Thoughtful, detailed coverage of the Mac, iPhone, and iPad, plus the TidBITS Content Network for Apple consultants.

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 #1163 on 2013-03-04

Frustrated by passwords? We have the solution in our latest ebook, Joe Kissell’s “Take Control of Your Passwords” (complete with a “Joe of Tech” comic and a funny intro video). In other TidBITS news, listen to the staff roundtable discussion about our email strategies and be sure to check out the New Republic article that keys off a previous staff roundtable, along with Adam Engst’s interview on KCRW radio. But enough about us! Jeff Carlson covers the flap over the buggy Kindle app, Adam examines the re-approved DataMan Pro, and Glenn Fleishman explains how you can join for free. Feature articles include Josh Centers’s review of the visual communication app Napkin and Matt Neuburg’s look at what’s new in our TidBITS News app, complete with a trip back through iOS history. Notable software releases this week include Scrivener 2.4, CrashPlan 3.5.2, DEVONthink and DEVONnote 2.5, and PDFpen and PDFpenPro 5.9.5 — all apps that, coincidentally, we’ve covered in Take Control books.

TidBITS #1162 on 2013-02-25

Lots of great stuff for you this week, leading off with Agen Schmitz’s look at iOS 6.1.2, which fixes a serious bug communicating with Microsoft Exchange Server. Josh Centers and Joe Kissell team up for a pair of email-focused articles, with Josh reviewing the much-heralded Mailbox app for the iPhone and Joe suggesting kindly that if you’re having trouble staying on top of your email, it’s not email in general or the app you’re using that’s the problem; it’s you that needs to change. Adam passes along the news of additional Microsoft accreditation for consultants at MacTech BootCamp events in 2013, and examines the popular but controversial Kickstarter campaign to create an open-source version of the HyperCard-inspired LiveCode development environment. Notable software releases this week include TextWrangler 4.5, Adobe Acrobat XI and Reader XI 11.0.02, Transmit 4.3.2, KeyCue 6.4, Java for OS X 2013-001 and Java for Mac OS X 10.6 Update 13, iTunes 11.0.2, Firefox 19, and BusyCal 2.0.3.

TidBITS #1161 on 2013-02-18

If you’ve been thinking about getting a new MacBook Pro, you’ll be pleased to learn that Apple has improved a few specs and dropped a few prices, making the laptops even more compelling. Much of the rest of the issue skews toward opinion this week, with a staff roundtable discussing why we all continue to support Apple despite massive changes in the company and the industry, Adam’s minor rant about how multimedia-enhanced ebooks aren’t about to replace titles that rely solely on plain text and static graphics, and a number of ExtraBITS links to articles worrying about the decline in Apple’s software quality. For those looking to set up a new Web site, Josh Centers anchors the issue with a detailed look at the design-driven Squarespace hosting service. Finally, we’re pleased to welcome as our latest long-term sponsor Metadot, makers of the clicky Das Keyboard. Notable software releases this week include Fission 2.1.2, Mailplane 2.5.11, Skype, MacBook Pro SMC Firmware Update 1.7, Mellel 3.1.3, BBEdit 10.5.2, Microsoft Office 2011 14.3.1, and BusyCal 2.0.3.

TidBITS #1160 on 2013-02-10

This issue brings you the second set of our picks from Macworld/iWorld 2013, but that’s only the beginning. In the news, we recommend that iPhone 4S users avoid iOS 6.1.1 unless you’re already having problems with iOS 6.1, and Rich Mogull explains the best way to protect yourself against the latest Flash vulnerability without losing complete access to Flash Web sites. Glenn Fleishman looks at the significant price hikes from in-flight Internet provider Gogo, and Steve McCabe puts the different English dialects of Siri to the test. Finally, we’re pleased to welcome our latest sponsor, Connected Data, makers of the Transporter social storage device. Notable software releases this week include Sandvox 2.7.6, AirPort Utility 6.2 for Mac and OS X Server 2.2.1.

TidBITS #1159 on 2013-02-04

We’re pleased to bring you our first look at cool new products from last week’s Macworld/iWorld trade show, along with Adam Engst’s thoughts about the real problems that Apple faces, which aren’t the same as those the mainstream media seems to focus on. Adam also examines what’s behind Apple’s emphasis on the professional user with the new 128 GB iPad. Lastly, Joe Kissell looks at the ioSafe Solo G3 hard drive, which is waterproof, fireproof, and theft-resistant, and even comes with free data recovery in case of damage — the question is if it’s worthwhile. Notable software releases this week include Java for Mac OS X 10.6 Update 12; SMC Firmware Updates for MacBook, MacBook Pro, and MacBook Air; and Microsoft Office 2011 14.30.

TidBITS #1158 on 2013-01-28

A number of TidBITS staffers are assembling in San Francisco for Macworld/iWorld 2013 this week, and if you’ll be there too, be sure to stop by our first-ever ebook signing at the Smile booth. Also this week, we’re pleased to announce the release of Kirk McElhearn’s “Take Control of iTunes 11: The FAQ” to answer all those iTunes questions that iTunes 11 engendered for you. Agen Schmitz reports on the just-released iOS 6.1. Jeff Carlson and Michael Cohen cover Apple’s Q1-2013 earnings announcement, in which a record $54.5 billion in revenues, coupled with $13.1 billion in profit, disappointed analysts. For those looking to write on the iPad more, Josh Centers reviews the powerful Nebulous Notes app, and if you’ve always wondered what version of Mac OS X you can include with a Mac you’re selling or giving away, Adam Engst has all the details. Apple is persnickety about Mac OS X licenses, but what has Adam more worked up is the company’s lack of respect for professional users — read on for his story about how Pages 4.3 completely changed (and broke) graphics handling in exported EPUBs without so much as a mention in the release notes. Notable software releases this week include Things 2.1.1, Evernote 5.0.5, and Fantastical 1.3.6.

TidBITS #1157 on 2013-01-21

We’re getting ready for next week’s Macworld/iWorld trade show, but in the meantime, you’ll learn about how to preview Markdown files via Quick Look, hear the TidBITS staff offering constructive criticism about how Apple could improve iOS, find out what features the latest version of Bento loses, discover what little you can do to organize your ebook collection in iTunes and iBooks, and choose an alternative to Apple’s weak Podcasts app. Notable software releases this week include Quicksilver β71, Sandvox 2.7.4, LaunchBar 5.4.1, and PDFpen and PDFpenPro 5.9.4.

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, 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 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, 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 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 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, 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 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 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.

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