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Get up-to-date advice and information about using cloud services and
products in Take Control of the Cloud, Second Edition by Joe Kissell.

Opening a Playlist Window in iTunes 12.6

iTunes 12.6 adds a feature that has been absent for a few years, the ability to open a playlist in its own window. To make this happen, Control-click the playlist name in the sidebar and choose Open in New Window from the contextual menu.

Posted by Tonya Engst (Permalink)

Are Apple’s Airport Base Stations Dead? How Do We Go Forward?

A customer wrote in recently, asking for Glenn’s take on the state of Apple base station line, and wondering how to go forward with improving his home network. Here’s what Glenn had to say:

We don’t have a great set of answers yet, partly because Apple hasn’t officially canceled its products. A lot of people like some of the new mesh networking systems, but they can be a steep investment ($300 to $500 to equip a home), and I expect prices will drop significantly this year due to competition among established companies and startups.

As long as your Wi-Fi hardware keeps working, don’t upgrade! And you can swap in third-party routers that are similar, but about 50% as expensive as Apple’s, if one of them fails. I like the TP-Link Archer C7 (not C8) and bought one for about $90 to replace a dead AirPort Extreme 802.11ac model. It’s worked perfectly and has required almost no administration after setup.

Posted by Tonya Engst (Permalink)

Joe Paperlessly Documents His Revised Book on MacVoices

Joe, sporting a refreshed version of his purple “Joehawk,” returns to MacVoices to fill Chuck Joiner in on what is new in his latest revision to the paperless office book, including information on new scanners (book scanners seem to be hot these days), revised scripts, a fresh look at online services that help with your paperless office quest, and more that we could tell you about if we hadn’t forgotten to scan our handwritten notes before we shredded them…

Posted by Michael E. Cohen (Permalink)

Dropbox Hosting of Web Sites Soon to Disappear

When we published the 1.1 version of Take Control of iWeb in 2011, we were excited about adding a “Publish to Dropbox” topic that explained how to use Dropbox as a Web host. The features were limited, but it was free (or low cost) and easy to set up.

Dropbox has been slowly removing this option, first by eliminating the Public folder from new accounts, and then, in 2016, by discontinuing HTML Rendering as a feature for all Dropbox Basic accounts.

And, Dropbox has now announced that as of September 1, 2017, the Public folder and HTML Rendering will be discontinued from all Dropbox accounts.

For more information, see the Dropbox support article, The Public folder.

Posted by Tonya Engst (Permalink)

Kirk Riffs on the Second Edition

Kirk and Chuck Joiner of MacVoices discuss what’s new in the second edition of Kirk’s book (including coverage of new features and new interfaces for older features), why splitting iTunes into separate apps may not be practical, and tips for classical music management.

Posted by Michael E. Cohen (Permalink)

Updated Presets in HandBrake 1.0

Video-ripping app HandBrake has finally reached version 1.0 — actually 1.0.2 as of this writing. With that comes a few minor changes, but the most significant for readers of “Take Control of Apple TV” are the new presets. The now-legacy AppleTV 3 preset I recommended in the book is still there, but you should instead choose the Apple1080p60 Surround preset, which is now the best-quality Apple-compatible HandBrake preset.

Posted by Josh Centers (Permalink)

Joe explains the “most fun” book about death you’ll read this year

Ignore the purple hair (or, like us, revel in its sublime beauty) as you listen to Joe explain to Chuck Joiner of MacVoices how he came to write this book. Though you won’t hear Blue Öyster Cult’s “(Don’t Fear) the Reaper” playing in the background, the tips and tactics Joe offers for controlling your digital legacy may leave you humming it.

Posted by Michael E. Cohen (Permalink)

Slack Adds Threads

Slack has finally added one of its most requested features: threads! Updated versions of Slack for all platforms and the Web now allow you to start a thread in reply to any message. Threads are shown in both a channel-specific sidebar in the Web and desktop apps, and in a pane in the mobile apps. You can also view threads in which you’re a participant in a new All Threads/New Threads view reachable from the sidebar. I wrote a TidBITS article explaining the feature and how best to use it.

At this writing, we have no plans to update this book. The addition of threading didn’t change other features in the ecosystem.

Posted by Glenn Fleishman (Permalink)

Sierra Users: Don’t Edit PDFs in Preview

macOS 10.12 Sierra has been plagued with PDF problems. First, there were problems with PDFs created using ScanSnap scanners, but those issues turned out to be relatively mild and Apple addressed them in the 10.12.1 update.

Unfortunately, 10.12.2 Sierra ushered in even more troubling issues with PDFs. Developers have reported a number of PDFKit problems, most notably the OCR text layer being deleted when manipulated by apps using PDFKit, including Preview. The main takeaway is that you shouldn’t use Preview to edit PDFs until these issues are resolved, hopefully in 10.12.3. In the meantime, if you have to edit a PDF, either work only on a copy, just in case, or consider investing in Smile’s PDFpen, which annotates and edits PDFs independent of Apple’s PDFKit.

For more about this problem, read the TidBITS article Sierra PDF Problems Get Worse in 10.12.2.

[Fixed? In the release notes for the 10.12.3 Sierra update, which were made available on January 23rd, Apple says that the update “fixes an issue that prevented the searching of scanned PDF documents in Preview.” Other PDF-related problems appear to remain in Preview, so continue to work with caution even after you install this update. See Apple Releases macOS Sierra 10.12.3, iOS 10.2.1, tvOS 10.1.1, and watchOS 3.1.1, in TidBITS, for more information. —Tonya, 1/24/2017]

Posted by Josh Centers (Permalink)

Josh Explains What’s New with Apple TV and tvOS

Apple TV, slowly but surely, continues to gain features and capabilities, this time with its new TV app and Single Sign-on capability. Josh and Chuck Joiner of MacVoices discuss the state of streaming TV, Apple TV’s place in this dynamic and highly contested market, and what’s new in the latest edition of his book. Adjust your rabbit ears, sit back, and enjoy.

Posted by Michael E. Cohen (Permalink)