhone by turning on WiFi Calling. The feature is easy to turn on, & free.
  42. How to use the Memories feature in iOS 11’s Photos app
    iOS 10 introduced a feature called "Memories" in Photos. It makes shareable mini-movies of your photos & sets them to music. Here's how to do it.
  43. Make Your Own iPhone and Mac Text Replacements for Auto-Correct
    Add custom Auto-Correct text replacements to your iPhone & Mac. Save typing: xpand a short string into a longer one Make fewer typos.
  44. Essential Mac Add-on Apps
    Three apps that make using a Mac easier, faster, and nicer. I install these on my Macs and you should too! The apps: Moom, Paste, and Alfred.
  45. How to Quickly Unlock Your iPhone or iPad with iOS 10
    iOS 10 removed "Slide to Unlock" & replaced it with a much-harder-to-use "Press Home to Unlock." Make unlocking an iPhone easy with this tip.
  46. How I Fixed an iPhone that Couldn’t Get Mail Unless On WiFi
    iPhone's Mail app worked on WiFi, but not on cellular. Yet Safari worked fine whethere on cellular or WiFi. Here's how I fixed things.
  47. 27-inch Retina iMac, Magic Mouse 2, and Magic Keyboard available at Amazon
    It took a few weeks but Amazon now has the 27-inch iMac with the Retina display. You can click this link* to go straight there. The warranty is through Apple whether you buy from Amazon or the Apple Store, or anyone else, so you can simply shop on price. Comparing identical models, Amazon's price is better than the Apple Store's. Amazon also has the new Magic Mouse 2, which improves on the original Magic Mouse by having a built-in rechargeable battery (and you charge it using the included Lightning cable, same kind your iPhone uses-- and two minutes of charging gives 9 hours of use!). The Magic Mouse 2 is also a little lighter and it glides a little more smoothly than the original. Note: you'll need macOS 10.11 or higher to use all its features. You can click this link* to go to the Magic Mouse 2 page on Amazon. If you need a wireless, rechargeable keyboard, Apple's Magic Keyboard fits the bill. It recharges with a Lightning cable (included) so you'll never need to replace batteries.
  48. How I Rescued a Mac Whose Finder Didn’t Work
    The Mac started, but I couldn't open a Finder window or see any files on the Desktop. Fixing it was easy once I knew what to to.
  49. Apple reduces prices on dongles and LG screens
    -- Apple reduces prices on dongles and LG screens -- Apple has cut prices on the USB-C adapters (or "dongles") designed to connect your existing peripherals to their new, all-USB-C MacBook Pro computers. They've also cut prices on Thunderbolt 3 accessories. Discounts in some cases are nearly 50%. This is the time to buy (because the prices will go back up January 1st, 2017). This USB-C to Lightning cable (handy if you want to connect your iPhone 7 to your new MacBook Pro) is now $19 (was $25). [caption id="attachment_9228" align="alignnone" width="640"] Apple USB-C to Lightning cable[/caption] Apple has also reduced the price of the new LG UltraFine displays, which were designed with the MacBook Pro in mind, by 25%. (These are neat monitors-- they connect to the new MacBook Pros with a single USB-C cable, and that one connector provides signal to the monitor, powers the MacBook Pro, activates the USB-C ports on the back of the monitor, and provides sound input to the monitor from the Mac. All in one cable!) The discount, which gets the 21.5-inch monitor down to $524, is in effect from now until January 1st, 2017. A 27-inch version of the monitor will come out in December, so if you want one, move quickly so you get it before the price goes back up. You get the discounted pricing whether you buy from the online Apple Store or from one of Apple's retail locations. In case you're wondering: yes, I do think these price reductions are a reaction to the tepid reception Apple's latest MacBook Pros received. They took away every port we know and replaced them with 4 USB-C ports... which means you need an adapter for each one. I don't think this went over very well, and I think Apple is trying to smooth things over so their customers don't get too mad.
  50. Know when it will rain, down to the minute
    Darksky is the best weather app. It tells you when it will rain in your exact location. Highly recommended. Very precise. The best.
  51. New MacBook Pros Introduced at Apple’s Special Event
    Apple introduced new MacBook Pros with "Touch Bars" and they look really cool. This article includes links to the introductory movie and the design movie.
  52. “Paste” for the Mac– Like Copy & Paste on Steroids
    The "Paste" app extends Copy & Paste, letting you copy unlimited things and then paste them anywhere, in any order, at any time. I love it.
  53. What You Need to Know About Mac Ransomware
    Ransomware hits the Mac. Here's what you need to know to keep your Mac safe. This is serious; you could be locked out of your own machine.
  54. Should I Upgrade my iPhone to iOS 10?
    -- Should I Upgrade my iPhone to iOS 10? -- UPDATE: there are two really fun new features that you can only get with iOS 10. First, you can send balloons and fireworks etc. in a text message, like in the Apple commercial. Second, your iPhone (or iPad) will make these sensational mini-movies called "Memories" for you from your pictures and videos, and they're really fun. Now that iOS 10 has had a few updates, and considering these two great features, I say please do upgrade to iOS 10. Executive Summary: I usually advise waiting for at least one update to come out before upgrading operating systems, but iOS 10 appears very, very polished. If your iPhone or iPad is on 9.x already, go right ahead and get iOS 10. Be sure to back up first! To install, go to Settings, then General, then Software Update. You will have to agree to Apple's terms a couple of times along the way so pay attention and don't leave the installation hanging, waiting for confirmation from you. UPDATE: T-Mobile put out a Tweet two days after iOS 10 was released, recommending that T-Mobile customers with an iPhone SE, an iPhone 6, or an iPhone 6 Plus NOT install iOS 10, because some T-Mobile customers with those phones have been losing their connections to the T-Mobile network. The short-term fix: restart the iPhone whenever it loses connection. Note that it's only those three iPhone models, so if you have some other model you are probably fine. I would expect Apple and T-Mobile to have this fixed shortly anyway. iOS 10 came out September 13th, 2016, and I was quick to install it on my iPhone 6S (for testing purposes-- it's my job). I used the "OTA" method (Over The Air) and after accepting the terms, and downloading the installer, I thought I was done... but then I got the dreaded "connect to iTunes" message on the iPhone's screen, signifying a failed installation. Note: there were multiple reports on the internet of OTA iOS 10 updates failing the same way mine did. Apple recognized the problem and fixed it within an hour. As long as your iPhone is backed up you should not be worried about installing iOS 10 over the air. Fortunately, I had my MacBook Pro handy, so I connected my iPhone with the Lightning cable, and after downloading the installer AGAIN, I was able to update to 10.0.1. (Interesting that it was not 10.0.0.) After connecting to iTunes with the USB cable the system updated properly and everything is fine. In fact, during the time spent updating via iTunes, Apple fixed the over-the-air problem, so had I waited a few minutes before attempting my OTA upgrade I would probably have had no trouble at all. I upgraded an iPhone 5, an iPhone 5S, and another iPhone 5S over the air and those upgrades went smoothly. Yours will probably go smoothly too. So why upgrade? For the new and improved features. Messages…
  55. Best Mac Anti-Virus Package: Intego Internet Security X9
    Intego's Internet Security X9 is the best Mac anti-virus package you can buy. Includes network protection. Unobtrusive, yet effective.
  56. 2018 College Football schedules for your Mac, iPhone, and iPad
    Here's how to get the 2018 college football schedules for every team in America. You can add them to your Mac, iPhone, iPad-- even to your PC and Android.
  57. How to watch Apple’s September 7th Event
    -- How to watch Apple's September 7th Event -- UPDATE: the event is over. You can watch a replay of the event by clicking here. [caption id="attachment_8600" align="alignnone" width="627"] Apple's September 7th, 2016 Invitation[/caption] [caption id="attachment_8601" align="alignnone" width="627"] Click to add a reminder to your calendar (then look in your Downloads folder and double-click the thing)[/caption] Apple's going to show some new stuff on September 7th, 2016. I don't know what they'll announce so I'll be tuning in at 10 AM Pacific Daylight Time to find out, same as you. Apple's invitation says it all: you need a reasonably modern iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch, or a reasonably modern Mac, or a reasonably modern pc. Come back here at 10 AM Wednesday September 7th, 2016 and click the big blue button and we'll watch the show together. For some reason my invitation hasn't arrived (yet).
  58. Should I install the iOS 9.3.5 update on my iPhone?
    -- Should I install the iOS 9.3.5 update on my iPhone? -- Apple’s released another iOS update and this one plugs a hole that allowed someone to hack into an iPhone remotely and monitor activity. Text messages, emails, phone calls, location info-- you name it. Pretty sophisticated, and pretty serious stuff. You can read about the exploit in the New York Times' excellent article. It boils down to this: if you’re on any version of iOS 9, get the 9.3.5 update right away. [caption id="attachment_8543" align="alignnone" width="320"] iOS 9.3.5 Update[/caption] The easiest way to do it is “in place, over the air” which means connect to WiFi, then go to Settings/General/Software Update. It will take about half an hour so be sure your device is not about to run out of power. Personally, I make sure my iPhone and iPad are charging when I do software updates and I think you should too. If your iPhone or iPad is on iOS 8 this is a good time to upgrade to 9. As above, be sure your device is charging while this takes place. If your iPhone or iPad is on iOS 7 I recommend staying there (for most users). Yes, this security hole is something you’d like to plug, but moving to 9.3.5 from 7 is a big jump, and you may have performance issues. On the other hand, if you’re running a big company, or running a country, or selling guns to a government, or a journalist, you need to be as secure as possible— so what are you doing with an iPhone running iOS 7? Get a new one with iOS 9. You can read about the security content of iOS 9.3.5 on Apple's website. It's a little vague but you might learn something.
  59. Mac Option Key tip #12: Open your Library folder
    Your user "Library" folder is really important-- so important that Apple hides it. Here's how you can find it and open it up.
  60. Mac Option Key tip #11: Delete a Messages conversation with one click
    Cut your work in half in the Mac OS Messages app. Deleting conversations used to be click-the-x, wait for a box, then click Delete. Now it's one click.
  61. Mac Option Key tip #10: One-click System Information
    Apple's System Information app can be accessed by going to the Apple menu while holding down the Option key. You save one click this way. And you look cool.
  62. Mac Option Key tip #9: Special Characters
    Our Mac Option key Tip-a-Palooza continues with Mac Option Key Tip #9. 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. CharacterKeystroke(s)• (bullet)Option-8¢Option-4ñOption-n, then néOption-e, then e™Option-2®Option-rº (degree symbol)Option-0 (that's a zero)Option-Shift-K You may be wondering how you'll ever remember these things, but take a look at the keyboard and some of them will become fairly obvious. For example, the cent sign (¢) is on the same key as the dollar sign ($). The bullet (•) is on the same key as the asterisk (*), which some people use for bullets (until they read this blog entry). OK now-- that's 9. [optionkey_blogposts]
  63. Mac Option Key tip #8: Option-Empty Trash
    Skip the "Are you sure?" dialog box when emptying the Trash by holding the Option key down while you do it. Also helps when something won't delete. Try it!
  64. Mac Option Key tip #7: Option-Click
    Hold the Option key down when you click a link to download the document that link leads to. Without the option key the document is simply loaded in your browser.
  65. Should I update my iPhone to 9.3.4?
    -- Should I update my iPhone to 9.3.4? -- [LatestiOS] Hot on the heels of the 9.3.3 upcate comes 9.3.4, and if your iPhone (or iPad) is already on 9.anything you should definitely do the update. The 9.3.4 update contains a security fix that blocks a particular exploit and Apple recommends this fix for all iPhones and iPads. You can read about the provided fix on Apple's website. Apple doesn’t comment on iOS security issues until they have a fix as they don’t want to advertise vulnerabilities before they have plugged the holes. But they do document, at least in general, what they’ve fixed with each update, which does spread the word amongst the bad guy community that certain weaknesses used to exist. That’s bad news for those who don’t update. For this reason I recommend keeping up to date with your iPhone and iOS software unless it’s a major (whole number) upgrade. In that case, I advise updating only twice past the system your device came with. That is, if your iPhone came with iOS 7 installed, updating to iOS 8 and iOS 9 would be good ideas, but updating to the upcoming iOS 10 probably would not. (The big downside to updating too many times is you eventually end up with a slowed-down device. Each new version of iOS brings new features, and new features take more computing horsepower. There comes a point where your iPhone or iPad will not be up to the task. When that happens, your iOS device will run slowly, and you will wish you could go back… but you can’t. Well, you CAN, but it’s really hard. My “two whole number upgrades past what it came with” rule is a little bit conservative but given how difficult it is to roll back after upgrading it’s the rule I use.)
  66. Mac Option Key tip #6: Option-Drag
    The Option-Drag technique works all over the place. It's one of the handiest Mac things to know. It lets you make copies of things, rather than move them.
  67. Should I update my iPhone to 9.3.3?
    -- Should I update my iPhone to 9.3.3? -- NOTE: the following applies to the iPad as well. UPDATE: they're up to 9.3.5 now. Easy answer: if you're already on some version of iOS 9,then yes, you should update. See which version your iPhone's on by going to Settings, then General, then About. Look for "Version." [caption id="attachment_8197" align="alignnone" width="320"] iPhone iOS version, in Settings/General/About[/caption] If you're on 8.x I recommend staying there unless you have a great reason to move up. Here's Apple's page telling you what's new in iOS 9 compared to iOS 8. It's not such an impressive list, and remember that moving to 9 from 8 will probably make your iPhone run slower. I wouldn't risk it if I were you. So, if you're already on 9, the 9.3.3 update is for you. It's full of security fixes: Apple provides a list of 26 security fixes in iOS 9.3.3, including issues involving the Calendar, FaceTime, and Safari. You need to plug these security holes. So get the update. Always be sure to have a fresh backup of your iPhone before performing an update. Go to Settings/iCloud/Backup and check the time of your last backup. You can always do "Back Up Now" just to be safe. Here's how mine looks: [caption id="attachment_8198" align="alignnone" width="320"] iCloud backup[/caption] Now that you have your backup, go get the update. I recommend you install the 9.3.3 update "over the air" which means you go to Settings, then General, and then Software Update. The other way (connecting your iPhone to your computer with the USB cable) is not only unnecessary, but slower too, so just stop it. Plug your iPhone into its charger, connect to WiFi, and download and install the update through the air. It won't take long-- a few minutes, a restart of the phone, and you're done. Just be sure you've backed up first. Wondering whether to update your Mac? See this article about updating to 10.11.6. If you have other questions, contact me. Use the form on my Contact page.
  68. 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 issue that may prevent settings from being saved in accounts with parental controls enabled." "Resolves an issue that prevented some network devices, such as speakers and multifunction printers, from accessing SMB share points." You might be thinking "Big deal-- this doesn't apply to me." And maybe it doesn't. But there's another reason to update to 10.11.6: lots and lots of security fixes. (This is also why you should update your iPhone and iPad to iOS 9.3.3). There is always a risk when installing a system upgrade but there is also a risk (a security risk) if you don't. I advise all Mac users with any version of 10.11 already installed to upgrade to 10.11.6 because the security improvements are so important. Do it the "pro" way (see below). [jpshare] The Pro Way to Update Your MacApple makes it very easy to update your Mac. They put messages on your screen saying they have updates for you, and all you have to do is click "install." That's usually a fine way to do things, but for system updates (as opposed to iTunes updates, or security updates, or app updates) the pros do it another way. Here's how: Restart your Mac. If any apps start up, quit them. We want to make a nice clean environment for the installer. Use your favorite web browser to search for the "Combo Update" for the system you're upgrading to. In this case, google for "10.11.6 combo update." (Restrict the search to apple.com by putting "site:apple.com" at the end of what you're searching for-- see my article on restricting a google search to a single site.) The page you're looking for looks like this: [caption id="attachment_8184" align="alignnone" width="575"] 10.11.6 Combo Update[/caption] Download and install the Combo Update. If you didn't find it with your Google search, and didn't try clicking the picture above, here's the link to Apple's 10.11.6 Combo Update page. Your Mac will restart when the installation is complete. You may be wondering "What's a combo update?" Great question. The answer is, it's everything needed to take 10.11.0 to 10.11.6 (not just from 10.11.5 to 10.11.6). That means it's a bigger, more robust, more complete updater than the one you'd get by using Apple's regular software update mechanism, because the regular updater contains only the stuff needed to get you from the system you're currently on to 10.11.6. That is, if you're on 10.11.5, and you're updating to 10.11.6,…
  69. 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. [caption id="attachment_7941" align="alignnone" width="640"] Searching Google for how to make a carrot cake: 7 million results![/caption] Maybe you want to make a carrot cake for your friend who doesn't like raisins. You don't want to search through seven million articles, looking for the ones without raisins. Turns out it's easy: if you want to exclude something from your search, put a minus in front of it, like so: [caption id="attachment_7933" align="alignnone" width="640"] Google search results, excluding those with raisins (via minus sign)[/caption] Now we're down to 1.8 million results. Maybe your friend is allergic to butter (poor thing). You'll need a recipe without butter. That's easy-- put a minus sign in front of the word "butter" and you're all set. Note: put a space in front of the minus sign, and no space after. Them's the rules. [caption id="attachment_7934" align="alignnone" width="640"] Google search for how to make a carrot cake, no raisins, no butter[/caption] By excluding raisins and butter we're down to 1.4 million results. But we can narrow things down further by putting our original search term (how to make a carrot cake) in quotes. Putting things in quotes tells Google you want those words, in that order, and ideally with that exact phrase. [caption id="attachment_7937" align="alignnone" width="640"] Google search improved by putting search string in quotes[/caption] Notice how the search results are all titled "How to make a carrot cake" or some variation on the phrase-- but always, the words are in that order. The quotation marks get Google's results down to 29,400 items. But we can do better yet! If you'd rather read about making carrot cakes than watch someone else make one, you'll want to eliminate the videos. That's easy: it's our old friend the minus sign again, and the word "video." [caption id="attachment_7939" align="alignnone" width="640"] Google search results: no raisins, no butter, no video.[/caption] We still have 15,000 results but they're very focused. You can be pretty sure that these results will all be pretty much what we want. So what have we learned here? Use the minus sign to eliminate terms you don't want, and Put your search string in quotes if you're looking for a phrase. Don't hog all the knowledge-- share this with a friend. Your friend will thank you and so will I.
  70. 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 how you tell Google you only want the new stuff. Let's say you're looking for the best tacos in Austin. You go to Google and search. You get almost 6 million results-- way too many. [caption id="attachment_7908" align="alignnone" width="640"] Almost 6 million Google search results[/caption] You need to narrow things down. With restaurant reviews, "newer" is usually better than "older," so let's restrict Google's search results to the newer ones.. Step 1: Click "Search Tools" Step 2: Click "Any Time" and change it to something else. (I chose "within the last year") [caption id="attachment_7916" align="alignnone" width="640"] Restricting Google's search results to articles from the past year[[/caption] This is a set of results I can work with! [caption id="attachment_7910" align="alignnone" width="640"] Google search for best tacos in Austin, restricted to articles from the past year[/caption] Note: you can set a custom date range. If you want to read articles written during the presidential election of 2000 you can. You can sort the results by date or by "relevance" (as secretly defined by Google): [caption id="attachment_7911" align="alignnone" width="640"] Sorting Google search results by relevance or by date[/caption] Pro Tip: the best tacos in Austin are at Torchy's. Here's their menu.
  71. 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 you've restricted the results to "red"... [caption id="attachment_7884" align="alignnone" width="640"] Google image search results for "birds" restricted to red[/caption] Now you click the "Cardinal" button and you get this: [caption id="attachment_7895" align="alignnone" width="640"] Google Search Tips: search for birds, restrict to red and cardinals[/caption] Maybe you don't want photographs-- maybe you want art. So click the "Art" button. [caption id="attachment_7896" align="alignnone" width="640"] Google image search for pictures of birds, that are red, and are art.[/caption] Maybe you want line drawings, like in a coloring book, so you have something to pass out to your 2nd-graders. That's easy too: turn off "Art," click Search Tools, and then, under "Type", choose "Line Drawing." [caption id="attachment_7898" align="alignnone" width="640"] Google image search for pictures of birds, that are red, and are line drawings.[/caption] Finally, let's say you want to be sure you're allowed to use the picture in your project. How can you know? This is also under Search Tools-- you're looking for "Usage Rights." [caption id="attachment_7899" align="alignnone" width="640"] Google image search for pictures of birds, labeled for reuse.[/caption] There's a lot more under "Search Tools." The Size menu helps you find pictures that are big, for your desktop picture, or small, for a website project. The Time menu helps you find pictures that are very new, or very old, or from a specified date. You should click around and experiment.
  72. 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? It's easy, and it's fun. For example, let's say you search for "birds" and get this: [caption id="attachment_7883" align="alignnone" width="640"] Google image search results for "birds"[/caption] If I change my mind and want to see blue birds, I can click the "X" next to "red" to remove the red filter, and then click "blue," like this: [caption id="attachment_7885" align="alignnone" width="640"] Google image search results for "birds" restricted to blue[/caption] *Sometimes the nice big buttons are there for you, and sometimes they aren't. If they aren't, click "Search Tools" and then "Color." [caption id="attachment_7888" align="alignnone" width="640"] How to bring up the color choices[/caption] The results: [caption id="attachment_7889" align="alignnone" width="640"] Google search results for "famous paintings" filtered to green[/caption]
  73. How to restrict your Google search to a single website
    Here's how you restrict a Google search to a single website. Handy for filtering out results and returns better results than searching at the site itself.
  74. RepairPal.com helps you when you need car repairs
    -- RepairPal.com helps you when you need car repairs --I don't know much about cars. When the mechanic says "You need a new alternator" all I can say is "OK... but how much is this going to cost?" At that point, as long as he doesn't say something outrageous I tend to give him the go-ahead. Then I spend the next few weeks wondering how much I overpaid. Those days are over (and they have been for awhile). RepairPal.com, a terrific resource, helps you get an idea of what your particular repair ought to cost, based on your car's make, model, and year. It also takes your location into consideration. NOTE: RepairPal used to be an iPhone app, and it was terrific. However, the RepairPal people have focused their attention on their website, so that's the way you'll be accessing the RepairPal service. In the years since I first used their iPhone app RepairPal's done a ton of work: certifying repair shops, forming partnerships with groups including AARP, Consumer Reports, and the non-profit Automotive Service Association. Here's how RepairPal.com looks when you bring up repairpal.com on an iPhone. [caption id="attachment_7696" align="alignnone" width="270"] RepairPal mobile website[/caption] If you tap on the "Share" button (red arrow points to it) you can add a RepairPal icon to your iPhone, and since it looks like an app for all practical purposes, there's your RepairPal app. Look for "Add to Home Screen," tap it, give the thing a good name, and you're done. [caption id="attachment_7697" align="alignnone" width="270"] Add to Home Screen[/caption]In the end, you get something like this: [caption id="attachment_7698" align="alignnone" width="270"] RepairPal on the Home Screen[/caption]Now RepairPal is just a tap away. Here's an example.Suppose your car is a Ford Explorer, 1996. Suppose the mechanic tells you it's time for a new alternator and that it will cost you $300. Start up RepairPal, tap "Get an Estimate," put in your car's info, and then your location, as shown below. Then touch the blue "Get an Estimate" button. [caption id="attachment_7700" align="alignnone" width="270"] Enter info about your car and the needed repair[/caption] Here you see a range of prices, a little bit higher at the dealers and a little bit less at the independent shops. Now you know enough to evaluate your mechanic's quote. [caption id="attachment_7701" align="alignnone" width="270"] Range of prices[/caption] Tap "Estimate Details" and learn about the repair. [caption id="attachment_7704" align="alignnone" width="270"] Estimate Details[/caption] Close up the Estimate Details and scroll down to see a list of places that can handle the job. They even have ratings. [caption id="attachment_7705" align="alignnone" width="270"] Certified repair shops, with ratings[/caption] Knowledge is power. In a way, I'm sort of looking forward to having something go wrong with my car so I can pull out my iPhone and turn to RepairPal. Note: you can use the repairpal.com website from your desktop Mac also-- this is not an "iPhone only" thing. You ought to have a look at it that way as there is a lot of information on the site…
  75. How to Expand Storage on MacBook Pro Retina and MacBook Air
    There are two ways to upgrade MacBook Pro Retina and MacBook Air storage. One is very easy; the other is slightly less easy, but worth it.
  76. How to Show (and Hide) Invisible Characters like Paragraph Marks in Microsoft Word on a Mac
    Light blue marks in your Word documents are "invisible characters" (returns, tabs, & spaces). Here's how to turn them off, and back on.
  77. 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 password to see what happened, and of course it shook then). [caption id="attachment_7552" align="alignnone" width="480"] Mac Login Screen (click for larger version)[/caption] I had a backup but restoring that much stuff is a long process, and I didn't want to spend the time. I hoped for a "fix," and I found one. Here's how I did it. Trouble-shooting this sort of problem starts with finding out whether the problem involves the Mac itself, the operating system, or the user folder. It's almost never the Mac itself, and it's almost never the operating system. I had another user ("temp") which I'd previously created for just such an occasion-- it's just a plain, almost-never-used user, in pristine condition-- so I turned off the Mac, turned it back on, and tried signing into the "temp" user. And it worked. It would be VERY smart to go to System Preferences/Users & Groups and create a new Administrative user TODAY in case you have an emergency like mine. It gives you a place to stand while you fix your real user. I hope you never have to use it but if you do, you'll be ready. Make that extra user now, before you need it. Yes, there are ways to create an administrator user even when you can't log in, but it's much easier to create a user if you do it when your Mac is working. So now I knew the Mac was probably OK and the operating system was probably OK. That left me with a problem in my user folder, or maybe a problem in the operating system that wouldn't let it log into my user. I crossed my fingers that it was the latter (because that's an easy fix). This is going to sound crazy but Step One was "delete my user" (in the Users & Groups preference pane). Note that I didn't want to delete my user folder. The plan here was to tell the operating system to forget about my Christian Boyce user, but to NOT delete the Christian Boyce folder (because that's where my stuff is). Yes, this is sort of a nervy move. Be careful to do it without changing the Home folder. You just want the operating system to let go of it. And yes, it felt better knowing I had a backup. [caption id="attachment_7553" align="alignnone" width="480"] Deleting a user from System Preferences[/caption] [caption id="attachment_7604" align="alignnone" width="480"] Deleting the Home Folder…
  78. How to Open a Mac App from an Unidentified Developer
    Here's how to open an app that your Mac says can't be opened due to being from "An unidentified developer"-- while keeping your Mac secure.
  79. How to Watch Apple’s WWDC Keynote
    How to Watch Apple's WWDC KeynoteUPDATE: The keynote is over. Here's a link to the entire recorded keynote (139 minutes). Watch and enjoy! UPDATE #2: Here's a link to a seven-minute condensed version of the keynote from our friends at MacRumors. Can't get enough of Apple's presentations? Neither can I! Here's a link to the most recent Apple special event keynote speeches and new product introductions. Use this link and see even more Apple presentations, in iTunes.
  80. How to Block Porn Sites and Phishing Sites AND Speed Up Your Home Network
    EXECUTIVE SUMMARYImprove 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 didn't cost anything? I think you'd do it. Read to the end of this article and you'll know how. [Google_Responsive_Ad1] Even if all you want is "faster" this article is for you. I had a delay of almost one second before web pages started to load using the default AT&T DNS numbers. Using the same internet service, in the same location (the same chair!), but using OpenDNS, the delay went away. You can set up OpenDNS to use their domain name servers without any filtering-- that works just fine too. The Problem Sometimes people go to websites by mistake, and sometimes those websites are full of trouble. They might be phishing sites (where they imitate a "real" site, and try to get you to give them your email address and password) or they might be "adult" sites that you don't want your kids and their friends getting into. Or they might be sites full of pop-up "scareware" to lure you into spending money to remove viruses that you don’t have. (See my article on fake virus scams.) People end up on these bad websites by making mistakes. Maybe they clicked links that claimed to be something they weren't (for example, "Click here to update your Flash plug-in!"). Or maybe they mis-remembered a URL and typed it in wrong (playmonopoly.com instead of the real address, playmonopoly.us). Maybe they clicked a link that was one letter away from being the site they really wanted to go to, or maybe they made a typo and instead of ".com" they typed ".cm" or ".co" or ".om." (Read more about "typo squatting" here and here.) The Solution: Internet Filtering Wouldn't it be cool if there was a list of bad websites, and your network knew about it, so if you accidentally tried to go to a bad website your network wouldn't load it? Turns out that lists like that do exist. All your network has to do is check your website requests against the "bad" list, and refuse to send you to bad sites. (It's better to do the filtering at the network level rather than on each machine, because if you do it at the network you only have to do it once. Basically, you make one change in your router, and the whole network's protected.) A little bit of background The internet works on IP addresses, not names. But you don't type IP addresses into your web browser. You type domain names, like apple.com, christianboyce.com, amazon.com, etc., and somehow your browser knows to send you to…
  81. 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 testing 10.11.5 here since the day it came out and I haven't had a single problem. I also have not seen any issues in the field. In my opinion, you can safely install 10.11.5-- but do it the "pro" way for best results. [jpshare] The Pro Way to Update Your MacApple makes it very easy to update your Mac. They put messages on your screen saying they have updates for you, and all you have to do is click "install." That's usually a fine way to do things, but for system updates (as opposed to iTunes updates, or security updates, or app updates) the pros do it another way. Here's how: Restart your Mac. If any apps start up, quit them. We want to make a nice clean environment for the installer. Use your favorite web browser to search for the "Combo Update" for the system you're upgrading to. In this case, google for "10.11.5 combo update." (Restrict the search to apple.com by putting "site:apple.com" at the end of what you're searching for-- see my article on restricting a google search to a single site.) The page you're looking for looks like this: [caption id="attachment_7266" align="alignnone" width="571"] 10.11.5 Combo Update webpage[/caption] Download and install the Combo Update. If you didn't find it with your Google search, and didn't try clicking the picture above, here's the link to Apple's 10.11.5 Combo Update page. Your Mac will restart when the installation is complete. You are probably wondering "What's a combo update?" Great question. The answer is, it's everything needed to take 10.11.0 to 10.11.5. That means it's a bigger, more complete updater than the one you'd get by using Apple's regular software update mechanism, because the regular updater contains only the stuff needed to get you from the system you're currently on to 10.11.5. That is, if you're on 10.11.4, and you're updating to 10.11.5, Apple installs only those parts needed to make the small jump from .4 to .5, as if your Mac has a perfect 10.11.4 installation already. The Combo Updaters have the parts needed to take you from .0 to .5. More stuff means more chances to fix problems that may have cropped up along the way (maybe your current installation has some damaged system files, for example). If I were you I'd do the Combo Update every time. Note: If you've already installed 10.11.5 the easy, automatic, click-the-install-button-when-it-pops-up way, you can still apply…
  82. Should I install the iOS 9.3.2 Update?
    -- Should I install the iOS 9.3.2 Update? -- [LatestiOS] Easy answer: yes, unless you are thinking of updating an iPad Pro 9.7 inch. In that case, don't. The iPad Pro 9.7 inch can, in some cases, become "bricked" (completely unresponsive) when the 9.3.2 update is applied. UPDATE:Apple has recognized the problem and for now the highest available iOS version for the iPad Pro 9.7 inch is 9.3.1. If you try to get 9.3.2 on an iPad Pro 9.7 inch you'll be told that 9.3.1 is the highest version available. For now. UPDATE #2: Apple has released a revised 9.3.2 for the iPad Pro 9.7 inch. They've included complete instructions, even addressing the "Error 56" problem. You may be wondering what's new in 9.3.2, compared to 9.3.1. As with most small updates it's security improvements and bug fixes. You can read all about it on Apple's site and it won't take long as there are only five bug fixes listed. I recommend you install the 9.3.2 update "over the air" which means you go to Settings, General, and Software Update. Do it when your device is plugged in (charging) and connected to WiFi. Wondering whether to update your Mac? See this article about updating to 10.11.6. If you have other questions, contact me. Use the form on my Contact page.
  83. How to Improve the Sound of Music on your iPhone
    -- How to Improve the Sound of Music on your iPhone -- No, not that Sound of Music. I mean the sound of songs that you buy from iTunes and play on your iPhone. UPDATE: Boom for iOS had an update 6-8-2016. Interface improvements, more options for shaping the sound, and a built-in Help page. It's only 1.0.2, but there's a lot of polish in it. You know about Boom 2, the best way to get more sound out of your Mac. Now there's Boom for iOS. Intended for use with headphones-- any headphones, including the ones that come with the iPhone-- Boom for iOS enhances the music that's resident on your iPhone on the fly, as it plays. They give you a free five-day trial, not that it will take you five days to fall in love with it. Beyond five days, you'll have to pay to unlock the app, and I think you'll do it because Boom for iOS is fantastic. I'm using it now with my iPhone 6s and I can't believe the improvement in the sound-- it's fuller, it's richer, and I'm hearing things in my music that I didn’t know were there. I'm sold. You should try it. UPDATE: Boom for iOS is also GREAT in the car, or with external speakers in the home. Boom for iOS costs $4.99 but for the next little bit they're having an introductory special: $2.99. That's 40% off. Hurry up and try it so you get the discounted price should you decide to buy it. Boom for iOS has one little limitation: it only works on songs that are physically stored on your iPhone. That means it can't enhance streaming music. It can play streaming music, but it can't enhance it. So download the songs you really like and let Boom for iOS operate on them. Here's Boom for iOS's player screen. [caption id="attachment_7172" align="alignnone" width="320"] Boom for iOS player screen[/caption]It's a fun interface, full of neat little touches. The yellow arc going around the circle shows you how far along the song has played, and you can scrub forward and back along the arc to fast-forward and rewind. Swipe left or right to play the next or previous song; press and hold inside the Now Playing circle to hear how the song sounds without enhancement. Fun stuff, and there's probably more. Play around and see! If you find something cool let me know. UPDATE: press and hold anywhere on the Now Playing screen to temporarily remove the enhancement. Let go and the enhancement comes back. Great way to hear how much better your music sound with enhancement on. Tap the Effects button at lower center and you'll see this screen: [caption id="attachment_7175" align="alignnone" width="320"] Boom for iOS Effects screen[/caption] There's a master switch at top right to turn Boom for iOS on and off, and the rest of the options are nicely laid out below. The first thing to try is 3D Surround. Turn that on, then…
  84. WiFi security hack exploits the January 1st, 1970 iOS bug
    -- WiFi security hack exploits the January 1st, 1970 iOS bug --An iOS bug can cause iPhones and iPads and iPods to essentially self-destruct under certain conditions. Contrary to some of the more sensational headlines (This iOS date trick will brick any device from 9 to 5 Mac, and Setting the date to 1 January 1970 will brick your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch from The Guardian), this problem only applies to 64-bit iPhones, iPads, and iPods running iOS 8.0 through 9.3. That means iPhone 5s or newer, the iPad Air, the iPad mini 2, or the sixth-generation iPod touch. The bug kicks in when the date on the device is set to January 1st, 1970; my best guess is that dates and times are stored as some number of "seconds since midnight, January 1st, 1970" and that would make 1/1/1970 zero. And that apparently causes some issue within the operating system, causing the processor to run constantly as it tries to do some calculation that it can't do with a zero value for the date. Eventually the device overheats and dies. Previously, it was thought that this bug could only be triggered manually, so there was not a lot of worry about it. But, recent research shows that an incorrect date and time value can be sent to an iPhone or iPad or iPod over WiFi, so if an iOS device of the proper vintage can be made to connect to a WiFi network maliciously set to send the wrong time, the 1/1/1970 date could be obtained automatically. The details are contained in an informative article at Krebs on Security. This exploit works because iOS connects to time servers periodically in order to always know the proper time and date. The servers are at time.apple.com, and the connections are automatic. As long as you have a network connection, your iOS device is checking with time.apple.com to get the time. So, all the bad guys have to do is get you to join their bad network. How do they do that? Easily, that's how. Remember: your iPhone and iPad and iPod touch will automatically connect to any network that they have connected to before. So, if the bad guys can guess the name of a network that you might have connected to before, especially if it's one that didn't require a password (such as "attwifi"), they know that your device will connect to it automatically when you come within range. Then, with you connected to the bad guys' network, they push the 1/1/1970 date to you by "spoofing" the time.apple.com server. That is, they set up a server with the time.apple.com name, but they send the wrong date. And now your device, if it's on iOS 8.0 through 9.3, and if it's a 64-bit device-- that is, reasonably new-- it will be toast. Solution: if your device is on iOS 8.0 through 9.3, get the 9.3.1 update (use the software update mechanism on the device: Settings/General/Software Update). If you're not…
  85. How to Print from an iPhone
    Here's how you print from an iPhone (or iPad). Print from Mail, Notes, Safari, and many other apps, through the air to a networked printer.
  86. Should I Update my iPhone or iPad to iOS 9.3?
    -- Should I Update my iPhone or iPad to iOS 9.3? -- [LatestiOS] If your iPhone or iPad is already on any version of iOS 9, the answer is simple: YES, you should update your iPhone or iPad to iOS 9.3. (Actually, you'll be updating to 9.3.1 because Apple discovered a problem with 9.3 after it was released. That problem was fixed in 9.3.1.) UPDATE: there are more fixes in 9.3.2. You can't get 9.3.1 anymore unless you're on an iPad Pro 9.7 inch. The easiest way to update your device to 9.3.1 is "through the air," which means you get the update via WiFi rather than over a USB cable connected to your Mac (or pc). When you update through the air it's quicker and simpler than the connect-to-the-computer-with-a-USB-cable method, and most of the time it's just as good. I recommend you do your iOS updates "through the air" every time. [jpshare] Things to do in advance of updating your iPhone or iPad Be sure you're connected to WiFi. Apple won't let you download the updater if you're using up your cellular data. Be sure you have a recent backup. Check for a backup of your iOS device on iCloud by tapping the Settings app, then iCloud, then Backup. If iCloud backup is turned on you'll see "Last Backup:" and a date on the lower part of the screen. The date should be today or yesterday. If it isn't, tap Back Up Now. Be sure your device is charging. You don't want to run out of battery power during a software update (it could make your device unusable). Be sure you know your Apple ID password. You're going to be asked for it when your device restarts at the end of this process. [caption id="attachment_5869" align="alignnone" width="320"] iCloud backup showing backed up yesterday[/caption] (If you're not backing up to iCloud you can back up to your computer using a USB cable. I recommend you turn on the iCloud backup because the backups are automatic. Read my article about backing up to iCloud for more information.)Updating through the air is easy. Go to Settings, then General, then Software Update. Follow the prompts, be prepared for the process to take half an hour or so, then go for it (assuming you should-- see below). If your iPhone or iPad is on iOS 8, go ahead with the iOS 9.3 update. If it's on iOS 7, you might want to stay there. If it's on iOS 6 definitely stay there. Generally speaking, it's OK to update your iPhone or iPad two versions past the system it came with. Beyond that, your device will probably not have the horsepower to run a higher system. So, if your iPhone came with iOS 8, you can feel confident in upgrading to iOS 9 and later to iOS 10. But if your iPhone came with iOS 6, you should stop at iOS 8. The ones that came with iOS 7 are the tricky ones-- but to…
  87. 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 out and I haven't had a single problem. I also have not seen any issues in the field. I warned you about 10.11.3 and encouraged you to wait for 10.11.4, and here it is... so go ahead and update-- but do it the "pro" way for best results. [jpshare] The Pro Way to Update Your MacApple makes it very easy to update your Mac. They put messages on your screen saying they have updates for you, and all you have to do is click "install." That's usually a fine way to do things, but for system updates (as opposed to iTunes updates, or security updates, or app updates) the pros do it another way. Here's how: Restart your Mac. If any apps start up, quit them. We want to make a nice clean environment for the installer. Use your favorite web browser to search for the "Combo Update" for the system you're upgrading to. In this case, google for "10.11.4 combo update." (Restrict the search to apple.com by putting "site:apple.com" at the end of what you're searching for-- see my article on restricting a google search to a single site.) The page you're looking for looks like this: [caption id="attachment_5804" align="alignnone" width="567"] 10.11.4 Combo Update web page[/caption] Look for a little menu if you need to change the language from English to something else. [caption id="attachment_5805" align="alignnone" width="226"] Look for a menu like this on Apple's combo update page[/caption] Download and install the Combo Update. The Mac will restart when it's done. You are probably wondering "What's a combo update?" Great question. The answer is, it's everything needed to take 10.11.0 to 10.11.4. That means it's a bigger, more complete updater than the one you'd get by using Apple's regular software update mechanism, because the regular updater contains only the stuff needed to get you from the system you're currently on to 10.11.4. That is, if you're on 10.11.3, and you're updating to 10.11.4, Apple installs only those parts needed to make the small jump from .3 to .4. The Combo Updaters have the parts needed to take you from .0 to .4. More stuff means more chances to fix problems that may have cropped up along the way. If I were you I'd do the Combo Update every time. Note: If you've already installed 10.11.4 the easy, automatic, click-the-install-button-when-it-pops-up way, you can still apply the Combo Update. It won't make things worse, and there's…
  88. How to delete an email from your iPhone with a single swipe!
    -- How to delete an email from your iPhone with a single swipe! -- All this time I’ve been doing the Texas Two-Step when deleting iPhone Mail messages: First, I'd swipe from right to left in the email message list, exposing the Trash button (and others) Then, I'd tap the Trash button. See below. [caption id="attachment_5733" align="alignnone" width="320"] Swipe left...[/caption] [caption id="attachment_5732" align="alignnone" width="320"] Tap Trash button.[/caption] That seems pretty easy, but it turns out you can simply continue your Step 1 swipe all the way to the left edge of the screen to trash the message in a single step. Wow. You’ll see the big red Trash button grow to cover the entire message when your finger’s at the left edge, and if you let go the message will be deleted. (Change your mind? Don't let go, and slide back to the right.) [caption id="attachment_5728" align="alignno ne" width="320"] Long swipe deletes the message in one move[/caption] With this tip, we've cut our work in half. This is my favorite way to delete a message when I know I don't want to read it. Try it yourself and it will become your favorite way too. This method has been available since iOS 8 and here we are on 9 and I'm just discovering it (or maybe re-discovering it-- I forget sometimes). Anyway, now you know, and that's the important thing. BONUS: this "long-swipe" technique works on the iPad too. NOTE: Gmail users, a long swipe may produce a blue bar with "Archive" in it instead of the red bar with "Trash." [caption id="attachment_5747" align="alignnone" width="320"] Gmail, showing Archive option instead of Trash[/caption] If you're happy with that, fine-- don't change anything. But if you'd rather delete a message than archive it, you'll have to change one little setting. Don't worry, it's easy: Launch Settings Tap Mail, Contacts, Calendars Tap your Gmail account On the next screen, tap your Gmail account again At the bottom of that screen, tap Advanced Choose the "Deleted Mailbox" option Tap Accounts at top left Tap Done at top right It should look like this when you're choosing "Deleted Mailbox." [caption id="attachment_5748" align="alignnone" width="320"] Advanced setting, showing Deleted Mailbox selected.[/caption] Remember to do the last two steps in order to save your change. Very important. That's it. Tell a friend and help my blog get famous. Every "share" helps. Yours could be the one that puts me over the top.
  89. How to forward a voicemail message from your iPhone
    How to forward a voicemail message from your iPhone -- I'll bet you didn't know you could forward a voicemail message from your iPhone. (If you did know why didn't you tell me? I didn't know until a few days ago.) Sometimes you have a voicemail that you want someone else to listen to. Maybe it’s work-related and you’d rather someone else in your office listen to and handle it. Or maybe it’s from your brother, and since he almost never calls you want to share it with your mother so she can hear his voice. Whatever the reason, all you have to do is... tap the voicemail in question tap the Share button (square with up-arrow) choose your method of sharing (Mail, text message, etc.— same as sharing a photo) You can even save the message permanently to your Voice Memos app. This could come in handy one day. See the pictures below. [caption id="attachment_5698" align="alignnone" width="320"] The "Share" button on the voicemail screen[/caption] [caption id="attachment_5699" align="alignnone" width="320"] Sharing options for voicemails on iPhone[/caption]I chose "Mail" and here's how it looked: [caption id="attachment_5704" align="alignnone" width="320"] Forwarding an iPhone voicemail message via email[/caption] Pretty cool stuff. Not something you need every day but now that you know about it I'll bet you'll come up with reasons to use it. Tell a friend and help my blog get famous. Every "share" helps. Yours could be the one that puts me over the top.
  90. How to watch Apple’s March 21st 2016 keynote
    -- How to watch Apple's March 21st 2016 keynote --Apple will hold a special event keynote Monday, March 21st, 2016 at 10 AM PDT. UPDATE: here's the link for my June 13th, 2016 WWDC how-to-watch article. Watch the March 21st, 2016 keynote using your iPhone, iPad or Mac by clicking the big blue button. Hint: if you're using an iPhone or an iPad, be sure you're on WiFi so you don't use up your cellular data. These events usually run about two hours and you don't want to burn through your monthly data allowance if you don't have to. If you have an Apple TV you can watch the keynote on your real TV. How you do it depends on which Apple TV you have. If you have the 4th-generation Apple TV (see below) you'll need to download the Apple Events app via the Apple TV App Store. (If you need help setting up the App Store part of your Apple TV, read this page from Apple-- it tells you exactly how to do it.) [caption id="attachment_5652" align="alignnone" width="479"] Apple TV 4th Generation[/caption] If you have a 2nd- or 3rd-generation Apple TV you'll find an Apple Events app on your home screen automatically. Easy stuff. [caption id="attachment_5653" align="alignnone" width="479"] Apple TV 2nd and 3rd Generation[/caption] You'll be able to watch the keynote later in the day, or even later than that if you'd like. Apple maintains a webpage with recent keynote speeches, and they offer many others via this link to iTunes. Since you asked: no, I don't know what they will show during the keynote. Apple always drops a hint via the invitations they send out-- this time, the event is titled "Let us loop you in." To me, "loop" could refer to the Apple Watch's watchbands (there's a Leather Loop watchband, and a Milanese Loop watchband), or to Apple's headquarters at 1 Infinite Loop, Cupertino California. Maybe there's a new watchband coming out, and maybe there's news about Apple's new headquarters. Even if there's both, that's not enough for a special event. There must be something else... and you can bet I'll be watching the keynote to find out!
  91. 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 UsefulExecutive 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. [caption id="attachment_5542" align="alignnone" width="537"] Click picture for a full-size image.[/caption] It’s only semi-handy because the Recent Items list is too short-- you almost never find what you're looking for in Recent Items because it only shows ten recent application, ten recent documents, and ten recent servers. (I have this feeling that the thing I want is usually #11.) Solve this problem by increasing the number of items in the list. Just go to the Apple menu, then to System Preferences, then to General. You’ll see Recent Items: near the bottom of the General Preferences pane and it will probably show “10” Documents, Apps, and Servers. Here's what General Controls looks like by default. [caption id="attachment_5550" align="alignnone" width="668"] Click picture for a full-size image.[/caption] Change the "10" to something larger (mine's set to 50) and your Mac's Recent Items will look something like this: [caption id="attachment_5551" align="alignnone" width="870"] Click picture for a full-size image.[/caption] and this: [caption id="attachment_5555" align="alignnone" width="870"] Click picture for a full-size image.[/caption] More things in the menu means more chances to find what you're looking for. More is better. Note: you won’t see improvement right away. At first, you’ll still see ten Apps, ten Documents, and ten Servers... but over time, as you use your Mac, the menu will grow to hold more and more items. It’s simple to change it back if for some reason "more" is not better for you. But I think you’ll like it this way. Now you have to remember to LOOK in the Recent Items menu when looking for stuff. That’s on you. I can only do so much. [jpshare] Bonus: sometimes you see something in the Recent Items menu and you wonder where it is on the hard disk. Hold the Command key down while showing the Recent Items menu and the menu items change to Show (name of thing) in Finder. [caption id="attachment_5553" align="alignnone" width="720"] Click picture for a full-size image.[/caption] Choose one when it says “Show” and the item will be shown in the Finder. Try it once and you’ll be an expert. Also in this series: How to Bring Back the Mac’s Scroll Bars Tell a friend and help my blog get famous. Every "share" helps. Yours could be the one that puts me over the top.
  92. 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 should have scroll bars. See below for a representative picture showing the minimal "no scroll bars" look (this is the "Notes" app but the problem is present in nearly every Mac app): (Click picture to see full-sized version.) Can you tell whether there are more notes than the ten that are shown? No, you can't. You'd have to first TRY scrolling down and if there was something down below, the scrolling would actually do something (that is, it would reveal more notes, below the ones you can see). But if there weren't more notes to show, you would have wasted a scroll move-- sort of like going to the trouble of putting your key in the lock to unlock a door and when you turn the key you realize the door was unlocked already. You feel silly, and you've wasted your time. [Google_Responsive_Ad1] Yes, using Apple's settings the scroll bars will appear as soon as you start scrolling (unless there's nothing to scroll) but that's not very helpful. The fact that you have to TRY to scroll in order to see whether you NEED to scroll will eventually result-- at times-- in wasted time and effort. That would be an irritation, and it's all because you can't tell whether you need to scroll or not without first moving the pointer. Now look at the picture below, with the scroll bar showing. (Click picture to see full-sized version.) You can see instantly that there must be more notes above the ones that are shown, and there also must be more notes below the ones that are shown. You can also tell how many notes are not shown, roughly, by nothing that the scroll bar is roughly one-third as long as the window is tall, which means you're seeing about a third of what there is to see. (If you resized the window-- made it larger-- more notes would show, and the scroll bar would continue to get longer, until finally every note showed, and with no need for a scroll bar at that point, the scroll bar would simply disappear.) This is the way scroll bars used to work-- that is, they didn't require you to move the mouse or trackpad in order to see them-- and it's the way scroll bars ought to work now. Here's how you make it so. Bringing back the scroll bars is easy. All you do is go to the Apple menu, then System Preferences, then General. Set…
  93. Three cool things you can do with your iPhone, using apps that came with it
    Three cool things you can do with your iPhone, using apps that came with itPart of the fun of the iPhone is discovering "new" features that were there all along. Here are three that might be new to you. 1. See if something is level. Believe it or not, you check for level using the Compass app. The way you do it is you swipe left while looking at the Compass. This brings up the little-known second page of the Compass app, which is really a level. After swiping left, lay the iPhone down flat to see if your pool table is level (watch the bubbles ) or put it on edge to see if your paintings and TV are hanging straight on the wall. Whether flat or on edge, when it's perfectly level the screen turns green. Easy, useful, and fun. [caption id="attachment_5359" align="alignnone" width="320"] Testing for level, iPhone laying down flat[/caption] [caption id="attachment_5361" align="alignnone" width="568"] Testing for level, iPhone on edge[/caption] 2. Have it read out loud to you. You have to take a trip to the Settings to enable this feature: go to Settings, then General, then Accessibility, then Speech, then Speak Screen (turn it ON). You will be able to control the speaking rate later so don’t worry about doing it now. [caption id="attachment_5391" align="alignnone" width="320"] Settings, General, Accessibility, Speech[/caption] The Speak Screen feature has been around since iOS 8 and it’s still one of my favorites. Works in Safari, works in Kindle, works in Books. Works just about everywhere. (The feature is called "Speak Screen" but it actually reads more than just the "screen." It will speak until it runs out of text, scrolling down past what you see on the screen, and even turning pages in Books. Yes, that's right: it turns pages in Books.) I use this feature to have my iPhone read news articles to me while I cook-- sort of like listening to the radio. After you've turned on Speak Screen, having your iPhone read to you is just a swipe away. But it's a very particular swipe: a two-fingered down-swipe, starting above the glass. You'll be an expert after doing it once, so give it a try. See the picture below. Of course this works better if your iPhone is displaying something worth reading. Do it with a web page, or in News, or somewhere else with lots of text. For web pages (in Safari) it makes sense to switch to the Reader mode, by tapping the Reader button at top left of the screen. [caption id="attachment_5378" align="alignnone" width="320"] Web page in Safari, regular mode[/caption] [caption id="attachment_5381" align="alignnone" width="320"] Same web page in Safari, Reader mode[/caption] Reader mode simplifies the layout (making it nicer for you to read by eye as well). So bring up a web page— maybe this one!— and then switch to Reader mode, and then…. put TWO fingers at the top of the screen. Actually, put them ABOVE the top of the screen—- on the part…
  94. 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 notices like this in your email. Just click the big blue button.) You’re probably wondering what’s so bad about the 10.11.3 update. Well, nothing— unless you’d call a Mac that won’t start something to be concerned about! When things go wrong with 10.11.3, they go wrong very quietly-- the update appears to install, and then the Mac restarts, which is totally normal— but then it doesn’t finish restarting. It gets about 75% of the way through the startup and stops. Turning the Mac off and on again doesn’t help. Repairing the disk after starting from the Recovery Disk sometimes helps; reinstalling the system sometimes helps; waiting a really long time sometimes helps. In my case, I had to reinstall the system, and then delete my own user from the system, and then restore my user from a Time Machine backup. It took a long time. See below. If you simply must be 100% up-to-date, and can’t bear to be on 10.11.2, give yourself the best chance possible by installing 10.11.3 via the 10.11.3 Combo Update, the way the big boys do (except when the big boys are lazy and complacent, as I was when I updated using Apple’s automatic Software Update last week.) [jpshare] Combo Updates include everything needed to take you from the base system to the current version. In this case, it means it has everything needed to take you from 10.11.0 to 10.11.3. The automatic update only contains what’s necessary to go from 10.11.2 to 10.11.3. Installing stuff that you already have (such as the stuff that got you to 10.11.0 to 10.11.2) might seem like a waste of time but in my experience, it never makes things worse. In a way, with Combo Updates you’re refreshing the system, and that’s good. Combo Updates are always available but never via the automatic Software Update mechanism. Instead, you have to search for them on Apple’s site. I’ve done the work for you here— use my Big Blue Button. Personally, in the case of 10.11.3 I wouldn’t even do the Combo Update. I’d wait for 10.11.4. In addition to my own misadventure with it, I’ve seen three Macs with the same won’t-start-all-the-way symptom, and I’ve read about another one (Adam Engst’s, he of the TidBITS newsletter fame). That’s more trouble than I’ve seen for any Apple update in 25 years of helping people with their Macs. Do yourself a favor and steer clear of…
  95. iPhone and iPad Productivity Apps 50% off at the App Store
    Hot on the heels of the Mac App Store's 50% off sale on Productivity Apps, Apple's put iPhone and iPad productivity apps on sale too. Choose from: Things: (to-do list/project organizer-- syncs with Mac version) Clear: (another to-do list organizer-- simpler than Things, syncs with Mac version) PCalc: (advanced calculator) ... and several more. This is your chance to get productive on the cheap. Click the big blue button and explore.
  96. Mac Productivity Apps 50% off at the App Store
    UPDATE: the sale is over. But, the apps are still great. Check them out and if you don't get them now, put them on your wish list. Apple is discounting productivity apps by 50% for a limited time. Apps include: 1Password (best password manager-- syncs with iOS counterpart) Magnet (tiles windows on your screen-- neaten things up!) Things (to-do list/project organizer-- syncs with iOS counterpart) Clear (simple to-do list manager-- syncs with iOS counterpart) ... and many more. This is your chance to get organized for cheap. Make it your late-January resolution. Click the big blue button and explore.
  97. 1Password password manager half off
    1Password is the best password manager and you can get it at a discount.
  98. How to recognize phony virus scams on Mac and iPhone
    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 doing this but I've seen enough instances of this scam that I feel an obligation to let everybody know about it. I ran into one of these scams myself (late) last night. Luckily I was still awake enough to figure out what was going on, and to dissect the scam a bit so I could explain it better to you. I'll explain what happens, how it happens, show you some examples, and show you what to do (and not do). What Happens You're using a web browser like Safari, Firefox, or Chrome on your Mac (although this can happen on any computer-- and on an iPhone or iPad). All of a sudden a box like this pops onto your screen. Or maybe it's more like this one: Or maybe this one: Sometimes you'll hear an alert like an air-raid siren, sometimes you'll hear a message read out loud to you about how you need to Stop Right Now because your machine is at risk! Regardless, it gets your attention, and usually it's a show-stopper as far as your web-browsing is concerned. You have to deal with that box, one way or another, and in many cases, it keeps coming back. Important Fact #1: Apple is not watching what you do with your Mac. They have no idea that you've gone to this website or that one. They do not pop up messages saying "Your machine's been compromised, so please call this toll-free number." They don't. Neither does Microsoft, neither does Adobe. (Neither do I.) Google is watching where you go on the web but they are not popping up messages telling you to call them. If it's not Apple, not Microsoft, not Adobe, and not me popping up those messages, who is-- and why do they do it? Well, if you haven't guessed already, the answer to the first question is "bad guys" and the answer to the second question is they want to scare you into calling that toll-free number. Once they have you on the phone, they'll ask you to install something that allows them access to your machine (yikes!), and some time after that they'll ask you for money. It might take half an hour, it might take an hour-- I've heard about it taking longer than that-- but eventually they will get around to asking you for money. The bad guys spend a good bit of time and effort to convince you that something's wrong with your Mac, that your passwords and bank records…
  99. 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% chance of rain in Santa Monica" routine, with little or no specificity. What are you supposed to do, wear 40% of a raincoat? Wear it 40% of the time? Even if they say "Afternoon showers" that's not narrowing it down enough-- are you going to get wet if you go out to lunch? If you leave work at 4 will you be leaving before, during, or after the rain? These are reasonable questions to ask. What we need is a forecast that tells us things like "The rain will stop in 20 minutes." Something like the picture below. Thankfully, fortunately, someone's figured out a better way to predict the weather, especially when it comes to rain. The company's called Forecast.io, and they've developed their own "hyperlocal precipitation forecasting system"-- and it works. I don't know how they do it, but it works. UPDATE October 2016: Forecast.io is now Darksky.net. See my article about Darksky.net and the Darksky app. (That is, it works if you're in the United States or in the United Kingdom, or in Ireland. "More coming soon," they say.) Forecast.io's weather predictions focus on precipitation, and especially what's going to happen in the next hour. They're confident enough in their predictions to say things like "Rain starting at your location in 10 minutes." Originally, that's all they did: predict precipitation for the next hour. Now they've expanded into making predictions for the next week. I've used Forecast.io's predictions during Southern California's recent El Niño storms, as well as during thunderstorm season in Central Texas, and dang if they aren't pretty close to right on the mark. Here's how you can use Forecast.io's hyperlocal precipitation forecasting system for free. Go to the www.forecast.io website. Allow the site to use your location-- that way, you don't have to tell them where you are. They'll figure it out. On a Mac, Forecast.io's website looks like this (click for a larger version): Bookmark the site, add various locations (your hometown, your friend's place, Dad's new home in Oregon, etc.), and you'll always be just a click away from knowing when it's going to rain. Notice there's always the "Current Location" option near the top left. No matter where you are, one click provides the local-est weather report you can get. Also notice that big globe. If you click on it you'll start an animation. Click the globe again to pause, click again to resume. Click at the…
  100. How to Track your Mileage Automatically, Using the MileIQ app on your iPhone
    -- How to Track your Mileage Automatically, Using the MileIQ app on your iPhone -- UPDATE: MileIQ will give you $40, and give your friends 20% off an annual subscription, when you refer them using your special link. You could pay for your own account through referrals, assuming you have enough friends. MileIQ is an iPhone mileage tracker, and you need it if you have to keep track of your business-related mileage. Maybe you get reimbursed by your company, or maybe you need the miles for your taxes. I used to track my mileage in a little notebook, or rather I tried to, but it was easy to forget to do it, and that's exactly what I did! At tax time I would simply guess how many miles I drove for work and I either cheated myself or the IRS. That's not going to be a problem for me in 2016 because now I'm using the MileIQ iPhone app. MileIQ keeps track of everything! Turn it on once and let it do its thing in the background-- it'll know where and when you start a drive, and where and when you stop. (If you turn MileIQ off it won't be able to track your drives automatically. You'll get a warning message if you do turn it off, in case that happens accidentally.) [jpshare] Think of MileIQ as "FitBit for your car." That pretty much sums it up. You can categorize your drives immediately upon arrival or (usually) sometime later, when you think to do it. Doesn't matter at all-- MileIQ remembers the drives forever, including little maps of starting and stopping locations, so you'll be able to recognize and categorize things down the road (so to speak). MileIQ is working really well for me and I'll bet it will work for you too. MileIQ is free (at the App Store) for up to 40 drives per month. You can upgrade to unlimited drives for $5.99/month, or save 20% and get a year for $59.99. The cost is probably tax-deductible so the real cost is even less. MileIQ will discount the annual plan by another 20% if you use this link (and MileIQ will give me credit for referring you, so we both win). That gets your first-year cost down to $47.99. Once subscribed to an annual plan, you can refer others and receive a referral fee yourself when they upgrade to an annual plan. Do that enough times and you're playing with house money. The app is easy to set up and it's even easier to use. After installing the app on your iPhone you'll create a MileIQ account and you'll allow MileIQ to access your location. The app walks you through a three-step tutorial and you'll know enough to use the app after that. From then on, it's as easy as swiping left or right (left for personal drives, and right for business). Here's an example of a drive that needs classifying. Since this was a personal drive I…
  101. How to Trade-in your old Smartphone for an Apple Store Gift Card
    -- How to Trade-in your old Smartphone for an Apple Store Gift Card --Apple is offering a trade-in program for old smartphones via this link. Just go online, click a few buttons, and see how much your old phone is worth. It doesn't have to be an Apple iPhone (though it can be) and you don't have to use the trade-in value toward a new iPhone (though you can). They'll take a BlackBerry, HTC, Motorola, Nokia, LG, or even a Samsung, and if it qualifies, Apple will pay you with an Apple Store gift card. If you'd rather have cash, look into It's Worth More and Gazelle. Prices vary so check them both. While you're at it, see what Amazon will give for your old stuff. See below. If you have an old phone sitting around in a drawer now is the time to take it out and get something for it. ALSO: use this link to see about trading in your old iPad, Mac, or PC with Apple, this link for Gazelle, and this link for It's Worth More. DOUBLE-ALSO: Amazon will take a variety of things. Here's how Amazon describes their Trade-in program: "The Amazon Trade-In program allows customers to receive an Amazon Gift Card in exchange for hundreds of thousands of eligible items including phones, electronics, video games, books, DVDs, and CDs. The process is easy and convenient with free shipping, an immediate offer, and no required registration or listing." Pretty nice. They also pay for shipping. You should check it out.
  102. 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 the scores), and you'll be all set. Here's how you do it. Use this link to go straight to the right place. When you get there look for a "subscribe to the bowl games" link (upper left). If you're using a Mac, when you subscribe to the calendar (as with any calendar) you'll get a box like so: Don't change anything there-- that's the address of the calendar, and it won't work if you change it. You can make changes in the next box, the one that shows up after you click "Subscribe." You can change the Name, the color, the refresh frequency (change it to "Every day"), and you can come back and change it again later if you'd like. Hint: where it says "Location" you should choose "iCloud" if you can. That way, when you add the calendar on your Mac, it will show up on your iPhone (and iPad) too. If instead of using your Mac, you're subscribing by using your iPhone or iPad, you'll get this screen: Tap "Subscribe" and you're all set. Note, however, that this will not automatically add the calendar to your Mac. And, it's harder to get rid of a calendar when you add it this way, so add it from your Mac if you have that option. (Hint: Settings/Mail, Contacts, Calendars/Subscribed Calendars, tap the calendar, tap Delete Account button). As always, if you're stuck, contact me and I'll help you out. It's good to know how to subscribe to calendars so learn it now and be able to do it with other calendars later (sports teams schedules, phases of the moon, movie releases, and so on). BONUS: Our friend Scott Craver at southendzone.com has created the NFL post-season schedule. Whether on an iPhone or a Mac, simply click this link: webcal://www.southendzone.com/ical/postseason.ics. As above, click the "Subscribe" button, then choose a color, a refresh frequency, and save it with your iCloud calendars if possible so it's available on all of your devices without doing any more work. Hint: set the refresh frequency to 1 day or less so you'll get the schedule for next week's games in a timely manner. Those games aren't set until the first round is finished.
  103. The Clever Coffee Dripper
    I think of The Clever Coffee Dripper* as an essential Mac accessory because it makes the coffee that fuels this here website (and a lot of other stuff that keeps me up all night.) The beauty of The Clever Coffee Dripper is the water doesn't just run though the cone and into your cup. Instead, it stays in the Dripper, steeping as it were, until you set it down on top of a cup, which activates a valve, releasing the brewed coffee. The longer it steeps, the stronger the coffee, and you will quickly figure out how long is just right for you.It comes with a coaster and a lid. The coaster keeps the counter from getting any stray drips, and the lid keeps the coffee hot while it's steeping and after you've served the first cup. I get two medium-sized cups out of a full cone of water, and the second is almost as hot as the first. Ridiculously easy to clean and the coffee is fantastic. Mom likes it too. We both say "go get one." The Clever Coffee Dripper takes a number 4 paper cone filter,* so order some of those too. I also like the Aeropress.* Dad introduced me to this one. Perfect if you want to make one really great cup of coffee at a time.
  104. How to password-protect a Numbers document on your iPhone or iPad
    Here's how you password protect a Numbers document on your iPhone or iPad.
  105. 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, 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. If you check the box to remember the password in the Keychain you will never have to enter it again, as long as you're logged onto the Mac with the same username and password. That reduces the value of having a password on the document so my advice is to NOT check that box. That's all there is to it. From then on, whenever someone tries to open that document he'll get a box asking him to enter the password. Even if he's a she. Get it right and the document opens right up. Otherwise, the document remains closed. Don't check that "Remember password in my keychain" this time either. That was easy.
  106. 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 password, enter it again, and enter a hint. The hint is very important because no one will be able to get you into a password-protected Numbers '09 document if you forget the password. That's all there is to it! From now on, when you go to open that document, you'll be asked for the password. If you get it right on the first try the document will open right up. I would not recommend saving the password in your keychain because if you do, the system will not ask for the password anymore. That sort of defeats the purpose, doesn't it. If you don't remember the password just keep trying. The hint shows up on your third try so don't give up after two. Easy stuff, when you know how.
  107. How to password-protect a Pages document on your iPhone or iPad
    You can password-protect a Pages document on your iPhone or iPad. No one can open it without the password. This way, if your iPhone or iPhone is unlocked, your document is still protected. It's really easy to do.With a Pages document up on your iPhone or iPad, look for the wrench at top right and tap it. Tap where it says "Set Password" Give your document a password, enter it a second time, and enter a hint. There's no back-door into a password-protected Pages document so the hint is essential should you forget the password. Pages documents show locked icons when they are password-protected. See below. When you try to open a password-protected Pages document on your iPhone or iPad you'll see a message asking you to supply the password. If you can't remember it, try again. If you still can't remember it, try one more time-- the password hint doesn't appear until the third failure. And that's all there is to it.
  108. How to password-protect a Pages 5.5 document on the Mac
    Here's how you password-protect a Pages 5.x document on your Mac.
  109. 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 Inspector. See below. (If the Inspector isn't showing, look in the View menu for "Show Inspector" or just click the blue Inspector button in the Toolbar.) At the very bottom of the Document section of the Inspector you'll see "Require password to open." Check that box, choose a password, enter it a second time, and you're done. It would be good to include a hint because there's no way to pry the document open without the password. Here's a picture of what you're looking for in the Inspector. Your protected document will get a new icon: When you try to open it you'll be asked for the password. Enter it successfully and the document opens right up. Get it wrong, and the document stays closed. Nothing to it when you know how.
  110. 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 like this: Click the Options button. That leads you to this window: (Naturally it is completely different from what you see when you click Options in Microsoft Word. If you want to know how to password-protect a Microsoft Word document, click here.) If you set a password for opening the document you've really done all you need. You can probably come up with a situation where you'd want one password for opening the document and another one for editing but I think that situation would be unusual. Anyhow, enter a password for opening the document, click OK, and you'll see this box: Enter the password (this is to double-check that you really know what the password is) and you're all set. From then on, double-clicking the document results in a box like this: Enter the password and you're in. Get it wrong and you're kept out. Easy as pie. The password is stored in the document, so if you email the document to someone he'll need to enter the password to open it up. That's all there is to it. But remember the password, because if you forget it, you're sunk. I don't know anyone who can hack into a locked Excel document-- I don't think it is possible. Maybe you should make a spreadsheet of passwords. Password-protect that one too. Tell a friend and help my blog get famous. Every "share" helps. Yours could be the one that puts me over the top.
  111. 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 the Save As… box. You can do it when you first save the document or you can do it later with a visit to the Save As… box via File/Save As…. Here's the Save As… box. Everyone's seen it, but almost no one's clicked the "Options" button. They should. You should. Get a Word document going and try it yourself. When you click the Options button you get this box: Click at the top, where it says "Show All," then click the Security button (in the bottom row). Now you get to set the passwords. You can use the same one for opening as for modifying, or you can use different ones for each. It is up to you. Fill in the boxes and click OK. (You don't have to click "Protect Document…"-- that's something different, but worth looking at someday.) When you type the passwords you'll only see dots. So, when you click OK, Word asks you to type the password(s) to make sure you didn't make a typo. Provide the passwords and you are all set. From now on, that document can't be opened or modified without a password. Close the document and see for yourself. When you double-click the document you'll be asked for a password, and if you don't know it the document won't open. Nothing to it, when you know how. Tell a friend and help my blog get famous. Every "share" helps. Yours could be the one that puts me over the top.
