Sunday, April 30, 2017

Build Relationships in iOS with Siri - Call your Mother

When giving commands to Siri, you can refer to people by relationship, rather than name. So, if you want to call your mother on your iPhone, you can say “call my mother” instead of something like “call Natasha Jauch-Hoechstetter.” But to do this, you need to introduce Siri to your family. 

First, make sure you have a “card” in the Contacts app for yourself, and then go into Settings > Contacts, scroll down to find and tap My Info, and select your card so Siri knows who you are. Next, make sure you have a contact card for your mother, and then tell Siri, “Natasha Jauch-Hoechstetter is my mother.” Or, if Siri doesn’t hear you correctly, open Contacts, open your card (not your mother’s!), tap Edit, scroll down, tap “add related name,” tap the default relationship to pick “mother,” tap the info “i” icon, select your mother’s card, and tap Done.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Why You Shouldn’t (Usually) Quit Apps on Your iPhone

On the Mac, when you’re done with an app you quit it. Many people think the same is true on the iPhone, where you can double-press the Home button to access the App Switcher and then swipe up on an app to quit it. But just because you can do it doesn’t mean you should. Worse, contrary to what some people believe, quitting iPhone apps will likely hurt battery life.

iOS thinks differently about how apps run. When you’re using an app—say, Safari—it’s accessing the iPhone’s CPU and radios and thus using battery power. However, a few seconds after you press the Home button to return to the Home screen or lock the screen by pressing the Sleep/Wake button, iOS puts the app into a state of suspended animation. In that state, it’s not using CPU or battery power, but it does remain resident in memory, which turns out to be important.

Imagine that you next open Notes, which becomes the active app and starts consuming CPU, memory, and battery resources. Tap a Web link in a note, and iOS activates Safari and suspends Notes. Because Safari was suspended and thus is still in memory, it’s faster and easier for iOS to activate it than to launch it from scratch. 

As you continue switching among apps, there won’t be enough memory for each app to remain suspended, so iOS quits apps to free up enough memory. There’s no way to know when iOS has done this; it’s invisible to the user. If you try to help iOS by quitting apps manually, you’ll force it to waste more resources later when those apps have to be launched afresh. You can get a sense of this by swiping far to the right in the App Switcher; it probably lists many more apps than you’d expect. That’s not a list of running apps; it’s a list of previously used apps.

So, 98% of the time, there’s nothing to gain and some speed and battery life to lose by quitting apps. But there are two legitimate reasons to quit apps: to restart a frozen or confused app, or to prevent certain background apps from using power unnecessarily.

Although it’s unusual for iOS apps to freeze or misbehave, it can happen, so if an app isn’t responding, or if it’s acting weirdly, quit it. That usually solves the problem; if it doesn’t, restart, or you might need to download an update or delete the app and reinstall it from the App Store.

iOS allows some apps to run in the background instead of being suspended. For instance, if you use Maps, you want it to keep tracking your location and providing turn-by-turn navigation even if you’re using Podcasts. Similarly, iOS allows some apps, like Skype, to listen for incoming calls in the background. There are a few other categories of allowed background apps—audio apps like Podcasts, for instance—but in all cases, if you’re trying to preserve as much battery life as possible, consider quitting background apps whose services you don’t need. For example, if you park before arriving at your destination, you might quit Maps to ensure that it doesn’t continue to track your location. And if missing an incoming call is less important than saving some battery power, quit Skype.

But these are infrequent exceptions to the rule. Most of the time, quitting apps is a waste of both your time and your iPhone’s battery.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Mute Audio-playing Tabs in Safari

Do Web sites that auto-play ads or videos drive you crazy? Especially when you reopen Safari and several of them in remembered tabs start playing simultaneously? Since OS X 10.11 El Capitan, Safari can put an end to that cacophony on your Mac. Whenever audio is playing in a tab, an audio icon appears next to the name of the tab and at the right of Safari’s Smart Search field. Click either one to mute the tab. If you’ve ended up with multiple tabs playing, you can mute all those except the current tab by Option-clicking either of those audio icons. And, finally, click and hold the audio icon in the Smart Search field for a menu with Mute and Unmute commands, and a list of all tabs that contain audio.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Use Your iPhone as a Personal Wi-Fi Hotspot for Your Mac or iPad

You’re on a trip, accompanied by your trusty iPhone and MacBook Air. Suddenly there’s an emergency at work, and you need to get online with your Mac. You can pick up a cell signal with the iPhone, but there’s no Wi-Fi to be found—what do you do?

