Monday Morsel - Keyboard Calisthenics

Keyboard calisthenics to stretch your fingers and increase your productivity

Good morning, Tech Me Back friends! One of the things I’m frequently asked is what I just did on my keyboard to cause my computer to do something. The answer is normally a great keyboard shortcut. Many of my clients are mouse-oriented, meaning they use the mouse to access menu items rather than using the keyboard shortcuts that are built-in the Mac OS. There are great shortcuts to discover and use, so for today’s morsel, I’m going to serve up a double helping of tips. For our last morsel of the year, let’s discuss 10 great keyboard shortcuts that can increase your productivity.

In this morsel, I’m referring to the “Command key.” This is also known as the Apple key or the propeller key. It’s the key directly beside your space bar.

1. Command-S to save
When you’re working on a document, save early and save often is a great mantra. Command-S ensures you won’t lose your work as you’re typing along. This is a pretty universal command and works in almost every application.

2. Command-Q to quit
The quick way to quit any application – not just close open windows in the application.

3. Command-Tab to move between open applications
Rather than using your mouse to go to the dock and switch between open applications, use Command-Tab to jump from one application to another. Simply hold down command and hit the tab key until you get to the application you want.

4. Command-C to copy and Command-V to paste
I suppose these are truly two shortcuts, but they go together like a grilled cheese and tomato soup. These two shortcuts are immensely faster than going to the “Edit” menu and selection copy and paste. If you want to cut rather than copy, use Command-X.

5. Command-A to select all
If you’re using Command-C to copy text, many you want to select all the text. Use Command-A to select all the text, then Command-C to copy.

6. Command-Click for selecting multiple items in a list
You’ll use your mouse for this, but it’s a great timesaver. If I want to select multiple files, select the first file and then press and hold the Command key as you’re selecting the other files. Bingo, you’re selecting all of the files at once.

7. Command-Delete to move items to the trash
This is such a great trick. If you’re working in a folder and want to delete a file, you don’t have to drag it to the trash. Simply click on it once to select it, then press Command and Delete on your keyboard to move that file directly to the trash.

8. Command-Shift-4-Space Bar to take a screenshot
This little-known keyboard combination allows you to capture a screenshot of the active window. You’ll hear a “camera shutter” sound as the computer snaps the screenshot. The resulting screenshot will appear on your Desktop.

9. Command-[ to go to the previous page in Safari
How often do you need to go back when you’re using Safari? Instead of using the mouse to click the back button, hit Command-[ (that's a square bracket).

10. Command-Z to undo
OH! I didn’t mean to do that. Most of us say that at least once a day when we’re at our computers. Command-Z undoes the last thing you did – as long as you haven’t saved the file in the meantime.

Some of these require that you stretch your hands a bit across the keyboard, but the benefits of working quickly and efficiently on your Mac are really impressive. I wish you a safe, happy, and healthy New Year!


Yo ho ho, and a bottle of rum!

Sid Meier's Pirates!

“Raid the Caribbean as a 17th-century pirate captain in this epic, open-ended seafaring adventure. Based on Sid Meier's original masterpiece, Pirates!, Sid Meier's Pirates! has you facing countless dogged enemies, wooing fair maidens and raising the Jolly Roger on the high seas in pursuit of riches. Discover what it takes to become one of the most famous pirates in history!”

Pros: Excellent gameplay! Simple, easy to follow plot. Great graphics and sounds. This game can be easily played on iPads and iPad Minis and Macs. G-rated fun for the whole family. A lot of fun – my favorite game on the iPad, iPhone, and Mac!

Cons: Graphics somewhat cartoonish but given the wide age group that this game appeals to, it’s fine. Dancing with every governor’s daughter gets tiring and repetitive. Kiss your free time goodbye as this is a very addicting game! If you’re loved one says he/she is “only going to play for a little while,” trust me, he/she is lying!

Comments: I have been playing a variant of this game since the mid-‘80s and each version is better than the last but holds true to the fun gameplay of the original. You choose your nationality and roam the open seas in search of a better life whether through trading goods with other seaports or raiding other ships or both. You start out with a small ship and no titles or notoriety but, little by little, you start to make a name for yourself and local governors bestow you with titles, rank and privilege. Impress the local governor’s daughter enough and you might even take her hand in marriage. You’ll face dirty, cutthroat pirates as well as exceptionally trained naval crews from various nationalities such as Spain, England, Holland, and France as you battle your way to the top of the list of famous pirates.

Sid Meier’s Pirates for iOS is
the game for the iPad/iPhone. Sid Meier’s Pirates is also the game for the Mac. You’ll play for hours and hours. A definite must have!

iPad version:

iPhone version:

Macintosh version:


Monday Morsel - Live!


Each week I try to fill the Monday Morsel with information that will help you get the most you can from your technology. The world moves quickly and life’s demands can be challenging to the point some days, you may feel like the world is not much bigger than the computer or iPhone screen. It is.

With the holidays upon us, I’m going to digress in today’s Morsel and share five great quotes from Steve Jobs rather than tips and tricks. My wish for you is simple: Happiness, love, and the courage to pursue your dreams. Life is short. Live it!

“If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle. As with all matters of the heart, you'll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on.”

“Be a yardstick of quality. Some people aren’t used to an environment where excellence is expected.”

"Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become."

“Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice.”

“The journey is the reward.”

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from Eddy & Tech Me Back!


Sharing Files with AirDrop

Apple’s AirDrop is one of the great new features of OS X Lion (10.7) and Mountain Lion (10.8), and it provides a really easy way to share files between supported Wi-Fi-enabled Macs without having to connect through the local Wi-Fi network! You simply drag and drop your files to other AirDrop users.

To use AirDrop, go to the Finder and either choose
Go > AirDrop or press Shift-Command-R. You can also find AirDrop on the left sidebar of any Finder window. After invoking AirDrop, momentarily, it will automatically discover all the other Macs that are also running AirDrop near your Mac. In other words, in order to share via AirDrop, each Mac will have to have AirDrop running.

To share a file, you simply drag it onto the other person’s Mac icon. Your Mac will send a file sharing request to that person and that request will appear as a pop-up on their screen. As soon as they accept your request, your file will automatically transfer to that person’s Downloads folder. Voilá! You’re done!

An advantage to Apple’s AirDrop is that it is network agnostic meaning that you'll see their Mac regardless of whether they are on your own network or not!

So give it a try today!


Macs that support AirDrop in OS X Lion and later:

If your Mac is the same as, or newer than, the models listed below, then it supports AirDrop.

  • MacBook Pro (Late 2008 or newer)*
  • MacBook Air (Late 2010 or newer)
  • MacBook (Late 2008 or newer)*
  • iMac (Early 2009 or newer)
  • Mac Mini (Mid 2010 or newer)
  • Mac Pro (Early 2009 with AirPort Extreme card, or Mid 2010)

* The MacBook Pro (17-Inch Late 2008) and the white MacBook (Late 2008) do not support AirDrop.

Monday Morsel - Siri (Part 3 of 3)

A few more thoughts on Siri

For the past couple of weeks I’ve devoted the Monday morsel to Siri because I think it’s a revolutionary product, and that when properly applied, it’s a great tool. In today’s Monday Morsel, I’d like to share five final thoughts on Siri – a few more things Siri can do for you.

To invoke Siri, simply press and hold the "home" button on the iPhone or iPad until you hear the two-tone chime. Let's get started!

Get info from your iPhone

If you consider the information you have stored in Contacts, Calendar, Notes, and Reminders, your iPhone is a treasure-trove of information. Sometimes you need to access that information. For example, you might need to give a friend the phone number for the general contractor who built your shop or share a birthday. Rather than searching for that on your phone, ask Siri to do it for you. “What’s the phone number for Tartan Builders Group?” “When is Ashley’s birthday?”

