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Email Basics and Spam Tips

by Ron Sharp

There are a few things I find that many people don’t understand about email, so I’d like to explain them. Your email is accessed through an email hosting service via an internet company such as WhidbeyTel, Yahoo, Google, Comcast, Frontier, etc. When email is sent to you it goes to these servers. To get your email you have to log in to the email server. There are, however, predominately two different ways of doing this. One way is to open the browser application on your computer, Safari or Firefox or Chrome, and going to the email servers address. You log into your account, and your browser opens the web page where you read your email that is on the servers computers.

The other way to get your mail is by using an email application such as Apple’s Mail app. When your Mail app gets your mail, or when you click “Get Mail” then the it logs into the mail server for you using your password and downloads the mail to your computer.   (see the diagram below)

So you see the difference, you are either reading the mail off the web hosts server or you are downloading it and reading it on your computer, and using different applications to do it. With Apple’s Mail app you have all the tools and flexibility of that application. When using a browser to access your mail you are using the tools that the server provides via the browser.

If you loose internet service for some reason, you can’t get new mail either way, but with the Mail app you can read and manage all the email that’s already been downloaded. You can access all your mail folders and can create new messages. The new messages will be saved in the Outbox and be sent the next time you have internet service.

Even if you use Apple’s Mail app you can also log in to your mail hosting service via a browser. And you have to log in via a browser to access some settings such as spam filters. Most email hosting services have adjustable spam filters that you can set higher or lower to filter more or less suspected spam. They are not infallible but they work well. You can usually also create filters to block specific senders. You should also set a rule on how long to keep email or how often to delete trash and junk folders so you don’t have thousands of email in your account. Nobody wants to have to sort through thousands of email! (One exception for spam filters, last time I checked, Frontier did not offer any spam filter.)

There are additional tools with the Mail app that allows you to create “rules” for whatever purpose you may have. The Rules feature is in the Mail Preferences. You can set it to change the background color or text color of messages from particular senders. Or you can set it to send mail from a particular sender right to the trash or to a folder of your choice.
Mail Rules

Accessing
                          email







iCloud Double Check, Where's Your Data Going?

by Ron Sharp

Finder
                        SidebarI’ve recently come across a few people who have their Desktop and Documents Folders on iCloud and don’t realize what that means and don’t know how it got set that way. It means all your Desktop and Document items are in Apple’s iCloud. It’s a great way to access your Desktop files and Documents folder files between all your computers. But if you don’t have more than one computer, or you’re not concerned with being able to access those same files on your iPhone or iPad, then it’s unnecessary. And it may slow down your speed a bit by having to upload files and then recall them from the internet. 

So I looked at my own iCloud options in System Preferences and surprisingly I too had files and apps on iCloud Drive that I didn’t intend to. It seems that options have been added to the iCloud Drive feature over the last couple updates and the operating system must turn on some of those options by default. Or possibly clicking on certain options within an app may turn on the iCloud option.
The iCloud Drive feature is really useful to me for some things. When it’s enabled, you get a folder on your computer that you can put anything into that you want to access on any of your other devices. For instance I find recipes when browsing on my computer but want to use them on my iPad when cooking. So I just put them in the iCloud Drive folder and they are available from my iPad too. (iCloud Drive has to be enabled on the iPad as well.)

However, with Mac OS Sierra and similar with El Capitan, there are many options for iCloud Drive that were not previously available. Besides the option for Desktop and Document files on iCloud Drive, you also have these choices: Automator app, Preview app, Quicktime app, TextEdit app, iBooks app, Keynote app, Numbers app, Pages app, Mail app, Weather app, and System preferences app. All in iCloud Drive. That’s a bunch of stuff you may not even use.

With all those choices, I don’t know what you couldn’t share between your devices. But if you don’t care to, or don’t use some of those apps, then you may as well turn them off. And it’s a good idea to backup your device beforehand to ensure you don’t lose files.

Also note that all those options I listed are in the iCloud Drive feature and iCloud Drive is only one of the eleven iCloud main options.

On the plus side for anyone with a Widows computer in your house, your files in iCloud Drive can be accessed on it also. You just have to get the iCloud app for Windows and install it. It could be described as Apple’s version of Drop Box.


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Using iOS Versus Mac OS

by Ron Sharp

Using iOS is very similar on the iPhone as the iPad, with only minor differences. Here I’m hoping to explain the difference in using iOS compared to using Mac OSX. The differences are that on Mac OSX you have a lot of control where you store files, creating new folders, moving files around and using different apps to edit files.
On iOS that’s not the case, or at least no so obvious. Each application on iOS controls the documents created with it and saves them according to each specific app. But you do have some control and can share and export documents.

Document creating apps on mobile devices are generally designed to store their documents in the cloud, and Apple apps store documents specifically in iCloud. With Apple’s Pages app, for example, your documents are in iCloud but you can choose to sort the documents by Date or alphabetically by Name. You can also group documents into a folder by dragging one document onto another, and you can give the folder a name.

In particular, Pages, Numbers, and Keynote will save their respective documents in their own folders with iCloud.  But another option, if you use iCloud Drive, is that you can send many types and formats of documents right to the iCloud Drive folder. Your Pages, Numbers and Keynote folders will also show up in iCloud Drive.

With the iOS Photos app, it will save photos to your device unless you have iCloud Photo Library turned on. Then they are saved to iCloud. I know many people are concerned about their stuff in the cloud for whatever reason. However, it’s important to realize that using iCloud with apps is similar to having those stored documents right on your device. You click on a document and it opens, whether its from the cloud or on your device. Many times you never know the difference unless you don’t have internet or cell service available. But really, internet access is nearly ubiquitous.  You can also create new Albums in the iOS Photos app and adjust images very similar to Mac OSX, as well as view your photos via a Slide Show with or without music.