  112. Book Review: Becoming Steve Jobs
    Becoming Steve Jobs: The Evolution of a Reckless Upstart into a Visionary Leader. By Brent Schlender and Rick Tetzeli. In Becoming Steve Jobs,* tech journalists Brent Schlender and Rick Tetzeli document Steve Jobs' growth and development as a person and consequently as a better leader of companies. It's a far more humanizing book than Walter Isaacson's flat portrayal of Jobs as half jerk, half genius in his 2011 authorized biography, Steve Jobs*, though Isaacson's book covers more ground. I found Becoming Steve Jobs to be an interesting contrast to Isaacson's book, and I recommend reading them both. Becoming Steve Jobs tells several well-known (and some not-so-well-known) stories about Steve Jobs, but with a twist: the stories are used to describe Jobs' mindset and maturity at various stages of his career rather than provide a chronicle of milestones and dates. It describes the young Steve Jobs' immaturity and lack of tact when dealing with others, the lessons learned by being demoted at his own company, the insights gained from Pixar's Ed Catmull and John Lasseter, and finally the older, wiser, gentler, grown-up version of Jobs, the one whose second go-round at Apple led to the iMac, the iPod, the iPhone, and the iPad. The authors make a case for Jobs maturing significantly during the ten "wilderness years" between his disgraced exit from Apple and his return when Apple purchased Jobs' new company, appropriately named "NeXT." They do a good job of that, and it an easy argument to accept. Maturation did not strip Jobs of idealism, nor of his desire to do great work. Nor did it turn him into someone all sweet and cuddly. But maturation-- and Jobs' experiences with NeXT and Pixar-- did show Jobs that sometimes patience is rewarded. It also showed him that one can't do everything by oneself. Toward the end of the book, when his cancer comes back and he knows his time is short, Jobs prunes away distractions until his life is work, family, and friendships-- with everything else left in the hands of trusted, capable people. Interestingly, though this is a story of growth and maturity, it never paints Jobs as egomaniacal or even selfish. Even his return to Apple was not about him, not about a second chance for Jobs. That experience, according to the authors, was strictly about saving the company that Jobs had never stopped believing in-- or loving. Jobs was careful to not make it "about him," to the point of not wanting to narrate the "Think Different" TV ad (the voice-over was by Richard Dreyfuss). Bonus: here is the same ad, narrated by Steve Jobs. It never aired in this version, at Jobs' request. Becoming Steve Jobs does an excellent job of explaining how luck played a significant role in Jobs' successes. For example: Jobs bought the Computer Graphics Division of LucasFilm from George Lucas (of "Star Wars" fame) for its 3D computer graphics technology and expertise. The CG Division was known at the time for its "Renderman"…
  113. Watch Me Now: How I Came to Want an Apple Watch
    When Apple introduced "Apple Watch" last September, I was more than a little skeptical. Here's what I wrote back then: "I usually don't generalize but there are two kinds of people: those who wear watches, and those who don't. This is going to be interesting to watch (pun) because anyone who wants to wear a watch, and has the money to buy a $349 Apple Watch, probably already has a fancy watch on his wrist, and if there's one thing I know about "Fancy Watch Guy" it's that he likes the watch he has now. I suppose we may see people wearing two watches at once. Otherwise there are going to be a lot of Rolexes gathering dust on the dresser. The people who don't wear watches have their reasons, and those reasons will still be there, Apple Watch or no. For example: I keep banging it on things, it catches on stuff, it's too bulky, I'm afraid of losing it, if I want to know what time it is or to send a text message I just pull out my iPhone." (Here's a link to the whole article, if you want it.) I am pleased to announce that even at 52 years old I am open to changing my mind. And, when it comes to Apple Watch, I've changed my mind. Careful readers may recognize that, in September, I was making the same mistake with my assessment of the Watch as I did with the original iPhone. I was thinking "the Apple Watch is a watch, and I don't need a watch" the same way I thought "the Apple iPhone is a phone, and I don't need another phone." Of course I was wrong about the iPhone, and I was wrong (but am no longer wrong) about the Apple Watch. Both devices are both poorly named: the "watch" part of Apple Watch-- that is, the time-telling part-- isn't the important thing, just as the "phone" part of the iPhone doesn't describe 90% of what we do with it. I'm now thinking of the Apple Watch as "a super-portable computer/communication device that is always with me, literally no more than arms' length away, that adds value to the iPhone and (by the way) also tells the time" in the same way that I now think of the iPhone as a hand-held computer/iPod/web browser/email machine/address book/camera that also makes phone calls. If I look at it that way-- that is, if I think of Apple Watch as a super-portable computer/communication device that is always with me, literally no more than arms' length away, that adds value to the iPhone and (by the way) also tells the time-- $349 for the low-end model is palatable. Three hundred and forty-nine dollars for a watch? Out of the question (for me). But $349 for a clever device that adds value to my iPhone, frees up my hands (because I don't have to pull out my phone), and makes things a little more convenient for…
  114. Secrets of the Mac OS Dock
    Secrets of the Mac OS DockWe 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 can go to System Preferences/Dock and position the Dock at left, bottom, or right, but it's more fun to do it by holding down the Shift key, clicking and holding on the little line (see picture), and dragging it to different locations on the screen. Yay. 2. Make it as big as you can. Why squint at tiny icons when you can put off getting glasses by making the icons bigger? The Dock will make the icons as big as it can (or, as small as necessary), depending on how you adjust the Size in the Dock Preferences. Suggestion: make it "Large." Bonus: drag the little line-- same one as in the previous tip-- to resize the Dock. No need to go to System Preferences/Dock (although you can do it that way if you want to). When the Dock's at the bottom, drag the line left or right. When the Dock's positioned at the left or right side, you still drag the little line left or right. Sort of weird but it works. 3. Click and hold. Oh, the things you'll discover if you click and hold on an icon in the Dock! Firstly, if you click and hold on the icon for an app that's running, you'll produce a little menu with "Quit" at the bottom. This is a nice way to quit things. If you have trouble quitting something (maybe the app has crashed) try holding the Option key. "Quit" becomes "Force Quit" and it will really pull the plug on the app. Do this only when you have to as it is rough on the app. (You may have to choose "Force Quit" twice if a program is really stuck.) There's other great stuff in those menus. Slide to Options, then notice "Keep in Dock" (perfect for that app that is in the Dock sometimes, but disappears other times), "Open at Login" (which means the app will launch every time you turn on your Mac), and my favorite, "Show in Finder," very handy when you wonder where the real thing is (because the icons in the Dock are just remote-control triggers to the real things). 4. Drag documents onto icons already in the Dock. Why would you want to do that? Because when you do, the icon you're dropping onto is the app that will open your document. For example, let's say you have a PDF and it opens with that abomination "Adobe…
  115. Six Ways to Use Touch ID on iPhones and iPads
    If you have an iPhone 5s, a 6, or a 6 Plus (or an iPad mini 3, or an iPad Air 2), your device's Home button has a little metal ring around it. That means it has Touch ID, Apple's technology for identifying you by your fingerprint. Touch ID lets you substitute touching the button with your finger in place of typing in passwords. This saves tons of time, and reduces annoyance.You get a chance to enable Touch ID when you first set up a new iPhone (or iPad), but a lot of people skip that step, and then, in a classic case of not knowing what they're missing, forget about it. This article aims to show "those people" what they're missing. They're missing a lot.Since this is the Valentine's Day season, I offer a "love haiku" to Touch ID: O pretty buttonUnlock iPhone with a touchMake me feel so cool (First things first: if you haven't set up Touch ID, go to the Settings app, then scroll down to Touch ID & Passcode. If you don't have a passcode for your iPhone you'll have to create one now. Follow the directions on the screen and "enroll" at least one finger. You might want to do a couple. You can do up to four.) Here are six things you can do with Touch ID. 1. Unlock your iPhone.Obvious? Maybe. But not if you haven't set it up. Go to Settings/Touch ID & Passcode. Enter the unlock passcode if you have one (if you don't have one, you will in a minute). Turn on the switch next to "iPhone Unlock." From now on, when the iPhone is locked (dark) you can wake it up by clicking the Home button and simply keeping your finger on the button. Don't click and hold down. Rather, click and let go-- but maintain contact with the button when you do. 2. Buy stuff from the iTunes and App StoresImagine this: you go to the App Store to buy an app, and instead of typing in your Apple ID password you simply place your finger on the Home button. You'll have to enter the password one time while setting this up, but not again (until you turn the iPhone completely off and then on again). What a time-saver. 3. Buy stuff with Apple PayNot shown here, because my lowly iPhone 5s doesn't do Apple Pay, but on an iPhone 6 or 6 Plus, and also on the iPad mini 3 and iPad Air 2, right under "iPhone Unlock" and "iTunes & App Store" you'll also see Apple Pay. Turn that on for sure. Note: if you have an Apple Watch, you can use Apple Pay even without having an iPhone 6 or 6 Plus (or iPad mini 3 or iPad Air 2) because the Apple Watch can do it all by itself. No need to tether it to an iPhone for this. At least that's the claim, and since this post was written before the Apple…
  116. Easy Way to Move Apps from Screen to Screen on the iPhone
    Rearranging apps on your iPhone is easy: you tap and hold on any app's icon, then all of the apps start jiggling, and then you drag the apps to place. Nothing to it, as long as you're not trying to move things from one screen to another. Yes, you can drag an app to the edge of the iPhone's screen, and if you do it exactly right you'll jump to the next (or previous) screen. But it's not easy, and it gets harder if your iPhone's in a case, because the case gets in the way as you approach the edge of the screen. I do it a different way, and my way's easy. I call my technique the "15 Puzzle" method, because it reminds me of the puzzle shown at the top of this blog post. I demonstrate the regular "hard way" and my 15-Puzzle "easy way" in the movies below. Spend two minutes and you'll be moving apps like a pro. The first movie (below) demonstrates "the hard way." Click or tap the picture below to start playing the movie. Turn up the volume so you can hear what I'm saying. The second movie (below) shows you "the easy way." Click or tap the picture below to start playing the movie. This movie also has sound. Easy and fun. You should try it. (Yes, I stopped recording before I tapped the Home button to stop the jiggling. Ooopsy.) I hope you learned something here. And I hope you liked the format. I learned only this week how to record the iPhone's screen and my voice at the same time, and if the comments are favorable I will do more like this.
  117. Why Don’t Photos Sync between my iPhone and Mac?
    If you took a picture with your iPhone, and expected it to land on your Mac, but it didn't-- here's how to fix it. iCloud synching requires WiFi.
  118. Turn Your iPhone Sideways
    Many apps rotate to match the iPhone's orientation, so if you happen to hold it sideways, those apps will still be right-side-up. But some apps do more than simply rotate. For some apps, turning the iPhone sideways gives a completely different view. Here are three such apps. 1. CalculatorHere's how the Calculator app looks vertically: And here's how the Calculator looks sideways. It's a whole new thing! Sideways, the Calculator has enough functions to satisfy a math major.Bonus Tip: launch the Calculator quickly with a swipe up from the very bottom of the iPhone. Start with your finger on the plastic below the screen and drag up. You'll see the Calculator and a bunch of other handy stuff too. This method is available no matter what else you're doing on your iPhone. 2. StocksHere's how the Stocks app looks vertically: And here's how the Stocks app looks sideways. Totally different. Wow!Bonus Tip: if you put your finger on the graph and drag, you'll see the exact value and precise time for the point you're touching. Bonus Tip #2: if you touch somewhere else, and drag left or right, you'll bring up the chart for the next stock in your portfolio. 3. CalendarHere's how the Calendar app looks vertically: And here's how the Calendar app looks sideways. Really different, and really handy. Bonus Tip: it's easy to change the day or time of an event when the iPhone is sideways. Just put your finger on the event, hold it for a moment, then drag to the new time slot. Drag the white knobs (they appear when you tap and hold on an event) to make the appointment longer or shorter. Tap somewhere else when you're done.Not all apps will be this different when rotated sideways. All you can do is try. For apps that involve text input, turning the iPhone sideways gives you a bigger keyboard, with larger buttons to tap. Cheaper and faster than buying glasses. Keyboard, vertically: Keyboard, sideways: Cool stuff. Try it!
  119. How To Track Your Steps for Free with Pedometer++
    -- How To Track Your Steps for Free with Pedometer++ -- A lot of people wear sleek, high-tech bracelets on their wrists these days. (A smaller group of people wear less sleek, high-tech, non-removable bracelets on their ankles.) Either way, they're tracking their steps.Here are some of the bracelets that you might see being worn today: FitbitFuelband JawboneAnkle monitor (free, sort of)Turns out you don't have to buy a bracelet (or have a judge award you one) to know how many steps you take in a day. All you need is an iPhone 5s or newer, and the right app.(Note: Older iPhones can sense motion too, but not like the newer ones. The newer ones use a special data-gathering, motion-sensing chip called the M7, and it's on all the time because it uses almost no power. The older iPhones don't have it.)For me, "the right app" is Pedometer++.* It's easy to use and it's free. Here's what it looks like: From the chart it's easy to see that I walked a lot on Sunday, but not a lot since. Oopsy.At the top you have two buttons: one on the left for settings, and one on the right for sharing. The Preferences include an option to remove the little ads from the bottom of the screen for a "Generous Tip" of 99¢, a "Massive Tip" of $1.99, or an "Amazing Tip" of $4.99. You can also set your daily step goal, and whether you want to see the current step count on the icon, the same way Mail shows you how many unread messages you have.The Sharing button works as it does in most other apps: tap it to share with others via instant message, email, or tweet. (You can export your chart to a comma-separated values file (CSV), which you can email to yourself and open with Numbers or Excel, but that option is in the Preferences panel. I wouldn't have guessed that Export would be under Preferences, but it works, and now you know.) When you hit your step goal for the day you get a confetti celebration, like so: (It's animated, but I was not able to capture this momentous occasion on video. You'll have to see it for yourself on your own iPhone.)UPDATE January 18th, 2015: I had to work at it, but I got the celebration on video. Tap or click on the picture below to see it. Pedometer++,* on first launch, will display step data from today, yesterday, and maybe the day before yesterday. That's because the iPhone's M7 chip has been recording data all along. You weren't using that data, but the M7 was recording it. Pedometer++* reads the data that's already there and displays it. The fact that the data is being gathered whether you choose to view it or not is sort of spooky, at least at first. The good news is, since the data's being gathered anyway, apps like Pedometer++* don't have a battery-draining effect. So how about that? You think…
  120. 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 consolidated list of my favorite tips and recommended apps for Macs, iPhones and iPads, plus some money-saving websites and a couple of Google tips. The tips are free, as are some of the apps; the apps that cost something are worth their prices or they wouldn't be on this list. Shortcuts Best shortcut (Macs): Command-Tab. Use it to switch from app to app. Press the Command key by itself and nothing happens, but if you hold it down and then tap the Tab key (upper left on your keyboard) you'll see an overlay on the screen with all of the apps that are running. Keep the Command key down and tap the Tab key until you've highlighted the app you want to bring to the front. That app will pop to the front when you let go of the Command key. Don't hold the Tab key down-- just tap it. (Command key stays down, but the Tab key gets tapped.) This technique lets you quickly and easily switch between apps, even if they are completely covering the screen. No more dragging windows around to make some other app visible. Just do Command-Tab until the app you want is highlighted. Then let go. Bonus: if Command-Tab goes forward, would you expect Command-Shift-Tab to go backward? Of course you would. Turns out that Command-` (near upper left on your keyboard) will also go backward. Finally, with an app highlighted, keep the Command key down, and type a Q to quit it. There's no quicker way. Best shortcut (iPhone and iPad): Dictation. Use it instead of typing. Look for the microphone to the left of the spacebar and tap it any time you're typing. Incredible time-saver. "Any time you're typing" includes in an email, a text message, when doing a Google search, and more. If you see the microphone the app knows how to listen. So try it. Apps Best free text editor (Mac): TextWrangler.* TextWrangler makes short work of text-processing jobs that Word and Pages can't do at all. For example, suppose you're given a list of names, like this:George WashingtonThomas JeffersonAbraham LincolnTheodore Roosevelt Now suppose you want the list to look like this: WASHINGTON, GeorgeJEFFERSON, ThomasLINCOLN, AbrahamROOSEVELT, Theodore And now suppose the list is a lot longer, and copying/pasting and selecting/formatting each name isn't practical. This is a job for TextWrangler,* as it can do the job for you, in an instant, no matter how long…
  121. 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 dictionary definition. I know it's cool that Spotlight can find all that stuff but just because it's cool doesn't mean I want it. Here's how you can fine-tune Spotlight so it finds only the stuff you want. Go to System Preferences (under the Apple menu) and click on Spotlight (top row). Look at all those places that Spotlight searches! and also... The more places Spotlight searches, the more it finds. It might be a good idea to uncheck some of those boxes so your Spotlight results don't include things you're not interested in searching for (example: "Fonts"). Item #21 ("Bing Web Searches") is new, introduced in Mac OS Yosemite, and that one deserves extra attention. Click the button "About Spotlight Suggestions & Privacy" and read all about it as you may not feel comfy knowing Microsoft is doing the web searches (Bing is a Microsoft thing). Apple says they told Microsoft not to track you, but these days, who (besides North Korea) really knows? You also may want to re-order the categories, so the stuff you want is at the top of Spotlight's search results. Just drag the categories up or down, to suit your preferences. Here's how I did it (you can't tell by the picture, but on my Mac, everything else-- that is, items 13 through 22-- are unchecked): Now that I've made these adjustments to Spotlight's preferences, when I search for "Christmas" I get a simpler list-- more documents, no Wikipedia, no music, etc. In fact, the thing I was looking for is at the very top of the list. How about that. See below. Now you know how to adjust Spotlight's settings, and if I ended right here you would have gotten your money's worth. Even so, I have a handful of bonus tips for you. Bonus Tip #1If you're looking for a particular kind of thing, let's say an image, you can restrict the results of a Spotlight search by typing "kind:image" after your search term. See below. (For other ways you can restrict a Spotlight search, see this article on Apple's site.) Bonus Tip #2You can use Spotlight to search your address book. This is very handy, as it saves you from opening the Contacts app first. In fact, it saves you from opening the Contacts app at all, as Spotlight shows you the contact information right in the Spotlight window. It's super-easy and super-fast, and you don't even…
  122. How to Print Mailing Labels from your iPhone or iPad (2014 Edition)
    UPDATE: I've updated my how-to article on printing mailing labels from your iPhone or iPad. Please click here to see the 2015 version. Thank you. You can use your iPhone or iPad to print mailing labels for any or all of your iPhone/iPad's contacts. It's December already-- if you want to get those Christmas cards out you'd better get crackin'. Printing mailing labels will help. Before we get into the nitty-gritty, how about joining my mailing list? I have hundreds of Mac, iPhone, and iPad how-to articles on my blog already and you'll get an email every time I write another one. (I wrote about printing mailing labels from the iPhone and iPad in 2012, but things changed so much that I wrote a new post in 2014. This is the new 2014 post.)Step 1: download the very excellent myCardLists* app from the App Store. It'll cost you 99¢-- a bargain. myCardLists* works on the iPhone and on the iPad as it is a so-called "universal app." I've been looking for an app that can make mailing labels for a long, long time; I can stop looking now, and so can you. Once upon a time we could use Avery's "Templates Everywhere" app to print labels, but it was pulled from the App Store. The replacement was Avery's "Design & Print" but I am sorry to say it is almost unusable. It crashes for no reason, the buttons don't respond when you touch them, and worst of all it prints lousy labels. The City and State are on the same line as the street address (!) and they don't line up with Avery's own labels! Yes, it's free, but's horrible to use. Trust me: the 99¢ you spend on myCardLists* is the best money you'll ever spend. Here's how you use myCardLists.* (Note: I am going to show screenshots from myCardLists on the iPhone here. It works identically on the iPad-- it's just bigger.)Launch the app. You'll see this: Do what it says and tap the "+" (at top right) to add a new list. You'll name it in the next step. I chose "Christmas 2014" from the scrolling list. Now we have a list. We could make more lists while we're at it (maybe you want to send a lot of Christmas cards, but invite just a few to a party). One list is enough for us here. Once again, do what it tells you: "Tap to add names." On the next screen touch the plus sign with the Santa hat. That leads to this screen: Now you have a decision to make, but it's a no-brainer: choose the top option. This lets you pull contacts in from your iPhone's Contacts app. You don't want to type the names and addresses in by hand (though you can, and you can even do some of each). You'll get a message saying "myCardLists would like to access your contacts." Nice of them to ask (actually, it's required by iOS). Allow it.…
  123. 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 from a server, over your internet connection). Plus, sometimes they cover up what you want to see, forcing you to click to make them go away, and sometimes they're sneaky and invisible, taking you to websites you didn't intend to visit. If they're made with Adobe Flash they're even worse, as Flash ads shorten battery life, make your Mac run hot, and sometimes make it crash. Which NYTimes.com home page header do you prefer? The standard one, with ads? Or the cleaned-up one, without ads? I think I know the answer. Cleaning things up is easy. I'll explain it all shortly, with links to everything you need. But first we need to talk about a different kind of ad-- the kind that takes over your browser, changing your search engine and home page. The kind that keeps popping up no matter what you do. This kind of ad comes from adware, a very close relative to malware. It's important to get rid of it, so even though I've brought up "adware" second, I'm going to tell you how to fix it first. Adware is designed to inject ads into everything you view on the web, even if the original page didn't include ads. The people who create adware are looking to get paid, and get paid they do-- every time one of their advertisers' ads is shown. Some adware, notably Genieo, tries to convince you that they're doing you a favor. Others, such as Vsearch, try to hide in the background, hoping you won't find them so you won't be able to remove them. If your Mac's web browsing is full of pop-up ads that you can't get away from, your Mac probably has "adware." You need to get rid of it. Here's how you get rid of it: you use the excellent AdwareMedic, shown below. Note: AdwareMedic is now Malwarebytes Anti-Malware for the Mac. It's still free! And the links here still work. If you're using Mac OS 10.7 or higher, you can use AdwareMedic to clear out every piece of adware known to Man. If you're using 10.6 or older, you'll have to remove the bad stuff by hand, and it's a chore (I know, I've done it). The Safe Mac website has instructions for doing it by hand, in case that's your only option (or in case you don't want to install a program from a total stranger and have it do things…
  124. Schedule Outgoing Emails on Your Mac with SendLater
    Update: SendLater is now part of MailButler, a subscription service, currently 6.50 Euros per month when you pay for a year at a time. Another way to send an email at a scheduled time: Mail Act-On, which is a USD $30 one-time payment. 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 you're thinking of it on the 22nd. If you're using Apple's Mail app on a Mac, a Mail plug-in called SendLater gives you the power to do all of the above. I use it here and I absolutely love it. (Plug-ins add features and options to other programs. SendLater adds a "send this email later" option to Apple's Mail program, so you'll still be using Mail, but with a new option. There are other ways to delay the sending of an email but in my experience, SendLater is the nicest way to do it.) Here's what an outgoing mail message looks like after you've installed SendLater: totally normal, with a "Send Later" button added. (This is the message I want to write today, and send in a week.) When you click the "Send Later" button you get options, as shown below. If you want the message to go out on a certain day, at a certain time (I I do here), you use the Time and Date option. If you want to wait a few minutes, hours, or days from now, use the Time Distance option. If you want to send the message at a certain time on the next working day, or at a certain time tomorrow, or at a certain time today, use the Special Date option. Here's a nice touch: no matter which option you choose, the next time you write an email and click the Send Later button, the options you chose last time are still there! So, if you want to send a bunch of emails over the weekend and have them go out at 8 AM Monday, you only have to choose "Next Working Day 8:00 AM" once. SendLater remembers your settings until you change them yourself. Another nice touch: clicking the little calendar icon in the SendLater pane gives you a fun pop-out, which lets you choose a date by clicking and a time by dragging the clock's hands. When you schedule sending a message with SendLater the message stays on your Mac, in the Mail program's Outbox, until the moment for sending arrives (or until the next time you launch the Mail app after…
  125. iOS 8.1.1 Update: Something to be thankful for
    Thanksgiving is more than a week away, but Apple's given iPad 2 and iPhone 4s owners something to be thankful for today: a fresh new iOS update, with performance improvements galore. It's iOS 8.1.1, the best version yet, and if you're on 8.anything it behooves you to get the iOS 8.1.1 update now. iOS 8.1.1's release notes are a little on the vague side: "This release includes bug fixes, increased stability and performance improvements for iPad 2 and iPhone 4s."Some have interpreted this to mean that the update is meant only for iPad 2 and iPhone 4s but this is not the case. There's something for i-everyone, but especially there are performance improvements for iPad 2 and iPhone 4s. I can tell you from personal experience that the iPad 2 and the iPhone 4s are much, much snappier with 8.1.1 than they've been with any other version of 8. If you have an iPad 2 or an iPhone 4s (or both. like me) and were a little disappointed after upgrading them to iOS 8 because the performance was lousy (also like me), 8.1.1 is the upgrade for you. (It's also the upgrade for everyone else with iOS 8 installed. You might not notice dramatic performance improvements but one of those "bug fixes" from the release notes might solve a problem for you.) Naturally you're wondering "well, how much faster is it?" I don't know. I'm wondering too. But, I can tell you that the iPad 2 was a real drag to use under 8.0, 8.0.2, and 8.1, with slow-motion responses to Home button presses, slow-motion app launching, slow-motion rotation... and now it's as good as new. Same with the iPhone 4s. "Snappy" is as much about how something feels as anything else, and believe me, with 8,1.1, everything FEELS faster. A lot faster. iOS 8.1.1 is an upgrade I completely recommend. Here's a handy link to Apple's site, explaining the two ways of installing 8.1.1. There's "over the air" which is sort of the lazy way to do it, and there's "via iTunes" which is a bit more work but could be your only option if your iPhone or iPad is close to full. I just barely was able to upgrade the iPhone 5s and the iPad 2 over the air as I use those devices a lot and they were almost out of storage space. The iPhone 4s had plenty of room. All three devices updated without a hitch. The update from 8.1 to 8.1.1 is not very big in terms of space taken up on your device but it delivers big improvements. If you're already on 8.0.2 or 8.1, the 8.1.1 upgrade is a no-brainer, so go get it. If you've been waiting on the sidelines for a really stable, really fast version of iOS 8, wait no longer-- unless you're Mom, in which case you can wait for me to do the upgrade for you, when I come to put up your Christmas lights.
  126. Book Review: Fearless Genius
    Fearless Genius: The Digital Revolution in Silicon Valley, 1985-2000*, by Doug Menuez. This coffee-table book of photographs documents Silicon Valley's rise from the mid-1980s to 2000, in vivid, candid, unposed black and white. It features photos of many of the famous key players of the time, as well as photos of those whose contributions did not receive the attention they deserved. Steve Jobs is there, of course, (the beginning of the book is devoted to the creation and launch of the NeXT computer), as are Marc Andreesen, Steve Capps, Susan Kare, John Warnock, Clement Mok, Ross Perot, and even President Clinton (along with many more). Far from "glamour shots," these photos capture reality, with all of the intensity, exhilaration, and exhaustion that was everyday life for those who sought to change the world-- and did. Menuez's captions, and especially his thoughtful assessment of the evolution of the industry, are valuable additions. You can see some of the pictures, and their captions, on the Fearless Genius website. With the photographer's permission, some of my favorites are presented here. The Day Ross Perot Gave Steve Jobs $20 Million. Fremont, California, 1986. Steve was a consummate showman who understood the power of a compelling setting. This was never more apparent than at this incongruously formal lunch he hosted for Ross Perot and the NeXT board of directors in the middle of the abandoned warehouse he planned to turn into the NeXT factory. He told Perot that they were building the most advanced robotic assembly line in the world and that “no human hands” would be assembling hardware. He predicted that NeXT would be the last billion dollar a year company in Silicon Valley and that they would ship ten thousand computers a month. Perot, who was then championing a movement to reform education in the United States, was blown away by the presentation and invested $20 million, becoming a key board member and giving NeXT a crucial lifeline. Susan Kare Is Part of Your Daily Life. Sonoma, California, 1987. It’s not a stretch to say that Susan Kare’s playful icons and user interface design have impacted the daily lives of hundreds of millions of people around the world. Susan was part of the original Mac team and designed the original Mac icons and much of the user interface. Leaving Apple with Steve after his ouster, she became a cofounder and creative director at NeXT Computer, where she oversaw the creation of its icons and logo, working with the legendary Paul Rand. Later she designed or redesigned icons for many other computer operating systems, including Windows and IBM’s OS/2. Here she’s listening to Steve at an off-site meeting with her colleague Kim Jenkins (right), as he discusses the unfinished tasks facing the company. Kim, a key member of the marketing team, came to NeXT from Microsoft, where the education division she started was profitable beyond anyone’s expectations, giving real competition to Apple, which had previously dominated the education market. Steve Jobs Outlining the Digital…
  127. 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, and then you let IFTTT's computers do the actual work. Did I mention that it's free? (There's also a free IFTTT iPhone app, and a free IFTTT iPad app too. Anything I do in this tutorial could be done on the iPhone or iPad just as well.) OK, but what does it do? IFTTT is all about Triggers and Actions. Something (a Trigger) happens over here, and IFTTT makes something else happen (an Action) over there. The whole process is called a "Recipe." More about that later. Here are the things that IFTTT does for me, all for free, around the clock, without me having to even think about it: When tomorrow's weather report calls for rain I get a text message reminding me to cover the patio furniture. When ESPN has breaking news about the UCLA Bruins I get an email about it. When I post a new article on my blog, the title of the article and a link to it is sent out via Twitter. I also get an email reminding me to create a message to send to those on the my mailing list. This one's a little complicated (and I am very glad that IFTTT is doing it for me): I have a camera aimed at Mom's birdhouse. The camera takes a picture and emails it to me whenever it senses motion, which is really cool except it's really awkward to have to go through all those emails. I set up a Recipe that grabs the pictures out of the emails, renames them with the date and time, and puts them in a folder for me, where I can browse through them quickly and easily. Once set up, these "Recipes" will run forever. This is truly "Set it and Forget it".* You can browse the IFTTT website and see what other people are doing with the service, and you can even use their Recipes if they've chosen to publish them. Here are some Recipes made by other people: Here is a sampling of the things that can be "Triggers" and/or "Actions." IFTTT calls them, collectively, "Channels." There are currently 126 Channels. Some Channels are only Triggers, some Channels are only Actions, and some Channels are both. This picture shows the first 30 Channels, alphabetically. You click on the Channels to find out how they work. For example, if you click on the Date & Time Channel you find out it's…
  128. How to Update Flash Player on Your Mac
    How to update Flash Player on a Mac. Step by step instructions, with Phishing Scam Quiz to help you recognize fake Flash Player installers.
  129. 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), but let's keep in mind that a new operating system is a serious chunk of programming, and it's hard to get everything right on the first try. Remember iOS 8, and how it didn't work very well until they got it to 8.1? If I were you I'd wait for Apple to come out with at least one Yosemite update before installing it. While you're waiting you might want to learn more about Yosemite. Here's some great Yosemite stuff for you, personally curated by me. John Siracusa's VERY detailed and VERY long Yosemite review at Ars Technica Jason Snell's Yosemite review at macworld.com Jason Snell's other Yosemite review at Six Colors Apple's own Yosemite information The National Park Service's Yosemite pages Full-length Yosemite Sam cartoon (Fun fact: the first time I saw the word "Yosemite" in print I thought it was pronounced "YOZE-might.") I don't expect that everyone will wait for the 10.10.1 update before installing Yosemite. I get it. If you decide to install Yosemite now, at least make sure that you aren't causing trouble for yourself. The most important thing you need to do is be absolutely sure you aren't going to have compatibility issues. Your Apple apps (Mail, Safari, Preview, Contacts, Calendar, Notes, etc.) will be updated and upgraded to work with Yosemite. They won't work exactly the same way they used to work but they will work. It's your other apps-- your non-Apple apps-- that we're worried about here. If you have non-Apple programs that you rely on you'd better check that they will work with Yosemite. You can contact the people who make your programs (excellent idea), or you can peruse a website like www.roaringapps.com to see what other people have found (also a good idea, though less direct). Using Roaring Apps I found that AutoCAD 2014 won't work under Yosemite, and neither will Adobe Illustrator CS4, and that's just looking at apps that start with "A." See below.If you used those apps you'd have to update them to have them work in Yosemite. In AutoCAD's case, the update is free (but of course you have to actually do the work of installing it). In Adobe Illustrator's case, you'd have to buy a license for the current version of Illustrator. All of a sudden that "free" upgrade to Yosemite is costing you time and money. Do some homework in advance of installing Yosemite and save yourself a lot of trouble.…
  130. iOS 8.1 Update: Do It. Here’s How.
    The iOS 8.1 update came out yesterday. I've installed it on my iPhone 5s and iPad 2 and it's solved some iOS 8 problems for me, including performance issues which were very evident on the iPad 2. If you've already installed 8.0, 8.0.1, or 8.0.2 on your iPhone or iPad (or iPod touch) the 8.1 update is something you should do right away. As my friend Sondra would say, "It's a no-brainer!" If you've been waiting to install iOS 8 until I told you it was time: "it's time." You can go to Settings/General/Software Update and begin the update "OTA" (that's "Over the Air")-- unless you can't. Apple might let you know that you can't by telling you that your iPhone/iPad/iPod is too full. If you get that message, you probably can do the update "OTW" ("over the wire"), even if your iPhone/iPad/iPod is close to full, by connecting your device to your Mac and updating it through iTunes. The process is the same whether you're installing 8.1 from some other version of iOS 8, or from some version of iOS 7 (or even iOS 6). You should try this method before trying to free up space by deleting things on your device-- it will save you a lot of time and trouble. Here's how you do an iOS update using the USB cable and iTunes. ("The USB cable" is the one that you charge your iPhone/iPad/iPod with-- just pull it out of the charger. Yes it comes out. You laugh but trust me, this is going to help someone.) Connect your device to your Mac with the USB cableWait for iTunes to start, or start it yourselfClick on your iPhone/iPad/iPod in iTunesClick Backup to back up your iPhone to the Mac(if asked, yes, you do want to transfer purchases from the iPhone to the Mac, and if you're presented with a dialog box asking you to "authorize" the Mac use the name and password you use when buying apps from the App Store)Check the box that encrypts the backup. An encrypted backup stores passwords, which makes things easier for you down the road. You'll be asked for a password to lock the backup-- that's the encryption part-- and whichever password you choose, I recommend checking the box to save it in the Keychain. Click Backup again (we did the first backup in case you forget the encryption password)Click Update after the backup is doneSit back and wait for the update to finish It sounds complicated but it's not. Take your time and go step by step. Doing the update over the wire requires much less space than doing it over the air. You get a better result too-- a brand-new iOS 8.1, freshly installed, rather than an older system that's patched with updates. Here are the release notes for 8.1, provided by Apple. The bolding and italicizing-- that's by me. This release includes new features, improvements and bug fixes, including: Apple Pay support for iPhone 6 and iPhone 6…
  131. How to Edit Photos Using iOS 8’s Photos App
    Apple's packed some great photo-editing features into iOS 8's Photos app. It's not quite Photoshop but it may be all you need. Plus, it's already on your iPhone, assuming you're on iOS 8. Plus it's a ton of fun.Here's how you can use these features to quickly improve your pictures. Mom, and others on iOS 7: use Snapseed. Sorry about that. Start by taking a picture, or choose one from your Photo library, and tap "Edit" at top right. If all you see is a picture, tap the picture itself and you'll see buttons appear at top and bottom. You want the one at the top right. Here's a nice picture of a Bird of Paradise plant. It looked better when I took it. I'm going to fix it up. After you tap Edit you'll see something like this. Actually, exactly like this. Except your picture won't look like mine. The first thing to try is the Magic Wand, in the top right corner. All you do is tap it and like magic your picture gets better. Tap it again to turn it off in case you don't like the results. You can see that it's fixed up my picture a little bit. I don't know all of what it does but that's why they call it magic. I'm going to turn the Magic Wand's effect off, because while it fixed things up a little bit it didn't fix it up enough. Let's look at the options across the bottom of the screen: Cropping, Filters, and Adjustments. Cropping works as you might expect: tap the Crop tool and drag things around until the picture is nicely cropped. Note you can rotate the picture as well, either freehand (by dragging with your finger) or in 90-degree steps using the square-with-curvy arrow button at bottom left in this picture. I'm going to crop out the car in the background, at least part-way. You can also tap inside the frame and drag your picture around, as I have here. The iPhone will wait a second or two for you to stop moving things, and then it will crop and zoom in on the part of the photo you've kept. Here's how it looked while I was working on it... And here's how it looked a few seconds later, when the cropped section zoomed to fill the screen. The picture is better already. By The Way: if you want to crop to a particular aspect ratio-- maybe a square, or 16:9-- tap the white button above the "Done" button at lower right in my picture. That will give you all of the standard aspect ratios you'd ever want. I, of course, wanted to do it "my way" so I did not use that button (although I did come pretty close to making a square). You might be tempted to tap "Done" at this point but that would not be the right move here. If you do that you'll save the picture, which is fine,…
  132. 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 doesThe 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 to your apps, but Launchpad is the easiest and nicest built-in way to see all of them.Here's a picture of the Launchpad doing its thing.TRIVIA TIME: the "Home Screen" on the iPhone and iPad isn't officially called the Home Screen. Officially, it's known as "the Springboard." I don't know anyone who calls it that but "Springboard" is the official name. You can look it up.If you click on an icon in the Launchpad-- one click-- that application launches. This makes launching apps very quick and easy. Of course you need to know how to launch Launchpad itself... that's next.How to launch the LaunchpadThere are three easy, built-in ways to launch the Launchpad: Click the Launchpad icon in the DockActivate Spotlight with Command-spacebar, then type "lau" or enough of "Launchpad" for Spotlight to suggest it, and then ReturnUse the keyboard shortcut assigned by default.The keyboard shortcut assigned by default depends on your keyboard. Look for a function key (top row) with a picture that looks like this:If your keyboard doesn't have a picture like that try pressing F4 anyway. It might work. If it does, press it again and Launchpad will go away. If Launchpad doesn't respond when you press F4, or if you want to assign it to some other key, fix things up in System Preferences/Keyboard/Shortcuts. If you're stuck, email me. You'll notice some sparklies in that first screenshot. The sparklies call your attention to apps that were recently added to the Mac. You have to see it for yourself-- it's a fun effect. Note that apps stop sparkling after you launch them, and eventually even if you don't. So enjoy it while you can. You can also see in Launchpad, when downloading a new app, a little progress bar in the app's icon. Next time you buy an app from the Mac App Store fire up the Launchpad and see. If all the Launchpad did was show your Mac's apps it would not be very impressive. And I would not be writing about it. But there are a lot of little niceties that make the Launchpad worth writing about. For example:1. If you fill up the Launchpad's screen with apps it will automatically create a second screen (and a third, and a fourth). You can switch screens with Command-right arrow/Command-left arrow, or by clicking the TINY white dots at the lower center of the screen, or by using a two-finger right- or left-swipe on a…
  133. 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 me, and they'll do the same for you. 1. RetailMeNot saves you money whether you're buying things online or in stores. It provides coupon codes for use at check-out time online as well as printable coupons for use at the in-store checkstand. RetailMeNot also tracks sales that don't require coupons, saving you the trouble of looking at multiple websites to find out what's on sale. You can set up an account and tell RetailMeNot which stores you're interested in and RetailMeNot will send you an email every day with coupons (and sales) that meet your criteria. I always visit RetailMeNot (in a new browser window) whenever I'm about to buy something online, just in case they have a coupon code. You should too. (We should both check RetailMeNot before going to physical stores as well, though I usually forget.) It only takes a second to search the site, so why not do it? The codes don't always work-- these sorts of things expire and it's tough trying to keep up with it-- but RetailMeNot does about as good a job of keeping things up to date as can be done. You should check it out. For more details see my RetailMeNot review from 2011.2. Dealnews is a great place for deals on all sorts of things. I liked Dealnews in 2010 when I first wrote about it and I still like it today. If anything, I like it more. The basic way to use Dealnews is to browse it. If that's how you're going to use it, take my advice: sort the deals by "most recent" (at the upper right) so the new deals are at the top, and visit a couple of times a day so you don't miss out. Deals don't last forever and if they're sorted chronologically you know you're looking at the fresh stuff each time you bring up the site. No one wants to scroll through zillions of deals (some fresh, some older) and no one wants to find a great deal only to learn it's expired. A more advanced way of using Dealnews is to create an account and tell the site what you're looking for. Dealnews will send you an email when it finds a deal matching your specifications. This is really handy as you're notified the moment the deal is posted, giving you a good chance of cashing in before the deal expires. 3. Raise* sells gift…
  134. 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 is NOT A PHONE. All of a sudden, without any warning, my iPad thinks it's a phone. It took me by surprise but once I figured out how it worked, I liked it. iOS 8 Tip #8: Make and Answer Phone Calls From Your iPadSo how does it work, anyway? Well, it works like this. If your iPhone and iPad are both on iOS 8, and they both are on the same WiFi network, and they both are signed into the same iCloud account, and they both have "iPhone Cellular Calls" turned on in the Settings, then your iPad is going to ring when someone calls your iPhone. You can answer the call on your iPad and tap the Speaker Phone button and have a little chat, all from your iPad, while your iPhone sits in the charger in another room, or maybe in your purse. Here's what it looked like on my iPad when my mom called tonight. Repeating: on my iPad. Let that sink in for a minute. You can also initiate a call from your iPad. The calling is actually done by your iPhone, but from the point of view of the person holding and talking to the iPad, it feels like the iPad does the work. The first time you do this you'll shake your head in wonder. Now you can while away the evening playing "Words with Friends" on your iPad and when a call comes in, you just answer the call right there. I'm telling you, it's absolutely nuts. I did some experiments here and was able to make and receive calls on my old iPhone 4s (upgraded to iOS 8), even though it no longer has service. It meets the requirements I wrote above-- iOS 8, same WiFi as the (activated) iPhone, signed into the same iCloud account as the (activated) iPhone, iPhone Cellular Calls turned on-- and by golly it's making phone calls again. I am not sure how I am going to put this to use but if I do something cool with it of course I will write it up (and if you're on the mailing list you will be among the first to know about it).Here's a screenshot from my old iPhone 4s, the one that's been sitting around since being replaced by the 5s. It shows a call coming in. Here's what the Settings need to look like-- on your iPhone, and on your…
  135. iOS 8 Tip #7: Set the Camera’s Focus and Exposure Independently
    Eight for 8, Day Seven. Feeling lucky.Some of iOS 8's new features are more like refinements of old features, and some of them are a little on the subtle side. In fact, some of them are so subtle you might not notice them-- but that's why I'm here, to point them out for you. Here's one now. iOS 8 Tip #7: Set the Camera's Focus and Exposure IndependentlyUntil iOS 8, the standard Apple Camera app set focus and exposure wherever you tapped on the screen. That was actually pretty powerful and many a potentially-bad photo turned out downright decently thanks to a well-placed tap. The only problem was, in some cases the thing you wanted to focus on wasn't the thing you wanted to expose for. So you compromised, but you didn't think of it like that because it was a miracle that you could set the focus and exposure at all, and besides, the pictures almost always turned out great. However, as it is with other things, as soon as you find out how to set focus and exposure independently, as you can in iOS 8, you realize how deprived and unhappy you've been up to this point. You didn't know what you were missing (because it wasn't invented yet) but you will in a minute.Let's have an example. Suppose you have a bunch of junk on your desk, and a small stuffed duck, and you want to take a picture of the duck. The duck isn't really in focus so I tap on it, and I get the second picture: That's better, focus-wise but the exposure's not right. It's just too dark. (Memo to those who might want to take pictures of a small stuffed duck: do it during the day, when the light is better. Also, clean off your desk first.) The next picture shows an in-focus duck, and the exposure is much more to my liking. That's because I took advantage of iOS 8's ability to let me set focus and exposure independently. Here's how it works. Get the camera app going and compose your picture. Tap where you want the camera to focus, same as you've done in iOS 7 and earlier. Then, notice the little sun icon to the right of where you tapped. You can drag that sun up and down to change the exposure. Do that until you're satisfied, then take the picture. It sound simple because it IS simple. And it makes your pictures better than ever. Try it while you're thinking of it-- you'll be an expert in no time. (Note: I had to enhance the screenshot to make the yellow box around the duck, and also the little sun/exposure icon, easier for you to see. They won't be quite as bright in real life.) Apple put a bunch of other features into the Camera app, including a self-timer, a time-lapse mode, and a faster burst mode. You should poke around and experiment with these features so you'll know how…
  136. iOS 8 Tip #6: See the Battery Usage, per App
    Eight for 8, Day Six. Let's get rolling.I get a lot of calls asking how to prolong the battery life on iPhones and iPads, so many that I've written a couple of blog posts about that already: here, and also here. But iOS 8 gives us a new tool in our quest for longer battery life, and that is the subject of today's iOS 8 tip. iOS 8 Tip #6: See the Battery Usage, per AppIf we knew which apps were eating up our batteries we'd be more careful about turning them off, or getting rid of them altogether. Now, with iOS 8, we can figure it out, because in the Settings there's a new "Battery Usage by App" option that shows you what's using up the juice. Just go to Settings, General, Usage, Battery Usage and wait for the percentages to be calculated. Note: you could, if you wanted to, just kill every app but that is rather brute-force-ish. Using the Battery Usage screen lets us be almost surgical. it's a much better way to manage things.Here's a picture showing the battery usage, by app, for my iPhone 5s. There's nothing in this list that looks bad to me, as these are apps I've been actively using. It's reasonable that they're the ones that have been using up the power. The apps that are going to steal power behind your back are the ones that do "Background App Refresh" or that use the Location Manager (such as apps that help you find coffee or gas stations or ATMs near your current location). Obviously, some apps HAVE to work in the background and some apps HAVE to use your location (and some apps have to do both: if you're using an app for navigation, the app has to keep working even if it's not the frontmost app, and it has to continually get your location so it can tell you when to turn). But a lot of apps simply want to work in the background, and in many cases the benefits are not as great as the costs. For example, I can't see a big benefit in having the Stocks app, or the Weather app, refreshing themselves in the background. I can wait a second for them to update when I launch them if it's going to save the battery. It boils down to this: if your iPhone's battery is draining too quickly, go to Settings, General, Usage, Battery Usage and see if you can find a smoking gun. Maybe there's a forgotten app sucking down the power. Maybe you have an app doing Background App Refresh when you really don't need it. Whatever, iOS 8's Battery Usage by App screen gives you information you didn't have in previous versions of iOS. (Click here for information on turning off Background App Refresh on an app-by-app basis.) "Knowledge is power"-- but when it comes to the iPhone, knowledge is power savings. Don't overlook this important new feature. And that's iOS 8…
  137. iOS 8 Tip #5: Hands-Free Siri
    Eight for 8, Day Five.iOS 8 gives us a new, hands-free way of controlling Siri. Here's how it works. iOS 8 Tip #5: Hands-Free Siri Used to be, to use Siri you held the Home button down until you heard "beep beep," and then you let go and then you started talking, and when you stopped talking, Siri stopped listening. That worked pretty well except you had to keep talking-- if you paused, Siri thought you were done, and the results weren't always good. Then Apple changed Siri so she'd listen as long as you kept the Home button down. You still had to press and hold the Home button and wait for the "beep beep" but at least your questions didn't get cut off. In iOS 8, Apple's given us a Siri that listens all the time. You don't have to press the Home button at all! You simply say "Hey Siri" and then whatever it is you want to say. You can wait for the "beep beep" or not. See below for an example of "not." ... and here's Siri's answer: Sorry to say, there's a little bitty catch. The catch is, the iPhone or iPad has to be charging or "Hey Siri" won't work. That sort of limits things but it's still handy. I have my iPhone charging on the table next to my FitDesk bicycle-desk,* and while I'm typing (and riding) away I can say "Hey Siri, when does UCLA play Cal in football?" and get my answer, without reaching for the phone. Pretty neat. (According to Siri the game is October 18th, 2014 but the time has not been set.) In my experience "Hey Siri" works really well if you're within six feet of the iPhone, which means it's perfect for in the car. Just plug your iPhone into a charger* and set it on the seat next to you. With that kind of a set-up you can use Siri hands-free while you drive, the way you should.One other thing: for some reason, "Hey Siri" is turned OFF by default. You have to turn it on, but that's easy: just go to Settings/General/Siri and you'll find it. That's all there is to it. Give it a whirl. Like a lot of iOS 8 things, "Hey Siri" is something you have to remind yourself to do at first, but eventually you'll use it all the time. Just remember that it only works when the iPhone's plugged in.And that's iOS 8 Tip #5. Links: iOS 8 Tip #1: The Two-Finger Down-Swipe iOS 8 Tip #2: Actionable NotificationsiOS 8 Tip #3: Audio Texts and Video Insta-Selfies iOS 8 Tip #4: Faster Typing, Thanks to the Predictive Keyboard iOS 8 Tip #5: Hands-Free Siri iOS 8 Tip #6: See the Battery Usage, per App iOS 8 Tip #7: Set the Camera's Focus and Exposure Independently iOS 8 Tip #8: Make and Answer Phone Calls From Your iPad
  138. iOS 8 Tip #4: Faster Typing, Thanks to the Predictive Keyboard
    Eight for 8, Day Four. iOS 8 Tip #4: Faster Typing, Thanks to the Predictive KeyboardiOS 8's keyboard looks a lot like its predecessors, except now it has a little strip across the top row. It uses that strip to present its three best guesses for what you want to type next. Tap a guess to squirt the word right in. It takes a little getting used to but it's worth it as it's way faster to tap on a guessed word than it is to type the word yourself. It's built into the system so it works everywhere you can type. It's easy to overlook the Predictive Typing feature, and also easy to under-appreciate it by not understanding how sophisticated and groovy it is, so I am here to help you. In the email message below I wanted to type "I saw two deer yesterday while driving home from Malibu." In the first picture, you see (boxed in red) iOS 8's best guesses for how I'm going to start my email. I didn't gain anything by tapping the suggested word "I" rather than typing it on the keyboard. In fact, for the first few words, the Predictive Keyboard didn't save me any typing at all. I had to type every letter of "I saw two deer" all by myself. But then-- iOS 8 guessed "yesterday" after just three letters ("yes"). Then it guessed "while" after "wh", "driving" after "d", "home" after "h", and "from" after "f". That's 34 characters (counting spaces between words) inserted into my message for 8 letters typed and 5 predicted words tapped. That's pretty good, and it's even better when you factor in the likelihood of me making mistakes had I typed the whole sentence myself. Pretty neat. But it gets even better. If you're using Messages, and someone sends you a question with choices, the Predictive Keyboard will present those choices as its best guesses. Look at this screenshot, where a HIGHLY VALUED customer is asking me what I'd like for lunch. I should have taken a screenshot but take my word for it, I didn't have to type "The turkey sandwich." iOS 8 predicted it. "The turkey sandwich," "The soup," and "I don't know" were presented as choices across the top of the keyboard. (Note to iOS 8 Keyboard Design team: "Both" would be more useful than "I don't know".) All I had to do was tap "The turkey sandwich" and like magic, not only did the words appear but shortly so did the sandwich. It takes a little training to remember to look at that strip of words across the top of the keyboard but it is worth it, so start using it now and you'll be great at it in no time. If the Predictive Keyboard doesn't appear for you, maybe you've turned it off. Look in the Settings, and then General, and then Keyboard, and turn it back on. It's also possible to turn the Predictive Keyboard off (and on)…
  139. iOS 8 Tip #3: Audio Texts and Video Insta-Selfies
    Eight for 8, Day Three. Why do we say that half of eight is four, when anyone can look at the picture and see that half of 8 is 3? Must be the New Math.Before we get to today's tip I want to thank those who've been sending in tips, questions, and thanks. Those kinds of interactions really make my day. Keep 'em coming. And now, on with the show. iOS 8 Tip #3: Audio Texts and Video Insta-SelfiesYesterday I commented that Tip #2 (Actionable Notifications) wasn't as important as the invention of fire. Today's tip is. In fact, today's tip is like the invention of fire, the wheel, aspirin, indoor plumbing, and football on TV, all rolled into one. I'm telling you, you'll be using this tip a lot. In a nutshell, today's tip is that iOS 8's Messages app lets you record and send audio and video messages as easily as you send text. Yes, you could send audio and video "texts" in older versions of iOS, but it wasn't as easy as it is in iOS 8, and I'll bet a lot of people didn't know they could do it at all. Now it's right there in the Messages app, all built-in and handy. Let's have a look. Here's the Messages app, ready for me to type. Note the area boxed in red. In particular, notice there's a camera on the left, and a microphone on the right. Let's start on the right. Note: for dictation we use the microphone next to the space bar. For audio recordings we use the one to the right of the text-entering area. Audio recordings are what we're interested in here. When you tap and hold on the microphone it immediately begins recording your voice (so be ready to talk). When you let go, you'll see a screen like this one (you'll see something similar while you're recording): Tap the up arrow to send it, the x to cancel it, and the play button to listen to it. I'm a little surprised at the crude appearance of the controls but they work just fine and I've had a great time sending audio messages in the couple of days that I've had iOS 8 installed. I call these recordings "Audio Texts," sort of a catchy name despite not making sense. You can call them anything you want. If you think you've got a better name than "Audio Texts" post a comment here on the blog and let us be the judges. Note: sending "Audio Texts" works best when you're sending to another iPhone (or iPad) user. If the recipient isn't using an iPhone or iPad (and thus, not using iMessage) your audio might go through anyway but I wouldn't bet on it. When you're going iPhone to iPhone, or iPhone to iPad, you're using Apple's iMessage system, and in that case everything is going to work. I could end right here and you'd get your money's worth. But I'm in a giving…
  140. iOS 8 Tip #2: Actionable Notifications
    Eight tips! Eight days! This is Day Two, so let's get down 2 it.iOS 8 Tip #2: Actionable NotificationsIn the olden days (that is, before last Wednesday), if someone texted you, and your iPhone was locked, you'd have to unlock it and go to Messages if you wanted to reply. Similarly, if you were doing something else on the iPhone-- maybe reading your mail, maybe buying an app, basically doing anything other than texting-- you had to stop doing what you were doing, leave that app, and open up Messages in order to respond. Not anymore. In iOS 8, notifications are actionable. That means that after they do their jobs (notifying you), you can take action... right then and there. Basically the notification becomes a little mini-app, on top of the lock screen or on top of the app you were using. Pictures will help explain it. Here, my friend Bob has sent me a text message while my iPhone is locked. I could unlock the phone and bring up Messages and write Bob back, just like I used to. In fact, that's what I started to do here (because I haven't gotten used to being able to respond to a notification without unlocking the phone). Rather than "try again" on the Touch ID, the proper move is to put my finger on the text message and push it from right to left. You'll see something like this when you try it: A tap on the big blue Reply button brings us this: I can type my reply, tap Send, and away it goes, all without having to unlock the phone. It's even handier when you're actually doing something when the text comes in, such as using the calculator as shown below. All I do is tap Reply and without ever leaving the calculator I can type my reply and send it. I used texting as an example here but there are all sorts of other notifications that pop up on your iPhone's screen and all of them, in iOS 8, have the possibility of being "actionable" without requiring you to unlock the screen or to leave what you are doing. It might not look like such a breakthrough feature, but not having to unlock the screen (and not having to leave what you're doing) saves a whole lot of tapping and a whole lot of time. It's not like the invention of fire but it does make a difference and small improvements like this add up. Links: iOS 8 Tip #1: The Two-Finger Down-Swipe iOS 8 Tip #2: Actionable NotificationsiOS 8 Tip #3: Audio Texts and Video Insta-Selfies iOS 8 Tip #4: Faster Typing, Thanks to the Predictive Keyboard iOS 8 Tip #5: Hands-Free Siri iOS 8 Tip #6: See the Battery Usage, per App iOS 8 Tip #7: Set the Camera's Focus and Exposure Independently iOS 8 Tip #8: Make and Answer Phone Calls From Your iPad
  141. iOS 8 Tip #1: The Two-Finger Down-Swipe
    Here's how you make your iPhone read out loud to you. Incredibly handy: have your iPhone read your emails and articles to you as you drive.
  142. 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 Use on my Blog Here are tools that I use to create and publish my blog. Blogger (for layout and hosting)MarsEdit (for writing)Pixelmator (for image editing)Preview (also for image editing)SoundGecko.com (for making the "Listen to this blog post!" buttons do what they do) AddThis.com (for managing the "Share" buttons)CampaignMonitor.com (for managing the mailing list, and for sending the "new blog post" emails)StatCounter.com (for keeping track of traffic to the blog)AppleScript and Typinator (for automating repetitive tasks so I can produce more articles in less time) This article is about Blogger.Let's look at what happens in the life of a blog post. First, it's written. Then, it's published. Third, it's read (we hope). It might seem that I'm taking things out of order but I'm going to cover publishing first. Publishing can be as simple as pushing a button, but you have to have a place to publish to. You also have to have some sort of a template that makes your blog post look nice on the web, and some sort of system behind the scenes that keeps track of all of your articles-- when you wrote them, what they are called, etc. Blogger handles all of that, and it does it all for free. If you're looking to start your own blog (Tom-- ahem) you can do a lot worse than Blogger. I use Blogger and I recommend it highly. The first step in using Blogger used to be "create a Blogger account." Then Google bought Blogger, so now the first step has changed to "create a Google account." If you already have a Gmail address you already have a Google account, so no need to make another one. (A Gmail account is not the same as a Google account-- rather, it's part of it. A Blogger account is another part.) Go to blogger.google.com and if you're asked to sign in, use your Google credentials. Click the "New Blog" button to create a new blog. Then title it, choose an address, pick a template, and you're ready to go. Note that all Blogger blogs have addresses like "something.blogspot.com" where you get to pick the "something" part, and yes, "something.blogger.com" would make more sense but that's not up to us. Don't worry about choosing the right template-- you can change your mind later, even after you've written a lot of posts. Anyhow, give your blog a title, give it an address, and choose a template.…
  143. Christian Boyce on the Digital Village radio show, September 13th, 2014
    I will be on the Digital Village radio show tomorrow, September 13th, 2014, talking about Apple's announcements from this Tuesday. The program starts at 10 AM Pacific time and my part will begin around 10:15. Should be about a fifteen minute interview. I'd tune in right at 10 AM as it is always interesting to hear hosts Doran Barons and Ric Allan read the news. Here's how to listen. In Los Angeles, tune your radio to KPFK 90.7 FM. On a Mac, click this link. (If you use the ClickToFlash Safari extension you will have to turn it off to use KPFK's player.)On an iPhone or an iPad, click this link. Digital Village does a great job of putting up recordings of past shows (here is one of me talking about Macworld/iWorld 2013) so if you can't hear the show live you can come back here afterwards and I'll have a link to the recording for you. UPDATE: September 14th, 2014. Here's the link to the audio recording from yesterday.
  144. Thoughts on Apple’s iPhone 6, 6 Plus, and the Apple Watch
    The big day has come and gone, and the new iPhones and the Apple Watch are all anyone wants to talk about. I can't count how many people have written to ask me "So which one do I get?" and "What do you think about the watch?" so I am going to answer the questions here on the blog. The iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 PlusIt's hard to form an opinion about these phones in advance of holding them in my hands. They're both bigger than an iPhone 5, we know that-- and the iPhone 5 is already a little too big for one-handed use. At least for my hand. Apple has addressed this problem in the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus with a feature called "Reachability" that brings controls closer to the bottom of the screen, easily requested via double-tapping the Touch ID sensor. "Reachability" will not be able to help me fit the phone into my pants pocket unless I lose more weight* (that's what I did for the 5s) or buy bigger pants (no way). Also, whether it's useable one-handed or not, if the larger size makes it uncomfortable to use that will be a major drag. The iPhone is in my hand many times a day and if I'm going to get a new one it had better be comfy to hold. I will simply have to see these new iPhones in person to see how they fit. That would be my advice to you as well. Specifications-wise these are awesome phones. A faster chip. More storage. Higher contrast on the screens. Near-Field Communication (NFC) for use with Apple's new "Apple Pay" system. Better cameras. Thinner front to back. Better battery life. Faster wireless performance. All good. Here's a chart comparing the specifications of the new iPhone 6 and 6 Plus with those of the 5s and 5c. UPDATE SEPTEMBER 17th, 2014: Here's a great web page by Apple showing how the displays compare, and also demonstrating a great feature called Display Zoom which makes everything on the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus a little larger. I'll be using that. Even if I had an iPhone 6 and a 6 Plus right here at Boyce Labs I would not be able to tell you which one is right for you. I can tell you, though, whichever you get, spend an extra $100 and get the 64 GB model. Used to be, you got 16 GB in the base model, 32 GB for another $100, and 64 GB for another $100. Now you spend that first extra $100 and you get all the way to 64 GB. (Another $100 and you're at 128 GB-- also a good deal compared to what we used to get. I guess what it boils down to is "try to get past the base model. There's better value up the line.") iPhone design has two goals that are completely at odds with each other: on the one hand, we want things…
  145. Apple’s Special Event
    Apple will stream live video of its special event TODAY via this link. The show starts at 10 AM Pacific time. If you have an Apple TV look for a new "Special Event" icon on the main screen and watch the show from there. Here's the fine print (from Apple):Live streaming video requires Safari 5.1.10 or later on OS X v10.6.8 or later; Safari on iOS 6.0 or later. Streaming via Apple TV requires second- or third-generation Apple TV with software 6.2 or later. Mom, you can watch it on your iPad. I will update this post to include a link to the recording of the event as soon as Apple makes it available. In case you wondered: no, I don't know what they're going to show us. But whatever it is, I want two of them. UPDATE: Here's the link to today's keynote. Here also is a nice write-up of today's events by the people over at The Verge.
  146. 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 out it's really not so new. We're just hearing more about this one than usual, and let's face it, it's nearly a perfect storm: It involves CELEBRITIES It involves FEMALE celebrities It involves NAKED female celebrities It involves PICTURES of naked female celebrities It involves Apple. Would the media be as interested if the bad guys got a hold of your Aunt Margaret's travel reservations? Would we be hearing as much if the pictures were of naked MEN? Would there be as much interest if the stolen stuff was 40 million credit card numbers from Target's servers? Would it be as interersting if instead of Apple, the story involved Asus? No, no, no, and no (even though the credit card stuff really happened, and no disrespect to Aunt Margaret). It's the Harmonic Convergence all over again. UPDATE: turns out these people weren't "hacked." They either had passwords that were easy to guess, or they fell for a phishing scheme and simply handed their passwords over. The weak link in this situation was the person, not the machine. I thought I'd take the occasion to write a few things about Internet security, passwords, and you. Is anything on the Internet secure? If you mean 100% secure, with no chance that information could be taken by unauthorized persons, the answer is "no." But what in this world is 100% secure? Banks have vaults and safes and alarms and bad guys rob banks all the time. That doesn't mean you shouldn't put your money in a bank. Cars have locks and alarms and kill switches (Jeff) and bad guys steal cars all the time. That doesn't mean you shouldn't have a car. Homes have fortified front doors and deadbolts and security cameras and bad guys break into homes all the time. That doesn't mean you should quit living in a home. Internet security is like physical security (with locks and alarms etc.). You should do what you can to make it difficult for the bad guys. You shouldn't say "Well it's not 100% secure so I'm not going to use it." That's the wrong move. Keep in mind that there are a LOT of ways to break into an online account. One way is to "go in through the front" by (somehow) obtaining a person's username and password, and getting that information is easier than you might think. A username is often an email address, and those are…
  147. Top Three iPhone and iPad Tips
    Even beginners can do amazing things with iPhones and iPads. And, because it's so easy to do so much, a lot of people don't look for ways to make it even easier. I am here to tell you: there are ways. Here are my three favorite time-saving, effort-reducing, better-result-producing iPhone and iPad tips, things that you can learn in a jiffy and put to good use forever. 1. Text ExpansionYou're familiar, of course, with the iOS auto-correction feature: you type something incorrectly and the iPhone or iPad fixes it on the fly. You can leverage auto-correction by defining your own "mistakes" that are in fact shortcuts, and "corrections" that are really expansions, saving yourself gobs of typing. Here are some examples. When I type "cbem" my iPhone "corrects" it into "macman@christianboyce.com." ("cbem" is only four characters while my email address is 25-- what a savings.) I have another shortcut that expands "ty" into "Thank you." I have a third that changes "yw" into "You're welcome" (we are very polite over here but we don't like to type more than we have to). I have a shortcut to expand "cb" into "Christian Boyce", and another that changes "mbp" into "MacBook Pro." Add it all up and you'll see that with those five expansions alone (and I have more) I'm getting 74 characters typed for 11 characters of actual typing. Actually, it's better than that, because these shortcuts take, at the most, four characters, and I can probably type four characters without an error; I probably cannot do 25 characters (my email address) without an error. Errors lead to more typing, and more chances to make mistakes. These text expansions work in every app that accepts typing: emails, text messages, web pages, reminders-- all of them. These are system-wide things, not exclusive to a single app. Set up your own text expansions by going to Settings / General / Keyboard / Shortcuts and tapping the + at top right. The phrase is what you want the shortcut to expand into. The shortcut is what you'll type-- the trigger. Here's one that I just made: I type "ml" and my iPhone expands it to "Join our mailing list and never miss a post!" Pretty handy. Especially if you want people to join your mailing list. Set up one or two of these, use them a couple of times, and they'll soon be second nature-- and you'll soon be getting more typed in less time. Error-free, too. Note: the easiest way to make this not work is to put the Shortcut in the Phrase box and the Phrase in the Shortcut box. The Shortcut goes on the bottom. I've done this before and not just at 5:04 AM. Note #2: shortcuts trigger when you type them in isolation, not when they are part of a larger word. That keeps my shortcut "cb" from expanding into "Christian Boyce" at inappropriate times, such as when I'm typing "MacBook." So, technically, I have to type "cb" and…
  148. How to Send a Group Email from Your iPhone or iPad
    Sending a group email from a Mac is easy. Sending a group email from an iPhone or iPad is also easy, if you know how. Here's how.
  149. iPhone 5 Battery Replacement Program
    Maybe there's something wrong with your iPhone 5's battery after all. Apple has found that a "very small percentage" of iPhone 5 units (the 5, not the 5s, and not the 5c) "may suddenly experience shorter battery life or need to be charged more frequently." If that sounds like your iPhone, check out Apple's serial number checker on their iPhone 5 Battery Replacement Program page and see if your phone qualifies. Apple will replace the battery at no charge. Note: this program went into effect on August 22nd, 2014 in the United States and China. It will be active worldwide starting August 29th, 2014.If your iPhone doesn't qualify for the battery replacement program, and even if it does, check out my post on stretching your iPhone's battery life for some tips.
  150. 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 get this: It opens in a second-- Quick Look's fast! But there's still this distracting mess of icons around the picture. So I press the spacebar again (to close the picture), and this time I hold the Option key when I press the spacebar. Voila! I get a full-screen picture and no distracting mess in the background. Perfect for showing the picture to someone else, for example Mom. This works with everything that Quick Look can open. Really handy, and I am guessing it's been there for years, just waiting for me to accidentally have the Option key down while pressing the spacebar. Yes, I found this one by accident. Sometimes it happens that way.BONUS: If you select multiple picture files, and then you activate Quick Look while holding the Option key, you get a full-screen slide show. It will advance by itself and loop until you stop it.
  151. 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 ButtonsMail'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 showing labels under the buttons. Here's how the toolbar looks without the labels:Here's how it looks after adding the labels.With the labels it's easy to tell what the buttons do. You'll notice that the buttons are larger when the labels are showing, and a larger button is a button that's easier to click. Turns out you can click on the words too, so the actual "target area" for each button is quite a bit larger than it is without the label.Now all you need to know is how to add the labels to your own Mail program. You can do it in one click: just hold the Control key down, click in the toolbar, and slide down to "icon and Text." That's it. Here's how the contextual menu will look:Note: the toolbars for the main Mail "Viewer Window," the Compose Mail window, and the window that pops up when you double-click an email are all different and all controlled separately. That means you get to Control-click on each kind of window and choose "Icon and Text" on each one. That's just the way it is.Tip #2: Customize the Toolbar and Add the Larger-Smaller buttonsThere's plenty of room on Mail's toolbars and you can put that space to use by adding buttons to them. My favorite button is the "Smaller-Bigger" button (especially the "Bigger" part): one click on the "Bigger" part and the message you're viewing gets bigger. Click it again and the text gets bigger yet. Add the button by Control-clicking on the toolbar, same as before, but this time slide down to "Customize Toolbar…" When you do that, you get a big selection of buttons, and you can drag them up to the toolbar and they'll stay there forever (or until you take them off). Put the buttons anywhere on the toolbar, and rearrange the buttons you already have there until they're ordered the way you like them. As before, you get to customize the the toolbars for Mail's Viewer Window, the Compose Mail window, and the window that pops up when you double-click a message in the list.Tip #3: Forward Multiple Emails at OnceI just discovered this last week. I had to forward a couple of emails to the same person so I selected them both in the list (hold the Command key down while clicking on the messages) and then clicked the Forward... button. Voila! A single email message showed up but it was forwarding…
  152. 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 #1The 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 that I'd set up only a week before (and of course I had used the mouse to set it up, so I knew that the mouse had worked). Restarting didn't help, and neither did signing in as another user. Changing batteries on the mouse (which was wireless) also didn't help. Very mysterious.Having given all of the easy suggestions over the phone, and having none of them work, I went to the site to see it in person. Indeed, I could not click on anything either. I noticed that the Mac's original Magic Mouse was not being used, as a more sophisticated Logitech mouse* was favored by the iMac's user. I disconnected everything but power, then connected my own little portable USB mouse-- and that didn't work either. Now I was really stumped.Then I had an idea. "Where is the original Apple mouse that came with this machine?" I asked. The user pointed to a small bin, full of cables, CDs, and assorted Mac-related stuff. I dug in and found the mouse... and what do you know, its power switch was in the "On" position. The weight of the other stuff in the bin had been pressing down on the mouse. With the bin within Bluetooth range of the iMac the original mouse's click was being sent continually, and since a click was already being registered there was no way the machine would respond to a second click (from either the fancy Logitech mouse or from my simple USB model). I solved the problem by turning off the original Apple mouse. Everything worked fine after that. And no, I do not know why I had the idea of looking for the original mouse. It was just one of those things.Mysterious Mac Problem #2The user (my own Dad!) sent me an an email every couple of weeks telling me that his iMac wouldn't sleep. Or, rather, that the iMac would sleep, and then wake up on its own. This went on for months and I could not find an answer, though I suspected that some USB device was malfunctioning and sending signals to the Mac and woke it up. I more or less gave up on solving this one since I was doing the work remotely and couldn't do any process-of-elimination-by-disconnecting-various-USB-things testing. Yes, I could have had Dad do it, but it's hard to do with older eyes and I didn't want to chance not getting things put back…
  153. 2014 World Cup Soccer Calendar for Mac, iPhone, and iPad
    UPDATE: here's a link to the 2018 knockout stage World Cup calendar, for your Mac, iPhone or iPad (in ics format). The World Cup is fast approaching. Wouldn't it be nice to have the World Cup schedule on your Mac, iPhone, or iPad? Or maybe all three? Turns out it's just a couple of clicks away. This website (worldcupbrazilcalendar.com) has just what you need: an iCal calendar subscription with every game, for every group, and the Round of 16 too. The great thing about it being a subscription is it will be updated as the games are played, so in a few weeks "Winner of Group C vs Runner-Up of Group D" (which is what the calendar says today) will be replaced by "Greece vs England" or whoever it turns out to be. The game times are shown in your local time, not in Brazil-time (four hours ahead of us on the West Coast), and not in ESPN's default Eastern Time. (Here's a nice clock showing you the time in Rio de Janeiro, Los Angeles, and Austin. Amazing what can be done with a web page these days.) If you do it right, you'll subscribe to the calendar on one device, and like magic the calendar will appear on all of your other devices too. The key is to choose the "iCloud" option when you initially subscribe. On a Mac "doing it right" will look like this. The website has good instructions but you probably won't need them. Go check it out. (They also have a Google Calendars version for those who don't use iCloud. Your PC and Android "friends" aren't left out here.) UPDATE: the server at worldcupbrazilcalendar.com has been down-up-down the last couple of days. I hope they get it fixed. As an alternative-- and maybe it's even a better alternative-- try this excellent FREE iPhone and iPad app. It's called USA- World Cup 2014 and you can get it by tapping the app's icon (or by clicking here or by going to the App Store and searching for it-- but why bother, I've done all the work already). It has the schedule, it has the results, it has the standings-- it has it all. My only suggestion is to NOT choose the option to add the schedule to your iPhone's (or iPad's) calendar, as it does not create its own calendar. Instead, it add the game schedule to your default calendar on the iPhone and that makes things a little messy. Better to put them in their own calendar, so you can easily toggle their visibility. UPDATE NUMBER TWO: the calendar from worldcupbrazilcalendar.com seems to be abandoned. It doesn't update. But here's one that does: http://icalshare.com/calendars/6675 This calendar already shows that Friday's 1 PM Pacific time game is Brazil and Colombia. I don't know what happened to the calendar from worldcupbrazilcalendar.com but this icalshare.com one is the one you want. The directions are the same as above-- use the iCloud option.