Never fear, since you can use your iPhone’s cellular data plan to create a personal Wi-Fi hotspot that lets your Mac access the Internet through your iPhone. Also called “tethering,” it’s fast, easy, and can be a life-saver when you just have to get online with a Mac (or a Wi-Fi–only iPad).

First, note that most, but not all, cellular carriers allow tethering on existing plans. For some, you might have to pay more for tethering. Regardless, any data consumed by your Mac while tethered will count against your data allowance and may generate overage fees. Carriers with “unlimited” data often limit the amount of data you can use via tethering or throttle your bandwidth to slower speeds if you use too much data.

Along those lines, if you use a file-sharing service like  Dropbox or Google Drive, or an Internet backup service like CrashPlan or Backblaze, turn them off before connecting. Particularly if they haven’t checked in for some time, those services can transfer a lot of data quickly, which could result in a hefty overage charge or awkward data throttling for the rest of the month.

With those warnings out of the way, follow these steps to turn on Personal Hotspot:
  1. On your iPhone, if you’ve never enabled the feature before, go to Settings > Cellular > Personal Hotspot. Once you’ve turned Personal Hotspot on once, it moves up a level so you can access it from Settings > Personal Hotspot.
  2. Tap Wi-Fi Password and enter a password that’s at least 8 characters long and easy to type. It doesn’t need to be super secure because you can keep Personal Hotspot turned off unless you’re using it. But you do want a password so random people nearby can’t connect and use your data.
  3. Once you’ve entered a password, enable the Personal Hotspot switch.
That’s it! The Personal Hotspot screen provides basic instructions for connecting to the iPhone via Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and USB. Stick with Wi-Fi, since it’s the easiest and most reliable in most cases.
  1. On your Mac, click the Wi-Fi icon in the menu bar and choose your iPhone’s name.
  2. Enter your password when prompted, making sure to select “Remember this network.” That way, you won’t have to enter your password the next time.

  3. The Mac then connects to your iPhone, showing a hotspot icon instead of the usual wave icon for the Wi-Fi menu.

Could it get any simpler? When you’re done, the safest thing to do, to ensure you don’t accidentally end up using too much of your data allowance, is to turn off the Personal Hotspot switch on your iPhone in Settings > Personal Hotspot. Your Mac will automatically disconnect.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Apple makes iLife and iWork apps free! - How to get older versions for your older devices!

Not only did Apple update the apps, but today changed the pricing for its iLife and iWork apps to free! This applies to both the iOS and MacOS versions of the apps.

iMovie for Mac was priced at $14.99 and GarageBand for Mac for $4.99. Pages, Keynote, and Numbers for Mac each were priced at $19.99 for new customers on older hardware. The apps came preinstalled on brand new computers, but if you purchased a used computer or wiped the hard drive without registering the apps before hand, you had to purchase the apps at full price to use them. That is a savings of over $49 for MacOS users.

For iOS users both iMovie and GarageBand were $4.99 each if you were using iOS devices not purchased in the last few years. Pages, Keynote, and Numbers for iOS each cost $9.99 for new customers on older hardware. That is a savings of over $39 for iOS users

The trick to getting the new free apps for your older devices is this. First download the new version of the app on your up to date current iOS or MacOS device. Then on your older device hop on over to the app store and search for the app (Or click the links below). When the older device goes to download the newer version of the app, you will be prompted to download the older appropriate version for your device.

Here are direct download links to all the apps:



Monday, April 17, 2017

Find My Phone nabs Coachella thief holding over 100 stolen phones!

I can not stress enough, the value of locking your iPhone and turning on Find My Phone with iCloud. Not only can it stop a thief from getting into your phone, but from wiping it and reselling it too. Its also helped people get reunited with lost or stolen phones. Well this weekend, Find My Phone also helped nab a pickpocket thief with over 100 stolen phones in his backpack.

After noticing their phones missing, a number of concert goers activated "Find My Phone" to track their missing devices. The victims then worked with security to detain the individual that apparently was in possession of their phones. Once Indio Police apprehended Reinaldo De Jesus Henao, 36, of New York, he was found to have more than 100 stolen phones in his backpack. He was then booked suspicion of grand theft and possession of stolen property.