Other options for documents besides exporting are to copy and paste text to other apps. You can also take a photo of the screen, “Screenshot,” and it’ll be saved to your Camera Roll Album in Photos. Press the Home button and Power button simultaneously for a Screenshot. When printing, if you don’t have an “Air Print” compatible printer, you can print the Screenshot image of your document from your Mac when you import your photos to the Mac. If you use iCloud Photo Library or Photo Streaming then your image will automatically go to the Mac Photos app.

For most all your iOS your documents,  they will be accessible from your Mac with iCloud options enabled. There are also recent adaptors available to connect flash drives to an iPad. But if your concern is for backing up your iOS data, you can backup to the iTunes app on your Mac or backup to iCloud.

What can’t you do on your iPad? Can you stream your music to your stereo via an Apple router? Yes, same as iTunes on your Mac. Can you edit photos and create new photo albums? Yes, editing is similar to OSX. If you want to edit video, there are apps for that too, but I suggest using a Mac rather than an iPhone or iPad for video editing.

Can you change the folders on the iOS Home screen? Yes, you tap and hold on an icon until they jiggle, then drag one icon onto another to create a folder of icons. You can drag many icons to one folder and you can move icons around to arrange them as you wish. You can also rename the folders.

Can you delete apps? Yes, go to Settings> General> Storage & iCloud Usage> Manage Storage. Select the app you want to remove and click “Delete App.”

Can you move documents to other devices? Yes, you can use iCloud to access documents on other devices and you can “Air Drop” documents and photos to other local devices. You don’t even need wi-fi. To Air Drop items from an iOS Device to a Mac, you need an iPhone 5 or newer and a Mac that is 2012 or newer.

Some of the options and procedures are a bit different with iOS than what you may be used to with OSX, but you still can conveniently manage your files. The only real issue is the small screen size on the more mobile devices.


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Using Apple's Photos Sharing option
by Ron Sharp

I love taking photos of Penn Cove and Puget Sound and the beautiful snow capped Olympics and Cascades and sharing them with family and friends. I think it was nearly two years ago that I started a shared album and invited my Mac using relatives to join. However, a brother and a sister that aren’t Mac users have been left out until recently. I set the shared album to “Public” setting and that enables them to go to an (iCloud ) webpage to view all the shared photos. I don’t know if that option was available when I started our shared album, or if I just didn’t realize it was there. Anyway, it’s simple and works great.

In fact, the public webpage option works better than the Photos app itself for viewing photos and videos because of it’s wonderful dark background. And in full screen mode it’s really nice. The white background in the Photos app thoroughly annoys me and I don’t understand why Apple hasn’t changed that. Even the iOS iPhone and iPad Photos app have the black background option by tapping on an image.

You can sort of get a black background in the Photos app by choosing the Editing mode but it still doesn’t really do full screen. Since the public webpage works so nice I’ll have to make sure my family members see this article so they all are aware of the option to view the album with the weblink.

The only drawback of setting your shared album to be public is it’s not so private. Anyone can share the webpage link to anyone else and then who knows who’s viewing your photos. But then again, it’s a shared album, don’t share things you shouldn’t. Or create more than one album to share and set only one to Public. There, I’ve solved all your problems.

The shared album is, in case you’re wondering, easy to create and to use. You can leave comments on anyone's photos too. And the shared photos do not count towards your free iCloud storage space. Give your photos a couple minutes to upload and show up in the shared folder, invite any Mac user you want to share using the sharing window options, and enjoy.





iPhotos versus Photos
by Ron Sharp

Nothing stays the same. The best software is probably the ones that are easiest to transition to. Apple created photos to replace iPhoto to enable you to more easily work with your photos across all their devices. The first version of Photos was not up to par with iPhoto so it seems some people were reluctant to learn it. Here are some comparisons and tips how to use Photos.

 iPhoto:
Sorted your pictures from downloads into Events. 
Let you short event photos by Title or Date and oldest first or newest first.
Let you change the grayscale background of the viewer window light to dark.
Tools were fairly intuitive

Photos:
Sorts your pictures in Years, Collections, and Moments. The collections is nearly the same as Events was.
Photos only sorts by date. However, all the photos you import from iPhoto will still show as Events and will still sort by Title and Date.
Grayscale background window brightness is not adjustable. ( My biggest complaint.)
Some of the image editing tools are hidden and not viewable until you click on a button that is only visible when you scroll over it.
Syncs with your iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. Can stream images between devices and can share images with others with the same tools that your iOS devices use.
Shows albums for Shared images, People, Places, and sorts Videos, Panoramas, and Screenshots in separate albums too.


So if you don’t own an iPhone or an iPad and don’t care much about sharing then I’d say there is no reason not to use iPhoto. That is until a new operating system or computer model won’t work with it any longer since it is not a supported app. Then what?

If you’re on the fence here, or have tried Photos but not particularly impressed, then read on. What you have to do is use Photos a little, and set it up the way you’d like. It’s viewing and sorting options are variable. So first, familiarize yourself with the View menu. The big one is to Hide or Show the Sidebar. With the sidebar you’ll see all your albums and project choices. If you choose to hide the Sidebar, then you can choose between, Photos, Memories, Albums, Projects, and Shared photos, and you’ll see these choices as tabs at the top of the window. With the Photos Tab selected you see your photos as Years, Collections, or Moments, and use the arrows in the upper left corner of the window to move between them. Much like iOS.

For sorting and finding photos, the automatic albums for People, Places, Videos, Panoramas, Screenshots, and Shared is an instant help. Next, you can of course create Albums of your own to sort further. You can use the search box to find photos by Title, Keyword, or Description. I feel the keyword option is under-utilized but a big help in finding images. Creating Smart Albums is another option in Photos and iPhoto. I can get more detailed about Smart Albums and Folders another time.
 
Here is my recommended method for using a photo app, which often is overstating the obvious. It’s so easy to snap photos, -camera always with us and no film to worry about wasting. So as soon as you take a photo, or sit down to look at them, delete them. I mean save only the best ones and toss all the marginal ones. Then give them a title or keyword. Under the View menu, >Metadata you can choose to have Titles and Keywords show. Once you have used a keyword, the next instant you use it to label a photo, just type the first letter and it’ll come up. I have a lot of pictures of Penn Cove, so that’s one of my keywords. I type the P and it’s there. After opening a picture just click on the info icon in the upper right corner to add a title or keyword.


