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

 

 

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Type Faster by Competing in Races

A fun way to improve your typing speed and accuracy is to join an online typing competition at typrX. This typing competition keeps track of your typing speed, while allowing you to compete against other people, either around the world in public races or with friends in private races. To set up a private race with your friends, follow these simple steps.

  • Once you have a typrX account, click the Create Private Race button on the front page and you’ll be taken to the private race page.
  • From there, copy the track code URL and send it to the friends you want to join the race.
  • You can click the Delay Countdown button to add 10 seconds to the clock if you are waiting on your friend to join the race.

Visit typrX

 

 

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TidBITS Podcast Now in iTunes Store

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At long last we've worked through all the picky little details so the audio versions of our articles are now listed in the podcast directory of the iTunes Store. Nothing much changes otherwise - we've been producing audio versions of our articles for quite a few months, but subscribing to them in iTunes is now merely a matter of following this link and clicking the Subscribe button in iTunes. Clicking the Podcast link on our site's navigation bar will also take you to iTunes, and you can of course also search for TidBITS in the iTunes Store; we hope being listed will bring more people to our podcast.

Because these are audio versions of individual articles (so they can be listened to directly on our Web site as well), they're generally quite short, with most lasting between 3 and 5 minutes and one paragraph news items around 1 minute. Longer articles generally top out at 10 to 15 minutes. I mention this because if you have a 30 minute commute, you might find it awkward to keep fiddling with your iPod to move to the next article after one finishes.

To work around this problem (making it possible to drive more safely - see "Use iPods Cautiously While Driving," 2007-04-09), simply create a smart playlist in iTunes that selects all the tracks whose album matches "TidBITS". Then sync that smart playlist to the iPod and access it via the Playlists menu rather than the Podcasts menu. You could also do this on the fly: select the TidBITS podcast in the Podcasts menu and press and hold the center button for a second to create an On-The-Go playlist, from which you can play all the articles in the order listed. You may wish to turn off the shuffle setting on your iPod as well.

We're not trying to do a fancy-pants podcast with snazzy music and professional-level editing that would require time and money we'd rather spend elsewhere, but I hope you enjoy being able to get your TidBITS fix audibly while you're driving, doing yard work, or at the gym.

 

New for iOS 8: TextExpander 3 with custom keyboard.
Set up short abbreviations which expand to larger bits of text,
such as “Tx” for “TextExpander”. With the new custom keyboard,
you can expand abbreviations in any app, including Safari and
Mail. <http://smle.us/tetouch3-tb>