Many concert goers were reunited with their phones, but some were still unclaimed. If you know of anyone missing their phone from Coachella this last weekend, direct them to the Coachella online lost and found.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Build Travel Time into Your Calendar Alerts

Build Travel Time into Your Calendar Alerts

We’ve all done it. You swing into a meeting late, and as everyone looks up at you accusingly, you mutter, “Sorry. Traffic was terrible.” Maybe it was, but if you’d left at the right time for the traffic conditions, you could have arrived on time. Happily, the Calendar apps in both macOS and iOS can build travel time into event alerts so you can leave at the right time. There’s a bit of setup, but once you form the habit of attaching locations to your events, you’ll get a reputation for punctuality.

First, if you’re working on an iOS device, make sure Calendar can access your location by going to Settings > Privacy > Location Services > Calendar and selecting While Using the App.
Next, you need to make sure the Time to Leave option is turned on. On the Mac, choose Calendar > Preferences > Alerts and select the Time to Leave checkbox. In iOS, go to Settings > Calendar > Default Alert Times and enable Time to Leave.

Now follow these steps:
  1. Create a new event, and enter a title and the start time. Travel time doesn’t work with all-day events.
  2. In the Location field, start typing your destination’s name or address. You must be able to reach the destination within 3 hours to receive alerts about when to leave. 
    Calendar is smart about this, offering matches from your contacts, from recently visited places, and then from place names and addresses near you. So you could type a friend’s name and pick their card from Contacts, or a place name like “Tompkins County Public Library,” or even a specific address, like “806 State Street.”

  3. Regardless, after typing a partial name or address, you must pick one of Calendar’s suggestions so it knows the exact location of your destination.
  4. The next step is a bit different between the Mac and iOS:
    • On the Mac, in the Travel Time pop-up menu (click once to reveal it), choose the automatically generated travel time for driving or walking, or, if your city is supported, public transit. You can’t change your starting location, which is based on the location of events in the previous 3 hours (it assumes you’re there!), your work address during work hours, your home address during off hours, or your computer’s location if all else fails. (The addresses come from the card in the Contacts app that is open when you choose Card > Make This My Card.)
    • In iOS, tap Travel Time and in the Travel Time screen, enable the Travel Time switch. A starting location may be picked for you, based on your current location and time of day, or based on a previous event, but you can always tap Starting Location and pick a different spot. Then tap a travel time based on location for walking, driving, or transit, which will reflect both your starting and ending locations, plus the traffic conditions.

  5. Now it’s time to back out of the Travel Time screen and set alerts based on the travel time, which may take traffic conditions into account. By default, setting travel time creates an alert for Time to Leave, although you may wish to set a second alert that gives you a few minutes to get ready beforehand.

That’s it, but with one important bonus. When you see the alert on an iPhone 6s or later, you can 3D Touch the alert to open a preview that has a link for directions; tap Directions to view the travel directions in the Maps app. If your iPhone doesn’t support 3D Touch, tap the alert to open the event in Calendar, after which you can tap the map preview to open the location in Maps.

Once you get the hang of setting up the events, getting alerts that are sensitive to travel time and include directions is like living in the future!

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Use Styles to Be Nice to Future You.

Use Styles to Be Nice to Future You

You’ve been asked to create a document for work. Perhaps it’s a report, a form, or even a brochure. And it doesn’t matter whether you’re using Microsoft Word, Adobe InDesign, Apple’s Pages, or even Google Docs. The best thing you can do to be nice to Future You is to take a few extra minutes to use named styles.

Future You? That’s right, imagine what’s going to happen next week, when your colleagues or your boss or your board of directors sees your document and says, “That’s great, but could you add this?” Or perhaps, “We love what you’ve written, but the text is too small—can you make it larger?” Sure, it’s no problem to make the change once, but what if there’s another change, and then another, and then another group wants something else. Before long, Future You has spent way too much time getting all that new text to fit, trying different fonts, and fussing with the document.

Here’s the solution: named styles. We’re not talking about simple text styles like bold and italic, but styles that define how different types of content are formatted, things like Heading, Subhead, and Body. Many apps include a full set of default named styles whose visual style you can modify, and if you want something specific, like Sidebar Caption, you can create your own named style for that.
The beauty of named styles is that once you’ve assigned the Subhead style to all the subheads in your document, for instance, you can tweak the look of all those subheads simultaneously with a change to the style. Plus, some apps like Word and Google Docs can even make an outline of your document if you use their heading styles.