Info Button  Edit
                        Button      Editing Controls



For editing photos, it’s basically the same as iPhoto but a couple of the buttons are not so obvious. Once you click on the Edit Photo button, the menus will expand by clicking the little up or down arrow, but it’s only visible when you scroll over it. Also, don’t miss the Add button to see more adjustments.


Use iCloud for syncing and sharing and backing up. With iCloud Photo Library turned on, your photos will be backed up to iCloud. If you have iOS devices, iPhone etc, you can choose to turn iCloud Photo Library on for each device that you want to sync your photos to. If you don’t want your whole library backed up or syncing,  you can use Photo Stream instead. For sharing, turn on iCloud Photo Sharing. You can create albums to invite friends and family to share. For more information about iCloud see iCloud, a summary of what you need to know. One of the advantages of iCloud is that you can see all your photos on any of your devices even though they don’t have the storage space on their own.

Photos, as with iPhoto, gives you projects for Slideshows, Books, Cards, and Calendars. But another feature of Photos is Memories. It’ll group a few pictures of the last three months for you. And the slideshow feature is easy and convenient in Photos. For instance, in the Years view if you click on a photo it takes you to that section, Collections. But if you click on the little arrow next to the year, you’ll get a page of Memories. And on that page, simply click the arrow Play button in the top menu and your slideshow for that year will start. It’s kind of amazing to see how much you did in one year.

So that will get you started with Photos. As usual, it’s more difficult to visualize the functions when reading than when doing.


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Slow Mac?
Snap it into shape with these instructions
by Ron Sharp

Is your Mac running slow? Do you get the spinning beach ball frequently? Here are a few things to put your machine back into shape. First of all, restart it. Many people leave their computers on all the time. We use them so frequently that it’s an easy thing to do. That’s okay, but you should at least restart it once or twice a week. “Rebooting” the computer restores the operating system that can get a little whacked out at times.

Then see what extra apps are set to start up automatically. Go to System Preferences> Users & Groups, then click the “Login Items” tab. See what is in that list. iTunes Helper application is the only thing that OSX puts there automatically. If other software is listed there, particularly if it’s something you don’t use or didn’t intentionally install, then Login Itemsremove it by selecting it and then clicking the minus sign at the bottom of the list. If you do remove any item here, you should restart the computer again.

Now looking at your normal desktop see what items are on the top right side of the menu bar and in your Dock. If there are apps that are not part of Apple’s OSX system and you don’t use or didn’t intentionally install, then quit them. You might also find those apps in your Applications Folder. You can move them to the trash to get rid of them. There will be a lot of related files that should also be removed, but at least that app won’t be starting up on it’s own anymore. Some of the apps that you might find that you didn’t intentionally install are MacKeeper, antivirus apps, and cloud storage apps.

MacKeeper is an application I don't recommend. It is very aggressive and persistent in it’s ways.  It is good to have an antivirus app.  What you need to watch out for more than viruses is “malware.” Watch out for clicking on the wrong thing on a website and unintentionally downloading mischievous apps and adware. Scrutinize any email that says you have a virus. They are usually scams.

If you don’t have any anti virus app, you may want to get one and run it at this time. It may be a virus causing the spinning beachball and your computer to run slow.

Other things that can really slow you down are peripherals that you have connected to your computer. Using an external drive for Time Machine backups is worthwhile, but your Mac will be a bit slower when it’s backing up files. If you are a diligent person, you can just plug your backup drive in.. say once a week for it to backup. Otherwise leave a Time Machine backup drive connected.

If you use Drop Box, or Carbonite or other online backup, I’ve found that they can really slow computers down. If it’s not a constant necessity for you, my recommendation is to turn Drop Box off when you’re not using it. As for online backups, if they are working okay for you then great. It’s good to have some backup but if you use an online backup and a local backup then your speed will suffer.

If you still seem to have speed issues, you can open the application “Activity Monitor” and see what apps are consuming the most CPU time. If you don’t see any culprits there, it’s possible that your hard drive is having problems. You can use “Disk Utility” in your Utilities folder to test a hard drive.(Applications > Utilities > Disk utility)  If it reports a problem, you definitely need to back it up to another drive ASAP.

The next step for a speedier machine is to improve the hardware. You can add RAM memory and replace your Hard Drive with a Solid State Drive. There are a few of us on the island that offer these services and any of the others I’ve mentioned, if they are beyond your comfort zone.

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iCloud, a summary of what you need to know

Ron Sharp, March, 2016 SharpHelp.net

iCloud Photo Gallery


iCloud Photos

The advantage of iCloud Photo Library on an iOS device is that your photos size will be optimized for your device if you are low on storage space on that device. When you open an optimized photo it automatically downloads a full resolution version before doing anything with it, it's all automatic. Deleting or editing any photo will automatically sync to iCloud and any device you have iCloud Photo Library turned on.

Photos Library on your Mac

iCloud Photo Library stores photos and video from only one library on your Mac, (Photos Library.photoslibrary) You can have multiple photo libraries, but you can have only one System Photo Library working with iCloud at a time.

My Photo Stream with and without iCloud Photo Library

With My Photo Stream turned on, new photos taken with your iOS device are uploaded to iCloud when your device is connected to the Internet via Wi-Fi. The new photos appear automatically in My Photo Stream on your all your devices when iCloud Photo Library is not enabled. When iCloud Photo Library is turned on, they become part of your photo library and appear in All Photos. (iOS 9 or iOS 8)
Photo Stream: Photo Stream stores the last 30 days of photos automatically, up to 1000 photos, and pushes them to all your Apple devices. The minute you take a photo with your iPhone or iPad it will be stored in iCloud and it will put them on your computer the next time your computer is online.