Check your calendar

Who needs an assistant when you have Siri? If you’re making plans and want to be sure you’re available, Siri can check your calendar for you. “Am I free on Saturday?” “What appointments do I have on December 18?”

Check the weather – or the time

If you miss the evening news and want to check the weather, Siri can get that information for you. If you’re traveling, Siri is a great help as well. “What is the high temperature today?” “What is the weather in Dallas for Friday?” “What time is it in Madrid?”

Search the Web

I think of this like the old “Information Please” almanacs. If you have a quick, closed-ended question, Siri can search the Web and provide you an answer. “What is the population of Charlotte?” “What is the capital of Thailand?”

Simple commands

Little things mean a lot. So if you’re traveling and struggle to remember where you parked the car, ask Siri to make a note. “Make a note: I parked in Long Term lot 2, section N.” Ask Siri to set a timer. “Set a timer for 10 minutes.” Ask Siri to wake you in the morning. “Set an alarm for 6:05 a.m.” You see where I’m going with this. Siri can handle the minutia.

I hope the "Siri Series" was helpful to you!

Have a great week! If you need assistance with Siri or any other technology challenges, give me a call.


Monday Morsel - Siri (Part 2 of 3)

Let Apple's Siri help you

In today’s Monday Morsel, let’s focus on getting things done with five great things Siri can do for you.

Since it was introduced in October 2011, Siri has gotten a lot of attention in the news - some good, some bad, some just plain silly. Folks have been distracted by the fact that you can ask Siri to tell you a joke or to answer an existential question, but lost in that hubbub is the fact that Siri can be a remarkably useful tool. I’ve been putting Siri through some paces over the past few months and have been pleased with the results.

To invoke Siri, simply press and hold the "home" button on the iPhone or iPad until you hear the two-tone chime. Let's get started!

Send quick text messages or email

Be specific in your instructions and speak your command all at once. Siri will handle it. So to send a text message, press and hold the "home" button until you hear the two-tone chime and then speak into your phone: “Siri, send a text to my wife that I will be home in 30 minutes.” Or, “Send a text to Greg that dinner Thursday night sounds good to me.” Likewise, you can say, "Siri, send an email to my Mom." Siri will then ask you what the email's subject should be and then ask what you would like your email to say. Just follow her voice prompts and you're sending an email without having to type it. Cool, huh?

Call people

Similarly, instruct Siri to dial your phone rather than looking at your phone to dial. Simply speak into your phone, “Siri, call my mother,” or “Call Rob at work.”

Set alarms and timers

Whether you’re going to be or just want to be reminded to do something 45 minutes from now, Siri can handle your light work. “Siri, wake me up at 5:00 a.m. tomorrow” or “Set an alarm for 45 minutes.”

Remind yourself

I spend a lot of time in the car and set a lot of reminders while I’m on the go. Well, Siri sets a lot of reminders! Give it a try: “Remind me to call Paul at 7 o’clock tonight” or “Remind me to return Wendy’s call.”

Get directions

When I’m not sure how to get to my next appointment, I ask Siri to help. That’s right – I’ve been known to ask for directions! “How do I get to Carlos’ Café from here?” or “Get me directions to Connie’s house.”

This is just a sample of the great things you can do with Siri. If you’d like to discuss how to make Siri work for you, give me a call – or ask Siri to call Tech Me Back for you!


Monday Morsel - Siri (Part 1 of 3)

Talk Siri to me

Since Siri was introduced in October 2011, the app’s communication style has proven frustrating for many people. Maybe you’ve tried to use Siri speaking in a normal voice at a normal pace and had a frustrating experience. Or maybe you’ve given up on Siri’s functionality and see it as just a novelty.

Just like a person, Siri has its own communication style. Beyond enunciating proper names and phrasing commands in certain ways, following a few basic tips when talking to Siri can result in a completely different experience. In today’s Monday Morsel, let’s focus five tips for how to talk to Siri so you can unlock Siri’s usefulness.

First of all, to invoke Siri, simply press and hold the "home" button on the iPhone or iPad until you hear the two-tone chime. The tone indicates that Siri is waiting for your instructions. Let's get started!

Be specific

General instructions can be confusing. Go to the corner and turn. Which corner? Turn which direction? The same is true with Siri. If you give general instructions, it can get confused. Be specific in your instructions. Instead of saying, “Launch iTunes,” give a command, “Play playlist: Oogie Brown.”

Make sure you have a strong connection

Siri sends commands through a remote server in order to process your speech. To ensure the best results, check how many bars of cellular or Wi-Fi service you have. A strong connection on your phone – either Wi-Fi or cellular – makes a difference.

Give the full command all at once

When you give Siri a command, give the complete instructions all at once. Don’t worry about it being a run-on sentence. The complete details are what Siri needs. Instead of saying, "Delete the reminder,” give Siri the details, “Delete the reminder to go to Best Buy.”

Speak full names clearly

Using full names will help Siri choose the correct person. If Siri doesn't understand a proper name the first time you say it, the program will usually list options from your Contacts. When you choose the intended person, Siri makes an association – essentially learning how you pronounce names. After you say the same name several times and always pick the same corresponding option, Siri will be able to choose the correct person right away.

Add relationships

The Siri commercials feature people asking an iPhone respond to relationship words like “wife,” “dad,” and “daughter.” This works, but only after you give Siri the information needed to establish those relationships. You can do this by adding that information in Contacts or by teaching Siri those relationships. Give Siri a command once with the term, such as, "Call my brother." Siri should then ask you who is your brother, and you'll be able to save that information in your Contacts. From then on, Siri will know the relationship and respond to commands that reference it.

These may seem like basic tips, but they are the building blocks for Siri. I hope you have a great week, and that you spend some time talking to Siri. If you need assistance, give me a call.


How to Rotate & Crop Photos on iPhone

To Rotate and/or Crop a photo on your iPhone or iPad, simply find the photo in your Camera Roll and touch “Edit” in the upper right-hand corner of the screen.

Photo 1 of 4
The photo you want to edit

Photo 2 of 4
After touching “Edit,” you’ll be presented with the following options. Touching the arrow allows you to rotate the image and touching the cropping marks allows you to edit the image. The “magic wand” does automatic photo correction and the “red eye” (the red dot with a slash in it) button allows you to remove unwanted red eye in photos.

Photo 3 of 4
Touch “Crop” to actually perform the cropping.

Photo 4 of 4
Touch “Save” to save your changes. Voilá! You’re done!

Monday Morsel - Mac Maintenance

Keeping your Mac in tip-top shape

In many things, a little maintenance goes a long way. While you probably think of maintenance as a matter for your car or home, there’s also basic maintenance that keeps your computer running well and that can often extend the life of your computer. In today’s Monday Morsel, let’s discuss five simple things you can do to keep your Mac in tip-top shape.

Run your updates

In addition to releasing new versions of the system software at regular intervals, Apple also releases a stream of free software updates to enrich and safeguard your computing experience. All of this happens through System Update, which is part of Mac OS X. As part of maintaining your Mac, I’d recommend routinely checking for updates and installing the applicable updates that appear. It’s simple and normally takes just a few minutes. Simply go to the Apple menu in the upper left corner and select “Software Update...”.

Add RAM to your computer

One of the most common complaints I hear is that a computer is slow. Adding RAM, or Random Access Memory, is often a solution. In common usage, the term RAM is synonymous with "memory" which the memory available to programs, including your operating system – so increasing the memory available helps your computer run more efficiently and effectively. Installing RAM involves determining the maximum amount of RAM that can be installed in your Mac, purchasing the correct type of RAM, the installation of the RAM itself (often involves just removing a few screws!) and ensuring what you installed is correctly recognized by the Mac. It’s not terribly complicated, but if you’re skittish about opening your computer, call me rather than using your screwdriver to open your Mac. I can help you upgrade your RAM.