Details vary by app, of course, but every notable word processor and page layout program supports named styles of various types. The most common are “paragraph styles,” which apply at the paragraph level and are good for adjusting details like the amount of white space after each paragraph. “Character styles” work down to the level of a single character, and are useful for things like warning text, so if your supervisor decides that should be not just bold but also red, you can change every instance in seconds.

Fancier programs even have “table styles” so you can format table headers and table bodies consistently throughout a long report, and layout programs may have “object styles” that let you specify that all the graphics should have a 3 point thick chartreuse line around them, and then change that to a 1 point black line after your graphic designer complains.

I'll make no bones about it—setting up styles takes a little time and thought when you’re getting started with a document, but that effort will pay off big time in the long run. Styles are your friend, and if you’re not using them now, you owe it to Future You to give them a try.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Drone flyover shows Apple Spaceship Campus almost complete

A new drone flyover by Matthew Roberts, shows that the new Apple Park campus is almost complete. Employees will start moving in this month, however it will take almost six months to move in the complete 12,000 employees that will call Apple Park home.

The R & D facility is almost ready for staff. Tables and chairs can be seen through the windows. Landscaping is moving along at a furious pace, though much is still to be done. It will probably continue for months and work on the pond is just beginning.

Most of the solar panels appear to be in place, and the Parking structure known as Lantau Avenue appears to be ready for cars.

Take a look at the video for yourself.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Use Quick Look to Peek inside Files and Folders on Your Mac

Use Quick Look to Peek inside Files and Folders on Your Mac

Finder icons sometimes hint at their file’s contents, but if you find yourself opening file after file to look at the contents quickly, the Mac has a little-known feature just for you: Quick Look. To give it a spin, find a file in the Finder, click it once to select it, and press the Space bar. Its that simple. If it’s a supported type of file, Quick Look displays a window showing the contents of the file. Press the Space bar again to close the window.


If the document you’re previewing has multiple pages, you’ll see thumbnails that you can scroll through using your mouse or trackpad, or by pressing the Page Up/Page Down keys. But you aren’t limited to just viewing a file: click the Open With button to open the file in its default app, or click the Share button in the upper right to send the file to someone else via email, Messages, or another sharing service.
If you need to scan through a set of files in a folder, you can navigate between them using the arrow keys while the Quick Look window remains open—how you move among the files depends on the Finder window’s view. In List view, for instance, using the Up and Down arrow keys can be a great way to browse through a collection of pictures. You can even interact with the Finder while using Quick Look, which means you can delete an unwanted photo by pressing Command-Delete while previewing it.
Quick Look works well for comparing multiple similar files. Select a bunch of files and press the Space bar to open them all in Quick Look. The Left and Right arrow keys let you cycle through your selection; there are also Forward and Back buttons that appear near the top left of the Quick Look window. Next to those buttons is a Thumbnail button that displays the selected files in a grid—click any thumbnail to focus on just that item. To remove the distraction of your Desktop, click the Zoom button in a Quick Look window. You can start a slideshow from there. Another way to get to a zoomed Quick Look window is to select the files in the Finder and then press Option-Space.


So what file types does Quick Look work with? Not everything, but out of the box, Quick Look supports text files, RTF files, HTML files, images, audio, video, PDFs, iWork documents, Microsoft Office files, and even fonts. Third-party apps can extend Quick Look to support proprietary formats, too, and developers have even released independent Quick Look generators, as they’re called. If you want to look inside Zip archives and other compressed files, check out BetterZip, for instance, and if you write in the Markdown formatting language a lot, QLMarkdown is worth installing.


Although it’s used mostly in the Finder, Quick Look is available elsewhere. For example, if you’re in an  Open dialog, you can select a file and press the Space bar to preview it right there. When restoring a file in Time Machine, use Quick Look to see if it’s the version you want. Most Internet file transfer apps, such as Cyberduck, Fetch, and Transmit, support Quick Look, making it easy to preview a file on a remote FTP server. You can also preview an attachment in Messages by selecting it and pressing the Space bar.
Finally, note that if your Mac has a newer Apple trackpad, such as the Magic Trackpad 2, you can invoke Quick Look by force-touching a Finder icon (press deeply until you feel a click) instead of pressing the Space bar.
Quick Look takes just a moment to learn, but it can save you hours of time poring through files on your Mac!