Photo Sharing: With iCloud Photo Sharing, you can share photos and videos with just the people you choose, and you can let them add their own photos, videos, and comments. Friends and family can subscribe to your shared albums to view them on all of their devices, leave comments, and get notified automatically when you add new photos and videos. Photo Sharing does not count aginst your free 5 GB storage.

Deleting Photos

When you delete a photo from My Photo Stream on an iOS device, Mac, or PC, that photo will be deleted from the My Photo Stream view on all your devices after you connect each device to Wi-Fi

The following photos won't be deleted when you delete photos from My Photo Stream:

Photos that you copied to the Photos tab or Camera Roll on your iOS device
Photos that you imported into your iPhoto or Aperture library
Photos that you copied into a folder on your PC that aren't part of My Photo Stream

Turning Off iCloud Photos Libraries: If you have Optimize Storage turned on, you might not have all of your original photos and videos on your device. To download the original photos and videos on your iOS device, go to Settings > iCloud > Photos and select Download and Keep Originals. On your Mac, open Photos, choose Photos > Preferences, then select Download Originals to this Mac. After the photos have downloaded completely, which might take a long time, then you can turn iCloud Photo Library off. You can also select the photos and videos that you want to download from iCloud.com.

iCloud Mail

To use Mail syncing with iCloud you have to have an Apple mail account which will have the “name”@icloud.com- address. This account will not sync with your existing mail accounts. Once it is set up it will sync with all your Apple devices. It will keep all your contacts and calendars synced.

iCloud Drive lets the app on your device access any stored document that can use iCloud Drive, from any device you have iCloud drive turned on. It syncs documents for all devices. You can store any type of file in iCloud Drive, as long as it's less than 15 GB in size and you don't exceed your iCloud storage limit. There's no restriction on file type.

Pages, Numbers, and Keynote upload files to iCloud regularly to make sure you don’t lose any changes. Other apps upload your files to iCloud only after you save them to the iCloud Drive folder. The app folders in iCloud Drive are created automatically for apps that support iCloud Drive on any of your devices. You can create new folders to use.

Removing a document from iCloud deletes it from iCloud Drive and from your other devices set up for iCloud Drive.

Before turning off iCloud Drive, you can copy documents from iCloud Drive to your Mac.

Music

All your iTunes purchases will be stored with iCloud. If you have a lot of music in your iTunes library that you copied from CD’s, then to get iTunes to store them you can use iTunes Match, for $25 a year.

iCloud Keychain

iCloud Keychain keeps your Safari website usernames and passwords, credit card information, and Wi-Fi network information up to date and Mail, Contacts, Calendar, and Messages passwords up to date across all of your Mac computers.

Security

iCloud uses a minimum of 128-bit AES encryption—the same level of security employed by major financial institutions—and never provides encryption keys to any third parties.

Accessing Your iCloud Data From Windows

There are two ways to access synced iCloud data on Windows: via the iCloud Control Panel desktop application and via the iCloud website.

Download the iCloud Control Panel for Windows, or go to icloud.com.
You can’t view your Photo Stream on the iCloud website, you would need to install the iCloud Control Panel app for windows.

5 GB Free: You get 5GB of free iCloud space, Your iCloud storage is used for iCloud Backup, iCloud Drive, iCloud Photo Library, iCloud Mail (your @icloud.com email account), and data from apps that use iCloud. Your music, applications, iBooks, TV shows and Photo Stream don’t count towards the 5GB. You get those free. And you can get more space for a fee.

Family Sharing: To share between people with different Apple ID accounts

Family Sharing makes it easy for up to six people in your family to share each other’s iTunes, iBooks, and App Store purchases without sharing accounts. After you set up Family Sharing, all the eligible songs, albums, movies, TV shows, books, and apps ever purchased by family members are immediately available to everyone else in the family. The content appears automatically in the Purchased tab in iTunes, iBooks, or the App Store for each family member. Just select the family member whose collection you’d like to browse, then download and play the content you choose. Other family members can access your collection in the same way. If you want to keep some purchases private, you can choose to hide individual items.


For a list of system requirements for various iCloud functions go to: https:// support.apple.com/en-us/HT204230

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 Sharing photos

by Ron Sharp

One of the fun things about family and holiday gatherings is tech tips that you learn from everyone, and sharing photos of course. Because our photos are on digital devices, they are easily accessed and shared now. For instance, someone will show a recent photo they took with their iPhone, but it's a little too small if everyone wants to see it so they air drop it to an iPad or MacBook. But better still, connect with Apple TV and show it on your 42 inch TV monitor. Now you can easily share it with everyone in the group.

Sharing Photos

With iOS devices, iPhone and iPad, you can use the share button. The share button gives the options for sharing a photo (or document) via AirDrop: to another iOS device or computer (2012 or newer), send the photo in an email or text message, share via Facebook or Twitter, send the image to a printer, and more.

Here are some tips for emailing photos. It's good to start with some text in your email or at least a few blank lines. Hit the return key a couple times before pasting your or dragging your images to the email window. Otherwise your image may be pasted right at the top of the message and it's a bit difficult to see the cursor and try to get it to the top of the window once the image has been added.

Sharing Photos

Create a couple blank lines between the images you add so it kind of gives the photos a border. Otherwise the they run together right against each other and may be more difficult to see.

Be aware that sending too many photos or videos in one email can create a message too large to send due to server email size restrictions.

Also a word about printing from your iOS device. Not all printers are Air Print compatible. You can check the list from Apple of printers that are compatible: Apple AirPrint printer list. If your printer is not Air Print compatible it doesn't mean you're completely out of luck. You can search the App store for an app that might work for you. For instance, if you have a non compatible Epson printer there is an app from Epson available to send photos and documents to the printer. The limitation is that you must use that app to print and not the Share button options.

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Difficulties with apps, or the “version game"
by Ron Sharp

Since I wrote the previous article about sharing documents, it occurred to me to elucidate on the difficulties of applications. I’ll start by repeating some of the points I made in that article about Pages.

For me it started way back with Clarisworks, if anybody remembers that word processing application.  Then Apple created Pages in 2005, later updating it to Pages 08 and all your documents had to be converted to Pages. Then came Pages 09 (which is version 4), now Pages 5 (version 5.2.2).

