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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While all the articles in each mailed edition of TidBITS are available as individual articles, we also archive each edition in three forms (substitute an issue number for number):

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TidBITS #1156 on 2013-01-14

Two bits of sad news occupy this week’s issue: the suicide of Internet activist and advocate Aaron Swartz, and the closing of the pioneering podcast network ITConversations. On a happier note, Jeff Porten has filed not one, not two, but three reports of new products from CES 2013, some of which might even ship someday. Back in the world of the practical, Adam Engst explains how to remove duplicates from the Finder’s Open With contextual menu and looks at Amazon’s new AutoRip service, Josh Centers shares how iFlicks can improve an iTunes video library, and Rich Mogull answers the question of whether or not Mac users need antivirus software in today’s world. Notable software releases this week include MacBook Air EFI Firmware Update 2.6, Firefox 18, and Fission 2.1.1.

TidBITS #1155 on 2013-01-07

We’re back from our break, refreshed and ready to delve into whatever 2013 may bring. To get you started on the new year, we have a wide-ranging issue. Agen Schmitz leads off with brief coverage of the iOS 6.0.2 release for the iPhone 5 and iPad mini, and Adam Engst follows up with a warning about how some users are seeing unexpectedly poor battery life after updating to 6.0.2. Michael Cohen passes on the news that Google Sync will cease to be available for new devices later this month, Glenn Fleishman writes about the City of Seattle’s gigabit Internet plans, Jeff Carlson ponders the design-driven trend away from outsourcing manufacturing to China, and Rich Mogull examines Apple’s security efforts in 2012. Notable software releases over the past few weeks include Carbon Copy Cloner 3.5.2, Airfoil 4.7.5, SpamSieve 2.9.6, BusyCal 2.0.2, Typinator 5.4, and BBEdit 10.5.1.

TidBITS #1154 on 2012-12-17

This is our last issue of 2012, so our holiday gift to you is plenty of reading material to keep you informed and entertained over the next three weeks! For those looking for a last-minute gift for that Mac user who has everything, well, they probably don’t have Mac-compatible versions of the beloved video games brought back to life by GOG.com, as Jeff Porten explains. Also, Josh Centers shows how to redeem iTunes gift cards using your Mac’s camera, and we link to our latest live staff roundtable recording (audio and video) talking about iTunes 11 and antivirus app accuracy. In the iOS world, Adam Engst compares the new Google Maps app with Apple’s Maps app, Glenn Fleishman reviews 1Password 4 for iOS, Josh Centers looks quickly at the new Dropbox iOS app, and Michael Cohen explains how edition updates work in iBooks 3. Notable software releases this week include Dropbox 1.6.5, Lightroom 4.3, iTunes 11.0.1, Sandvox 2.7.3, TextExpander 4.0.4, TinkerTool 4.95, and Mac mini EFI Firmware Update 1.7.

TidBITS #1153 on 2012-12-10

There’s something for users of each of Apple’s hardware platforms in this week’s issue. For the Mac, Glenn Fleishman leads off with a look at what’s new in BBEdit 10.5, and Adam Engst runs down the features that Apple actually removed from iTunes 11 (and how to work around those changes, where possible). For the iPad, Michael Cohen shares his favorite tools for drawing cartoons, despite years of practice failing to give him any artistic ability. And Josh Centers joins us with a look at five apps Apple could delete from the iPhone without many users noticing — you may agree or disagree, but we’ll bet you have your own list of default iPhone apps you never use. Lastly, we’re going to update the free TidBITS News app for iOS 6 soon, so if you ever want to use it in iOS 4.2 or iOS 5, download it now. Notable software releases this week include SOHO Organizer 9.3.1, OmniFocus 1.10.4, PopChar X 6.1, ChronoSync 4.3.6 and ChronoAgent 1.3.7, Final Cut Pro X 10.0.7, Mactracker 7.0, and iWork 9.3.