Consider a Solid State Disk (SSD)

Solid State Drives, or "SSDs" as they are commonly known by, are gaining popularity and many new computers actually offer them as an option from the factory. These drives replace traditional hard drives in a computer and, because they don’t have any moving parts, are recognized as generally being more stable and much, much faster. They’re pricey to the point that large drives are cost-prohibitive, so if you’re into a field or hobby that involves lots of large files, this isn’t the product for you. But for folks who deal in average size files, a SSD is worth the price. Swapping out a hard drive isn’t for the faint of heart, so if you’re interested in this upgrade, please give me a call.

Upgrade your operating system

As it relates to Mac OS X, most of the operating system upgrades are worthwhile. As the OS evolves, it runs faster and more efficiently, and includes new features that make your computing experience easier or at least more enjoyable. So if you’re not already running the latest, greatest “Apple cat” that you can on your Mac, what are you waiting for? Updating your operating system is worthwhile. To check what operating system your Mac has, click on the Apple and then on "About this Mac." A small window will appear and tell you the version. The current version is 10.8.2 or "Mountain Lion." Tech Me Back can help you with that, too!

Make sure you’re *not* running MacKeeper

I know, I know – the ads are great at convincing you to install MacKeeper. While I won’t come out and call it malware, many people do. My professional experience is that it quickly fills a drive with unnecessary log files and that can cause more harm than good. If you’re running it, uninstall it. If you’ve never installed it, you deserve a cookie for avoiding it.

Have a great week! If Tech Me Back to help with any questions or concerns you have, feel free to give me a call!


Monday Morsel - Thanksgiving Apps

Apps for before, during, and after Thanksgiving

Happy Monday and welcome to Thanksgiving week! I don’t know about you, but I have turkey on my mind. Of course, after turkey leftovers, I may change my story by the end of the week – but for now, it’s all about the big bird. Speaking of the big bird, have you looked lately at the number of apps that are specific to Thanksgiving that are available in the app store? It’s surprising!

In this week’s morsel, I’d like to spotlight five great free apps that will help you before, during, and after Thanksgiving.

1 - Thanksgiving Menu Maker
Tackling Thanksgiving dinner is no small feat. This app has you covered, providing recipes for everything from side dishes to desserts. After deciding what to make, it creates a shopping list, and also can prepare a schedule of what you should cook and when to avoid kitchen-area disasters. This is an iPad only app, which is probably best because you can take advantage of the extra screen size.

2 - Thanksgiving Coloring Book
Too many cooks in the kitchen? This app is great to keep people busy! This electronic coloring book has a variety of Thanksgiving images that are ready for your kids of all ages to color. There are 60 colors to choose from and a zoom in and out feature for coloring in tiny spaces. When you’re complete, you can share your art on Facebook, Twitter, or Tumblr. This one works on all iOS devices (iPhone, iPad, iPod touch).

3 - Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade
If you're watching the parade on TV or in person, this app provides a great guide. It includes parade line-ups, a schedule of event, a balloon locator, and tracking for Santa's float. This app helps you be sure you don't miss a thing. This one also works on all iOS devices (iPhone, iPad, iPod touch).

5 - ESPN ScoreCenter
After the meal, a lot of folks are interested in the games. If you’re an avid sports fan and you want to keep up with all of the Thanksgiving football games, then you’ll find ESPN ScoreCenter to be useful. It includes personalized scoreboards and live game details. When football season’s over, this app can help you keep track of basketball, baseball, hockey, and many other sports. This one also works on all iOS devices (iPhone, iPad, iPod touch).

6 - TGI Black Friday
This is probably my favorite app of the week. The day after Thanksgiving is known for great shopping deals. This app helps you plan ahead by viewing store ads and Black Friday deals from major stores such as Best Buy, Target, Walmart, and many others. You can also create a shopping list and compare prices to learn about the best deals before you leave home. It also works on all iOS devices (iPhone, iPad, iPod touch), so you can take your shopping plans with you – or make them while you’re out and about.



Monday Morsel - Be Safe!

Protect your time online

Early last week (before Halloween) I saw a Target commercial about holiday shopping. Once I got over the shock of the fact that it was still October and the ad centered on December holidays, I realized that turning the calendar page into November seems to indicate that we’re in holiday mode. If you’re starting to shift into that frame of mind, chances are that your holiday to-do list includes sending greetings, shopping, shipping and tracking, and making travel plans – all online.

Criminals are well aware that this is a busy time for online activity and they’re ready to take advantage. My Dad used to tell me that a lock just keeps an honest person honest, and not everybody’s honest. That means that sometimes you have to think like the criminals and take some precautions. There are lots of experts who make an excellent living fighting cyber crime. While I’m not one of those experts, there are a few ordinary things we all can do to protect our time online. In today’s Monday Morsel, let’s discuss five simple things you can do to protect yourself and others from cyber harm.

1. Don’t get too personal

Have you ever Googled yourself or considered the information that’s available to the general public through your Facebook profile or other social media information? It’s staggering when you consider the wealth of information out there. Criminals use this information to personalize scams or to get to know your routines. For example, if they notice you support a particular charity or retailer, that information can be used in fake solicitations, advertisements, or discount offers that ultimately compromise your security. This is called a "phishing scam" and is social engineering at its worst.

You also may want to reconsider the personal nature of some of the things you post, like when you’ll be on vacation, when your baby was born, or what time you come and go on the average day.

Finally, if you use Facebook, review your privacy settings. They don’t make it easy, but within Privacy, you can control who can search for your profile and if your profile is included in public search results.

2. Monitor your online spending

I don’t mean for budgetary reasons – that’s another morsel!

Many things happen behind the scenes when you buy something online, from the next steps that occur to the way your information is retained. Remember that when you make an online purchase, the payment information you entered may be stored somewhere. If you can, designate one card for online purchases. If you use PayPal, consider a special account that you use only for PayPal activity and ensure that account is not linked to your primary accounts. That insulates your main accounts in the event of a breach. And don’t consider yourself a worrywart if you check your online banking activity regularly. It’s easier to resolve fraudulent activity when it first occurs than after a few statement cycles have passed.

3. Check the rep

Big companies in different industries spend millions of dollars every year gaining your trust, although we’re not always aware of what they’re doing. When it comes to online shopping, we’re much more trusting and that can lead to trouble.

Generally speaking, you have the best online shopping experiences when you stick to known and reputable retailers. These retailers have experience around customer service, fulfillment, and returns – and, more importantly, are successful because they guard their customers’ information. Factor a retailer’s reputation into your decision about where to place an order.

In addition, if you’re buying from an online auction site (e.g. eBay) or a specialty site that features individual sellers (e.g. eBay or Amazon), take a look at the seller feedback before you buy and use your best judgment before you order.

4. Learn to recognize spam and phishing

Both spam and phishing are carried out over e-mail systems. Spam is the term used to describe e-mails from unsolicited sources, like the junk mail you receive at home. Spam is sometimes just an ad but sometimes it’s malicious. My rule of thumb is: Never open an attachment on an unsolicited e-mail, and be very careful about opening attachments from sources you do recognize. Your friend's email address may have been compromised and sending you malicious attachments.

Phishing is an attempt to trick you into revealing sensitive information, like bank account or credit card information. Most of us hear about phishing via e-mail, but it also occurs over the phone or by mail. When you receive an authentic looking e-mail, double-check it with a critical eye. Check where the links go before you click on them and check the senders real email address. Both of these steps can most often be accomplished by hovering your pointer over links in the message. Don’t hesitate to delete a phishy e-mail! Remember, banks don’t e-mail you asking you to follow a link and log in.