  154. 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?"
  155. 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 was possible. But once I knew it was possible, I wanted it. So I called Time Warner. UPDATE September 1st, 2014: I have seen multiple instances where Time Warner's internet service simply stops working until the Arris DG1670 modem/router is reset. After some period of time (less than a day) web sites quit loading, but if you restart the modem/router it works again, for a little while. I believe I have traced the problem to Time Warner's DNS servers. I recommend overriding the standard Time Warner DNS servers and using something more reliable, such as the servers at OpenDNS. It costs you nothing and it solves the problem. Highly recommended, even if you're not having a problem. If you don't know what DNS is send me an email and I'll either send you the answer or make a blog post about it.Changing the DNS in the Time Warner modem starts with you typing 192.168.0.1 into a web browser, hitting Return, and signing into the modem using "admin" for the user name and "password" for the password. Click on the tab labeled "LAN Setup" across the top. In there, override the DNS numbers. Use these: 208.67.222.222 and 208.67.220.220. You can leave the third server blank. Remember to click the Apply button when you're done, and remember to restart the modem (pull the power cord, then plug back in) or else the changes will be ignored. Restart everything else on the network also (Airports, computers, etc.). This should work forever-- no need to restart the Arris every day or so.The conversation went something like this:C Boyce: "Hi, I hear you can deliver 100 Mbps internet these days. How much is that going to cost me? All I need is internet and phone-- no TV."Time Warner Cable: "Let's see... $123. That's $10 less than you're paying now and it would be 100 Mbps."CB: "What am I getting now?"TWC: "You're getting 20 Mbps internet and two phone lines."(One phone line was for the fax, which we are officially turning off as of right NOW. You can take the fax number out of your address book.)CB: "I thought I had the best internet speeds that Time Warner offered." TWC: "You did have the best internet speeds-- when you started the service. But now we do 100 Mbps."CB: "So wait a second. You updated the speeds, so all of the new people get the good stuff, but no one told ME about…
  156. Macworld/iWorld 2014 Wrap-Up
    I'm back from Macworld/iWorld, having spent three days searching for the newest and grooviest Mac, iPhone, and iPad stuff. Although Apple remained a no-show, I am happy to say that Macworld/iWorld appears to have found its post-Apple stride. The crowds were fairly large, the exhibition floor was full of interesting stuff, and almost everyone was enthusiastic and happy to be there. Here's what I found particularly noteworthy.Note: if you'd like to listen to my Macworld/iWorld report with Doran Barons and Ric Allen on the Digital Village radio program, here's the link to that. Perfect 365,* an iPhone/iPad app, can improve anyone's portrait. Take the picture, let Perfect365* figure out where the eyes, nose, and mouth are, and then start making things better. One tap takes away circles under your eyes, smooths your skin, whitens your teeth, slims your face-- in short, it makes your picture look like the person you know you are, not the person your lying mirror says you are. Check out the Before-and-After below. It's really rather amazing. And yes, this was done on an iPhone, with ONE tap.Perfect365, free (with in-app purchases)Refurb.Me is a website that helps you purchase in-demand refurbished items from Apple's store. Yes, you could go to Apple's website to see if the item you want is available or not, but RefurbMe.com will do it for you-- for free. You set the criteria-- which items, which options, which price-- and Refurb.Me watches Apple's site for you, and sends you notifications when your items come up. Visit Refurb.Me, watch their introductory video, and learn all about it. I know I'll be using Refurb.Me next time I'm looking to buy a refurbished machine from Apple and I think you should do it too. (Refurb.Me gets paid by Apple for referring customers to Apple's online refurbished items store-- that's how it works. Thus, there's no charge to you for this service.)Speaking of websites, EverWeb (formerly EasyWeb) makes creating and publishing a website easy as pie. For $99.95 you get the EverWeb software and a year of web hosting. If you've arranged hosting with someone else you can buy the software for $79.95 and use it with them. EverWeb's software reminds me of Apple's now-defunct iWeb, only better, which means it's easy and fun to use (and comes with lots of templates so you don't have to start from scratch). If you've wanted to make a website but were overwhelmed by choosing software and a web host, EverWeb is for you. One-stop shopping. (If you're thinking that "easy-to-use" means that EverWeb can't make a fancy site, think again! EverWeb lets you add a bunch of nifty features to your sites, including:MenusGoogle MapsImage SlidersYouTube videosFacebook "Like" buttonsand a lot more.) Download the software and give it a try-- for free.Diving Into iOS 7,* by Kevin J. McNeish, is Book 1 of the iOS App Development for Non-Programmers series. It's really, really good. In fact, it's so good that I've ordered Book 2* and Book 3.* Book 1 teaches…
  157. Christian Boyce on the Radio, March 29th, 2014
    It's Springtime, and a young man's thoughts naturally turn to Macworld/iWorld in San Francisco. The show starts Thursday, and I'll be there, keeping my streak alive (I've never missed). On Saturday I'll tell you all about it via the miracle of radio. All you have to do is tell Siri to remind you to listen to the Digital Village radio program on KPFK, 90.7 FM in Los Angeles, at 10 AM this Saturday. If you want to listen over the internet using your Mac here's a link to KPFK's site. The "Listen Live" button is near the top. (Note: if you tune in at 10 AM expecting to hear me, and you hear Dr. Eric C. Leuthardt instead, there's no mistake. I come on in the second half of the show, probably close to 10:30 AM.)If you'd rather listen on your iPhone or iPad get the tunein radio app. Here's a link to the tunein iPhone app and here's a link to the tunein iPad app. If, for some reason, you want to hear my talk from last year, click here and enjoy on your Mac, iPhone, or iPad.BONUS: Here's a link to some interesting Macworld/iWorld historical background information. Fun stuff.
  158. iOS 7.1 Update: Get It
    Apple continues to refine iOS 7. The 7.1 update is the latest and in my experience it's something you ought to install. The easy way to do it is through the air. Make sure your iPhone or iPad is plugged in and charging before starting, just to be safe. Then Settings, General, and Software Update.The harder way is to connect your iPhone (or iPad) to your computer with the USB cable and do the update via iTunes. Actually, it's not really "harder" but it does take a lot longer. That's because doing it via iTunes backs up your iPhone (or iPad), then erases your iPhone (or iPad), then installs 7.1 "cleanly," and then, finally, restores your stuff from the backup. The biggest advantage of doing it with the cable is it works on iPhones and iPads that are close to full. If you've tried doing the update through the air and received a "not enough room" message, try doing it via the cable.Of course the real question is, why do it at all? There are several improvements-- some small, some not so small-- that add up to a really nice update. Here's what I like:1. A new option to show "Button Shapes" helps you identify buttons more easily (by making them look different than "headings"). Settings, General, Accessibility, Button Shapes. Check out this before and after: Even the highlighting is better. Check out the lower left corner.2. Calendar has a List View now. In iOS 6 the calendar had a list view but it disappeared in iOS 7. You could bring it back in iOS 7 by tapping the Search button but that wasn't obvious at all. Now all you do is tap on the day you want your list to start on. See below: 3. My favorite improvement: everything is faster. This is great news for iPhone 4 users and iPad 2 users, many of whom found iOS 7.0 unpleasantly slow and unresponsive. 4. The Touch ID finger print sensor works better.5. Siri has a new way of knowing when you're done talking. Used to be, you'd press the Home button until the iPhone (or iPad) beeped twice, then you'd say something, then you'd wait for Siri to figure out you were done. In iOS 7.1, you can still do it the old way-- but now there's a new way. Press and hold the Home button, wait for the two beeps, say your stuff (still holding down the Home button), and finally let go of the Home button when you're done talking. Try this once and you'll never go back to the old way. 6. There are lots of new little animations that give feedback that you've tapped something (they also give the impression that Apple hasn't quite decided how they want the iOS interface to look and behave). For example, moving an email to a folder shows a tiny email message flying into a folder. Answering a phone call makes the green handset icon roll over and become…
  159. Christian Boyce Speaking at Macworld/iWorld
    Macworld/iWorld (formerly "Macworld Expo") is coming soon to San Francisco's Moscone Center. I've been selected as one of the speakers in the "RapidFire" session on opening night (March 27th, 2014), starting at 5 PM. Each RapidFire speaker (I think there are 15) gets exactly five minutes to impart some pearls of Mac or iPhone wisdom and if it's anything like last year it's going to be educational and a lot of fun. If you're going to be at Macworld/iWorld you owe it to yourself to come to RapidFire.Here is a link to a video of last year's RapidFire session. If you're looking for my part it starts at 30:32. My part of this year's RapidFire program is called "iOS 7 Tips You Need to Know!" I haven't finalized my talk yet but here's something that I think will be included: How to Access iOS 7's Control Center Like a Pro iOS 7 has this terrific feature called "Control Center" that gives you access to all kinds of stuff with a single swipe. Here's how it looks on my iPhone: You get it by swiping up from the bottom of the screen. Look at what you get, all in one panel: Airplane Mode on/off WiFi on/off Bluetooth on/off Do Not Disturb mode on/off Do Not Rotate on/off Brightness control Sound controls, including rewind, play, pause, fast forward, and volume Airdrop (in case you want to share a file with a Mac) Flashlight on/off Clock controls (world clock, alarms, stopwatch, timer) Calculator Camera That's a lot of stuff. The problem is, a lot of the time when you swipe up the Control Center doesn't appear, and you end up doing something to the app that you're using, rather than bringing up the Control Center, and after you've done this a few times you more or less give up on it. Naturally there's a way to do it that works every time, and naturally I am here to tell you what it is. The Secret: start your upward swipe below the glass! It sounds weird but it works. Try it and see. I wouldn't start right on top of the Home button if I were you, because you don't want to accidentally click it. Just put your finger down to one side of the Home button or the other, and swipe up. Voilá! Impress your friend(s). Speaking of friends, if you'd tell someone about this here blog I will be your friend. Word of mouth, and emailed links, are the best kind of advertising. Try the sharing buttons-- easy and fun. And helpful. Thank you.
  160. WiFi Problem Solved via SMC Reset
    Sometimes your Mac's WiFi acts funny-- you can't connect to WiFi networks that used to work automatically. Here's how to fix it.
  161. How to Erase an iPhone (or iPad)
    Looking to pass your old iPhone (or iPad) down to your sister, your cat, or maybe your sister's cat? You'll need to erase it before you do, and it's easy when you know how. Here's how. First, make a copy of everything that's on the iPhone (or iPad), just in case. If you have a Mac (or a PC-ugh) in your life, make the backup via iTunes: connect your iPhone (or iPad) to your Mac (or PC- ugh), control-click on the iPhone (or iPad), and choose "Transfer Purchases". That copies the things you've purchased using the iPhone (or iPad) back to the Mac (or PC-ugh). Then, check the "Encrypt iPhone backup" box, give it a good password, tell your Mac to remember the password, and then wait while the backup is performed.You may think "But wait-- I backup to iCloud, so why do it again, and especially why do the encryption thing?" The answer is simple: the iCloud backup does not back up as much stuff as the iTunes method does, and encrypting allows the backup to include many (not all) of your passwords. You can read all about it here and here. Encrypt it already. Geez.Now your'e ready to clear off the iPhone (or iPad). This is the easy part. Step 1: go to Settings, then General.Step 2: scroll way down, then tap Reset.Step 3: choose the "Erase All Content and Settings" option. If your iPhone (or iPad) is password-protected you'll have to enter your code. Step 4: IMPORTANT: this is your last chance to cancel! If you're ready to roll, click "Reset." If your phone had "Find My iPhone" turned on-- and you should-- you'll have to enter your Apple ID password in order to turn it off before the resetting takes place. Get past that, and in a minute or two your phone is wiped clean.And that's that! Your iPhone (or iPad) will be ready to give away (or sell). It really is that easy.
  162. 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 easily, you can replace it yourself in minutes.So... if your laptop's trackpad isn't clicking right, turn the machine over, take the battery out, and see if it looks all bulgy. Turn the laptop over and see if the trackpad clicks with the battery out. If it does, and if that battery is bulgy, buy a new battery and the problem is solved.BONUS TIP: the trackpad surface is made of glass. Don't try to fix a trackpad by pressing extra hard on it because you can break it if you press hard enough. And you'll have to send the Mac in for repairs because you can't replace the trackpad yourself.
  163. Get at least $200 for any working iPad at Target
    Target is offering at least a $200 gift card for ANY working iPad (newer iPads get more). The iPad can't have any scratches on the screen, and it has to turn on. Do what you want with the gift card (though I recommend spending it on either the iPad Air or the iPad mini, or possibly on Christmas gifts for your favorite blogger).You'd better move on this quickly. The offer is good through November 9th, 2013. Target's regular trade-in offer for the original iPad is $65 so if you have one of those this $200 deal is really something. Plus, as of this writing, Target is offering gift cards when you buy an iPad from them. Wow.Here is the link to Target's web page describing the program.
  164. iOS 7: Get the iOS 7.0.3 Update
    If you're still using iOS 6 that's fine-- stay there if you want. But if you're on any version of 7 lower than 7.0.3, get your device updated to 7.0.3 pronto. There are lots of improvements in iOS 7.0.3, but here are the most important ones:1. iOS 7.0.3 introduces the iCloud Keychain feature that remembers your log-ins for websites and your passwords for WiFi networks. Enter the info once and it's remembered, so you don't have to enter it ever again-- and it syncs across all of your iOS devices (as long as they are on 7.0.3 or higher). Imagine how nice it will be to enter log-in info, or WiFi passwords, on your iPhone-- and have it show up on your iPad! For the person who has an iPad and an iPhone the iCloud Keychain feature is a dream come true. Even with a single iOS device it's a very useful and handy feature.2. iOS 7.0.3 brings back the "search the web" option for Home screen searches, same as in iOS 6. (Rick, I think they did this one for you.)3. iOS 7.0.3 fixes a bug that made activating iMessages impossible.Apple is a little bit quiet about the bugs that they've fixed with 7.0.3, as usual.You can read Apple's iOS 7.0.3 release notes and find out more, but not a lot more. Get the update by connecting your device to a charger and then going to the Settings app, then General, then Software Updates. Never roll the dice by installing a software update on battery power. Never ever.Rick S. wins the Coffee Cup for inspiring this blog post. Congratulations, Rick.
  165. How to Find an iPhone 5s
    UPDATE (November 5th, 2013): Apple's legal department has asked that the Apple-Tracker website be shut down as it violates terms of use of the Apple.com website. So now it's gone. Too bad-- it was rather handy. Thanks, Apple-Tracker. Looking for an iPhone 5s? Of course you are. And are you discovering that the iPhone 5s is in short supply? Of course you are.And are you wishing there was a way to check the inventory of every Apple Store near you, with a minimum of effort? Of course you are. So am I. Fortunately, there's a website called Apple-Tracker.com which makes searching for an iPhone 5s a quick and easy operation. Go to the site, tell them which model you want, enter your zip code, and let them search every Apple Store near you. With one click you'll get something like this:You can check back every so often, or you can sign up to be emailed when the iPhone 5s you want is available. Apple-Tracker.com does its magic by consolidating searches that you could do one at a time (but why would you-- Apple-Tracker.com is so much easier). The information is public and it's up to the minute and it's presented quickly and simply. Hard to figure out how it could be better.UPDATE: they made it better. Apple-Tracker.com can help you look for the iPad Air and the iPad mini Retina display too. You can't buy either device until Friday November 1st, 2013, but with apple-tracker.com you'll be ready. See below.You can also find the iPhone 5s at Radio Shack, and at Best Buy, and at AT&T, and at Verizon, and at Sprint, and at T-Mobile, among other places, but by far the easiest way to find one is with Apple-Tracker.com. Check it out.Joyce K. wins the Coffee Cup for inspiring this blog post. Congratulations, Joyce.
  166. iOS 7: Reset Your iPhone (or iPad) and Fix Mysterious Problems
    I'm getting a lot of calls about things that don't work right after the iOS 7 upgrade. Two of the oddest: the camera wouldn't take pictures, and email could not be sent even though the settings appeared to be correct. When faced with this kind of issue you have two great chances to make things right again. Your first chance is to simply turn the iPhone (or iPad) off-- completely off-- and then back on again. You'd be surprised at how many problems go away with the old off-on routine.(In case you've forgotten how to turn your iPhone or iPad off, here's what to do: press the Power button-- Apple calls it the "Sleep/Wake" button but that's not a very good name-- at the top right edge of your device, and keep it pressed until you see a message about swiping to turn off. Do that, and wait a bit, and your device will turn completely off. This is what you're supposed to do during takeoff and landing on commercial flights. Putting the phone to sleep, or into "airplane mode," or turning it face-down so the flight attendant can't see the screen is not the same as turning it off, and yes I am talking to you over there in Seat 24C.)Your second chance to fix things is to do a reset. Try this when turning your iPhone/iPad off and back on again doesn't solve the problem, or when the iPhone/iPad simply won't turn off for some reason. A reset is a two-handed job: press and hold the Power button, and at the same time press and hold the Home button (the one in the middle of the bottom of the iPhone/iPad bezel). Keep those two buttons pressed until you see an Apple logo. Let go, and let your device start up. It might take a little longer than normal so be patient. With a little luck everything will be back to normal, and no you will not lose any data. Your pictures will still be there, your settings will still be there, your contacts will still be there, etc. In fact, everything will be just as it was before you did the reset-- except that everything will work properly. At least most everything, and at least most of the time.Next time your iPhone or iPad isn't behaving properly just turn it off and then back on and see how it goes. If that doesn't work, try the Power-Home reset. Odds are your problems will disappear.Note: there is another kind of reset, performed in the General section of the Settings app. That's not what we're interested in here. Use the reset-from-the-Settings-app method when you're looking to completely wipe your old device out so you can give it to your friend/kid/dog. Veronika K. wins the Coffee Cup for inspiring this blog post. Congratulations, Veronika.
  167. iOS 7: How to Turn Off an Unused App
    I am getting this question a lot lately, and understandably so: the way we turned off unused apps in iOS 6 (and further back) was a little different, and you can't do it that way in iOS 7. For review, here's how it worked in iOS 6: Double-tap Home button. The current app slid up, and every other app that you hadn't explicitly turned off was shown in a scrolling list across the bottom.Put your finger on any app's icon until it wiggles. The icons all get a red circle with a minus sign at their top left corners.Tap the minus sign to quit an app.Press the Home button to stop the wiggling.Press the Home button again to get the current app to slide back down.It looked like this. You can sort of see the wiggling icons.The old way of turning off an app was a bit of work, and if you never learned how to do it-- or forgot after you learned-- I'm not surprised. It was a little awkward. (Worst of all, the current app's icon was not in the set of icons across the bottom, so you couldn't quit the current app using this method. To quit the current app, you had to first get out of it, which required a Step "0" where you'd press the Home button to get to the Home screen, and then set into Steps 1-5 above. Six steps. Ugh. Try explaining this over the phone.)iOS 7's new way saves steps, and you don't have to do anything special to deal with the current app. Here's how it works:Double-tap the Home button. The current app shrinks and moves left, and the rest of the running apps show up as icons (across the bottom) and as little iPhone/iPad screens (in the middle of the screen). Flick an app's screen (not its icon) upward and it flies right off the screen. That's it, you've done it. That app's not running any more!Press the Home button to return to the app you were using before you double-tapped the Home button to begin with.Three steps instead of six steps. This isn't just different-- it's better.Here's how it looks (the arrow won't be there-- I put it there to show you what to do):Here's how it looks as the app is moved toward the top. Remember, you're dragging the little screen that represents the app. Dragging the icon does nothing.Bonus: you don't have to drag the little screens all the way to the top of the screen to make them disappear, though that will work. The way I do it is I give the little screen a little flick. It is sort of fun to see how tiny a flick will still work. Dragging requires a lot more movement. Try a flick instead.Double-Bonus: you can flick away two apps-- even three apps-- at once! Might take two hands to do it on an iPad but it can be done. This is another thing to impress your friends…
  168. iOS 7: Stretch Your iPhone’s Battery Life
    iOS 7: Stretch Your iPhone's Battery LifeUPDATE: Apple has found that the batteries in some iPhone 5 units drain too quickly. They'll replace those batteries for free. Read all about it on my post "iPhone 5 Battery Replacement Program."My iPhone 5, with iOS 7, ran out of power today. I don't know exactly when but I know it was before 6 PM. That's not good. It's never happened before, but then again I never accidentally turned on Bluetooth (because it was almost impossible to do that accidentally in previous versions of iOS) and I also never had a feature called Background App Refresh that keeps some of the iPhone's apps up to date even when the phone's not being used.Let's talk about these things.First, Bluetooth.If you're not sure that you need it, you probably don't. And even if you do need it, you probably don't need it all the time, so turn Bluetooth (and its battery-sucking antenna) off when you can. iOS 7's Control Center lets you quickly and easily access your iPhone's Bluetooth on/off switch, so now you can turn it off when you don't need it (such as when you're not playing music or phone calls through your car's stereo system, or not using one of those annoying Bluetooth headsets that irritate every person you call with lousy, choppy sound). iOS 7's Control Center also lets you quickly and easily accidentally turn ON Bluetooth, so watch out for that. I think I did that today when I went to Control Center to adjust my iPhone's brightness. (Remember: swipe UP from the bottom of the screen to access Control Center.)BONUS: actually, it's a whole lot easier to pull up the Control Center when you start your swipe below the screen. Also, you don't have to swipe up along the centerline of the iPhone-- try starting on either side of the Home button and swiping up from there. Impress your friends with your ability to pull up Control Center every time while they struggle. (Then give them the URL for this here blog.)HISTORICAL NOTE: did you know that the Bluetooth wireless protocol was named after Danish King Harald Gormsson, who liked blueberries so much that his teeth turned blue? He was good at getting diverse peoples to communicate with each other. That's sort of what Bluetooth (the wireless protocol) was created to do, so lacking a better idea they named it Bluetooth. At least that's the story. Lucky for us he didn't like rainbow sherbet.And Now, Background App RefreshThis certainly sounds like a nice idea: apps that need location data, or an internet feed, or some other kind of information, can update themselves even when you're not using them, so when you do use them they are already up to date. It's off by default, but the first time iOS 7 launches it asks whether you want it on or not and like a fool I said yes. (I like how they say "Turning off apps may help preserve battery…
  169. iOS 7: First Look, First Tips
    Last week I cautioned against being among the first to install iOS 7. The main reason for that was concern that unknown bugs in iOS 7 could surface, either during the installation or after, creating inconvenience and maybe worse. Of course not everyone reads this here blog so the message did not have a global reach (you can help with that-- click the Share button at the bottom of this article and tell a friend. Or two!).I installed iOS 7 on my iPhone 5 and on my iPad 2 without trouble, but only after being sure I had a backup just in case. Based on direct reports to me, my customers are seeing about an 80% success rate with the installation. Of course I get more reports of trouble than of success because no one calls to say "Hey, everything's great, just thought I'd let you know." They call more often with "Holy cow, I tried to do the iOS 7 upgrade and it stopped part-way and so I turned it off and now it won't work at all and of course I don't have a backup." Yikes.The most common problem seems to be that the installation either stops, or appears to stop. My advice: if the installation looks like it's stopped, it probably isn't. Give it time. Here, an over-the-air installation on my iPhone 5 took half an hour in the "preparing" stage, then it restarted, then it showed a progress bar that seemed to be stuck in the same place for about ten minutes, then it restarted again, and finally, after another progress bar and one more restart, I was back in business. Total time was 50 minutes. But it did look as if it was stuck for a while there.I will get into the cool new stuff and some tips about iOS 7 in a minute. But first, some advice:If you're going to do the upgrade to iOS 7 please please please have a backup. If you're not sure how to do that read my article about backing up your iOS device. Do not think that "synching" is the same as backing up. Not necessarily.Don't do the upgrade on battery power. Have your iPhone or iPad (or iPod) connected to the charger.Do the upgrade "over the air" instead of via iTunes. It's quicker and easier. Technically, doing it via iTunes is "better" because it wipes out your device first, giving you a completely fresh system, but this should not be necessary.Do be prepared for some changes. It is sort of funny to hear so many people saying "I installed iOS 7 and it's different than before!" Well, duh. If it was the same there wouldn't be anything to install, would there. Realize in advance that you might not like all of the differences. UPDATE: here are some good iOS 6 v. iOS 7 screenshots. Thanks, Doan S!Do recognize that while a backup will help you get your stuff back in case of trouble it is not going…
  170. iOS 7: Coming Soon, and Why You Should Wait to Install It
    Yes, iOS 7 is coming soon. Very soon. Tomorrow, in fact. Assuming your iPad/iPhone/iPod can handle it (more on that later), you can download and install iOS 7 through the air-- for free! The question is, should you install iOS 7? The answer is "probably." But not right away.My advice: wait. Wait for others to find the bugs. Wait for ME to find the bugs. Wait for me to write up my first-hand experience (I of course will NOT wait as research does not wait here at the Christian Boyce Center for Advanced iPhone and Macintosh Studies). Upgrading an operating system is a very big deal and if something goes wrong you will be in for a very long day of restoring from backups. Assuming you have backups. If you have an extra iPhone that you can afford to play around with go ahead and play. But if you are thinking of installing iOS 7 onto the iPhone or iPad that you depend on every day-- wait a little. For those of you who simply must have the very latest thing I will remind you that the first version of any major software project will very likely have some issues. It is impossible to test everything and it is also impossible to fix every problem that testing reveals. There comes a point where the product is deemed "good enough to ship" and out it goes-- even as the programming team is working on fixing bugs.(Or even as the programming team is working on including features that couldn't be finished in time to meet the shipping date. In iOS 7's case, at least one major features-- the iCloud Keychain-- will miss the cut. We might not see the iCloud Keychain until iOS 7.1.)The best thing to do is to wait until Apple puts out its second iOS 7 update. You're probably thinking that one update should be enough, but the first update is what Apple's working on now-- meaning they are working on fixing bugs that they already know about (which means that the version that they ship Wednesday will go out with known bugs. After iOS 7 is installed on millions of devices it is likely that problems that Apple DOESN'T yet know about will surface… and Apple will fix those bugs in the second update. The first update fixes the bugs that they know about already, and the second update fixes the bugs that they find out about after the software ships.Of course you don't want to hear any of this. What you want to know is, will iOS 7 run on my device, and how can I get it?Here are the devices that Apple says will work with iOS 7. iPhone 4iPhone 4SiPhone 5iPhone 5c (iOS 7 pre-installed)iPhone 5s (iOS 7 pre-installed)iPod touch 5th generation (16 GB)iPod touch 5th Generation (32 GB/64GB)iPad 2 (yay-- that's mine!)iPad with Retina displayiPad miniHow to get iOS 7? That's about as easy as it gets: go to Settings on your iPhone, iPad,…
  171. How to boost the maximum sound volume on a Mac
    Make your Mac's speakers louder with "Boom." Especially great for laptops with their tiny speakers. Increase the volume of everything.
  172. 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.
  173. Back Up Your iPhone to iCloud– Please!
    There are two ways to back up your iPhone (and iPad). The first way used to be the only way: connect your iPhone (or iPad) to your computer with a USB cable and let iTunes take care of it. It's not a lot of trouble, and it's reasonably fast, and your iPhone/iPad will charge a little during the backup thanks to the USB cable. But you still have to remember to do it, and of course you also have to have a computer to connect to.Starting with iOS 5.0 (two years ago) there's a second way to do it, and it's super-easy and automatic, but you have to turn it on. This "new" way is to let the back-up happen through the air, whenever your iPhone/iPad is on WiFi, plugged in (charging), and locked (that is, when the screen has gone dark). This is the so-called "iCloud backup."If you're thinking "but wait, I like backing up to iTunes, I'm used to it, etc." please allow me to talk you out of it. Actually, I am not going to talk you out of it. Instead, I am going to talk you into backing up the iCloud way… and as a bonus, I'm going to show you how to continue backing up to iTunes with the USB cable (and I'll explain why you'd want to do both, too). The main reason for backing up to iCloud is that you don't have to remember to do it. The odds are pretty good that you are going to charge your iPhone sometime during the day (or night) and the odds are pretty good that the place that you do the charging is going to have WiFi. For example (Mom), you charge your iPhone in the dining room, and you have WiFi in the dining room, so your iPhone will back up all by itself (assuming that we turn that feature on). DETOUROnce upon a time there was a Mac man with an almost-new iPhone 5. He took a bunch of pictures with it and noticed a smudge in each one, and it turned out the iPhone's camera was defective. The Mac man took his iPhone 5 to the nearest Apple Store and was given a replacement iPhone. Of course, the replacement iPhone was brand new so it didn't have any of the stuff that was on the defective iPhone, and that would have been a problem, except that when a blank iPhone starts up the first time it asks you whether you want to restore an existing iPhone backup to this "new" iPhone, and of course the Mac man said "Yes." The restoration only works over WiFi (that's important), so the Mac man stayed at the Apple Store and used their WiFi and let iCloud restore his photos (the ones he took with the iPhone) and email and settings and apps while he watched. He didn't have to have his computer with him, and he could have gone to ANY Apple Store in the…
  174. 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 disk (so I can store that disk offsite). Is there a way to automate this?A: Yes. The best way to clone your hard drive is to use SuperDuper ($27.95, free trial available). That's what I use to clone hard drives at the Christian Boyce Institute for Advanced Macintosh Studies. Set up the backup once, like so:and then use SuperDuper's "Scheduled Copies" feature to trigger a backup whenever the backup disk is connected, like so:Now all you have to do is remember to periodically connect your external hard drive to your Mac. Q: Is there a way to make my iPhone remind me to periodically connect my external hard drive to my Mac?A: Yes. Use the Reminders app, and let Siri do the work of setting things up. You don't even need to know anything about the Reminders app. Just press the Home button, keep it down until the iPhone beeps, and say "Remind me to connect my external hard drive to my Mac every Monday at 10 PM" (or whenever you want). Siri will put up a screen looking something like this:All you have to do is tap "Confirm."Notice in the fine print that it says "Weekly"-- just what you wanted! Now, every Monday at 10 PM, a reminder will pop up on my iPhone's screen, reminding me to connect the external hard disk. If you don't have an iPhone, but you do have Mountain Lion (Mac OS 10.8) on your Mac you can start the Reminders app there and enter the reminder info by hand. Q: Can you help me pick out an external hard drive, and can you tell me where to get a good deal on one?A: Yes. The Western Digital "My Passport" is a very good drive-- small, reliable, and inexpensive. It connects via USB and does not need to be plugged into the wall. This is very convenient, especially if you're going to be connecting and disconnecting fairly often. It comes in various sizes and Amazon* carries them all. If you need to get one today try BestBuy.Here's what the My Passport drive looks like. It's barely bigger than a deck of cards. Amazon has this one* in blue, red, silver, and black.Since you're going to use this drive to store a clone of your Mac's internal drive, choose the model that matches your internal hard drive's size. You can figure that out at least a couple of ways but here's…
  175. 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 folderSelect the files you want to drag to the new folderRealize you can't find the new folder because now there's even more clutterGive upThere 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 menu.There is no step 3! You're done.Here's a little video demonstration. Click the picture below to start the movie. This feature arrived in Mac OS X 10.7 (Lion) and it's still present in 10.8 (Mountain Lion). I use it all the time. So will you.
  176. The Daily Tip: Tips and Shortcuts for the Mac’s Calculator
    The Mac's Calculator app has hidden powers. Here are my favorite Mac Calculator app tips. Try them all and make them your own!
  177. 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 Text," leading to a Mail toolbar with labeled buttons, and larger targets (you can click the labels as well as the buttons).Ah, that's better.3. Customize the toolbar to include your favorite buttonsUse the same control-click technique as above, and choose "Customize Toolbar…". Drag the buttons you want right up to Mail's toolbar and put them where you want. Here's how mine looks:4. Use the Favorites bar(If it's not showing, look for it in the View menu).Show the Mailbox list (Tip 1) and then drag your key mailboxes (folders) to the Favorites bar. Once you've done this you'll hardly ever have to show the Mailbox list, because you can switch mailboxes by clicking a button in the Favorites bar, and you can file messages by dragging them to buttons in the Favorites bar. Works great, but hardly anyone uses it. Everyone should.There are plenty of other Mail-related tips but these are my favorites because they save me time and trouble every day. If you have a question about Mail on the Mac please send me a note. And, as always, if you think this will help someone else please pass it along. There's a "Share" button at the bottom of this post. Your friends will thank you and so will I.
  178. The Daily Tip: Automate ebay Searches with SearchDome
    Automate ebay Searches with SearchDomeebay 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 automated ebay search site called SearchDome.com. It's free, though you can pay and get a little more. But the free service is terrific and I use it all the time. Basically you tell it what you're looking for (by searching ebay once), and then SearchDome remembers your search and performs your search on a recurring basis. The results are emailed to you as soon as they find what you're looking for. If you're not in a hurry to purchase something, and you're willing to wait for the perfect item to appear, SearchDome is just the ticket. Here's how it works.First, go to www.searchdome.com and create an account. Start by clicking the "Join SearchDome" button.They're going to ask for an email address and a password. Go ahead and fill in the boxes but please please please, do NOT use your actual email password for your SearchDome password! Make up something else. Using the same password means that if someone discovers your SearchDome password he will also have discovered your real email password. And that's bad. So make up something else. You won't have to type it in very often anyhow.After you fill in the boxes, check the "I agree" box, and then click Join, SearchDome will send an email to you to verify that your email works and that you can tell them that you really do want an account. When you get the email, which should arrive within 10 minutes, click the link in it and you'll be ready to log into the SearchDome service.So now login. The button's at top right. You'll see something like this when you're done:From here it's a matter for following the directions they provide. (Try to overlook the mis-used "your" in step 2.) Here's how I set up a recurring search, trying to find a certain kind of cowboy boot that Tony Lama used to make. I started by clicking the "Search eBay" button at the top left. Then I set up my search the same way I'd do it on ebay itself. (In case you didn't know, Tony Lama has a number for every style of cowboy boot, so instead of searching for "two-tone black boots, leather uppers, embroidered, with goat leather vamps" you just say "Tony Lama 6250." Easy. Of course you have to know the numbers. Hint: they print them on the inside of the boots.)You can leave a lot of the search form blank, as I…
  179. 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 type something into the box on the left. (This is going to come in handy when the gardeners come on Wednesday).3. Now learn how to say it out loud! Click the little speaker on the Spanish side of things to hear how it sounds. Amazing stuff.4. Very impressive… but how do we know that the translation is any good? One way is to select the translated text, copy it, and translate THAT into English. I use a second browser window for that (here's how my screen looks when I do it):The window on the left shows what I wrote, translated into Spanish. The window on the right shows what happens if I ask Google to translate the Spanish (from the window on the left) into English. Since the English is pretty close to what I typed originally I can feel pretty good about the Spanish translation. Sometimes it does not check out so well but this time it did. Of course you could handle this in one window, by copying the Spanish translation and pasting it into the box on the left and changing the "From" and "To" languages there. I just like seeing the two windows side-by-side.That's all there is to it, though there are some advanced options for those how really know a foreign language. For example, those people (not I) can click the checkmark in the lower right corner of the translated text and rate Google's translation. This helps Google to make improvements.BONUS: how about translating an entire website? This comes up from time to time when people are traveling, and they find that all of the best websites are written for the locals (that is, in a "foreign" language). In that case just put the URL into the box on the left, and then click the big blue "Translate" button near the top of the screen.The image below shows what you get when you ask Google to translate www.christianboyce.com into Spanish. Notice the menus near the top of the page. These let you translate into a zillion other languages in a snap.Here's another example. Imagine being interested in the French perspective on something… but you only read English. Google Translate to the rescue! Here's what www.lequipe.fr (sort of a French Sports Illustrated/ESPN) looks like in its native French… and next to it, what it looks like translated into English via Google Translate. Maybe not perfect, but definitely readable.Note: this works on the…
  180. 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 up to the top. It always scrolls exactly the right amount. And if you hold the Shift key while pressing the spacebar the page scrolls back up.If you spend a lot of time reading web pages this is going to help you a ton. It's especially handy for when you have a cup of coffee in your dominant hand because it's easy to hit the spacebar with your other hand, seeing how the spacebar is the biggest button on the keyboard. No need to put down the coffee (or the phone, or your pen, or whatever). Use your other hand and press that spacebar. BONUS: this also works in Mail.Of course if your keyboard has Page Down and Page Up buttons you can use those to scroll down and up too, but nothing's easier than tapping the spacebar due to its size and location. One try and you're hooked. So try it. And after you've tried it, tell a friend. You can share this article using the "Share" button at the bottom of this (and every) post. Your friends will thank you and so will I.
  181. The Daily Tip: iPhone Camera Tips
    The iPhone camera isn't perfect but it takes pretty good pictures. Use it right and it'll take even better pictures-- much, much better pictures. Here are the most important things to know.1. You can take a picture by pressing either of the volume buttons. This lets you hold the iPhone more like a "real" camera and take your pictures in a more comfortable way. See below. 2. Your iPhone has auto-focus and auto-exposure and they'll work a lot better if you tell it what to focus on. It will set the exposure for the same point. All you do is tap on the screen where you want the iPhone to focus. Here's an example:3. Sometimes you tap on part of the picture, and it improves that part, but it makes another part worse. Tap on the worsened part, and you improve it, at the expense of the first part. It looks hopeless… except it's not! The iPhone has something called "High Dynamic Range" (also known as HDR) and HDR solves this problem. What it does it take multiple pictures of the same scene, one after the other, and then sort of smush them together into one great result.First you tap "Options"…Then you turn on HDR and press "Done"…Then you take your picture. Here's what you get with HDR off…And here's what you get with HDR on. Big difference. HDR let the iPhone camera expose for the plants in one shot, and for the sky in another shot. Then it combined the two and it sure looks good.4. You can zoom, sort of. It's a digital zoom, not a real zoom (that would require a zoom lens), but it's sort of fun anyway. Just put two fingers on the screen and "reverse pinch" (stretch). You'll get a little slider on the screen once you've initiated things with the reverse pinch, and you can use that to zoom in and out. See below.With zooming you're able to crop the picture in advance of taking it, which is sometimes exactly what you need to do in order to focus the viewer's attention on your intended subject-- in my case, the flower pot.Hey Jay: that's four.
  182. 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 to show the date? Not me. Fortunately there is an easy way to show the date, and the day, and the time, all at once, with no clicking required. (Except for this one time, as we set things up.)First, click on the clock, and slide down to Open Date & Time Preferences… Then click on "Clock" (circled in red below). I'd check the "Set date and time automatically" box while you're in there. May as well show the right time if you're going to show it at all.There are lots of checkboxes in the Clock section of the Date & Time preference pane. You can check them all if you'd like but the ones I really want you to check are boxed in red in the screenshot below.Check those two boxes and your clock will look something like mine:Isn't that better? I think so.Hey Jay: three in a row.
  183. The Daily Tip: Shake to Undo Typing
    Every so often, I make a big mistake on my iPhone, like when I'm writing a long email and somehow accidentally delete everything I've written. That's when I'm glad that I know about "Shake to Undo Typing." When this sort of thing happens to you, just shake your iPhone (or your iPad) and you'll get a message like this one:Tap the Undo Typing button and you're all set. You can shake the iPhone or iPad just about any which way and you'll get this "Undo Typing" message. Side to side, up and down, to and fro, you name it, if you shake it hard enough you'll get the Undo Typing message. Get a good grip and give the thing a shake. It will work for you, same as it works for me.Why not practice it NOW, before you really need it? Type a little something in an email, then shake the phone, and then tap Undo Typing. The text all goes away. If you already have a bunch of text in an email, and then you delete it, you can shake to get it back.This tip works in Mail, Notes, Reminders, Calendar, Safari, and a bunch of other places. It SHOULD work anywhere you can type. Very old apps won't support Shake to Undo Typing because very old apps were invented before the Shake to Undo Typing feature was introduced.Bonus: let's say you shake to Undo, and then you tap the Undo button, but then you change your mind because the result is not what you expected. Shake it again and you'll see "Redo Typing." Neat.Double Bonus: the iPad has an Undo button on the keyboard but it's a little hard to find. With an iPad, rather than shaking (which is a bit awkward), tap the ".?123" at bottom left of the keyboard, bringing up the Numeric keyboard, and the "undo" button. Here it is (after you've tapped the .?123" button):Triple Bonus: on an iPad, if you tap the ".?123" button to get to the Numeric keypad with its "undo" button, you are only one more tap away from showing a "redo" button. Just tap the "#+=" button (right next to the undo button) to show the "redo" button.Note to Jay: that's two in a row.
  184. The Daily Tip: How to take iOS Screen Shots
    My friend Jay suggested I post a daily Mac or iPhone or iPad tip, big or small, doesn't matter to him. Great suggestion. Let's see how many days in a row I can do it.Every so often there's something on your iPad's screen, or on your iPhone's screen, and you want to take a picture of it. Maybe it's your Mail, Contacts, and Calendars settings and you want to take a picture so you can email it to someone like me. Or maybe you get some weird message on the screen and you want to email that to someone like me. Or maybe you are using your iPad or iPhone to view your web-cam and you want to take a picture of that because a bear just walked into the picture. Whatever the reason, the method is always the same:Press the Home button, and the On/Off button at the top right, at the same time. That's it. When you see the screen flash it's time to let go (if you hold those buttons down too long you'll restart the device, which someday may come in handy, but not now). If the volume's turned up you will hear a shutter-sound (which is sort of interesting since a lot of people don't recognize that sound as being something "real"). The picture will land in your Photos app, in the Camera Roll, and you can mail it, or Message it, or Tweet it, or put it on Facebook, or Assign it to a Contact, etc. See below.By the way, how do you think I get these pictures onto the blog, anyway? By taking screen shots, exactly as I've described here.
  185. 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.
  186. 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.
  187. 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.
  188. Can’t Add a Printer? Reset the Mac Printing System
    If you can't add a printer, maybe it's time to reset the printing system. The mechanism is hidden; Apple does not make it easy to find.
  189. 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 the initial backup was reported as 122 days. Funny thing was, everything looked right. The Time Capsule disk was chosen in the Time Machine Preference Pane, there was plenty of room on the Time Capsule, and the connection to the Time Capsule, while wireless, was very strong. Restarting the Mac did not help and neither did restarting the Time Capsule. It was a real head-scratcher.Out of the blue I had the idea of checking the contents of the Time Capsule. In the Backups.backupdb folder I found backups representing other Macs, but none representing the new Mac. That seemed odd: every backed-up machine should have a folder on the backup drive with its name on it, as shown below (for my Mac's backup).And where does Time Machine get the name of the machine? From the Sharing Preference Pane, that's where. Here's what MY Mac's Sharing Preference Pane shows. You'll note that my Mac's backup folder has EXACTLY the same name as shown in the "Computer Name" section below (because Time Machine just reads the Computer Name and creates the backup folder to match).When I looked at the Sharing Preference Pane on the MacBook Pro that wouldn't back up the Computer Name was completely blank. Completely! No one knew why it was blank, but blank it was. And as soon as I entered a Computer Name for the MacBook Pro the Time Machine backup got back to work. The time remaining went from 122 days to 8 hours to 7 hours to 6 hours in the space of twenty minutes. The owner reported a completed backup the next day and it's been backing up fine ever since.The moral of the story is you have to have a Computer Name, in the Sharing Preference Pane, if you want Time Machine to work.
  190. Siri Tip: Add Item to a Reminder List
    Apple's Reminders app for iOS is super handy. It is even handier when you use Siri to add items to the Reminders by voice. All it takes is the keyword "Add." So, Kate (this is for my sister Kate who recently joined the iPhone Club), you press and hold your iPhone's Home button, wait for Siri's microphone to pop up, and then say something like…"Add Gatorade to my Groceries list"and Siri does the rest. Of course you have to actually have a Groceries list (which you make in Reminders by tapping "Create New List…"). It works with other things too, not just Groceries, and not just Gatorade. I want to make that clear. Just remember to start your request with the word "Add."Anyhow, if you go into Reminders, make a few lists, and then let Siri do the rest you are going to be one organized person. Most people write stuff down so they don't forget things. Totally wrong. The point of writing stuff down is to ALLOW you to forget, because knowing that these little things are written down somewhere means you can stop clogging up your mind trying to remember them, and therefore have brain capacity for doing other, bigger, things. Naturally if you're an iCloud member, and you have an iPad, or a Mac with Mountain Lion (10.8), the reminders you make on your iPhone will show up on your iPad and/or Mac. That's pretty cool too.
  191. 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 use.Here's what the site looks like in Safari on the Mac:(It looks just as good on the the iPad and iPhone. Don't you just love those blue bars showing the temperature ranges? Fabulous.)Forecast.io's presentation is so good that there's almost no need for me to explain it. However, there are a few fine points, so let me save you some time by pointing them out.1. If you click on (or tap on) the "Right Now" area you'll see the kind of details that other weather websites provide (wind speed and direction, humidity, visibility, pressure). 2. If you click on (or tap on) a day, or anywhere in the day's line, you'll get predictions by the hour. See below. Very, very useful-- if you know it's going to stop raining at 2 PM you can postpone running your errands until then, knowing you won't have to go out in the rain.3. Tap the globe to see animated radar. It's just like the stuff on TV, only a million times nicer to look at. 4. You can view local precipitation history and predictions (or regional history and predictions) by tapping the appropriate button at the top of the Precip Map.5. The Time Machine option lets you see what the weather was like on any day in the past, or what it will be like on any day in the future. Looks as if I'll need a jacket for the UCLA-Cal game at the Rose Bowl October 12th, 2013.Pretty nice stuff. And free. One tiny little ad pays the bills so it's free for you.One last thing: those groovy icons-- so simple and so expressive-- are animated. They move. That's a nice touch. The Forecast.io guys didn't have to do that but they did, and little things like that make a difference. I think you're going to like Forecast.io. Give it a try.
  192. 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.Basically, if you want to view Flash content with Safari you'll have to upgrade your Flash plug-in. My advice to you is a little different than Apple's. Apple would have you click a button to download Flash.I would rather you got in the habit of navigating to Adobe's site on your own as a lot of rotten things masquerade as Flash updaters and I don't want you to start clicking everything that says "Click here to update Flash!" You can read my write-up on that by clicking "What to do about the Flashback trojan."So… get Safari going, and go to www.adobe.com (no link provided here-- type it in yourself to ensure you know where it's going). Then, roll over the "Downloads" button at the top, and slide down and click on Adobe Flash Player. THEN you download it, and then (very important) you have to actually install it. Adobe has instructions for that on its site and the instructions pop right up as soon as you start the Flash download. The only thing they don't tell you is how to find the download. I'll handle that. Look for the Downloads button in Safari's toolbar (by default, it's at the far right) and click it once. You'll see a list of things you've downloaded lately, with the Adobe Flash Plug-in at the top. Double-click on its icon and you're on your way. Follow Adobe's instructions after that.Here's what the Downloads button looks like:You may be wondering "Why don't I see this 'blocked plug-in' thing in Firefox?" The answer is "Apple doesn't control Firefox the way they control Safari (because Firefox is not Apple's program to mess with)." So Safari users have Apple looking out for them, while Firefox users don't. But just because you don't get any warnings about Flash in Firefox doesn't mean Firefox users are safe. It just means that they're not getting warned by Apple. But, having been warned by ME, go get the Flash plug-in update, same as the rest of us.You may also be wondering "Isn't it a little weird that Apple can turn something off on my machine? Are they watching what I do?" Yes, it's a little weird. But no, they're not watching what you do. They're just noticing that you're trying to load Flash content using Safari with an out-of-date Flash plug-in. Still, it is a little weird. I don't remember signing up for that and I don't think you…
  193. Best of Macworld/iWorld 2013
    I'm back from Macworld/iWorld 2013, my 25th Macworld show in a row. Unless it's my 26th in a row. Anyway, regardless, here's a brief rundown of the best stuff at the show.Rage Software previewed "EasyWeb," their website creation program for the Mac. It has a lot in common with Apple's Pages and they are positioning it as the successor to Apple's iWeb. It comes with templates to help you get started and it's very easy to whip up a really nice looking website. The best part: they handle the web hosting too. For $99 you get the software and a year of web hosting (and email hosting too). This means that after you make your website you can click a button to put it onto the internet. No need to obtain web hosting from a third party. This makes publishing a website as easy as printing. Read more about EasyWeb here.Lantronix showed their xPrintServer, a small white box that makes your printer(s) available to your iPhone and iPad. All you do is connect xPrintServer to your network-- it does the rest. Very simple, very easy. It's practically magic.Speaking of magic: Greg Rostami showed four magic iPhone apps. All were completely mystifying. I shuffled a deck of cards and chose a card and held it so that Rostami couldn't see it. He gave me a phone number for a psychic and when I called her I got her answering machine… and in her message she said "I've been expecting your call. I see the four of diamonds" and of course that was my card. Here's the link for that app (called iPredict+). Only $2.99.Not quite magic, but still amazing: iPhone and iPad stands that used a miraculous new material called "micro foam." It looks and feels like a thin sheet of rubber, but what it really is is zillions of tiny suction cups. Put your iPhone against it and it sticks, eliminating the need for brackets and clamps. I saw it with my own eyes. Unfortunately, though there were two companies showing prototypes of their micro foam iPhone and iPad stands, neither were ready to sell anything. Keep your eyes open for this stuff when it becomes available. Visit https://www.facebook.com/gekostand and http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/297012779/slope-an-elegant-stand-for-ipad-nexus-7and10-kindl for more info.iPhone cases don't usually make my "Best Of" list but Seido's "OBEX" iPhone case is an exception because it is completely waterproof while still giving access to the screen. They had an iPhone in an OBEX case, inside an aquarium (with fish) and the iPhone was on and playing a movie under the water. If you're someone who accidentally drops his iPhone into the sink or the swimming pool or pots of soup this is the case for you. I also saw BodyDock's iLumina case, which comes with interchangeable backs and bands so you can mix and match depending on your mood. They'll send you a new band and a new back every month for six months at no additional charge. Sounds like fun for the right…
  194. 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 this link which on an iPhone or iPad should start streaming whatever's currently on the air. On a Mac it should launch iTunes and start streaming things over the internet (if it doesn't happen automatically, look in your Downloads folder for something called "listen.pls." Double-click that. Bingo.) They do record the show and in a day or two you should be able to find the interview in the Digital Village archives. UPDATE: time changed from 10:30 to 10:15. UPDATE 2: Archived interview available here.
  195. 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 Change feature. Here's an example. A few weeks ago I had the bright idea of weighing myself more or less daily and using my iPhone to take a photo of the readout on the scale. Thanks to Photo Stream the pictures magically appear on my iMac, where I put them into an album. Here's how it looked a few days ago. Yes those are my toes. Nice collection of photos but the names are not helpful at all. I wondered whether I could rename them to reflect the date that the pictures were taken (and of course the photos know when they were taken because the iPhone stamps that information into every photo it takes). Turns out it was easy. First, I selected all of the photos in the album. Then I went to the Photos menu and chose "Batch Change…", like so: That led to a box, which I configured as shown below. Then I clicked OK and that was it. Here's the result. So much better! Very powerful stuff and it only takes a minute. You should try it.
  196. How to Use Dropbox’s Previous Versions feature
    Or, How Dropbox Saved the Day when My Customer Somehow Lost a Very Important DocumentYou 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 drives. I like Dropbox a lot. Steve Jobs liked Dropbox so much that he tried to buy the company! If you're not using it, go find out about it. Here's a link to my write-up on Dropbox from a couple of years ago.Turns out there's another reason to like Dropbox: besides making sure that all of your devices have the latest versions of your documents, it also saves a copy of previous versions. This is fantastic, and last night it saved the day when one of my customers somehow corrupted a document that she'd been adding to for years. She didn't know about this special Dropbox feature and she thought she was doomed, but luckily she asked me for help, and double-luckily she mentioned that the file had been on Dropbox. That made recovering her document super-easy. This is going to bail you out one day too so pay attention over there.Here's how you do it. Go to www.dropbox.com and sign into your account. You'll see your files and folders, something like this:Locate the file you're interested in and click NOT on the name of the document, and NOT on the icon, but rather anywhere else in the that line. In this example, we'll bring back a previous version of the document called "Macworld 2013 Talk.pages" and I'm going to click in the white space between "Macworld 2013 Talk.pages" and "document pages". It will look like this: Notice the toolbar that appears, and especially notice the "More" button. When you click on that you'll see a little menu, like this:Select "Previous Versions" and you're on your way! Here's how it looks:From this screen it's a simple matter of choosing which version you want to roll back to and then clicking the Restore button. The restored file will replace the current version in Dropbox, so be sure you want to do this. (Or, make a copy of the current version somewhere else, like on a USB drive.) That's all there is to it. A couple of other points:1. You can control-click on the file's name at www.dropbox.com and get a contextual menu, from which you can choose "Previous Versions." Save yourself a step next time.2. You can even recover deleted files! Look for a little trash can at the top of the Dropbox window. Here's what it looks like. The rest you can figure out on your own-- totally obvious.3. You might be wondering, "why not just…
  197. Coming Soon: Macworld/iWorld 2013
    It's the most wonderful time of the year… That's right, it's time for Macworld/iWorld! The show runs January 31st through February 2nd, 2013 at San Francisco's Moscone Center. I'll be there all three days. Look me up.There are two parts to the show: the Expo, which is a giant space filled with software programmers and hardware vendors and book publishers and iPhone case manufacturers and speaker designers (you get the idea-- if it has, or could have, anything to do with Macs or iPhones or iPads, it's in the Expo), and the Tech Talks, which are classes where you can go and learn stuff. (Of course, you can learn stuff in the Expo too-- walk right up to the exhibitors and start asking questions.) Admission to the Expo floor is $25 (good for all three days). The "iFan Pass" costs $100, gaining you entrance to over 60 Tech Talks in addition to getting you into the Expo. Prices are higher at the door so you should definitely register in advance.Even better, use this link provided by our friends Other World Computing and get FREE admission to the Expo. Can't beat that. Check out their Macworld/iWorld web page, and see them on the show floor in booth 401. They only have so many of these passes so you should click that link right now. If you strike out, try searching www.retailmenot.com for a discount code.UPDATE: David Sparks' MacSparky blog has an even better link because it not only offers free admission to the Expo but half off for the iFan Pass. I will be speaking at the very exciting and informative "RapidFire" session on Thursday night. This session, scheduled for 6 PM on the Macworld/iWorld Main Stage, features several Mac and iPhone/iPad experts, each offering five-minute lessons on a variety of Mac and iPhone/iPad subjects. My lesson is called "More, Better, Faster, Funner" and it's 27 years of Mac tips presented in 300 seconds. I think you'll like it.
  198. How to Print Mailing Labels from an iPhone or iPad (2012 Edition)
    NOTICEThings have changed since this article was written in December 2012. The Avery Templates Everywhere app is no longer available. The Avery Design & Print app is still available, but it's terrible (bad interface, crashes, buttons don't work-- you name it). Use myCardLists* instead. It prints labels perfectly. Here's a link to my how-to article about myCardLists, updated in 2015. (Rather than delete the old post I am leaving it here for people who already have the Avery Templates Everywhere app installed. Note that I do NOT recommend the Avery Design & Print app as it is essentially unusable.) Christian BoyceDecember 11th, 2014 ************* How to Print Mailing Labels from an iPhone or iPad It's Christmas-card time… and that means it's also "Help! I need to print mailing labels!" time. In the olden days it was easy: you used the Address Book program on your Mac (I wrote about printing mailing labels back in 2010). But what if all you have is an iPhone or an iPad? How do you print mailing labels then? Actually, it's easier than you might think. NOTE: If you do have a Mac, use its Contacts (or Address Book) app to print your labels from there. If you have an iCloud account your iPhone's contacts are probably in sync with your Mac's contacts so there's a decent chance that your Mac has everyone's name and address in it already. See my "How to Print Mailing Labels" article for instructions. If you don't have a Mac, continue on here.First thing you do is you get the Avery Templates Everywhere app from the App Store. UPDATE October 9th, 2014: the Avery Templates Everywhere iPhone app is not available on the App Store any longer. I don't know when it disappeared but it's not there now. This complicates things. iPad users can download the free Avery Design & Print app but iPhone users are out of luck. UPDATE November 23rd, 2013: If you're using an iPad, you might want to try the Avery Design & Print app instead. It's a little clumsy but it handles multi-line street addresses, which Templates Everywhere did not. So that's progress.Hey! Want more tips like this, delivered to your email inbox? Sign up for my mailing list and never miss a post. (The following was for the Avery Templates Everywhere app-- I am leaving it here for posterity. The Design & Print app has different screens. If you're really stuck email me and I will try to help you.) When you launch the app you'll see this. Choose "Create Project."Next you'll see the GIANT list of Avery label templates. Choose the one corresponding to the labels you're going to use. If you just want to play around in advance of getting your labels try the 5160s. Three across, ten down. Standard as can be. Next, you'll see this screen showing you how your labels are going to lay out. You can drag things around here but they start out with something that works…
  199. 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 CDs, no business card CDs, no mini CDs. Put one of those in there and it's not coming out. So don't do that. This is not a good time to "test."Assuming that all you did was put in a regulation-sized round CD (or a DVD), and now it's stuck inside and won't come out, let's run through some techniques that will help you get it out.1. Press the Eject key on the keyboard and hold it down. The key looks something like this:Sometimes people don't hold it down long enough for the "eject" message to get through. Apple decided a few operating systems back that pressing and HOLDING would be the better way to use the eject key because some people were inadvertently touching the eject button and accidentally ejecting things. Why WE should suffer because someone else can't type properly is not something I can answer. I don't like it either. But, at least you know how to make the keyboard's Eject key work-- hold it down.Bonus Tip: on some keyboards F12 is the same as the Eject key. FYI.2. If that didn't work, restart the Mac, and when you hear it go "Bong" click on the mouse and hold the mouse button down until the disc ejects. (Trackpad users: click and hold on the trackpad.) If the Mac starts up completely and still the disc doesn't eject we will have to move on to Step 3.3. If you see the disc's icon on the Desktop you can drag it to the Trash in the Dock. I know it's weird and I know it makes you feel as if you're going to erase the disc by doing it. Everyone feels that way (except for the people at Apple who came up with the idea.) Turns out that the Trash can icon will change to look like an Eject icon (like the Eject key on the keyboard) as soon as you start dragging the disc, so you're "ejecting" and not "throwing away" the disc but there's no way of knowing that until you do it. But… by default, CDs and DVDs don't show up on the Desktop, so you may not have anything to drag anyway. You might have to change a Finder Preference to make the discs appear. So, on to Step 4:4. In the Finder, choose Finder/Preferences… and in the General section check the box for CDs, DVDs and iPods. While you're in there, in…
  200. 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 ShortcutsPC guys are friendly with the Control key, but here on the Mac side we use the Command key. A lot of keyboards don't show the word "Command" on them, so you may have to look for the Command key symbol:(click to read Andy Hertzfeld's story of the Command key, from folklore.org)Turns out that every Mac keyboard shortcut involves the Command key. Knowing where the Command key is (actually, where the Command keys are) means you're halfway home for an awful lot of shortcut keys. See how easy this is?Refer to the handy picture of a keyboard (below) for the shortcuts that follow. Note that these shortcuts work just about all of the time, whether in Mail, Safari, Pages, or any other program. That means one can learn things once and use them all over the place. Dad likes to be efficient!Command-Q: QuitCommand-W: Close WindowCommand-P: PrintCommand-A: Select AllCommand-S: SaveCommand-F: FindCommand-Z: UndoCommand-X: CutCommand-C: CopyCommand-V: Paste (sorry, P was already taken for Print. Besides, V is next in line, next to the C on the keyboard, and it is important to have these frequently-accessed shortcuts laid out together, in a group)Command-N: New (new Mail message, new Safari window, new Finder window, new Pages document, etc.)Wondering how you're supposed to remember all of this? Here's how: just look at the menus as you choose them with the mouse or trackpad. Notice the shortcuts written to the right of the menu commands. For example, in Mail's File menu we see shortcuts for New (Message), Close (Window), Save, and Print. Those hints are there all the time, reminding you that there are shortcuts for triggering these menu items. See below.Bonus Nice Touch: notice, when you use a keyboard shortcut, that the menu containing the menu item you're triggering flashes, as if to say "Got it, Chief." It's a subtle but helpful reinforcement that the Mac's received your command, no pun intended.OK Dad, that's it for tonight. Try these shortcuts now and in a week they'll be second nature. UPDATE: try this page from Apple-- "OS X keyboard shortcuts."
  201. Make web pages easier to read using Safari’s Reader feature
    Safari's Reader View makes web pages easier to read, for Macs, iPhones, & iPads. Strip out ads, increase font size, change background color.
  202. 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 reading a website on your iPhone and have it automatically waiting for your on your Mac so you can finish reading it there.Before we go any further I have to tell you that this only works with Macs on Mountain Lion (10.8) or higher, and iPhones/iPads/iPods on iOS 6.0 or higher. OS X 10.7 won't do and neither will iOS 5. And, you have to have an iCloud account, but that's free so it's not much of a hurdle.Let's see how it works.Here's a screenshot of a fresh-from-the-box Mac Safari window. Notice the toolbar buttons (circled in red). All we have is the back button, the forward button, and the Share button.(If, in addition to the back, forward, and Share buttons you also see an iCloud button it means your Mac is already set up to sync Safari via iCloud. If not, go to System Preferences, click the iCloud button, and check the box next to Safari. This will lead to a box asking you whether you want to merge bookmarks across your devices. You probably do, so click Merge and move along.)When your iCloud settings include a checked box next to Safari your Safari toolbar will look like this:The middle button is the iCloud Tabs button, and it shows up automatically.Click the iCloud Tabs button and you'll see something like this: a bold grey heading for each of your iCloud Tabs-enabled devices (except for the one that you're currently using) and under each heading the Safari web pages that are open on that device.You can select an item from the list and load up that web page on whichever device you're using. For example, in the picture above we see that I was looking at a web page called Simran Design | portfolio on my iPhone 5. If I want to see that page on my iMac (the machine I'm currently using) I can select it in the iCloud Tabs list and load it right up. See below.(In this real-life case, I was browsing the Simran Design site on my iPhone and became distracted-- then, hours later, I was on my iMac, clicked the iCloud Tabs button in Safari, and I could easily go right back to where I'd been earlier. All without having to "do" anything other than ONE TIME going to the iCloud preference pane to be sure the Safari box was checked.) Here's how it looked on the iPhone.Actually, there's one more…
  203. 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 at least a couple of seconds many, many times a day. But launching programs with one touch is just part of what it does. Keyboard Maestro can execute macros (sequences of events) at the touch of a key as well. For example, suppose you want your Mac to read a web page to you out loud. You may know the steps: turn on the "Reader" feature in Safari, select the text, then go to Edit/Speech/Start Speaking, but who wants to do all that? It's easy to let Keyboard Maestro do it for you, at the press of a key. For another example, suppose you want to automatically quit the Microsoft Office Reminders program that pops up every time you restart your Mac. Keyboard Maestro can keep an eye out for Office Reminders, automatically sending it a "Quit" command as soon as it launches. The examples above are actually things I use Keyboard Maestro for here. Yes, it takes a little work to set things up, but it's worth it. Teach Keyboard Maestro to do some of the menial tasks that slow you down each day and you'll free up your mind for bigger things. Keyboard Maestro: $36. Free trial available. Click here for three videos demonstrating Keyboard Maestro's features. Typinator Typinator is a text expander: it watches what you type, and when you type certain sequences, it changes them into something else. For example, if I type "cbem" (4 characters) Typinator changes it to "macman@christianboyce.com" (25 characters) in the blink of an eye. I can get "Christian Boyce and Associates" (30 characters, complete with proper capitalization) by typing "cba" (3 characters). I can even assign the same expansion to two shortcuts-- for example, I've set it up so that "cb&a" also expands to "Christian Boyce and Associates" because I know I won't be able to remember whether I used the ampersand in the shortcut or not. If that's all it did, I'd think it was great. But it does a lot more. I use it as a system-wide auto-correction feature, watching what I type and ensuring that things like iCal, iPhone, AT&T, AppleScript, MacBook Pro, and iMac are properly capitalized. I can be lazy about it (for example, I only have to type "mbp" to get "MacBook Pro" and "att" to get "AT&T"), and that saves keystrokes and reduces the chances of errors. It also makes my writing more consistent, because with Typinator watching me…
  204. 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 Search Field, hold Shift, and then Return. Voila! Your search results are presented in a new window. This saves one keystroke: you used to have to hit Command-N for "New Window" and then type the search criteria, and then hit Return. Those saved keystrokes add up.2. If you hold the Command key down when you click a link, the link opens in a new tab, in the background, rather than loading in the current tab. Of course this is customizable: see Safari's Preferences. Try unchecking "Command-click opens a link in a new tab"-- all of the options below also change. 3. If you want to scroll down a screenful, tap the spacebar. Want to go back up? Hold Shift and tap the spacebar.4. If you want to scroll down a little, swipe down (or up, depending on how you've set things) with two fingers at the same time.5. You can email an entire web page to someone, using File/Share/Email this Page. But sometimes you'd rather send just a link. In that case, hold the Shift key, and it changes to File/Share/Email Link to this Page.(Bonus: if you're using Apple's Mail program-- please do-- you'll get a chance, in the Mail message itself, to change your mind about whether you want to send the whole page or just the link. Look carefully. Double-bonus: if you choose an option in your email, that option will be remembered until you change it, so future sharing of web pages will be just the way you like it.)6. Ever quit Safari accidentally, closing all of your windows, and wish you could get them back? That's easy. Just go to the History menu and choose Reopen All Windows from Last Session. Really handy. That's six, but that's not all there is and that's not all I like. Some of the other features that I really like in Safari are the Reading List and Reader. You should check them out. Or wait for me to write about them (next).
  205. 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 6OS X 10.8.2 Mountain LionOS X 10.7.5 LionThe 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 6iOS 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 6, because it will run just fine on a variety of new-ish Apple i-devices. Here's what Apple says:Apple claims 200 new features in iOS 6, but I stopped counting. Here are a few features that I noticed right away:They added a clock app to the iPad. It's a lot like the one on the iPhone: world clock, alarms, stopwatch, timer. I'll use that for sure.They upgraded "Cards" to a universal app, meaning it now runs natively on the iPad as well as on the iPhone.Siri's gotten smarter. In particular, she knows a lot about sports. I asked her "Who's playing on Monday Night Football?" and here's what she told me:I asked Siri "Who did UCLA play last week?" and she gave me this answer:(Siri was right both times.)Siri now knows how to launch apps. It's really great. You can say "Launch the calendar" and Siri does it for you. With previous iOS versions, when the phone rang all you could do was answer it, decline it, or let it ring until it went to voice mail. In iOS 6, when the phone rings you get a new option, right next to the answer and decline buttons, and it lets you tap a button to send a quick text message to the sender, with "Can't talk right now" and then your custom one-touch message ("In a meeting," "I'll call you shortly," "I have to go in for an emergency appendectomy but I'll call you right after that"). It's a great way to tell people "I know you called and I'll be calling you back as soon as I'm able." The Mail app checks for messages automatically, as before, but now will also check when you pull down on the list of messages. Used to be you had to tap the curvy arrow at the bottom. Pulling down on the list is easier (bigger target). Also, you can now be in Mail and add a photo as an attachment. Previously, you had to go to Photos first, then share the photo via email. This new way is more natural (as if sending images and text around the world by tapping on glass is "natural" in any way). Also, you can now do fancy HTML signatures as well as plain text ones, and you can have a different signature for each account (or the same one for all). It's a lot like the Mail program on the Mac.Bye-bye, Google Maps. Hello, Apple Maps. The new…
  206. 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 the giant pile of stuff where your desk used to be and the Magic Trackpad is ready to go.Second, the entire surface of the Magic Trackpad is clickable. That's a big target, which means you don't have to put your clicking finger into any particular position in order to click. Your finger(s) get to move around. This reduces repetitive motion, which is what tires out your clicking fingers. Also, you can program the Magic Trackpad to click with just a tap instead of a full-on "click," reducing effort. The Magic Trackpad is wireless, comes with batteries, and is $69 (list price). You can save a little by getting it at Amazon.* You get to customize the Magic Trackpad's settings to a certain degree using Apple's Trackpad Preference Pane in the System Preferences. It defaults to having everything turned on, but you'll probably want to turn a few things off, at least at first, lest you inadvertently trigger some action by making an accidental gesture you didn't know existed. If you have a Magic Trackpad (or, come to think of it, if you have ANY kind of trackpad, including the built-in ones on the MacBooks and MacBook Pros), a careful review of the options available in the Trackpad Preference Pane is well worth the time. You might, for example, want to turn off the "two-finger double-tap smart zoom." That one drives unsuspecting users absolutely bonkers.I told you what to turn off. Now let's talk about turning something on: namely, the “pay what you want” BetterTouchTool (donations accepted). With BetterTouchTool your Magic Trackpad will be ultra-configurable, super-programmable, and highly-personalizable. Here's how I've used it to configure my Magic Trackpad:That is, if I tap in the top left corner of my Magic Trackpad, the Contacts app comes to the front. Top center: Safari. Top right: Mail. At the bottom, I have a button to toggle the effects of Desktop Curtain* (it hides all other apps, and also hides desktop icons, making it easier to focus). I also have buttons to toggle Mission Control and to show the Desktop. Sure, you can do some or all of this from the keyboard, but for me the trackpad is handier. The keyboard requires a firmer touch, and when you're switching between apps all day it's nice to do it without having to press very hard.I also added a three-finger-tap-in-the-middle-of-the-trackpad gesture to automatically center the frontmost window. Very handy. I use it…
  207. 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 person's name in the contacts list and drag it to Now Contact and the person is added to Now Contact with no additional steps. Previously, the vCard had to make a temporary stop on the Desktop-- you could not drag straight to Now Contact. But now you can. I don't know whether it's because Contacts is better than Address Book, or whether Mountain Lion is better than Lion. All I know is it works.iCal has been renamed "Calendar" and it's a little bit better now. Calendar shows "mini months" and they're clickable-- click on a mini month and Calendar displays that month. Also, Calendar once again shows the calendar list, like it did in 10.6. Apple taketh away, then Apple giveth back, then I writeth it up as if it's a new feature.Nice Touch, Apple: if you use Spotlight to search for "iCal" it brings up Calendar, and if you search for "Address Book" it brings up Contacts. This makes it easier for those with old habits. Also, if you have AppleScripts that refer to Address Book and/or iCal, they are magically changed to refer to Contacts and Calendar-- without you doing anything. VERY nice, Apple. Thoughtful and thorough.Mail has a new feature called "VIPs." You can tell Mail that messages from this person, that person, and the other person are important-- that is, their senders are "VIPs." From then on, messages from those senders show up in a special "VIPs" mailbox. (Actually, each VIP gets his own mailbox, and they're all grouped together in an expandable folder). The emails still show up in your Inbox but they also show up in the VIPs section. This is nothing but a "Smart Mailbox" that looks for mail from certain senders, so it's nothing really "new" but it is a lot easier to set up.In the picture below you can see 3389 unread messages in the Inbox but only 171 unreads in the VIP list. I still need to read the rest of them but with the VIPs at least I know where to start. Note: messages are not "moved" to the VIP list. They are DISPLAYED there but not actually moved. You can still find them in the Inbox, so you get to have your cake and eat it too. Yum, cake.(Elevate someone to VIP status by mousing over the address section in an email, then clicking on the star.)I'm into the address book (I mean Contacts),…
  208. OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion Advice and Info
    Apple released Mountain Lion today, also known as OS X 10.8. This comes less than a month after the MobileMe-to-iCloud transition deadline, which means less than a month after a whole lot of people converted to OS X 10.7 (Lion). My advice, based on over 21 years of full-time Mac consulting, is wait. Mountain Lion looks like a real improvement to Lion, with new apps and new refinements, but who knows for sure that the things you need to do can still be done with 10.8? Will Quicken work? How about Microsoft Office, and Adobe's Creative Suite? How about your printer and your scanner? How about your Apple Fax Modem? (Actually, scratch that last one: the Apple Fax Modem quit working in 10.7.)Apple no doubt is hard at work on a 10.8.1 update, and probably has been for weeks. This may come as a shock but Apple's software-- like everyone else's-- is released with known bugs and imperfections, for the simple reason that if you wait until your software's perfect you'll never ship anything. You have to draw a line and say "This is good enough, let's ship it, and let's get going on an update." "Point One" updates, then, generally address bugs that Apple identifies prior to shipping "Point Zero." While they're working on the Point One update, early adopters-- those using the initial release-- are finding new bugs and incompatibilities, stuff that isn't on Apple's list yet. Those issues generally have to wait for the "Point Two" update. And that's what you should do, if you can stand it.I shouldn't tempt you, but here are a couple of links to educate you about Mountain Lion.Click here to see Apple's short video touting Mountain Lion's new features. Click here to read John Siracusa's extensive Ars Technica review of Mountain Lion. (The video takes 5 minutes and 30 seconds to play. Siracusa's review, which as usual is the best of the best, took me over two hours to read.) Click here to visit Roaring Apps, home of the best Mountain Lion compatibility table on the web.Mountain Lion is available for $19.95 and only through the Mac App Store (under the Apple menu, or via this link). When you click the button to buy it you may be turned, away due to the age of your Mac. You won't be charged in that case, so go ahead and experiment.
