Thoughtful, detailed coverage of the Mac, iPhone, and iPad, plus the best-selling Take Control ebooks.



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Avoid Simple Typos

If, like me, you find yourself typing 2911 in place of 2011 entirely too often, you can have Mac OS X (either Lion or Snow Leopard) fix such typos for you automatically. Just open the Language & Text pane of System Preferences, click the Text button at the top, and then add a text substitution by clicking the + button underneath the list. It won't work everywhere (for that you'll want a utility like Smile's TextExpander), but it should work in applications like Pages and TextEdit, and in Save dialog boxes.

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Communicate Better with “Take Control of Messages in Mountain Lion”

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In OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion, Apple replaced the long-standing iChat program with Messages, which takes its interface cues from the iPad version of the program. Although Messages looks easy, many people have had trouble understanding how to integrate different chat services and Apple devices, now that messages can appear on Macs, iPhones, and iPads.

For instance, should you use iMessage or AIM to chat with your friend? What if he’s home on his Mac or out while using his iPhone? Can you add someone else to the chat? What if you want to switch to an audio chat? To video? For video, should you use Google Talk or FaceTime? And so on. The mechanics may be simple, but the setup and human interactions can be anything but simple.

To bring some sense to the situation, we asked networking guru Glenn Fleishman to explain how you can bend Messages to your will, and the fruits of his labor are now available for only $10 in the 113-page “Take Control of Messages in Mountain Lion.”

As noted, the basics of using Messages aren’t difficult, but we’ve found all sorts of confusions and gotchas that the book explains. With it in hand, you’ll discover:

  • The difference between SMS, instant messaging, and iMessage — plus why you should care.

  • How to convert your iChat experience to the brave new world of Messages.

  • Why it is that Messages lets you set up accounts at five different services (plus Bonjour), and how to figure out which you should use in any given situation.

  • In an iMessage account, how to configure which email address(es) and iPhone number(s) should receive messages on your Mac.

  • How to use Google Talk with Google two-factor authentication.

  • How to send messages — and set your online status — with an eye to etiquette and conventions.

  • What an instant-message buddy is, why it’s awkward that iMessage doesn’t have buddies, how to get buddies, organize buddies, and even delete or block a buddy.

  • How to exchange photos, videos, business documents, and other files via Messages.

  • The best way to add a spoken conversation or video to a connection, whether through an iMessage/FaceTime chat or an instant-messaging service.

  • How to view and control the Mac screen of the person you’re chatting with (or vice-versa).

  • And much more…

If you’ve found Messages awkward, “Take Control of Messages in Mountain Lion” has the explanations you need to make Messages work for you (or, in a few cases, to say, “Sorry, that’s just not possible”).

Check out the Take Control ebooks that expand on the topic in this article:

The new Messages app in Mountain Lion lets you chat via text, audio, and video, but are you taking full advantage of its features? Join Mac expert Glenn Fleishman as he explains the six account options, what's changed since iChat, status and etiquette, buddy lists, how to best send a message, and more.


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Comments about Communicate Better with “Take Control of Messages in Mountain Lion”
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James Wechsler  2012-11-05 21:22
Since only some people seem to be affected by the excessive data usage problem, it seems likely that, if it is an iOS 6 problem, it is because some other app is compromising a weakness in the iOS.