5. Take a breath

It is a great life lesson that things go wrong when you’re in a hurry. If you think about it, isn’t the morning when you’re running late always the morning when something goes wrong? When you’re hurried – and harried – you’re less like to take the precautions you should and more likely to fall victim. Take your time and remember that the holiday season isn’t about ticking things off your to-do list.

If you’d like to discuss these or other ways you can protect yourself from cyber harm, give me a call. Have a great week!


Monday Morsel - Details, Details!

Don’t get lost in the digital details

Good morning, friends! It’s almost the end of October and we’re preparing for trick-or-treaters this week. Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve had several conversations with clients frustrated about something that “broke” along the way when they changed a service or piece of hardware. With bundles and packages and free installation, sometimes you have to pause during a change to remind yourself that the devil can be in the details – even when the details are digital.

In today’s morsel, let’s take a moment to discuss five digital details so you won’t feel bedeviled.

Voice Over Internet Phone (VOIP) or other digital phone services

More consumers than ever before are taking advantage of using their high speed Internet connections at home to eliminate the need for a “land line” phone. In many ways, VOIP or digital phone services are a transparent change, but there are a few things to keep in mind.

Perhaps most important is your alarm system. If you have an alarm, it relies on your phone to send a signal to your monitoring company. When you change your phone, that signal can end up interrupted, which means your monitoring is ineffective. Word to the wise: if you change your phone service, contact your alarm system to test your alarm, confirm it’s working as it should, and adjust your monitoring as needed.

In addition, as it relates to digital phone service, keep in mind that some numbers cannot be dialed directly. For example, Charlotte Mecklenburg Government offers CharMeck Citizen Service by calling 311. For most users of digital phone service, 311 will not work. Instead, you need to call (704) 336-7600.

New hardware from your new service provider

Different service providers use different types of modems or routers, depending on whether the connection is broadband or a digital subscriber line. This is a detail that varies, so I’m going to speak in pretty general terms here and also address some of the technical aspects at a high level.

Many of my clients use wireless routers (Apple’s Airport) or wireless routers with some kind of associated storage device (Apple’s Time Capsule or other drive). These devices all work in conjunction with the devices that deliver your Internet service to your home. When you make a change in that order – for example, a change to your Internet service – it affects your other devices.

Sometimes the solution is as simple as turning off your router and turning it on again. Sometimes, it’s more complicated and you need to change the mode in which your device is running. If you’re considering a change, please give me a call to discuss the specifics.

New e-mail addresses

Changing your e-mail address seems like it would be pretty simple. Just set up the new account and go for it. Right? Well, in many respects, that is correct, but I’m including it on this list as a potential devil because of the things that may be associated with or attached to an e-mail address. It becomes tricky if you ever need to retrieve or reset a password and the associated e-mail address is one you’re no longer using. My advice: if you’re changing an address, keep the old address for a month or so if you can. As you receive e-mails at that old address, update your information.

Online accounts

Similarly, online accounts normally have an e-mail address associated with them. When possible, be sure the address is “portable.” By that I mean, if you move from the Charlotte area, you’ll lose your “” address, but not a “” address. Although it may seem unlikely, you don’t want to end up locked out of your account at your favorite online retailer.

Contact management

Losing somebody’s phone number or e-mail address can be an inconvenience, so imagine the frustration of losing every e-mail address. If you use Webmail to check and manage your email and don’t manage your contacts outside of that online service, a change to your Internet Service Provider would mean that you’ll lose those contacts.

I recommend using an e-mail client like Apple’s Mail or Microsoft Outlook to manage your e-mail rather than Webmail, and using a contact management program like Apple’s Contacts to manage your contacts. That gives you control over your information and removes the constraints of Web-based service.

I hope the week holds wonderful things for you! If Tech Me Back can be of assistance, please don’t hesitate to contact me.


Monday Morsel - New Tech Coming!

Exciting technology expected this week

Good morning, and welcome to a new week! October is winding down but doesn’t mean the month’s excitement has passed. This week holds the promise of an exciting week for technology as companies announce and release products they hope will lead holiday sales. Without delving into speculation, I wanted to take a moment this morning to look ahead to the five exciting technology announcements that will make this a big week.

Tuesday, October 23: Apple has scheduled a press event that will be a big day. There are lots of rumors about what the announcement will include, but there are three specific items I’m looking forward to hearing:

  • iPad mini – As of March 2012, Apple had sold more than 84 million iPads. Still, there are some folks who would like a smaller, lighter tablet from Apple. Enter the iPad mini, which is a great unknown, but there are myriad rumors about the specifications.

  • iBooks 3 – A smaller, lighter iPad will likely be a great device for reading. We don’t know what a new version of iBooks will include, but several eagle-eyed Apple watchers have noticed some listings in iTunes for books that require iBooks 3. We know something is on the way. Hopefully it will be a big deal for electronic reading.

  • iTunes 11 – The new version of iTunes was previewed during the iPhone 5 launch event, but has not yet been released. It is expected to bring a revamped iTunes Store design and offer a number of new features.

October 26: The Surface was announced in June, but the base model Surface with Windows RT, Microsoft’s take on the tablet, is due to be released this week. Pricing was announced last week starting at $499, with covers starting at $119. Right now, the Surface is officially on back-order. Hopefully that’s a real back-order and not a euphemism for a delay. Between the iPad we know, the iPad we expect,’s new Kindle models, and the Surface, this may be the holiday season of the tablet.

Also on October 26: Windows 8 will be released. I know, I know… I’m a Mac guy, so why does Windows 8 matter? Quite simply, Windows 8 is a major operating system change. It looks and works a lot like a mobile device like a smartphone or tablet. How well that will port over to a computer is a big question, so even though I’m a Mac guy, I’m keeping my eye on Windows 8.

Please give me a call if Tech Me Back can be of assistance to you this week!

Monday Morsel - Steve Jobs

Have courage this week!

Good morning, and welcome to a new week! This morning Charlotte is having its first really cool morning of the season, and many folks are enjoying a Columbus Day holiday today. So let’s get this week moving!

Last Friday marked one year since the death of Steve Jobs, Apple’s co-founder and, in many ways, spirit. In his memory, today I’d like to share five insightful Jobs quotes to get you through even the toughest week.

“Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn’t matter to me … Going to bed at night saying we’ve done something wonderful… that’s what matters to me.” – Wikiquote, as quoted in The Wall Street Journal (Summer 1993)

“We don’t get a chance to do that many things, and every one should be really excellent. Because this is our life. Life is brief, and then you die, you know? And we’ve all chosen to do this with our lives. So it better be damn good. It better be worth it.” – Fortune

“Almost everything–all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure–these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.” – Steve Jobs’ Stanford Commencement Address

“I’m as proud of what we don’t do as I am of what we do.” – Businessweek

“Here’s to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes… the ones who see things differently — they’re not fond of rules… You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can’t do is ignore them because they change things… they push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.” – Think Different ad campaign as narrated by Steve Jobs

Please give me a call if Tech Me Back can be of assistance to you this week!


Monday Morsel - iPhone 5 Review

5 +10

The iPhone 5 was released just 10 days ago and it’s been a hit with users and reviewers alike. I use my iPhone extensive and rely on many features and functions every single day. That’s important to note because while I expected an improvement upgrading from the iPhone 4, what I’ve found is that it’s a treat upgrading to the iPhone 5.

In today’s Monday Morsel, let’s talk about the iPhone 5. Don’t worry! This is not another review or a sales pitch. Instead, I’d like to share the five things I’m enjoying most about the iPhone 5. I think you’ll enjoy them, too.