  209. 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 every week with statistics about my website. Those reports are important to my business so I don't want to miss reading them. My idea: I'll colorize the emails from StatCounter.com, turning them purple so they stand out.I'll start by opening Mail's Preferences (Mail/Preferences…). In Preferences, I click Rules. Apple gives us the "News From Apple" Rule by default-- it looks for emails from Apple and sets their backgrounds to a light blue. (You may have seen this in action on your own Mac and wondered how it was done. Now you know.) Now I click Add Rule. There's a place to name my rule, so I do. In the menu that shows "Any recipient" I change that to "From" and I put in the email address that I'll ask Mail to watch for. BONUS HINT: if you click on an email of the sort you're trying to watch for, before making the new Rule, Mail will fill in the blanks for "From" and "Subject" etc. for you. Very nice. Reading from top to bottom in the picture below, I've set it up so that messages where the "From" contains "reports@statcounter.com" will have their text changed to purple (I chose my own shade of purple by choosing "Other" in the pop-up menu). The text we're talking about here is the stuff that shows up in the list of emails, not in the body of the email itself. We're not changing the email, we're just changing how it looks in the list.I'm happy with the Rule so I click OK. This is where things can go terribly wrong, so be careful now.You would think that the correct answer would be Apply. The problem with this is, clicking Apply applies ALL of the Rules (not just the one we just created) and it applies them to every piece of mail in whichever mailbox we're looking at. Likely that's the Inbox. In this case, there would be no problems, but suppose I already had a Rule to automatically forward every piece of email from a particular customer to someone on my staff. If those emails were still in my Inbox, and if I clicked Apply, that Rule would be applied to those same messages AGAIN, so they'd be forwarded AGAIN, and my staff would get them AGAIN, and there'd be a lot of confusion about why a bunch of old messages were suddenly forwarded as if they were something new.…
  210. 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 without restriction.Here's a video that shows you how it works. Click here and get the plugin. Give it a try and let me know what you think.
  211. How to Make Your Mac Read Out Loud to You
    How to Make Your Mac Read Out Loud to YouAs 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 exactly the same as Mail: Edit/Speech/Start Speaking. If you use Safari's "Reader" feature, you'll have an easier time selecting the text you want. Reader hides "web junk" and leaves you with nothing but the article. Here's an example.First, here's a web page. There's a story in there but there's a lot of other junk there too. It's a little distracting. And, it prevents you from selecting just the story when you do a Select All because all of the other stuff gets selected too. This is what Reader's for. It turns a web page like the one above into a web page like the one below.Nice and neat! No distractions! Plus, if you do Command-A here, you'll get just the story. Swtich to "Reader" mode by clicking the gray Reader button in the address bar. Here's what it looks like:Click it again to make Reader go away. (Reader is worth knowing about even if you're not going to have the page read to you out loud. Use it any time you want to hide a web page's clutter and focus on the story. The button disappears if Safari doesn't think it can figure out what the story is.)Not all programs can read out loud the way Mail and Safari can, and of the ones the can, not all do it via Edit/Speech/Start Speaking. Some programs require you to select the text, then control-click on it to reveal a "Speech/Start Speaking" pop-up menu item. You may need to experiment with this a bit but it's worth it. Pages is one such program. Very handy, by the way, to have your writing read back to you.Finally, let's have a look at the voice itself, and how you can control it. The voices on the Mac are far better, and far more configurable, than the ones on the iPhone and iPad. The way you do it is you go to the Apple menu, then to System Preferences, then to Speech. In the Speech section, switch to the Text to Speech section and you'll be given the option to chance voices. Try the various voices, and try adjusting the rate to hear how things sound. You can click the Play button to hear a sample sentence. I like Alex at the normal rate, FYI.There are a few shortcomings (you can't choose the voice, you can't do Select All in iBooks or Safari, and you can't trigger it from Siri), but even…
  212. How to Make Your iPhone and iPad Read Out Loud to You
    Here's how you make your iPhone and/or iPad read out loud to you. Read emails, web pages, even whole books. Super handy.
  213. Type Faster on iPhones and iPads with Text Shortcuts
    If you're an iPhone or iPad user, and you type the same things over and over, this tip is for you. This technique saves me a lot of time, all the time, as it works every place that text can be entered on an iOS device. That includes Mail, Messages, Notepad, Safari, and many, many more.Before I show you how, let me give you an example. I often need to enter my email address into a web-based form (in Safari). On a Mac it's no big deal to type it and there are several ways to automatically fill in that info anyway. On my iPhone it's a bit of a pain. At least it used to be. Now, instead of typing "macman@christianboyce.com," I type "em" (short for "email") and presto, it expands into "macman@christianboyce.com." Two characters instead of twenty-five. That's my kind of efficiency. I have another one that expands "ty" into "thank you" and another one that expands "cb" into "Christian Boyce." Here's how I did it.1. Go to Settings, then tap General. (I'm using an iPhone in these screen-shots but it's almost exactly the same on an iPad.)2. In General, scroll down and tap Keyboard.3. In Keyboard, scroll down and look at the existing shortcuts. You'll probably see one: "omw" for "On my way!" Mine looks a little better, with a couple of additional shortcuts. Tap the Add New Shortcut... button. 4. Figure out what you want to make a shortcut for, and enter it in the "Phrase" section. Create a short shortcut for it. The shortcut will be triggered automatically after you type your shortcut and then a space, or punctuation. So, you don't want to use a shortcut that is a real word, because you'll trigger the shortcut when you don't want to.5. Tap Save and you're done. From now on, anywhere you can enter text, you can use your shortcut. Here's what it looks like when you do. If you think it looks a lot like the auto-correct that's built into iOS you're right. That's exactly what it looks like, and it works in an identical manner. Here I've typed "em" and the iPhone has suggested "macman@christianboyce.com" and that's exactly what I want. A few parting thoughts:Shortcuts pay attention to capitalization. If you invoke a shortcut at the beginning of a sentence it will be capitalized. If you capitalize the phrase it will be expanded that way. I took advantage of this and made "iphone" a shortcut for "iPhone." (Yes, the "phrase" can be a single word.)You can use the emoji keyboard to create phrases that are triggered by plain text shortcuts.Don't get the shortcut and the phrase mixed up! I've done it and wondered why the shortcut didn't work.
  214. Four Tips for New iPad Owners
    Are you new to the iPad? Here are some tips that will help you get more from this amazing device.Get an Apple iPad dock. It will hold your iPad at the perfect angle for use as a digital picture frame (more on this later), or for viewing any kind of information that you'd like to see at a glance (such as your calendar, or a weather map, or a webcam, or whatever). There's a place in the back of the dock for connecting the charging cable that came with the iPad so while the iPad's in the dock it's also charging. In my experience, standing the iPad up in the dock makes a world of difference. It's neater and more useful to have it standing up and visible than to have it lying down flat and buried under papers etc., and you're more likely to use it if you can see it. It takes less room on the desk when it's docked as opposed to lying down flat, and always being charged is a big plus. The only downside is that the Apple iPad dock is not designed with a lot of wiggle room, so while you can use it with an iPad 2 or "the new iPad" you cannot use it if your iPad has any kind of case on it at all. Personally, I'd rather use the iPad without a case anyway. You can get Apple's iPad dock at the Apple Store for $29. Or, get it from Amazon.* Be sure to get a genuine Apple dock and not a knock-off. The knock-offs aren't nearly as good.Get some pictures onto your iPad and use it as a digital picture frame.The iPad's screen is gorgeous, way better than most "real" digital picture frames. You already have the thing, so why not use it to show off your pictures? There are several ways to get pictures onto your iPad, including: use the camera, sync them from iPhoto on your Mac, save emailed photos (tap and hold on a photo in an email, then tap "Save Image"), open images in Dropbox (then tap the "Share" button and choose "Save Photo"). Use the Settings app to configure the Picture Frame, then put the iPad to sleep (or just wait for it to go dark). When you wake it up, don't swipe to unlock. Instead, tap the flower icon (see below). That starts the slide show. Stop by tapping anywhere on the screen. Of course this is a lot better if you have the Apple iPad Dock to stand the thing up in.Learn a couple of semi-advanced techniques.Here's one: with the iPad awake, double-tap the Home button. The screen slides up, showing you the apps you've used most recently across the bottom. Swipe those apps from left to right, revealing the brightness slider. Adjust the brightness as desired then tap anywhere on the screen to make it slide back down. This saves you a trip to the Settings. (Bonus hint: keep the screen…
  215. 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 AppleScript will let you know whether your machine shows signs of being infected by Flashback. Download it, expand it (if it doesn't expand automatically), and then double-click to run it. You can read the code here, then copy and paste it into Apple's Script Editor if you'd prefer to run it that way. Thanks to macstuff.beachdogs.org for the script.(Flashback creates various files, some of them invisible, and the AppleScript automates the process of looking for them.)If the script tells you that your Mac is Flashback-free, that's that-- except not quite. Now you have to stay clean. The easiest thing to do is to run Software Update (under the Apple menu) until it tells you you're up to date. That may take a few iterations. The reason this works is that the Flashback program takes advantages of security holes in early versions of Java. Apple has patched those holes and provides the patches via Software Update.If the script tells you that it found malware you have to take action. Unfortunately it isn't easy. Here are directions but they're not for the meek. Get help if you aren't comfy with Terminal. You could easily make things worse if you make a wrong turn. Now for some background on Flashback.The Flashback trojan has been around awhile. Its name comes from one of its early infection methods, which involved putting up a fake "Adobe Flash Updater" dialog box and fooling people into installing something bad. Flashback's creators have modified it several times; each variation is given a letter designation by those in the computer security business, with this most recent one being "Flashback.K." Technically, Flashback isn't a virus (it doesn't spread from machine to machine), and it isn't even technically a trojan horse (because you can get it just by "driving by" an infected website. Most people will call it a virus but you will know better. Previous versions were trojan horses but the latest version is not.There's some debate about whether there are really 600,000 Macs infected by Flashback.K. I've seen one instance of it. Most likely the sky is not falling but it is smart to carry an umbrella. Flashback will not install itself if it finds anti-virus software on the Mac because it wants to keep a low profile (good luck with that now). My personal favorite is Intego's VirusBarrier X9 as it is the least intrusive of all of them, and it comes from a company…
  216. 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 show the Annotation Tools. Look for a stylized pen icon in Preview's toolbar. Click that and a bunch of tools appear. (In Snow Leopard the tools are at the bottom of the window.) Click it again and the tools go away. Here are the tools.You can probably figure out what they do... from left to right you have shapes and lines, text boxes, colors, line weights, fonts, and a list view of all of the annotations you've made, in the order you made them. If you click on the shapes and lines button you'll be ready to draw a shape. If you click the little triangle that is next to the shape you will get a little menu, like so:The text box, colors, and line weights buttons have menus as well. Pick a shape or a line, then click and drag to draw. The things you draw will have selection handles so you can adjust things after the fact. HOWEVER... as soon as you Save your document, the annotations become permanent, unless you're working on a PDF. In that case, you'll be able to edit the annotations after a Save. Thus, if you're not working with a PDF, it might make sense to make a copy of your picture before opening it in Preview to do annotations. Just in case.I use Preview's annotation tools all the time here on the Blog, including in this very post (I drew an oval around the Show Annotation Tools button, and drew a box around the tools themselves). Other programs have more sophisticated tools but Preview's tools are often enough (and you already have the app). Give Preview's annotation tools a try. I think you'll find them very handy.
  217. Christian Boyce on the Digital Village radio show, March 17, 2012
    I'll be on the Digital Village radio show at 10:30 this morning talking about the new iPad. In Los Angeles you can listen on your radio by tuning to 90.7 FM. If you're not in Los Angeles, or you'd rather listen through the internet, you can click here. If you missed the show you can get the replay on Digital Village's audio archives page.
  218. What’s New in the iOS 5.1 Update
    Apple released iOS 5.1 last week and if you're already on 5.0 or 5.0.1 this update will come to you automatically, through the air. You'll be asked whether or not you want it-- the answer should be "yes." Be sure your iPhone (or iPad or iPod) is connected to a charger, and on a WiFi network, and then go for it. (If you haven't seen a message on your iPhone (or iPad or iPod touch) asking you about updating, do this: go to the Settings app, then General, then Software Update (near the top). If you're not on 5.1 yet you'll get the chance to update right there. You can also update by connecting your iPad to the Mac that you use for synching-- look for iTunes to launch and show you an "Update" button.)Here's what you get when the update is finished. Actually, you'll get more than this, but this is the stuff that I find most interesting.1. Photos can be deleted from your Photo Stream. In case you don't know, Photo Stream is one of the things you get with an iCloud account. Take a picture with your iPhone (or iPad, or iPod touch) and the picture goes up to iCloud and back down to your other devices, including your Apple TV and your Mac (assuming you're on 10.7 or higher). It's a neat feature but until iOS 5.1 you couldn't delete anything from the Photo Stream. You had to wait 30 days for the item to fall off the back end of the Stream. Not anymore. After updating to 5.1 you can view the Photo Stream on any of your devices and delete pictures from it. That's the good news. The bad news is, when you delete a picture from the Photo Stream, it is only deleted from the device you're working with. It doesn't get deleted on your other devices. That's a drag, because it's not what most of us wanted. We want to delete a picture from the Stream and have it disappear from all of our devices. Maybe in 5.2.2. You can get to the Camera app from the lock screen a little bit more quickly, thanks to a shortcut that's more obvious than before. When you wake up your device you'll see a camera icon at the bottom right (this used to show up only if you double-clicked the Home button of a locked iPhone or iPod touch). If you touch the camera icon it will slide up just a little, then fall back down. Do this enough times and you'll think it's broken, but it's not: what they're trying to do is give you the idea to shove the camera icon UP. Do that and you're right into the Camera app, no muss, no fuss. This only works on the iPhones (4S, 4, 3GS) and the iPod touch, so there's nothing here for iPad users. The red arrow shows you how.3. Redesigned Camera app for the iPad. They moved the shutter button…
  219. The New iPad
    Apple introduced the new iPad (and that's what they call it-- "the new iPad") a couple of days ago. It looks a lot like the previous model, the so-called "iPad 2." I think they could have called the new one "iPad 2.5" or something like that because of the many similarities. Basically, the new iPad is faster, has a better screen, has a better camera, has faster wireless networking, and can take dictation. With the exception of "can take dictation" these are simply upgrades, not anything really new. Yes, these upgrades make the iPad even better, but no, there wasn't anything wrong with the iPad 2. Here's Apple's page showing the new iPad's features. Try the Retina Display experiment.The prices of "the new iPad" match the prices of the iPad 2 that it replaces: $499 for 16 GB with WiFi only at the low end, and $829 for 64 GB with WiFi and either AT&T or Verizon at the high end. You get more in the new iPad than you'd have gotten for the same money a few days ago.Turns out the iPad 2 isn't going away. You can still get the base model, but now it's $399. Remember, two days ago this was the best thing ever invented, so don't feel as if you have to spend another $100 to get the new one.Here's an excellent page by Apple, comparing the new iPad to the iPad 2. One surprise: the new iPad is a little bit thicker, and a little bit heavier, than the iPad 2. I think the thickness comes from the new and improved screen. Here's another surprise: the new iPad does NOT have Siri, the terrific talk-to-it assistant that is part of the iPhone 4S. Dictation is nice, but that's not Siri. That's just dictation. Of course the big question is, "should I buy one?" I think it depends. For most iPad 2 owners, there's probably no need to get the new iPad. For people who have an original iPad, I think this new iPad is better enough that it might be worth taking the plunge. People who don't have an iPad face an interesting choice: the iPad 2, now reduced to $399, or the new iPad for $499. (You can get a refurbished iPad 2 for $349-- here's a link to the refurbished section in the online Apple Store.)While you're spending money think about buying the Apple TV. This little $99 box connects your TV to the internet and it adds incredible value to an iPad, because it allows you to show your iPad's screen on your TV, through the air, with almost no configuration. Pictures, movies, presentations, games-- all of it. Really cool, and it was updated this week. Here's a picture.This version looks just like the previous one but it's better inside, and it can do 1080p video (the previous one did 720p). Definitely worth a look.All in all the "big announcements" by Apple this week were a little bit underwhelming. They pushed…
  220. Apple Event Predictions
    As seemingly everyone knows, Apple has some announcements to make this morning. I don't have any inside information about what they'll have for us, but if you really want me to guess, here's what I wouldn't be surprised to see.A new and improved iPad. Personally, I find the iPad 2 so fabulously useful that it is hard to find a lot of room for improvement. Yes, it's always possible to make a better screen, and yes a better camera would seem a natural step forward, but is that worth holding a special event over? I don't think so. I'm thinking there's something else. Be prepared to be surprised.Some sort of TV-related thingy. Apple already has the Apple TV and it would be nice if it handled HD (it doesn't). Apple could improve the Apple TV by adding HD to it, but the quality of the images and video in the current Apple TV are more than good enough, and it's the fact that you can beam stuff from your iPhone and iPad to your TV-- through the air and with zero configuration-- that's the big deal. The quality is plenty good enough. Improving the quality to HD is hardly worth a special event, so once again I'm thinking there's something else.Here are two ideas of mine that seem so obvious that I am sure Apple has already thought of them too. Now would be a good time to show them off:Siri on the iPad. Of course.An iPhone/iPad app to control your Apple TV. Another "of course" idea. This would include letting you touch channel-logo icons (or thumbnails of currently-playing shows) rather than looking at your channel-lineup cheat sheet and typing in a code as everyone does with their TVs today.Even if you add in my two ideas you wouldn't have enough for a truly "special" event. I am guessing that Apple has a pretty big surprise for us, something that no one is writing about. We will soon find out!I would not be surprised to see speed bumps across the entire line of iMacs and MacBook Pros, and also not surprised if Apple doesn't mention it.Apple's presentation will not be streamed live but you can follow it online anyway. Try this link (http://www.maclife.com/article/news/live_blog_apple_ipad_3_event) for an up-to-the-minute play by play. The event starts at 10 AM PST.
  221. Built-in Siri Tip Sheet
    iPhone 4S users: if you have trouble remembering what Siri can do for you, try bringing up Siri's built-in tip sheet. I don't know why it took me so long to find it but you know me-- as soon as I find something, I write it up so you can know too.All you do is start Siri by pressing and holding the Home button. You'll hear the two beeps, indicating that Siri's listening. If you look at the screen you'll see, to the right of "What can I help you with?", a tiny gray-on-gray lower-case "i" in a circle. Here's what it looks like (big red arrow added by me):Tap that little gray-on-gray "i" in the circle and you get this:Scroll down to reveal more:And more.That's cool already. But wait, there's more! If you touch an item in the list, you get a bunch of related examples. Here's what you get when you touch "Call Jason."Here's what you get when you touch "How many calories in a bagel?" (Note: there are a LOT of examples in that category-- scroll down to see them all.)Super stuff, and it's built right in, available where and when you need it. By the way, there are 207 calories in a bagel.
  222. Don’t Fall for this Phishing Scam
    Phishing refers to a technique by which someone or something pretends to be something trustworthy in an attempt to get you to voluntarily give up important information such as passwords. Here's a story about a phishing scam that I've seen three times in two weeks. Don't let it happen to you! But first: Take this Phishing Quiz and see how the bad guys try to trick you. Use a desktop computer or an iPad for the best experience. I received an email this weekend that appeared to be from my friend Pat. It definitely came from her email account, and it had her usual email signature at the bottom. The body of the email read:"Hi,Check out this Foreclosed properties good for investment, CLICK HERE and log in with your email.Pat xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxx xxxxxxx xxx xxx, xxxxx-xxx-xxxx (office)xxx-xxx-xxxx (fax)www.xxxxx.com"(Here, I've replaced Pat's real info with a bunch of x's to protect her identity.)Because I'd seen that same email from someone else earlier this week I was instantly suspicious. I checked out the link and found that it led to what looked something like the Remax real estate site, but as you can see from the picture below, there were clues that this wasn't the Remax site at all. (Note: in this screen shot, I've already clicked the "Gmail" button near the bottom of the web page.)The first clue is in the URL. The thing to notice is that the ".com" part is preceded by something called "matchellen" rather than "remax". That means that this is "matchellen.com" and not "remax.com". It doesn't matter that the word "Remax" appears in the URL. What matters is the part attached to the .com. So, that's clue number 1.Another clue is that the titles of the page is "Remax - Secure Login". Any site that claims to be "secure" should start with "https" rather than just "http" so you can see that this is not a secure site. There are plenty of sites that ask you to sign in without being secure, but the fact that this site claims to be secure when it obviously is not tells you there's something funny going on here. Another clue is the lousy English-- Pat's better than that.There's one more big clue: "Remax" is asking for my GMAIL PASSWORD. Why would Remax need that? The answer, of course, is they don't. Remax does have its own username-and-password requirements for logging in, and it happens that the Remax username is your email address... but when the Remax login screen asks for a password, it's not asking you for your actual email password. They're asking you for the password you created when you signed up for a Remax account. They ought to be different.Unfortunately, Pat wasn't as suspicious as I am and she "signed in" and gave the bad guys her email address and her email password. And then the bad guys sent out hundreds, maybe thousands of pieces of mail, using Pat's account, telling us about the "foreclosures" asking us…
  223. Macworld|iWorld 2012 Wrap-Up
    I'm back from Macworld|iWorld, and apart from the awkward name change the show was great. This was the first show in the "Apple isn't here" era where the feeling was more about who was there than who wasn't. It's not the same as it was when Apple had a giant booth but that doesn't mean it wasn't good. (Click here to listen to my brief Macworld|iWorld report on the radio show "Digital Village." Worth your time.)Awkward as it is, the name "Macworld|iWorld" represented the show better than just "Macworld" would have. This would have been true last year and the year before, as first the iPod, then the iPhone and iPad, began to dominate the show. This year's show had fewer iPod accessories and more for the iPhone and iPad, including plenty of choices in cases, accessories, and anti-glare screens. I especially liked the cases and accessories from Moshi and the anti-glare screens from PowerSupport (now called "Tru Protection"). You should check them out.iPhone and iPad apps were everywhere, of course. Macworld|iWorld had a large "Mobile Apps Showcase" that took up about 20% of the floor and it was jammed with smaller developers demonstrating their apps. I especially liked Beat The Traffic's app, which helps you to... beat the traffic.App development is getting more sophisticated, and tools to help make better apps are starting to appear. One that I liked-- Heatmaps-- tracks how people use your app: where they tap, how often, and so on. If you know how to use Xcode, you'll know how to add this functionality. Then, after releasing your app and then seeing the usage data, you can improve your app so it's easier to use. Neat idea, and done really well.On the Mac side, I really liked a small program called "Cobook." It puts a little menu item into your menu bar, up by the clock, your Time Machine menu, your Airport menu, etc. giving you quick access to your Apple Address Book no matter what else you're doing.You can trigger Cobook by clicking the icon in the menubar, or with a short-cut hot key if you'd like. Quick and easy, with lots of clever features, it's currently in a beta-testing phase, and during that time it's free. Here's a link to the Cobook website where they'll show you a video explaining the ins and outs of the program. I'm using Cobook here on Macs with 10.6.8 and 10.7.3 and it works equally well. (Screenshot shows Cobook's founder Kaspars Dancis, who came all the way from Latvia to show his stuff at Macworld.)I also liked a service called "FileThisFetch" which delivers your online statements from the phone company, the bank, the cable TV company etc. to your Mac automatically, without you having to go to each website and sign in and download them yourself. It is as secure as can be, with your information encrypted at all times, so don't say "no" based on security concerns. The amount of time and trouble saved by this…
  224. 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 10:20 AM but I'd tune in at 10 and listen to the whole show. Ric and Doran always have an interesting show, even when I'm not on it.
  225. Apple’s iBooks Textbooks Announcement
    Apple's out to fix another broken industry, same as they did with music and cellular phones. This time it's textbooks, and I'll let Apple tell you why it's needed, and why the Apple solution is the right one. Here are a couple of links that tell the story: this one is a promotional video, and this one is the entire introductory event from last week.One very interesting part of Apple's plan is that just about anyone can publish a book in Apple's iBookstore. You don't have to be a big-time publishing company, or even a small-time publishing company. You could be, for example, a Mac, iPhone, and iPad consultant with cowboy boots who wants to publish a book of Mac, iPhone, and iPad tips. You can sell your books or you can give them away (or both). It's up to you. Read all about it here.Apple's created a Mac application to help you create beautiful books. It's called iBooks Author, and you can download it for free by clicking here. The app looks a lot like Pages, so if you know how to use that one, you're going to have no trouble making books. iBooks Author is loaded with great templates and a lot of other stuff that will help you make beautiful books with minimal trouble. You will need Mac OS X Lion to run iBooks Author, by the way.iBooks Textbooks could be a game-changer. It's way better than a PDF, partly because PDFs can't be re-flowed when the reader changes the font size or rotates the page. It's also way better than "publishing" materials as web pages, mostly because web technologies are not suited to precise layouts and ease of use. With iBooks, you feel as if you are directly manipulating the pages, and that's way better than reading something in a browser. So, people who used to publish books as PDFs and web pages now have a better platform for their work. There's no reason to shoe-horn a beautiful book into PDF or web page form, not anymore.It happens that I really like "real" books. But, having read several books on my iPad, I'm already seeing the value and advantages of digital books. Apple's iBooks Author is going to help a lot more people get on the digital book bandwagon. It's not the end of books as we know it but it might be the beginning of the end of textbooks as they've been for generations. File this away and let's see how things turn out a couple of years from now.In the meantime: if you have an iPod Touch, an iPhone, or an iPad, click here to get the new iBooks 2.0 app. While you're at it, try this link for an eye-popping collection of iTunes U courses, made for the iBooks app. Don't know about iTunes U? Click here to read my article about it, and click here to read what Apple has to say. Warning: if iBooks Textbooks doesn't make you want an iPad,…
  226. Win a Free Pass to Macworld | iWorld
    Macworld Expo will be held January 26th through January 28th, 2012 at San Francisco's Moscone Center. This year, the show has a new name (Macworld | iWorld) which more properly reflects the show's split focus. If you're anywhere near San Francisco you ought to check it out.I will be speaking at Macworld | iWorld this year as part of the new "RapidFire" session on January 26th. My topic is "Super Tips for the iOS Maps App" and while you may know a lot about Maps on the iPhone and iPad you might just learn something new. (You can learn a lot about the Maps app right now by reading a couple of my articles: iPhone Maps Super Tips, and The iMom Project, Day Seven (which was all about Maps).) As part of my deluxe compensation package, Macworld | iWorld provides a couple of "iFan" passes for me to distribute, with a value of $125 each, and if you email me with the subject "Macworld Passes" I will enter your name into a pool for a random drawing. Entries must be received by 5 PM Pacific time, Friday, January 20th, 2012. Drawing will be held right after that. Winners will be notified by email.UPDATE: the contest is over. Congratulations to Kina Casey and Larry Halme, winners of the iFan passes. Show-floor-only passes may still be available via the websites of some of the Macworld exhibitors, including beatthetraffic.com and macscan.com.
  227. 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.SafariIn 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 you're searching for, and then press Return. Quick and easy.FirefoxIn Firefox, 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 Firefox and you want to do a Google search, you can simply press Command-option-f, then type what you're searching for, and then press Return. Exactly the same as in Safari. Quick and easy again.MailIn Mail, Command-option-f puts the insertion point into the search box at the upper right (outlined here in red). So, if you're using Mail and you want to search for an email, you can simply press Command-option-f, then type what you're searching for, and then press Return.This is our third "Quick and easy." I sense a pattern.iTunesIn iTunes, Command-option-f puts the insertion point into the search box at the upper right (outlined here in red). So, if you're using iTunes and you want to search for a song (or you want to search the iTunes Store), you can simply press Command-option-f, then type what you're searching for, and then press Return. Quick and easy number four.FinderIn the Finder, Command-option-f puts the insertion point into the search box at the upper right (outlined here in red). So, if you're using the Finder and you want to do find a file, you can simply press Command-option-f, then type what you're searching for, and then press Return. Quick and easy-- that's five in a row.Font BookIn Font Book, Command-option-f puts the insertion point into the search box at the upper right (outlined here in red). So, if you're using Font Book and you want to find a font, you can simply press Command-option-f, then type what you're searching for, and then press Return. Quick and easy #6.EvernoteIn Evernote, Command-option-f puts the insertion point into the search box at the upper right (outlined here in red). So, if you're using Evernote and you want to find a particular note, you can simply press Command-option-f, then type what you're searching for, and then press Return. Quick and easy-- that's SEVEN!You might be wondering why not just do "Command-f" which is "Find" in a lot of cases. The reason, in most cases, is Command-f puts you into a different kind of Find mode than what we want here. For example, if you do Command-f in Safari, you'll be searching for a term on that page. Same thing with Firefox-- you won't be triggering a Google search, you'll be…
  228. Ten Tips for New iPhone Owners
    So, Santa Claus brought you an iPhone! Great news. I hope it's an iPhone 4S, with Siri. Here are ten tips that will help you take advantage of the iPhone 4S's amazing capabilities.Make your address book as complete as possible. Don't stop with names and phone numbers-- fill that thing up with email addresses, home and work addresses, and birthdays. You'll thank me later. Note that you can get to the Address Book from the Phone app so if you're already using the Phone app just tap the button that says "Contacts" at the bottom of the screen.Sync your address book and calendar between your iPhone and computer using either MobileMe, iCloud, or directly using a USB cable. This lets you do most or all of the work on your computer, where it is probably easier to do. It also means you'll have a backup of those important items.Learn about Siri, and dictation. I have a few articles for you here, and here. Look for a microphone to the left of the space bar when you are typing-- when you see that, touch it, and start talking. Say the punctuation out loud; that is, if you want a comma, say so. Like this: "I like brisket comma sausage comma and pork ribs period". Be sure Siri knows who you are (Settings/General/Siri/My Info).Learn about the Maps app. For starters, that little arrowhead at bottom left will show you where you are if you tap it. (If you're asked about using your current location, say yes.) Once Maps knows where you are, use the Search mode (at bottom) to search for something or someone-- coffee, ATM, your friend Joe. Or, use the Directions mode (at bottom) to see how to get from Place A to Place B. I have more about the Maps app for you here.Dim your screen and turn off Push emails. That's Settings/Brightness, and Settings/Mail, Contacts, Calendars/Fetch New Data. This will save you hours of battery life.Get to know the Camera. Get to the Camera app quickly (double-tap the Home button when the iPhone is asleep/locked, and look for a little camera icon at bottom right). Turn the iPhone sideways, holding it like a "real" digital camera, and taking a picture by pressing the Volume + button. Before you take the picture, tap on the part of the picture that you want in focus. That will also be the part of the picture that controls the exposure. After you take the picture, tap the square at bottom left to see the images you've taken. Tap an image to see controls for editing (at the top right) and for sending via Email and Twitter (bottom, second icon from left).Turn the iPhone sideways. Sometimes (not always) you'll get a different version of the app you're using. This works with the Calculator, the Calendar, Mail, Safari, and many others.Explore the App Store. You have an icon for the App Store on your iPhone already. Tap it and see if you can find…
  229. 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 from grey to colorful in just a few clicks.Step 1 is to download Lion Tweaks. Put it into your Applications folder.Step 2 is run Lion Tweaks. You will see all sorts of options. The one we're interested in here is "Enable colour in the Finder-sidebar." When you click the "Yes" button you'll be asked whether you have "SIMBL"installed already. You probably don't, so let Lion Tweaks download it for you.Step 3 is to install SIMBL. You just downloaded it so you should be able to find it.Step 4 is to continue the process with Lion Tweaks. You'll have to click the "Yes" button next to "Enable colour in the Finder-sidebar" again, but this time you have the SIMBL thing installed, so you can say yes all the way through. At the end, you'll see this message:It really works. Check out the before and after pictures. Pleased to report that reverting to the original Lion grey sidebar is a simple click (and restart of the Finder). Well done, Fredrik!
  230. More Siri Tips
    I've discovered some interesting Siri features that I didn't find in the manual, which isn't surprising since there isn't a Siri manual. In no particular order, here are the tips:"Set a timer for 20 minutes." Everyone knows how to do that. But, after a bit, the timer is off the screen, as you switch to some other app or the iPhone goes to sleep. The cool thing is that you can say "Show me the timer" and it comes back to the front. Very cool. I am using that today as I cook my pumpkin pies."Play some music." Everyone knows how to do this too. The cool thing is that you can say "Stop the music" and it will stop. Nice."Make an appointment." Everyone knows how to do this too. Siri will ask "When is your appointment?" and you can tell it "4 PM tomorrow" or whatever you like. If you do it this way, Siri will make an appointment that has the title "Appointment." The cool things is you can change the title later. So, when Siri says "Here is your appointment, are you ready to confirm it?" you can say "yes"... and Siri will show it to you. Then, tell Siri "Change the title of the appointment" to anything you'd like. In fact, you can just say "Change the title to blah blah blah" and it will work. Siri knows what you're talking about because the appointment is still on her mind, so to speak.Still talking about appointments, how cool is this: you can say "Make a haircut appointment for 4 PM tomorrow" and it's done in one shot. Very cool. Especially if you want a haircut.Suppose you want to talk to your friend Dave Fournier, on the phone, and you want Siri to set that up. But, suppose also that you have Dave in your address book as "David." Doesn't matter: when you say "Call Dave Fournier" Siri knows out that "Dave" is short for "David" and she makes the call. Same thing with Tom and Thomas. And Chris and Christian, though I never call myself on the phone.In some cases, when talking to Siri, you can interchange "office" and "work", and "house" and "home", and "cell" and "mobile", but not always, and especially not tonight with Siri seemingly overloaded. There are many inconsistencies in Siri, so what works when you're asking for a phone number might not work when you're asking for an address, and this may be one of the reasons Siri is still a "beta" feature. Expect this to improve and become more consistent in the future.(Yes I am surprised that Apple put Siri out before it was fully ready. Very non-Apple-like.)By the way, I would not be surprised to see Siri show up on Macs and iPads someday soon. Makes perfect sense.More tips as I find them.UPDATE: I found them. Here's a terrific list of Siri commands, from The Unofficial Apple Weblog (TUAW). Well done, TUAW.UPDATE #2: Here's Apple's Frequently Asked Questions for…
  231. 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 KamadoA 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 than the spices. There are probably fifty ways to cook a turkey on a barbeque but here's the one way I do it every single time.Get your cooker going with plenty of fuel. Your turkey will cook for about three hours, maybe a little longer. Set it up for about 300 degrees F. You don't want flames to touch your turkey so put a pan down on a lower rack to block the flames or just put the coals on one side of your cooker and the turkey on the other. I have an old cookie sheet (a round one) that I put on the lower rack and it catches the drippings and blocks the flames.Start with a nice fresh turkey. Frozen is OK but if a fresh one is available, get one. I usually pick one that's in the 12 to 15 pound range. If you go too big you won't be able to fit it on the cooker. I've cooked brined turkeys, Butterball turkeys, plain fresh turkeys, and probably some other kinds that I don't remember and they all came out great.Take out the neck and giblets and do whatever you want with them. That's up to you.Cut the backbone out, using heavy kitchen scissors or poultry shears. Some people call this "butterflying," some people call this "splaying," some people call it "spatchcocking." Watch this video, and call it anything you want. The video shows how to do it to a chicken but it's exactly the same on a turkey, only harder. You will need some strength. Watch your fingers. The reason you do this is it cuts your cooking time almost in half.Cut off any extra fat and rinse the turkey off. Pat it dry with paper towels. You will need more paper towels than you thought.Like I said, the preparation and cooking are more important than the spicing. I've made great turkeys using Dizzy Dust, Grub Rub, Texas BBQ Rub, and Bob Tallman's Ranch Rub. These are all fairly heavy on the brown sugar. You'll need a good bit, maybe half a bottle. You're going to apply rub inside and out, and under the skin, so plan accordingly. Pour a bunch of rub into a coffee cup or some other smallish container and put a spoon in it now because your hands are going to be all slippery pretty soon and you don't want to make a mess of your cupboards if you…
  232. 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 are likely to get a message on your Mac's screen that there is "a problem" with your Airport. That's overdoing it-- they shouldn't call it a problem-- and you shouldn't be worried that there is something wrong. All you have to do is let the update take place, which it will do automatically if you simply click "Continue" when the box pops up, telling you about "the problem."You can easily do this yourself. You're supposed to. Note that your internet will go down for just a moment after the update, as the installation requires restarting the Airport and while that's happening, you're offline. It won't take more than a minute or so for the restart, and less than five minutes for the entire process. So go for it.(If you want to get straight to doing the update, locate the Airport Utility (in the Utilities folder, in the Applications folder) and do the update from there.)Super-cool: you can update your Airport using your iPad or iPhone. Get the official Apple Airport Utility app and you're on your way. Tap one of the Airports and you get a bunch of info, including an option to update firmware. So neat.
  233. iPhone 4S: First Impressions
    I've had my iPhone 4S for a couple of weeks, long enough to know what I like and don't like.What I LikeIt's fast. I didn't think my iPhone 4 was slow, and it isn't, but the iPhone 4S is faster.Siri is handy and fun. I use it all the time, especially to make reminders and to set timers.In general, I like iOS 5, which comes pre-installed.I really, really like the over-the-air software updates. This works extremely well.What I Don't LikeThe battery drains very quickly. iOS 5.0.1 came out yesterday and is supposed to fix "most" of the battery problems but my iPhone 4S still seems to drain more quickly than I'd like. The biggest problem is the inconsistency. Sometimes (tonight) the battery hardly drains at all. Other times it drains 5% an hour just sitting on my desk.Some iPhone 4S screens have a yellowish tint. My previous iPhone (the iPhone 4) has a cool blue screen, which to my eye is nicer. This seems to be a problem specific to some of the AT&T iPhone 4S devices.The sound quality for phone calls ranges from superb to terrible, without changing locations. Sometimes the sound is so great it's like having the other person right there in the room. Later, in the same call, the sound can be so bad that I can't continue the conversation. Hanging up and redialing solves it, but geez man. This has to be fixed.Odds and EndsSiri is beta software, and it shows. There are so many things that seem not-quite-ready. For example, Siri can read your text messages to you, but it can't read an email. It can tell you that you have an appointment at 9 AM tomorrow but it can't read that to you either. Here's an interesting conversation I had with Siri about it:Siri requires an internet connection, something that wasn't made obvious in the promotional materials. When the internet is slow, Siri is slow. The slowness is a drag, not because I'm in a rush, but because when Siri is fast, it's indistinguishable from magic. When it's slow, the magic goes away.Reminders are cool. But the Reminders app is harder to use than it ought to be. And why isn't it part of the calendar app? Reminders and To-Dos are pretty closely related. I think the Reminders functionality ought to be part of the calendar.Notifications are also cool. However, Notifications are a lot of work to set up, and for some reason different apps have different notification methods by default. Some use the banner across the top of the screen, some use the larger "alerts" in the middle of the screen. There's no explanation why you'd want one app to show notifications at the top of the screen and others in the middle. Why not make them all the same, or at least give me that as an option?Conclusions and AdviceIt seems to me that the iPhone 4S, and iOS 5, were a little bit rushed. That's sort of funny to say,…
  234. iOS 5.0.1 update– I like it
    Apple released iOS 5.0.1 today. It supposedly fixes the issues that the iPhone 4S has with the battery draining much too quickly. As such, it is just what I've been waiting for. I installed it through the air via Apple's new iOS software update system:1. Go to Settings2. Tap General3. Tap Software UpdateYou will get a warning about doing this without the iPhone being plugged in to power, but my updates (on an iPhone 4S and an iPad 2) went perfectly even without being plugged in. The devices went down about two percent during the update. If you have a lot of battery left, or if you can plug your device in to power, go ahead and get the download through the air.The update took about 10 minutes (Time Warner cable modem). There are no options, no choices to make except at the very end of the download when you can either "Install" or do it later.Considering how buggy iOS 5.0 is, updating to 5.0.1 is a no-brainer. Go get it.
  235. Book Review: Steve Jobs, by Walter Isaacson
    I'll keep it short: Walter Isaacson's biography of Steve Jobs (titled, simply, "Steve Jobs") is disappointingly shallow. It reads like a high school history book, touching many topics, but going into depth on none. The book serves as a good introduction to Steve Jobs, but given the countless articles that have been in circulation for years, didn't we already know this stuff? The story of Jobs recruiting John Sculley, hiring him, changing his opinion of him, and eventually losing a power struggle with him, isn't anything new. Same with Apple buying NeXT, same with Jobs being "mercurial" and "difficult" and adopted, and a vegetarian. Oh, and he had pancreatic cancer. And he liked Bob Dylan a lot.The main trouble with this book is that it doesn't dive deep. Isaacson relates story after story (told to Isaacson by those who knew and worked with Steve Jobs), but the stories are just who-what-when-where. No "why." It may turn out that Steve Jobs, despite his amazing contributions, may not have been all that deep, and that may explain why Isaacson doesn't try to explain "why," but I have a feeling there probably is quite a bit of depth to Jobs, and it would be interesting to read a biography of Steve Jobs written by someone who really knew him-- perhaps his wife Laurene Powell Jobs, or Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, or Apple's lead designer Jony Ive. (Interestingly, while I came away wanting to know more about Steve Jobs, I also came away wanting to know more about his wife, and Wozniak, and Ive, among many others. They are given cardboard-cutout treatment in Isaacson's book but appear to be among many fascinating people who are mentioned.)The book shows signs of being rushed, which it probably was. The same people are introduced in multiple chapters, the same topics are covered in multiple chapters, and each time it's as if it's the first time. Taken on a chapter by chapter basis, there isn't a problem, but when you read the book straight through, the lack of careful editing is apparent.Finally, there's a necessary technological slant to much of Steve Jobs' story, but Isaacson's impressive background doesn't include much tech. Thus, he tends to parrot technical prose verbatim, not realizing that sometimes it needs explaining. For example, when describing what NeXT's system could do, Isaacson writes: "It offered protected memory, advanced networking, and preemptive multitasking"-- and then moves on, as if the reader has any idea of what any of that means. In the end, "Steve Jobs" is an easy read, partly due to Isaacson's skill, and partly because he tells the reader things he already knows, challenging the reader not at all. That's too bad. I'd hoped for more. Of course, this will not be the last book written about Steve Jobs, and with luck we'll soon get one written by someone who's able to reveal something new. Those looking for additional info on Steve Jobs today would do well to visit www.allaboutstevejobs.com, a site I've…
  236. iPhone 4S: Siri
    My iPhone 4S arrived and of course I had to start experimenting with Siri. Here are some tips:You have to turn Siri on! Siri is initially switched off. Settings/General/Siri.Hold the Home button down until the iPhone beeps twice-- then start talking to Siri. You can also pick the iPhone up, hold it to your ear as if you were on a call, and listen for the two beeps. I like pressing the Home button better. (If, when you try to trigger Siri, you see "Voice Control" instead of the Siri microphone, Siri has not been turned on yet.) Teach Siri who your mother and father and sister and brother are. Simply say "Edward Boyce is my dad" or "Darlene Boyce is my mom" and from then on, you can say "Send an email to my dad" or "Call my mom at home" etc. Very handy.On the left: Siri is off. On the right: Siri is on.Here are some of the things that I asked Siri to do for me (and they worked):Check my email.Do I have any emails from Zach?Call Joe Smith at work.When is my next appointment?Show me my calendar.Make an appointment for Saturday, 4 PM: UCLA football game (puts it into the calendar)What time does Mom arrive? (I had a calendar item that said "Mom arrives" in my calendar)Show me directions to Union Station in Los Angeles (shows it on the map, with directions from current location)Remind me to buy tickets to the UCLA game (puts it into "Reminders" app)Wake me up at 6:30 (creates an alarm for 6:30 PM, which is not what I wanted)Cancel that (it cancels the alarm)Wake me up at 6:30 tomorrow Make a repeating alarm for 6:30 AM (perfect)Set a timer for 10 minutesTurns out that there is a lot that Siri can't do-- not yet. It can't read your emails out loud to you, it can't launch applications for you, it can't go to a website directly (but it can search for it, and it will be the first item in the search results). I have a feeling that you'll eventually be able to do all of these things in time, but not now. For now, Siri's a little bit limited, but it's definitely good enough to use.If you find a cool Siri feature, send me an email and let me know.
  237. “He Cared the Most”
    Apple's posted a video of the company's recent celebration of Steve Jobs' life. It's beautiful, and moving, and I recommend watching it all the way through. In it, Jony Ive (lead designer on Apple products including the iMac, iPod, iPhone, and iPad) absolutely nails what made Steve Jobs so great. Here are the essential four words: "He cared the most."Here's the link.
  238. 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 moving up to OS X Lion and you know that Quicken 2007 is not compatible with Lion. Let's say you hear somewhere that the website www.maclife.com did an article on the topic. You set out to look for it, using Google.Here's what you get when you search for "alternatives to quicken maclife" using Google. It's not bad, but there is a lot of stuff here that isn't on www.maclife.com.So now you try searching for "alternatives to quicken maclife.com" and while the results are better, they aren't restricted to articles on www.maclife.com. And maclife.com articles are all you're looking for this time.Turns out there's a way to do what you want. What you do is put "site:" in front of the site you want to search. Like this: alternatives to quicken site:maclife.com. You can put in www if you want. But you don't have to.Works like a charm. Try it.
  239. First Look: iOS 5
    Apple released iOS 5 October 12th, 2011 and I installed it here on an iPhone 4 and an iPad 2 right away. It works great on both. You can read quite a bit about the new features on Apple's site. Here, I'll point out some key features that are especially important. Let's take it from left to right in the picture above (Apple's own graphic, showing us what THEY think is important).Notifications.The new Notification Center is not a typical app in that you don't launch it by touching an icon. Instead, you swipe down from the top of any screen, and a whole bunch of notifications appear. In addition to Mail, Calendar, and SMS, you can show notifications for a bunch of built-in Apple apps (Stocks, Weather, Phone, Reminders) and also a ton of 3rd-party apps (too many to list). Anything that put an alert message up on the screen in previous versions of iOS now is handled by the Notification Center. It takes some setting up (Settings/Notifications) but it's worth the initial trouble. I have the Notification Center showing alerts from the Weather, Stocks, Phone, Messages, Reminders, Calendar, Southwest Airlines, and Mail. Super-handy to have them all in one place. If a notification pops up while your iPhone or iPad is locked (black screen) you can unlock the device and go straight to the notification all in one swipe. It's pretty neat.Interesting Tidbit: the weather notification bar shows the local weather. Tap it to go straight to the Weather app.Messages.Messages sent to another device running iOS 5 don't cost anything. That's cool. So, if you can talk your friends and family into getting iPhones running iOS 5, you can save a few bucks by not paying your cellular carrier $20 for unlimited texting. I'm sure that they'll find a way to get those $20 from you anyway. Maybe they'll start charging $5 a month if you actually use the phone to make a phone call, borrowing Bank of America's technique of charging extra for when you actually use the service you're paying for. Messages can be sent back and forth to anyone with an iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch, even if they don't have a phone contract. That's cool too. So, if your kids have iPod Touches, and there's a wireless network they can connect to, and they want to send messages (which can be text or pictures or videos), they'll be able to do it, for free, with iOS 5. Of course you can continue to send and receive messages with non-iOS people. Apple makes it easy to tell whether you're using your cellular carrier's messaging or Apple's own free messaging-- cellular carrier messages are green, and Apple's groovy new free ones are blue. You can send a message to a group of people all at once, and you can tell when someone's read your message. All in all, pretty handy stuff.Interesting Tidbit: iOS 5 lets you create "typing shortcuts" and those really come in handy when texting…
  240. Some Thoughts on Steve Jobs
    Steve Jobs is dead, and the tributes are everywhere. I've read as many of these tributes as I could and at the end of this article are links to some of the best. I've especially enjoyed reading personal recollections from people who knew him, though I'm not sure that I've seen any from anyone who claimed to know him well.I never met Steve Jobs. I thought that someday I might, but I never did. Yet, twenty-five years as a full-time Macintosh consultant connect me to Apple and Jobs in a way that most people haven't experienced, and that gives me a perspective on Steve Jobs that is a little different from most. I hope my thoughts on Steve Jobs add a little something to your overall picture of the man.I have a couple of stories. As Steve Jobs said in his commencement speech at Stanford, you can only connect the dots looking backward. Dot #1: When I first met Mac.In 1985 I was a graduate student at the University of Texas. As an engineering student I knew something of computers but I wasn't interested in them. I had a bunch of other interests, including my schooling, and if a computer could help me with them, great. Otherwise, no thanks. I was not what you'd call a computer geek.My academic department at Texas had a small computer lab that I could use, and in it were three IBM PCs and three Macintoshes. The IBMs had the computer on the bottom, and a monitor on the top. With the IBM, word processing (a new term to me) meant seeing my document in green letters on a black background, and some codes to signify bold and italic. Original IBM PCPrinting went to a dot-matrix machine and was an adventure since what came out of the printer didn't look much like what showed on the screen. There was a bit of a learning curve before you could do anything with the computer at all. In short, the IBM PC looked like something that was going to make my life harder (at least at first). Not what I was hoping for.The Macs were of one piece, friendly little machines where word processing meant black letters on a white background-- same as in "real life" with a typewriter. On the Mac, if you made a word bold it showed bold right on the screen. And it had a mouse, which to my way of thinking was a million times easier than using arrow keys on the keyboard. (Pythagoras knew what he was doing when he proved that it's shorter to go diagonally, which you can do with a mouse, than to go over and up, which is what you have to do with arrow keys.)Printing was essentially an exact match to what you saw on the screen. "It's like electric paper," I thought. I could use it right away. And so I did, using MacWrite and later Microsoft Word (version 1.05) and Excel (version 1.0) to…
  241. iPhone 4S Introduction
    In case you spent the day in a cave, let me tell you about the new iPhone that Apple introduced today. They call it "the iPhone 4S". You could call it a disappointment because it's not an "iPhone 5," whatever that was imagined to be, but it would be better to call it a refined and polished iPhone 4. Apple similarly refined and polished the iPhone 3G to make the 3GS, and that worked out very well indeed. Let's hope it turns out as well this time.(Here's a link to the keynote video.)They're keeping the iPhone 4 around in a minimal configuration of 8 GB, for $99 with a two-year contract. Spend another $100 and you get a 16 GB iPhone 4S. To me it's a no-brainer: for $100 more, get the 4S. In addition to double the storage, you get a faster chip (so everything is snappier), a better camera, a lot of invisible-but-important improvements, and maybe best of all, "Siri." Now you're probably wondering what (or who) Siri is. Siri is software that lets you control your iPhone by voice, a feature that's been around a little while, but not to this extent. Previously, voice control was limited to "Call Christian Boyce" or "Play Music." With Siri, you can do a lot more, and you can speak to Siri in a fairly natural way, like so: "Set up an appointment with Christian Boyce on Friday." It takes an enormous amount of processing power to do voice recognition properly, power that's available only in the iPhone 4S. If you don't have an iPhone 4S, you don't have Siri. Sounds like a commercial.Watch this video for a brief intro to Siri. The iPhone 4S comes in black and white and looks nearly identical to the iPhone 4. I don't know if we'll be able to use our existing iPhone 4 cases but I do hope so-- I just got a good deal on a glow-in-the-dark iPhone 4 case from Marware.* You can get the 4S in 16 GB, 32 GB, and 64 GB models, and you don't have to worry about buying "the Verizon one" or "the ATT one" because this time, one phone does it all. Apple's calling the iPhone 4S a "world phone" which means that the exact same phone can be used with a lot of different networks. You'll still have to choose a network, same as now, but if you decide to change carriers down the road you won't have to buy a new phone. By the way, the iPhone 4S works on the Sprint network too. I think the word "finally" is in order.And now you're probably wondering when you can get one. The answer is "soon." You can order one online starting October 7th, for delivery "starting October 14th." Or, you can take your chances at an Apple Store in person, starting at 8 AM October 14th. Here's a good page on Apple's website telling you what you should bring with you when you…
  242. Great Deals on New and Closeout Macs
    MacMall is having a 72-hour sale on Macs (MacBook Pros, MacBook Airs, iMacs). Check it out and save a pile of money. Contact me if you need help with choosing a model.If you're choosing one for ME, I like the 21.5 inch iMac with the 3.6 GHz Core i5 for $1099.
  243. 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 the Finder to the front). Click on the Go menu and slide down to "Utilities." Presto.Find the Script Editor in the Utilities folder and double-click it. You'll get a blank window. Copy the text below and paste it into the blank Script Editor window. set the_URL_list to {"http://www.apple.com", "http://www.christianboyce.com", "http://macrumors.com"}repeat with a_URL in the_URL_list open location a_URLend repeatThe result will look a lot like this:Click the Compile button and it will look like this.(Compiling checks for mistakes and prettifies the script. Your script could look different than this but don't worry about that-- unless you get an error. In that case, go back and be sure you copied and pasted the right stuff.)Just for fun, click the "Run" button. You'll see three web page load: www.apple.com, www.christianboyce.com, and www.macrumors.com. Assuming that the script works and that you got three web pages when you clicked "Run," it's time to customize it to open YOUR websites. You can probably tell that the place to do it is right at the top. Go in there and do it! Just remember these rules:Each website must be surrounded by double-quotes.Separate the double-quoted websites with commas.No returns please. Let the Script Editor wrap the text for you.There is no limit to the number of sites you can enter. Try a couple, and then click Compile, and if you don't get an error, click Run. Add the rest of the websites that you want to open, and Compile, and then Run. If it works, you're ready to save it. Here you have to be just a little careful, because there are various ways to save your script, and only one of them is the right one for our purposes.What we want is to wrap this script up in a double-clickable application that does its thing automatically. So, when you go to Save As..., change the File Format to Application. Name your script anything you'd like, and put it somewhere that you can find it. For now, let's put it on the Desktop. Now you can quit the Script Editor, because we're done with it. Look for the script you just saved. Here's what it will look like:(Yours might have a different name. That's OK. But the icon should be like this one. Technically, you're done. When you double-click the script it will launch your preferred browser and load up your web pages. That's two clicks, and that's not much work. But, we can…
  244. 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 a measurable amount of time. It might not be much, but it all counts. And, you actually have to do the work-- it doesn't happen unless you do the work. What if you could click a single item in your Dock and have all four of your news websites open, each in its own window, in a nice neat stack on your screen? Wouldn't that be cool? Of course that would be cool. And, it's totally doable. In fact, I've done it for you, along with two variations (one for Mac-related news sites, and one for sports news). I did it with AppleScript, a very powerful feature of the Mac OS, available on every Mac. Click to download the AppleScripts. You'll get a disk image. (If you're using Safari the disk image will probably open automatically. If not, or if you're using Firefox, look in your Downloads folder for something called "URL_AppleScripts.dmg" and double-click it.) Eventually you'll see the three items shown below. They're AppleScript Applications. Double-click each one to see what it does. Drag the ones you like to your Applications folder. Then, from there (that is, from in the Applications folder), drag them to the Dock. Now a single click in the Dock will trigger a multi-page masterpiece. Of course you are probably thinking it would be even better if the sites that opened were the ones YOU liked, not the ones I like. That's easy to do, and I'll write that up sometime soon. If you're in a hurry, tell me and I'll help you out right away. In the meantime-- isn't this neat? One click opens four websites, neatly, quickly, efficiently. Who could ask for more?
  245. Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag– from Kensington
    I bought this Kensington Contour Roller bag* in January 2006 to carry my laptop (at the time, a PowerBook G4 15 inch), and some CDs, and a bunch of floppy disks(!). It had pockets all over the place, so I also put in some pens, some business cards, some cables, and a bunch of other stuff. It was a fantastic bag and I used it every day in my travels to customer locations. The collapsable handle has been really handy, especially in airports. Five and a half years later, the stitching on one of the handles is starting to come loose. Turns out that the bag has a limited lifetime warranty, and when I contacted Kensington about it they shipped me a new bag, free of charge, no questions asked. Incredible. The new bag is here now, ready to go into service tomorrow. I was willing to buy another ($99 list, less than that at Amazon*) because I felt I'd gotten my money's worth but wow, they replaced it for free! I could hardly believe it.I love the bag, but I especially love the customer service. Way to go, Kensington. Papa's got a brand new bag!Here's what Amazon carries of Kensington's-- pretty good selection, and sometimes they still have things that Kensington has discontinued.
  246. Accept Credit Cards on Your iPhone, with Square
    Being able to accept credit cards is good for business. It's convenient for customers, and it's fast for the vendor. Unfortunately, for the small businessman, accepting credit cards has been an expensive hassle. Not anymore-- thanks to Square.Square provides, for free, a credit card reader that fits into your iPhone's headphone jack. Use the Square iPhone app to enter the amount of the bill, swipe a card through the Square reader's slot, and you're on your way to getting paid. Start by going to Square and signing up for an account. All you need to provide is a US-based mailing address, a US-based bank account, and a Social Security Number. You can sign up as a business or as an individual, and even without the card reader, you can accept credit cards by manually entering the credit card's number. The card reader will arrive in a few days and at that point you'll be all set. There's nothing else to do.The FeesSquare's fees are simple: no set-up fee, no monthly fee, no monthly minimum, no variable rates. Just 2.75% on every scanned credit card, and 3.5% + 15 cents for every manually-entered credit card. (For those new to this credit card stuff, a scanned card number is less of a fraud risk to Square than a manually-entered card number is, so they charge less for that.) Why Square?Square's fees are competitive with those from other "merchant services" companies, so price isn't really the reason to use them. Where Square really shines is in ease of set-up, ease of use (iPhone app), clear reports, and excellent customer service. It could not be easier to set up, the iPhone app is super-convenient, the reports tell you everything you need to know, and when you need help from Square it's easy to get, and fast. Here are a few screenshots taken from my iPhone. This one shows some work that I'm going to charge for.If I'm on-site, the customer gives me a credit card and I scan it. The customer then signs her name with her finger, right on the iPhone. It's wild. One more touch and the card number is sent to Square (so yes, you need to have internet access, either WiFi or through your iPhone's cellular data network). Approval is immediate (assuming it's a good card) and a receipt is emailed to the customer. The whole affair is fast and fun, even for the person paying.Here's how it looks when you don't have a card to scan. Just type it in and Authorize.Here's a stock photo from Square themselves showing the signature screen. Yes, they compute tips for you, if that's what you'd like.Here's a screenshot showing how nice and clean the Square iPhone app is. If I tap the Sales History button I can see how I've used Square, right on the phone.It's not blurry when you look at it on the iPhone.The money gets to your bank account in about three business days. First it goes to Square's…
  247. 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 a long time ago.AOL charged for that. It makes sense that they did; if nothing else, all of those phone lines and modems cost AOL real money. So you paid, maybe $19.95 per month, maybe $14.95 per month, and if you have an AOL account that is more than a couple of years old, you probably are still paying. But you don't have to.Turns out that AOL will give anyone a free email address. And, if you already have an AOL address, you should check to see whether you're paying for it or not. If all you want from AOL is an email address, follow this tutorial and quit paying them. It's really easy.Step One: use Safari (or Firefox, or whatever) and go to www.aol.com. (You can do this on your computer or your iPhone or iPad. Even the PC people can do this, so tell a friend. Your friend will thank you.) If you're already checking your email on AOL, look for a tiny "AOL" link at top left. That'll do it.Step Two: click where it says "SERVICES" The red arrow shows you where. You're not going to click and hold and slide down the menu that drops down. You're just going to click on "SERVICES" and let go.Step Three: in this screen, click where it says "Account Updates." It's nice and bold, at the top left. Red arrow, man.Step Four: you'll have to sign in (if you haven't already), and you'll have to supply the secret answer to your secret question. I can't help you with those things-- that's why they call them "secret." Once you've done that, you'll see this screen. Click where it says "Change My AOL Plan."They'll ask you whether you need a dial-up connection or not. Hopefully, you know the answer to that. (If you're not sure, contact me and I will help you find out. Hint: if you're one of my customers, you do NOT need a dial-up connection. You have a high-speed connection already.)Step Five: Now for the fun part. They'll tell you at the top what your current plan is. If it says anything other than "Current Plan: $0.00/month" you're about to save some money. Here's what you might see:Scroll down the page and you'll find the Free AOL plan. That's the one for you. Click the big orange "Get This Plan" button and that is that. You'll see something like this when you're done:So... what are you…
  248. Favorite Steve Jobs Links
    I thought I'd put a few of my favorite Steve Jobs links here, all in one place. Enjoy. Playboy Interview, February 1985. Long, meaty, written interview with Steve Jobs, head of Apple (at the time). Fantastic reading. Three months after this interview was published, Jobs was out of Apple, fired from the company he started. MacWorld Expo 1997 Keynote Speech (video). Jobs is back with Apple, thanks to Apple's acquisition of NeXT. Gil Amelio (the Apple CEO who oversaw the acquisition) is out, and Apple is operating without an official CEO. In his first big public speech since his return, Jobs outlines his plans for bringing a reeling Apple back to health. He is particularly gracious in giving thanks to the outgoing Board members for working hard under difficult circumstances. Watch and listen as Jobs alludes to "the crazy ones" that Apple makes computers for (soon to be the theme of some very memorable ads). Great stuff throughout. Stanford Commencement Address, 2005 (video_. Twenty-two minute video (counting the introduction by Stanford's President John Hennessy). Jobs' pancreatic cancer had been diagnosed the previous year, and the perspective it gave him is evident throughout the speech. Highly recommended. Original iPhone introduction, MacWorld Expo 2007 (video). "This is a day I've been looking forward to for two and a half years." Spellbinding. Steve Jobs at his very best.
  249. Christian Boyce on the Radio September 3rd, 2011
    I'll be on the Digital Village radio program Saturday, September 3rd 2011 at 9 AM, talking with hosts Doran Barons and Ric Allan about Steve Jobs and his legacy. Should be an interesting program. Click here to listen live. If you miss the show, use this link to listen to a recording.
  250. 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 would be better if the toolbar looked more like this:So let's do it. 1. Select "Customize Toolbar..." from the View menu.2. At bottom left corner, change "Show Icon Only" to "Show Icon and Text." 3. Click "Done" (bottom right). That's it! So much better. And so easy to do. You can always go back to Customize Toolbar... and make other changes, including adding and deleting buttons such as "Add To Address Book" and "Smaller Bigger." And, if you get really good at things and you want that quarter-inch of vertical screen space back, you can change back to "icon only" or even to "text only." Nice to know you have choices.
  251. NFL Prime Time Calendar for 2011, in iCal Format
    Here is an iCal calendar showing the times and teams for every prime-time NFL game for the 2011 season. The calendar is provided by Scott Crevier of South End Zone and if you're a football fan I strongly urge you to visit his site.In years past, I've modified Scott's full NFL schedule using AppleScript, producing a calendar of just the prime-time games, but Scott agreed to build the prime-time calendar himself this year. Scott's calendar has the advantage of being kept up to date as the season moves along. If you click the link here, iCal will launch and ask you whether you want to subscribe to the calendar. The answer is "Yes" so click Subscribe (don't change the Calendar URL-- that has to stay as shown). In the next box, you may wish to rename the calendar, change its color, and turn off the Alerts and Attachments and Reminders. You may also want to change the update frequency to every day rather than every week. See below.The NFL season is right around the corner. Subscribe to this calendar and you'll know who's playing on Monday Night Football (and Sunday Night Football, and Thursday Night Football), and when.(Those who are interested can read how I created the prime-time calendar myself in years past, starting with South End Zone's full NFL schedule and using AppleScript to systematically remove every game that started before 4 PM Pacific time. Writing the AppleScript was a fun exercise but this year's calendar from South End Zone is better due to the updating.)
  252. Steve Jobs Resigns as CEO of Apple: My Thoughts
    This is Steve Jobs introducing the iPhone at MacWorld Expo in January 2007.This is Steve Jobs introducing the iPad three years later.I don't know of another big-time CEO who so obviously loves his products. Look at his face. He can hardly contain himself. I can't decide which picture I like more. So here they are, both of them.***As you surely know, Steve Jobs resigned his position as CEO of Apple today via this letter to the Apple Board of Directors "and the Apple Community" (which I thought a nice touch). I've received numerous comments via email, text, phone, and in person, all saying "It's a sad day." And I agree. But, as I've written before, it's hardly the end of Apple. It's also hardly the end of Steve Jobs' involvement at Apple-- he's still on the Board of Directors, and now he's Chairman of the Board, and he's still an Apple employee. Yes, it's a step back, but no, he's not leaving Apple. Not just yet.(Apple's going to be fine. Tim Cook, whom Steve Jobs personally picked to be CEO, is going to take the job. Cook isn't Steve Jobs, but he's been Chief Operating Officer at Apple since 1998, and he wouldn't have lasted that long if he didn't understand what's important to the company and what makes Apple special. I've read that Apple has codified "the Apple way," going so far as to create a series of courses that formally explain and teach the company's core beliefs. Those beliefs may have started in Steve Jobs' mind, but they aren't going to end there. Obviously, Steve Jobs is not replaceable in the sense that we're all different, and Jobs is more different than most. But the company is in good hands with Tim Cook.)So what's so sad about today's news? Plenty: An unmatched leader is unable to continue doing the work he loves. That's sad. The public has probably seen its last Steve Jobs keynote speech/product introduction. That's sad too. Reading between the lines it's easy to assume that Jobs' health is deteriorating, and of course on a human level that's even sadder still.Steve Jobs tried to change the world-- and he did it. He had a vision of how ordinary people could use computers and technology to make their lives better, and now, after all these years, the world understand what Jobs meant. The Mac, the iPod, the iTunes Music Store, the iPhone, the iPad-- all game-changers, instantly copied, with the ideas being so good that even the copies were better than what was there before. Steve Jobs changed computers, music, phones, and with the iPad, "everything." He changed the world, and now it appears he might not be around to enjoy it very long. That, to me, is saddest of all.UPDATE: According to Ars Technica, Tim Cook sent a letter this morning to all Apple employees, saying "I want you to be confident that Apple is not going to change." Read the full text of Tim Cook's…
  253. How to Print Faster, and Save Ink
    Save time and ink (and money!) by printing in a "fast" or "draft" mode. If you print to an inkjet printer this will help you out.
  254. HP Doesn’t Get It
    Hewlett-Packard appears to be through as a PC maker. Their TouchPad (HP's version of the iPad), introduced only six weeks ago, was recently discounted-- and now it's discontinued. Today, at HP's quarterly earnings conference call, HP said that it was "exploring options" for getting out of the PC business altogether. Wow. There's a lot of other HP news, though none of it as shocking as HP's ability to face the fact that an HP logo on a not-as-good-as-the-iPad tablet isn't nearly good enough. The thing that really stands out, though, is what HP's CEO and CFO say is the driving force for the company: namely, creating and increasing "shareholder value."You never hear Apple talking about "shareholder value" in its conference calls. All Apple talks about is making great products-- and about record sales. I don't think it's a coincidence.If you make it plain that your Number One priority is "increasing shareholder value" you also make it plain that "making great stuff" can't be higher than priority Number Two. To my mind, HP has it backward. Make great stuff first. "Shareholder value" will come along for the ride.In case anyone from HP is reading... imagine the man on the street talking about your products even when the products haven't been announced. Imagine world-wide news coverage of your every product introduction. Imagine repeat customers desiring your products so strongly that they camp on the sidewalks outside your stores for the privilege of exchanging their money for your goods. If you're HP, you can only imagine. But if you're Apple, you know what it's like first-hand.Maybe one day HP will realize that they got where they are (actually, where they used to be) by making great stuff, and maybe one day they'll focus on that instead of on shareholder value. I hope they do. But I wouldn't bet on it.Here are some excerpts from HP's conference call (with emphasis added by me). You can read a transcript of the entire event here. You can search the transcript for the word "shareholder" and find it many times, including in the snippets below:Léo Apotheker, HP's CEO: "Today is all about rising shareholder values and addressing the challenges we face in our business."Mr. Apotheker: "... continuing to execute our current device approach in this market space [tablets] is no longer in the best interest of HP and HP's shareholders. Therefore, we have made the difficult but necessary decision to shut down the webOS hardware provisions within Q4 2011."Mr. Apotheker: "... most importantly, we very strongly believe the transaction [purchasing Autonomy] will create significant value for our shareholders."Mr. Apotheker: "...as CEO, I believe in transparency about what we are facing and be clear on the decisive things we are doing now about it. To conclude, I'm taking ownership for these decisions and investments with a focus on driving actions that deliver value for shareholders as we shape the new HP."Catherine Lesjak, HP's CFO: "We are repositioning our portfolio, discontinuing or exploring options for lower margin businesses and…
  255. 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 Lion's release could still be present-- but I'd expect a lot of them to be fixed in 10.7.2.If you're on 10.7, Step One is be absolutely positive that you have a current backup. You can go to Time Machine's menu and tell it to "Back Up Now" (that's what I did). Step Two is get 10.7.1 via Software Update under the Apple menu. Step Three is restart, which the Installer will insist upon. You might get some disk activity and fan noise immediately after the restart, but it ought to go away in time. You can restart again after that and from then on it ought to be smooth sailing.You can probably tell that I am not keen on Lion. I prefer Snow Leopard for several reasons, some of which I will write about someday soon. But, if you're already on Lion, you'll be happier after installing the 10.7.1 update. Just be sure you have that backup, just in case.