TidBITS #1152 on 2012-12-03

The big news this week is iTunes 11, slipping in under the wire of Apple’s second promised ship date and bringing with it a completely new interface and a few new features. Agen Schmitz runs down all the new features, Jeff Carlson looks at how you’ll manage your iOS devices differently in the new version, and Adam Engst examines the new interface elements in iTunes with an eye toward how they might appear in future versions of OS X. Also this week, our new Take Control Live video series debuts with Joe Kissell talking about working with your iPad, Josh Centers shares the fix to an Apple TV update problem, and Adam gets into the holiday spirit with the tale of how we can brighten some children’s Christmases by giving away old electronics on Freecycle. Notable software releases this week include Hazel 3.0.15, CloudPull 2.1.7, Snapz Pro X 2.5.1, TweetDeck 2.1, Audio Hijack Pro 2.10.6, and Thunderbolt Firmware Update v1.1.

TidBITS #1151 on 2012-11-26

We’re back from our Thanksgiving break with a number of great articles for you. Glenn Fleishman reports on how a public radio group identified a bug in iOS 6 that caused huge bandwidth spikes for popular radio shows, and Adam Engst explains how to use the new DataMan Pro iOS app for tracking which apps are consuming your valuable cellular data. Adam also looks into what’s good and bad in the Mountain Lion-compatible update to Ambrosia Software’s Snapz Pro X screen capture utility and shares his positive experiences with receiving a personalized song via the clever AcoustiCards iOS app and a real-world gift via Facebook. Steve McCabe anchors the issue with an in-depth look at using WordPress as an alternative to the iWeb/MobileMe combination. Lastly, don’t miss our latest TidBITS Presents “Explaining the Big 3 Confusions with Messages” with Glenn Fleishman. Notable software releases this week include OS X Mountain Lion 10.8.2 Supplemental Update 2.0, Microsoft Office 2011 14.2.5 and 2008 12.3.5, PDFpen and PDFpenPro 5.9.2, Dropbox 1.6.0, CrashPlan 3.4.1, BusyCal 2.0.1, Typinator 5.3, and Fission 2.1.

TidBITS #1150 on 2012-11-12

The iPad mini has arrived, and Jeff Carlson immediately focused on using it in his photography — not as a camera, but for reviewing, editing, and sharing shots while in the field. In the news, Apple has now publicized the use of icloud.com email addresses for all iCloud users, and the revitalized Retrospect 10 improves backup performance and multi-platform support. Also, Kevin van Haaren contributes an article about how his family used the Glassboard app and service to create a private social network to stay in touch during a family medical crisis. We were busy with other efforts last week too, so be sure to check out our latest ebooks — “Take Control of Mail on the iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch, Fourth Edition” and “Take Control of Networking & Security in iOS 6” — and don’t miss our staff roundtable discussing election coverage technology and whether Apple will be switching away from Intel chips in future Macs. Lastly, we’re taking next week’s issue off due to the Thanksgiving holiday in the United States — look for our next email issue on 26 November 2012! Notable software releases this week include MacBook Air and MacBook Pro Update 2.0, GraphicConverter 8.3.1, VMware Fusion and Fusion Professional 5.0.2, and LaunchBar 5.4.

TidBITS #1149 on 2012-11-05

Mountain Lion’s Messages app gets attention this week as we announce the release of Glenn Fleishman’s new “Take Control of Messages in Mountain Lion” ebook and our next live TidBITS Presents event on 14 November 2012, when Glenn will explain the top three confusions people have been having with Messages. Also this week, don’t miss our coverage of iOS 6.0.1, the 50-percent DealBITS discount on BeLight Software’s Art Text, and Adam Engst’s look at the recent Apple management shakeup. Plus, Glenn shares his experience of being on the Jeopardy TV show and throws cold water on Apple’s claim of “doubled” Wi-Fi throughput in the iPad mini and fourth-generation iPad. Lastly, we’ve finally found room in an issue for Steve McCabe’s lengthy iPhone 5 review, if you’re still pondering a purchase. Notable software releases this week include Parallels Desktop 8.0.18314, Screenflow 4.0.1, Sandvox 2.7, Safari 6.0.2, iPhoto 9.4.2, Aperture 3.4.2, and PDFpen and PDFpenPro 5.9.