Saturday, April 1, 2017

RIP Airport Extreme, Eero is here to take your place.

On the heels of the news that Apple has disbanded the Airport team at Cupertino, a new player has stepped up to take the place of the beloved wireless staple of many an Apple user.

My clients are always looking for wireless solutions. Most are new clients that have not had good coverage or are needing a wireless solution for the first time. Normally if they were a majority Mac or Apple household, then the go to product was usually Apple Airport Extreme as the basestation and router, and then Apple Airport Expresses used to boost the signal to other parts of the house. This usually did the trick, gave them decent coverage, and stopped the Netflix buffering.

But lately the writing has been on the wall, that the Airport solution just wasn't going to cut it much longer. There has not been an update to the Airport line since 2013. Now the news of the team that worked on it, being disbanded and moved to other projects seems to be the nail in the coffin. How can I confidently offer a solution to my clients, that may no longer be sold by Apple tomorrow. I had to search for a new solution.

Knowing my clients, it had to work well with Apple products. Not only connecting with, but ability to configure and maintain. It had to have good coverage. I could not recommend eight devices for one house. Number three, it had to have a nice aesthetic. (Lets face it, Apple products are sleek, modern and minimalist at the same time, and just plain sexy. I could not recommend some big monolithic looking beast of a wireless system with 12 antennas hanging off it, and bulky repeaters that look like some miniature cellular tower hanging off their wall plugs. My clients would probably fire me for that.)

After some research into various products, I settled on one that looked the best match. Eero, touted as "WiFi that actually works."

Eero promised to provide everything I was looking for in a Wireless system I could recommend to my clients. Simple, good coverage, worked with Apple products, and looked nice. It appeared that it could have even been made by Apple. Eero allowed me to either hardwire the satellites or allow them to boost the signal via wireless. They have two Ethernet ports on the back, that gave an added benefit I was used to in the Airport Express's. I could grab the wireless signal and then provide network connectivity to wired devices. It seemed the perfect match, but I needed to test them somehow. Luckily for me, I had a client that was willing to take the leap and test out the product. We purchased on Amazon, knowing that if it did not work out, we could return the system, and I would research a new solution.

The client has a 3400sqf home, that is three stories. Main floor is the middle floor, and where the cable modem was located. Unfortunately this was also in the back corner of the house and in a small AV closet surrounded by wood and under the staircase to the upstairs. I was worried from the start, as the Eero setup says they work best if the units are in line of sight. There was no way to accomplish this here. Another issue to overcome was the upstairs master bedroom, in the opposite side of the house, has a small AV setup as well, that needed 3 devices be hardwired. Previously serviced by an Airport Express which fed the wireless signal to a 5 port switch via the Ethernet port. This was going to be a real test of the Eero's capabilities. Finally the client wanted to provide wireless not only outside on the deck (Which wasnt great with the Airport setup) but also downstairs in the guest bedrooms.

Concern was expressed at the beginning, that the three Eero setup would not be enough for the clients needs. At $399 for the three unit starter pack, and a single Eero running $199, this was a tad more expensive than the Airport configuration currently in place and might get even more expensive.

The good news here was that three Eeros completely did the trick. With the main unit next to the modem in the AV closet in one corner of the home, the second was placed in the family room on the same middle floor in the center of the house. Lastly we placed the third on the top floor, in the opposite side of the house as the main unit, connected to the Master Bedroom AV system.Wireless signal was just fine downstairs in the guest bedrooms. None of the Eeros are within line of sight of each other. The price of the starter pack might be a tad more than most people are accustomed to, but as they say, "You get what you paid for". And in this case, you get product that does exactly what it says "Wifi that actually works"!

Since this install I have recommended and installed Eero systems in 2 other clients and all are enjoying hassle free, fast wireless connections. Full disclosure, I am not compensated for this post, nor my recommendation of Eero systems. All of my client installs have been fully paid for by the client themselves. This recommendation comes purely from my need to provide the best solution I can find for my clients.

The system will learn your needs and uses, then adjust its mesh network according. As such the first few days of the using the system, you may experience it learning what your using it for and it adjusting to your needs. After that, it seems to be dialed in and problem free.

If you have any questions, feel free to drop me a line or comment below. As of now Eero will be my go to WiFi recommendation.

Eero website is HERE
Order Eero on Amazon HERE