  256. 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 is talking about. The Finder in Snow Leopard has something in its Sidebar that Lion doesn't have, and I've bordered it here in red.By default, without you doing anything, Snow Leopard has this nifty "Search For" section, and when you click one of the items in that section the Finder shows all of the files that match. Here, I clicked "All Images" and Snow Leopard's Finder is showing 9,997 image files, from all over my hard disk.You will also notice the "Today," "Yesterday," and "Past Week" items. Click them to find all of the files that have changed for the given timeframe. If you've ever forgotten what you named a document, but you know you worked on it yesterday, clicking on "Yesterday" in the Search For section will help you find it. You can see that this "Search For" stuff could be handy. But Lion doesn't have it. Here's a look at the Sidebar in Lion's Finder-- no "Search For" to be found.It's just not there. What a drag.The good news is you can put it back with just a little work on your part. The really good news is that you can do even better than the standard Search For section (and that goes for you non-Lion users-- what you'll learn here will work for you in Snow Leopard and "regular" Leopard too). Here's how you do it.First, click on the Desktop, or the Finder icon in the Dock, or on a Finder window-- the point being that Step One is to be sure the Finder is the active program. Not sure? Look up by the Apple menu. If the next thing to the right says "Finder" you're ready to go. If not, click the Desktop (or the Finder icon in the Dock, or on a Finder window) and make it so.Next, go to the File menu and choose Find. You're going to find something.In this case, we're going to find every image on the hard disk-- that is, we want "Kind" to be "Image." Here's what the top of the Find box looks like. (Note the Save button. We're going to save our Find criteria when we're done.) Click where it says "Any" and change it to Image. You will get another little menu next to that menu, where you could, if you wanted to, choose to only find JPEG or PNG or whatever. Leave it set to "All." Then click the Save button. What you're…
  257. 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 there are several matches-- for example, let's say you're going to email your friend Jack. You type "j" and then you type "a" and Mail shows you a list with Jack, Jason, Janet, Janice, Jamal, Jackson, James, etc. That's easy enough to deal with-- just type a little more, and the list narrows down to the one you want.Where it really works very poorly is when someone you've written to changes his email address. Mail remembers the addresses of people you've emailed before, so even though you've changed the person's name in the Address Book, Mail keeps suggesting the old address. That can be a problem.For example, let's say you have a friend, Joe Smith, with an email address as shown here:Send him even one email at that address and Mail will very helpfully suggest "joe@joesmith.com" every time you begin addressing an email with "joe."Now let's say Joe changes his email address to something a little different (or, let's say you had it wrong all along-- no wonder he didn't write back!). Let's say his new address is this one:You've changed it in the Address Book, but look what happens when you start addressing an email to Joe. Mail suggests both the current email address and the old one, like so:Obviously, it would be nice if Mail would forget about Joe's old email address. Here's how you make that happen.Choose "Previous Recipients" from Mail's Window menu as shown here:You'll get a little window, where you can type in what you're looking for to narrow it down. Here's what it looked like after I searched for joe smith:Click the address you want Mail to forget about, then click "Remove From List," and that is that. Next time you address an email to Joe, Mail will suggest just the new address, as shown below.Pretty cool. This works the same way in Mail whether you're using Lion (10.7), Snow Leopard (10.6), Leopard (10.5), or even Tiger (10.4). Have a look in your Mail program's Previous Recipients window. I'll bet you'll find a bunch of addresses that can be cleared out (including some that were typos, which Mail remembers anyway).In case you wondered: Mail looks for email addresses in both the Address Book and in the Previous Recipients list. It does not look at the addresses of people who have sent emails to you unless they are already in your Address Book or Mail's Previous Recipients.UPDATE: eliminated duplicate paragraph at top…
  258. 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 the top.Either way, you get a folder called "New Folder With Items" and it is ready for you to rename (no need to click it, just type the new name).You've probably done something like this in iTunes (New Playlist from Selection). Now you can do it in the Finder.2. iCal: double-click an event to edit it. Doesn't sound like such a big deal, but in 10.6.8 you double-click the event, then you click the Edit button. Lion's iCal eliminates the extra step. Thank you, Lion! You don't need a picture for this, just try it.3. Mail: Favorites Bar. Drag your favorite mailboxes ("folders" to you and me) to the Favorites Bar for quick access, then hide the mailbox list so you have more room for mail. Go from this three-column view.... to this two-column view, leaving more room for the stuff you really need (that is, the mail that you are reading). The important parts are highlighted in red (the Favorites Bar) and yellow (the Show/Hide button, which shows and hides the third pane of the Mail window). If the Favorites Bar is not showing in Mail, choose Show Favorites Bar from the View menu. Note: you can file a message by dragging it onto an item in the Favorites Bar. Very nice.I hope to find more stuff I like in Lion. If and when I do, I will let you know.
  259. 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 icons, and the information about how much room was left on the disk-- along with the rest of the bottom of the window frame. One quick trip to the View menu and I'd turned on the Status Bar, leaving me with windows looking like this:That's better. Now I can use the slider at bottom right to make the icons larger, and now I can see how much room is on the disk (and the number of items in the window).After using the slider, the thumbnails are large enough to be useful. Note: of course you could change the size of the icons by going to View/Show View Options (or, Command-J, thanks for reminding me Dave), but that's a bit of extra work. Just show the Status Bar and be done with it-- you'll have the slider right there all the time, for all Finder windows. One change and you're done.Bonus: with the Status Bar showing you have something else to click on when you want to move the window. I say turn the Status Bar on and leave it on. I also say turn on the Path Bar (in the Finder's View menu) and leave it on too-- that way, you'll know "the path" to the window you're looking at. For example, with the Path Bar on, I can see that the folder I'm looking at ("texas flowers") is in the Pictures folder, on the disk called "cboyce." I find that incredibly handy. You can double-click any item in the Path Bar and you'll jump straight there. That's even more incredibly handy.The next thing that Apple turns off by default in the Lion Finder is our old friend the scroll bar. You can get the scroll bar back-- go to Apple/System Preferences.../General and look for "Show scroll bars:" and then click "Always." (The scroll bars in Lion are a little thin for my taste, and there aren't any arrows to click on at the ends of the scroll bars-- something I really hope Apple changes its mind on soon. For now, no scroll arrows, none at all. Ugh.)While you're in there, try changing the size of icons in the Finder's "Sidebar." Here's what it looks like with the Sidebar icon size set to "Large." (No, you can't change the color-- it's going to be shades of gray for the Sidebar in Lion, not that I see that as an advantage.)Personally, I like my Sidebar icons "Medium."You might…
  260. 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 Lion.Google search: "How to run Palm desktop on OS Lion"Boyce Blog answer: You don't. Very sorry. Palm Desktop is a PowerPC application, and like every other PowerPC application, will not run under Mac OS Lion. The most recent system that can run PowerPC applications is Mac OS X 10.6.8 (Snow Leopard). There is no way around it: Palm Desktop will NOT run if your Mac is on Lion. Don't expect Palm to put out a new version-- they won't.If you are using Palm Desktop and contemplating a move to Lion, export your Palm Desktop data before you install Lion. Export your Contacts as vCards, then import into Apple's Address Book. Export your Calendar as vCal, then import into iCal. If you have already made your move to Lion contact me privately and we can talk about your next step.Google search: "Lion won't open Microsoft Word" (very popular search)Boyce Blog answer: It will if you are using Office 2008 or Office 2011. Microsoft says that they will support both versions with priority being given to the 2011 version. You will not be able to use any part of Office 2004, or, Office X because they are PowerPC applications, and as you now now, PowerPC applications will not run in Mac OS Lion. If you are already on Lion, get Office 2011. Here's a link to Microsoft Office 2011 on Amazon,* where you will save a bit over the suggested retail price. UPDATE: you can download Microsoft Office 2011 (Home and Student Family Pack-- 3 Installs, or Home and Business-- 2 installs) from the Amazon Mac App Store* via this link.* Sorry, they don't have the single-installation versions available for download but if you need it now, you need it now.Google search: "Can't open FileMaker with Lion"Boyce Blog answer: Once again, probably a case of a PowerPC application. FileMaker 10 and 11 will work, but only version 11 will be upgraded to be fully compatible. At this writing, 11.0v3 is the latest version and it has a couple of small issues. A free upgrade from any version of FileMaker 11 to 11.0v4 will come in August, according to FileMaker. If you have FileMaker 9 or 10, upgrade to 11 via this link.* If you have 8.5 or older (or no FileMaker at all) you will have to buy the full version. Here's the link* for that. Amazon often charges less than FileMaker's price. Note: FileMaker documents have…
  261. 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, then donate whatever you think is right. See my article "How to Remove Ads from Safari, Firefox, and Chrome" for more info. Includes a link to AdBlock Plus, which has become my favorite. ClickToFlash prevents Flash animations from loading until (or unless) you click on them. Fantastic. You get a nice, peaceful web-browsing experience but you can still click the Flash videos that you want to see-- which will turn out to be "not very many." Here's a before-and-after (the circled ad rotates through seven different deals on the FoodSaver-- very distracting):With ClickToFlash installed and active, the same page looks like this:You can still see the space where the ad would be, and if you click it once it will show you the ad and all of its seven-image animation. AdBlocker would have hidden the ad completely, and that's not so bad either. You can use both AdBlock and ClickToFlash simultaneously and that is what I do. Use this link to get ClickToFlash. It's free.AutoPagerize (donation-ware) and Page One (free) both attempt to make multi-page web articles (the ones that make you click to go to page 2, and then 3, and then 4, etc.) easier to read by putting all of the pieces together, all on one page. Both are terrific though AutoPagerize works on more sites, while Page One does it a little more neatly. Either way, you won't see much of this sort of thing anymore:BONUS: you can often use Safari's built-in Reader to turn a multi-page story into a single-page one that is cleaner and nicer to read. You don't need an extension-- it's part of Safari. All you do is click the "Reader" button (circled in red here) in Safari's address bar (not that it is always there-- it only shows up when Safari thinks it knows what the main story on a page is). One click takes you from this (a four-page story):to this:It's hard to see, but in the top right corner it says "Page 1 of 4." What that means is you get the whole story in one scrolling window, with no ads and no other distractions. Pretty nice.UPDATE: I put in the "after" picture so you can see how AdBlock works. Oopsy.
  262. 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.
  263. 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 clumsy I am with it, especially with the scroll bars and window resizing. This is going to take some getting used to. I will probably have something to say about the new Finder, and it will probably not be totally positive, because my first impression with Lion's Finder is it's not as good as Snow Leopard's Finder. Quite a disappointment.Main CourseThe Apple apps all seem to work just fine, as you would expect. Mail upgraded my old Mail and it's better than the old mail. iChat works. Safari works. Address Book works but I like the old one better. Spotlight works but needs configuring (somebody, remind me to write about that). Pages and Numbers '09 work (but man is it weird to see Pages say "saving" when I quit without saving! That's Lion for you.)Third-party apps, including Microsoft Word 2011, Microsoft Excel 2011, and Microsoft PowerPoint 2011, seem to work fine. I launched them all, made a new document with them all, and printed from them all. Nothing fancy, and of course I can't test every feature in every program so there may be something that does not work. But, at least for the basics, Office 2011 seems to work.Office 2008 (Word, Excel, and PowerPoint) open and print. AutoUpdate DOES work (choose "Check for Updates" from the Help menu of any of those three apps). Microsoft's AutoUpdate used to be PowerPC code, and it is probably hanging around in your Applications folder, a mistake by Microsoft's installer-- it looks like this, and it won't work in Lion: (when you see it in Lion it will have a circle and a slash through it). The version of AutoUpdate that works looks like this: and it lives in a totally different place (see below).You don't need to know where it lives, but you do need to know that it works. So, basically, if you have Office 2008 installed already, you're probably good to go. If you're only up to Office 2004 (which definitely does not work), you should probably buy Office 2011* (amazon link). Note: contrary to what I thought I knew a few days ago, Office 2008 can be installed under Lion. I tested that first-hand here. I had my doubts about the installer but I was able to install Office 2008 on my Lionized MacBook without any trouble.Outlook 2011 works (part of Office 2011 if you pay for the Business version). Entourage 2008, which you really…
  264. 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 stashed away) I will begin the Lion upgrade. If something goes terribly wrong I can take the Lionized hard drive out, put my 10.6.8 hard drive back in, and I'll be back in business. Whether I have trouble or not I'll make another post here relating my initial Lion experience, hopefully by midnight tonight.In the meantime, if you're looking for an excellent review of Lion, read John Siracusa's lengthy Lion write-up. Yes, it's long, but it's worth it. Mr. Siracusa has written a detailed review of every Mac OS X version and they are always excellent reading. In fact, it's Mr. Siracusa's reviews that keep me from feeling the need to write one myself. Everything's covered, and long as it is, it's very readable. He even tells you which parts to skip.If you don't want to read John Siracusa's 18 pages on Lion, try Robert Mohns' Lion review over at Macintouch.com. This is also great stuff, just not as detailed and without Siracusa's legendary deadpan humor. There are plenty of other reviews to be found but these two are the best.If you're looking for a master list of what works with Lion and what doesn't, you're just like me. There really isn't an official list. There is a nice bit of collective work, relying on reader contributions, over at RoaringApps.com, but it is hardly complete and certainly not official. However, it's the best there is as of this writing and a useful place to start. Note that some of the reports at RoaringApps were posted in the months leading up to Lion's release so it's possible that the final "shipping" version of Lion took care of some of the issues seen there. (How weird it feels to write about Lion "shipping," when it comes to us over the internet, with no box or cellophane or truck or plane-- or ship. We are living in a modern world.)That's it for now. Gotta wait for that backup to finish.UPDATE: Lion is up and running on my MacBook. The backup took longer than I thought it would and so did the installation of Lion. And, with Spotlight re-indexing the drive (apparently it has to do this), the fan is going full-blast and the machine is sluggish. I expect the machine to feel speedy again when Spotlight is finished.So far, I've done VERY brief tests of Microsoft Word (from both Office 2008 and 2011), and they both seem to…
  265. 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 10.7, and whether your scanner will work with 10.7, and whether your programs will work with 10.7. I would guess that they might not.Here is a partial list of software that I know you will have trouble with after installing Mac OS X Lion.Microsoft Office 2004 (won't run at all)Microsoft Office 2008 (installer and auto-updater are PPC)Quicken (any version other than "Quicken Essentials")FileMaker Pro 7 or earlier (won't run at all-- and later versions have issues)Palm DesktopAdobe Creative Suite CS2 or earlier (Photoshop CS2, Illustrator CS2, InDesign CS2, etc.) won't run at allAppleWorks (won't run at all)In some cases, solutions exist but they all cost money. For example, you can upgrade to Adobe Creative Suite 5.5,* upgrade to Microsoft Office 2011* (get the Business Edition if you want Outlook), upgrade to FileMaker Pro (but don't rush out to do that-- I would not bet on the current version working on Day One). In other cases, there is no upgrade to be had-- not for Quicken, not for Palm Desktop, not for AppleWorks. In those cases, you'd be looking for another program to use. You'd better think about exporting the data from those applications before you install 10.7-- if you can't launch, you can't export. UPDATE: you can download Microsoft Office 2011 (Home and Student Family Pack-- 3 Installs, or Home and Business-- 2 installs) from the Amazon Mac Software Store* via this link.* Sorry, they don't have the single-installation versions available for download but if you need it now, you need it now.I am sure that in time most (but not all) of the incompatibilities created by Lion will be dealt with. The key phrase is "in time." Don't expect everything to work right away. My advice: wait. Let someone else find out that stuff doesn't work. Give developers time to gather bug reports and put out some updates. Make your move to Lion after that.When you do decide to go to Lion, please make sure that you have a backup. If things go wrong it would be nice to be able to go back to 10.6.8.UPDATE 2: the people at RoaringApps.com are compiling an extensive Lion compatibility table. See it at http://roaringapps.com/apps:table. Notable on the list: Microsoft Office 2004 (does not work), Microsoft Office 2008 (tested, has some problems), Microsoft Office 2011 (tested, has some problems). What a great time to switch to Apple's iWork. Here's a link* to a good deal on it…
  266. 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 megabytes. That's too big to email, so you need to compress it. Turns out it's really easy to do.Get your document open in Preview, then choose Save As... from Preview's File menu.UPDATE: In Mac OS X Lion, Preview's File menu doesn't have a Save As... command! It does have an Export... command, and that's what you'll choose in Lion. Everything else is the same. You'll get this box:(If you don't see a box this big, click the triangle (boxed in blue here) to expand it.) Notice the "Quartz Filter: Reduce File Size" (boxed in red). You have to choose that. Ordinarily, it says "Quartz Filter: None." Change it to say "Quartz Filter: Reduce File Size." Below: the other choices, in case you're interested. I don't think I've ever used any of them. Experiment if you'd like but for our purposes here, use "Reduce File Size."You should give your reduced-size PDF a new name before clicking "Save" because you will want to be able to compare the reduced one to the original. You don't want to over-write the original. At least I don't think you do.In this example, I got info on the reduced-size PDF and looky how much smaller it is:The reduced-size version is less than 25% as big as the original. That's great. This one, we can email. Of course, before emailing it we want to check the quality. Here are some screen shots showing you the original and the reduced-size versions (look in the title bars-- the smaller one says "smaller"). Virtually identical. However, compression is not always so neat and clean. In some cases the quality will not be very good after being compressed. But, a lot of times it will be, and since Preview is right there on your Mac already, it is certainly worth a try.UPDATE: I just learned, thanks to an article on Macworld.com, that you can adjust the amount of compression performed by the "Smaller PDF" filter, which means you can adjust the quality too. What a great thing. Here's the link to the Macworld article.
  267. 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.
  268. 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, you will not find any new features in this version, unless you call "functional" a new feature. Mac OS X 10.7, otherwise known as "Lion", is coming soon. If you are on 10.6.8 you'll be able to download it in a few weeks for $29. It might be better if you don't, because you might not be able to use some of the software you're used to using. Such as Quicken.Yes, Quicken. After all these years (five of them), Quicken is still not Intel-native. Instead, it's written for the older PowerPC chip (PPC). Apple provides software called Rosetta which translates PPC programs into something the Intel Macs can use, but it slows everything down and while it's available in every version of Mac OS X from 10.0 to 10.6, Apple is leaving it out of Lion. What it means is you will not be able to use Quicken on a Mac running Lion.You can read all about it here, straight from Quicken's support web site. It's easy to get mad at Intuit (Quicken's publisher) and say they should have built an Intel-native Quicken by now (five years after Apple announced the switch to Intel chips). In fact, it's so easy that a lot of people have gotten mad and said that already. I wouldn't bother. Intuit has a very poor track record when it comes to listening to customer feedback regarding their Macintosh products and I would not expect them to change their tune now.If you're already using "Quicken Essentials" you'll be OK-- Quicken Essentials is Intel-native. But, most people use the "real" Quicken, because Quicken does more than Quicken Essentials does. Essentials can't pay bills online, and it can't track investment activity (though it does show you how much each investment is worth). The reports aren't as good in Essentials either.Intuit will sell you a copy of Quicken Essentials, which WILL run on Lion, for $24.99 (half-off) if you use this link. If you're using Quicken 2006, or 2007 on a Mac, and you really want to run Lion, spend the money and get a copy of Essentials and see how you like it-- BEFORE installing Lion. (If you're using an older version of Quicken you will have to upgrade to Quicken 2006 at least before moving to Essentials. That will complicate things. Thanks Intuit!) QuickBooks is a different story. QuickBooks might work with Lion (at least it's Intel-native, so there's hope). With Quicken,…
  269. The iMom Project, Day Ten
    Ten tips in ten days. It's the iMom Project, Day Ten.Tonight: the iPhone's Settings app.That's what it looks like: three gears, in what has become the international symbol for settings, or preferences, or tools (or gears). I don't know why three gears means "Settings" on the iPhone but it does. And, in a big departure from what we've gotten used to on the Mac, just about all of the settings for the iPhone-- including those for most of the apps, are packed into this one Settings app. (On the Mac, the settings for each program-- Mail, Safari, iPhoto-- are accessed by going to the program first, then to the settings that are specific to that program. Not so on the iPhone. On the iPhone, you go to the Settings first.)There are hundreds of things to play with in the Settings. I'll show you the ones I think are the most important and interesting.By the way, if there was one right way to do everything there wouldn't be a Settings app at all. You don't have to do everything my way. The picture above is what you see when you launch the Settings app. Apple's done a great job of putting the most important stuff near the top. Airplane Mode should be OFF unless you are on an Airplane because when it's on, you can't make a phone call or use the 3G wireless service. Wi-Fi shows the network you're connected to, unless Wi-Fi's switched off. More on Wi-Fi in a minute. Notifications: you probably want that on, because that's the thing that lets apps pop up little messages like baseball scores and weather alerts and the word of the day, even when you're not using those apps. If you turn it off, none of that fun stuff happens. You can touch the little gray arrow at the end of Notifications and make adjustments on an app-by-app basis. For example, I let the eBay app send me alerts and play sounds (even when it is not the frontmost app), but I don't let the ESPN app do that. Totally up to you. Play around and experiment.Location Services is a good thing. In general, you want it on; as with Notifications, you control which apps get to know where you are. I let the Google app know my location (that way, when I search using the Google app, it offers to "use my location" to help me find stuff near me), and I let the AAA Discount app know my location because it can help me find discounts near me if it knows where I am. I couldn't come up with a good reason for Dictionary to know where I am, so I turned Location Services off for that app.There are lots of options for you in Sounds, Brightness, and Wallpaper but you will figure those out on your own. So I'm skipping them. Let's touch "General" and see what we can find in there.The big deal here is Bluetooth. Turn it…
  270. 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 relatively easy. Thanks to Eliran Sapir for the fix. Click here to get it.If your printer is connected with a USB cable don't worry, this issue won't affect you. But if you use a networked HP printer, or a networked Xerox, or a networked Canon or networked Minolta, or many others, you may run into the problem. The symptom is you try to print and right away the printer reports "paused" even though it is not. You won't make it work by resetting the printer system or reloading drivers or repairing permissions, so don't bother. Just use Eliran's fix. It only takes a minute and you'll be back in business. If you're still having problems, your problem is not the one caused by the 10.6.8 update. In that case, you may find your answer in my article on resetting the printing system. Still stuck after that? Use the form on my contact page to get help from me.
  271. The iMom Project, Day Nine
    Ten tips in ten days. It's the iMom Project, Day Nine.You already know how to take a picture and email it: take the photo, get to the Camera Roll in the Photos app, and then touch the little curvy arrow flying out of a rectangle. I circled in red the little curvy arrow flying out of the rectangle in the picture below.Turns out that little curvy arrow flying out of a rectangle has a name-- the Sharing button-- and it turns out that it's not exclusive to the Photos app. It shows up other places too. I will show you one more place, and you will keep your eye out for more. First, let's talk about the various options hiding behind the Sharing button in the Photos app.You've been using the Email Photo option, but the others may be new to you (they also might not all be there for you-- some of these options showed up in iOS 4, and I haven't had time to upgrade your iPhone from iOS 3. Something to look forward to.)Email Photo: does what it sounds like. Address the email and give it a subject, write a little if you want, and send it. Note: the iPhone may ask you whether you want to send a small, medium, or large version of the picture-- if it does, you have to make a choice. Until you do the email does not get sent.MMS: this sends the picture as a "text message." We just learned to "text" and you know how cool that can be-- now, you can "text" a picture to someone. If they have an iPhone it will show up on their iPhone without them going to "check email" or anything (just like a text message always does). The pictures you send this way are smaller than the ones you email, unless you choose "small" as the email option.Send to MobileMe: you don't have a MobileMe account so this one is not going to do much for you. Even if you did have a MobileMe account you wouldn't have one for long, as the "iCloud" service will unfortunately not include this feature when it comes into being and MobileMe goes away. But, in the interest of completeness, I will tell you that the idea with Send to MobileMe is you can "publish" photos to the internet, storing them on Apple's special MobileMe servers, where other people can come to see them without you having to email the pictures (for an example, click here). It is really neat, and it's a drag that Apple has decided to pull the plug on it. The iCloud will have something similar, but not the same, and of course the button will have to get a new name too-- I am betting on "Send to iCloud" or something like that. We can talk about this again in a few months when iCloud is up and running.Assign to Contact: this a great one. You will use it all the time.…
  272. The iMom Project, Day Eight
    Ten tips in ten days. It's the iMom Project, Day Eight.If this were Jeopardy! they'd call it "Potpourri." But, it's not Jeopardy!, so I'm calling it "My Favorite iPhone Tips." Try 'em all.Favorite Tip #1: The Home Button.The Home button is very important. If you're using an app (Mail, maybe) and you press the Home button you'll be taken to the Home screen that you were last looking at. You can have more than one Home screen, as you have probably noticed-- some of your apps are on "this" Home screen and some of them are on "that" Home screen and some of them are on "the other" Home screen, etc. But, when you press Home, you come back to the one you were last on. If you press the Home button when you're already looking at a Home screen, you are taken to the first Home screen (the one at the far left). That's handier than swipe-swipe-swipe. And, if you're already on the first Home screen, and you press the Home button, you are taken to the Search screen, which we talked about a few days ago.Favorite Tip #2: Take a Screen ShotThere are plenty of times when you're going to see something funny on your iPhone and you want me to tell you what it is. But, since I'm not always going to be in the neighborhood your best bet is to take a picture of the iPhone's screen and email it to me. It is very easy to do. Just press the Home button and the Sleep button (at the top right edge of the iPhone) at the same time. (They're not super-strict about "at the same time." You can be a little late with one button or the other and it will still work.) When you do it right, you'll hear a sound, the same one you hear when you use the iPhone to take a picture. You will also see the screen sort of "flash" a little. After that, nothing happens, but the screen's been captured. Go to the Photos app and you'll see it in the "Camera Roll" (which is where all of the photos taken with the iPhone are). From there, you touch the picture, then touch the "Sharing" button at bottom left (rectangle with a curvy arrow flying out of it), just as you do with photos that you want to email. The rest you already know how to do-- just address it, title it, and send it.Bonus to Favorite Tip #2: if you take too long to hit the Sharing button, it disappears. That's not a problem. Just touch the picture to bring the Sharing button back. Touch the picture again to make it disappear. Favorite Tip #3: Scroll to the TopLots of iPhone apps have more information than fits on one little screen. The Contacts app, the Mail App, the Calendar app, Safari-- all of those, and many more, involve a bit of scrolling. Sometimes you end up way way…
  273. The iMom Project, Day Seven
    Ten tips in ten days. Day Seven.(Note: we didn't say "Ten tips in ten days in a row.")Today we're going to learn about the Maps app. You will find it very handy. Start it up and work along with me.The items circled in red are important. The Maps app has two modes: Search and Directions. We want Search, at least for now. "Search" lets you find things like ATMs and gas stations and bookstores and donuts and Macy's and thrift shops. And addresses of people in your address book. So, tap "Search" to be sure you're in that mode. The white arrow in the blue square at bottom left locates your iPhone (and presumably, you) on the map. Touch that once. Your iPhone's location is marked with a blue pin on the map. You can see, from the picture above, where my iPhone (and presumably, me) was last night at 1:15 AM. (Note: on older iPhone software versions, the arrow isn't an arrow. It's a sort of "cross-hairs" circle thing. It serves the same purpose. I think they changed it after Sarah Palin got into trouble for having cross-hairs on her map of Arizona.)If you touch the blue pin, a little bit of information pops up. It will say "Current Location" and it will tell you where it thinks your phone is. If you want that little bit of information to go away, touch somewhere else on the map. You can bring it back again anytime.If you touch the white arrow in the blue box at bottom left you will activate the compass feature, which rotates the map to match "real life." If your iPhone is facing north, nothing happens. But if your iPhone is facing south, the map will spin around on the iPhone so that "up" is south. Touch at bottom left again to make the map spin around again so that north is up.So now let's find something. At 1:15 AM, I wanted a cup of coffee. So I touch at the top, in the search box. I type in Coffee and then touch Search (blue button at bottom right). Here's what it looked like for me.Each of those red pins represents a place that has to do with coffee. The closest one shows its info automatically. Touch any pin to show its information instead. Touch the map to just show pins (no information). In the picture below, I've touched another pin because I know that the Coffee Bean and Tea Bakery is closed at 1:15 AM.I don't know anything about this Funnel Mill place, but it's easy to find out: just touch the white arrow in the blue circle at the right of the little information flag. Here's what I got:This is great stuff. From here, I could touch the phone number to call, or bring up their website, or even get directions. So easy. Turns out they were closed, by the way.The Maps app searches the area that's showing on the iPhone screen and if…
  274. The iMom Project, Day Six
    Ten tips in ten days. Day Six.One of the things that we've grown used to on the Mac is Undo. Make a mistake, and if you catch it soon enough you can go to the Edit menu and choose Undo. Super powerful, and super handy. I use it all the time. Turns out the iPhone has Undo too, but you have to know how to do it. Or undo it. Whatever.First let's look at some scenarios where you'd want to use Undo. Maybe you've been writing an email on your iPhone, and somehow you select a bunch of text, like so:And then, with all that text selected, you start typing again, or maybe just accidentally touch a key on the iPhone keyboard, and all of a sudden all of that text that was selected is gone. It happens. Oops. Or, maybe you typed something, backspaced over it on purpose, and then changed your mind again and decided you wanted it back after all. Each of these scenarios screams for an "Undo." So now we're going to learn how.Remember the Etch-a-Sketch? Remember how you erased it by shaking it? Of course you do. If you think of it as "undoing" your Etch-a-Sketch picture (instead of erasing it) you will know how to "undo" on the iPhone. That's right: when you want to Undo something on the iPhone, you shake it. Give it a whirl. Type something into an email (or anywhere else that you enter text on the iPhone). Now shake the iPhone (side to side). A little message pops up, with a button that lets you "Undo Typing." Looks like this:Touch the Undo Typing button, and of course you are back to where you started... but if you shake the iPhone again, you get another little message, and this time there's a "Redo Typing" button. (There's still an Undo Typing button, which would "Undo" your typing even further.) Looks like this:You can tell from the times on these screen shots that I took a long time to think about whether I wanted to undo or redo, but that's OK. You can take as long as you like. This "Shake to Undo" method works on the iPads also but you really have to move it to make it happen. I recommend that those who want to use "Shake to Undo" on an iPad hold on with both hands because if you don't have a good grip you will fling the iPad across the room. That wraps up Day Six of the iMom Project. Hoping you learned something. Bonus: music to shake your iPhone to.
  275. The iMom Project, Day Five
    Ten tips in ten days. Day Five.Let's talk about the Calculator app. I am sure that you have tried it already, and you are probably thinking it's a little simplistic for a Math major like yourself. Which it is. But, sometimes you just need to do a little quick addition or division or whatever. And the Calculator is great for that. But wait, there's more. Suppose you enter something into the Calculator and you make a mistake. Maybe you're trying to enter 727.62 and you get everything right except for the last character. Do you then touch the "Clear" button (marked with a C) and start over? Well, you could. But you don't have to! All you have to do is swipe your finger across the number display and the last digit is erased. Swipe it again and another digit's erased. Erase as much as you need to, then type in the proper digits. See below.First, the original boo-boo...Then, we swipe from left to right, in the Calculator's display (or, as it turns out, from right to left in the Calculator's display-- doesn't matter) and we get this:Finally, we touch the proper digit-- the "2"-- and we are done. This saved us a little bit of tippy-tapping-- all we did was one swipe, and then the 2. That's less work than touching the Clear button and then typing in 727.62 again, which we could easily mis-type again anyway.Here's another neat thing. The "Clear" button clears only the last number entered, so if you are in the middle of a calculation and you make a mistake you don't have to start over. For example, if you want to figure out the sales tax on an item that costs $19.37, and you type in the 19.37 and touch the X and then you type 0.875 instead of 0.0875, you can touch the "C" and clear just the 0.875. Then you can type in the right number and hit Equals and you're done. (You will notice, after you touch the C button, that it changes to "AC"-- for "All Clear." That can be handy too.) Of course there is still more. If you rotate the iPhone you get a much more sophisticated and capable calculator. Have a look at this beauty:Plenty of options, and all for free. Note: you can rotate the iPhone in the middle of a calculation and it won't miss a beat. (One reason to use the rotated one, even if you don't need the functions, is the rotated Calculator can show 16 digits while the "normal" one shows 9.)Want more? Good, there IS more. Suppose you use the Calculator and you get some big ol' number as the result, and now you want to put that number into an email. Do you jot the number down, and then switch to the Mail app and then type it in there, giving you two chances to make a simple transcription mistake? No you do not! You touch the Calculator's result with…
  276. The iMom Project, Day Four
    Ten tips in ten days. Day Four.Today's tip: use the "search" screen. It looks like this:Once you get to this screen (I will tell you how in a minute), you can search for just about anything on your iPhone (or iPad). Here's a partial list:AppsPeopleNotesEmailsCalendar eventsI say "partial list" because you can also search, right from this screen, the web (using Google), or the famous Wikipedia. But that stuff's not actually "on" your phone, and the list was about stuff on your phone, so we have to make that distinction.Let's talk about how to get to this screen. There are two ways that I know of:You can, from any of the home screens, swipe from left to right until you get there, or...You can, from any home screen, press the Home button (which takes you to the first home screen), and then press the Home button again. If you're already at the first home screen when you press "Home" so much the better. Note: do not press the Home button multiple times quickly. Press it once, see what happens, and then (if necessary) press it again.So... let's say you want to call me on your fancy new iPhone. Yes, you could go to Contacts, and then you could search for me, and then you could touch my phone number to call me. But, now that you know how to search the whole iPhone, you can press the Home button a time or two to get there, type in a few letters, and voila, there I am. You save yourself the trouble of going to the Contacts, and the result is just as good. See below.Just touch my name, which brings up all of my numbers, and touch the one you want to call. By the way, I got rid of the old 310-927-3711 phone number so you can take that out of your address book. There are enough ways to contact me without having a second cell phone.Notice, when you find stuff this way, that you don't have to specify WHERE you want to look. The search automatically in all of the places listed above, all at once. That's cool. Also, you don't even have to touch the blue Search button. The iPhone will search as soon as you stop typing. Everything should be so easy.So that's it. Play around with this. I think you will be surprised at how handy it is. You might even find things that you didn't know were there!
  277. The iMom Project, Day Three
    Here we go. Day Three.The iPhone clock app. So simple. Yet, so fabulous. I use the clock every day and so should you. Here are some ideas for you:Use it as an alarm clock. It's way way WAY better than the alarm clock you use now, because with this one you can set multiple alarms! Set an alarm for 7 AM on weekdays and for 9 AM on weekends. Set an alarm to remind you that your favorite TV show will soon be on. Set an alarm to remind yourself to go to bed!Use it as a timer. It's way way WAY better than the timer you use now, because the one in the kitchen is attached to the oven and if you're out in the yard you won't hear it go off. Set a timer for two minutes so you don't forget to stir the coffee. Set a timer for 12 minutes so you don't forget to take the biscuits out of the oven. Set a timer for 60 minutes so you don't run out of time on the parking meter. The clock app actually has four functions, not just two, but I never use the stopwatch and I only used the World Clock a couple of times-- I don't need to know what time it is in Paris on a daily basis. But who cares about what I don't use. It's the stuff that I DO use that is so neat. Anyway, get familiar with the iPhone's Clock app, and you'll find yourself using it all the time.Here's a picture of my iPhone, with various alarms set for various days.And here's a picture of the timer, ready for the biscuits.That's it. Check back tomorrow.
  278. The iMom Project, Day Two
    Ten tips in ten days. Day 2.When taking a picture with the iPhone, remember that the picture is taken when you take your finger off of the button, not when you touch it. So, get the camera app going, compose your picture, put your finger on the button and keep it there waiting for that perfect moment... and then, very gently, take your finger away. You will get better pictures this way (stabbing at the button to capture the picture at just the right time results in a jarred iPhone, and a blurry picture).Bonus: remember that that the camera "button" is on the screen-- it's NOT the home button. See below.
  279. The iMom Project
    I set Mom up with an iPhone 3GS this week, and she's getting the hang of it. I thought I'd speed up the learning process by teaching her a tiny bit about the iPhone every day. My plan is ten tips in ten days. Figuring that a lot of other people are new to the iPhone too I thought I'd put the tips here on the blog so everyone else can benefit. That means you, Debbie, and also you, Christi.So here we go with Tip Number One.Know How to Zoom In and Zoom OutThere's a shortcut for zooming in (and out) and people usually "discover" it by mistake. The feature is not necessarily turned on, but if it is, a three-fingered double-tap on the iPhone screen will zoom you way in.Here's what a home screen looks like normally...Here's what it looks like after a three-finger double-tap:That's a 500% zoom, by the way.I've received calls from people who have accidentally triggered a zoom with the three-finger double-tap. They think that something was wrong with their phones. It can be pretty mysterious the first time, that is for sure, but all you have to do to get out of it is do the three-finger double-tap again. Easy.You can zoom any screen, any time. Works everywhere. If you want to scroll around when you're zoomed in, use three fingers to drag the screen around. If you find yourself accidentally zooming in and you want to turn the feature off, do it like this:Tap the Settings app, then General, then Accessibility, then Zoom. Turn it off using the switch next to the word "Zoom." Of course, if it's off and you want it on, you can switch it ON, and try it right there. No need to "save" or logout or reboot or anything. You can always come back and change this setting later. I leave mine set to "On" because zooming in comes in handy every so often.OK, that's it for Tip Number One. Give it a whirl.Welcome to the party, Mom.
  280. 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 about those color options? Who would have guessed that you can find images of Yoda that match a color scheme?Here's what you get when you click the green square.Of course, Yoda is green. So you don't see a major effect here. However, look what you get with blue, and black, and purple. Very interesting, and just what you need to match your bag and shoes!Of course it works with other searches, not just for Yoda. Here are some examples of color-filtered Texas wildflowers. First, the non-filtered search...Then red (it shows right there on the screen)...Then yellow...Then pink...Then blue. Neat.I think it's rather amazing. I don't know when they added this feature, but as always, as soon as I noticed I wrote it up here.
  281. Radio Interview: WWDC Wrap-Up
    I talked Saturday with with Digital Village, a terrific radio program based in Los Angeles, about Apple's recently concluded World Wide Developers' Conference. We talked about iCloud, iOS 5, and Mac OS X Lion. This link will take you to Digital Village's archived audio page-- my part is right at the top (or, if you're coming in late, it's in the June 11th 2011 section). Lots of other good stuff to listen to while you're in there. Have a look around.From their web page:"Digital Village is a weekly broadcast about the impact of technology, computers and the Internet on media and popular culture, hosted by Ric Allan and Doran Barons.Rather than endless product reviews, we focus on how the technology is changing the way we communicate."That works for me.
  282. How to type accented characters, umlauts, upside down question marks (for Spanish), and more– on an iPad
    Speed up your typing with these tips. Most work on the iPhone too. Type accented characters, Spanish punctuation (ex: upside down question marks), and more.
  283. Steve Jobs Keynote at WWDC 2011
    Steve Jobs will give the keynote speech at Apple's World Wide Developers Conference today at 10 AM. It is sure to be all over the news. I will post a link to the official keynote video as soon as it is available (it does not appear that we will be able to watch it live at 10 AM). No one "on the outside" knows what Steve Jobs will show at WWDC, except for what Apple has formally announced: More stuff about Mac OS X 10.7, aka "Lion"New stuff about iOS 5 (a new version of the operating system that makes your iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch work)New stuff about a service called "iCloud"Anyone who says he knows more is probably just guessing. Apple does not like leaks, so even if a person does have insider info he would be foolish to tell. So no, I don't know whether we will see an iPhone 5. Or an iPad 3. Or some other gizmo that completely changes the game.Basically don't know any more than you do. I have to wait for the keynote, just like everyone else. No matter what, it will be great to see Steve Jobs doing his thing on stage, even if it's delayed until Apple gets the video up.Next year might be a different story. By then, I will be, officially, an Apple Developer, building iPad and iPhone apps (I can do simple stuff already, and making progress week to week). Thus, the WWDC would be a great place for me to be next June. In that case, I could report live from Moscone West.If I can get my company to pay for it I'm going.UPDATE: the Keynote Speech video is available via this link.
  284. 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 want. For Mac OS X 10.6.7 only. Sorry, Mom.Mac Defender has gotten a lot of press. It's a scam, pure and simple: a fake anti-virus program that does nothing other than put your credit card info into the wrong hands. It works like this: you're reading a web page when all of a sudden a message appears telling you that your computer is infected with viruses and other malware, and that you need to take care of this problem right away, and Mac Defender offers to do it for you, for a fee. In fact, the warning message is faked; the Mac Defender virus warning is canned, and when "they" say they can clean up the problem they mean that if you give them your credit card info they'll quit with the phony "you're infected!" messages. Pretty easy money-- but that's not the end of it, because now they have your credit card info and you can bet they'll use it.You know better than to give your credit card info to some total stranger, even if they have a trustworthy-sounding name like Mac Defender. Right? Right. And you know the internet is not locked down nice and tight-- websites are hacked all the time, so malicious code can be put onto a site that you thought you could trust. (It's happened even to Google, believe it or not.) So, it's not going to work to say "Well I never go to those bad websites, I only use Google and PBS.org and ChristianBoyce.com"-- the bad guys can stick their nasty code into any site if they try hard enough. Passwords are learned, weaknesses are exploited. Bad things happen. Just don't let them happen to you. If you get a message on your Mac (or your iPhone, or your iPad) and it says "pay me, quick" it's probably a scam. Take a picture of the screen (Command-Shift-3) and email it to me and I'll help you figure out what's going on. The really good news here is that Apple has figured out how to stop scams like this in their tracks. Get the Security Update 2011-003 and you're all set. If you are on Mac OS X 10.5, you're somewhat on your own, but just keep being smart and somewhat suspicious and you'll be fine. And of course send me those screenshots (Command-Shift-3).Here's a nice write-up about the Mac Defender phony anti-virus thing, though it's a little…
  285. 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 being up late doing blog entries and AppleScripts. But it's not going to happen anymore, because I've gone into the Language & Text preference pane and set up my own little short-hand substitution. All I have to do now is type "cb" and it's magically expanded to the full "Christian Boyce." You should try it (but use your own name).Here's the Language & Text preference pane (start by going to the Apple menu, then System Preferences). We're interested in the "Text" part. Yes, I know the name doesn't make a lot of sense.You can see that Apple provides a few substitutions for you already-- (r) becomes ® and so on. Neat, but not as neat as turning your initials into your name. To do that, click the + at bottom left of the preference pane, and type your shortcut on the left and what it expands to on the right. See below.Close up the preference pane and start enjoying your shortcut. Ah, but where? Turns out that these substitutions don't work everywhere. Here's a list of applications where the text substitutions definitely work:MailText EditiChatIf it doesn't work for you in those applications, put your cursor somewhere that allows you to enter text, then control-click to reveal a menu. Choose Substitutions/Text Replacement. Then it will work. (To trigger the expansion, type the shortcut, then a space or a return or punctuation.)You can even make a shortcut that expands to more than one line. For example, you could put your entire mailing address into a shortcut. Imagine typing "hadd" and having your entire home address get typed for you. Neat.The same sort of thing works in Pages '09 except you turn it on in Pages' own Preferences, and it does not read the list of custom substitutions that you made in System Preferences/Language & Text. Instead it has its own list. Word 2011 has a similar feature but it's under Tools/AutoCorrect.Hint: don't use a real word for your shortcut. You'll be triggering it all the time. For example, "had" would be a poor choice for the Home Address shortcut. You'd try to type "I had the fish" and it would come out with your address in the middle. Ooopsy.This is not the end-all, be-all text expansion/substitution method, but it's built into OS X 10.6, so you may as well use it. If you want to do something a little fancier, and you want it to work in practically every…
  286. 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 Edit menu and turn on Correct Spelling Automatically. With that checked, the exact same typing is corrected, behind your back, without you doing anything at all. Here is how it looks when you make the same typing mistakes, but with Correct Spelling Automatically checked. I'm not kidding. Every single mistake was corrected without me doing ANYTHING. You should try it.Turns out that this automatic correction works a bunch of other places but Mail is where you will use it the most.Sorry to say that this only works in OS X 10.6 and higher. Another reason to get to 10.6.
  287. 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 Time Machine backup, let's get you one. You'll need an external hard disk, such as this one:Seagate GoFlex 1 terabyte external drive.You also need a Mac with OS X 10.5 or higher, and there are a lot of other reasons to have 10.5 or higher so if you're on 10.4.11 let's get you to 10.5 at least. You 10.4.11 people know who you are. (Unless you don't-- in that case, go to the Apple menu and choose "About This Mac" and see what it says in there). Time Machine is Apple's own backup software, built into the system starting with 10.5, and it works like a charm. If you are on 10.5 or 10.6 you already have the software and it's already installed.If you buy a drive that is formatted for a Mac (like the Seagate above), all you do is connect it and answer "Yes" when asked whether you want to use it for Time Machine. If you buy some other drive they system will ask you whether you want to reformat the new drive to make it Time Machine-compatible (you'll click "Yes"). Either way, from then on you'll be backing up automatically every hour, nothing for you to worry about, and when your Mac's internal hard disk quits working the cost of the backup drive will seem like small potatoes. Recovering data from a dead hard disk will cost you at least $1,000 and usually more. It does not make sense to tempt fate here-- use Time Machine and have that backup for when you need it. Eventually, you'll need it. Make like a Boy Scout and be prepared.
  288. How to Type Spanish Accents, French Accents, and Upside Down Question Marks
    Type accents, umlauts, upside-down question marks & exclamation points on a Mac. Type things like "¡Olé!" and "résumé" and "¿Qué pasó?" Spanish, French, more.
  289. 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 the iBooks bookcase. Watch for another blog entry here with all kinds of iBooks tips.UPDATE: if your iTunes is set to "Sync Books" you should drag your PDFs to the LIBRARY in iTunes, at the top left of the iTunes window. If you try to drag to the iPad itself it won't work. You will also have to click the "Sync" button in iTunes when you are done dragging. If you're synching "All Books" that's all you do. If you are synching "Selected Books" you will have to check the box next to these newly-dragged books. Either way, it's not hard.
  290. Giant Email Security Breach
    You are probably going to receive one or more emails, reading something like this:"Today we were informed by Epsilon Interactive, our national email service provider, that your email address was exposed due to unauthorized access of their system. We have been advised that the only information that was obtained is your name and email address."That's nice.I've received four such emails, including two from Ralphs Supermarket (interestingly, the first one says "Dear Christian Boyce" while the second one says "Dear Valued Customer"), one from Best Buy, and one from Robert Half International. Citibank, Walgreen's, and the Home Shopping Network are other companies who use Epsilon for their email marketing, along with many, MANY others. Several of these companies have sent out breezy little emails to their customers saying "Sorry about that, and watch out for viruses in emails from people you don't know. It is possible that you may receive some spam email messages. We apologize for any inconvenience." I would call this more than "inconvenient" but that's just me.Besides making a note to stay away from Epsilon (but good luck with that-- they are the world's largest email marketing service, sending out more than FORTY BILLION EMAILS PER YEAR, for over 2500 companies), there's not much you can do, especially considering we don't know what happened. Epsilon put out a one-paragraph press release on April 1st, 2011 (no fooling) that's a little on the vague side. They don't say when the security breach happened, they don't say how many email addresses were obtained, they don't say whether it was an inside job. They DO say that apart from names and email addresses "no other personal identifiable information associated with those names was at risk." Somehow I don't find this very reassuring. If we had asked them last Thursday they would have said that NONE of the information they store was at risk at all. And they would have been wrong about that. So maybe they're wrong this time too.It would be a good idea to be extra suspicious of emails that appear to come from a bank or a retailer asking you to "verify your information by replying to this email with name, address, social security number, and PIN." Such emails are phony and you shouldn't reply at all. If you get an email asking for that kind of information just throw it away. You should have been doing that all along but if you haven't been, start now.
  291. iPhone as Magnifying Glass
    I don't know why everything seems to be printed in itsy-bitsy type these days but armed with my trusty iPhone I can read almost anything. It's ridiculously easy. I don't know why it took so long to come up with the idea but it did. All you do is use the iPhone's camera app to take a picture of the tiny type. Then, tap the icon at lower left to display the picture. Then, "un-pinch" to enlarge. Problem solved.For example: I needed to get some numbers from the back of an Apple Time Capsule. I took the picture on the left, then stretched it until it was big enough to read. See for yourself. This works with an iPad 2 also though not as well since the camera on the iPad 2 isn't very good. You can of course aim the camera at the tiny type, then touch the screen, then use the zoom controls to zoom in without taking a picture but that doesn't work as well because it takes two hands and you don't end up with anything permanent. If you need to take another look you have to return to wherever it was that you didn't take the picture. Take the picture to begin with and then stretch that, and have it forever.
  292. Scammers Everywhere, and They Know Where You Live
    UPDATE: check out this great ScamWarners site. This post in particular exposes many of the common scams. I was in Round Rock, Texas last weekend and while there I used my MacBook to bring up the Los Angeles Times website. I noticed a couple of ads that mentioned a "Round Rock Mom" and wouldn't have thought much of it except that the "Round Rock Mom" looked familiar. The reason she looked familiar is that I'd seen her picture many times before while reading the Times from home in Santa Monica-- but, in those cases, she was cast as "Santa Monica Mom." Hmm.Here's how it looked when viewed in Texas...And here's how it looked when viewed in Santa Monica.I suppose they could be twins. But probably not. I clicked the links and shockingly they wanted to sell me something. Here's where they took me:After clicking "Round Rock Mom"After clicking "Santa Monica Mom"I did appreciate that they personalized things to my location either way. "EXPOSED" indeed. Scam-o-matic.But wait, there's more! While in Texas, I accidentally clicked an ad and found myself looking at a web page telling me that I (me!) was "Today's Lucky Texas Visitor!" See, it says so right on the web page. I wondered a little bit about the snowflakes and the "Holiday" reference at the top, but for a free Apple iPad 2 who's complaining? I scrolled down a bit and saw a list of previous winners, and what do you know, someone in my own neighborhood was on the list. I didn't know who she was but it had her name and picture and it said "Round Rock, TX" and that "proved" it.Just for laughs I connected to my machine in Santa Monica and brought up the same web page, clicked the ad, and up came the same web page. Except this time I was the Lucky California Visitor! What are the odds of THAT! I had visions of me carrying an iPad 2 in each arm, looking like Charlton Heston in The Ten Commandments. (Please click the link.)I scrolled down a bit to see the people who'd won before, and what a surprise to see our new friend Jennifer Layton-- except this time she lived in Santa Monica.After seeing Jennifer in two places, I couldn't believe it either. Turns out it is not very hard for a website programmer to determine the general location of your computer, based on your IP address. Try this link and see if it "knows" where you are. I'll bet it's pretty close. Eye-opening.The point is, don't fall for the old "Gee, there's a picture of someone from my neighborhood, that makes this offer so much more believable" trick. It's probably faked. If you want $84 per hour, or an iPad 2, you're going to have to earn it. Sorry to be the one to tell you.
  293. How to Get an iPad 2
    A friend sent me a link to a New York Times article called "How to Procure an iPad 2." The article was very interesting and made it sound like you could get one at Best Buy with minimal effort. Unfortunately, the article is wrong. So, read it if you want, but with a grain of salt. And like your Mom told you, don't believe everything you read. Even in the New York Times. Shocking.I will bet you, however, that your Mom NEVER told you not to believe what you read here on The Boyce Blog. Your Mom was right. You can trust The Boyce Blog.I did some legwork today, visiting the Best Buy in West Los Angeles in person, and calling Best Buy in Culver City, California on the phone. I got the same story both places and they told me that I would get the same story no matter where I went. The story from Best Buy is this:They do have a waiting list for iPad 2s, but they are not adding names to it any longer.The waiting list was available ONLY for people who came into the store, not over the phone.Getting on the list meant making a $100 deposit.A person on the waiting list could buy a single iPad 2.The waiting list was closed three days ago.Best Buy has not received an iPad 2 shipment since opening day, Friday March 11th.The waiting list is several times larger than the initial shipment of iPad 2s, so it's going to be a while before they get through the list.Well now. That's quite a bit different than what the New York Times reported. Based on the above, it appears that there is no sense in going to Best Buy for an iPad 2 anytime soon. No sense in camping out overnight to be the first one in the store, because any iPad 2s Best Buy receives will be going to people on the waiting list. No sense in calling them up to get on the waiting list because the waiting list is closed (and they wouldn't do it over the phone even if they still were taking names). No sense trying to order online because they aren't taking iPad 2 orders online at this time.So, cross Best Buy off your list of places to go to get an iPad 2 before everyone else. You can't buy what Best Buy doesn't have. Eventually, they'll have them. But they don't have them now. UPDATE: they have them now (March 23rd, 2011). Use the Best Buy iPad 2 Availability Checker (thanks, www.obamapacman.com).Target doesn't have any either. They haven't seen any since opening day, same as Best Buy. However, you can check Target's iPad 2 inventory. Don't get excited, you probably won't find an iPad 2 anywhere near you. But it is interesting to see how many Target stores there are.Apple Stores might have some but they're gone in minutes. A week after launch, the lines are still longer than the supply. So, unless…
  294. 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 developed the hack released it into the wilds, making it possible for anyone with a little knowledge to hack into other people's Facebook accounts. Fortunately, it's really easy to prevent anyone from hacking into YOUR Facebook account, and double-fortunately, here I am to tell you how.First, go to the Account menu and choose "Account Settings." Second, click "Change" in the Account Security section.Third, make your settings look like this and click Save .The most important one is "Secure Browsing (https)". The others are optional, but it would be interesting to know that someone has logged into your account, right when it happens, wouldn't it? If that does happen, make another trip to this same Account Security section in Facebook's settings and if it's not authorized, you can click an "End Activity" button to turn off that machine's access. Don't be alarmed (like I was) if you see something like this in Facebook's settings: When I saw this, I thought "Whoa, who was accessing my account in Anaheim at 4:36 PM?" Turns out the location is VERY approximate. If you hover your mouse over the location, they show the IP address for that location, and it turns out they were off by a few miles. The IP they reported was my own. (You can determine your own IP by going to www.whatismyip.com). Changing this one security setting takes less time to do than to read about. Do it now and you're all set.
  295. 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.
  296. Best Buy’s iPad 2 Availability Checker
    Best Buy sells the iPad 2, and they have a handy online iPad 2 availability checker where you can tell it which iPad 2 you want, enter a zip code, and find out whether Best Buy has it in stock at a store near you. They are not currently accepting iPad 2 orders online so if they do have it in stock you'll have to RUN to the store and get one (because you can't reserve it online). Still, it beats driving all over the place and making a bunch of phone calls.UPDATE: Best Buy has changed their site a tiny bit. Now, when you follow the link above, you get to a page where they show the iPads, but then you have to click on a link to check availability for that particular unit. Of course, they don't have any iPad 2s, in any flavor, when I check, but who knows, you might get lucky. Here's a picture of what you're looking for. Bonus: click anywhere on the picture to see Best Buy's complete selection of iPad 2s. From there, click those "Check Shipping & Availability" links.UPDATE 2: Target also sells the iPad 2, but it appears that Best Buy is a better bet. I went to a big Target in Los Angeles and they told me they'd received FIVE iPad 2 units-- not even one of each Wi-Fi flavor-- on launch day, and nothing since. They have no idea when they'll get more.UPDATE 3: Best Buy has them now (March 23rd, 2011). Use the Best Buy iPad 2 Availability Checker (thanks, www.obamapacman.com).
  297. QR Codes: the Next Big Thing
    Qrafter icon (QR code reader).QR Codes: the Next Big ThingThis 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 phone numbers is only the beginning. You can use a code, and your iPhone's camera, to generate a pre-addressed email, or to go straight to a website-- no typing required. And lest you think that this is an iPhone-only thing, it's not. Just about any decent smartphone can do it. Obviously, there are two aspects to these QR codes: making them, and using them. I'll tell you how to do both.First, let's make a QR code. You can search the internet for a QR code generator, but I've already done it and the best QR code generator is by Kerem Erkan, in the beautiful country of Turkey. Click the link and make yourself a code. It's fun. Here's one I made, using a Code Action of "Browse to a Website" (the simplest kind, but have a look at the other options in that Code Action menu). In a minute, after I show you how to read a code, you can figure out which site I chose. When you create your own QR code, type in the desired web site URL, and then click the Generate Code button at the bottom. You'll get a nice big code-- click on it and drag it to your desktop for later use.Now, let's figure out how to read these codes. What you need is an iPhone app called Qrafter*. (There are nearly 200 iPhone apps that can read a QR code, but once again I've done the work for you and found the needle in the haystack. You want Qrafter.*) It's free, so you have nothing to lose. Here's a bigger button to click. While you're at the iTunes Store, have a look at Qrafter's screenshots.The main screen is shown below, and it could hardly be simpler. Just touch the giant "Scan with Camera" button, aim your iPhone's camera at a QR code, and in a second or two the image is recognized and decoded. It feels like magic, even after you've done it hundreds of times.You can experiment with the Settings (at the bottom of the screen) yourself, but I recommend the options shown below. You'll also want to click the "Info" button at Qrafter's bottom right to learn a little more about the program. Now let's go back and scan the codes we saw earlier. Touch the "Scan with Camera" button and aim it at the first code... and you get all of my contact info, perfectly done, no mistakes. Scroll…
  298. iPad Guided Tours
    If you have an iPad, or think you might want an iPad, you ought to have a look at these videos. As usual, Apple's made it look easy (and with the iPad, it really IS easy). Watch even one of these short videos and you'll think "I could use one of these things! I could do what they're doing! It looks like fun! I want an iPad!" And you'll wish you had time to watch every one of the videos.It is interesting to compare these to Motorola's XOOM tablet videos-- watch one of those and you think "This is just a commercial!" (It is also interesting to compare the experience of going to www.apple.com with the experience of going to www.motorola.com. I know, I know: totally different companies--- but geez, Motorola, why make it so hard to get started? Do I want "Motorola Mobility", which "delivers personalized information to meet the needs of consumers both in the home and on the go", or "Motorola Solutions", which "provides business and mission-critical communications products and services to enterprises and governments"? Just for laughs, try entering "Xoom" in the Motorola Solutions search box. I think you'll shake your head in disgust. What a horrible experience.)
  299. 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 four hundred thousand websites. I don't even want to plow through the ten on the first page. I want, somehow, to find the right one on the first try. I'm looking for one with a nice layout, with pictures as well as text. Google Instant Previews can help. Start by clicking the magnifying glass to the right of any item in the search results. I've drawn a big red arrow here to show you where to look. When you click on a magnifying glass you get a preview of that site, and since what you've really done is turn Instant Previews on for everything on the page, all you have to do now is hover over each item in the listing. No need to click another magnifying glass-- in fact, if you do, you'll turn the feature off. Here I've just turned the feature on, showing a preview of the second site in my search results.Now I can roll the mouse around and hover over other items in the search results, giving me a quick idea of what each site looks like.I don't like the looks of this site with the green sidebar-- no pictures, at least not on the first page. Based on the previews, I could make a decision about which site to go to, saving me a little time. I know, I know: don't judge a book by its cover. But I'm busy. Seeing the cover helps.You can watch a nice video by Google Themselves that explains it a little further. Turns out Google Instant Previews is even handier on the iPhone. Check it out. Here's the link.
  300. 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 be easier to hit. You don't have to reach as far, that's one plus.)Space bar: scrolls down one windowful. Same as Option-Down Arrow but easier to do.Shift-Space bar: scrolls up one windowful. Same as Option-Up Arrow.Command-Down Arrow: scroll to the bottom.Command-Up Arrow: scroll to the top. This one you'll use a lot.(Yes, these functions are handled nicely by "End" and "Home" but I kinda like Command-Down Arrow and Command-Up Arrow better. Command is not the same as Control, so be sure you're using the Command key (on either side of the space bar) before you give up on this one.)Control-Down Arrow and Control-Up Arrow: same as Option-Down Arrow and Option-Up Arrow. Nice to have options but the Space bar method is the best choice.Not Really a Shortcut, but Impressive Anyway:Select some text on a web page. Then, go to Safari's Edit menu, slide down to Speech, and slide over and choose "Start Speaking." Your Mac will read the selected text out loud. Advice: don't select a lot of text the first time you do this. (There is a way to stop it-- Edit/Speech/Stop Speaking.)Not New to Me, But Too Cool and Useful to Not Include:Here's the scene: you want to download something from a website. You click a button that says "Download Now" or something like that. The download begins. And then you never find the thing you downloaded. Sound familiar?Your problem is solved quickly and easily using the "Downloads" window in Safari. If the Downloads window is not showing, go to Safari's Window menu and choose "Downloads". It's a toggle, so if you choose "Downloads" from the Window menu while the Downloads window is showing, the window will close. FYI.Notice the magnifying glass buttons at the right in the Downloads window. I've circled one in red below. If you click one of those magnifying glass buttons the corresponding file will be revealed in the Finder! That's way better than you shoving Safari out of the way, opening up a window in the Finder, and climbing around trying to locate the thing. Even if you know where downloads go, this is still the fastest way to find the file you want. Give this a try and you'll never go back to the dig-around-in-your-hard-drive method.
  301. 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.
  302. iPad 2 Unveiled
    No better way to find out about the iPad 2 than to watch Steve Jobs introduce it himself. Watch the unveiling. You'll want an iPad 2 before the video's anywhere near finished. Worth watching to the end though so you can hear Jonathan Ive, Apple's Senior Vice President of Design, say "Aluminium" (1:04:15).Certainly nice to see Mr. Jobs. I hope he's feeling better.
  303. Nifty Time-Saving iPhone Tip
    Ever get an email on your iPhone, and for whatever reason you would rather call the person than email him back? You can do it in a couple of taps. For example, let's say you get this email on your iPhone.If the email contains a phone number, like this one does, just touch it. A little window will pop up:Touch "Call" and you're done. That's pretty easy: the phone number is in the email, you touch it and tap Call. A touch and a tap. (So... if you want to make it easy for people to call you, add your phone number to your email signature. On an iPhone, you do it in Settings/Mail, Contacts, Calendars/Signature. On a Mac using Mail, it's the Mail menu, then Preferences..., then Signatures. Gmail people: click Settings at the top and look around.)But... what if the phone number isn't in the email? Do you have to look it up? Of course the answer is "no, not if you finish reading this blog entry." All you have to do is touch the sender's name, up at the top of the message. It's outlined in red here so you know what I'm talking about.If the sender is in your address book you'll be taken to his contact information, and from there you can touch whichever phone number you want to call him at. Touch any phone number and it dials. Nice. So that's just a touch and a tap too. You can scroll down a bit and see the rest of the sender's information, like so:Touch an address and you'll see it on a map. Touch the web page address and it opens in Safari.Scroll to the bottom and you find some handy buttons:All in all, pretty handy stuff, especially if you're using your phone while driving, even though you would never do that. (A great place to never do that is San Jose, CA but if you do you might get to meet my brother, State Traffic Officer Spencer Boyce of the California Highway Patrol.) Note: if you don't have the sender in your address book, touching the sender's name will take you to a screen where you can put him into it. It sounds like a lot of work but a good address book on the iPhone will pay off over and over for you. So don't cut corners on the address book. Make it as complete as you can.
  304. 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 they can. It's an easy website to figure out. Here's what it looks like (note: it's better on a Mac than on an iPhone):You can search for a store-- here's what happens when you start typing "Jcpenney":Rather handy. When you see the store you're interested in you can click on it and boom, you're shown a list of discounts and special offers for that store. Here's part of what that looks like (it's a long list). RetailMeNot is pretty clever. They'll show you deals for other stores and online merchants that are similar to the one you've chosen. And sometimes they just come out of the blue with a great idea. Here's one they recently showed me from Amazon:Who knew? That's a great deal. Thanks, RetailMeNot.com!
  305. 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. The second one does not. Use Safari.
  306. Instant Access to Websites with your iPhone and iPad
    The iPhone's Safari browser is nice and quick. What isn't quick is typing in a web address-- it takes longer to tap-tap-tap http://christianboyce.com into Safari than it does to read the articles when you get there. There are ways to make getting to websites in Safari quicker; here are two of the best. The second one's better than the first but read the whole thing anyway.First, use the bookmarks. The icon looks like an open book, at the bottom of the Safari app (circled in red below). Tap that button and you're on your way. Of course, you have to get bookmarks into your iPhone. The easy way: set them up in Safari on your Mac, check the box in iTunes to synchronize bookmarks, and sync. Or add them via the Share button on your iPhone (keep reading).Having bookmarks makes using Safari on your iPhone a lot easier-- just tap Safari, tap the Bookmarks button, scroll around through the folders and eventually you find what you're looking for and then you tap that. Whew. Not easy enough. Here's the right way: add icons for your favorite websites to your Home screen so you can load them in one tap. Actually, make that "Home screens." As long as there is room for another icon on one of your Home screens this tip works. When there's no more room, you can't use this tip. So how do we do it? Easily, that's how:1. Go to the web page that you want to make an icon for.2. Tap the "Share" button (just to the left of the bookmarks button). You'll get this screen:You want "Add to Home Screen." Choose that, and you get this:Like they say-- "An icon will be added to your home screen so you can quickly access this web site." Adjust the name as desired (more on that later) and tap the blue "Add" button. That's it. Here's how your Home screen might look after adding this site:One tap on that red-circled icon and you go straight to the web page. Pretty neat, but not actually pretty. There's room for improvement. Two tricks: first, before adding the icon to the Home screen, stretch the web page until you're looking at exactly what you want the icon to look like. Here's an example, using http://christianboyce.blogspot.com:I know this guy.NOW when you hit that "Share" button your icon will look pretty good, depending of course on who's looking. Mom likes this one. The second thing to do is to keep the name short. As we saw above, "The Boyce Blog" turned into "The Bo... Blog"-- sounds a little stinky. Shorten up the name and you'll end up with something that fits, as seen below.Next time you want to go to the Boyce Blog, poke that icon in the nose and the page will come right up. (Bonus: to get rid of an icon just touch it and hold it until it wiggles. Then tap the circled X in the top left corner of…
  307. iPhone’s Greatest Hits
    To my new-to-the-iPhone Verizon-subscribing friends, first of all WELCOME. We are glad you're here. The party is three and a half years old and it's just getting started. You're late, but in six months no one will remember.Second, you can learn a lot about the iPhone in three and a half years. But, lucky for you, I already learned it, and I'm going to boil it down to the things I think you will really like about the iPhone. Here, then, are the iPhone's Greatest Hits.Use the Clock app. It's terrific. Use it as an alarm clock that goes off at 6 AM on weekdays and at 8 AM (or not at all) on weekends. Set a second alarm to remind you that it's garbage day tomorrow. Set another one that goes off at midnight to wake you up in case you fell asleep at your desk writing blog entries. Did I mention "use the Clock app"? It's also a handy timer. Set it for ten minutes even though you never forget that you have biscuits in the oven.Get your Apple Address Book up to date and sync it with your iPhone. With good info in your iPhone's contacts database you can do a whole lot of stuff in just a couple of taps. For example, touch a person's phone number to dial it. Touch a person's email address to create an already-addressed message. Touch a person's home or work address to see it on a map. (And once you've seen the address on the map, tap it and get driving directions to or from.)Keep the screen as dim as you can stand because the brighter it is, the faster the battery drains. And it might drain so fast that you run out of juice before the day is through. (Bonus hint: get a cigarette lighter charger thingy* and keep your iPhone plugged in when you drive.) Keep Bluetooth turned off too, unless you need it. And definitely turn off that "Ask to join networks" option. It will drive you nuts. Home/Settings/Wi-Fi/Ask to Join Networks OFF.When you're scrolled way down, like maybe in the Zs in your iPhone contacts, touch the time (top of screen) to scroll back to the top. Bonus: it gives you a search box so you can find people by typing a few letters of their names. This works in a lot of places-- Mail, Safari, Stocks, Messages, and more. This is a standard iPhone feature, so expect it to work everywhere.Give the Calendar's List view a try. It's really the best way to go.Explore the App Store. On your Mac, start iTunes, click on "iTunes Store," and have a look around (or click this link). On the iPhone, touch the App Store icon. There are zillions of iPhone apps and a lot of them are free. You'll be amazed at what's out there.Get to know the Camera app. HINT: it takes pictures when your finger comes off of the button, not when you touch it.…
  308. Introducing “The Daily”
    From the press release:New York, NY, February 2, 2011 – Today Rupert Murdoch, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of News Corporation, unveiled The Daily -- the industry’s first national daily news publication created from the ground up for iPad.   “New times demand new journalism,” said Mr. Murdoch. “So we built The Daily completely from scratch -- on the most innovative device to come about in my time -- the iPad." “The magic of great newspapers -- and great blogs -- lies in their serendipity and surprise, and the touch of a good editor,” continued Mr. Murdoch. “We’re going to bring that magic to The Daily -- to inform people, to make them think, to help them engage in the great issues of the day. And as we continue to improve and evolve, we are going to use the best in new technology to push the boundaries of reporting.” The Daily’s unique mix of text, photography, audio, video, information graphics, touch interactivity and real-time data and social feeds provides its editors with the ability to decide not only which stories are most important -- but also the best format to deliver these stories to their readers.You can download The Daily from the App Store via this link. It's free. But not completely (and of course you have to have an iPad-- there is no version for the iPhone). When you subscribe to The Daily they send you a new edition every day, and it costs you roughly 14 cents per day (exactly 99 cents per week). If you pay for a year up front it's $39.99 for the year, or roughly 11 cents per day, or $3.33 per month. Compare that to what it costs to subscribe to a newspaper on a Kindle: • New York Times, $19.99 per month • The Wall Street Journal, $14.99 per month • The Los Angeles Times, $9.99 per month • The Austin American-Statesman, $5.99 per month • The Boston Globe, $14.99 per month • Chicago Tribune, $9.99 per month • The Denver Post, $5.99 per month • The Houston Chronicle, $5.99 per monthThere are some advantages to the Kindle offerings (for starters, you can read them on a Kindle, and that's a GREAT way to read stuff), but they're not in color (The Daily is), they're not loaded with movies and sounds and interactive elements (The Daily is), and they're not designed to be read on an iPad (The Daily is). Of course, there's that little matter of "content" and it will be interesting to see whether The Daily turns out to be as polarizing as Murdoch's Fox News Channel (note to Mr. Murdoch: please, no).They're offering a 14-day trial so if you have an iPad you may as well check it out. The Daily includes daily crossword and sudoku puzzles, by the way, and though I haven't tried it out I am guessing that doing them on the iPad will be a neat experience (literally). Whether The Daily turns out to be great journalism or…
  309. Macworld Round-Up: Stuff I Bought
    I'm back from Macworld 2011 and as usual, it was a lot of fun. Also as usual, it was a lot of walking but this year I wore tennis shoes instead of cowboy boots. It took a while but I'm getting smarter.There was plenty of cool stuff to look and play with and you can read about some of it here, here, and here. Rather than describe every interesting item I saw at Macworld I'm going to tell you about the things that I bought. You know I had to like it if I spent my own money on it. Here, then, is what I bought.Camera Plus Pro (iPhone app for cropping/fixing/enhancing photos), $1.99. Share your modified pictures via email, Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, and Picassa with just a couple of taps. You get a lot for your money with this one.Here's a picture I took with my iPhone 4. Here's how it looks after cropping and sharpening and a little "warming" using Camera Plus Pro. I could touch that triangle in the lower left-hand corner and post it to Facebook in a jiffy if I wanted to.Here's what the interface looks like for cropping. Easy enough to do.L5 Remote (iPhone app combined with an infrared transmitter), free app, $49.99 for the transmitter. Use your iPhone as a custom universal remote control for TV and stereo. Create multiple remotes (swipe to move between them) for different rooms. I can make one for controlling Mom's TV and another for controlling my own stuff. Here's an example of what you can do. Note the buttons at the bottom for various stations-- Tennis, Golf, ESPN and ESPN2, etc. Set those up and you'll never have to remember that ESPN is channel 417 and ESPN2 is channel 429. Two things I'm going to buy soon:Kensington "SoundWave" Sound-Amplifying iPhone mount* (for use in the car-- attaches to windshield with a suction cup or to an air vent with a clamp). I've decided to use my iPhone as a GPS, but I need to attach it to the car somehow. This Kensington device is the ticket. The part that makes this thing special is the sound from the iPhone comes out of its bottom speakers and is routed through some tubes into a couple of flared-out openings, and it makes the sound louder-- a very important thing when using a GPS in the car. Without some sort of amplification the iPhone isn't loud enough to be heard in the car. This holder's design approximately doubles the iPhone's volume. And you don't have to take the iPhone's case off to make it fit.IRIS "Scan Anywhere 2" scanner*. List price is $199 but the people at the IRIS booth told me it will go on sale at Frys.com with a $75 mail-in rebate starting February 1st. They expect the price to get down to about $120 after the rebate. This scanner is about as big as a box of aluminum foil so it is very portable. It connects to…
  310. Macworld Expo This Week!
    Macworld Expo 2011 begins today in San Francisco. Historically the largest annual Mac-related love fest held near a large body of water, Macworld has evolved over the years to a smaller show, with iPods and iPhones pushing Macs aside. However, it is still held near the same large body of water. I think I've been to every Macworld Expo, which means something like 25 of them, which also means that I'm not 22 anymore. Hmm. I expect to see a lot of iPad-related things at the show, but one thing about Macworld Expo is you really can't predict it. One other thing about Macworld Expo is you can "do" Macworld in thirty minutes by listening to my Macworld Expo Report on KPFK-FM radio this Saturday at 10:30 AM. Click here to listen (or tune to 90.7 FM in Los Angeles). Not now, silly-- Saturday at 10:30 AM. Of course it is OK to practice in advance.