TidBITS #1148 on 2012-10-29

Clear the decks, because we have a double-sized issue for you this week, thanks to Apple’s announcements and other happenings in the Mac world. The big news is of course the release of the iPad mini and fourth-generation iPad, plus the new iMac, the new 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina Display, and the speed-bumped Mac mini. Apple also released iBooks 3.0 and iBooks Author 2.0, plus held its regularly scheduled earnings call to report $8.2 billion in profit for Q4 2012. We have all the details of those announcements, plus a DealBITS drawing for Art Text. Changing gears, Adam shares what’s new in our favorite calendar program — BusyCal 2 — and unveils our latest free book: “Take Control of Calendar Syncing and Sharing with BusyCal.” Then Matt Neuburg tracks down everything that’s known about how iOS 6 mysteriously consumes massive quantities of expensive cellular data for some users. Finally, don’t miss ExtraBITS, since we point to three of our own articles that we simply couldn’t fit into this issue, along with breaking news (shortly before we published) of an Apple management shakeup that sees senior vice presidents Scott Forstall and John Browett leaving the company. Notable software releases this week include FileMaker Pro 12.0.3, Skype 6.0.60.2946, and DEVONthink and DEVONnote 2.4.3.

TidBITS #1147 on 2012-10-22

While we gird ourselves for Tuesday’s Apple announcement (An iPad mini? A ultra-compact iCar? A floor wax?), we have a spate of great articles for you. Adam Engst reports on the MacTech Conference 2012 (including a behind-the-scenes trip to Disney Animation Studios), Tonya Engst looks in depth at the new features of AirPlay in Mountain Lion, Jeff Carlson rounds up all the new photo-related features in iOS 6, and Michael Cohen gets geeky with an explanation of how Apple Mail in Mac OS X and iOS notify you of new email messages in completely different ways. Be sure to check the TidBITS Web site tomorrow for our coverage of Apple’s announcement!

TidBITS #1146 on 2012-10-15

After announcing both the new TidBITS Events public calendar and the release of Sharon Zardetto’s “Take Control of Safari 6” ebook, we have a pair of big-picture pieces for you this week. Jeff Porten returns with a thoughtful article about a talk given by astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson on what makes a technology cool (and what the age of cool artifacts says about that technology). Then Adam Engst explains how to think like a publisher — and why everyone who creates information for others, regardless of the specific situation, needs to pay attention to these lessons from the world of publishing. Notable software releases this week include TweetDeck 2.0, Firefox 16.0.1, and Voila 3.3.

TidBITS #1145 on 2012-10-08

It’s an opinionated issue this week, with Glenn Fleishman critiquing a particularly troubling New York Times article about Apple’s new Maps app before passing on the news that App.net has reduced its fees. Then Steve McCabe dons his pilot hat to examine the outdated FAA regulations surrounding use of portable electronic devices on commercial flights, and Matt Neuburg looks at new developer-level features in iOS 6 that will soon be reflected in what iOS apps can do for us. Notable software releases this week include Things 2.1, Sandvox 2.6.7, Hazel 3.0.13, Airfoil 4.7.4, Adobe Lightroom 4.2, OS X Mountain Lion 10.8.2 Supplemental Update, Mac OS X Lion 10.7.5 Supplemental Update, and iPhoto 9.4.1.