It’s connected

Talk about life in the fast lane! The 4G LTE connection is quick to respond and everything, including data-intensive tasks like watching videos, is fast. In addition, because of the 4G LTE coverage, the numerous “dead zones” I’ve experienced as a longtime AT&T customer seem to be resolved. I won’t wax poetically about the how and why of this. Just know that it’s noticeably faster and coverage seems to be better also.

It’s fast

Adding to the speed factor is the overall responsiveness of the phone. Apple’s new A6 chip clocks in as the fastest iPhone ever. Apple says it’s up to twice as fast compared to the A5 chip in previous iPhones. Apps open faster, switching between apps is faster, pages load faster, email attachments appear quickly, and there are fewer slowdowns during the day. I’m sure part of this can be attributed to the improvements of iOS 6 software, but the new hardware plays a role.

The new chip also runs much more efficiently so between the speed and the efficiency, you will see a better battery life. I’ve noticed a difference and can make it most days without recharging. That’s a huge plus (and that’s important as extra Apple “Lightning” data cables with the new data connector are not readily available as of yet).

It captures my life

Years ago I relied on a Canon Elph for all my digital photos. As the camera quality improved in phones, I gradually found myself using my iPhone for snapshots. It’s always with me anyway. Some of the pictures left a bit to be desired, but I sacrificed the quality for the convenience. With the iPhone 5, I no longer feel that sacrifice.

The image quality of the iPhone 5 camera is wonderful! In all fairness, the new iPhone has the same 8 megapixel camera that’s in the iPhone 4S, but Apple has worked to ensure it fits better in the phone and that means better image quality. In addition, the camera focuses faster, the “shutter” is faster, and panorama is built-in. So you can ditch the apps you relied on to create panoramas.

It’s beautiful

This isn’t the most masculine observation, but we all appreciate beautiful packaging! The new iPhone 5 is thinner, faster, and lighter. While the extra height (just enough to allow for another row of apps) seems trivial, little things can mean a lot. Some will argue that it’s still not as large as some of the Droids on the market. That’s true, but those big Droids aren’t iPhones. The iPhone 5 is a lean, mean surfing machine. Additionally, the iPhone fits comfortably in your hands which is not something you can necessarily say about Android-based phones.

Beyond case, the display is incredible! The Retina display is bright and clear, and colors pop like never before. If you haven’t had a chance, hold one in your hand and watch a short video. You’ll be impressed by the screen’s aesthetics.

It talks to me

The joke in our house this week is that my wife is now a “Siri Widow.” If you had an iPhone 4S, Siri is no big deal, but if you’re upgrading from an older phone, Siri puts the “fun” in “function.”

I’ve mentioned in older posts that I find Dragon Dictation helpful because it allows me to multitask (for example, to drive and “write” an email). Dragon is great for many things, but Siri takes that usefulness to another level. Now I can not only write the email, I can instruct the phone to send the email to a certain recipient or to add a calendar entry for me. Not to mention, you can ask Siri to tell you a joke or to call you by a nickname if you’re feeling sassy. Winking

Using Siri takes training on both sides: you have to learn how to communicate with Siri and Siri has to learn to understand you. (Heavy accents are a challenge.) Be patient. Siri makes it worth learning a new trick.

Monday Morsel - Apple's Reminders

Apple’s "Reminders" - The Task Master

Life moves at the speed of – well, life. It’s non-stop and keeping up can be daunting. Since I bought my first iPhone in 2007, I’ve been searching for the right app to help me organize my life on my Mac and my iPhone. Maybe that’s expecting too much from technology, to look for a software solution to keep up with my tasks. It sounds relatively simple and there are many apps that promise this but not all deliver. Trust me when I say that because I’ve researched or tried about least 50 of them! In fact, some apps are so complex, it feels like you spend more time figuring out how to use them than you actually save by using them.

Apple added the Reminders app when it launched iOS 5 last year, wading into the task management world. Reminders wasn’t exactly a trailblazer, but it caught attention and people started to enjoy using it for simple organization tool. Last week’s launch of iOS 6 included a Reminders update that shows a little love for the common task. The app now is smarter and there are more ways to use it efficiently and effectively. Let’s consider five reasons why Apple’s Reminders is the task master.

Enjoy the simplicity

Reminders is pre-installed on your iPhone or iPad as long as you’re running iOS 5 or newer. The first time you launch Reminders, you only have one list: Reminders. You may look at the screen with that “Now what?” feeling. Don’t be intimidated by the simplicity.

You may choose to keep everything on that one list, or you may choose to organize your reminders into more specific lists: Shopping list, to do this week, etc. If you’re going to keep everything on that one list, these are the steps to create a new reminder:

  • Open the Reminders app and hit the button labeled with a plus symbol in the top right corner.
  • Give your reminder a title and then tap the return key.
  • To set the priority, alert time, or to add notes to your reminder, simply tap on the reminder’s title. You can also delete a reminder from within this menu.
  • To set a reminder by location, tap the ‘Remind Me’ tab and then switch the ‘By Location’ switch on. (I’ll address locations below.)

To create a list:
  • Tap the Edit button in the top left corner and select ‘Create New List…’. Give your list a name and then tap Done.
  • You can delete lists by pressing the same Edit button and then tapping the red icon alongside the list’s name.
  • To rearrange lists, tap Edit and then drag your lists into the order you’d like to see them in.

At any time, you can view your reminders in either a list or date format.

Find your place

In the section above, I stated that you can set a reminder by location. Because every iPhone has a GPS in it, you can assign locations to your reminders and Reminders will alert when you’re near an associated location. If you have a reminder about groceries and set the grocery store location, Reminders will alert you that you need milk when you drive by the store.

To create a location-based reminder:
  • Open Reminders and create a new task.
  • Tap on the newly created Reminder to get to the Details screen.
  • Tap on the Remind Me button, and then toggle the At a Location feature to ON. You’ll then have a choice to set your current location or an address from your Contacts list. You can also set the Reminder to notify you when you leave or when you arrive at the specified location.

Sync through iCloud

People who use lists successfully will tell you that part of what makes it work is that they have their lists with them all the time. It stands to reason that if you’re using Reminders, the only way it’s going to work is if you can access your reminders from every device, including your Mac, iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch.

  • Your reminders should automatically sync across all of your devices as soon as you login with iCloud. But if they don’t, navigate to the iCloud preferences in the Settings app. Please note that each device (i.e. Mac, iPad, iPhone, etc.) will have to be logged into the same iCloud account for syncing to work correctly.
  • Ensure that syncing for the Reminders app is turned on. To confirm this, launch the Settings app on your iPhone or iPad, and tap on the iCloud button. Use the same iTunes account for iCloud that you did in the previous step. Be sure that Reminders is toggled to ON. Do this on each iOS device you want to keep in sync.

Collaborate with others

Wouldn’t it be great to have some help accomplishing some of your reminders? Reminders can help you with that by allowing you to collaborate. To successfully share, you’ll need to sync your reminders through iCal (in Mac OS 10.7 or “Lion” ) or Calendar (in Mac OS 10.8 or “Mountain Lion” ).

  • Log in to using your iTunes ID. You’ll notice that there’s no icon there for Reminders. You’ll need to click on the iCal/Calendar icon, since that’s where Apple has located Reminders for now, just like on the Mac Desktop.
  • In the lower left-hand corner of iCal/Calendar, each list you’ve created will show up with a round, gray broadcast/radio icon. Click on that icon and a Share Reminders window will pop up.
  • Add the email addresses of the folks you’d like to share that List with and click the Share button to send them an email invitation.
  • Your recipient will be able to subscribe to the list. If you chose View & Edit for their email address on the iCloud website, they’ll be able to add things to the list as well.