  311. 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 example, we'll put our new bookmark into the Bookmarks Bar because there's something we want to do with it.If you're following along your Bookmark Bar will look a lot like this. Except yours may be so full that there is no room for more bookmarks in the Bookmarks Bar. That's OK-- that's the problem we're going to solve here.By default, Safari names your bookmark using the name of the website. Sometimes it's a little long, and that can crowd the Bookmarks Bar. If you're right on top of things you can shorten the name before you click the "Add" button. But, if you're that good, you'd be writing this blog, not reading it. And nobody's perfect anyway. Here's how to shorten the name of a Bookmark Bar bookmark after the fact.Step 1: Control-click on the bookmark you want to shorten. You'll get a menu like this:You want to edit the Name of the bookmark, not the Address. The Name is "The Boyce Blog." The Address is "http://christianboyce.blogspot.com." Totally different. (UPDATE 12-1-2015: I've moved the blog to http://www.christianboyce.com.) Here's the box you get. Shorten the name as desired. Maybe just take off the "The." That's Step Two.What you're doing here is purely cosmetic. The link goes to the exact same address. It just has a shorter name. You can change the name to anything you like. But shorter is better-- that's the whole point here. And there is no Step Three.OK, that was easy. Now let's do one that REALLY needs shortening: Amazon. Note: Amazon.com offers your humble blog writer a TINY referral fee when you start your shopping via links on this site. Here's an example-- click that link, and then we'll add the bookmark, and this time we'll pay attention when we add the bookmark so the name's not so long.You can tell that the name is going to be LONG-- you see it at the top of the window. "Amazon.com: Online Shopping for Electronics, Apparel, Computers, Books, DVD & more"-- that's going to take up half the Bookmarks Bar!(Actually, Safari will shorten the name for you automatically but it's messy. Do it yourself instead.)Step One is add the bookmark-- click the plus, use the Bookmarks menu, or Command-D. Be sure it goes into the Bookmarks Bar.Step Two: let's shorten the thing right now, getting it right the first time. Just change it to "amazon" as shown here. Click OK.So now you have a bookmark/shortcut to Amazon…
  312. Steve Jobs Can’t Read Your Mind, but He Doesn’t Have To
    Steve Jobs is a lot of things, but he's not a mind-reader. I mention this because article after article tells us: • "For years, and across a career, knowing what consumers want has been the self-appointed task of Mr. Jobs" (New York Times) • "Jobs' greatest gift hasn't been for invention as much his uncanny ability to anticipate what people want" (The Associated Press) • "He is perhaps singular in his ability to know what people want" (The Christian Science Monitor)I say bah.Steve Jobs can't tell what people want. But he doesn't have to. He knows what he wants, and he knows that when he shows it to you, you're probably going to say "I want that."I am willing to bet that you NEVER sat around thinking "You know what I want? I want some raw fish. And wrap it in seaweed. And make it expensive while you're at it." And then someone introduced you to sushi and you said "I want that." You didn't know you wanted it because you hadn't thought of it. And if the person who introduced you to sushi had asked you what you wanted to eat you sure as heck wouldn't have said "raw fish, wrapped in seaweed, very expensive." No chance-- because it would never have crossed your mind.Henry Ford said "If I had asked my customers what they wanted, they would have said 'a faster horse.'" Steve Jobs has cited that quote a few times, usually when someone asks him why Apple doesn't use focus groups to help design products. More to the point, he's put it this way:"It's really hard to design products by focus groups. A lot of times, people don't know what they want until you show it to them."That makes sense to me. The point is that a lot of us don't really know what we want-- but show us something, and we'll know whether we want that particular thing or not. The hard part is in the imagining. There is nothing magic about this, and it happens in other fields, notably writing (hardly anyone can start with a blank page and put something good on it, but almost everyone can tell whether someone else's writing is worth reading). Steve Jobs has done a great job of putting ideas on paper and turning them into products. And, when he shows them to us-- and that includes me-- we all say "I want one!" Actually, I usually say "I want two!"Knowing that people WILL want something (once they see it) is different than "knowing what they want." Lucky for us, Henry Ford and Steve Jobs didn't ask us what we want-- because if they had, we'd all be riding a faster horse, and though horses don't have charging ports for iPhones it wouldn't matter because the iPhone wouldn't exist.
  313. Just worry for Steve
    Apple employees were sent this email on Monday January 17th, 2011, announcing that Apple CEO Steve Jobs would be taking a leave of absence to concentrate on his health. That's all we know. We don't know when he's coming back. We don't know that he's coming back for sure. We don't know what's wrong. We don't know anything.Nevertheless, there are a lot of people saying thinks like "that's the end of Apple, time to sell my stock." I don't agree with that. Yes, Steve Jobs is a special guy. But, he's hand-picked a bunch of special guys to help him run the company, and they've done it before, and they will do it again. Odds are that there's a new iPad coming soon, a new iPhone coming soon, and who knows what else coming soon. These things take a long time to develop and it's very likely that the pipeline is full of products on their way to market.If the CEO of Christian Boyce and Associates takes a medical leave of absence, you'd be right to worry for the company. In Apple's case, just worry for Steve.
  314. 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 -repairPretty good. But, it turns out there's a cosmetic company called MAC and they're showing up at the top of your search. Change it again, using the minus sign:Mac help Austin Texas -repair -cosmeticsThat just about does it (though, at this writing, the top item is a help-wanted ad, where someone needs a chicken sitter! I do not make this stuff up).So, what have we learned? Use the minus sign in front of words that you DON'T want included in the search results. Be sure that the minus is preceded by a space, and that there is no space after the minus. You want this:-repairnot this:- repairGet it?Bonus Tip: Google doesn't care about the capitalization. So mac help austin texas -repair -cosmetics gives the same results as Mac help Austin Texas -repair -cosmetics. Save yourself a tiny bit of work there.
  315. iPhone on Verizon
    Well well well. As predicted, you will soon be able to use an iPhone on the Verizon Wireless network. You can read all about it on Verizon's website but they leave a few things out. Here's the stuff they don't come right out and say.Verizon's version of "3G" is not as fast as AT&T's version, so speed-wise AT&T's network is better. When you have coverage.Verizon's 3G network has more coverage than AT&T's, so coverage-wise Verizon's network is better.Verizon's network does not allow you to talk on the phone while doing internet-data things such as sending email or browsing websites but AT&T's does.Verizon has not announced pricing for its iPhone service.You can't sign up for an iPhone for Verizon until February 3rd, and maybe until the 10th. Depends on whether you have a Verizon account already or not. If you're using an iPhone now (with AT&T, of course) you will have to get another iPhone because the AT&T iPhone won't work on the Verizon network. Different antennas and all that.I think it boils down to this: if AT&T has good wireless coverage in the places you go the most, you're better off with an AT&T iPhone. Technically AT&T is a better network, with better speed and more modern technology. Of course, AT&T's network is rather overwhelmed in some parts of some cities, so if Verizon works more reliably for you then Verizon's the way to go, even though it 's slower and uses older technology. Do keep in mind that if you want a Verizon iPhone you will have to get in line behind my friend Jeff, who has been waiting since 2007.
  316. 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 when you launch the App Store. By the way, I don't like the App Store's icon, even though it's blue. I think they could have done better. In many ways, the App Store is just like the iPhone's App Store already in place for the iPhone, and it has all of the iPhone's App Store advantages:It's very, VERY easy to purchase an app, 24 hours a dayApps install themselves-- all you do is choose an app and pay.Payments are handled through your Apple ID, the same one used for iTunes purchases and iPhone app purchases-- no need to supply credit card info again and again.It's well-organized, and searchable.There's a lot of free stuff.Yes, you can find apps all over the web, but that's part of the problem-- they're all over the web. In the App Store, everything is right there in one place. It's easy to find apps, even if you're not looking for them-- for example, I downloaded the free "Alfred" shown above, and am having a great time playing around with it. I probably would not have stumbled across Alfred if not for the App Store. I am sure that you will find plenty of neat apps that you weren't necessarily looking for when you go to the App Store. It brings a little extra fun to the Mac.Installing an app purchased from the App Store is completely automatic. When you click the little "free" button under the app (or the one that says "$4.99" or whatever-- you have ONE thing to do, namely enter your Apple ID name and password. The app then flies across your screen in a nice arc, landing in your Dock. That's it! No disk image to deal with, no dragging to the Applications folder, no message about this app being something downloaded from the internet, do you want to use it etc. Could not be simpler.If you know what you're looking for you can search for it (top right). If you're just looking around, try looking at the free apps, or the paid apps, or the "Staff Recommendations." Or browse by category: Business, Education, Entertainment, GAMES (hi Zach), Photography, Productivity, etc.-- 21 categories in all. One more thing: in many cases the App Store will save you money. For example, if you want the latest iPhoto, but don't want to spend $49 for the entire iLife suite, you can spend $14.99 and get just iPhoto-- and get it right…
  317. Sneaky “Google” Scam
    Google called us last week. At least, they said they were Google. Turns out they weren't-- instead, they were crooks, hoping to scam us. Luckily, we were a little suspicious and didn't get suckered into handing over our money but it would have been easy to be fooled. Here's how the scam goes-- make sure it doesn't happen to you!First, the phone call comes from an Oklahoma area code. Google, of course, is in California. But, when they call and say it's Google calling it is sort of exciting-- "Imagine! Google is calling ME!"-- and you might not pay attention to the area code. Pay attention. They are trying to steal your money.Then, they will rattle off some information that they say is in your Google listing, such as your company name and address and phone number. They will tell you that part of the information is wrong-- in our case, they told us that our listing showed a home address rather than the business one-- and that it should be corrected in order to make it easier for potential customers to find us via Google. Sounds reasonable. Most businesses wants more customers, and most businesses hope that someone will use Google to search for the business, and find it. The person on the phone says that he will help you correct this information.Early in the conversation they ask "Are you authorized?" They don't explain what they mean by that. But, they really, REALLY want you to say yes, and that's because they are recording the conversation, and they want to have "yes I am authorized" on tape. The rest of the conversation is hard to understand. The reason it's hard to understand is that while the phony "Google" person is talking to you he is also playing a tape recording saying something like "You are authorizing XYZ company to optimize your search engine listing and for that you will be charged $70 per month for three months. The charge will appear on your phone bill as XYZ Services Inc." Then, the phony Google person says-- in unison with the recording-- "Do you understand?" If you say "Yes" it goes onto the tape, and the next thing you know they're charging you $70 per month, on your phone bill, and if you try to get your money back they'll have a tape recording of you saying that Yes, you are authorized, and Yes, you understand. Pretty clever. And pretty rotten.Google has nothing to do with this scam. The bad guys are using Google's name to give them the sound of legitimacy. Tell the people who answer your phones to be suspicious of anyone "calling from Google" (because Google doesn't call), and while they're at it be suspicious of anyone calling from "The Online Yellow Pages" or anything like that. Rather than having a conversation on the phone, ask the caller to send you something written, in the mail. If they're legit they will, but don't wait by the mailbox, because…
  318. 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 didn't want to use it themselves. (There are some excellent non-Microsoft options available for Mac users today, notably Apple's iWork, a word processor, presentation program, and spreadsheet that are pleasures to use. And they can open Word, Excel, and PowerPoint documents just fine.) Microsoft was not particularly quick to get this version out the door-- the previous version was released in 2008-- but it still feels rushed, and frankly it's a huge disappointment. Microsoft's Mac Business Unit, which had suffered under previous "leadership," was under new management, and Office 2011 was supposed to be the product that showed that Microsoft "gets it." Based on my experience with Office 2011, which I bought with my own $200, it's plain that Microsoft still doesn't get it. They don't get what's important to Mac users, they don't get how to make software that's a pleasure to use, they don't get that the out-of-the-box experience matters. They also don't get that iPhone users would like to sync their calendars, carrying with them the events and appointments that they've entered into Office 2011's Outlook. Well, maybe they do get that. But they didn't provide that feature. Yes, that's right-- if you're going to use the calendar in Outlook from Office 2011, you won't be able to sync it to your iPhone. Not. At. All. From what I hear, the iPhone is fairly popular with Mac users-- what was Microsoft thinking?If they made a word processor that couldn't do the letter "Z" it would not be more surprising than this lack of calendar synching. Apple's been doing calendar synching through Sync Services, something that is available to everyone who programs for the Mac, for something like five years. Even Outlook's predecessor, the not-very-good Entourage, could sync calendars (though, to be fair, Entourage's synching was very unreliable, producing duplicates galore). It's a mind-boggling omission.You might be thinking that I'm just getting started, and I am, but I'll spare you the details. I will, however, describe some of the more notable gaffes that I've found in just a few days of using Office 2011.Notable Gaffe #1: lack of awareness that computer screens are wider than they are tall.This is Microsoft Word from Office 2011. Gee, that empty gray space looks nice and there sure is a lot of it. Meanwhile, the toolbars and "Ribbon"-- a much-trumpeted feature that is, for the most part, simply a way to turn on and off toolbars-- shove my…
  319. 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 it right. My advice: download Cocktail, choose the "Pilot" option (right-most button in the Cocktail toolbar), make it look like the figure below, and then click "Run." Might take a few minutes but it's totally unattended. Let it do its thing, including the restart, and all will be well. HINT: restart your Mac BEFORE you run Cocktail, because it will run better if there aren't other programs in the way.You can run Cocktail a few times without paying for it but eventually you will want to register it. $14.95 for one computer, $29.95 for five. There are other ways to perform Cocktail's tasks but none that is as easy. NOTE: there's a "Scheduler" button up at the top of the window. Click it and you can set Cocktail to run on a repeating schedule. You won't make things worse by running Cocktail more often, so if you feel like having it run every Monday morning at 4:15 AM go right ahead. That happens to be the way it's set up here and look how I've turned out.Step 2: Run Software Update (repeat until there are no more updates). Restart when they tell you to.Generally speaking the Software Updates are good things. Sometimes, rarely, a software update will have unintended consequences. For example, a recent software update caused problems for people who emailed PDFs via automatic means, from FileMaker, AppleScript, or Automator. The problem was fixed in a subsequent update but the weeks in between were rough. If you're not sure, ask someone (me).Step 3: Update your Microsoft stuff (if you have any)Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Entourage or Outlook) has an automated software update system that is supposed to keep those programs up to date. Apple's Software Update won't update Microsoft's stuff, so you have to use Microsoft's updater. Look under the Help menu in any version of Microsoft Word (or Excel, or PowerPoint, or Entourage, or Outlook) for "Check for Updates." The Microsoft AutoUpdate program will launch and tell you whether there is anything for you or not.After you get one update you may "qualify" for another. Keep trying until there are no more updates. NOTE: after you choose "Check for Updates" you should quit Word (and Excel and PowerPoint and Entourage/Outlook). The updates cannot install when these Microsoft programs are running. I agree, it's kind of goofy to complain about the programs being open when that's how we got to the updates in…
  320. 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 envelopes, so even if you're not a Mailing Label guy there's a lot of good stuff in here for you too. Yes, you could stand at the printer and feed envelopes one at a time for your entire Christmas card list, for example.Here we go.Step 1: Get your list together. You'll almost certainly want to print labels for a group of people, not for just one and not for all of them. So, it's time to make a Group. Here's a picture. One way to make a group is to click where the blue arrow is pointing. That gives you an empty untitled group, so you rename it (easy) and then you click on "All Contacts" and one-by-one drag cards into your group. That second part is not so easy-- it's a lot of dragging. Far easier: start in the "All Contacts" group, then click on ONE person that will be part of your group. Then, hold the Command key, and click on the rest of the people who belong in the group. Then, go to the File menu, and choose "New Group from Selection." It does exactly what the name suggests. Rename the group (double-click on its name) and you are ready for Step 2.Step 2: Be sure that the addresses in your group are labeled properly. The Home address should have a "Home" label next to it, for example. If the label is wrong click the Edit button and fix it. You'll be glad of this later.Step 3: Click on the name of the group, then go to File and Print. It is very important that you click on the name of the group. Otherwise, when you go to print, you won't be able to print labels for the whole group. Everyone forgets to do it once in a while, even when he knows better.The Print box looks something like this. First, be sure the Style pop-up (middle right) is set to "Mailing Labels." Next click the "Layout" button just below that. That's where you get to choose the the type of label you'll be using. BIG HINT: use an Avery brand label. The Address Book is ready for any of more than 100 Avery sizes. Here, I'm using Avery 5161 (2 across, ten down-- a little more than a penny apiece). Step 4: Now click on the Label button.This is where you get to specify what gets printed. Notice the "Addresses" menu. By…
  321. 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 the blue square, up at the top of the box. When you do that, you get an expanded box. Just look at all of those options (see below).Ah, that's better. You get a nice preview (now we know it's going to take 24 pages to print), and you get to specify how many copies, and which pages, and a whole lot more. Use the little arrows under the preview thumbnail to see what's one each page-- maybe you don't need to print everything after all.Tip Number Two: Explore the Layout options.In the expanded dialog box above, I'm printing from Safari. (One of the clues is the pop-up menu that says "Safari" on it.) If you click on the pop-up menu that says "Safari" you will see some other choices (see below). Choose Layout and you'll see things change up a bit.After choosing Layout, here I've chosen to print two "pages" on each sheet of paper. All of a sudden my 24-page print job is going to take only 12 sheets. All I did is choose 2 from the "Pages per Sheet" menu (could have been 4, 6, 9, or 16 if I wanted it to be) and then choose an option from the Border menu. See below.Pretty neat. One of these days this is going to help you.Tip Number Three: Print your pictures using PreviewI hope that you're using Preview to open JPEGs and PDFs and other graphic formats. I could write a nice blog entry showing why Preview is so much better than Acrobat Reader, or I could just tell you it's better and hope you'll take my word for it. When it comes to printing, nothing has a better combination of features and ease of use than Preview-- certainly not Acrobat. Here's a picture, opened in Preview, and we're ready to print.This looks a lot like the Safari Print dialog but there are plenty of differences. Most important is the "Scale to Fit" button. You can see, in the box next to "Scale", that Preview had to scale the image to 70% to fit it onto the paper. Nicely, conveniently, this is what Preview does, by default. Very nice of them. The Auto Rotate checkbox is almost always a good thing to have checked, so leave it checked. Now, let's look at the bottom of the box, where it says "Images per page." Let's say that you want to make multiple copies of the…
  322. New Apple MacBook Airs
    Apple introduced a new MacBook Air portable computer today-- actually, two of them. One has a 13-inch screen and the other an 11-incher. They replace the existing MacBook Air and offer several improvements over the older model, including longer battery life, better screens, instant on, and a great big multi-touch trackpad. The biggest difference under the hood is the use of a "Flash" drive rather than a traditional spinning mechanical hard disk. For all practical purposes the MacBook Air's new Flash drive is just like a digital camera card-- small, flat, no noise, no moving parts, all electronic, low power demands. You can get as much as 256 Gigabytes of storage space when you buy the MacBook Air and if I were buying one, that's what I would do. There's a 128 GB version, and a 64 GB version (for the 11-inch model only) but I'd go with 256. I wouldn't be mad at you if you got the 128, but I would not recommend the 64 GB model because I think you need more space than that. You will enjoy this little video, courtesy of Apple, talking about the new MacBook Air and how it came to be.Here are some things to watch and listen for as you watch the video.Isn't it ironic that Apple has based this machine on Flash technology, when it was only a few months ago that Steve Jobs was telling us how miserable Flash is and that he wants nothing to do with it? Actually, maybe it's not ironic. It turns out that "Flash" is the name of two totally different things. The Flash that Steve doesn't like is resource-hogging software from Adobe, used in web page design. The Flash that Steve does like is a little storage device on a chip, like a camera card. Totally different things, with the same name. What a drag.They refer to the camera as a "FaceTime" camera. Yesterday, we called it the iSight camera. Bye-bye, iSight. Hello, FaceTime. I'd expect to see more and more FaceTime stuff as time goes by-- including, I predict, coming soon to an iPad near you.Does every interview with Jonathan Ive have him facing the same direction, slightly off-screen? So far, yes.Bonus: Jonathan Ive says "Aluminium" as only he can say it, at the 2:27 point. Listen for it.All four models are available for ordering from Apple's website today. Here's the link. By the way, you'll get the new iLife '11 package pre-installed, for free.Update: two more things about the new MacBook Airs. First, they are fast-- about as fast as the "regular" MacBooks and MacBook Pros. Second, they are thin. Very thin. If they were any thinner they would only have one side! Heh heh. Extra credit for those who laugh at my joke.
  323. How to remove old email addresses from the Mac Mail program
    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 of everyone you've sent emails to. Find the ones that are wrong, click on them, and use the "Remove From List" button to get rid of them. Problem solved.Microsoft Entourage users: I haven't forgotten you. You can indeed clear out an address from Entourage's "Recently Emailed" list-- but it's an all-or-nothing affair. Apple's Mail is better because it lets you pick and choose.Here's what it looks like in Entourage. Get there by going to the Entourage menu and choosing Preferences.Of course you won't see the helpful red box, but you'll figure it out once you're there.
  324. 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" it used to take a bit of work:Double-click the eventClick the Edit buttonChoose a Calendar by clicking on the name of the calendar you assigned to begin with and then choosing anotherClick the Done button.That's too much work. My new method is a whole lot faster and easier. All it takes is a Control-click on the event, in any view (day, week, or month) and a contextual menu appears, with a "Calendar" item in it. Choose a calendar by sliding down to Calendar and then over to the calendar you want. Using this Control-click method you can assign a calendar to an event in one click. Did you already know that?
  325. 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 that's not the tip. The tip is, if you click on a curvy arrow, it actually opens your reply! If you click on a straight arrow it opens your forwarded message. This can save you all kinds of time-- rather than searching through your Sent mail to find the reply you sent, you simply click the curvy arrow and voila, there it is. Yes, it's been there all along, and yes, I'm sorry I didn't mention it earlier. I meant to.Entourage users: you can click the link that says "Show Reply." Look for it.
  326. 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 will drag icons OUT of the Dock rather than dragging COPIES to the Finder windows. Nothing to worry about, just follow directions, which amount to a single step! Here it is:Step One: HOLD THE COMMAND KEY while dragging an icon from the Dock to the top of a Finder window (the Toolbar). Which one is the Command key? It's the one that isn't Control, and isn't Option. It's the one with either an Apple, or a clover thingy, or both on it. It might even say "Command" right on it! Whichever, it's right next to the Space bar. Click here to learn how the Command key got its symbol. Anyhow, if you hold the Command key down, and then you click and drag an icon from the Dock to a Finder window's Toolbar, you'll end up with the same icon in both places. Neat. You'll see a little green circle with a white "+" in it while you drag, if you're doing it right. If you don't see the little green circle with the white "+" in it you will tear the icon right out of the Dock, accompanied by a puff of smoke and a little "poof" noise. If you don't see the little green circle with the white "+" in it just drag the icon back to the Dock.VISUAL AIDS:Command Key (no it will not be outlined in blue on your keyboard): Little green circle with a white "+" in it: Puff of smoke (you don't want this):
  327. New Strategy for iPhone App Organization
    If you're using iOS 4 on an iPhone you've no doubt seen "Folders" as shown above*. Folders are great for grouping apps (here, I've put a bunch of weather-related apps into their own folder), but they're also great for giving you quick access to a lot more apps in a lot less time (and a lot fewer taps). The trick is to store folders in the Dock.Here's what my first Home screen looked like before I got organized. As you can see from the dots near the bottom of the screen, I have the full complement of eleven Home screens, which means a LOT of apps are more than a swipe and a tap away. The four apps in the Dock (OmniFocus, Pastebot, Mail, and Settings) were available with one touch regardless of which Home screen I was on, but with 200,000 apps I had a bunch that I use all the time. I had to find a better way.My plan: put folders into the Dock, allowing me quick access to a lot more than four apps. It was a great plan, except for one thing: you can't create a folder in the Dock. Turns out that there's a way around that. The trick is to make the folder somewhere else. Then drag the whole folder to the Dock. Once you do that you can move additional apps into the docked folder. Here's what my first Home screen looks like now.Now I have access to a whole bunch of fun stuff on Home Screen 1, and another giant pile of apps just a tap away in my "Main Apps" and "Super Faves" folders. Here's what it looks like when I tap those folders.First, my Main Apps...and here, my "Super Faves."I haven't done the math yet but it seems to me that I have a lot more apps just a tap or two away from wherever I might be. It does take some re-training as I had become accustomed to going swipe-swipe-swipe to find my apps, but I'm getting there. Overall, it's working for me, and if you have a lot of apps I think it will be worthwhile for you as well.*I know, they don't look like "folders." But that's what they're called.
  328. 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 rearrange the icons in my menubar in just a few seconds. I started with this:(Click the picture for a larger version)And I ended up with this:(Click the picture for a larger version)Not a gigantic improvement but I like it. And it's so easy.Caution: if you hold the Command key down and click on an icon in the menubar you should be careful NOT to drag the icon down, away from the menubar. If you do drag it down, don't let go-- unless you want to remove that icon from the menubar. There is always a way to get the icon back if you do remove it but it's easier to just be careful.In case you're wondering: no, you can't rearrange the menus themselves. That is, you can't put Edit before File, and Help before that. I know you'll try but I'm telling you it won't work. Note: not every icon is movable using the Command key technique. Here, I'm not able to move Evernote's elephant icon, and I'm also not able to move LogMeIn's gray circle with dots. Most of the other icons will be draggable-- expect it to work and be surprised when it doesn't.
  329. 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 just the way you want it. Put something generic in for the name and address as I did. Then go to the File menu and Save as Template. Give it a good name and from then on you can create an envelope in Pages by using the Template Chooser.)I named my envelope template "CB&A Envelopes" but you can call yours anything you like. Do pay attention to the name; you will need it in the next step.You're halfway there. Now we have to make a little AppleScript to tell Pages to make an envelope from the template, and then to replace Name, Address, CityStateZip with the address we clicked on in the Address Book. It sounds hard but it won't be for you, since I've written the whole thing for you. Here it is.--Put this file into your "Address Book Plug-Ins" folder, which lives inside your "Library" folder,--which lives inside your hard drive. Remember to change "CB&A Envelopes" to the name of your--envelope template, made using Pages.--using terms from application "Address Book" on action property return "address" end action property -- on should enable action for theperson with theEntry if theEntry ≠ missing value then return true else return false end if end should enable action on action title for theperson with theEntry -- the string in the next line will appear when you click on an address' label in the Apple Address Book. return "Make Envelope" end action title on perform action for theperson with theEntry set theAddress to formatted address of theEntry set theAddress to name of theperson & return & theAddress -- tell application "Pages" activate --You have to specify a template. Best to make your own. Mine is called "CB&A Envelopes" set mydoc to make new document with properties {template name:"CB&A Envelopes"} tell mydoc set every paragraph to "" set paragraph 1 to theAddress end tell end tell end perform actionend using terms fromYou can copy and paste what I have here into a new AppleScript Editor document (but remember to change "CB&A Envelopes" to your own template's name), or click here to download the file from me. Either way you still have to specify the name of your envelope template. If you can't find the AppleScript Editor look in your Utilities folder. If you still can't find it, look in your Applications folder for "Script Editor." Same thing, or close enough.After placing the script into the proper location (Address Book…
  330. Top 3 iPhone Games
    Note: I am honored to present this special Guest Expert blog post, written by my friend Zach, a Macintosh and iPhone gaming expert. -- Christian BoyceTop 3 iPhone Gamesby Zach, age 9First Place: Ancient WarPoint of the game: destroy a totem pole without your own totem pole being destroyed tooCost: $1.99Ancient War is great difficulty-wise. It has different levels that start off really easy and become extremely hard. Also, Ancient War has good action, good controls and okay sound effects. I like how every couple of minutes you get to shoot fireballs.Ancient WarSecond Place: Angry BirdsType of game: ArcadePoint of the game: get your eggs back from the green pigs by launching birds at the pigs using a big slingshotCost: 99 centsAngry Birds is like Ancient War difficulty-wise. It has different levels, some easy and some not. Good controls, pretty good action, and ok sound effects. I like how you shoot your birds from the slingshot and hit something hard.Angry BirdsThird Place: Eliminate ProType of game: shootingPoint of the game: kill a guy without being killedCost: FREEI like Eliminate Pro because you can play people online. I play it with my friend William online almost every week. It is good for advanced players and beginners. If you play someone good it is hard, but if you play someone not so good it is easy. It has great action, not so good controls because controls fade away a lot when you need them most so you don't know where every button is, and good sound affects. I like how if you shoot a guy when he is dead he explodes.Eliminate Pro
  331. NFL Prime Time iCal Calendar for 2010
    Note: this is a repeat of a blog entry from last year, with updated data for 2010. Preseason games are not included.I wanted an iCal calendar of the prime-time NFL games (Monday Night Football, the Sunday night game, the occasional Thursday night game) but I couldn't find one online. I did find the entire NFL schedule, but that was way more than I wanted. Solution: I imported the entire NFL schedule, then wrote an AppleScript to remove every game whose starting time was before 4 PM. Simple. Here's the script, for educational purposes... -- By Christian Boyce, macman@christianboyce.comtell application "iCal" set the_games to every event in calendar "NFL" repeat with i from 1 to (count of the_games) set the_start_date to start date of item i of the_games set the_day to word 1 of (the_start_date as string) set the_hour to character 1 of time string of the_start_date as string -- if the_hour is not greater than 3 then set the_event_id to uid of item i of the_games delete event id the_event_id of calendar "NFL" end if -- end repeatend telland here's the NFL Prime Time calendar, ready for you to click on and import. Note: you will get the chance to put this calendar's events into one of your existing iCal calendars. That's probably not a good idea. Choose the "New Calendar" option when asked and I think you'll be happier.Thanks to http://www.southendzone.com/ for the entire NFL schedule in iCal form.Like the calendar? Did it help you? Leave a comment and let us know.
  332. 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.
  333. How to Save Money on iPhone Apps
    -- How to Save Money on iPhone Apps --AppMinerSome iPhone apps are free. Some aren't. Except when they are. Turns out that iPhone app pricing changes all the time. That app that you didn't buy because it cost too much might suddenly cost half as much-- or maybe even nothing at all. The trick, of course, is to get 'em when they're cheap. AppMiner, itself a free iPhone app, helps you do it. UPDATE: AppMiner has been removed from the App Store. Apparently AppMiner's concept violates the terms of the App Store so the app had to be pulled. In a nutshell, AppMiner watches the prices on the iTunes App Store, and when a price goes down, AppMiner makes a note of it. All you have to do it launch AppMiner and check the categories you're interested in. See below.Here are some of the categories...Here are some more...And here are the rest.The numbers tell you how many items in each category have dropped in price either today or yesterday. They don't go further back because prices change pretty quickly and out of date info wouldn't be useful.Touch a category and you'll see something like this:We're looking here at items that used to cost something, but don't anymore, in the Education category. You can see that some of these things are marked down considerably. Touch any of the items and you get a description of the app, just like on the iTunes App store. Here's what it looks like:If the description sounds interesting you can tap the "Free" button (or the "Get It!" button) to go straight to the right place on the iTunes App store, where you can "buy" the thing (for free). Otherwise, you can just go back and see what else might be interesting. Of course you don't have to check only what's free. You can check what's on sale, what's new, what's top rated, etc. I go for the free stuff myself.I check AppMiner every night to see what gems may have fallen into my lap. I don't know exactly how much money I've saved but I do know that I have a whole lot of apps on my iPhone and I've paid for only a few. AppMiner is saving me money and I'm sure it will for you also. It's on my first home screen-- a place of honor. Go get AppMiner and check, check check it. You'll be glad you did.
  334. 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. Unbelievable. Did I mention that it's all free?Some of the offerings on iTunes U are audio, some of them have video too. I'm currently watching a set of lectures on iPhone programming, recordings of classes given at Stanford University. It's just like being there, except that I don't have to do it at Stanford and I don't have to do it at any particular time. And, if I feel like taking a coffee break I can simply pause the lecture, and if I fall asleep in class I can rewind the lecture and watch it "again."You want this. Trust me. Start up iTunes, click on "iTunes Store" at the left, and then "iTunes U" at the right. The rest is pure exploration. Here are some screen shots to get you in the mood.iTunes U categoriesThe class I'm "taking" at StanfordStill from a Stanford lectureInteresting-looking class-- I should take this oneStill frame from "Introduction to Drawing" class-- I should take this one tooOfferings from UC DavisInteresting mini-series from UC DavisFrom the University of MichiganWhatever he's teaching, I'm going to watchFind something interesting, give it a double-click, and watch it right there on your Mac. Or, download these things onto your iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch and watch them on the go. Either way, it's all free free free, so get in there and start clicking. I guarantee you'll find something interesting.I still can't believe it's free.
  335. Quick Way to Enlarge iPhone’s Emails
    Someone (Dave) asked me how to make the text bigger on his iPhone, specifically for emails. I told him how to do it: Settings, then Mail, Contacts, Calendars, then scroll way do to the Mail section, then change the Minimum Font Size. That works, and Dave's happy, so that is that. Except that I found another way to do it.Here's a picture of a "typical" email message, viewed on my iPhone. Definitely readable, though a little small after a long day. (If it looks a little blurry that's the screen-shot's fault, not the iPhone's. It's sharp as a tack on the iPhone.)Here's the same email, with the iPhone turned sideways. I knew it would rotate but I didn't know it would enlarge. But, as you can see, it does. How handy, especially for those occasional times when your eyes are tired. Turn it back the other way and you're back to normal. Well, maybe YOU'RE not. But your email font size is.Give it a try. Free, and easily worth twice as much.
  336. FaceTime to the Rescue
    No doubt you've heard about FaceTime, Apple's groovy new video-chat feature built into the iPhone 4. It's pretty cool the first time around-- in fact, it's better than that. It's incredible. Mind-blowing. Astounding. That's how it was for me. But then it wore off, becoming sort of a novelty instead of a game-changer.Until tonight.Tonight, one of my customers needed help with his Apple TV box. Not with his Mac, which I can see and control from over the internet-- but with his Apple TV. The customer's television was displaying a message from the Apple TV, and he wanted me to tell him how to respond. As you can imagine, it helps a LOT to know exactly what the problem is before offering a solution-- and what could be better than seeing the message on the TV for myself? Thanks to FaceTime, I could. My customer aimed his iPhone 4 at his television screen, I read the message for myself, and in a jiffy I was able to solve the problem. I'm back to thinking that FaceTime is incredible. Mind-blowing. Astounding.
  337. 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 to do when you don't have to drag your files all the way to the Dock, taking up time and introducing the potential for accidentally "dropping" the thing you're dragging, and losing it "somewhere" on your Desktop.Here's how you do it.Our first picture shows a typical Finder window, with some images in it.Realizing that it's a long way to drag one of these icons to the Dock in order to open with (let's say) Pixelmator, we look for a shortcut-- and we find one, by dragging the Pixelmator icon right up into the toolbar across the top of the Finder window! Here's what it looks like (marked with a red circle to make things clearer here). I'll tell you more about how to do it in a minute.Now, if I want to open one of those pictures using Pixelmator, I just drag it up a couple of inches (or less) to the Pixelmator icon, wait for it to highlight, then let go.Here's an example with a whole bunch of program icons in the toolbar. With these, I can drag a file to open it in Pixelmator, open it in Preview, send it in a Mail message, add it to Evernote, or add it to the iPhoto Library. Nice.Of course, you have to get those icons up there into the Toolbar, but it turns out to be very easy. Just go to the Applications folder, find an app that you want to have easy access to, and drag it to the toolbar. Hold it for just a second or two and it should work. Note that EVERY Finder window will have the same complement of icons in the toolbar, which makes it easy (add program icons to ANY Finder window's toolbar and it will be available in EVERY Finder window).If you change your mind and want to rearrange the icons hold the Command key (not Control, Command) and either move the icon or tear it off and let go outside the window. Poof. Note that you are NOT throwing away the program. You're just removing a shortcut from the toolbar. And it's perfectly OK to have the same program in the Dock and in the Finder window's toolbar. Nothing wrong with that at all.Bonus: if all you want to do is launch a program you can click its icon in the toolbar. It's like having a second Dock, except somehow it's always closer to where your…
  338. iPhone 4 Antenna Song
    Apple's iPhone 4 press conference is going on right now. They started it by showing this YouTube video.
  339. Free Admission to MacWorld Expo
    MacWorld Expo 2011 is six months away, but if you plan ahead a little you can save major buckos on admission. In fact, if you use this link before the end of the day on July 26th, you can get in for free. San Francisco in January isn't exactly balmy but who cares, it's SAN FRANCISCO, and it's MacWorld-- the biggest Mac (and iPhone, and iPad) love-fest on Planet Earth. You are likely to have a great time. Mark your calendar. Note: they've changed the dates. The conference part of MacWorld Expo starts January 26th and the exhibits part (the part you can get into for free via this link) starts on January 27th.
  340. 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 you can do in a hurry (especially if you're using a trackpad instead of a mouse). FYI, I NEVER click in the boxes. I click near them, but not "in" them.That's because you can click anywhere in the words beside the checkboxes (shown in purple in the picture below). That's a much bigger target-- more than ten times as big! It's easier to hit a big target, and easier means faster. This works (or it should work) for ANY checkbox (and for radio buttons too), in any program. Give it a try and save a few seconds multiple times a day. It doesn't sound like much but it all adds up.Bonus: if your Print... dialogs aren't nice and big like the ones shown here you need to click the little black triangle in the blue square, shown below and marked in purple. There is a shortcut for clicking that triangle, but since you only need to do it once per program (and since it's a multi-step shortcut) I'd just click the thing and be done with it.
  341. Epicentral iPhone app
    UPDATE 1-17-2018: the Epicentral app is no longer available, but an even better one is. Check out QuakeFeed Earthquakes. Includes customizable alerts. It's the one I use now. Free, with in-app purchases. (the following is provided for historical reference) Here's a handy iPhone app, especially if you were in Southern California at 4:53 pm today. It's called Epicentral and it tells you where and when and how big the earthquake was. Here's the link. In case you wondered: Anza Borrego Desert State Park, magnitude 5.7.
  342. iPhone 4 FaceTime
    People ask me all the time "What does the new iPhone 4 do that my old iPhone can't?" Here's one thing: FaceTime. Only on iPhone 4.
  343. Free Fireworks App
    In case you didn't get enough fireworks tonight here's an iPhone app that lets you make fireworks anytime you want. It's called "iLoveFireworks Lite" and it's free.I can't find any written directions but through trial and error I've discovered a few things. First, tap on the screen to make a small firework. Second, drag your finger (in any direction) to make a trail that ends up in a firework. Third, tap and hold to make a BIG firework (when you lift your finger). Fourth, and this is my favorite, tap and hold with multiple fingers to make that many fireworks at once. Here's a picture. Go have fun. For free.
  344. iPhone 4 signal strength
    You've probably heard about problems with Apple's iPhone 4-- specifically, there's something about the antenna that makes the number of AT&T signal bars go down when you hold the phone in your hand "in certain ways." It turns out that "certain ways" includes the way I'd normally hold it (in the palm of my left hand). Bummer.I had not noticed this problem myself, but I was able to reproduce it. Here it is, in pictures.iPhone 4 on desk. Five AT&T bars (top left corner).A few seconds later, I picked up the phone and held it in my left hand as anyone who uses his right hand to type would. Looky here-- down to three bars!A few seconds later and I'm down to 2 bars.Then I put the iPhone 4 back into the cheap-o silicone case that used to hold my iPhone 3GS and my bars shot up to 5.So-- independent research shows that indeed this "fewer bars when holding the iPhone" phenomenon does indeed occur. Maybe, just maybe, putting the antenna on the outside of the iPhone, right where a person would naturally hold it, wasn't the best idea ever. But, as demonstrated here at Boyce Labs, we have two ways to get a 5-bar signal. One of the ways (leave the iPhone 4 on the desk) isn't practical. The other way (put the iPhone 4 in a case) is super-practical, and since there's a case for every taste, I say "get a case and put this problem behind you."That would be the end of it, except for one thing: Apple's written a very interesting letter (click here to see it) that attempts to explain it all away. I say "very interesting" because while one might expect Apple to say "sorry about the bars, we're going to give away free cheap-o cases for all iPhone 4 users and solve this problem for you" they instead said (paraphrased) "Yes there's a problem, but it's not what you think. You had lousy signal strength the whole time, and we made a boo-boo in how we calculate the number of bars when it sits on your desk. You think you have 5 bars but you don't." Hmm. Like I said, very interesting. How can it be that they've made a mistake in their bar calculation "all along" (that's what the letter says), but the mistake only shows up when you hold your iPhone 4 in your hand? And how can it be that they expect me to be happy with a phone that gets 2 bars out of five while in my apartment? I think what they're telling us is that they're going to change the formula to "more accurately reflect" the signal strength... but that means that even with a case on, my iPhone 4 is going to show 2 bars. That's a different problem, and according to Apple it's all AT&T's to fix. Too bad, because I have more confidence in Apple's ability to fix a problem than in AT&T's.BONUS: here's…
  345. iPhone Software Update (iOS 4)
    Somewhat overlooked in last week's iPhone 4 pandemonium is the updated operating system for iPhones called "iOS 4". It's available as a free download for existing iPhone and iPod Touch users. (Sorry, it is not available yet for the iPad.) I put it onto my iPhone 3GS and it's working fine.Here's what you'll get when you install iOS 4 onto your existing iPhone: (note: iPhone 4 owners can skip this-- the iPhone 4 comes with iOS pre-installed.)Multitasking: in effect, it lets you suspend an app, and come back to it later, just as you left it-- saving you the time it takes to launch it and get to where you were.Folders: you can group apps into folders now. Each folder can hold 12 items. I have two and a half pages of folders, grouped just the way I like them (Navigation, Utilities, Reference, Shopping, Sports, etc.)Improved Mail: you can see all of your Inboxes at once.Digital Zoom for the camera: like the one in Gorillacam, but now built-in.iBooks: you can now buy books from Apple's store, and read them on your iPhone or on your iPad. Note: free Winnie the Pooh book is included and the books have the same groovy page-turning animations as on the iPad.It took about an hour for me to do the update on my iPhone 3GS and I would expect it to take about the same for you. If you have an original iPhone (aluminum back), you're out of luck-- it won't install at all, so don't try. If you have a 3GS it's a no-brainer-- go get it, it's free. Here's a link to Apple's site where you can learn more about the iOS 4. Here's a link showing how to install it.
  346. 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 it's the same with every pop-up menu, in every program, all day long. Except it's not.Turns out that you can click ANYWHERE on the pop-up menu. Anywhere! Here's a picture showing you (in blue) where you can click-- that's a much bigger target, and much easier to hit. Knowing this, you don't have to be so precise anymore, and that'll save you time.Here are some more examples. Which would you rather click on-- the big area in blue, or the tiny area in red? Go for the blue. Make it easy on yourself.Here's the Appearance preference pane.Here's a slight variation: an iCal event entry panel. Still, it works the same way. Click in the blue area. So there you have it. With a larger target it's easier to put the mouse in the right place. Assuming you save two seconds per menu, and also assuming you deal with 37.4 pop-up menus per day (just guessing), you'll save more than 5 hours in a year using this "aim for the larger target" method. That would let you spend more time baking cookies for sending to your favorite Mac guy.By the way, this is my 200th post to this blog. How about that.
  347. iCal calendar for World Cup matches
    UPDATE: here's a link to the 2018 knockout stage World Cup calendar, in ics format (for your iPhone, Mac, or iPad). 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 it. So you're not stuck with this calendar for life.
  348. Free iPhones
    Radio Shack will be selling the new iPhone 4, and will be offering $200 as a trade-in for iPhone 3GS owners. Since the new iPhone is $199, you're basically getting it for free. Worth checking it out.
  349. Free corn dogs!
    Hot Dog on a Stick is giving away free corn dogs today, from 5 pm to 8 pm. One per customer. FYI.
  350. 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 a palette like this one:Everything in iPhoto shows up in this palette. So does everything in Photo Booth. You can choose an album, like so:You can double-click a picture to see it larger, you can search for a picture using the search box at the bottom, you can control-click on a picture to change the view to "View as List." Here's what that looks like-- could be handy someday.I like the Icon View but it's nice to know the List view is available.Once you've found the picture you want you simply drag it into the Mail message, exactly where you want it to be. For example:That was easy... but there's one more thing. Look at the bottom right of the message window. There's a little menu, called "Image Size." Here's a better view.You can click on it and change the size of the image. As you choose different options the message size (shown at the bottom left) adjusts instantly. Pretty neat stuff, really.So... next time you're in Mail, and you want to attach a photo, click the Photo Browser button. It makes sending photos unbelievably easy.Bonus Tip: look for a Photo Browser (sometimes called a Media Browser) in other applications too. You'll find one in Pages, Keynote, Numbers, RapidWeaver, iMovie, iDVD, Pixelmator, and probably a lot more, but (notably) not anything from Microsoft or Adobe.
  351. iPhone 4- yes please
    When the first iPhone came out I got one, but I didn't really "get it." Now, though, I get it-- and I'll be getting the new iPhone the first day (June 24th, 2010).Here's a link to Steve Jobs introducing the new iPhone ("the iPhone 4") at the World Wide Developers' Conference two days ago. He explains it better than anyone, so get the story straight from Steve.
  352. iPhone Sliiiiiiide Technique
    If you're an iPhone user you know that accurate pointing leads to efficient use. Actually, it's the other way around: inaccurate pointing leads to inefficient use. It's not easy to be accurate when your finger's bigger than the buttons and keys and controls on the iPhone's screen, but it turns out there's a useful technique that will help you when you're off the mark. In a nutshell, it's this: if you touch the wrong key, don't let go-- just sliiiiiiiiide to the right key, and then let go. For example:Here I'm in the middle of writing a text message. I want to write "Stop it" and I've gotten as far as the "S." When I go for the "t" I miss and land on the "r." You can see it in the picture below.Do I accept that "r" and then delete it and then try for the "t" again? No! Instead, when I see that "R" indicating that I hit the wrong letter I simply sliiiiiiide over one letter, wait for the "T" to show, and then I let go. Ahhhh-- that feels good.Here's what it looks like.This technique works other places too. Here's one example that I use all the time: in Contacts, you get that TINY A-Z list at the right.Supposedly you're able to touch a letter in that list and jump to the that letter in your Contacts file. More times than not I don't land where I want to-- but with the sliiiiiiiide technique I just keep my finger down and sliiiiiiide to the proper letter, and then let go. Here's what it looks like when you touch and HOLD (yes, the list turns gray):Keep the "sliiiiiide" technique in mind for the next time you touch the wrong spot on your iPhone's screen. It makes correcting an error as easy as making one.I have likened this method to playing checkers: your move isn't official until you let go. Maybe that will help you remember.
  353. National Office Manager Appreciation Month
    June is loaded with holidays: there's Flag Day and Fathers Day, of course, but there's also National Donut Day (on the 4th-- free donut at Dunkin' Donuts if you follow that link), Donald Duck Day (on the 9th), and Waffle Iron Day* (on the 29th). To that, add National Accordion Awareness Month and National Turkey Lovers Month, and you might think that June is all holiday-ed out. But no. It turns out that June is National Office Manager Appreciation Month, and in recognition of National Office Manager Appreciation Month all Amazon referral fees earned by The Boyce Blog during the month of June will be gift-certificated to my Office Manager. If you don't have an Office Manager you can show your appreciation for mine by clicking this Amazon link* when you want to do some shopping. You don't have to wait until June either. Just click the Amazon link* and buy something (anything!) from Amazon. Those are affiliate links, which means Amazon pays me a commission for sending them a customer. I'll track the referral income from this article and see that it goes to my Office Manager.
  354. 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 the asker to DealNews, the best website for finding great deals on tech stuff like Macs, software, printers, and networking equipment-- and a whole lot more. Here's a picture of the DealNews site, with their categories across the top. I never use the categories-- I just leave it on "Everything"-- but the categories give you an idea of the kinds of things that DealNews tracks.Here's that same page, scrolled down a bit so you can see the deals (the top of the site isn't where the action is):DealNews doesn't sell anything (except for advertising space). Their business revolves around getting people to come to the site, which they do by scouring the web for great deals and presenting the deals in an easy-to-navigate webpage. They don't care which store offers the deal- it might be Sears, it might be Buy.com, it might be Dunkin' Donuts. Doesn't matter to DealNews (although, if the store gets complaints, DealNews will quit showing their deals). The more people come to DealNews the more they can charge for their advertisements, so DealNews does what they can to make you want to come back. One way they do it is by updating constantly, and that's a good reason for YOU to sort the deals in chronological order (look for a "sort by" pop-up toward the right), and also a good reason for you to check in on the site more than once a day. Deals don't last forever and sometimes they don't even last an hour. Keep that in mind when you find something you like on the site-- my advice is "buy it right now."You can search DealNews (see the box at the top right). That's a good start, but a lot of the time the stuff you'll find has already expired. That's a drag, but DealNews has a "Get Deals via Email" feature (right above the search box) and with email alerts you'll know about deals as quickly as they're put on the site. You do have to sign up, but it's free, and they promise not to sell your email address or use it for anything else, so I think you can go ahead with this. Setting up a DealNews email alert is easy-- you pick a store, or a product, or a category (or some combination), and DealNews will send you an email when something that matches comes along. You can set up as many alerts as you'd…
  355. Handy iPhone App: Gorillacam
    I've been experimenting with a free iPhone app called "Gorillacam." It comes from the people who make the GorillaMobile iPhone tripod* but you don't have to have the tripod to use it. Gorillacam improves upon the standard iPhone Camera app in several ways, including the handy features shown in the picture below:Of these, I like "Press Anywhere" (lets you take a picture by touching anywhere on the screen-- especially handy if you're taking a picture of yourself at arm's length), Self-timer (especially handy if you've put your iPhone in a GorillaMobile* for taking a picture of yourself from further away than arm's length), and Grid (especially handy if you're into the "Rule of Thirds" for composing pleasing pictures-- not of yourself this time).Here's an example showing the Grid and the Bubble Level (you can turn on more than one feature at a time, depending on which feature you've chosen.)Here's how it (might have) looked without using the Grid and the Bubble Level. What a difference! Heh.One feature not shown above is "Digital Zoom." You can zoom in 4x-- and though it's digital (and not optical), it looks pretty good. Yes, you could just take the picture without the zoom and then "zoom in" in Photoshop... but Photoshop's a pain, and expensive. This thing's easy, and free. Zoom in, take the picture, and send it to a friend, without coming home to connect to your computer. Couldn't be easier than that.Here are three pictures, the first at regular magnification, the second zoomed half-way, and the third zoomed all the way. They all look pretty good to me. I held the iPhone in the same location for each picture. Zooming is as easy as dragging a slider to zoom in or out. You'll get it on the first try.Gorillacam works with all iPhones, including the original, as long as the iPhone is on version 3.1 or better of the iPhone OS software. Your iPhone ought to be on 3.1 for other reasons, and that's free too, so there's really no reason NOT to give Gorillacam a try. There's more to Gorillacam than I've mentioned here, and all of it's good, so go get it and have some fun. In case you missed it, here's the link.
  356. About That Stolen iPhone…
    It sounds like a joke-- "Guy walks into a bar..."-- but it's pretty serious stuff: Apple engineer loses prototype iPhone in a bar, someone finds it, leaves the bar with it, and sells it to tech/rumor/news site Gizmodo.com for a cool 5 G's. Gizmodo takes it apart, writes about it, gets lots of attention. Apple wants its phone back, police get involved, search warrants are presented, Gizmodo reporter and the guy who "found" the iPhone are both in big trouble. That's the short story. Until now, that's all we had. Until now.The longer story is very nicely told in the Affidavit for Search Warrant as published by Wired.com tonight. Have a look. It's a little slow to get started but when you hit the half-way point it starts getting interesting (and it gets better after that). Looks like crime doesn't pay after all. Good.
  357. 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 it's not the best way.Next time, try this: hold the Control key and click and hold on a thumbnail. You'll get this nifty "contextual menu" and you can choose "Edit Using Full Screen" from it. Your picture will zoom to take up the entire screen. Move the mouse to the top of the screen and you'll see thumbnails again-- that makes it easy to choose another picture. Heres' what that looks like.Move your mouse to the bottom of the screen and you'll see these buttons-- same as in the normal "double-click-to-edit" view, but with two more buttons: Info, and Compare. "Info" is pretty obvious, but Compare is worth a little explanation.Here's what happens when you click on "Compare"-- it shows you the picture you were editing, AND it shows you the next picture, side-by-side. You can quickly scan through your photos using the left and right arrow keys (that will load the next picture into the frame with the border) and when you find one you like, you can edit using the tools across the bottom. You can also choose photos to compare by clicking them in the thumbnail bar across the top of the screen. And, if you want to compare more than two, hold the Command key down and click on as many more as you'd like.Even if you never make use of Info and Compare it's always nicer to work on a larger image. Give the Control-click-Edit-Using-Full-Screen method a try. You're going to like it.
  358. Putting It Another Way
    I've thought quite a bit about this Apple, Adobe, and Flash issue. I think it comes down to this: Adobe is saying "Hardware doesn't matter." They have an idea for an app (for a smartphone) or an idea for a desktop application (for a Mac or a PC), and then they try to make it run on all of the machines they can. They don't care which phone you use-- iPhone, Droid, Blackberry, something else-- they just want to get their program to work on it, and if they're able to make it work on your phone, you can be sure that it will look exactly the way it looks on someone else's phone. Even if you have an iPhone with lots of cool hardware features, and the other guy has some other phone that isn't as good. Adobe starts "at the top" with an idea of how they want their app to work. The hardware that it runs on is irrelevant to them.Same thing with their desktop applications (Photoshop, InDesign, etc.). They have an idea of what their program should be, and then they try to fit it onto Macs and onto PCs. They ignore much of what makes a Mac special, because that's not interesting to them. Adobe's focus is on getting Photoshop to run on as many machines as possible-- and to look exactly the same, whether you're running a Mac or a PC. Again, the hardware doesn't matter to them.The problem with this, of course, is that some machines are simply better than others. Some phones have accelerometers, and GPS devices, and touch screens. Others don't. Macs have features that PCs don't, notably the Mac OS X operating system and a set of user interface guidelines that make using a Mac a consistent, predicable experience-- unless you're using Adobe applications, with their own Print and Save As and Open dialog boxes, a complete thumbing of the nose to the ones Apple provides for all developers to use. If you're making smoothies it doesn't really matter if your blender is a Waring or a Hamilton Beach. If you're painting a house you can use a brush from Ace or from Home Depot (but use the one from Home Depot, I have stock). In cases like that, nobody cares about the hardware, because when you get right down to it all blenders blend, and all paint brushes paint, and there's not a lot of difference between them. When you're dealing with phones, and desktop/laptop computers, there IS a lot of difference between the offerings from different companies, and when Adobe ignores those differences, you (the iPhone and Mac owner) end up with the same crummy experience that people with lesser phones and computers get. And it's not very good. In my opinion, hardware DOES matter. It matters a lot. So does the operating system. Adobe doesn't think so, Apple does, and that's the root of this conflict.
  359. Apple, Adobe, and Flash
    You may have heard that Apple's iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch do not run Flash. Flash is Adobe's plug-in software, used by web designers for animations and video. Apple doesn't like Flash because it's buggy and slow, and-- I suspect-- because it leads to sloppy, cheesy websites with gratuitous rollover action. Adobe gives away the Flash plug-in-- you probably have it. They sell the tools that developers use to MAKE Flash (you watch Flash stuff for free, but the people who make things with Flash pay to make it). This is a nice business for Adobe, with no real competition. They'd like to keep that going.Adobe also makes tools that help people make applications for cellular phones-- including, but not restricted to, iPhones. Using Adobe's tools, which they sell, a programmer could write ONE program and have it work on an iPhone, a Blackberry, a Google Droid, etc. That's not possible with any other tool today. You can imagine how appealing this is to a programmer-- write your app once, and sell it to everyone with a smart phone, whether that device is an iPhone or not. The trouble with Adobe's write once, works everywhere approach is that all smart phones are not created equal. A programmer then has to develop for the least common denominator-- that is, the set of features common to all smart phones. (Example: iPhones have accelerometers built in, so when you rotate the screen your email and your web page etc. can rotate automatically. Other smart phones don't have accelerometers. A programmer writing an app for a wide audience would not include features reliant on accelerometers because those features would only work on the iPhone.) The result is a watered-down, dumbed-down, why-did-I-spend-all-this-money-for-an-iPhone-if-the-apps-don't-take-advantage-of-its-features experience. It was the same way with Java-- you might remember. I remember, and Apple remembers, and Apple's not going to let it happen again.Apple's recently changed its agreement with iPhone app developers to say, in effect, "use Apple software to create your apps. Otherwise, they won't be approved for sale in the App Store." Pretty compelling argument to the developer! Apple wants to ensure that applications take full advantage of the features they've built into the iPhone, the iPad, and the iPhone OS, and eliminating a middle-man (Adobe) that may not be motivated to do so is a good move in terms of guaranteeing a high-quality experience for users of Apple's devices.Adobe's come down on Apple, officially and unofficially, saying that not supporting Flash is bad for users, nevermind bad for Adobe, and that forcing app developers to use Apple's tools will lead to stifled creativity etc. This has gone on for a few weeks now, played out on blogs and in interviews, but now Steve Jobs has addressed the issues in a nice long letter. It's interesting reading. Provide the coffee and I'll talk it over with you. Here's the link to Steve Jobs' letter.
  360. How to Make Your iPhone Battery Last All Day
    -- How to Make Your iPhone Battery Last All Day --When it comes to the iPhone, I hear two complaints over and over:1. AT&T is the pits, and2. The battery runs down too quickly.I'm not thrilled with AT&T either but I can't solve that problem for you. I can, however, help you make the battery last longer. Do it my way and it will last all day.First thing you do: turn down the brightness on the screen. Turn it way down. Here's where mine is:A bright screen will run down your battery like nothing else. So fight back by dimming things down.Second thing you do: set the "Auto-Lock" to 1 minute. This means that your iPhone will shut off its screen automatically in one minute. Yes, it's an irritation, but it's a lot less irritating than running out of battery power.Third thing you do: turn off WiFi when you know you won't be using it. Turn it back on when you get home or to the office or Starbucks or wherever it is that you use WiFi. (The internet stuff is MUCH faster with WiFi than with the 3G network, so remember to turn it on when it's available.)Fourth thing you do: turn off Bluetooth unless you need it. (You need it if you have a Bluetooth headset.)Fifth thing you do: get yourself a couple of extra chargers and get in the habit of plugging the iPhone in when you can. I have one in the car and another at my desk. If you need a link, here's one for car chargers and cables from Amazon*.
  361. iPhone Photo of the Week
    Here's a picture of bluebonnets, taken with my iPhone in Austin, Texas.
  362. iPhone OS 4 Coming Soon
    Apple showed off its upcoming iPhone software update, the so-called iPhone OS 4. It really looks great but to most people, it won't "look" at all because it's mostly under the hood, which is how it ought to be. All you'll know is your iPhone (and iPad) will be easier and more fun to use.There are plenty of things to like about this new version but the thing I'm looking forward to the most is Multi-tasking. Multi-tasking means that with iPhone OS 4 the iPhone can do more than one thing at a time. This lets you receive Skype phone calls on your iPhone even if you're doing something else. It lets you listen to Pandora radio while you do other things. It lets you use the very cool "Line2" voice-over-IP app even if you switch away from the Line2 app. (It also lets you move between apps very quickly.) This will solve a problem for ME-- the one where I'm reading a book and want to adjust the brightness. It used to be hit the Home button, find the Settings, go to the Brightness, then back to the Home screen, then find the book app, then finally tap it. Yikes. Now it's going to be about three taps. About. Yay.I'm also looking forward to organizing my apps in iPhone OS 4's new "folders." You can watch Steve Jobs and Co. introduce iPhone OS 4 by clicking the link. You'll see multi-tasking, folders, and a whole lot more.The iPhone OS 4 software will come to us this summer. Watch for it.
  363. Apple’s Sold 300,000 iPads
    300,000 iPads sold so far. Pretty impressive for something that no one thought they wanted or needed-- really, an extra device, not a replacement for anything else-- until Apple showed it to us in January.Correction: it's 300,000 iPads as of midnight Saturday April 3rd (the first day they were available). That's even better.
  364. Nice iPad Video
    PCMag.com reviewed the iPad and produced this very nice video that tells you all about it. Yes, the narrator speaks too rapidly, but you're in control-- put your mouse over the video and pause it if you need to (I did). Or grab the time (above the little stripe showing how much you've watched) and drag it back to the left to make the guy back up (I did that too).PCMag: Apple iPad video review from PCMag.com Reviews on Vimeo.
  365. First iPad Review(s)
    David Pogue reviewed the iPad. Actually, he reviewed it twice. Worth a quick read.
  366. iPad Video Tutorials
    You may not have heard but Apple has something new called the iPad and it's coming out April 3rd (this Saturday). They've made some sales tools, I mean instructional videos, and you can watch them via this link. Warning: the videos are very well done and you may find yourself ordering an iPad after watching them.Kids, take note: look at the hands in these iPad videos. Take care of your nails and you too could be an Apple "hand model." It beats working. Trust me.
  367. 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 the opportunity to go for pastrami sandwiches). Without the backup we would have had to send the drive out for data recovery, leading to a big bill and several days of being without the machine. We probably would not have gone for pastrami sandwiches. With the backup, it was no big deal. I hope you're getting the message: hard drives eventually wear out. If yours hasn't yet, consider yourself lucky, but get an external disk and back your stuff up anyway. If you have questions about how to do it click this link and read all about it. If you're still stuck send me an email.
  368. 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" sectionFind an app that you want to add to your Wish List"Click the little triangle to the right of "Buy this App" (or on free apps, to the right of "Free App"), revealing a menuChoose "Add to Wish List" as shown in the picture below.Note: if you add a free app to your Wish List you'll get this message:They're probably right-- it's free now, but might not be when you decide to buy it. Just download the thing now and decide later whether you want it. To see the items in your Wish List you go to the far RIGHT side of the iTunes window, click the tiny arrow to the right of your AppleID, and then choose "Wish List." Easy. Here's what it looks like, with the Magic Finger showing you where to click.When the Wish List comes up it will look something like the picture below. And no, these aren't really things I want. They are just here to help you get the idea. If you really want to buy me something make it something involving coffee, chocolate, and whipped cream.Neat stuff, and I think I will be using this quite a bit to help me remember various apps that I want to compare. Thanks, Apple. Very nice of you.
  369. A Few of my Favorite Apps
    UPDATE: appsfire.com does not function any more. Sorry about that. No, I'm not finished with the Option key Tip-a-Palooza. I just thought this iPhone appsfire thing was too cool not to share. You can find some neat apps by clicking here and going to the appsfire.com website. Or you can just do everything exactly the way I do it and make your iPhone just like mine. Yes, those apps are on MY iPhone. I have many others but these are some of my favorites. Click anywhere on the picture to go to a larger view, where you can click on the individual apps and try them or buy them. Eight of these apps are free, by the way.Here's John Coltrane performing "My Favorite Things." Enjoy.
  370. 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 easy part-- but, as my customer said, "What about all of my stuff?" Luckily-- or, really, good on us for thinking of this a long time ago-- we'd been backing up the iMac with Time Machine, and we were able to restore all of her stuff to the new drive. Years of email, thousands of photos of grandkids, a big address book, a full calendar-- all restored in a few hours and with minimal fuss. No one likes having her Mac break down but getting everything back feels pretty good.If your Mac is on 10.5 or higher, and you want to start using Time Machine, you'll need to get a big external hard disk to store the backed-up data. You'll want something much larger than the drive you're backing up, because Time Machine keeps multiple backups of your stuff (multiple versions, from multiple days) and more hard disk space equates to more days of backups.Here's a link to some drives* from Seagate that would do the job nicely.So, you get the drive, you plug it in, you get a message asking whether you want to use the drive with Time Machine, you click the Yes button, and that's it. Easy. Depending on how the disk is formatted you may have to reformat it for use with Time Machine but that's not a hard thing to do. If you need a hand with that I know a guy but I think you can do it yourself.Apple has a very nice article about Time Machine via this link. Worth a peek.(Note: besides helping you recover from a major hardware meltdown, Time Machine is also great for when you need to get an older copy of a single file-- maybe the current one's become damaged, maybe someone threw it away, who knows. Time Machine has rescued me more than once, mostly helping me bring back trashed files that I didn't think I'd ever need again. It's quite the little safety net.)
  371. Nice Deal on 1Password touch
    You can get 1Password touch for your iPhone or iPod Touch for free right now. It's usually $4.99. Go get it while it's free. You can figure out whether you want it or not later. I think you want it. Here's the link. And here's a video that shows how it works.In a nutshell, 1Password (both the iPhone version and the Mac version) stores login information for websites. It does more than that (one feature that I like: password-protected notes, where you can store things like the combination to a padlock or your secret cheesecake recipe.) It's easy to use, and it's not too hard to keep your iPhone and your Mac in sync, which means you can store a password for a website using your Mac, and then retrieve that password using your iPhone later. I did this exact thing last week, when paying my truck's registration fees in person. Turns out I forgot my proof of insurance papers, so I pulled out my iPhone to log into my insurance company's website in hopes of getting the documentation. Naturally I didn't know the user name and password-- but 1Password did! I looked up the info in 1Password, went back to my insurance company's website, and used the name and password to log in (and to get my proof of insurance emailed to my iPhone). That saved me more than an hour-- I would have had to drive back home to get the info. 1Password (on the iPhone) to the rescue.You may be thinking "but I use the same password for everything, why would I need this?" The answer is "because using the same password for everything means that if your password is stolen for ONE thing, in effect it's stolen for everything." So you really ought to use different passwords for everything.(A compromise strategy: use one password for your financial accounts and online shopping, and another for everything else. Using this strategy, if someone gets your email password, or your password for the New York Times website, your bank accounts are still safe.) Whether you are keeping track of two passwords or two hundred, 1Password will remember them for you. It remembers, the name of the website, the name or email you use to sign in with, and the password. All YOU have to do is remember the password that unlocks 1Password. 1Password does the rest. And, because 1Password will lock itself when your iPhone goes to sleep, you don't have to worry about having all of your passwords in one place, unlocked. In combination with Dropbox (see my post on that) you can keep 1Password synchronized across multiple Macs. That's what I do, and it's great. If I create a login for a new website, or change a login for some other website, I know that my other machine will know about the change. VERY handy. The Mac version of 1Password, which I recommend, is not free, but it's great, and it syncs with the iPhone version. 1Password…
  372. 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 to do when you go on a trip. In my case, it's all of those things. Problem is, it's practically unmanageable. If I put exact copies of the documents on my two machines, and then I use a document on Machine A, I have to remember to copy it back to Machine B. And I never remember.This is a job for a computer. And good software. Enter Dropbox.Dropbox keeps designated folders on my Macs in sync. If I add a document to one of those folders on one of my Macs I know it will show up on the other Mac in an instant. If I make a change in one of the synced documents Dropbox makes sure that those changes make it to my other Macs. I don't have to have all of my machines on at the same time to make this work-- if one is off, Dropbox will notice when I turn the machine on later and will sync things up right away after that.Dropbox shows up like just another folder, and you can make as many folders as you want inside of it, and name them what you want to name them, just like any other folder, with the exception being that any item in the Dropbox folder will always-- ALWAYS-- be kept in synch on all of my Macs. And, believe it or not, on my iPhone too. (Click here for the iPhone app.)Did I mention that Dropbox is free for the first 2 gigabytes? Did I mention that it keeps backups of the things you put in it? Did I mention that you can share files with PCs too? I should have. Anyhow, now I have. I've shown Dropbox to a lot of Mac users and every single one has said "I want that!" Now they have it. And so can you. Go get it.
