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Typography and punctuation geeks rejoice! It's easy to type an em-dash on the iPhone's or iPod touch's virtual keyboard. To do so, tap the .?123 key to switch to the numeric keypad. Then touch and hold on the Hyphen key to reveal a pop-up strip showing an em-dash. Slide to the em-dash and release your finger.

Note that this basic trick works with many other keys on the virtual keyboard.

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Two New TidBITS Sponsors: Useful Fruit and Econ Technologies

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We're tremendously pleased to announce that we have not one, but two new TidBITS sponsors joining us today. Even more exciting from my perspective is that I didn't have to do much work in setting up the sponsorships, thanks to the enthusiastic efforts of Lorene Romero, a well-known figure in the Macintosh user group community who is now handling advertising sales and marketing for TidBITS. If your company is interested in joining today's new sponsors, Useful Fruit Software and Econ Technologies, plus stalwarts like Bare Bones Software, Fetch Softworks, Mark/Space, MacSpeech, CrashPlan, and SmileOnMyMac, contact us at sponsors@tidbits.com and Lorene will get in touch.

Thanks to both Useful Fruit Software and Econ Technologies for their support of TidBITS and the Macintosh community!


Useful Fruit Software -- The deliciously named Useful Fruit Software produces Pear Note, note-taking software for the Mac that I would have loved to have when I was a college student. It's easy to type notes into a MacBook while you're in a lecture or a meeting, but what sets Pear Note apart is that it can record audio and video as well, synchronizing what you type with the appropriate spots in the recording. Even better, you can drop PowerPoint and Keynote presentations into Pear Note and it automatically integrates them into your notes. And as you change slides within Pear Note, following along with the lecture or meeting, it also synchronizes your notes with the slide changes. Finding notes you've taken after the fact is a mere search; you don't have to file notes carefully to be able to find them later.

The just-released Pear Note 2 costs $39.99 and there's a 30-day free trial available. It requires Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard or 10.6 Snow Leopard, and if you want to record audio and video, a microphone and video camera. If you take notes on your Mac in classes, lectures, or meetings, I'd strongly encourage you to give Pear Note a try. And, yes, before you ask, Chad Sellers of Useful Fruit said that they are working on an iOS version, which I'm looking forward to, since I'd love to be able to sync photos of slides with recorded audio and text notes (especially now that the iPhone supports Bluetooth keyboards).


Econ Technologies -- Whereas Useful Fruit is relatively new to the Mac world, having started in 2008, Econ Technologies was founded in 1991. If you're wondering, the company's name stems from a shortening of the nearby Econlockhatchee River in central Florida.

Nowadays, Econ Technologies is best known for ChronoSync, an extremely full-featured file synchronization program that can be used to sync files between Macs, back up selected files, and make bootable backups of your entire hard drive (even over a network, which only Carbon Copy Cloner and Retrospect can do as well). All of that can be done ad hoc, or on a schedule.

There are tons of synchronization programs out there, but when I was looking for a way to synchronize the iPhoto Library package between my Mac Pro and my MacBook, I settled on ChronoSync (along with ChronoAgent, an add-on utility that improves performance and works around permissions issues). Since the iPhoto Library isn't even a normal folder, and because there are a variety of files that need synchronization within the package, I didn't trust just any program to get it right. Not only could ChronoSync do the job, but Econ Technologies had a page outlining the specific settings necessary to handle iPhoto's oddities. It has performed exactly as desired since.

ChronoSync 4.1 costs $40, and ChronoAgent 1.1 is another $10. Both are compatible with Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger and later. If you need to keep files in sync across multiple Macs, ChronoSync is definitely worth a look.

 

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Comments about Two New TidBITS Sponsors: Useful Fruit and Econ Technologies

Ken Cohen  2010-08-09 08:57
I've used Chronosync for a while now to sync all the several thousand office files on my iMac at work with my iDisk on MobileMe. Works very well, and I always have access from anywhere (including my ipad and iPhone) to my up to date office data.
Aaron Titus  2010-08-09 18:23
I've used ChronoSync for years to sync important folders like Documents between my laptop and desktop. I sync in the morning when I get to the office and in the evening when I leave the office. As a result, I always have my latest versions of files with me. One evening, I was working on my laptop when my hard drive died. I lost less than an hour of work because all of my files where on my desktop, synced with ChronoSync. Though not a perfect backup plan, it worked for me.