TidBITS #1144 on 2012-10-01

iOS 6 comes under scrutiny this week, after it is implicated in excessive battery drain and mysterious cellular data usage. Adam Engst traces his battery problems to corrupt Safari bookmarks, and Glenn Fleishman offers pointers to a number of people trying to understand why their iPhones are suddenly consuming significant amounts of cellular data. Adam also shares the latest news about what’s happening at the upcoming MacTech Conference 2012, and he examines the hullabaloo surrounding the massive criticism of Apple’s new Maps app in iOS 6, which prompted an apology from Apple CEO Tim Cook last week. Glenn also covers how Facebook Groups now allow Dropbox-based file sharing, and Kirk McElhearn looks in depth at the new Notifications feature in OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion. Last, but not least, don’t miss our 50-percent-off Take Control sale, specially extended through 3 October 2012 for TidBITS readers! Notable software releases this week include Server Admin Tools 10.7.5, OS X Server 2.1.1, Mellel 3.0.2, Aperture 3.4.1, and Airfoil 4.7.3.

TidBITS #1143 on 2012-09-24

We’re continuing to focus on Apple’s releases of last week: the iPhone 5, iOS 6, and OS X 10.8.2. Agen Schmitz leads off with an overview of what’s new in 10.8.2, and Glenn Fleishman rounds up the iPhone 5 reviews from sites who received early access. Then Glenn looks at the new Passbook app in iOS 6, and explains how to use your iPhone’s number with Messages in 10.8.2, before changing gears to review the new Fission 2 audio editor from Rogue Amoeba. Michael Cohen piles on with details about how Apple has integrated Facebook into Mountain Lion with 10.8.2, and Matt Neuburg revisits a favorite topic in explaining how 10.8.2’s improvement to the Save As command makes it better than ever before. Notable software releases this week include iBank 4.6, Growl 2.0, Parallels Desktop 8.0.18101, KeyCue 6.3, SpamSieve 2.9.5, Typinator 5.2, Microsoft Office 2011 14.2.4 and 2008 12.3.4, Security Update 2012-004 (Snow Leopard), Mac OS X 10.7.5 Lion Server, EFI and SMC Updates for MacBook Pro and MacBook Air, iPhoto 9.4, Aperture 3.4, Mac OS X 10.7.5 Lion, TechTool Pro 6.0.5, Coda 2.0.3, and GraphicConverter 8.3.

TidBITS #1142 on 2012-09-17

Apple last week showed off the iPhone 5 and iOS 6, with both slated to appear in the real world this week. In specific, iOS 6 will ship on 19 September 2012, with the iPhone 5 coming on 21 September 2012. We have all the details, along with how to work around Apple’s PO box-related ordering problems, a look at the new iPods that are due in October, Adam Engst’s fix for a wonky Mac App Store update error, and Glenn Fleishman’s explanation of how world travelers can pick the right iPhone 5 model. Jeff Porten wraps up the issue with a report from a security conference where cyber attacks are labeled “the biggest threat we face.” How should we react to such news? Notable software releases this week include DEVONthink and DEVONnote 2.4.2, PopChar X 6.0.1, and iTunes 10.7.

TidBITS #1141 on 2012-09-10

This week’s issue is brought to you by the letter A, with articles talking about Amazon, Android, Apple, AT&T, and App.net. But in an episode of “Which One of These Is Not Like the Others,” Michael Cohen leads off with a look at TextExpander 4’s new fill-in snippets. Agen Schmitz follows with all the details about Amazon’s new Kindle Fire HD, Kindle Paperwhite, and enhanced Kindle lineup. That encourages Glenn Fleishman to ponder whether a statement made by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos during the intro was targeted at Apple or Android. Not content to rest there, Glenn also does the math on AT&T’s new Mobile Share plans and looks in depth at App.net, a new social network that has more interesting goals than other such systems. Notable software releases over the past two weeks include ChronoSync 4.3.5 and ChronoAgent 1.3.6, VMware Fusion and Fusion Professional 5.0.1, SpamSieve 2.9.4, Dragon Dictate 3.0, iMovie ’11 9.0.8, Java for OS X 2012-005 and Java for Mac OS X 10.6 Update 10, Adobe Illustrator CS6 16.0.1, Adobe Photoshop CS6 13.0.1, Toast Titanium 11.1, Parallels Desktop 8.0, Hazel 3.0.12, Fantastical 1.3.3, and Firefox 15.0.