  373. Apple’s first iPad ad
    Apple showed its first iPad ad last night, during the Academy Awards. (I think they showed the first iPhone ad during the Academy Awards three years ago-- that worked out pretty well.)Here's a link to the ad. I'm not sold on the iPad, nor on the ad. It's a bit noisy for me-- I was hoping for something a little less frantic. Oh well.
  374. Christian Boyce Radio Program Archive
    Radio station KPFK FM 90.7 in Los Angeles had me on their show March 6th, 2010. Here are links to the audio archive: one link for the first half hour, and another link for the second. It's an interesting show so I recommend you listen to both. However, the interview with me is in the second half.
  375. iPads coming soon
    (from Apple's press release)Apple today announced that its magical and revolutionary iPad will be available in the US on Saturday, April 3, for Wi-Fi models and in late April for Wi-Fi + 3G models. In addition, all models of iPad will be available in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain, Switzerland and the UK in late April.Beginning a week from today, on March 12, US customers can pre-order both Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi + 3G models from Apple's online store (www.apple.com) or reserve a Wi-Fi model to pick up on Saturday, April 3, at an Apple retail store.
  376. Christian Boyce on the Radio, March 6th, 2010
    There's a terrific radio program called "Digital Village" on Saturday mornings in Los Angeles. The hosts (Ric Allan and Doran Barons) discuss technology and its impact on communication. It's always interesting. You should check it out.This Saturday, March 6th, I'll be Digital Village's featured guest. I'll be talking about last month's Macworld Expo, and iPads, and iPhones, and Macs.The show starts at 10 AM Pacific time. My portion of the program begins at 10:30 AM, roughly speaking.Three ways to listen:Tune your radio to KPFK, 90.7 FM.Click this link and listen over the internet (or go to http://www.kpfk.org/listen-live.html and try the various options).Wait for the interview to be archived and for me to put up a link to it here.Depending on how things go there might be time for some phone calls. Here's KPFK's phone number: (818) 985-5735.
  377. NBC Olympics Cheer App
    Cheering on the Olympians is fun, but you need tools if you want to do it right: cowbells (for Alpine ski racing), Alpenhorns (for ski jumping), irritating airhorns (for no sport, not ever). NBC has thoughtfully provided an iPhone app that plays all of those sounds, and more-- see below.Here are the standard sounds. All of them play when you tap them (warning: they keep playing! Tap again to turn off), but some of them have special triggers. For example, the cowbell plays when you shake it, and the whistle and Alpenhorn play when you blow into your iPhone's microphone. Fun.Here are the "Game Sounds." You can hear the puck being hit (Ice Hockey), the starting countdown and wild cheering (Alpine skiing), and people snoring (Cross Country skiing). You can also record your own cheer. That's sort of fun. Play it back when you feel like cheering but don't have the energy.You can even play the sounds of a Coca-Cola pouring into a glass. Finally, you can click a link to see video of "Uplifting Moments" on YouTube. It's not perfect (it stopped playing sounds after my iPhone's timer went off, though a restart of the app fixed that), but for free you are definitely getting your money's worth. I say check it out. Click here to get it from the iTunes Store.
  378. 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 it, but it works very nicely for me (Safari 4.0.4, Mac OS X 10.6.2). Here's a picture of the finished sentence, translated, but know that it was translating away as I entered my lunch request. Very cool. And of course there are plenty of choices for the "Translate from" and "Translate to" languages.The second thing that I especially like about Google Translate is it can translate an entire webpage. All you do is type the website address into the box, where I typed in my "I would like a cheeseburger" sentence. If you are looking at a website and you get the notion to translate it, you could (1) select the URL, (2) copy the URL, (3) switch to Google Translate, (4) paste the copied URL into the box, and (5) click the Translate button. Or you could do it all in one step, if you do some one-time set-up. Obviously you want to do it in one step, so read on and I'll show you how.In Google Translate, click where it says "Tools and Resources" at the left. Or click this link. Ignore all of that complicated-looking stuff at the top and scroll down until you see something that looks like the following picture.Choose a language that you want to translate into. Click and hold on the blue underlined text for that language. If you let go you will get a friendly reminder from Google:Do what it says: click and hold on a blue underlined language and drag it to your browser's toolbar. While you're dragging it looks like this:When you let go you'll get a chance to name it. I used the name suggested by Google:When you're done it looks like this (minus the red oval). That little button will be there forever, or until you take it off.That's it for the setting up. Now for the fun part! Go to a web page, any web page. Let it load up. Click the button you made. If you happen to go to the same web page that I did, you will change this...into this!I don't know about you but I think it's amazing.Bonus: notice that Google's put some controls at the top of the translated page. That means you can EASILY switch to another language, without starting over. Give it a whirl and let me know what you think. You can even tell me in Spanish.
  379. AT&T’s Mark the Spot app
    AT&T might not have the best phone and data services (might not?), but at least they're giving us an easy way to let them know when and where we experience problems. The idea is, when something goes wrong-- dropped call, no service, slow internet, etc.-- you fire up AT&T's Mark the Spot app and tell them all about it. Seems like a good idea.You can get Mark the Spot from the iTunes Store for free. Here's a link to save you time. And here's a picture of the app's opening screen.They haven't thought of everything, but they do realize that if you're having technical issues with AT&T's services it's quite likely that sending them a note right then isn't going to be possible. They handle that by dropping a little pin onto a map, marking the spot (get it?) and when you finally get service again the note and the map and the pin get sent. That's kind of a clever way to do it.Complaining about AT&T's service seems to be the "in" thing these days but it's a lot more fun when you complain to the right people, and with Mark the Spot it's really convenient. If you're having issues with AT&T's service this is the app for you.
  380. iPhone Photo of the Week
    Taken February 9th, 2010, 5:30 PM, after the rain in Los Angeles. No special lens, no special tricks, just a steady hand. Remember, the iPhone takes a picture when you take your finger OFF of the camera button, not when you touch it, so put your finger on it and hold... and when you are ready to take the picture, gently take your finger away. Obviously, it works for me.There's a tiny strip of white at the end of the street, on the mountains. That's the Hollywood sign.
  381. Macworld Expo Report
    I'm back from Macworld Expo. I spent about a day and a half there, plenty of time to see all of the exhibits once and many of them twice. The show was much, MUCH smaller than last year. We knew in advance that Apple wouldn't be there, but we were all wondering how many others wouldn't be there. The answer: about half of the vendors from last year stayed home. Off the top of my head, here's a list of big companies that WEREN'T at Macworld this year:CanonEpsonAdobeQuarkFileMakerIntuitGoogleLogitechQuite a list of heavy-hitters. Even so, the show was a lot of fun, and there was still plenty to see. I plan on attending next year and I encourage you to do the same. Dates for next year are already set: January 25th through 29th, 2011. Click here to add the dates to your iCal calendar. (Really, please click it. It's my first click-and-add-it-to-iCal link.)Here is a short list of things that caught my eye at Macworld. Check 'em out.iPhone appsBusiness Card Reader, $1.99 (Macworld Expo special-- regularly $5.99). Take a picture of a business card using your iPhone and the program reads the information and adds it to your Contacts on the iPhone. Since you're surely synching your iPhone with your Mac that means the contact will be on your Mac too. Very neat. I bought it and it works. It's not always perfect but it's always good enough to be pretty helpful. Grocery Pal, free. Tell it your zip code and it gives you all of the specials for the stores around you. Limit it to just the stores you like if you want to. Add items to your shopping list for each store and do price comparisons across all of your stores. Search for items easily. By the way, blueberries are 2 baskets for $3 at Ralphs this week.Square-- not yet available, but boy oh boy does this look good. It lets you accept credit cards as payment even if you don't have a merchant account. The Square people will take some small percentage of the transaction, currently estimated at 2.99%. No yearly fee, no per-transaction fee, no muss no fuss. This will be great for when you go out to dinner with friends-- you could pay the restaurant with your credit card, and your friends can pay you with theirs. Neat. The app will cost 99 cents and the scanner thingy will be free.Mac stuffTopazLabs Photoshop bundle, $129 (Macworld Expo special-- slightly higher now). This amazing set of tools, which also works in iPhoto, lets you do incredible things to your photos. Some of the tools help you to rescue badly exposed or backlit photos, others help you to take the noise out of noisy jpegs, others let you have a great time experimenting. Get a 30-day trial and go to town. Click here to see a slide show of some pictures I fixed up last night with Topaz in about two seconds. Look for the navigation (next,…
  382. 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 type the first row of data. Excel did the rest. Here's how it works.1. Type something into a cell and hit Enter (or Return).2. Click on the cell again to select it, and let go. 3. Look for a little box at the lower right-hand corner of the selected cell. Move the mouse over that until the cursor looks like a little black "+" as shown below.4. Click the lower right-hand corner with that black plus, hold the mouse button down, and drag down (or to the right). Excel fills the cells with the right stuff. Amazing.The four steps above will work in a lot of cases. In fact, they work for the first four columns in our example. But, when you get to the last two columns, those steps don't work, and that's because Excel doesn't know whether we want to go up by one, or two, or five, or whatever. We have to tell it. The trick is to enter not just the first item in the column, but also the second. So, in the example here, I typed a 1 and then below it a 2. Then I selected BOTH cells, via click-and-drag, and THEN I clicked the lower right-hand corner and dragged down. For the column at the far right, I entered 5 in the top row, 10 in the next row, selected both cells, then dragged that lower right-hand corner. You'll know you're clicking in the right place when the cursor looks like the black "+". Next time that you have a lot of data to enter into Excel look for the chance to use this Auto Fill method. It will save you a LOT of time.Bonus: if you type "Jan" Excel will enter "Feb" and "Mar" etc. If you type "1st Quarter" Excel will enter "2nd Quarter" and "3rd Quarter" etc. Bonus 2: you can select more than one cell in the top row, then grab the lower right-hand corner of the selection, and then Auto Fill all of those columns at once. Try it.
  383. Macworld Expo is this week!
    The big Macworld Expo show starts this Thursday in San Francisco. For the first time in Macworld's history, Apple will not be there. (In case you didn't know, Macworld Expo is put on by the people who own Macworld magazine. Apple was never the host of Macworld, only an attendee.) It should be an interesting show anyway. Prediction: there will be several super-cheap iPad knockoffs available for you to waste your money on. I mean "buy."You can get a free pass to Macworld by clicking this link and signing up. That will save you $25 over doing it at the show. Do it do it do it (Dave). You can buy me a cup of coffee on the show floor with the money you save.For the first time in fifteen years I will NOT be doing a remote radio interview from Macworld. KPFK is having a pledge drive and it has pre-empted the Digital Village program that usually has me on. The hosts have told me that I'll be their first guest as soon as they get back on the air. Watch this space for details.
  384. My Top Five PAID iPhone Apps
    Christian Boyce's Top Five PAID iPhone AppsHere are five iPhone apps that I bought with my own money. I use them all the time. Definitely worth your consideration.Live Cams, 99 cents. (Note: replaced by Live Cams Pro.) In combination with EvoCam ($30) on your Mac and a cheap webcam, Live Cams lets you see live streaming video on your iPhone. I use it to look out the window when I'm not home. Lots of fun, and useful too.OmniFocus, $19.99. (Note: replaced by OmniFocus 2.) Combine this one with OmniFocus on your Mac and you will Get Things Done. See my review of OmniFocus for more details. I use OmniFocus all the time-- it is one of my "four at the bottom of the screen" applications, along with the Phone, Mail, and Settings apps. Peterson Field Guide to Backyard Birds, $2.99. Easy-to-use bird identifier, with lots of pictures. You can play each bird's song-- very useful when trying to identify a bird that you can hear but not see. The app has 180 birds in it, is easy to use, and though there are many others I think for $2.99 you can't go wrong with this one.LogMeIn, $29.99. I use LogMeIn on the Macs in my office to provide remote support for my customers-- it lets me control their Macs remotely, allowing me to give lessons and to troubleshoot around the world without leaving my chair. On those occasions when I do leave my chair, I have LogMeIn on my iPhone, and it lets me control a customer's Mac from anywhere that I can get cell reception. Yes, it's a little hard to do. But in a pinch, it's just what the doctor ordered.RedLaser, $1.99. What a great world we live in (minus the lousy economy). With Red Laser I can use the camera on my iPhone to scan a bar code on something I'm thinking of buying. Red Laser then tells me how much that thing would cost at an assortment of online retailers, as well as at local brick-and-mortar stores ("local" because the iPhone knows where you are!). Having that information right there on the spot makes it super-useful. You'll save a lot more than Red Laser's $1.99 cost, and you'll probably do it the first time you use it. Especially handy on books, by the way.Need more info before spending your hard-earned money? Send me a note and I'll answer your questions.
  385. My Top Five FREE iPhone Apps
    Here are five free iPhone apps that I use all the time. Click the links to get more info via the Apple iTunes Store.Christian Boyce's Top Five FREE iPhone AppsNYTimes (Best app for news, reviewed by me here)Mint (Best app for keeping track of your credit card and bank balances, reviewed by me here)eReader (Best app for reading books, many of them free, reviewed by me here)Rimshot & Crickets (Best app for doing "ba-doom-boom, kishhhh" after you say something funny)BigOven (Best app for recipes)This list does not include any of the very excellent set of standard iPhone apps (Maps, Mail, Calendar, etc.). I use those apps all the time too.
  386. 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 set to be off, and OFF if it's set to be on. Armed with this knowledge, you're now able to very gracefully and surreptitiously and temporarily turn the Dock magnification feature off when you use Macs with Dock magnification set to "on." This will be especially useful for those of you who make a living helping others with their Macs, double-especially if the Dock magnification "feature" drives you nuts. Oh wait, that's me. Never mind.
  387. Apple iPad Info
    You may not have heard but Apple introduced something called the iPad today. There are plenty of places for you to read about the not-shipping-for-two-months iPad, and I haven't had my hand(s) on one yet, so rather than write about it myself I'm just sending you a few links. Apple's iPad pagesEngadget's iPad pagesMacRumors' iPad pagesIt certainly looks like an interesting device. Two things that jump out at me: Apple used its own chip to power the iPad-- they did not use an Intel chip, nor an AMD chip, nor any other kind of chip. I've always liked apple chips, by the way, though I prefer banana.The other thing that jumps out at me is the lack of a camera. I sort of think it ought to have one. So much for doing video chats with it.I wonder if it can print. I'll try to find out.UPDATE: here is the video of Steve Jobs introducing the iPad. 93 minutes.UPDATE AGAIN: I should have included a link to John Gruber's Daring Fireball website. Go there now and read everything he had to say about the iPad.
  388. 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 from me, it's hard to be perfect.Enter Tripit.com. Go there and sign up for a free account. Then, when you make plane reservations and subsequently get a confirmation email from an airline, you forward the email to "plans@tripit.com." Tripit reads the email, puts the information into a handy little private space for you on their site, and then-- the best part-- they put your trip information into an iCal feed, which you subscribe to ONCE, and all of the information about the flying out and flying in is automatically part of your iCal calendar, forever and ever amen.I made a Rule in Mail to automatically forward my Southwest Airlines "Ticketless Confirmation" emails to plans@tripit.com, and by golly it works. My calendar has ALL of the information-- flight numbers, departure times, arrival times, confirmation numbers, you name it-- and of course I can subscribe to the same iCal feed on my iPhone, so my iPhone's calendar is up to date too. You can change the information if you'd like, so the trip that Tripit titles "Oakland, CA 2/11/2010" can be retitled "MacWorld Expo SF 2010." That's what I did.Tripit has a "pro" account but the free one is great as it is. If you fly frequently this is a no-brainer. Go to tripit.com now and sign up. You will save yourself a lot of typing, over and over and over. I wouldn't do any of the stuff that asks you to upload your email address book-- that will just irritate your friends-- but that's not required anyway. Just do the minimal free stuff, and you will reap the benefits time after time.If you can't figure out how to subscribe to your Tripit calendar let me know. I can help you.
  389. How to Compress Movies for Email
    Making movies is fun but they are hard to email because they're so big. Here's how you can compress a movie so it's small enough to send.
  390. Apple’s new i-thing
    Everyone's asking me about this new "thing" from Apple, so I thought I'd answer all of you at once. First of all, no one outside of a select few at Apple know anything about Apple's not-yet-announced thing. We don't know what it's called, we don't know what it looks like, we don't know when it will be available, we don't know what it will cost. And we don't know what it will do. All we do know is that Apple sent out an invitation yesterday (I didn't get one) and that Apple will show their "latest creation" on January 27th, 2010.Here's what the invitation looks like.People are trying to find meaning in the colors, in the splashiness, etc. but all of it is guesswork. All of it.My advice: wait until the 27th. Then we'll all know. However... I do have some thoughts.If Apple does introduce a tablet-style computing device it will be far more than just an Apple version of Amazon's Kindle book-reading device. FAR more.I would expect Apple to try to leverage the vast universe of iPhone apps, probably enabling you to run more than one app at a time on the tablet, to drag them around on the screen, and to resize them arbitrarily.We already have great Apple products for when we have a desk or a table to work from (iMac, MacBook), and we already have iPhones for those times when we're on the go. There seems to be no need for something in between. You can bet that Apple has thought of this too. I expect Apple's tablet to include something very cool, which you and I will want desperately-- and it will not be available on any other device, including the iPhone. That will give you a reason to buy the tablet. My guesses: live video chatting, tablet to tablet-- or streaming TV and movies. Or both.Calendar synching with your Mac? Of course. Address book synching with your Mac? Double of course. Weather/stocks/maps/wireless-- yes/yes/yes/yes. Something really incredible that I haven't thought of? Almost certainly yes.A couple of years ago, my friend Dave asked me what I thought Apple would introduce at MacWorld Expo. I told him I didn't have any idea-- but whatever it turned out to be, I wanted two of them. That's how I feel about this January 27th Apple product intro. I can barely wait.
  391. Blog from anywhere!
    There's a nifty little iPhone app called BlogPress and it lets you add and edit Blogger and Blogspot blog entries. If you have a blog on either Blogger or Blogspot you simply must try it. I'm using the free version (there's a fancier not-free version) and it works like a charm. Another couple of great iPhone blogging apps: BlogTouch Pro for Blogger and Blogspot and BlogTouch Pro for WordPress. These apps MAY result in more-frequent posts by me. Only if I have something to say, of course. - Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone
  392. 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.
  393. Lower Prices for AT&T’s iPhone plan
    This just in: AT&T is cutting the price of their unlimited voice and data plan for the iPhone to $99. The old price was $129. There is no word (yet) about whether they will cut the price on the other, not-unlimited plans.Existing iPhone users can switch to the cheaper plan by going to AT&T's website starting Monday January 18th, 2010. There is no fee for making the switch and the end date of your contract will not change. Basically, if your iPhone is on an unlimited plan, it's a no-brainer. Change to the $99 plan.There is always the chance that AT&T will do this automatically for you but I wouldn't count on it.
  394. Missing the Steve Jobs keynote
    In years past, the first week of January meant "incredibly cool and awesome" new products from Apple, presented by Apple CEO Steve Jobs during his keynote speech at MacWorld Expo. Apple's not going to MacWorld this year, and MacWorld's been moved to February anyway, and gee it feels like something's missing. This video-- a condensed edition of a recent Steve Jobs talk-- isn't a substitute for the real thing, but it helps. Check it out. 86 seconds long. You'll laugh.
  395. 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.
  396. 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 one whose icon is shown at the top of this hint). Bring up a contact in Address Book and click next to the address. If it's a home address, click where it says "Home." If it's a work address, click on the word "Work." You can see part of the word "Work" in grey in the picture below. That's where I clicked.Select "Map this Address" and you're taken to Google Maps, where the address you clicked on is displayed on a map. Like so:Isn't that cool?(By the way, if you're wondering why your menu doesn't show "Make Envelope" it's because you don't have my custom "Make Envelope" AppleScript installed on your machine. It turns out that Apple allows us to create our own menu items that do anything we want them to do, and I thought it would be handy to be able to create an envelope by clicking on an address. So I did the programming and now I have the "Make Envelope" option on all of my machines. If you have an idea for something you'd like to do with an address send me an email and we'll figure out how to do it.)
  397. 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 not when I connect my iPhone. I do want iPhoto to open when I connect my camera, but I don't want iPhoto to open when I connect my iPhone. I want it both ways-- but how can I do that? The answer is "You use the Cameras preference pane, available via this link." And guess what: it's free.(Note: if you're using 10.6 (Snow Leopard) you have something like Cameras built in. It's in the Image Capture program, inside the Applications folder. You don't improve things by having two programs trying to control your cameras, so if you're using 10.6, find the Image Capture program, make your adjustments there, and forget about installing Cameras. If you're using 10.4 or 10.5, Cameras is the way to go.)When you install Cameras you get a new item in your System Preferences, in the "Other" section. At first, it's pretty empty in there, but as you connect cameras to your Mac you'll get messages like this one:(The "No Name" camera is the camera card in my Olympus. I want iPhoto to open when I connect that camera.)I get a similar box when I connect my iPhone the first time, but I make a different choice:I could leave it at that, but there are some other options. If you open the Cameras preference pane in System Preferences you see your list of cameras and the instructions for each one, like so:You can click in the "When Connected" column for more options:So... if you want some other program to launch when you connect your camera, Cameras can take care of that too. (So can Image Capture.)I used Cameras until I updated to 10.6, and it worked great. As of 10.6 I'm using Image Capture, and it's also working great. Thanks to these programs, the days of iPhoto launching itself when my iPhone connects for a sync are over, and while I'm not sure that I'm doing anything productive with the few minutes I'm saving each day it's nice to think that maybe I am. Give this tip a try and save some time for yourself.
  398. Hardware and Software Money-Savers
    Amazon has Microsoft Office 2008 for Mac Home & Student Edition* quite a bit below the list price (The Apple Store sells it for $98). This is an especially good deal because you get three installation serial numbers in the package, meaning your purchase covers installing on three machines. Microsoft Office is a little on the clumsy side but if you're getting documents in Word and Excel formats you'll be glad that you have Office installed. Another good deal: Apple Airport Express* for a little under Apple's list price of $99. Use this to extend your wireless network, and/or to play your iTunes music from your Mac through your home stereo-- wirelessly.UPDATE: there's a new version of the Apple Airport Express*. Works like the original, but better.And another: iWork '09 Family Pack*. This is the 5-installation Family Pack, at about the same price as the single-user version at Apple.Amazon's prices change so I'm not putting the prices in here. However, their prices are generally the lowest around. Always check them out.
  399. Happy Thanksgiving 2009
    We'll be back next week. Meanwhile, enjoy the turkey and pumpkin pie, and check out our older posts. Answer our poll question too, if you have the time.
  400. 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!
  401. 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 the menu bar to find out the date several times a day-- but not anymore! I will probably save myself hundreds of clicks per month. Not sure what I'll do with the clicks I'm going to save but it's nice to think about.Anyhow, if you're on Snow Leopard, go to the Date & Time preference pane NOW and check the "Show Date" box as shown in the image below. A click saved is a click earned. Etc.I know, I know: there are plenty of third-party ways to get the same effect. I think it's better that it's built-in, that's all. So check it out and save yourself some clicks.
  402. Review: Apple’s magical Magic Mouse
    There it is: Apple's Magic Mouse (held by someone else's nicely manicured hand). I have one (a Magic Mouse, not a nicely manicured hand) and so far, so good. I've used it for a week and I'm happy. It's super-precise, it's wireless (yay), and there aren't any parts to get gummy and quit working. Plus it slides very well on the desk.Setting up the Magic Mouse is easy, except for getting it out of the box. Generally speaking, unboxing an Apple product is a delight, something you want to share with a friend (putting it back in the box, taking it out again, over and over). Not so the Magic Mouse. But once out of the box, it's trivial to set up.If you're using Mac OS X 10.6.2, you need only to turn the Magic Mouse on (it runs on two AA batteries, which are not only included, but installed at the factory). You can see the on-off switch at top right in the photo below. The Magic Mouse in the picture is on.If you're using Mac OS X 10.5.8, you will need some software, available here. If you're using 10.4.11 you will not be able to use the Magic Mouse. Sorry Mom.Everyone wants to know how it feels in the hand and the answer is "it doesn't." That is, you don't hold it in your hand, you hold it with your hand. You don't rest your hand on the Magic Mouse, you rest your hand (the heel of it) on the desk, and hold the Magic Mouse lightly. And it's comfortable that way.The scrolling-via-the-touch-sensitive-surface is very convenient, and it's nice knowing that it's never going to get gunky. I use the scrolling feature all the time. I love that the Magic Mouse is wireless, and that it's not too heavy even with the batteries (it's barely heavier than the wired Apple Mouse it replaced). The only thing I don't like about the Magic Mouse is the name. Big deal.The Magic Mouse has a few options: you can set it up to do a right-click, you can zoom, etc. The older Apple Mouse had more options but most of them were better left turned off, so really there is not much of a loss in the options department. Here's a look at the Preference Pane for the Magic Mouse, in Mac OS X 10.6.2:Nice to know I have a ways to go before the batteries need replacing. Looks as if the batteries will last about three months at a time. I'll keep the wired mouse around just in case.You can see from above that I turned off the "with momentum" feature. The idea is that you can scroll and if you're vigorous about it the scrolling will continue a bit after you stop. That quickly drove me crazy, not that it was a long drive. At the same time, others think it's the greatest thing ever. Nice that they give you the option.The Magic Mouse costs $69. You get one…
  403. 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 the 10.6.2 update, and also the HP Printers update, and everything is great. Printing is fast again, the iMac starts up quickly, Mail's loading speed is especially improved, and overall the iMac is running better than it was in 10.5.8. If you have an Intel Mac of any sort and you've been waiting to install 10.6, now is a good time. There is always the chance that something that you use will not be compatible with 10.6, but if you make a backup first (please) you'll be able to revert to 10.5. There's a good list of compatible/not compatible programs at Macintouch.com-- worth your time to check it out. It is always better to download the "Combo Update" (linked above) rather than a simple Software Update. So do it that way if you can. In fact, if you already did the Software Update, download the 10.6.2 Combo update and run it. Given the advantages of 10.6 over 10.5, and the super-low cost ($29), upgrading to Snow Leopard (10.6) is a smart move. The only question really was when to do it. With 10.6.2's fixes in hand, the time to upgrade is now.If you don't have a Snow Leopard disc you can buy Snow Leopard from Amazon*.
  404. 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 be driving in Scandinavia and all of a sudden there's a big Command key on a post on the side of the road. Sounds like fun to me. Read all about it.So, what can Command-L do for you? Well let's see...In the Apple Address Book, Command-L toggles between the Editing view and the non-Editing view. Faster and easier than reaching for the mouse and clicking "Edit."In Preview, Command-L rotates the document to the left.&In Safari, and in Firefox, Command-L sends focus to the address bar (the place where you normally click to type "www.christianboyce.com" or possibly some other site). It also highlights everything in the address, so all you have to do is start typing. This is going to save you a LOT of time. Next time you want to load up some new web page, do Command-L, type the address, and hit Return. Bingo.(Note: you can save even more time by NOT typing "http:///www." You can save a bit more by not typing ".com" or dot-whatever. So, when you want to go to "http://www.apple.com" you can simply do Command-L, then type "apple" and then Return. If that DOESN'T work for you it's all because of your internet service. Send me an email and I will help you fix that problem, for free if you tell me you saw it on my blog.)Know any other Command-L tips? Add them here by clicking the "Comments" button. Tell a friend and help my blog get famous. Every "share" helps. Yours could be the one that puts me over the top.
  405. Free Mac Software
    The people at MacHeist put together bundles of software at a low price. This time it's VERY low: $0. All you have to do is visit their site and sign up. For FREE you get...ShoveBox (for storing information snippets, though I prefer Evernote)WriteRoom (a nice little writing program)Twitterific (very useful if you use Twitter at all)TinyGrab (for sharing screenshots over the internet) Hordes of Orcs (game)Mariner Write (a very nice word processor)For free, why not give these things a try? That's what I'm going to do. The offer expires on Wednesday the 11th, so get going and click this link.
  406. 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.
  407. 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 use Google all the time, and you're probably completely satisfied. So was I, until I did a little extra poking around. Turns out we're using just a tiny bit of Google's powers. For example... Want a weather update?. Just type "weather" into the Google search box and hit Return. You get up to the minute weather, and a couple of days of forecasts. You don't have to type in your city-- Google knows where you are. (If you want to know the weather somewhere else, type the city's name or zip code in too.) Want to check a stock? Type the symbol into the search box and hit Return. Wondering how many feet in a furlong? So was I, until I asked Google. Sort of nice to be able to ask my question in plain English. I could go on and on-- there are all kinds of questions that Google can answer for you. Movie times, airplane flight information, sports scores, package tracking. And more. Luckily, Google's provided a page called "Search Tips & Tricks." Have a look. I'm sure you'll learn something. Note: I could have titled this "Google Stuff I Didn't Know (until a little while ago)." Bonus Google Tip for Safari Users Save the time and trouble of moving the mouse up to the Search box in Safari's Toolbar by pressing Command-Option-F. Try it a few times and you'll be hooked.
  408. iPhone Stocks App Tips
    There's this thing called "The Stock Market" where people with extra money place bets on companies, and if things go right they cash out with more than they went in with. It's sort of like betting on the NFL, except it's legal in every state, and harder to handicap, and if you lose you can always wait around and hope that someday things will turn around and you'll end up winning. Anyway, Apple provides an app for Stocks on every iPhone, and this very day I "discovered" a couple of features I didn't know about. Let's start with the basics: start up the app and you get this screen.That's pretty simple: you can see, for example, that AAPL (Apple) went up $3.95 today, and GOOG (Google) went up $10.75 today-- a good day for both. But who had the better day, Apple or Google? Well, if you're My Mom the Math Major (MMMM), you can work the percentages out in your head, and you probably already have. For the rest of us, a simple tap on a green button (of course, they might be red-- that's when it's NOT a good day), and you see the day's gain as a percentage, like so:It was a better day for Apple than for Google, but not by much. They basically rose with the rest of the market.Tap a green (or red) button again, and you get this strange looking bit of info-- which turns out to be the "Market Capitalization" (or just "market cap"), the product of the share price times the number of outstanding shares. Wow, look at Apple go.But that's not the half of it. See that little chart across the bottom? I'm sure you've figured out that you can touch "1d" to show the day's ups and downs, "1w" to show the week's, etc. But did you know you could swipe left (or right) to get to other screens, with more info? Yup, you can. Try it and see. Here's what you get:Swipe again, and you get a list of news article concerning the company. (In a nice touch, the three screens-- chart, info, and news-- go "all the way around" so you can keep swiping in one direction and come back around again to the beginning. Too bad this feature is missing on the iPhone's Home screens.)Touch one of the stories and you're taken to the full story, in Safari. Here's an example:This would have been enough for me to write about, but then I tried rotating the iPhone while in the Stocks app, producing this:And THAT would have been enough for me, until for some reason I touched the chart, and then I touched it in two places, giving me THIS.Amazing! Now it's easy to see the stock's performance: how much it went up, what that is as a percentage, and from when to when.Try dragging your finger along the chart. It's fun, especially if you own Apple stock! Note: if you swipe left or right on…
  409. 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 the word. You don't even have to select the word first.Here's what it looks like when you do:Slide down to "Look Up in Dictionary" and presto, it's done. (The dictionary came with your Mac, by the way. It's been sitting around, probably unused until now, in your Applications folder.)Those other options are fun too: Search in Spotlight finds the clicked word in documents on your Mac, Search with Google looks up the word (or, if you've selected more than one word, it searches for that phrase), Copy copies, and Speech says the word out loud (you have to slide over a bit more to make that happen). Here's how it looks when you slide down to Speech:If you've programmed your mouse to have a "Secondary Click" you can use that instead of Control-clicking. Many mice are set up to use a right click, like on a PC, to display the contextual menu, so you might try it yourself. You can change the way the right click works by going to System Preferences and then Mouse. Otherwise, it's Control-click for you, a two-handed move but still a lot faster than reaching for the dictionary
  410. 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 questionChoose File/Mail Link to This PageThat's it! Your Mac will create an email with the web page's address already in it. All you do is address it and click the Send button. Since you will probably already be on the desired web page this tip boils down to a single step. Can't get simpler-- or faster-- than that.Tip #2: Open another windowBelieve it or not: you can have multiple windows open in Safari. You can have as many as you'd like, and they can all be showing different sites. This can be very efficient, saving you the time you might spend clicking the "Previous" and "Next" buttons and waiting for pages to load. One way to make a new Safari window: choose "New Window" from the File menu (shortcut: Command-N). Another way to do it: hold the Command key down while you click a link in a web page (super handy when you're clicking links from a Google search). If you don't get a new window, it's because you got a new tab, same idea with less clutter. You can adjust this in Safari's Preferences, under "Tabs." Try checking and unchecking that top checkbox-- its effect will be listed in the dialog box.Tip #3: Reduce the time you spend typing web addressesThe odds are that you spend too much time typing each web address into Safari. Here are a couple of ways to reduce the amount of typing that you do, saving you GOBS of time.Set your home page to something you like. There's no point in having landing on Apple's website every time you launch Safari if all you're going to do is go somewhere else right away. Pick a site you go to a lot and set it as your home page (Safari/Preferences.../General/Set to Current Page). Don't click at the end of the current URL and then carefully delete all the way back to "http://www." That takes too long. Instead, click on the "favicon" (the little picture just before the "http"), selecting the entire URL-- and then type right over it (no need to hit Delete). And, when you type, don't bother typing "http://www" and don't bother typing ".com". Safari will put those in for you. In many cases, you can simply type something like "amazon" or "dealnews" or "christianboyce", then hit Return on the keyboard, and you'll go straight to that site. (If that doesn't work, as it won't for most Verizon internet subscribers, add the ".com" (or the ".org" or whatever) before hitting Return. (These tips are for Safari 4-- if you don't have…
  411. Best Free iPhone Dictionary
    You really ought to have a dictionary on your iPhone. You can get this one-- Dictionary.com-- for free, and it's terrific, so what are you waiting for? Click this link and start the download. It's big (35 megabytes, not that it will make much of a dent in your 8 or 16 or 32 gigabyte iPhone), so do it from your computer and sync it into the iPhone. May as well start the download while you read the rest of this review. (With a name like "Dictionary.com" you might guess that you'd need an internet connection to use this program. Good guess, but wrong. Only the Word of the Day and the audio pronunciations require an internet connection. FYI.) You know how people are always saying that you can't get something for nothing? Next time they tell you that show them Dictionary.com on your iPhone. Look at what you get for nothing:275,000 word dictionary80,000 word thesaurusAudio pronunciationWord of the dayHandy list of recently looked-up wordsSeems like a lot to me.Let's look at some pictures. Here's how the program looks when you start it up: very simple and clean. The buttons across the bottom are easy to figure out, and obviously the big box at the top is where you type the word you're looking for.To look up a word, touch either the Dictionary or Thesaurus button, and then enter your word. A list of matching words appears as you type. Here's what it looked like as I typed the first bit of "recession":This "live search" is a real time-saver as it means you don't have to completely type out a word. Type just enough for Dictionary.com to display it in the list (which scrolls) and then touch it. It's faster to touch a word in a list than to type it all the way out, especially for the kinds of words you're likely to be looking up in a dictionary.Here's how it looks after I touched "recession" in the list. The speaker icon does what you think it does: it says the word out loud. Very handy, and a nice use of the technology.Here's something nice: when you touch the Thesaurus button, it remembers the word you were looking up in the dictionary. So you don't have to type it again. A small thing, but it could have been overlooked. Way to go, Dictionary.com!Gee, look at all of those ways to say "recession" without actually saying it. Good to know that there are so many other ways to describe our current economic situation. I like "big trouble" the most.Touch the Recent button and you see a list of the words you've looked up recently, and how. The blue circles with white chevrons were looked up in the dictionary. The yellow circles with the white chevrons were looked up in the thesaurus. The blue circle with the white "w" means "Word of the Day" (see below). Touch any of the words and of course you will look them up again. Touch…
  412. New Apple Stuff, Today!
    Actually, some of this stuff isn't really "new." It's more like "revised." But hey. And most of this stuff wasn't in the stores today, though it will be in about a week. I found that out by visiting a few Apple Stores this afternoon, in search of a Magic Mouse*. I'll get one, and when I do, I'll review it here. That looks to be about a week away.)I couldn't find a new iMac (or a Magic Mouse) anywhere, but I did see the new MacBook at the Apple Store in Santa Monica and there are a few notable differences between this one and the one it replaces:It's shinierIt has the no-button multi-touch trackpad, like the MacBook ProsThere's no FireWire port at allThe bottom has a no-slip texture coating on it (no rubber feet to fall off)250 GB hard drive vs. 120 in the old oneIt has a longer-lasting batteryCurvier shape (looks more like the MacBook Pros, though still on the plastic-y side)Here are a few notable similarities between this machine and the one it replaces:Same $999 priceSame 13 inch screen (1280 x 800 pixels)All in all, it's better than the machine it replaces, but not wildly, fantastically better. If you want a new Mac laptop this is the cheapest way to go, and based on the specs it gives the $1199 13-inch MacBook Pro pretty good competition. Unless you can't live with a plastic laptop (or if you need a FireWire port) the new $999 MacBook looks like a better deal by far. I'll write more about the new iMacs and Mac Minis when I get more information, but in the meantime here are a few nuggets of info:The Magic Mouse looks to be really, really cool. And every new iMac comes with oneThe Time Capsule, and the Airport, were updated today too (faster, and longer range)The new iMacs can take up to 16 gigs of RAM (4 gigs are standard)The 27-inch iMac is wall-mountable (and it's bigger than any TV my family has ever owned)The new iMacs come standard with a no-numeric-keypad wireless keyboardThe new iMacs come with an SD card slot (for your camera card, unless your camera card isn't an SD)(By The Way: It must be fun to announce a record-setting quarter on Monday, and then put out a whole slew of new products on Tuesday. I wonder what they'll do on Wednesday.)(It must also be fun to put out a whole bunch of new stuff without any advance notice at all, and without making any big deal about it, as if this is something they do every day at Apple so it's hardly worth mentioning.)
  413. Anti-Glare Film for the iPhone
    Power Support Anti-Glare Film is the best $14.95 you can spend on your iPhone. It does a great job of cutting glare, it protects your iPhone's screen, it cuts down on fingerprints, and it feels great as you tap and drag. You ought to get some. They come two to a package so find a friend and split the cost. Here's an Amazon link to the Power Support Anti-Glare Film Set for iPhone 3G/3GS*, and here's a link to the Power Support Anti-Glare Film Set for the original iPhone* Get the right one: the sizes are just slightly different. UPDATE: PowerSupport's name is now "Tru Protection." Here's a link to their stuff* on Amazon. I wrote about Power Support's anti-glare film in August of 2008, when I was using it on my original iPhone, and I loved it then. When the iPhone 3GS came out I thought I'd give the 3GS' new "oleophobic" screen a try without using the film, with bad news/good news results. The bad news was the iPhone 3GS' screen picked up fingerprints like crazy. The good news was they were easy to wipe off, on (for example) a pants leg. The other bad news was the glare on the screen was distracting, and the other other bad news was the screen wasn't protected from scratching. All that, and it didn't feel nice to drag my finger across it.Today, after being every-so-slightly irritated with glare and smudges every time I used my 3GS, I finally applied the Power Support Anti-Glare Film. It's fabulous, better than I remembered, and I am kicking myself for not doing this sooner. No glare, smudges are a thing of the past, it feels great under my finger, and there's at least some protection against a scratched screen. Worth the $14.95, and more.
  414. A Boyce in the Wilderness
    Fifteen months and 120 blog entries ago I started writing this blog. One of the reasons I did it was to experiment with the blogging concept, in particular how a single person's writings-- a voice in the wilderness-- would be discovered out on the web. How long would it take? Who would the readers be? Would they come back for more? We've figured that out, and more. Now we want to see how things go if I come right out and ask. So here goes.First, if you find my blog interesting, informative, fun to read, or anything else positive, would you please use the "Share" button and tell a friend? You can "Share" this site via email, Facebook, Twitter, and a whole lot of other ways. Look for Sharing buttons on each post, and of course you can simply tell someone "go to christianboyce.com!"Second, if you're using Twitter, and you'd like to know when new blog entries are posted, it would make great sense to follow me on Twitter. We offer discounts and extra timely tips via Twitter, more than just the Blog, so it's in your best interest to sign up. It's free, and it's fun. Start with this link.
  415. iPhone 3.1.2 Update
    Apple released updated iPhone software, version 3.1.2, this very afternoon. The previous version was 3.1 and no I don't know what happened to 3.1.1. This update takes a lot less time than the 3.1 version and it is supposed to help the iPhone to wake up from sleep more reliably, to connect to the AT&T cellular network more reliably, and to show video without crashing more reliably. I never saw any of those problems but I guess someone did, and the new software is here to fix it.Assuming you want the update, which is free, all you do is connect your iPhone to your computer with the USB cable, wait for iTunes to launch, click on your iPhone in the left-hand side of iTunes, and then "Check for Update." It's a big button-- you can't miss it-- and it looks like this:Click it, follow the directions, and you're all set. You will be asked at the end whether you want to update your carrier settings, and you do. The whole process took about half an hour for me, and my iPhone seems to work at least as well with this update as it did without, so I say go ahead and do it.
  416. Make Web Pages More Readable
    "Readibility" created clean, easy-to-read, distraction-free versions of web pages. Safari on Mac and iOS now incorporates a similar feature.
  417. 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 some new-fangled multi-touch trackpad? Press and hold where you would normally press for a click. Keep it pressed until the disk comes out.Restart your Mac, and right after you hear the chimes hold down the Eject key until the disk comes out.If the disk is still stuck send me an email and we'll figure out what to do next.
  418. NFL Prime Time iCal calendar
    I wanted an iCal calendar of the prime-time NFL games (Monday Night Football, the Sunday night game, the occasional Thursday night game) but I couldn't find one online. I did find the entire NFL schedule, but that was way more than I wanted. Solution: I imported the entire NFL schedule, then wrote an AppleScript to remove every game whose starting time was before 4 PM. Simple. Here's the script, for educational purposes... -- By Christian Boyce, macman@christianboyce.comtell application "iCal" set the_games to every event in calendar "NFL" repeat with i from 1 to (count of the_games) set the_start_date to start date of item i of the_games set the_day to word 1 of (the_start_date as string) set the_hour to character 1 of time string of the_start_date as string -- if the_hour is not greater than 3 then set the_event_id to uid of item i of the_games delete event id the_event_id of calendar "NFL" end if -- end repeatend telland here's the NFL Prime Time calendar, ready for you to click on and import. UPDATE: The South Endzone site now provides the Prime Time calendar (in addition to many others). No need to run the AppleScript any more.Note: you will get the chance to put this calendar's events into one of your existing iCal calendars. That's probably not a good idea. Choose the "New Calendar" option when asked and I think you'll be happier.Thanks to http://www.southendzone.com/ for doing all the work.
  419. Buying an iMac? Wait a week
    All signs point to a revised/renewed/refreshed iMac coming very very soon. If you can wait, wait.
  420. MMS iPhone Update
    MMS: noun. Abbreviation for Multimedia Messaging Service, an enhancement to the SMS (Short Messaging Service). In English: with MMS, you can still "text" someone, but now you can send a picture, or a video, or a sound. This feature was part of Apple's 3.0 upgrade a few months ago, and lots of people have been using it ever since-- except not in the United States, where AT&T couldn't get its network ready in time. AT&T is ready now, and you can start using MMS today. Unless you're using an original iPhone, in which case you can't. Sorry about that. Those are AT&T's rules.Here's what you need to do.Connect your iPhone to your Mac with a cable. iTunes should start automatically. (If it doesn't, launch iTunes yourself)Click on your iPhone in the left-hand pane of iTunes.Look for an "Update" button. Click it.You will probably see a window like this one:Click Update Settings, turn off your iPhone, turn it back on, and you're ready to go. (The turning off and turning on is very important.)After the restart, start the Messaging app, as if you were going to text someone. You'll see a camera icon next to where you type-- that's new. If you touch it you'll get a chance to use the camera to take a photo or video, or to choose an existing photo (or video). You get to write a note to go with it, and then you can send it. Yay.Too bad that it doesn't always work the way you want it to. What you're expecting, I imagine, is that the person on the other end gets your message, complete with photo or video. A lot of the time that's exactly how it will work. Sometimes, though, it won't. The reason: the person on the other end doesn't have a new enough phone. How are you supposed to know what kind of phone the other person has? Beats me. Luckily it doesn't really matter because you can always use your iPhone to send pictures via email, just as you've been doing all along. But, if you know the other person has a modern phone, MMS can be sort of handy. And fun.
  421. Your Appointments, Sir
    Here's how I use an AppleScript to look at my Calendar and then read the day's events to me out loud, every morning, automatically.
  422. Great Deal on Microsoft Office 2008
    Microsoft Office 2008 for Mac Home & Student EditionIf you need it, you need it. Amazon usually has it for a lot less than anyone else does. Yes, you'll have to wait to get it delivered, but there's no shipping charge, and what's a couple of days? Use this link* to go straight to it.Note: using the Amazon link generates a referral fee, paid by Amazon to me.
  423. 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 lets iTunes users send information about the songs and playlists on their machines to Apple's servers, and by now, a lot of people have done it. Thus, Apple has a pretty robust set of data from which to draw conclusions about which songs go together and which songs don't. Apple will generate a list of songs that go together for you, based on any single song you choose, and that's a Genius Playlist. The default is a 25-song list (pulling from songs you already own) but Genius Playlists can be up to 100 songs long. Obviously, you're going to get different Genius Playlists when you choose different songs as starting points. Choosing the "proper" song to use as a starting point becomes a Very Important Thing.Genius MixesConceptually, a Genius Mix is a lot like a Genius Playlist, except there's no 100-song limit (in fact, there's no limit at all), and there's no need to choose a song to base the playlist on, because Apple analyzes ALL of your songs, then groups them into "mixes" that somehow work together. Play a Genius Mix and the music plays forever, something like your own custom radio station. It's a neat way to rediscover your music, and since it's free, you may as well try.There is no telling how your music will be "mixed" but Apple made four Genius Mixes out of mine: two Country-Western, one Classical, and one R&B. The more music you have the more mixes they'll make, so don't be surprised if you end up with more than four.Enough talk. Let's make it happen. Remember that Genius Mixes are an iTunes 9 feature: if you need iTunes 9, here's a link to where you can get it.Start up iTunes and choose "Turn on Genius" from the Store menu. (If "Turn on Genius" isn't there, it's already turned on. Skip down to Step Two.) You'll get a window asking you (again) to turn on Genius, which you do by clicking a button, signing in to your iTunes Store account, agreeing to Apple's terms, and finally clicking "Continue."Step Two: wait just a few moments as Apple analyzes your music, then click on one of the mixes. Here's an example (one of mine).The Mix will begin to play as soon as you click it. You won't see a list of the songs in the Mix so don't bother looking. Just sit back, relax, and listen. I didn't think the Genius Mix…
  424. 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. Let me know if you do.
  425. Sports Calendars for iCal and iPhone
    Get sports calendars onto your iPhone and Mac, from Rivals.Yahoo.com.
  426. iPhone 3.1 Update
    Last Wednesday’s iPod/iTunes lovefest marked the introduction of the iPhone 3.1 update. I installed it on my iPhone 3GS without a problem though the process was very time-consuming. Figure on at least an hour to get this done. Of course it’s completely automatic: connect your iPhone to your Mac, and when iTunes launches click on the iPhone icon at the left, then Check for Updates. Then go do something else, because you don’t want to mess with the computer while the update is being done.Keeping in mind that this is a free update*, you get a lot for your money. Apple shows a list of the improvements when you go to install it but here’s the Executive Summary:Genius recommendations for AppsGenius MixesDownload ringtonesOrganize Apps via iTunesMore flexible synching of music etc.Remotely lock the iPhone in case you lose it (wow!)Voice Control now works with Bluetooth headsetsI’d get a copy of iTunes 9 before you do this (in fact, I think you have to). That’s free too. Here’s the link.* “Free” means “free if you have an iPhone, $4.95 if you have an iPod Touch.”
  427. Great deal on iWork ’09
    You already know that Apple’s iWork ’09 is a lot more fun than Microsoft Office. Recently, I gave a demonstration of iWork ’09 at the Cap Mac user group in Austin, Texas and after the show everyone wanted to know how to get it for less than the $79 list price.Well, here’s how. Click this link* and you’ll go to Amazon, where you can buy it for quite a bit less, with free shipping.
  428. Apple Special Event Recap
    Apple’s special event came and went yesterday-- pretty interesting stuff, especially if you spend your time rearranging your music. The highlights: a new version of iTunes, and iPod nanos with video cameras. Details follow.The new iTunes (version 9) is easy to navigate if you’ve used any previous version. New features include the ability to actually move music from machine to machine, through the network, and something that lets you organize your iPhone apps just so, on the computer, before synching to your iPhone. Both features are things a lot of us wanted a long time ago. That doesn’t make them any less useful.The new iPod nano somehow contains a video camera. I predict a giant increase in YouTube posts. The new nano also has an FM receiver in it-- and you can pause the music even though it’s coming through the air. Pretty neat. Steve Jobs MC’d the event. There was a very long and sincere round of appreciative applause from the crowd when Mr. Jobs came out. You can watch it all by clicking here.
  429. Apple Event September 9th
    Apple will hold a special event, centered on iPods and iTunes, Wednesday September 9th in San Francisco. The event is called “It’s only rock and roll, but we like it.” As usual, there are plenty of people guessing at what Apple has up its sleeve. I can guess too, but why bother? We’ll all know in a couple of days. In the meantime, here’s my advice: don’t buy an iPod before Wednesday.Here’s the front of the invitation that Apple sent out.
  430. 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 message so there’s nothing left to scroll, and then you press the spacebar again, the Mail program will jump to the next message. This works perfectly when your mail is sorted with the new stuff at the BOTTOM. It works in reverse if the new stuff is at the top. Try it and see.Thanks to Dave for the bonus hint.
  431. 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 Mac will detect the drive, ask you if you want to use it for your Time Machine backup, and you say “yes.” That’s it.You can read Apple’s official Time Machine write-up here.How do I use it?For backing up, you do nothing. Everything is automatic. Your entire hard drive will be backed up when you first connect the drive, and from then on Time Machine backs up everything that’s changed in the last hour. If it hasn’t changed, Time Machine doesn’t back it up. That saves space.Obviously this can’t go on forever, because you’d run out of space on the backup drive. So, Apple stores 24 hourly backups, a month’s worth of daily backups, and weekly backups after that. When you are close to running out of space Time Machine lets you know.How do I get stuff back?So, now you want to retrieve an accidentally deleted file. Or your QuickBooks file’s gone bad and you know it worked yesterday, so you want to get that one back. All you do is start up the Time Machine application (in your Mac’s Applications folder), and from there get overwhelmed, and from there call me. I can show you how to get your files back from my command post at Boyce Labs. After you’ve done it once it’s a snap. Regardless of whether you need my help or not, be assured that your stuff is there, backed up.How do I completely restore my Mac, such as going back to 10.5 after installing 10.6?Excellent question. First, you start from a DVD such as the 10.6 installer. Then, you look for a menu titled “Utilities.” Then, you choose “Restore System from Backup.” After that, you choose your backup disk (that’s easy-- there is probably only one). You then get to choose which edition to back up from. All of your backups are listed, along with the dates and the operating system version. That makes it easy. In my case, I chose the latest 10.5.8 backup, and was off to the races. It was a slow race (3 hours plus) but in the end, I was back on 10.5.8.Is that all there is to it?Ah, no. Not quite. I noticed a few little odd things on my restored 10.5.8 machine. First, after restoring, Mail acted as if it was launching for the first time, doing the same import steps that it did when I went from 10.4 to 10.5. Second, my Address Book…
  432. Snow Leopard: I say “Wait.”
    Wish I could say “Go get it, install it, you’ll be very happy” but I can’t. I installed Snow Leopard on my MacBook yesterday, had a few problems, and went back to 10.5.8. My advice: wait until Apple has a 10.6.1 update before installing Snow Leopard. That’s what I’m going to do.There are plenty of nice additions and refinements in Snow Leopard but it’s the things that didn’t work that wrecked the deal for me. Here’s what I found in an hour of having Snow Leopard installed:Printing was very, very slow.The machine ran very hot (no fun to work on a hot laptop).RapidWeaver (the program I use to make this website) wouldn’t run.1Password wouldn’t work without a work-around that I didn’t want to do.I don’t think that my experience is unique. Certainly my machine isn’t anything out of the ordinary, and I’m using mainstream software that lots of others use. So, I expect that Apple and the others will hear about these issues in some way or another, and when they do they’ll fix them.Maybe we should get Steve Jobs to be a fan of Christian Boyce and Associates on Facebook. If you see him, mention it.This, by the way, is the 100th post to the my blog.
  433. 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 (D for Don’t is the way I remember it) and you’ll reach for the mouse a little less. That will save you a little bit of time over and over and over. Try it and see.
  434. Snow Leopard Highlights
    Based on Apple’s “Snow Leopard Enhancements and Refinements” page, we have some nice stuff to look forward to in Mac OS X 10.6. Here’s a quick list of what matters most to me.Rewritten Finder. Finally, after all these years, Apple has rewritten the Finder, in Cocoa. They’ve been telling everyone else to use Cocoa for years and finally Apple’s doing it themselves. This will make the Finder faster. Yay.Faster Time Machine backups. Faster is better. (If you are not using Time Machine, email me and let me talk you into it. Time Machine will save the day for you someday.)More info in the Airport Menu. Now you can tell which signal is the strongest, so when you are “borrowing” internet from the neighbors you’ll know which neighbor to borrow from.Automatic updating of printer drivers! Hallelujah. I really hope this works. I’ve seen enough of HP’s “Support & Drivers” page to last a lifetime.Automatic text substitution. This is the thing that turns “teh” into “the” and “recieve” into “receive” in Microsoft Word, Entourage, etc. Now it will work in Mac programs such as Mail, iCal, and who knows where else. This will speed up your typing. Mine too.Better iChat reliability and other iChat improvements. I love this one. We use iChat to provide screen-sharing remote support, and when it works, it’s great-- and now it’s going to work more often. Super. Faster/better Mail program. It’s supposed to be faster at everything: faster to launch, faster to display the contents of a folder, faster to search, faster to move messages. Microsoft Exchange compatibility. If your workplace has an Exchange server, this matters a lot to you. Otherwise, no. Basically it lets you use Mail, iCal, and Apple’s Address book on your Mac rather than Outlook on a PC. A much better solution than Entourage, by the way. Faster in almost every way. That’s a good thing.Date in the menu bar! I can’t believe it took this long.This is my list in advance of actually having the software installed. Let’s see whether I come up with a different list once it’s installed.
  435. Snow Leopard, available August 28th
    Looky here-- Apple finished Snow Leopard (Mac OS X 10.6) early! The software, which costs $29 for Macs with 10.5 already installed, will be available this Friday.If you want to know more about Snow Leopard, click here. If you want to buy a copy of Snow Leopard, click here*.I will install Snow Leopard as soon as possible and report my findings, good and bad. Stay tuned.
  436. 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 switch to it. That’s one click.Make a new email message. That could be one click, or a trip to the menu bar. Click the Attachment button. We’re up to three clicks.Hunt around in the box that comes up and try to find the thing you want to attach. This could take a lot of clicks.Optional step 5: fail to find the thing you want to attach and give up.Even if you do find your item and attach it there’s a lot of work involved. At least four clicks, and no guarantee of success. Better to do it in ONE STEP. Check it out:Here’s a nice picture of a duck. I want to send it as an attachment.All I have to do is drag it to the Mail icon. Mail will create a new email message with the duck as an attachment. One step, simple as that. Here’s the result.One step, and I’m ready to address and send my email-with-an-attachment. Easy as pie. Try it!That there’s a one-step drag-and-drop method should not be a complete surprise to you. The Macintosh is full of nice touches and there is almost always an easier and faster way to do things. Dragging and dropping will come into play over and over as you use your Mac, and since dragging and dropping is a one-click effort, it will always be the easiest way to do things (measuring by number of clicks).
  437. 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 the first picture are there because someone (either you or Apple) put them there. They are permanently there (well, permanently until you drag them out of the Dock, on purpose or by accident). Other items appear in the Dock temporarily, just to the left of the dashed line in the Dock (or, if your Dock is vertical, just above the dashed line), whenever you launch them-- only to disappear when you quit.Here we have the same Dock as in the first picture, with the addition of iChat. iChat is there because I went to the Applications folder and double-clicked on iChat. The iChat icon will remain in the Dock until I quit iChat-- and then it will disappear, leaving the Dock looking like the first picture again. And that means I’ll have to go to the Applications folder and double-click iChat the next time (and every time) I want to use it. Sort of a drag.Speaking of drags, of course I could drag iChat to the Dock to permanently install it there. But that would mean planning ahead. The following method lets you install something into the Dock “on the fly,” when you happen to notice that there’s something in the Dock that would be a handy item to have in the Dock all the time. And, it’s as easy as clicking and holding on the icon in question.Here, I’ve clicked and held (that’s important) on the iChat icon. Look at the little menu that pops up. All you have to do is read. Easy. For example:if you want to keep that item in the Dock, slide up to “Keep in Dock” (see below).If you want the program to run automatically at login (which, for most of us, means “after a restart”) all you have to do is choose “Open at Login.” Easy as pie. See below.Two more handy menu items are “Show in Finder” and “Quit.” Both do exactly what you’d expect. You should try them and see.Of course this works with any program, not just iChat. I mention it for those who are reading this late at night.Watch this space (or the space right above it) for More About the Dock (part 2), coming soon.
  438. 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 this (click the picture for a larger version):Wowee, choices galore! Do what they tell you: drag buttons up and into the toolbar. If you change your mind, drag them off the toolbar. Arrange them any which way you like. It’s your toolbar: do what you want to it.Here’s what I did to mine. Check out these buttons, working from left to right (and click the picture for a larger version):Back one pageForward one pageSmaller text and pictures (Safari 4-- in version 3, it’s just smaller text)Larger text and pictures (see above)Auto-fill (fills in web page forms with the information on your card in your Address Book)1Password (not free, but really cool. Read about it further down in the blog)PrintHome (takes you back to the page Safari starts with)Top Sites (drag the little picture to the left of “http”-- in this case, the Apple logo-- to the Top Sites icon to add it to Top Sites, and click on Top Sites to see what your Top Sites are.Add to BookmarksCustomizing the toolbar is fun, and you can’t break it. If you really mess up and want to start over just drag the standard set back up to the toolbar. Apple’s Mail program (and Keynote, and the Finder, and Pages, etc.) work the same way. You know everything you need now to customize toolbars there too. Try it and let me know how it goes.
  439. Bigger Wednesday
    Long-time readers may remember “Big Wednesday” (July 30th, 2008) as my blog’s first 50-visit day. You can scroll down and read all about it. In case you don’t scroll down, the gist of the blog entry was “Today 50, tomorrow 100. Tell a friend.”Well, it took a little longer than I thought it would (maybe everyone told the same friend?), but my blog has indeed had its first 100-visit day, and what do you know, it happened on a Wednesday: August 5th, 2009. At this rate (roughly an additional visit per week) this blog will have its first 1000-visit day November 25th, 2026. Truly something to be thankful for.Here’s a beautiful chart showing “Bigger Wednesday”-- and at the far right, you’ll see we’re continuing to set records in terms of visits. In celebration of Big and Bigger Wednesdays, Christian Boyce and Associates is offering all blog readers a 50% discount for work performed on Wednesdays between now and September 30th, 2009. When you make your appointment say “I read about Big Wednesday on your blog.” Remember, this offer is for blog readers only. This is your reward for your faithful readership.Next stop: 500 visits in a day. Tell a friend and let’s get it done.
  440. iPhone Tip of the Year
    Having your entire address book with you, always up to date, is mighty handy. Being able to search your address book is also mighty handy as it keeps you from scrolling through hundred of iPhone screens to get to the name you want. The problem is, sometimes you find yourself way down deep in your address book, alphabetically speaking, and the search box is way up at the top. Scrolling to the top of the list a screen at a time will drive you nuts. Today’s tip won’t keep you from going bonkers but if that does end up happening it won’t be because you can’t get to the search box quickly. Read on.Here’s where you want to be: at the search screen. But here’s where you are: down in the P section of your contacts.How to get from where you are to where you want to be? Well, some would tell you to touch that tiny little magnifying glass at the top right of the screen, just above the “A” in the A-Z list. Good luck doing that-- you will probably hit the “+” instead, adding a new contact when you don’t want one.The answer, it turns out, is to touch the time. That’s right, just touch the time (at the top center of the screen). Do that and you’re instantly brought to the top of your address list. Bonus: it shows you your phone number too. The magnifying glass doesn’t do that. And sometimes you need a little help remembering your own phone number. Depends on how much sleep you got.Here’s what it looks like.Touch where it says “Search” and you’re on your way to filtering down the list to whatever it is you type. Note: the search is dynamic: the more you type, the fewer names show up, and it happens letter by letter. You don’t hit “Return” or “Enter” or anything like that-- different from searching in Google, for example. Note #2: The search looks at first name, last name, and company. It does not search notes and it does not search email addresses. That’s the way it goes.Note #3 (added after someone pointed this out to me): you won’t see your phone number above the search box if you start in the Contacts app. I never use that app, choosing instead to click the Contacts button at the bottom center of the Phone app. If you do it that way (starting in the Phone app, and then touch contacts at the bottom center-- as shown in the picture above), you do get to see your own phone number. You’re probably wondering what makes this the iPhone Tip of the Year. It’s nice and all, but Tip of the Year? YES-- because this “touch the time” thing works in EVERY program that scrolls vertically. Safari is one (touch the time and you’re right back at the top of the page, with the Google search box at the right as a bonus). Mail is another (touch the…
  441. Trivia Time: Mac OS X Cats
    You probably know that Mac OS X 10.5 is known as “Leopard.” You might also know that 10.6 is called “Snow Leopard.” Turns out that Apple has used the name of a large cat as a code name for every version of Mac OS X, starting with “Cheetah” for version 10.0. Meow!Here’s the entire list. Memorize it and impress your friend(s) with your trivial Macintosh knowledge!Mac OS X 10.0: CheetahMac OS X 10.1: PumaMac OS X 10.2: JaguarMac OS X 10.3: PantherMac OS X 10.4: TigerMac OS X 10.5: LeopardMac OS X 10.6: Snow LeopardUPDATE:Mac OS X 10.7: LionMac OS X 10.8: Mountain Lion
  442. Snow Leopard is coming
    Apple’s next version of the Mac OS is called Snow Leopard. It’s not out yet, but it will be soon, and I am already getting questions about it. Here are the answers.What’s Snow Leopard? Snow Leopard is Mac OS X 10.6. Rather than introduce hundreds of new features, Snow Leopard is focussed on being faster than 10.5 (Leopard), with fewer bugs. I didn’t notice a lot of bugs in 10.5 so I think the thing we’ll appreciate the most in 10.6 is speed. People who need Exchange Server support (you know who you are-- you’re the ones who wanted to see your company’s calendar and address book like your PC-using coworkers) will appreciate Snow Leopard’s ability in that area. It’s easy as pie to set up.When can I get it? Apple says “September 2009.” Note that when Apple says “September” they don’t mean “September 1st.” So, we don’t really know when it’s coming, but sometime before September 30th, 2009. Whenever it does come out, it will be standard on all new Macs, but of course you can buy it on a DVD for your existing Mac.What’s it cost? If you have 10.5 already, and you bought your machine before June 8th, 2009, the cost is $29. Click to order Snow Leopard* from Amazon. That’s pretty good. If you don’t have 10.5 already, you can buy one of Apple’s Box Sets (iWork, iLife, and Snow Leopard), for $169.If you bought a Mac after June 8th, 2009, you are eligible for a $9.95 “Up-To-Date” program, direct from Apple. May as well do it now.Will it work on my Mac? Maybe. If you have an Intel-based Mac, yes, it will work. If you don’t, no, it won’t work. Look at “About This Mac” under the Apple menu. You’ll see something like this (without the red part, but that’s where you need to look):If it says “Intel” in the Processor section you’re all set. If it says “G4” or “G5” I’m sorry to say that 10.5 is as high as it goes for for that Mac. Here are links for every possible Snow Leopard-related need. Mac OS X version 10.6 Snow Leopard* Mac OS X Snow Leopard Family Pack (5-User)* Mac Box Set - (with Snow Leopard)* Mac Box Set Family Pack with Snow Leopard (5-User)* Mac OS X Server version 10.6 Snow Leopard*(No, you almost certainly don’t need the server version)
  443. iPhone 3G vs. iPhone 3GS
    In the market for an iPhone? Tempted by the 3G at $99? Wondering whether the 3GS is worth an extra $100? Wonder no more. The answer is yes, it’s worth it. Here’s what you miss by not getting the 3GS.Better camera for still pictures (3 megapixels vs. the 3G’s 2 megapixels, autofocus, exposure control)Video recording and editing (and built-in sending to YouTube and/or email and/or MobileMe)Voice control (for dialing, for playing songs)Faster web browsing (and faster network performance in general)Compass (for knowing which way the map should be oriented)The compass bears a little extra explanation. Most people think that the built-in compass is a toy, something for Boy Scouts maybe. Certainly not something useful to a city-dweller. As it turns out, the compass is something that turns out to be VERY useful. You might not use it directly, but some of the neatest apps on the iPhone rely on it. Here are a couple worth checking out, for those with a 3GS already:Map (built-in app). When you show a map, and tap the location button, it shows where you are. Tap it again and it spins the map around so it’s oriented the way you’re facing. Can’t do that without a compass.New York Nearest Subway (pending approval from the Apple Store). You see a map of the subway system at first... then you tilt the iPhone up as if you were going to take a picture. You see the picture-- and you also see, overlayed, the subway stations that are in that direction. You also get the distance to them. This makes it very easy to find a subway station.Click here to see a video of New York Nearest Subway in action.Pretty neat. And it is only for the iPhone 3GS, because it relies on the compass to know which way you’re aiming.It’s easy to imagine a whole bunch of compass-using apps, such as one that would show gas stations or ATMs or bathrooms in the direction you’re facing, or another that would tell you the name of the mountain you’re looking at. These apps don’t exist today but I am sure they will soon (even if I have to write them myself).My advice to anyone choosing between the 3G and the 3GS is “get the 3GS.” The extra $100 will hurt the moment you spend it but you’ll be glad you did it every day after that, multiple times a day.
  444. It’s “iPhone 3GS,” not “iPhone 3G S”
    I don’t know if it’s official or not but it appears that the new iPhone-- previously known as the “iPhone 3G S”-- is now known as the “iPhone 3GS.” The space between the “G” and the “S” has disappeared. Not sure when this happened but I’m glad of it, as it was awkward to type the other way. I point this out as a public service announcement.Rumor has it that Steve Jobs didn’t like the space, and that all references to “iPhone 3G (space) S” on the Apple website were changed to “iPhone 3GS” within a day of his return to full-time work. I can’t tell you whether it’s true or not but it’s a nice story anyhow.
  445. Newspapers Around the World
    Here’s a website that shows you newspapers from around the world. Point to a city and see the front page of today’s paper for that city. Click on a city and you’ll see the front page zoomed in. Look around (top right) for links to that newspaper’s website etc. Really fun. Thanks to my friend Gene for showing the site to me.
  446. Take better pictures with your iPhone
    iPhone pictures often look shaky. People blame the iPhone, and get used to lousy results. That’s a drag, because the iPhone can take really good pictures. Here are some very nice pictures that were taken with an iPhone. Here’s another iPhone photo gallery.Turns out that shaky pictures aren’t caused by the iPhone. Shaky pictures are caused by you. That’s because the iPhone takes a picture when you let go of the button, not when you touch it-- the opposite of what you’d expect. So, as you stab quickly at the shutter button, trying to take the picture at just the right moment, you’re knocking the iPhone around and you’re probably not even paying attention to what you’re doing when you take your finger off the button-- and, as you now know, that’s the moment of truth.Since the picture’s going to be taken when you let go of the button, the trick is to already be holding the button while you wait for the perfect moment to take the picture. Press and hold the iPhone’s camera shutter button as you compose the shot, and then, gently and controlled, let go. Click! Result: a very nice, no-shake picture. Try it. It will work for you.Note: even if you’re not gentle and not controlled, it’s hard to shake the iPhone by taking your finger OFF of the button. You probably won’t shake it no matter how hard you try. I’m telling you, as soon as you try this method you’ll take better pictures, so try it right now!UPDATE: Apple's changed it so now the picture it taken when you touch the button, not when you let go.
  447. Charge your iPhone the RIGHT way
    You’re probably thinking “what a waste of time-- what’s so hard about charging an iPhone? Just plug it into the wall, right? Right?”Wrong. Well, technically “right”, except my way is even more right. And my way is “plug it into the computer.” Here’s why.Plugging into the wall charges the iPhone. That’s all it does. Plugging into the computer will also charge the iPhone, but does more:It creates a backup, automatically, of everything on the iPhone. If you lose the iPhone, or it breaks, you can connect the new one to your computer and load your old data. This leads to This Important Tip: connect your iPhone to your computer every day. It allows you to synchronize contacts and calendars without using Apple’s $99 MobileMe service for through-the-air synching.It allows you to bring in music and videos and iPhone apps, through iTunes and the iTunes Store.You already have the right cable-- just pull it out of the AC adapter and plug it into the computer. Note: if you have multiple computers you will have to decide which one to use for the charging. Pick one and keep using it. It’s possible to set things up so you can sync and backup from one computer, and charge from multiple others-- tell me you want to know how and I’ll send you a note.Naturally it is OK with me if you get an adapter to let you charge the iPhone in the car. In fact, I think that’s a great idea. Just be sure that you buy an adapter made specifically for the iPhone. If you get one that was made for an iPod you’ll be able to connect it just fine... but it will drain, rather than charge, your iPhone.