Manage the details

I read an article last week about 50 small things you can do that will save you a minute each. One was about prioritizing the things you need to do when you write them down and the other was about using repeating items on your calendar. The former helps you figure out how quickly you need to pay attention to different tasks; the latter allows you to save yourself the time of creating another calendar item.

When you create reminders, you can include a tremendous amount of detail with them by editing the Details screen. Tap the small box next to the title to open the Details screen.

The Details screen allows you enter a due date, prioritize reminders, and add notes. Enter any additional information you wish as part of your reminder. Items that are low priority can be flagged as such, items that should have more attention can be flagged as high priority, and items you can get to eventually can have no priority. And, when you set a due date, you can repeat the item. (So you can remember to buy that birthday gift every year, no matter what!)

If you’re using a third-party app to manage your reminders (for example, Evernote), I hope you’ll give Reminders a try. It has become powerful tool that offers a simple solution to a complex situation. If I can assist you with setting up Reminders to work for you, don’t hesitate to contact me.


Monday Morsel - iOS6

Let's talk about iOS6!

This is an exciting week for users of Apple mobile devices. The really big news is the new iPhones that will be shipping starting Friday, September 21. In addition to new iPhones, there is also a new version of iOS - the foundation of iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch - set to be released Wednesday, September 19. That means that even if you're not buying a new iPhone, this week you'll be able to update the features on your iOS devices (like your iPhone 3GS, 4, 4S, iPad 2 & iPad 3, and various iPod Touch models).

In today's Monday Morsel, I'd like to discuss iOS6, the free and easy upgrade designed to make the things you do every day even better. Let's focus on five standout features that stand to make iOS 6 worth your immediate attention.

Maps will be one of the most significant changes about iOS 6. They've been redesigned from the group up. Now maps on your Apple devices are no longer Google Maps; they are built partly by Apple and partly with a hand from the GPS hardware and software maker TomTom. They will provide you turn-by-turn spoken directions, real-time traffic information, and a new feature called Flyover that will allow you to explore cities and landmarks with interactive 3D views.

There have been a number of apps over the past few years designed to manage your loyalty cards, digital coupons, tickets, and more. In theory, it's a digital way to streamline your wallet. For example, instead of carrying your grocery store's loyalty card, you keep that info stored digitally on your iPhone. Instead of printing your airline boarding pass, you send it to your iPhone and show that to the TSA agent and/or gate attendant.

Apple's getting a piece of that market with Passbook. Knowing that many companies, including Visa, MasterCard, Starbucks, and Intuit, are working to make mobile payments a part of mainstream retailing, the future seems to be wide-open around this feature. More than anything else about iOS 6, Passbook is the one I'm going to watch over time as I feel that it's a feature more and more people will use to help simplify their daily lives.

Would you believe that I'm excited about how Apple's changing the calling features on the iPhone? The iPhone will now be a better phone! Specifically, when you decline an incoming call, you can now instantly reply with a text message or set a reminder to return the call. You also can turn on "Do Not Disturb" to suppress all incoming calls and notifications. You will be able to enable this manually or schedule a recurring quiet time. You also will able to allow calls from your favorites or specific contact groups.

Mail hasn't received a major overhaul, but it's been redesigned a bit to be more streamlined for easier reading and writing. If only it would write for you!

In addition, the iOS 6 update will incorporate a VIP list. It's a preference that you establish that will send messages from designated users to a VIP inbox. No more missed message from the most important people in your life.

It also will be easier to add photos and videos to emails. Rather than attaching them, you'll just tap within the message you're composing and inset the photo or video on the fly.

Finally, and perhaps most logically, Mail will have an added function similar to many other apps: To refresh your mailboxes, simply swipe down.

Most of my clients know that one of the things I appreciate about Macs is that the OS does accessibility well. So if you or a member of your family is differently-abled, your Apple product has historically been easy to customize so that everybody can get the most from the devise.

With this release, iOS is catching up with three features for accessibility:

First is Guided Access, which is designed to help individuals with disabilities such as autism to remain on task and focused on content. Guided Access enables an iOS device to be limited to one app by disabling the Home button and restricting touch input to certain areas of the screen.

Next is VoiceOver, which is a screen reader for blind and low-vision users. VoiceOver is now integrated into Maps, AssistiveTouch, and Zoom.

Finally, Apple is now working with several manufacturers to introduce Made of iPhone digital hearing aids that will make it possible for those who wears hearing aids to easily use iPhones. That's a development that has been a long time coming, so I'm glad to see this happening. Also, for those of you kind readers that wear hearing aids currently, Apple's new iPhone has the following hearing aid ratings compatibility: iPhone 5 (Model A1428 – AT&T): M3, T4 and iPhone 5 (Model A1429 – Verizon/Sprint): M4, T4.

There are numerous other features and enhancements with iOS 6. These are just a few favorites that I wanted to share with Tech Me Back's Facebook friends. Don't hesitate to contact me if you have any questions about iOS 6 or other technology questions you may have!


Monday Morsel - iPhone 5

It's been a little more than two years since Apple released a major update to the iPhone. I realize that some would say that the iPhone 4S that was released in October 2011 was a major update, but even considering its innovative features, the 4S paled in comparison to the fabled iPhone 5. This week is the big week for iPhone fans itching for the next big thing (myself included). Apple has announced an iPhone event scheduled for Wednesday, September 12. Here comes the iPhone 5!

In today's Monday Morsel, let's take a few minutes to discuss the impending iPhone 5 announcement and five considerations for retiring your current iPhone. Because everything we know right now about the new iPhone is rumor, I'll focus less on what to expect from the new iPhone and more on what it means for your existing iPhone.

Think Long Term
For now, we don't know the capacity options that will be offered with a new iPhone. WIth each generation, Apple has increased the overall capacity to accommodate the improved photo and video quality, our expanding digital music collections, and the seemingly limitless appeal of apps.

When you're deciding which iPhone to buy, think long term. Certainly stay within your budget, but when you're preparing to make that purchase, buy the largest iPhone you can afford. It will accommodate your usage and also retain more of its value over its lifecycle.

Remember Your Accessories
A new iPhone invariably means new chargers (for your home, your car, your desk at work, etc.), new cases, and possibly new "other accessories." For example, I have a Studio Neat brand Glif tripod mount and stand for my iPhone 4. If the rumored dimensions of the iPhone 5 prove to be correct, I'll need to replace it.

This may seem insignificant, but in my opinion the cost of accessories should be a factor in your iPhone decision. They can quickly add up to quite a chunk of change. I'm mentioning that here in the spirit of full disclosure.

Repurpose Your Existing iPhone
Part of buying a new iPhone is deciding what to do with your existing iPhone. There always seem to be options. Many of my clients know that I enjoy repurposing old technology in order to extend its lifecycle, and an iPhone is no different. Here are some ideas for repurposing an existing iPhone:

  • Pass it along to a member of your family who is not yet eligible for an upgrade.
  • Enjoy the non-phone uses of your iPhone. Use it as you would an iPod Touch for a member of your family who does not need a phone. For example, if you have a child too young for a phone, your old iPhone is a great introductory device!
  • Unlock your out-of-contract iPhone and offer it to a family member or friend whose carrier does not offer iPhones.