All these versions would open one previous version, but if you skipped a version you had problems converting. I’m sure there were logical reasons for the limitations but it seems like any new version should be able to not only convert documents from all previous versions but should have a feature to batch convert a whole group of documents.

And to complicate things, if you had more than one version of Pages on your computer, when you clicked a document to open, you wouldn’t know which version opened it.

At any rate much of the updating came about because of the move towards mobile. The applications had to be rewritten to work on the mobile devices and therefore the desktop versions had to change to be compatible with the mobile versions. A similar scenario occurred for many other applications, particularly iPhoto and Photos. Many of the features we learned in the full applications of our desktop computers, which could manipulate documents in more ways than we could imagine, were left out of the new apps. The mobile devices; iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch, had to have compact applications that didn’t hog digital space or processor energy. So as those apps developed and mobile devices improved, the apps for our desktop and laptop computers had to change in order to make sharing documents between devices possible.

But now that mobile devices have been around a while don’t expect the rate of updates to slow. Improvements and changes in hardware and software will continue. The rate of change in technology is not linear but exponential. In fact the popular author Raymond Kurzweil says that in the next 100 years we’ll experience 20,000 years of progress at the current rate. Yikes!  But I’d like to think that means that our apps will update and convert whatever needs to be converted so seamlessly that we are hardly aware of it. Everything just works.

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Sharing documents between your iPad and computer
by Ron Sharp Sept. 15, 2015

We finally have an iPad in the house and find it very convenient for certain things, particularly for use in the kitchen. So it seemed like a good idea to move the recipes from the computer, to the iPad. There are, as usual, several ways to go about this. And also as usual, the way you choose to do it turns out the most complicated.

Apple says you can share documents with Pages app. So I started by putting Pages on the iPad from the App store. However, I found that Pages 08 & 09 on the computer will not work for sharing documents with the iPad Pages. I used the newer Pages 5 (version 5.2.2) on the computer,  thinking I’d convert my TextEdit recipes with the newer version so they can be shared. What?…wait,… this Pages app won’t open TextEdit documents! (.rtf suffix for Rich Text Format)  So here’s what I had to do; convert all my TextEdit (.rtf) recipes to plain text (.txt). Then open each one with Pages 5.2.2, then save them as a Pages document. (And I have a lot of recipes)

I used the Terminal application to batch convert the .rtf recipes to .txt all at once. There is no Terminal command to convert text directly to Pages app that I know of. (If your recipes are in Pages 09, then you can eliminate that step.) I tried to use the Automator app for converting the .txt recipes to Pages format but gave up when my first three attempts failed and so I converted them one by one.

Now you could use iCloud, saving your Pages recipes to the cloud and then you could use your documents on all your devices. Or if you don’t want to use iCloud, you connect your iPad to your computer, (usb port) open iTunes, select the iPad, select Apps, scroll down and select Pages app, then add your documents to the sharing window. But wait, you’re still not done. While connected still, open Pages on the iPad and then you have to add each document one at a time to the iPad. What?.. you can sync all your music and photos, why can’t you just sync all your documents too?  But no, that obvious feature has not been implemented yet.

You may be able to achieve this goal with an app from the App store, but searching for the app is time consuming and there is no guarantee you’ll find what you’re looking for. Then be prepared to pay for the app if you do find one because the free ones subject you to more advertising and limitations than anyone can handle.

You may also have recipes that are images rather than text. So you could copy them to your Photos app and then create a folder in Photos for recipes. Then sync that folder to the iPad using iTunes. This may work well because they would all sync when connecting your iPad to the computer and any new recipe can just be added to the recipe folder in Photos. The only drawback with using images for recipes is that you can’t easily change them or make notes on them.

I have to say though, using the iPad for recipes works well, and once it’s set up it’s pretty easy.

Now I realize a lot of readers won’t even make it to the end of this article. Way too much complicated BS to deal with. So hopefully you have a techy nerd best friend that can do all this for you.  But if you’ve just started collecting recipes in digital format, an easy way is to just photograph them with the iPad.

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Camera Tips for iPhone and iPad (iOS)
by Ron Sharp


Here are some camera tips for iPhone / iPad users. Even if you’ve been using an iOS device for a while there are options you still may not be aware of. I find that people are surprised to learn about these tips.

Go to Camera from Lock Screen
LockscreenWhen you push the home button to turn the device on, you get to the lock screen where you have to swipe to the right to go to the home screen. But from the lock screen you can see a small camera icon in the lower right corner. Swiping that icon upwards takes you right to the camera. I tried tapping on the camera icon at first and was confused when nothing happened. Then I realized you have to swipe up on it.

HDR button on top menu of camera screen
HDR is High Dynamic Range. If you haven’t take the time to read about it, here’s what that’s about. In high contrast shots HDR takes multiple photos in rapid succession at different exposures and blends them together. Tapping the HDR button, you can set HDR to on, off, or auto. I think it’s good to keep it on auto unless you’re trying for a special effect. There are also HDR options in Settings > Camera.

The rectangle for exposure adjustments
The rectangle that briefly shows in the camera screen sets the focus and exposure. You can change the exposure by tapping the screen at a lighter or darker area to have the exposure change to that area.  Also, when you tap the screen and see a little icon next to the rectangle, then you can swipe up or down the screen to lighten or darken the exposure. The more swipes up, the lighter the picture. After using either of these exposure methods to make adjustments, if you tap and hold the rectangle for a second, it jumps a bit larger to indicate it’s locked on to those settings and you’ll see the “AE/AF locked” text. Then take as many picture as you want. When you tap the screen again, it returns to the auto settings.

Quick view your photo
After taking a photo, you can view it by tapping the image in the lower left corner. This opens the picture you just took. If it’s ok, just tap “Done” in the upper right corner and the camera app comes back up ready for your next photo.

Other Options
The Photo, Video, Time Lapse, and Slo Mo settings are self explanatory, as are the Flash and Timer options. The top right icon is for front or rear facing camera in case you feel the need for a selfie.