TidBITS #1140 on 2012-08-27

Last week was taken up in part creating video for you to watch, including an informal staff meeting in which Glenn explained App.net and a full TidBITS Presents panel discussion on “Protecting Your Digital Life” with Rich Mogull and Joe Kissell. In other news, Apple shipped OS X 10.8.1 Mountain Lion with a small number of bug fixes, the MacTech Conference 2012 is scheduled for October 17–19, and an update to the Boingo Wi-Finder app can track your wireless data usage to help prevent unnecessary charges. Our feature article this week comes from Steve McCabe, who forced himself to listen to lots of his favorite music while evaluating the online music streaming services Spotify, Pandora, and Last.fm. Notable software releases this week include Transmit 4.2, CloudPull 2.1.3, and VMware Fusion 5 and Fusion 5 Professional. Note that we’re taking next week’s email issue off for Labor Day — look for our next issue on 10 September 2012.

TidBITS #1139 on 2012-08-20

After three weeks of non-stop Mountain Lion content, we’re shifting back to more normal coverage, starting with the announcement of the live TidBITS Presents “Protecting Your Digital Life” event on 22 August 2012. But you don’t have to wait until then to read Adam Engst’s look at how new features in the latest iteration of TweetDeck radically improve the program, or his explanation of how to update Dropbox manually if its automatic update doesn’t work for you. Plus, Michael Cohen shares the story of how an aging cable modem caused his Internet performance to degrade slowly, and he also explains how to set default fonts in Safari 6, which has removed those options from its interface. Notable software releases this week include OmniFocus 1.10.3, ClamXav 2.3.2, and DEVONagent Lite, Express, and Pro 3.3.

TidBITS #1138 on 2012-08-13

As we head into the third week of Mountain Lion’s reign, we look in more depth at aspects of Apple’s latest big cat that are causing confusion. Glenn Fleishman and Jeff Carlson lead off with a look at the Caller ID feature of Messages (in Mountain Lion and iOS), which controls the account to which replies will be directed. Then, very much on the same path, Joe Kissell tries to run down exactly what account Apple Mail will use when creating or replying to messages. Lastly, Matt Neuburg sets his laser sights on the Modern Document Model in Mountain Lion, explaining how it’s different from — and better than — its equivalent in Lion. Notable software releases this week include Nisus Writer Pro 2.0.4 and Express 3.4.3, DEVONthink and DEVONnote 2.4, and TextExpander 4.0.1.

TidBITS #1137 on 2012-08-06

Mountain Lion continues to monopolize our coverage this week. First off, for that in-person touch, be sure to watch our TidBITS Presents “Upgrading to and Using Mountain Lion” video. Otherwise, we’re exploring Mountain Lion’s territory in more depth, with Kirk McElhearn sharing tips for successful voice dictation, Shane Stanley explaining how Mountain Lion makes some subtle but important changes for anyone writing AppleScript scripts, Matt Neuburg showing how Mountain Lion fails to fix Lion’s poor interface with regard to Automatic Termination, and Adam Engst looking at how to bring Web Sharing back to Mountain Lion. Notable software releases this week include MacBook Pro Retina SMC Update 1.0, Coda 2.0.2, Airfoil 4.7.2, Audio Hijack Pro 2.10.5, TinkerTool 4.9, PDFpen and PDFpenPro 5.8.5, and Voila 3.2 and Boom 1.5.