  448. iPhone Maps Super-Tips
    They don’t give you much of a manual when you buy an iPhone, and that’s too bad because there are lots and lots of cool features that aren’t obvious right off the bat. The Maps app is a case in point. Here, then, are some hints for using the Maps app. Try ‘em.Tip #1: Use the Current Location button.Look at the picture below. See where the red arrow’s pointing? That’s the “Current Location” button. Touch it, and assuming you have either cell phone or WiFi coverage (or both), you’ll see a map with your location indicated by a blue pin and a blue circle. Knowing where you are is a huge advantage, even if you end up calling someone to get directions rather than do it all yourself. Note: the Current Location button is happy to oblige at 10:02 PM, and even later. Tip #2: Use the Search feature.You can see my location indicated by that blue pin and the blue circle. (A small circle indicates good accuracy. A large circle indicates bad accuracy.) This is Google Maps, friends, so you can search for anything. I think I’ll look for a nearby place to get coffee, but you could search for ATMs, books, hamburgers, gas stations, whatever. Start by tapping where the red arrow points. As soon as you touch the Search field a little keyboard shows up. Type what you want, then tap the big blue Search button. Looky what I found-- some coffee places, indicated with red pins on the map. Super. The nearest one has a little label showing you what it is. You can click on the other red pins to find out what they are too. This leads us to our next tip, which is...Tip #3: Touch the white chevron in the blue circle (highlighted here in red, though it won’t be on your iPhone). This will lead to more info.Here’s what you get-- phone number, home page, address, and some handy buttons for getting directions. Usually, the one you want is “Directions To Here.” For now, let’s just go back by tapping the “Map” button at top left.You may have noticed another little button at the left side of the pin’s label. That indicates “Street View,” the amazing photographic representation of the place. Touch it (circled in red here).When you touch that button you get Street View, which in this case looks like so:(Yes, it’s sideways. Street View is always sideways. Just rotate the iPhone.)Tip #4: drag around on the photo in Street View to show the other side of the street. Or, when you’re viewing down a street, tap the big arrows in the street to “drive” in that direction. Street View is sort of a gimmick, but when you’re trying to find the Coffee Bean it can be handy to know it’s a white building with a tree in front.Tip #5: touch the circle (highlighted here with the red arrow) to get out of Street View and back to the map.Tip #6:…
  449. New York Times iPhone news reader
    I still prefer a “real” newspaper to any electronic version, and if you ask I’ll get all poetic and tell you why. In the meantime, here’s one of my favorite iPhone apps: The New York Times reader. By the way, it’s free. It would be a bargain at twice the price. Heh. You can click any of the pictures here to go to the iTunes Store and download the program yourself. FYI.(In case you were wondering why I don’t just use Safari on the iPhone and go to www.nytimes.com, the answer is that it’s a lot more convenient to have the news formatted to fit the iPhone automatically. Plus, as you will soon see, the iPhone app has features the website doesn’t.)The New York Times reader’s been around from Day One of the App Store, and it’s been improved over and over. At this point it’s a very handy and nice reader, with easy navigation, a simple search feature, a button to email a story to a friend, a button to save a story for future reference, an easy way to make the text bigger, and so on and so on and so on.Here’s what it looks like when you bring it up-- nice, fresh news, “updated moments ago.”(Yes, there are ads, but you can ignore them. )Here’s what you get when you click on a story.If you need larger print, click the big T. Here’s how that looks:See that Envelope icon at the left? Touch that to email the story to someone. See the Save button? Touch that to save the story for future viewing. You’ll see a “Saved” button in the first picture here-- that’s your list of saved stories. Nice.Want more? There’s more. You can, on the first screen, touch the Search button and search. Here’s an example:Need your news categorized? Touch the “More” button.From there you can choose a section and read all about it.I like it. Free, always up to date, always with me-- a terrific thing. It doesn’t pile up when you go on vacation and it doesn’t rub off on your hands-- major advantages over the print edition. About all you can’t do with the NY Times iPhone app is wrap a fish in it. Maybe in a future version.
  450. 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 open). Start Safari up again, choose “Reopen All Windows from Last Session,” and you’re right back in business.Try these things out before you need them. Muscle memory and all that.
  451. 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 to scan over a network, and in practice you still have to walk over to the 3310 to put your stuff on the glass so all you really get scan-wise is the convenience of being able to scan without connecting your laptop to the scanner with a cable. That’s nice-- when it works. When it doesn’t work, like it didn’t yesterday, it’s the pits.The situation: Apple Time Capsule serving as the wireless base station, with firmware 7.4.1 on it. HP AiO Photosmart 3310 connected to the Time Capsule with an Ethernet cable. MacBook Pro connected to the Time Capsule wirelessly (802.11n, you geeks). I could print but I couldn’t scan. Every time I tried to scan I got a message about “unable to contact the 3100.” That’s nice.I uninstalled the HP software using their own uninstaller. Then I found about thirty more pieces of HP software that the installer left behind (I also found a four-page HP document that tells how to delete the software, which is everywhere). My suspicion was that something was corrupt and that completely deinstalling, then reinstalling the latest version of HP’s software, would solve the problem.Turns out I was wrong. After all of that the scanner still didn’t work over the network. Hmm.My Friend Google helped point me in the right direction: the problem involved the firmware on the Time Capsule. Very interesting. I tried upgrading to 7.4.2-- no good. Then I rolled back to 7.3.2... and it worked. I think most of us see that orange light blinking on the Time Capsule and think “let’s do the upgrade, it will make things better” but in this case, no. I can’t remember seeing another manufacturer’s stuff break when Apple does upgrades (other than La Cie’s, come to think of it). If you have a choice, I’d steer clear of HP, unless you are willing to put up with things that stop working for no obvious reason. Or unless you like having me in your office fixing things.
  452. Barcode Scanner app for iPhone
    I just learned of an iPhone app called “Snappr.” It’s amazing.UPDATE: Snappr's been discontinued. Try RedLaser or ShopSavvy instead.Launch Snappr, then “scan” a barcode by taking a picture of it using your iPhone’s camera. The picture is sent to Snappr’s servers, where the code is actually read. In a few seconds they tell you how much that thing would cost at Amazon.com, Yahoo.com, and a few others. That way, before you buy that big flat-screen TV as a present for your older brother’s 47th birthday this coming July so he can watch college football games while typing his fingers off in an effort to make the world a better place for Mac and iPhone users everywhere, you-- Brother Spencer-- could check that you were getting a good deal.I will demonstrate with a box of Rice-a-Roni, recently purchased at my local grocery store. Let’s find out whether I got a good deal. Here’s the bar code (as seen in the Snappr app after I took the picture)...And here’s how much it would cost at “Meijer,” wherever that is. I don’t want 12 boxes but it’s nice to know that it would cost $14.71 for the dozen. I only paid 99 cents for my box so I’m feeling pretty good. Let’s try something a little different: a CD.Here’s the bar code (a little blurry)...And here’s what comes back from Snappr.Pretty neat. Of course, I already bought it, but suppose I was in the store looking at CDs and was only thinking about buying it. Armed with the price info from Amazon & Yahoo I would know whether I should buy it at the store or not.Pretty cool stuff. Snappr says that you have to have a special macro lens on your iPhone to take the bar code pictures properly, but I say you don’t. I took those bar code pictures with my stock iPhone 3G S and everything turned out fine. If you DO want a macro lens, try to find a "Clarifi" case* for your iPhone (from Griffin), as it has a little slide-out lens and it does make a difference. You can always try taking a picture of a bar code without the macro lens-- it’s a free app, so it costs nothing to try. (The iPhone 3G S’ camera is Apple’s best camera yet, so maybe the Snappr people just need to update their website.)
  453. iPhone 3.0 software– go get it
    If you buy a new iPhone you get the latest iPhone system software (iPhone OS 3.0) and that software lets you do some pretty cool things: Cut, copy, and pasteLandscape keyboard for email, text messages, etc.Spotlight search of email, address book, etc.Voice memos... and lots more. The neat thing is, you can put the new iPhone software on an older iPhone-- for free. It’s fine with me if you quit reading right now and go do it.In case you need instructions:1. Connect your iPhone to your Mac with the USB cable.2. Sync your iPhone (this creates a fresh backup).3. Click the “Check for Updates” button in iTunes and get the 3.0 software4. Download the update and let Apple (and time) do the rest.Click here to see a list of the new features in iPhone OS 3.0 and to find out which of the features will work on your phone.
  454. iPhone 3G S– it’s great!
    I bought a new iPhone last week-- the 3G S, 16 gigabytes of storage, in vivid black. It looks just like the 3G it replaces but has a few new doodads inside. And it has “S,” which stands for “Speed.” Here are some pictures.Here’s a list of the things I like about my new iPhone 3G S.It was easy to order from Apple’s website.It was “only” $199 (my original iPhone was $599-- yikes).It arrived on time, on Friday 6-19-2009, thanks to Fed Ex (no charge from Apple).It is MUCH faster than my original iPhone-- at everything.The camera can take still photos or video. Video can go straight to YouTube if you’d like.The camera has an autofocus but you can tap the screen to show what you’d prefer to focus on.There’s a compass inside so when you look at a map it can orient itself to the direction you’re facing.All of the things I liked in the original iPhone are here in the 3G S: easy to use, elegant interface, great selection of applications.The only things I don’t like about the new iPhone have to do with AT&T. First, the phone wouldn’t activate, and that was because AT&T had no idea I had this new phone-- even though I had to pass through AT&T’s website to check my eligibility for the new iPhone’s subsidized pricing on the way to buying it. It took me a day to figure out what was going on, but after a couple tries with AT&T’s hilariously uninformed “customer service” squad (“You can’t activate the iPhone without going to either an Apple store or an AT&T store” (wrong). “You don’t have an iPhone 3G S” (wrong). “The internet is like a big highway, and activation of so many phones at once is like running out of gas on the way to your mother’s on 4th of July weekend” (huh? Actually, I made that one up)).The second thing I don’t like about the new iPhone 3G S is it costs me $10 more per month to get the same kinds of stuff as my original iPhone: 450 anytime minutes, unlimited data plan, unlimited text messaging. It’s faster at the data stuff so I am not bothered all that much. Still, $100 per month sort of adds up.Hats off to AT&T customer service guy “Justin” who listened to my story, verified that his company didn’t know about my new iPhone, entered my new phone’s SIM card number and iPhone serial number into their computers, AND made sure that my voice mail worked. All without once hanging up on me. More like that, please. Boo and hiss to every other AT&T comedian, I mean “customer service representative,” who either didn’t know anything about the iPhone, or anything about anything. There were four of those. Double boo and double hiss to AT&T’s automated customer service phone system that makes you enter your phone number, then “touch or say 1 for service,” then “touch or say 7 for iPhone support,” then “touch…
  455. Palm Pre– not for me
    No doubt you’ve been hearing a lot about Palm’s new “Pre” phone, made by a new team at Palm that looks a lot like the old team at Apple. Jon Rubinstein heads the group (and now Palm itself) and he used to be in charge of the iPod division of Apple. (Click the link to read all about Jon Rubinstein’s career-- he’s done a lot.)David Pogue (New York Times) liked the Pre-- read about it here.Walter Mossberg (Wall Street Journal) liked the Pre-- read about it here.Christian Boyce (free agent writer, currently available for assignment) did not like the Pre. Read about it right here.Palm didn’t send me a Pre to play with, so I had to leave my office-in-the-living-room-- I mean “the West Coast Headquarters of Christian Boyce and Associates”-- and find a Pre on my own. Sprint is currently the only carrier with the Pre so I drove over to my local Sprint store (and then drove some more, because the store doesn’t have any parking). It took me so long to find parking that I almost gave up, but being so intrigued with the Pre’s potential, and feeling a deep sense of responsibility to the four people who were waiting for my review, I made it to the Sprint store, and there it was--- the Pre! Of course, leave it to Sprint to display the Pre in the back of the store, mixed in with a bunch of other shiny black phones so you can hardly notice it. Here’s what it looks like closed (but on), front and back:Here’s what the Pre looks like with the keyboard slid open. This is part of what I didn’t like, so pay attention. Note that the keyboard doesn’t really slide down-- instead, the phone slides up.Now let’s have a look from the side. You can see it’s sort of curvy: you slide the phone away from you, and up. I’m not going to complain about the TINY keyboard. Some people like any keyboard more than the iPhone’s no-keyboard keyboard, even if the keys are small and rubbery and make me feel clumsy. No, the complaint is simpler, and surprising: the keyboard is really hard to slide out. Really hard. Really. (Maybe it’s because you’re trying to make the phone slide forward and UP but all you can do is push it forward and DOWN. The action is sort of a watermelon seed between the fingers thing, but it’s not slippery enough. So it doesn’t feel right.)It’s funny how things that feel right, feel right, and things that feel wrong, feel wrong. When it’s right, you feel good every time: closing the door to a Mercedes, or putting on cowboy boots that fit. When it’s wrong, you feel bad every time, and it’s a lot easier to come up with examples for “wrong”: turning off a PC (hint: click “Start”), turning ON my Samsung phone (press “End”), telling the gas pump whether you want a receipt or not (press Red for…
  456. Safari 4– free, and great
    Lost in Monday’s excitement about the new iPhone was the news that Safari has been upgraded to version 4. I think it’s terrific, and since it’s free you’ll definitely get your money’s worth. I say “go get it.”Click here to read all about it. In a nutshell, Safari 4 loads pages faster than anything and is very nice to use. It will read your old bookmarks, and it will work on your Mac as long as you have 10.4.11 or 10.5.7. (Mom, you’re all set-- download away.) Try the “Top Sites” feature, and try searching your History, and try reviewing your History in the new Cover Flow way.Watch this space for Safari Super Tips, coming soon.
  457. WWDC Keynote Speech
    Apple’s Phil Schiller gave the keynote speech at the World Wide Developers Conference. Click the picture to watch the show.In a nutshell:Updated MacBook Pro laptopsUpdated iPhones (some cheaper, some faster)iPhone software 3.0 coming this monthMac OS X 10.6 coming in September-- for $29!No, they did NOT come out with an iPhone whose camera faces forward, and no, Steve Jobs did not make an appearance. He’s scheduled to come back to work June 30th in case you’re wondering.
  458. Rumor Roundup
    Apple’s World Wide Developer Conference (WWDC) starts tomorrow in San Francisco. WWDC is an annual gathering of programmers who create applications for the Mac and the iPhone, hosted by Apple, and it’s a very big deal. It costs $1000 to attend, which is also a very big deal, and that explains why I’m not there this year. That, and my iPhone application programming is taking longer than I thought it would. Wait for next year.Anyhow, with WWDC comes a lot of press coverage, and with that comes a lot of guessing what we’ll see and hear tomorrow during the opening keynote speech. Yes, we could just wait until tomorrow and know exactly what we saw and heard, but what fun is that? Here’s what I think MIGHT happen tomorrow. If any of this stuff turns out to be true remember you read about it here. If it doesn’t come true forget I mentioned it.Game-Changing Rumor: Apple will take advantage of the attention and introduce a new iPhone-- this one with the camera on the front. Primary use: video chatting. If you’ve use iChat to do video chats on your Mac you know how cool this is. To be able to do it on a cell phone? Incredible. (This is my own personal rumor-- I think I’m the first to mention it.)If they do come out with video chat on the iPhone they’ll change the name of Palm’s new Pre to “Post.” As in “mortem.” Sure was a nice two days you had there, Palm.Interesting Feel-Good Human-Interest Rumor: Steve Jobs will make an appearance. The betting line on this is about 2-1 in favor. Jobs is officially expected back June 30th but with everyone watching he might come on stage, hopefully a little heavier than last time we saw him.Boring, Evolutionary Rumor: new iPhones with more memory, faster processors, and the exact same appearance will be introduced, taking the place of the current iPhone 3G. You won’t be able to tell the new ones from the old ones but they’ll be better and cost the same.The keynote speech kicks off at 10 AM Monday, June 8th 2009, about 12 hours from now. There’s no live coverage of the speech but you can do what I do and get updates from someone planted in the audience. If you miss the live updates you can usually watch replays of Apple keynotes a little later in the day, and I’ll have a link to this one as soon as they make it available.UPDATE: here's the link.
  459. iPhone App of the Day
    Here’s a great application from AAA, otherwise known as the American Automobile Association. This little beauty shows where to use your AAA card for discounts-- and it’s free.Here’s what it looks like when it starts up.Here’s a list of AAA discounts near me.Here’s the same information on a map (the green dot is my location, which the iPhone figured out by itself)Here are the categories.HERE is something very cool: a built-in “Call for Roadside Assistance” button.If you enter your membership number into the application you’ll save time when you call.All in all, considering it’s free, I think you get more than your money’s worth. cboyce says “Check it out.” Click here to download it from the iTunes App Store.
  460. Two ways to get a free iPod Touch
    Apple’s giving away an iPod Touch with purchase of a MacBook, MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, or iMac. Actually, it’s a rebate thing, so you have to pay for it first, then submit the receipt, and wait for your money to come back. And, you can only take advantage of the deal if you’re going to college, or work at a college, or something like that. You can read all about it here. If you don’t qualify for the rebate you may be interested in an offer from another company: Ferrari. They are giving away an iPod Touch with purchase of every Scuderia Spider 16M. World Wide Developers Conference kicks off June 8th before buying one because there just might be a new model coming out soon-- and if there is, we’ll learn all about it June 8th. Watch this space for further information.
  461. iWork ’09 Missing Manual
    After months of hard work the iWork ’09 Missing Manual is now available. Here’s a modified version of the cover:Frankly, I think it’s fantastic, and not just because I was involved in it. Josh Clark has written a superb book and you are going to want to read it cover to cover. Click here to read all about it on the publisher’s website (note: they have a “buy two books, get one free” promotion going on if you buy it there-- $39.99). Click here to buy it from Amazon*.iWork ’09 includes Pages, Keynote, and Numbers, and you can read all about it here. In a nutshell, iWork is Apple’s software for writing letters and reports, laying out brochures and flyers and posters, making presentations, working with figures, and making graphs. If that sounds like Microsoft Office to you, you’re right-- but there’s no comparison. You’ll love using iWork. I already know that you only use Word and Excel because you have to. Take my advice and download a 30-day demo of iWork ’09 here. Watch the video tutorials (under the Help menu in each iWork component program). And buy the book*, even though I’ve already been paid and won’t get any royalties even if you tell them you’re buying it because of me. Wouldn’t hurt to try though.
  462. 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 find it. Search for AppleScript, and you don’t. (Search for “Apple” and you do. Search for “Apples” and you don’t.)Frankly, I don’t quite understand it. But, understanding it is not our job here, and while it is tempting to try to figure out why craigslist works the way it does, it would be tangential to my original goal, which is to search for jobs on craigslist. Related, but off on a tangent. I determined that if I searched for these terms I’d find what I wanted: Apple AppleScript AppleScripter Scripter Mac Macintosh iPhone That’s seven searches. Doable, but then I decided it would be nice to search craigslist in Austin, TX (austin.craigslist.org) as well as craigslist in Los Angeles, CA (losangeles.craigslist.org). Twice as many cities means twice as many searches-- now up to 14, and I could see that this would not be a lot of fun after the first day or two. And remember, I wanted to do this every day. So, what do we do when we have a repetitive task? One option: pass it to someone else. That would get it off my plate, but it’s not reasonable to expect anyone to do 14 searches perfectly every day. Mistakes get made when you have so much to do. The correct answer for a Mac user, of course, is to make an AppleScript. Talk about practicing what you preach! Here’s what I wrote, word for word. You can copy this script, paste it into Script Editor (you have it-- look in the AppleScript folder inside your Applications folder), and run it. You can change the cities and the search terms as you wish. (You can even change it to look for things other than jobs. I can help you with that.) The script: -- AppleScript by Christian Boyce, to search craigslist.org for jobs -- Original version written May 21st, 2009. -- May be copied and modified as desired. Let me know if you find it handy. -- Write me at macman@christianboyce.com -- set the_cities to {"losangeles", "austin"} set the_search_terms to {"apple", "applescript", "applescripter", "scripter", "mac", "macintosh", "iPhone"} -- tell application "Safari" activate repeat with a_city in the_cities repeat with a_search_term in the_search_terms make new document at end of documents -- the next two lines belong together-- from "set" to "a_search_term" set URL of document 1 to "http://" & a_city & ".craigslist.org/search/jjj?query=" & a_search_term end repeat end repeat end tell   You can almost…
  463. 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 goes wrong, you’ll have someone there (me) to make it right. There are benefits to 10.5.7. The most important one to me is it fixes a bug in Apple’s Mail program-- a bug that gradually slows your Mac way, way down when Mail is left running for a long time. I have not seen any new or different features in 10.5.7 and Apple is not advertising any, so maybe it really is all bug fixes. Anyhow, I’m glad I did the update. If you want to apply the update on your own be sure that your machine is in good shape before you apply the update. Restart your machine, quit any programs that launched as startup, then run Disk Utility and repair permissions. If you have problems with Disk Utility it would not be wise to do the 10.5.7 update. If you don’t have trouble, go ahead and update. The best way to do the update is to get the so-called “Combo” update. It’s bigger than the update that comes when you do Software Update under the Apple Menu, which means it takes longer to download and install, but I’d use the Combo update anyway. Applying a Combo update will reinstall system pieces that have somehow gotten lost, in addition to updating the machine to 10.5.7, and generally speaking the Combo update is the way to go. Takes a little longer, but worth it. Here’s the link to the 10.5.7 Combo update. Remember to quit all of your programs before you do the installation. Call me if you’re stuck-- preferably, before you’re stuck.
  464. Stuff I Like, part 2
    It’s taken nine months but here, finally, is Stuff I Like, part 2. (Stuff I Like, part 1 was about PowerSupport Anti-Glare Film-- now called "Tru Protection"* Anti-Glare film.)You can read all about these programs at their websites, so I’m not going to go into great detail here. I will give you a short summary and some special features I especially like.First up: 1Password. Remembers your passwords for logging into various websites. Works with Safari, Firefox, and a couple of other browsers and you can switch back and forth between them and 1Password works regardless. Generates strong passwords if you want it to. Lets you create “Identities” such as Home and Work for filling in web forms with one click. Lets you create secure notes. Synchronizes across machines and with the iPhone. Price: $39.95. Click here for a link to the Mac version* in the Mac App store. Click here* for the free iPhone version.Next up: RapidWeaver*. Web-site creation tool. Lots of pretty templates, fairly easy to use (much easier than DreamWeaver, about the same as iWeb). Something like Apple’s iWeb but a lot more expandable. I used RapidWeaver to make one of the versions of christianboyce.com. Price: $79.00.Last but not least: VMware Fusion. Allows you to install Windows on your Mac. Much more stable and trouble-free than Parallels. Does not require a reboot like Apple’s Boot Camp. Easy installation procedure. Price: $79.99, free trial download.More to come, as I find more Stuff I Like.
  465. Billion Apps contest
    Apple’s iPhone App Store is closing in on one BILLION downloads. From now until the billionth download, everyone who downloads anything from the App Store will be entered into a drawing for a gob of cool prizes ($10,000 iTunes gift card, iPod Touch, MacBook Pro, lunch with C. Boyce, etc.). Click here for the details.
  466. 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 of the Message Text (sometimes). Here’s how we do it.1. Get Mail running. 2. Go to the Mail menu and choose Peferences...3. Click on the Fonts & Colors button at the top.From here, it’s pretty much click-and-experiment time. You will get the most mileage out of the first three sections (Mailbox font, Message List font, and Message font). Here’s what my Mail program looked like before I started changing things...Here are the settings that went along with it.I changed the settings (by clicking the various “Select...” buttons) as shown below......and now my Mail program looks like this:A couple of notes: first, you’ll notice that clicking the “Select...” buttons leads you to a panel with font sizes like 12, 14, and 18. If 14 is too small, and 18 is too big, you’re stuck... or are you? No, you’re not. Type in any size you want up at the top right, as I did to get 16 point for my Message List font.Second, no matter which size you specify for the Message font, plenty of messages will stubbornly resist the change. Try all you want and the messages stay as they were. (Messages that are pure text will enlarge as directed, but most will not.) Solving that problem takes another couple of steps, but they’re worth it.1. Choose “Customize Toolbar...” from Mail’s View menu.2. Find the “Smaller Bigger” buttons and drag them to the toolbar.3. Close up the Customize Toolbar window and give your new buttons a try.If you tend to double-click messages so they open in their own windows, you’ll have to drag the buttons to a message window too. Just get a message open, go to View/Customize Toolbar, and drag the buttons up.Here’s what a message looks like in the regular size:Here’s what it looks like after a couple of clicks of the “Bigger” button (top right of the message window, right where I dragged it):Try these adjustments for yourself. They make a world of difference. As always, if you’re stuck, send me a note and I’ll help you out.
  467. 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 how a person who wants things larger because the small type is too hard to see has no problem at all discerning the slight fuzziness present at larger sizes? Remarkable.)If blowing up the entire screen (and losing quality in the process) wasn’t going good enough I was going to have to do it the hard way. Which is to say, go program by program and set the preferences in each to make things bigger. Today we’ll learn about doing that in Safari. We’ll cover Mail, the Finder, and a bunch of other programs later.Safari 3 lets you make a website’s text larger (or smaller) in a couple of ways. First, you can go to the View menu and choose “Make Text Bigger” (or “Make Text Smaller”). Another way to do it is to use the keyboard shortcuts next to the menu items for Make Text Bigger and Make Text Smaller: Command-Plus and Command-Minus. You don’t have to use the Shift key to do it-- just tap the + or the- while holding the Command key.A third way is to click the “Big A” and “Small A” buttons on the toolbar. What, your toolbar doesn’t have those buttons? Solve that problem by going to Safari’s View menu and choosing Customize Toolbar... Drag the two “Text Size” buttons up and onto the Toolbar, wherever they’re handy for you. When you’re done, click “Done,” and from then on all you have to do is click the big A to make the text bigger, and the small A to make the text smaller.(Note to Safari 4 users: it works almost exactly the same way for you, except you’ll increase/decrease the size of the pictures as well as the text.)Of the methods presented so far, I like Command-Plus and Command-Minus. But here’s another method that’s even better. At least sometimes.Go to Safari’s Preferences (under the Safari menu) and click the Appearance button.Jot down the information already in the box (Times 16 and Courier 13)-- you might want to change back to original settings one day-- then click each “Select...” button in turn and choose a larger size using the slider on the right. Don’t go crazy with it, and remember that you won’t see a change in every website (though you will on this one). Slide things around until it’s easy to read, and from then on your websites will load in the larger font. At least some of them will. Cool…
  468. iPhone Super Tips
    Here are some of my favorite iPhone tips. Try ‘em and let me know what you think.Press the Home button and you go to the “Home” screen you were most recently on. Press the Home button again and you go to the FIRST PAGE of the Home screens.Capture whatever’s on your iPhone’s screen by holding the sleep button (top right) and quickly pressing the Home button. You’ll hear a camera shutter sound, not that “a camera shutter sound” will mean anything to anyone in a few years, and the picture will be stored in your Photos. From there, email it or do anything else you do with a picture. (Use a screenshot of the Home screen as your wallpaper. Hilarious!)If web pages don’t rotate when you turn the iPhone sideways try putting the iPhone on edge. It works better that way. Flat on the table it has no idea that you’ve turned it. You can put it on edge to rotate, then lay it down flat when it’s finished the rotation.Get an anti-glare film for the iPhone. The best ones come from Power Support USA and you can get them from the Apple Store online. They cut glare significantly, and as a bonus they are nicer for your finger to slide around on (and they don’t show fingerprints). Other than that, they don’t do anything. The films are cut very precisely and you just lay it down over the iPhone’s front glass. Works like a charm, without any adhesive! Don’t ask me how they do it. First person who asks me gets a free one, sized for the iPhone 3G.Save a favorite web page to your Home screen. Start by loading up the web page in the iPhone’s Safari browser. Then touch the “+” at the bottom of the screen, then touch “Add to Home Screen.” From then on, you can go to that web page by touching it right on the Home screen. Very nice.
  469. 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 about those things? Send me a note and I’ll blog on it.) Here’s an example. Suppose I wanted to be able to quickly find all of my contacts who either live or work in Texas. I could go through my entire list of contacts and drag them to a Group, but that wouldn’t be much fun (and when I added a new contact I’d have to remember to drag that person to the Texas Group). Much better is to make a Smart Group that does the work for me. Step One is to make a new blank Smart Group. You can Option-click the “+” at the bottom left of the Address Book window, or you can go to File/New Smart Group...Step Two is to choose a name for the Smart Group, and also to choose criteria. Many Smart Groups have just one criterion but in this case, I need to check two criteria because I don’t know how the State on a person’s address book card will be entered. Note that I chose “any” and not “all” for my matching criteria. In other cases, it would be better to match “all.”Here’s what it looks like.If you decide to modify your Smart Group down the road you don’t have to start over. Click once on the Smart Group that you want to modify (you could have several), then choose “Edit Smart Group...” from the Edit menu. Or just Control-click on the Smart Group and choose “Edit Smart Group...” from the pop-up menu.The beautiful thing is that the Smart Group is always up to date. Add some people to the Address Book and the ones with Texas as their states will show up in the Texas Smart Group. This is really handy and you ought to give it a whirl.
  470. iPhone app of the week: eReader
    Surely you’ve heard of the Kindle, the electronic book-reading device from Amazon. It can hold thousands of books in its memory and you can download new ones through the air. That’s the good news.Here’s the bad news: it costs $359, the screen isn’t color, and it’s another thing to carry around (and it’s not small).Enter eReader, the iPhone app that turns your iPhone (or iPod Touch) into a Kindle-beating device for the low low price of ZERO. Yes, zero. Nice. You can download many books for free from www.manybooks.net. You do it right on the iPhone, from within the eReader program. (I’m reading “The Return of Sherlock Holmes” on my iPhone and didn’t pay a dime.)By the way, eReader automatically saves your place when you go to do something else, like check your email or make a phone call. If you’re partway through several books eReader remembers your place in each. Really neat.If that’s enough to sell you on it, click here and get eReader, for free, from the iTunes Store. If you’re not sold yet, here are some pictures that will help you see it my way.Here’s the opening screen. Notice it’s in COLOR.Here’s what eReader’s “Parchment” color scheme looks like. Very readable. That’s from The Return of Sherlock Holmes. (You swipe from right to left to turn the page-- no need to click a special button or anything.)A tap on the screen brings up the options and controls. They go away with another tap. Here are some of the settings. eReader lets you focus on reading, not on the device you’re using and not on how much that device cost you. Apart from the opening screen there aren’t a lot of pictures so even though it’s in color that’s somewhat wasted since you can’t see illustrations. But, for the money, and the convenience, eReader’s a great addition to your iPhone. I really, really like it.UPDATE: eReader had been discontinued. What a drag.
  471. OmniFocus: To-do list for Mac and iPhone
    There are many to-do list programs for the Mac. And there are many to-do list programs for the iPhone. But there aren’t many to-do list programs for the Mac that synchronize with the iPhone, an essential feature if you ask me.Actually, there are two Mac to-do list programs that have synchronizing counterparts on the iPhone: Things (Mac link here, iPhone link here), and OmniFocus (Mac version here, iPhone version here). I use OmniFocus, and that’s what I’ll write about here.OmniFocus follows David Allen’s Getting Things Done approach, where every project (no matter how large) is broken into bite-sized pieces (no matter how many). Getting Things Done, or GTD, also emphasizes the notion of “context,” or where something can get done. Some things, like phone calls, can be made just about anytime. Some things, like working on your blog, can only be done from a computer with internet access. Other things, like buying wood for a new planter box, can only be done while out running errands. The idea is that everything that needs to get done has to do with some larger project and has a context where it can be done.You can get a lot done with the Getting Things Done approach, but if it takes you half a day to get organized, you only have half a day left. And, if you can only check your to-do list while in front of your computer, you’re going to forget stuff while you’re out and about. OmniFocus on the Mac, and on the iPhone, solves these problems neatly.Click here to watch a brief introductory video on the Mac version of OmniFocus. Click here to download a trial version of OmniFocus for your Mac (sorry, there is no trial version for the iPhone).Here’s what OmniFocus looks like on my Mac:It’s not as complicated as it looks, and you can skip a bunch of features while you learn how to use the program. In the picture above you can see I’m looking at “Remaining” items but I could look at “All” items-- in that case there would be several with checked boxes (yes, I’ve actually FINISHED a few things). Here’s a picture of OmniFocus on the iPhone. This is the Home screen:Touch Projects and it expands to show all of your projects. Touch Contexts and it expands to show your contexts. The Due Soon section shows items that are due “soon” (you can define what “soon” means), and the Overdue section fills itself in with items whose due dates have passed. Flagged items are simply things that you want to be able to jump to in a hurry-- maybe they aren’t due anytime soon but you want to be able to refer to them quickly.Here’s what the Projects screen looks like (on my iPhone):OmniFocus for the iPhone is $19.95, fairly expensive for an iPhone app (and by far my most expensive iPhone purchase). OmniFocus for the Mac is $79.95, also on the pricey side. But man oh man do they ever work…
  472. iWork 09 report
    Apple put out a new version of iWork at Macworld Expo and it’s really terrific. I’ve been working with it fairly intensely as I’m the Technical Reviewer for the iWork ’09 “Missing Manual” book.iWork is a collection of three programs: Pages, Numbers, and Keynote. Pages is a much nicer word processor than Microsoft Word, both easier to use and more capable. It also opens Microsoft Word documents, so goodbye Word, hello Pages.Numbers is Apple’s version of Microsoft Excel, and like Pages, it’s a lot nicer to use than the competition. Keynote is Apple’s presentation program (the same one Steve Jobs used for all those “keynote” speeches) and it too is a pleasure to use, especially compared to Microsoft’s PowerPoint. For $79 you get all three programs. For $99 you get the 5-user “Family Pack.” For free you get the 30 day trial. Click here to get the trial. You can watch movies about how to use iWork as the programs download. And you can click here to see a whole slew of tutorials. I think you’re going to love it. Get the trial and find out for yourself.
  473. iLife 09 report
    I mean to try every part of iLife 09: iPhoto, iMovie, iDVD, iWeb, and Garage Band. Hard to do it all in one sitting so we’ll take it a piece of a time. Tonight’s installment: iPhoto 09.iPhoto 09 retains the familiar look of iPhoto 08 (and others) so if you’d used iPhoto before this new version won’t be hard to navigate. You’ll notice two new features right off the bat: Faces, and Places. Faces helps you organize your photos based on who is in them. Places helps you organize your photos based on where you took them.Try this link for a video intro to iPhoto 09, courtesy of Apple. It covers everything you need to know. Click here for a list of video tutorials for iPhoto 09, also courtesy of Apple.The installation of iLife 09 and the conversion of my existing iPhoto 08 database took over an hour. Not bad. I made sure I had a backup of my iPhoto database before I did the installation, of course. So should you.
  474. Apple’s still in business
    By now everyone’s written about Steve Jobs taking a little break for health reasons. Two themes have been repeated: Is Steve OK?Is there life for Apple after Steve Jobs?The answer to number 1 is “we don’t know.” Rumors have him considering a liver transplant. No truth to the rumor that Apple is developing the “iLiver” in several colors.The answer to number 2 is “yes, at least for now.” Apple is going great guns, selling more stuff than ever. Their earnings report for the first quarter of the fiscal year (which is the last quarter of the calendar year) impressed the socks off of the “analysts.” By the way, in case any of you are looking for the easy job of all time, be an “analyst.” I think I might try it myself.
  475. Macworld Expo Report 2.0
    Macworld Expo’s over-- hopefully, just for this year, but possibly forever. Rumors are swirling that Apple will go to the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas next year (which means that I might get to finally attend that show, since it’s always conflicted with Macworld). In fact, some sources say that Apple’s already paid for their booth. We’ll see about that. Highlights of the show (at least for me):A new iLife package from Apple, with an iPhoto that recognizes faces. You have to see it to believe it.A new iWork package from Apple, improving an already very-nice-to-use alternative to Microsoft Office.A nifty to-do list manager called “Things,” with an accompanying iPhone application.Free samples of a new “smart drink” called BrainToniq*, which I believe is still working for me.Free coffee in Acura’s “coffee lounge,” decorated with their latest line of cars.Memo to future Macworld Expo exhibitors: free drinks are good.
  476. Macworld Expo Keynote
    Well, it’s come and gone-- the 2009 Macworld Expo keynote speech. You can watch all 90 minutes of it, including a couple of songs by Tony Bennett, including "I left my heart in San Francisco." Here’s the link. I have to say that Phil Schiller did an admirable job, considering what he was up against.Here’s the keynote in a nutshell:There’s a new version of iLife coming out this month, which means updated iPhoto, Garage Band, iWeb, and iMovie.The highlight of iLife: face-recognition in iPhoto. It can find a face in a photo and if you tell it who that face belongs to, iPhoto will search its database of photos and make an album of other pictures with that face in it. Neat. I can’t wait to try it. But I’ll have to wait until the end of January, same as everyone else. The new iMovie is pretty neat too (watch the first 40 minutes of the keynote speech and you’ll see iPhoto and iMovie demonstrated).iWork is also getting an upgrade. I already liked iWork but I’m looking forward to seeing the new version.The 17-inch MacBook Pro has been updated. Now it looks like the other MacBook Pro models (aluminum case, big-clicker trackpad). Its battery is supposed to give you 8 hours of use but you can’t take it out yourself. It’s all sealed up, like an iPhone’s. I’ll be at Macworld Thursday to see it all in person, and if it’s super-groovy I will let you know all about it.Meanwhile, here’s a link to the new iPhoto goodies, and another link to the new iMovie stuff.
  477. Macworld Expo Report 1.0
    Coming Soon (January 10th, 2009 at 10 AM): it’s the Christian Boyce Macworld Expo Report, live from San Francisco. I’ll tell you all about the groovy stuff I saw at Macworld and I’ll tell you what I found out about Steve Jobs and I’ll tell you whether there will be a Macworld Expo next year or not. Listen live on KPFK, 90.7 FM in Los Angeles at 10 AM January 10th, 2009. Audio archive available here.
  478. Website of the Day
    If you have a Mac, you have a copy of Apple’s iCal calendar. It’s a nice little calendar, and it syncs with the iPhone, and there’s almost no reason not to use it. Especially when someone else types in the information! That’s where MarkThisDate comes in. MarkThisDate has zillions of calendars that are yours for the clicking-- they jump right into your iCal and you can easily turn them off by unchecking a checkbox, or delete them all at once with just a couple of clicks. By the way, the calendars are free.Here are a couple of handy calendars to get you started.NFL Playoff Schedule (updated as the playoffs progress)California Golden Bears Football Schedule (updated as games are added and changed)Moon PhasesNote: when you click those links you’ll be taken to iCal, where a box will appear asking you some questions about this new calendar that you are about to add. The key: tell the calendar to REFRESH every day (or at some other interval). You want it to refresh because you want updated information. For example, the NFL Playoff calendar as of this writing shows that San Diego beat Indianapolis in overtime, and that Arizona beat Atlanta. Very nice.
  479. iPhone idea of the Week
    So brilliantly simple, today’s idea is this: use your iPhone to take a picture of where your car is parked. When you return, have a look at the picture, and that’s that. It’s a huge help in those huge parking structures-- just get a photo showing “B45” or whatever the sign is next to your car, and when you come back for your car you’ll have a visual reminder. Happy New Year.
  480. Make mine Mint (dot com)
    Wow, what a cool website: www.mint.com.They call it “the best way to manage your money.” And it’s free.Anyone can sign up for a mint.com account. You then enter information about your financial accounts-- savings, checking, investments, credit cards. Do that, and at a glance you can see ALL of your financial information in one place. Better than that: you can see every transaction for every account, right there on the site. You can find every transaction that had to do with dining out, or gasoline, or presents for your uncle. Very handy. Download them if you want.Better than THAT: you can get reminders emailed or text messaged to remind you to pay your credit card bill, or to alert you that a large purchase was made, or to tell you that a deposit is now available. How handy.Better than THAT: you can download the Mint app for your iPhone and carry all this information around with you. It’s free. Here’s the link.cboyce says “Check it out.”
  481. 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 will want you to restart when it’s done. Do that, then run Disk Utility again, and repair permissions again. That’s it.(The updater is full of bug fixes, including some for Mail and iChat. You won’t notice much new but your machine will run better after the 10.5.6 update.)
  482. 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):
  483. Macworld Expo news
    Macworld Expo is still three weeks away and already there is plenty of news, and all of it’s bad. First, as you’ve surely heard by now, Apple CEO Steve Jobs will NOT be giving the keynote speech this time. That’s bad. Jobs’ keynotes have been a big part of Macworld Expo, often the best part.Second, Phil Schiller, Apple’s head of worldwide marketing, WILL be giving the keynote speech. That’s also bad. Schiller’s robotic spin-meister marketspeak is a sad contrast to Jobs’ genuine enthusiasm for Apple’s hardware and software and people. I hadn’t thought about Jobs’ predecessor Gil Amelio’s last keynote speech for awhile (it was horrible-- boring, and long, and delivered in a sleep-inducing way) and I hadn’t ever thought that anything could be worse... but I am thinking that maybe it might be this time. Phil, if you’re listening, here’s some friendly advice: when you give the talk, lay off the marketing hype. Just play it straight. The products are good enough.Third, Apple has already announced that they aren’t going to be part of Macworld 2010. I do not expect the show to survive beyond 2010. I completely understand what Apple is saying about how the whole notion of the trade show isn’t important in the Internet Age, and how they can now release information and introduce products on their own schedule instead of trying to come through every January with new and exciting stuff-- but understanding the reasons doesn’t mean I like the result. Macworld Expo gave people like me-- and people not at all like me-- the chance to meet face to face. And that was a good thing.
  484. AppShopper website
    Here’s a handy website for you iPhone users. It’s called “AppShopper.” With more than 10,000 iPhone applications available it’s getting harder and harder to find just the one you want via the iTunes Store. AppShopper makes it easy. Here’s a screen shot.
  485. Free AT&T WiFi for iPhones
    Maybe they got tired of hearing us complain about how slow the AT&T Edge network is and how 3G isn’t so much better. Regardless, AT&T is now providing free WiFi connections (many times faster than the Edge and 3G networks) in “thousands of hotspots nationwide” including airports, McDonald’s, and Starbucks. Click here for a map of AT&T’s hotspots. Click here for AT&T’s instructions on how to make the connection.
  486. 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: nothingOlder keyboards:F1: nothingF2: nothingF3: nothingF4: nothingF5: nothingF6: nothingF7: nothingF8: nothingF9: show all windows (Exposé)F10: show all windows for current application (Exposé)F11: show the DesktopF12: show Dashboard widgetsF13: nothingF14: make the screen dimmerF15: make the screen brighterIf the keys don’t do these things for you it’s probably because someone’s made some changes in your Keyboard preferences. Go to the Apple menu, then to System Preferences, then to Keyboard & Mouse, then to Keyboard Shortcuts. You’ll figure it out from there. Of course, if you don’t, you can always click here to send me an email.
  487. iPhone Goodies
    Sorry to have been gone so long. I had a million things to write about and couldn’t decide which one to do first. You might call it a “blogjam.” Today we have more in my short-yet-continuing series of Things I Like. Specifically, we have some iPhone applications. So here we go.1. i.TV It’s a TV guide on your iPhone. Incredible. Knows which services are in your area. Bring it with you when you visit Mom so you can know what’s on TV at her house. Free free free. 2. Gas Hound Shows you where the nearest cheapest gas is. Once again, it knows where you are... so it shows you gas prices at Stations Near You. Very handy, and free free free. 3. Plusmo College FootballEverything you want to know about college football, including schedules, up to the minute scores, realtime play-by-play, rankings, news, everything. If you like college football you will love this application. Free.4. 100 Words to Make You Sound SmartI don’t know if this thing will really help you sound smart but it’s worth a try. As far as I’m concerned, if you are fastidious about avoiding euphemisms and equivocating, sounding smart is a fait accompli. Pay attention to the definitions lest you commit an esoteric faux pas fiasco.(I think it’s working!)This one’s also free.
  488. 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, AND repair permissions before you install, AND be sure nothing is running when you do the install (hint: restart first, then do the Software Update), AND be sure that all external disks are disconnected. Personally, given all that, if you still want to do 10.5.5, I think you should have me do it. And use the 10.5.5 Combo Update (click this link to get it).
  489. iPhone 2.1 Software
    Thumbs UP to the iPhone 2.1 software. It’s working perfectly here.According to the documentation, the 2.1 update provides:1. Faster backing up of the iPhone2. Faster synching3. Faster Contacts browsing4. No more crashesOther than that, it doesn’t do anything. If you are on any other version of iPhone software starting with a 2, get this update. You won’t be sorry. If you are on a 1.0 version of the iPhone software, contact me and I’ll explain why you might want to upgrade.
  490. 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 like this (though not as big).Double-click it, and you get this:Click the “Open” button and you get this:Type in an equation (it starts with “y=”), hit Return, and voila! Your equation is graphed. Here’s one, a 2-D example:Here’s another, this time a 3-D example.Yes, that’s z=(1/6) * x*x + (1/6) * y * y. Very good.If you happen to be taking high school math-- you know who you are-- this will be incredibly useful.
  491. 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 of time.Exposé can be configured using the System Preferences (under the Apple menu). Click on the “Exposé and Spaces” button in 10.5 (“Dashboard & Exposé” in 10.4), then the Exposé button, and you’ll get something like this:See where it says “Show Desktop”? You can click there and choose the keyboard shortcut that you want to use to trigger the showing of The Desktop. On my Mac, it’s Shift-F3 (the arrow means “Shift”). When I press that combination of keys, everything scoots off the screen-- temporarily, revealing my Desktop. I can double-click an icon from there or do anything else I want. Another press of Shift-F3 will bring the windows back. Pretty handy.All you have to do is pick the key(s) you want to use as the trigger. It could be plain old F9. Or Shift-F10. Or just about anything you want. Hint: try holding down a modifier key (Command, Option, Shift, or Control) when you have that “Show Desktop” menu clicked. The menu will change to reflect what you’re holding down.Once you’ve chosen a key to show The Desktop, close up the preferences and try the key out. Fun, yes?Bonus Hint: Click and HOLD your “Show Desktop” key. The Desktop appears. Let go of the key and the windows come back. This saves you one keystroke if all you want to do is LOOK at your desktop. Think one little keystroke isn’t worth saving? One day, when your wrists are burning and your hands are falling off from overuse you’ll say “Dang it, he was right.” Save yourself some pain and say it now, before you get Carpal Tunnel Syndrome like everyone else.
  492. 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 like the “GameCast” feature, which shows a graphic of the field so you can see where the ball is, and a description of the last play. Here’s how it looks:You can open up a couple of “GameCast” windows and keep an eye on all of them at once. If you have a TV in the same room as your Mac you’re all set-- put one game on the TV, and watch the rest on the internet. When GameCast shows you that someone’s about to score, or that the game’s almost over but still very close, you’ll know about it in time to switch the TV to that game. Sort of the poor man’s “picture in a picture.”This works for the NFL too, of course. I just prefer watching the college games.
  493. iPhone, uPhone, we all scream at our iPhones
    Especially if we’ve installed the 2.0 software, which you can’t avoid if you bought a 3G iPhone. Basically, the software’s not ready, but we’re using it. And that leads to very bad behavior. I spent most of the weekend with my iPhone connected to my iMac, trying to get it iworking again. And still it’s not right. Let that be a lesson to you.Meanwhile, I can’t wait for the new iPhone 2.1 software, which supposedly solves all kinds of problems. I’d be happy if it just solves one: the one where one program crashes and from that point forward, NONE of your apps work. By the way, the backups that the iPhone does during synching aren’t very useful. Don’t think that they will save the day for you. Odds are that they are corrupt in some way. Mine were. So, when I wiped out my iPhone and “started over” I was putting bad stuff back onto the iPhone. Nice.Drop in on an Apple Store at the end of the day when the Geniuses are tired of trying to solve iPhone problems and you may get one of them to tell you something like “look, it doesn’t work right, we know it, and we want to see the new 2.1 software more than you do.” That’s what they told me tonight. I believe them.
  494. 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, and you can see what I’ve selected.Now we have two choices. One choice is to click and DRAG the document to the Mail icon in the Dock. When the Mail icon highlights, let go. Presto-- you’ll get a new document, with the attachment attached. The other choice requires less dragging. Leave the soon-to-be attachment where it is (still highlighted) and go to the Finder menu (next to the Apple menu), slide down to “Services,” choose “Mail” and then “Send File.” It’s really just one move-- takes less effort for you to do it than for me to tell you how.Believe it or not, I only “discovered” this second method TODAY. That Services menu has been around a few years, but it hasn’t been very useful... at least that’s what I thought. Now I think I am going to take a good look at Services and see whether I can “discover” something else cool.The key to these methods is you start with the attachment, not with Mail. Try it once or twice and you’ll be a convert.
  495. 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 your chance to influence the blog.You can use Preview to...combine two or more PDF documents.delete one or morepages from a PDF document.rotate one or all pages in a PDF document.crop one or more pages in a PDF document.mark up or otherwise highlight a PDF document.adjust color/brightness/shadows/etc. in a JPG document.adjust size and resolution in a JPG document.save documents as PDF, JPG, GIF, TIFF, PNG... and Photoshop format.Pretty neat. Try some of these things on your own. If you can’t figure out how to make them work, do what researchers at the Christian Boyce Center for Advanced Macintosh Studies do-- namely, “guess.” In Preview, your guess is likely to be right.That’s it for now. Vote for the features you want explained. We’ll follow up within a few days.
  496. 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 picture of the ENTIRE screen by holding down Command and Shift and 3. If the sound is up on your Mac you’ll hear a camera shutter sound, useful to those of you who have heard a camera with a shutter. The picture will be saved on your desktop with a name like “Picture 1.” From there, do anything you want with it-- open it, print it, email it.Take a picture of PART of the screen by holding down Command and Shift and 4. You’ll get a cross-hair cursor. Click and drag to highlight part of the screen, then let go. You’ll hear the shutter sound again, and there’ll be an icon with “Picture 1” (or 2, or 10) on the desktop, ready for you to work with.Bonus: do Command-Shift-4, then press the spacebar. Your cursor will look like a camera! Move it until it is over the window you want to take a picture of, then click the mouse. Presto: a PERFECT picture of that window, edge-to-edge. No trimming required.Double Bonus: do any of the above but also include the CONTROL key. When you do that, the picture is put onto the Clipboard, ready to be pasted into an email (or anywhere else). It does not save a copy on the desktop.So... next time you get a weird error message on your screen, do this: Command-Shift-CONTROL-4, then spacebar, then get your cursor over the error message, then click. Write me an email, and paste the picture in.It sounds complicated but after you’ve done it once or twice it becomes almost automatic. Sort of like breathing.
  497. 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 so:Any resemblance to Macintosh Consultants living or dead is a miracle, since this picture is from 1991.You can stretch things from the lower right corner. You can go full screen with the two-headed arrow. You can add this item to iPhoto via the icon at bottom right. Or you can press the spacebar again and make the thing go back to being an icon. (Or click the x in the circle, top left corner.)You can even double-click on the preview and open it up for real, if that’s what you want to do. This works with pictures, word processing documents, email messages, you name it. Even Excel documents. Amazing.BONUS: ever get an attachment in an email, and you don't have the right application to open it? QuickLook might open it. I've even seen QuickLook open files that are too damaged to open, even when you have the right app. This is very powerful stuff.
  498. Uncle Steve says “We’ll fix it”
    I hear that Steve Jobs sent “someone” an email saying he knows about the iPhone problem reported here-- the one where all applications (except the default Apple ones) open for two seconds and then slam shut. He says the problem will be fixed in September, via a Software Update. Yahoo!
  499. New iPhone Software! Yahoo!
    Apple put out iPhone software 2.0.2 last evening. I of course installed it, and I of course am still having problems. If you were hoping (as I was) that everything would be fixed the next time Apple put out new iPhone software, you will be disappointed.Apple doesn’t say much about this release. All they will tell us is “bug fixes.” That’s nice. They didn’t fix the bugs I care the most about, though. On the other hand, it’s free.And it’s easy to get. Connect your iPhone to your Mac with the USB cable and when iTunes comes up you can check for updates right there. It took a few hours here-- more than an hour to back up my iPhone, then some more time to put the new software on, then a lot more time after that to put my old stuff back on. And it got stuck restarting-- that went most of the night, until the battery died. So then I had to do the “restore” which took another couple of hours. Not sure what I got for my 18 hour effort but at least things are no worse than they were before. I think.If you have an older iPhone I wouldn’t do the update. If you have a newer one I would, because (despite Apple’s secrecy) I think the improvements have to do with the 3G reception, which doesn’t do anything for the older, non-3G models. Just be sure you have plenty of time.
  500. Living in a Modern World
    In the olden days, you watched the Olympics on TV and you only got to see what they wanted you to see, when they wanted you to see it. If you were away from the TV you didn’t get to see it. Life was hard.But NOW, you can watch the Olympics on your computer, and see what YOU want to see, when YOU want to see it. Provided that the event isn’t in the future. All you have to do is click this link. You’ll need the “Silverlight” plug-in from Microsoft, and if you don’t have it, you’ll get the chance to download it for free. Remember to install it after you download it. I’m watching Poland vs. Germany in women’s team Table Tennis right now (LIVE). Smooth video, and NO ANNOUNCERS! It’s like being there (I think). You can also watch archived stuff, such as the men’s swimming relay race that was so sensational a couple of nights back. So give it a whirl and take advantage of this modern world we live in.
  501. My iPhone Adventure
    When YOU have Apple troubles, you call me. When I have Apple troubles, I call... actually, I call me too. At the moment, I am trying to figure out what makes the iPhone crash, and more importantly, how to make it work again. The kinds of crashes I’m talking about are the ones where an application opens part way, then dumps you back at the Home screen, and then NO applications work except for the original ones from Apple.Here’s what DOESN’T make it work again:Turning it off and on again via the top button (holding down until you see “Slide to turn off,” then sliding, then turning it on again). Problem is still there. Force-restarting (holding the Home button, then pressing the top button until the iPhone restarts by itself). Problem is still there. Deleting the last program you installed. Problem is still there.Installing the 2.0.1 iPhone update doesn’t do it either.Here’s what DOES make it work again:Restoring via the “Restore” button in iTunes. It works, but it takes HOURS. First it backs up your iPhone, then it re-downloads and reinstalls the latest iPhone software, then it asks you whether you want to put all your stuff back on (and you’d think you’d be putting the problem back on too, but go ahead and do it), and then, when you say yes, you wait another hour or so while it finishes. Not the sort of thing you do between planes in the Phoenix airport. Though I’ve tried.Research continues on this. It appears that the problem is in the iPhone’s software, not in the applications we add, because with a fresh install of the iPhone’s software the applications work fine. For a while. The question is, what’s causing the corruption?The next question is, how can we recover from corrupt iPhone software in a few minutes instead of a few hours?
  502. Stuff I Like
    Here’s something that I really like: anti-glare film from Power Support. The film is exactly the right size for whatever it is you want to cover-- in my case, my iPhone and my MacBook. The glare on my MacBook screen, especially, was a constant irritation-- but not any more! Wow, does this stuff work. Took me two tries to get the bubbles out on the iPhone’s film but I did the MacBook right the first time. It even feels good to the tapping/sliding finger on the iPhone. I think it’s a little more slippery than the original glass. A bonus.I wish they had it for the new iMacs but so far, they don’t. Bummer. But that doesn’t make the stuff that they DO have any less good.You can get Power Support film via Amazon.com* (they changed their name to Tru Protection-- same people, same great films).
  503. iPhone software 2.0.1, part 2
    The good news: iPhone software 2.0.1 didn’t make anything worse. The bad news: applications still crash the iPhone, and once you’ve crashed with one application you can’t open any of the others- just like before. Turning off the iPhone and turning it back on doesn’t solve the problem- also just like before. I’m working here to figure out what WILL solve the problem. It would appear easier to figure out how to run a car on coffee grounds.So, go ahead and do the 2.0.1 update, but don’t expect miracles. If I get an answer for the crashing, or for how to run a car on coffee grounds, I will let you know.
  504. iPhone software 2.0.1
    It’s here! They say it fixes some bugs. We’ll see.Do yourself a favor and wait until I’ve tried it and given it a thumbs-up. Look for info here within 24 hours.
  505. eBay on the iPhone
    If you’re an eBayer, having eBay on your iPhone is about the handiest thing ever. Here’s what it looks like on the iPhone.Click this link and get it.
  506. 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 document some other way.Of course you could do this by clicking the Spotlight magnifying glass at the top right of your screen, but Command-Spacebar is faster. By far.Bonus cool thing: do a Spotlight search, then use arrow keys to run down (or back up) to the matching item you want, and then hit Enter. The item pops right up, whether it’s a Word document, an email, or a calendar item. Now that’s handy.Try it.
  507. Big Wednesday
    Wednesday July 30th, 2008 was www.christianboyce.com’s biggest day ever in terms of “site visits.” We had 50, which means that someone came to the site 50 times. Now, that could be ME going to the site, closing my browser, coming back a little later, etc., 50 times... but it wasn’t. I like to think it was Steve Jobs, Mom, my nephew, and 47 of YOU. So “thanks.”The Boyce Blog page was the most-requested page on the site, even more than the home page. Which means that people are coming straight to the Blog without going through the home page. Interesting. Today (actually, Wednesday) 50, tomorrow 100. Tell a friend. Let’s do it.
  508. iPhone Improvement of the Day
    The iPhone lets you program the Home button so that a double-click takes you either to the Home screen, to your favorite phone numbers, or to the iPod application. The first choice is simply what a single click does, so that’s not really “a choice” at all. The other two are OK, but wouldn’t it be better if the choices included...go to SETTINGS (which means I could set the brightness in a hurry)go to the program you were using before this onego to the FIRST page of the Home screenThat last choice needs some explanation. “Going to the Home screen” is a bad way to put things, because for almost all of us, the Home screen is really several screens. As it stands, when you press “Home” you go back to the page of the Home screen(s) that you were most recently on. I guess that’s good, but it’s not nearly as good as my idea(s).Keep your fingers crossed for the iPhone 2.1 software. If it includes ANY of the things I’ve written about here it will be a big improvement.
  509. I Thought I Was Going Nuts
    All this week I’ve been showing people my iPhone and how to do cool stuff with the applications that I’ve downloaded. And all this week I’ve had trouble finding the applications. None of them seemed to be where I thought they were. I wasn’t sure, but it seemed to me that they moved overnight. (And that’s a real drag, considering how hard it is to arrange the apps in an order that I like.)The first time this happened, I thought “I need more sleep, I’m forgetting where I put things.” The next time it happened (Tuesday) I thought the same thing. Eventually, I started to consider another possiblity: my nightly synching of iPhone and iMac was messing things up.Show of Hands: if your iPhone applications are moving around, is the correct answer....They aren’t moving around, you’re just losing your mindThey are moving around, and Apple’s doing it behind your backHow many picked “a”? Frankly, that was my guess too. But last night, I saw my iPhone applications move around with my own eyes. And now I know how it happens.Let’s say you have an iPhone program on the first screen, and let’s say you have five other screens. You would rightly expect to find those “first screen” programs on the first screen forever, or at least until you moved them yourself. But that’s not how it works! When you get updates for a program on the first screen, and you do it by tapping the “App Store” button (on the iPhone) and then the “Updates” button, the programs that you update go to the last page of your iPhone. The last page! It’s insane. And an outrage. Given that (a) we can’t sort programs by name or date (or by anything else), and that (b) moving them around is a giant pain, you would think (c) that Apple wouldn’t be moving our apps (and not telling us about it either). But move them around they are-- just another in a growing list of “features” in the iPhone that are very, very non-Apple.
  510. 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 folder.Step Three: open up the Applications folder and open up Spark. You’ll see something like this (without the shortcuts yet):Step Four: click the little gear at top left, hold it down, and slide down to “Application.” Now you get another box:All you need to do is fill in the box. Click where it says “click to edit” and then press the “trigger” key. Click where it says “Choose...” and choose a program to open. “Calculator” is a nice one-- why not make Calculator be F5? Try it-- there’s really nothing like getting your hands a little dirty. From that point on, your key will work-- forever, for free. Pretty neat.If you have trouble, send me an email.
  511. 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 Sleep button... or just type “s.” Want to restart instead? Type “r.” If you change your mind about shutting down/sleeping/restarting you can click the Cancel button... or, better yet, press the “Esc” key. Pretty darned neat. Once you get the hang of it, you can do Control-Eject and then Enter lickety split, faster than anyone can choose “Shut Down” with the mouse.I “discovered” this tip accidentally. I was trying to eject a CD, and when I pressed Eject I got the “Are you sure you want to shut down your computer now?” box. I was surprised to see that box, so I cancelled and tried again-- with the same result! I kept pressing Eject and I kept getting the box asking me whether I really wanted to shut down. I was mystified. Mystified, that is, until I realized that Charlie the Cat, who I thought was sitting beside the keyboard, was really sitting on it-- more precisely, on the Control key, way off at the bottom left corner of the keyboard. When Charlie moved, the Eject key did what it used to do (Eject things). And that’s when I figured it out.Anyhow, Charlie the Cat gets credit for this one. She’s not much of a typist so this is really a team effort.
  512. Groovy new search engine
    There’s a new search engine-- www.cuil.com. It’s really cool. In fact, that’s how you pronounce it. Give it a whirl.UPDATE: they're out of business.
  513. And Another Thing
    Speaking of making big improvements to the iPhone via some VERY simple changes: wouldn’t it be cool if you could scroll past the last page of your iPhone apps, and have it wrap around to the beginning? Currently, going from page 1 to page 7 takes six swipes to the left, and from page 7 to page 1 take six swipes to the right. If you could “wrap around” you’d be able to do either in ONE swipe. Probably too late to get a patent on the “wrap around” idea but when you see it on your iPhone just remember you heard it here first.
  514. If I Were King
    Why can’t I be in charge for just a few minutes? I know everything would be better for everyone. Here’s what I’d do to improve the iPhone (and I’ll bet it could be done in a day):1. Provide the OPTION to sort applications by name. Or by date downloaded. A to Z, or Z to A, newest in front, or newest in back. User’s choice.2. Provide an EASIER way to access the settings. On my iPhone, the settings are on page 1. So, if I’m using a program on page 7, as I was last night, and while I’m using that program I decide to adjust the brightness of the screen, the process goes like this:Press the Home buttonSwipe right (moving one page closer to the front)Swipe right again (another page closer)Swipe right again (another page closer)Swipe right again (another page closer)Swipe right again (another page closer)Swipe right again (another page closer)Tap SettingsTap BrightnessSlide to adjust the brightnessPress the Home buttonSwipe LEFT (trying to get back to where I was)Swipe left (getting closer)Swipe left (getting closer)Swipe left (getting closer)Swipe left (getting closer)Swipe left (getting closer)Tap the program I was usingXVIII steps! That’s about XV too many. By the time I’ve done all that, I’ve forgotten what I was doing. At least I got the brightness adjusted. You can bet I don’t do it very often.3. Provide a QUICK way to get back to recently-used programs. That would help with the problem in #2 above. Scrolling through multiple pages, back and forth, gets old the first day.4. Provide a QUICK way to move a program from page 7 to page 1. When everything was on one screen, as it was when the iPhone first came out, dragging an icon to place was easy. When you have to jump past six or seven pages to get where you’re going, it’s not easy at all. I end up doing the old “15 puzzle” trick, where you stash something down in the bottom of the screen and then pick it up later from another page. The iPhone interface is only a year old but it’s creaking already. It worked at first, but in the new “App Store” world it needs some changes. If you happen to talk with Steve Jobs, mention this post. Thank you.
  515. 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 folders onto your desktop, and to toss zillions of items into those folders, because when the Finder looks at the desktop it will only “see” the folders (not what’s inside).
  516. iPhone Stuff I Like
    If you have an iPhone, even an old one, you surely know that (as of July 11th) there are gobs of new programs that you can add to an iPhone to make it do cool stuff. Being a “cool stuff” person, and also a “I would rather not pay for something if I don’t have to” person, I have tried just about every FREE iPhone application, and I’m here to tell you what I like. So here we go. Remember, they’re all FREE. RemoteLets you drive your iTunes library through the air, using your iPhone. Which means you can change songs, adjust volume, or just plain turn it off, all from your iPhone. You’ll need an Airport network, and it’s most effective when the music is being piped from your computer to a set of speakers far from the computer (otherwise, you’d just adjust things on the computer, right?). AIM (AOL Instant Messenger)It has your buddy list and everything, just like iChat. And it doesn’t count against your SMS limit, if you have one. Don’t know what an SMS limit is? Send me an email and I’ll tell you. Cube RunnerIt’s a game, of all things. A game where you fly around through a world of cubes. You try to avoid smashing into the cubes, and you do it by tipping the iPhone this way and that. Amazingly fun. Movies.appSpecify a zip code and they’ll tell you which movies are playing, and where, and when. You can even buy tickets. Just what you need, assuming you need to go to the movies. ShazamHold your iPhone up to the radio and Shazam tells you the name of the song, and the artist. A couple of taps later you’re buying the song from iTunes. Incredible. UrbanspoonHelps you pick a restaurant. Like a slot machine, with one wheel being cities, one wheel being the kind of food, and one wheel being how much money you want to spend. Shake the iPhone to spin the wheels. When the wheels stop you’ll see a restaurant name, and when you tap the name you’ll get reviews and a map. Neat.
  517. Blogging His Way to Millions
    I’ve been hearing (from everyone) that the guy who runs Mac Rumors has quit his doctoring job and is now supporting himself via his daily blogging. Incredible. The key, of course, is traffic-- you need to have lots of people coming to your site so you can get advertisers interested in paying you to display their ads. The more traffic you get, the more money you get. Pretty simple equation.We don’t have a lot of traffic. Not yet. But we can dream. Tell a friend to check out my blog. Tell him to sign up for my mailing list. Who knows, one day you may be saying “I knew him when.”In the meantime, our advertising rates are going to be “among the most competive in their class.” Whatever that means.
  518. 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 themTurn OFF “Automatically hide and show the Dock.” It’s easier to hit a target when you can see it. Plus, when your friendly neighborhood computer consultant comes over (ahem) he won’t have to mouse around the perimeter of your screen like a fool, trying to make the Dock appear.Position the Dock on the RIGHT. You ALWAYS have room to the right, and you ALWAYS run out of room at the bottom. So use what you have an excess of. (Positioning on the LEFT seems like a good idea until a window opens up and to the left... under the Dock... leaving you unable to click the close box.)Set the Size to LARGE. The Dock will adjust the icons to make them fit. Why squint if you don’t have to?Special Note to Friends of CBoyce (“FoCB”): it’s OK with me if you do things your own way as long as you try it my way first.
  519. More iPhone stuff
    I hate to say that I’m disappointed in the new iPhone, but I’m disappointed in the new iPhone. And in the new 2.0 software. The new phone just isn’t very much better than the old one. If you don’t have an iPhone at all, I say go get one. But if you have one of the original models, I say don’t bother with the new one.My original-model iPhone, with the 2.0 software, locks up at least once each day. It never used to. And, the synching takes forever, and when you delete something from the iPhone it mysteriously reappears when you sync, AND when you get a notification on the iPhone that there are software updates, iTunes won’t know anything about it. This is a GREAT time to be sitting on the sidelines watching it all play out. I am sure that in a few weeks all will be well, but I can tell you that it ain’t well now. Listen to the Voice of Experience.
  520. 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 and you’ll do the search again. There’s also a “Clear Recent Searches...” option, in case you want to cover your tracks.Double-Bonus Tip: try holding the Control key down and clicking on ANY word on a web page. A little menu appears, and one of the options is “Search in Google.” Which means that you can do a Google search without typing anything! Incredible.
  521. iPhone 3G
    I don’t have one yet. Based on what I’ve read, I don’t really need one. The 3G network is nicely fast, when you can get it to work. I’ve read about a lot of people being surprised (disappointed) that 3G doesn’t seem to be in effect in their area even though AT&T’s map says it is. I don’t need that.I know it’s “only” $200, but I’d still have to go to the store to get it, AND the service plan costs more ($10 more) per month. If I didn’t have an iPhone already I’d run out and get the 3G right now. But since I already have one... I’m in no hurry. The old one, once upgraded to the 2.0 software, is just as capable.Advice: watch for used first-edition iPhones on eBay etc. I would guess that you could get one for $100.
  522. iPhone 2.0 software
    Well, it’s here: the new 2.0 software for the iPhone. It comes installed on the new iPhone 3G, but it can be downloaded for free and installed on ANY iPhone. So I did it. You should too.You get a couple of improvements:1. It’s easier to delete a bunch of emails now.2. Your iPhone now synchronizes through the air, so when you make a change to your iCal or Address Book it shows up on your iPhone without you having to connect with a cord3. You get access to the new Apple iPhone Application Store, available through iTunes. Which means you can add programs to your iPhone without having to hack it.My favorite free applications: a reader for the New York Times, and the Mobile News reader (which can be customized to show news stories for your favorite locations). I also like the talking Spanish-English phrase book from lastminute.com, and AOL’s AIM (instant messenger) which knows your buddy list and saves you money because the text messages you send do not count as “SMS” messages, which you pay for through AT&T.Would you believe that there is still no copy and paste, that it still takes three taps to get to the brightness adjustment (and then two more, at least, to get back to where you were), and that there’s no voice-dialing? Not good. But what you get, you get for free, so I say get it.
  523. 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 Saver)and tell it you NEVER want the computer to sleep. Do what you want with the SCREEN sleeping (this will turn the screen black-- in between, you’ll see the Screen SAVER, which is a different affair altogether), but DON’T set screen sleeping to Never. You don’t want the screen to show the same picture forever because it’s hard on the screen.
  524. 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.
  525. 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 can have the calendar without doing the work: just click the link below.webcal://ical.mac.com/christianboyce/NFL%20Primetime%202008.ics
  526. iPhone 3G musings
    You probably know that Apple is coming out with a new iPhone, the “iPhone 3G,” this Friday. It looks like the original iPhone. It’s actually a little thicker. It costs less to buy, but the service costs more. What’s a guy with an original iPhone to do?Here’s what I’m going to do. 1. Download the FREE iPhone 2.0 software update on Friday July 10th. That will give my “old” iPhone new capabilities, and I’d tell you all about them here except that I don’t know what they are. Wait until Friday.2. Fool around with the old iPhone and the new software. Maybe buy some stuff from Apple’s new “iPhone App” store, online, available via iTunes.3. Wait for the lines to go away at the Apple store, then get the iPhone 3G.4. Give “old” iPhone to nephew Spencer, assuming I can squeeze a few buckos out of his parents. The thing cost me $599, remember.
  527. 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.
  528. 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.


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