Consider Its Resale Value
If you've decided to sell your existing iPhone, there are several options for you:

  • Probably the easiest option would be a turn it into Apple through their reuse and recycle program. If your old iPhone has monetary value, Apple will send you an Apple Gift Card. If not, they'll recycle it for you. From Apple it came; to Apple it shall return. Winking
  • Best Buy offers a similar program, although I'm not sure how the rates compare. But if you prefer Best Buy stores to Apple Stores, this may be the preferred route for you.
  • You also could choose to sell your iPhone locally through online classified ads such as Just be careful when using this kind of site. There are scams and scammers, so meet in public places only. And the market will surely be flooded with old iPhones, so your value may decline.
  • The international alternative to Craigslist in eBay. An eBay auction is not difficult, but it involves more steps than a simple sale - and there are fees at just about every step.
  • Lastly, there are many online sites that will buy your iPhone. They pay a fair price, although not top dollar. But it's quick, easy, and convenient. Go online, complete a form regarding the condition, get an estimate. Then ship the iPhone off (normally in a postage-paid arrangement) and you'll receive your bounty in exchange, either via PayPal or check. Two two consider are and (which is affiliated with Game Stop stores).

Prepare Your Existing iPhone For A New Life
If you use your iPhone for everything, before you replace it with your next "Precious," remember to prepare your existing iPhone for its new life. That means formatting the iPhone in order to completely erase your personal data. Perhaps the easiest way to so this is to restore the iPhone from within iTunes. If you've been enjoying iCloud for untethered syncing, you'll need to pull out your old cable for this step!

If you're considering a new iPhone, Tech Me Back will be glad to help you take that step. Don't hesitate to contact me if you have any questions!


Monday Morsel - Apple's Preview

Apple's Preview is one you don't want to miss!

Welcome to September, Tech Me Back fans! In today's Monday Morsel, let's take a few minutes to discuss Apple's Preview, a great little piece of software that is part of Mac OS.

Computing in the Internet Age means that life includes PDFs. I'm a big fan of PDFs because since they were introduced in 1993, they have become widely accepted and the file type truly lives up to its name, a Portable Document Format. PDFs are independent of the hardware, software, and operating system a computer is running, so they are great for sharing files and exchanging information. By encapsulating a complete description of a document - including the text, fonts, graphics, and other information needed to display it - a PDF speaks a universal language.

So, how do you "speak" PDF? Chances are that you, like millions of other computer users, rely on Adobe Acrobat. My challenge for you today is to abandon your Acrobat ways. Step away from the trapeze and instead embrace Preview. The name may lead you to think it's not much, but Preview is a powerful piece of software and one of my favorites. Here are five reasons why Preview is one application you don't want to miss.

Create PDFs

Creating PDFs is part of Mac OS, so special software required. For those who have been working with PDFs a while, you may expect that you need the "full version" of Acrobat to have this functionality, but you don't. Because Preview is part of your OS, creating PDFs is as well. Next time you need a PDF, simply go to print the file you're working with. The functionality to create a PDF is an option for you in the lower left corner of your print window. Automatically. In every application that allows you to print. It's that simple.

View and annotate PDFs

To view a PDF file, double-click it to open it in Preview, or drag the PDF file's icon to the Preview icon in your Dock. If you need to work with a PDF - to mark up comments, or otherwise annotate the file, Preview lets you do that with built-in annotation tools. You can zoom in or out, bookmark pages, add notes or highlighting, copy text, fill out forms, and more. The picture posted with this item provides an overview of all the tools.

Add your signature to any PDF

You can use Preview to take a picture of your handwritten signature and add it to PDF documents that requires your signature.

1. Choose Preview > Preferences, click Signatures, and then click Create Signature. Once you create a signature, you can choose Create Signature from the Signature pop-up menu in the Annotations toolbar.
2. Follow the instructions displayed on screen. Make sure your signature fills the box on the left and sits on the blue baseline.
3. When your signature preview looks correct, click Accept

When you're ready to use that signature, you'll use the annotations bar to add it to the file.

1. If you don't see the annotations bar, click Annotate in the toolbar.
2. From the Signature pop-up menu, choose your signature.
3. Click the locations where you want the signature to appear in the PDF. If you click a line, Preview will shrink your signature, if necessary, to fit on it.

Password-protect PDFs

Sometimes you may have a file that needs a little extra protection - a password to keep out wandering eyes. Preview includes an encryption feature that will allow you to add a password to any PDF.

1. Go to "File" and then "Save As."
2. Check the box labeled "Encrypt."
3. Choose a password and type it into the box.
4. Retype the password into the next box as verification.
5. Click the "Save" button.

Be sure you remember this password, because there's no way around the encryption once it is enabled.

Work with image files, too

You can use Preview to look at images, edit them, convert them to a different format, or start a photo slideshow. Many images (such as JPEG, TIFF, GIF, PNG) open in Preview automatically when you double-click the image file. If that doesn't happen, simply drag the file to the Preview icon on your Dock - or drag a folder of image to the Preview icon to open all of them at once.

Bonus tip of the day: If an image opens in a different application but you want it to always open in Preview, when you double-click it, do this one time:
Control-click the file, let go of the Control key, press the Option key, then choose Always Open With > Preview.
Or, select the image file, choose Get Info from the File menu, then change the "Opens with:" pop-up menu choice to Preview.

There are other great features of Preview that I've not covered here. If you'd like to learn more about how to use Preview more effectively on your Mac, Tech Me Back is here to help.


Monday Morsel - Apple's Calendar

Apple’s Calendar can be a real time saver!

Efficiency and organization experts love calendars because they can help you map out your appointments, meetings, and tasks for a day, a week – or a longer period of time. A good calendar system is the key to organizing not just your appointments, but also other things like birthdays, upcoming events, due dates, and deadlines.

Apple’s Calendar application is a great way to master your time. It was the first personal calendar application for Mac OS to support multiple calendars, including calendars you create and calendars to which you subscribe. Let’s start this week with five quick ways you can use Calendar to stay ahead of your time. (“Calendar” was known as “iCal” before the release of OS X 10.8 “Mountain Lion.” Many of the same features work in iCal as well.)

Be specific

Does it seem counterintuitive to say that creating additional calendars rather than dropping everything into one calendar can actually help you stay organized? It’s crazy talk – but it works. Calendar lets you see everything in a single window or choose to see only the calendars you want. With a click you can hide all of your wife’s calendar items or everything on the soccer calendar. That flexibility means you’re free to use a specific calendar to manage different types of things. For example, we use a “Home” calendar to remind us to do the home maintenance chores that are easily forgotten. Don’t be afraid to be specific with your calendars.

Share at will

It’s easy to synchronize Calendar across multiple mobile devices and computers. One option is to use tethered syncing (a USB-to-dock connector). The preferred way, however, to use Apple’s iCloud, which ensures that every Calendar edit you make automatically appears on your Mac, iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch.

In addition, Calendar lets you create invitations using information from Contacts, update your guest list, keep track of responses, and receive the latest status information. When you or another Mac user receives a Calendar invitation via Mail, it’s automatically added. Apple’s Calendar also works with Apple’s iCloud, and calendars from Yahoo and Google.

Rearrange when needed

You can move or delete Calendar events with the click of a mouse. Just be careful that you don’t get “click happy.” If you’re using iCloud and press that “Delete Event” item, it’s completely gone and will be deleted off all of your devices. If you’re considering a reschedule, Calendar gives you flexible viewing options. You can look at your schedule by the day, week, or month.

Subscribe to others

Rather than creating your own calendar, sometimes it makes more sense to use Calendar to subscribe to someone's published calendar, such as a family member, your work team, or a publicly available Calendar schedule. For example, a public schedule of holidays, your favorite sport team’s schedule, or the phases of the moon.

Include details

Calendar lets you add useful details to your calendar items like contact information, maps, directions, and URLs.


Dropbox for Mac and iOS

Always have your stuff when you need it with Dropbox.

Dropbox is a file hosting service operated by Dropbox, Inc. that offers cloud storage and file synchronization. The free Dropbox software allows users to create a special folder on their computers, which Dropbox then synchronizes so that it appears to be the same folder (with the same contents) regardless of the computer on which it is viewed.