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My iPhone Tips

by Ron Sharp

I find some of the iPhone tips that I read very useful, but interestingly I might not have discovered them without having read about them or someone pointing them out. For instance, when typing an email address in contacts, holding the dot gives you choices of adding .com or .net etc.

Here are a few of my tips, things I have found useful to me. When searching for virtually anything click on the microphone icon, if it's available for the app you're using, to do a voice search. This works in searching your contacts as well as adding new contacts. But where it's most helpful is creating a text message. With the dictation feature you just have to remember to say "period" at the end of your sentences. For making a list, say "new line" after each entry.

Caduceus and Apple

Another tip is to create and add images for contact groups. For instance we all use doctors and most people use some type of financial institution and other professionals. So get an image for doctors to add to all doctor contacts and another image to add to all banking contacts, etc. It just makes it easy for quicker recognition when getting a call. Use a dollar sign image for finance profesionals, and maybe a red cross or caduceus for doctors. For MAGIC members in my contacts I use an Apple icon if I don't have their portrait.

A trick that many of you may already use is to assign a different ringtone for a specific contact. For instance, a separate ring for your wife, husband or special friend. You know the instant you hear the ring who is calling.

For a long time I wanted to get a navigation device for my car. But my iPhone does the job very well. Just open the Maps app and enter an address. Then tap the right turn arrow in the upper left to get directions. (Location services has to be allowed for the Maps app in Privacy Settings) When the directions are displayed press the start button on the bottom of the screen to get specific, dictated driving directions, and set your phone on the dash or console while driving.


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Flash causing a slow computer

by Ron Sharp

Recently my Firefox browser was running very slow. I decided to find out what the problem was by opening the Activity Monitor utility. And there it was, near the very top of the list for CPU usage, Adobe Flash.  So I did a little research and located a Firefox Add-on that is sweet and simple. It’s called Flash OnOff. It puts a small dot of a button on the top Firefox toolbar. One click and the button turns gray and Flash is turned off. Click again and Flash is activated and the button turns red. It works great, and now when I go web pages with automatic flash content it doesn't start playing video unless I turn Flash on and reload the page.

There is a similar Add-On or Extension for Safari browser called "Click to Flash." It prevents Flash content from loading automatically.


10 iPhone Tips

 iPhone tips found on the RantGizmo and Dose websites.

1.   If you are at the end of your sentence, you can double tap the spacebar and it will add a period and a space for you.

2.   If you place your phone in Airplane Mode, it will charge much faster.

3.   Want to undo what you just did? Don't take the time to undo it all by hand, shake your phone! A warning will ask you if you want to undo the typing.

4.   When your camera is on, you can use the volume buttons to conveniently snap some photos.

5.   Just say, “Read my email” to Siri, and she will read all your messages aloud to you. You can tell her to read only your most recent email by saying, “Read my latest email,” or just those from a specific contact by saying, “Do I have email from Mark?”

6.   In your Contacts app, you can enable different vibration patterns for different contacts. You can now tell the difference between a email from your boss and a text from a friend!

7.   In the Compass app, swipe left and your iPhone will become a perfect level.

8.   Use the quick “Do Not Disturb” setting from the slide up menu for going to events like a movie theater. Use the “Do Not Disturb” settings in the general settings for scheduling regular Do Not Disturb times like 11pm to 7am.

9.   If you hold down the period, "." on your keyboard, a menu will pop up with a list of web suffices to choose from.
Web suffices tip

10.  Take a screen shot by holding down the home button and the on/off button at the same time. The screen shot will then be saved in your camera roll.

 

  Emailing Photos

by Ron Sharp

It’s great to share photos occasionally and I’d guess most everyone knows how to share them digitally. Particularly if you use a smart phone. But if you’re someone who would like some tips about emailing photos, read on.
The big difference in the procedure for emailing photos is whether you use Apple’s Mail program or use an online mail service like Gmail or Hotmail.  Apple Mail makes it easy to attach photos to an email message from iPhoto or right from your email message using the “photo browser” button.

emailing
                                                          photos 1

When you use the photo browser from your email message window, you can change the size of the photo to small, medium, large, or actual size with a little menu option that shows once the photo is dragged to the message window.

emailing
                                                          photos 2

Selecting photos from the iPhoto window makes it easy to attach several photos at once, then gives you a similar size choice once you click the “Email” button on the toolbar at the bottom of the window.
Either way, it’s pretty easy and lets you send appropriate size photos so the recipient doesn’t have to wait for huge files to download.

If you use a web based email application, it’s a bit more work with more steps to adjust size. Once you’re online and start composing your mail message, you have to find the “Add Attachment” button. Then you can choose “Photos” from the left column of the finder window which will show your iPhoto collection. You choose your photo to attach, but there is no way to adjust size. Gmail and others limit  email file size to 25 MB. So if you need to adjust size to allow for many photos, it’s best to export the photos from iPhoto to a folder of your choice, or create a new folder for the purpose. When exporting from iPhoto you will have the option for size and quality. Save your selected photos to your new folder, with the reduced size. Then when attaching to your mail message use photos from this folder. You will most likely have to upload your photos to the mail message one at a time.


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                                                          Help Controlling video on individual webpages with Firefox

Ron Sharp

Here’s some great tips for controlling video content on web pages if you use Firefox browser. If you use Safari, the video content is already controlled. I’m not sure when Safari was updated to use HTML5 but it plays video content via HTML 5 and labels it. You have to click on it to start the video, which is great.

Firefox automatically starts playing Flash content. So as I browse websites for newsletter content I click on many headlines to open in new Tabs. Unfortunately, as Firefox starts playing video content immediately the browser slows to a crawl. Fortunately there is a way to control the Flash content for individual sites. When you get to a site with a video starting automatically, click on the Firefox Tools menu, then Page Info. Then select the Permissions tab and you’ll see the plugin options on top. For the Flash video option, change it from Default to Always Ask. After I made this change I opened six Macworld.com pages and only one started to play a video. Setting the preference again for the one page corrected it. Since then none have started videos until I click on the actual video. Nice.