TidBITS #1136 on 2012-07-30

Don’t say we haven’t been warning you! This issue focuses on OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion, released last week. We have three new Take Control ebooks about upgrading to Mountain Lion, using Mountain Lion, and Apple Mail in Mountain Lion to help you get started, but if you want to read something a little shorter to whet your appetite, Jeff Carlson offers a long list of interesting details about Mountain Lion, Sharon Zardetto contributes a review of the new Safari 6, Adam Engst looks briefly at the OS X Mountain Lion Up-to-Date Program for those who purchased Macs recently, and Glenn Fleishman is particularly pleased to share the news that Software Base Station in Mountain Lion finally offers decent security. On the only unrelated note, Michael Cohen runs down Apple’s Q3 2102 financial report. Lastly, Agen Schmitz does yeoman service in covering Apple’s Mountain Lion update to the iWork suite, along with a slew of notable software updates, most of which also relate to Mountain Lion. They include Fantastical 1.3.2, Firefox 14.0.1, Nisus Writer Pro 2.0.3 and Express 3.4.2, SuperDuper 2.7, Yojimbo 3.0.4, LaunchBar 5.3, Scrivener 2.3.1, MacBook Air SMC Updates 1.5 and 1.6, BusyCal 1.6.4, Aperture 3.3.2, iPhoto ’11 9.3.2, and iMovie ’11 9.0.7.

TidBITS #1135 on 2012-07-23

With July fast coming to a close without Mountain Lion having shipped, we continue our push to publish practical articles that aren’t specific to any particular version of Mac OS X. Jeff Carlson shares the story about how he replaced the optical drive in his MacBook Pro with a speedy SSD, leaving the 500 GB hard drive in place for large files. And Glenn Fleishman examines the problem of dealing with low-bandwidth situations while traveling or being tethered to an expensive mobile broadband connection. Also this week, Google buys the Sparrow email client, and Michael Cohen points to some nagging problems with iCloud as indication that Apple needs to improve the reliability of the cloud-based service. Notable software releases this week include Quicksilver β69, GraphicConverter 8.2, Carbon Copy Cloner 3.5, ChronoSync 4.3.4 and ChronoAgent 1.3.4, SpamSieve 2.9.3, MacBook Air and MacBook Pro Update 1.0, Alfred 1.3, CloudPull 2.1.2, Mellel 3.0, and SOHO Organizer 9.2.8.

TidBITS #1134 on 2012-07-16

While we all wait for Apple to release Mountain Lion, we have a slew of practical articles for you this week. Adam Engst explains how you can control your Apple TV with the same remote you use for your TV, and how to make sure you’re getting the bandwidth from your ISP that you’re paying for. Also, Agen Schmitz delves into the dark world of MPAA ratings and iTunes metadata to figure out how to apply them to videos he would prefer his five-year-old didn’t run across on the iPad. Plus, Adam covers the story about how Dropbox’s Public folder will be going away (but can be re-enabled) for new accounts, and we’re looking to find out which day of the week would be best for our upcoming TidBITS Presents: “Upgrading to and Using Mountain Lion.” Notable software releases this week include Microsoft Office for Mac 2011 14.2.3, iPhoto ’11 9.3.1, and Audio Hijack Pro 2.10.4.

TidBITS #1133 on 2012-07-09

We were heads-down last week, working to release Joe Kissell’s “Take Control of Upgrading to Mountain Lion” and the pre-order version of Matt Neuburg’s “Take Control of Using Mountain Lion,” so those announcements feature prominently in this issue. Also this week, Glenn Fleishman proposes a simple tweak to the iOS Camera app that could put QR Codes into the mainstream, and Adam Engst looks in depth at the fascinating collaboration tool Trello, which has become a core part of how we run TidBITS and Take Control. Notable software releases this week include Keyboard Maestro 5.3.1, SpamSieve 2.9.2, Hazel 3.0.9, and ClamXav 2.3.1.

TidBITS #1132 on 2012-07-02

The big news this week, which indicates it’s a bit of a slow time, was Apple’s release of the new Podcasts app, which lets you subscribe to and listen to podcasts on iOS devices. Podcaster Andy Affleck takes a look. Also this week, Bob Mansfield retires from Apple, we cover the closings of ZangZing and QOOP, the Dropbox-driven Calepin blogging platform goes open source, and Steve McCabe contributes a story of how he got the runaround from Apple both on an international iPhone replacement and on getting technical details about why the replacement wasn’t possible. Notable software releases this week include Aperture 3.3.1, CloudPull 2.1.1, and KeyCue 6.2.

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