Dropbox works on Mac OS X 10.4 “Tiger” and later; Windows 2003, Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Windows 7 (32 and 64-bit); Linux; Apple iOS; Google Android; BlackBerry OS, and web browsers.

A 2GB account is free and getting set up is easy!

To get started,
Please Click Here.


iPhone Version:

iPad Version:

Monday Morsel - Mac Backups

Ever wonder about that clock face with a counter-clockwise arrow that is shown on the menu bar at the top of your Mac's screen? It's Apple's Time Machine program, the built-in backup software that works with your Mac and an external hard drive (sold separately) or Apple's Time Capsule.

Curious about how to use it? It's pretty simple, actually. Connect the hard drive drive, assign it to Time Machine, and start enjoying some peace of mind! Time Machine automatically backs up your entire Mac, including system files, applications, accounts, preferences, music, photos, movies, and documents. As long as your Mac and hard drive are powered on and connected to one another, the Time Machine software will make hourly, daily, and weekly backups of your data to the external hard drive.

What makes Time Machine different from other backup applications is that it not only keeps a spare copy of every file, it remembers how your system looked on any given day—so you can revisit your Mac as it appeared in the past, hence the "Time Machine" name.

I'd be glad to assist with any questions you may have about TIme Machine. Have a great technology week!


Text too small in iCal (10.7)/Calendar (10.8)?

Having a large calendar on your Mac has always been helpful but Apple never gave you a way to make the text larger. As a result, as screen sizes grew larger and larger, like on the 22” and 27” iMacs, the calendars themselves were large but the text was positively microscopic. Unfortunately, there was no way to make the text larger.

When Apple’s rolled out the version of iCal in “Lion” (10.7), it quietly introduced a way to make the text bigger. This practice, thankfully, has continued in Calendar in “Mountain Lion” (10.8).

Here’s how to make the text larger in both iCal and Calendar. Simply go into iCal/Calendar and click on View in the menu bar and then select Make Text Bigger. Alternatively, you can press [COMMAND] [+] until the text is large enough for you. That’s it!

Apple's Time Capsule does the trick


Apple's Time Capsule does the trick

Some of my most urgent service calls come from clients who are faced with a "crashed" hard drive. When this happens, I do everything I can to restore data, but sometimes I am the bearer of bad news. It’s a struggle to face a client’s disappointment and hurt when I tell her I cannot restore the memories represented in pictures and movies; the family budget information held in the Quicken file and spreadsheets; the family history, work history, and documents created through countless hours of work. All of it is sometimes gone – literally in a click.

Sadly, most people don't take backing up their files seriously until something like this happens. Sure, there are services that can resurrect files from drives that have experienced natural and man-made disasters, but trust me when I tell you that it’s often not 100%, and it is cost-prohibitive. Rather than relying on that possibility as your safety net, I’d like to encourage you to think proactively about backing up.

My clients know me as a "belt and suspenders" kind of guy – an advocate of regular and redundant backups. When you start thinking about developing that kind of system, it can become overwhelming. It can make your head hurt, so it’s easy to put off those decisions for another time. Don’t put yourself in that situation. Apple (and Tech Me Back) can make it easy for you. Let's talk about four compelling reasons why Apple's Time Capsule does the trick.

Ease of use

Time Capsule is essentially an Airport Extreme Base Station with a built-in hard drive. To back up your files, it uses the Time Machine application that is installed on your Mac as part of your operating system to “talk” to your computer. If you already have a wireless router – Apple or any other brand – in your home, the Time Capsule replaces that piece of equipment.

Setting up the Time Capsule is simple if you’re comfortable with basic networking concepts. You use the Airport Admin Utility to complete this step. Of course, if you don’t like the “alphabet soup” of networking (IP, DHCP, LAN, etc.), I know a good Mac guy who can help you!

It does the work

The thing I love about the Time Capsule is that it does the work for you. Sure, you can go out and buy another hard drive and hook it up to your current wireless router and manually run your backups. That sounds like a great plan, but it also sounds like one more tick on your personal to-do list. Not to mention that fact that the inherent flaw in the plan is that it requires your intervention in order for your backup to be completed. Calendar alerts are easy to dismiss or ignore and life happens to be best of us. You’ll run the backup right after you get back from soccer practice. That sounds a bit like doing your homework when you were in high school, doesn’t it? I personally tried this approach for years and finally found myself asking why I was trying to work around a technology solution designed to make my life easier. Do yourself a favor. Let Time Capsule do the work.

It backs up every Mac in your house

If you have multiple Macs in your house, Time Capsule can back up and store files for each Mac running OS X Leopard (10.5) or later that is connected to your wireless network. It’s just that simple.

It is inexpensive

There are two models of the Time Capsule: a
2TB model for $299 and a 3TB model for $499. That price may seem steep, but let’s think about this a little differently.

If you’re currently using an external drive to back up your computer, it probably cost you around $100. If you have multiple computers with multiple drives, it’s easy to extrapolate that figure.

If you have a wireless network in your house, chances are that you paid for your wireless router. An
Airport Extreme Base Station costs $179.

For these two pieces of equipment, you’re at $279. Taking that $20 leap to get to a Time Capsule is not that hard – especially when you consider the time it saves you and the satisfaction you’ll have in knowing that your files are backing up.

Are you with me on the Time Capsule? Give me a call to discuss how one would fit into your network!

Monday Morsel - Too Many Passwords

Too many passwords to remember?

Do you have too many passwords to remember? It seems like everything requires a unique password now, and keeping track of them can is a chore. Let your Mac do that work for you!

If you're using the Post-It note system or another manual technique, I would recommend you consider 1Password by AgileBits. 1Password can create strong, unique passwords for you, remember them, and restore them - all directly in your web browser. I've been using it for about a year and it's a great tool!

iPhone Version:

iPad Version:


Orient the Map on the iPhone/iPad

Years ago in college, I took an Army ROTC class on Map Reading and Land Navigation and the Major teaching the course said something that always stuck with me: ALWAYS orient the map in the direction you’re heading!

With the introduction of the iPhone 3GS and its built-in compass, you can now orient the map in the direction you’re heading. How? Easy and this trick works with all iPhones starting with the iPhone 3GS such as the iPhone 4, the iPhone 4s and any iPads with an activated 3G or 4G cellular connection.

First: Bring up the Maps application by pressing the Maps icon shown here:


Second: Find your position on a map. To do so, press on the arrowhead in the lower left-hand corner (as indicated by the red arrow). The blue dot indicates your relative position on the map. Usually the map scrolls upwards which is not the direction you’re heading.

photo 1

Third: The map app will begin locating your position with additional precision. You may see a blue circle around the blue dot. The map, however, is still not oriented in the direction your heading though. Usually the map scrolls upwards which is not the direction you’re heading.

photo 2

Fourth: Orient the map in the direction you’re heading. To do so, press on the arrowhead in the lower left-hand corner (as indicated by the red arrow) again. You’ll notice the map will rotate and begin scrolling downward and you will see a whitish cone appear on top of the blue dot indicating your position and the direction you’re heading.

photo 3

NOTE: You may see the following screen which indicates that the compass is experiencing some interference. You may also notice that the whitish cone on top of the blue dot on the map is not directly on top of it but skewed to the left or right. Just follow the instructions on the following screen.


Quicken 2007 on Lion/Mountain Lion

Intuit has finally released an update to Quicken 2007 for Mac that will allow it to run Macs running Apple’s newest operating systems like Lion (10.7) and Mountain Lion (10.8). Other than allowing the program to be using on Macs running Apple’s newest operating systems, most users will notice little difference between the old PowerPC version and the new Intel version. Intuit has inexpensively priced this update at $14.99 but it’s a “must have” if you want to continue running this venerable program.

Please Click Here to got to Intuit’s website and download the software.