If changing the Flash content preference doesn’t fix your site, try changing the the options for other video plugins. The Media tab of the Tools window will show which video plugin is used for what content. 

Firefox
                                                          Permissions


These settings will change the plugin option only for individual websites. For instance, my main concern was for a few news sites like Macworld. So any Macworld page should conform to the new settings. If you want to make changes to all websites that you visit then go to Firefox Preferences and make changes there. You can control many plugins and apps that the browser uses.

firefox perferences



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                                                          Help Printer Setup Primer

Ron Sharp, MAGIC

One thing that amuses me about printers is the huge list of setting options that they offer. Here’s what’s funny about it: you can change your printing options for paper type like thick, thin, matte photo, glossy photo, cotton, archive paper, and other choices like standard color, enhanced color, and more, and it doesn’t seem to make a bit of difference. The page that’s printed looks the same. But one option set wrong on the wireless printing choices and nothing works. 

The thing that is not so amusing is the printer User’s Guide. Sometimes there is even the an Advanced User’s Guide, Network Guide, Quick Setup Guide, (usually not any quicker) and Network Glossary Guide. I know it’s not easy explaining all the options but I’m sure it can be done better for most printers.

Here’s some thoughts on printer setup.
If you have to replace your computer, consider a new printer. If your computer is old enough to replace then the printer is probably in the same boat, and may not be updatable. Meaning there may not be new drivers for the new computer operating system.
With a new printer or new computer, get the newest driver/software available for it from Apple or from the printer manufacturer website. Don’t bother installing the driver that came with the printer because it’s probably out of date. 

The easiest way to get a printer to work wirelessly with a Mac is to connect it with a USB cable to your Apple router. Then using the printer preference in System Preference, just click the plus button to add a new printer and your computer will find the printer. It’s pretty simple but on occasion problems occur with multifunction printers like the scanner function reporting no connection. I’ve had to connect multifunction printers to routers with ethernet cables to get the scanner functions to work and that requires finding and setting IP addresses for the printers. Most printers have the option to print out a configuration list from the controls on the printer that will show an IP address to use, or you may have to set a new one.

Other problems that might occur are after computer software updates, which may require a printer reset. You can delete your printer from the printer list in Printer Preferences and then use the “Add A Printer” plus sign button again. Make sure the printer is turned on. You may also have to restart the printer and computer if any printer settings are changed.

Using Printer User Guides
If you use your printer users guide to set up a printer, it’s very helpful to realize that there are several ways to get a printer to connect. Decide which one you will use, then find that section in the users guide.
1. Wired setup. Connect the printer to a computer with a USB cable. Other computers on your network will be able to use the printer wirelessly if the connected computer is turned on and Printer Sharing is turned on in Sharing Preferences.
2. Wireless printing with a USB cable to network on a Mac. Connect the USB cable between the printer and the router. ( you may not even need to use the printer guide but scanner function may not work on multifunction printers. Use the ethernet connection to enable scanning functions)
3. Wireless setup with an ethernet cable to network. Connect ethernet cable between printer and router and follow user’s guide instructions. (you may have to use IP address numbers)
4. Wireless setup with the Printers Wi-Fi. If the printer is labeled a wireless printer, then it has it’s own wireless function to connect to your network. Follow the User’s Guide to set up the printer from the printers control panel.

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                                                          Help Learning Computers 

by Ron Sharp

I often try to understand how others learn and use their computers. I see procedures that are simple and natural to some, but difficult or awkward to learn for others. In trying to figure a way for the user to think about how the computer operating system works I realize a number things. For some people the terminology throws them off. For literary people computer terms don't jive with what they know. Others are spatial oriented. They think about spaces and the way things fit together. I wondered if thinking about layers would make more sense to some. Screen views are layered on top of one another. Even in developing applications the term is called "the stack" where many layers are used even for one screen view.

Another issue is icon and image recognition. What all those little symbols mean doesn't connect. Computers are too new. Their language and visuals don't have any history per say. So alas, I came up with these thoughts on learning computers.

First, step out of your current mind and step into your new mind, the computer time mind. Create that specific compartment in your brain if that helps. There are good TED videos online about the plasticity of brains. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o0td5aw1KXA

Open your mind to the computer terminology by observing new terms and trying to figure there meaning. Many terms are new words that are created with every new aspect of computers and the internet, or new uses for existing words.

Use that keen artist eye to record and recognize icon images and their subtleties.

Learning

Spend some time goofing around. Don't be afraid to try things. If you make mistakes there is an "Undo" menu button for most things. Undo typing, undo move, undo delete. There is also "Save" and "Don't Save" buttons to make use of. Even more, there is a "Duplicate" menu button. You can duplicate a text file or image and then change it all around without worrying about loosing it. Try things out. Spend some time just goofing around.

Learn to use the search features. If you loose a file, or don't know where it was saved to, just use one of the search boxes to type the file name. Don't forget about the search box in the Apple Mail app to search for specific emails, and the search menu in iPhoto. Realize that all your files on the computer hard drive are stored hierarchically and sorted alphabetically. (Hmm, stored and sorted, almost the same word.) But you can also search files by date created. If it helps, think of your computer hard drive like a literal file cabinet. All the files are in drawers sorted by title or date or number.

A simple way to find a recent document or application is with the "Recent Items" heading under the little Apple icon.

Recent Items

To find things on the internet, use your bookmarks, or history menu, or search with a browser search box. Remember that if you're using a web browser application, Safari or Firefox or Chrome, etc, then you're most likely looking at stuff on the web, not on your computer. Browsers will open file types called HTML. You could have an HTML file on your own computer, but most often you'll be looking at internet files.

Learn to label things. The better you are at labeling files the easier it is to find them. Use appropriate names and other labels. Files and folders can be labeled with colors. You can also use a date as part of a file name. In some applications, like iPhoto, you can use "keywords" to label photos.


New Folder

Learn to create new folders to save your files using the Finder File drop down menu. A new folder will be created in whatever folder you have open or selected. If you just have the desktop opened the new folder will be created on the desktop but it can be moved just about anywhere. Your home folder is a good place to add new folders.

Home Icon

Use new folders to save any kind of files you want, like recipes, or quotes, or photos that you want separate from iPhoto, etc. If you use Sticky Notes you can create a folder just for notes. If you use the keystrokes Command-Shift-3 or Command-Shift-4 to grab "clippings" off internet pages, you can create a new folder just for clippings.

Applications have their own icon to recognize. All the different applications are used to enable us to manipulate our data or to file and save them in the "file cabinet." Some apps manipulate text files, some manipulate image files, some change the file types or encrypt files, etc. If you find applications that you don't have a clue what they do, it doesn't matter. Just use what you need. There will always be stuff on the computer that you may not use and that's OK.

Don't forget about "Help." Each application has the help menu in the top menu bar. If that doesn't do the trick, search the internet for help. YouTube is a great source of online computer help. You can find videos that show you how to do just about everything.

Take a class or get personal help. A few sessions with a personal guru can make a world of difference for your computing efficiency and enjoyment.

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                                                          Help To Updgrade or Not

by Ron Sharp

Updating Apps

This is a question we have to revisit from time to time for obvious reasons. The subject has been brought to my attention recently with a family member dealing with the issue. The situation is that a very expensive CAD drawing application for Mac is being used for a business. Unfortunately, updates were not done. Now that they have to purchase a new computer, the software is way out of date and won’t run on the new Mac. It’s questionable whether the application can be upgraded to the current level without having to re-purchase the app at full price. The current version would not have run on the old computer they were using, but their copy would have been more current by two versions if they had updated.

It is inevitable that some software is going to have to be replaced with new products because of newer hardware design and processes. But keeping software up to date is wise weather you do it manually or set the apps to update automatically.

Updating Operating Systems

Now as for updating computers, that’s another question. Many of us don’t update until we have to. Either the old computer breaks down or software we want to use won’t work on the old one. Here is a quick run down of Mac computer changes and operating systems. There were really two big changes that affected a lot of software. The first was the switch from IBM power PC chips to Intel chips. That took place around 2006. Leopard operating system (OSX 10.5) was introduced in 2007 and ran on the Power PC and the Intel Chip.

The second big hardware change took place around late 2008 with the switch from 32 bit architecture to 64 bit. When Snow Leopard (OSX 10.6) was released in 2009, it ran on 64 bit architecture. So that eliminated the use of some software and kept anyone from upgrading their operating systems past Leopard unless they had a newer 64 bit computer. (about 2008 or newer, but depends on specific computer models)

Now, fast forward to Mavericks, (OSX 10.9). Anyone with a computer capable of running Snow Leopard (10.6.8 or later) can upgrade to Mavericks, provided they have enough memory to run it effectively.

But if you can update to Lion, Mt. Lion, or Mavericks, should you? There are three reasons to update. One is to be able to use software that you wouldn’t be able to use otherwise.  That would be either the new software features of OSX or a particular application that you want to use.  The second  is for improved security. For security improvements, Apple has added Gatekeeper for making downloading apps more secure, and they use a new system of isolating apps from each other called sandboxing. Full disk encryption can also be enabled with FileVault.

The third reason for updating is to be able to use iCloud. There are significant advantages with iCloud, some of which are syncing your data with iPads and iPhones, keeping calendars synced, accessing your stuff from anywhere, streaming and sharing photos, and keeping your iTunes music and purchases synced between computers and devices. Lion (OSX 10.7) or newer is needed to use iCloud.

Updating Hardware

Reasons for buying a new computer besides a failing computer disk drive and the like, are for faster computing processors, faster graphics, more memory and disk space, faster USB ports, and brighter, sharper screens.

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                                                          HelpLow Disk Space Warning Message
Ron Sharp

Warning
                                                    messageHere’s some help if you’re getting a low start-up disk space warning even though you should have plenty of disk space.

Different message boards list such problems and some people have found HP printer software to cause problems. HP support forums. Others have found Repairing Disk Permissions using Disk Utility solved the problem.

A very likely cause is the helper app Flash Player causing problems, enabling browsers to store endless amounts of data on the hard drive. To correct this problem, go to System Preferences and select Flash Player. Then in the Flash Player preferences select “Storage” and “block all sites from storing information on this computer.”  Then go to the Advanced window and click the “delete all” local storage button.



system
                                                  preferences

flash player

advanced tab

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MHT Icon  SSDs, what you should know (3rd party drives)

July 10, 2013

I replaced the hard drive in my MacBook laptop in September 2012 with a SanDisk SSD. It works great, by the way, very fast. But it wasn't until now that I found out things one should know about Solid State Drives. (SSD) This, for the most part, does not apply to Apple computers that come with Apple SSDs.

First, the NAND technology used in flash drives has limited writes life. Currently at about 3000 to 5000 writes to a drive, then they become read only. Wow, it seems like that should have been mentioned on any site that was promoting SSDs. But I hadn't read it until now. So it's important to limit the number of writes to the drive that are unnecessary.

Second, there is an Operating System (OS) function that keeps your drive healthy. Unfortunately it only works with Apple hard drives. You can check this function by opening System Information and clicking on Serial-ATA, and selecting your hard drive. Scroll down the information about your drive until you see Trim Support. It should say "yes." If not, then you should get other software to do this job.

Third, there is a function with laptops that they store information before going to sleep. It's called hibernation, and it should be turned off. There are Terminal commands that can take care of this, and other adjustments for third party SSDs, but even better, there are free applications to improve OS functionality with SSDs.

The app Trim Enabler will tweak the system to turn on Trim Support. The app Chameleon SSD Optimizer also adjusts the Trim Support but handles several other adjustments as well.

For more information and Terminal Commands to make changes manually, check out this website: http://icomputerdenver.com/ssd-optimization-for-mac-os/

Trim Support
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Common File Extensions


File
                      Extensions

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