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New iDisk Feature for Easier File Transfer

Earlier this month, Apple announced a new iDisk sharing feature. Working on the Web site, a user can select a file stored on their iDisk, and then just fill in a few simple options to send an email message containing a download link for that file and a custom message. All the recipient need do is click the link in the received email message. You can read more about it, and get directions, in Joe Kissell’s TidBITS article Apple Adds iDisk Sharing Feature to MobileMe.

Posted by Tonya Engst (Permalink)

Dropbox for Synchronized File Sharing

Dropbox is a new option that might appeal for sharing files among multiple computers you own and among work groups of varying people. It’s an Internet-hosted offering that provides 2 GB of storage for free, and 50 GB for $9.99 per month or $99 per year.

To use Dropbox, you install a small program under Mac OS X or Windows, as well as several flavors of Linux. The program creates a folder where you tell it to that looks just like a regular folder or directory. However, any items placed into, removed from, or modified within that directory are immediately and automatically securely synchronized with all other copies.

For an individual trying to keep certain files up to date among multiple computers, Dropbox is a simple way to avoid having to set up archives. While iDisk within MobileMe ($99 per year for all MobileMe services) can achieve this, it’s not a good option for non-Mac users, and it has delays in synchronizing. It’s also, frankly, not very clever about how it performs updates.

Dropbox also shines for workgroups. You can, via the service’s Web interface, take any folder and share it to a group of people you select. On accepting an invitation to share the folder (via email notification and then the Web site), the folder appears in their Dropbox folder and, again, works like any other folder.


p>Dropbox also archives files as you modify them, allowing you to download older revisions via their Web site. It also hosts simple photo galleries, and more. You can read more about Dropbox at TidBITS in Dropbox: A Collaborator’s Dream.

Posted by Glenn Fleishman (Permalink)

Ted Talks about Second Edition of iPhone Ebook, Jailbreaking

Get to know Ted better in this interview conducted by MacNotables host Chuck Joiner. Find out more about the development and goals for this ebook and hear Ted’s take on when (or if) jailbreaking your iPhone makes sense.

Posted by Tonya Engst (Permalink)

Joe Kissell at MacWorld Expo on MacVoices TV

Wondering what author Joe Kissell is like in real life? Joe gave 11 presentations at Macworld Expo last month, so some of you surely met him in person then, but if you didn’t, or for whatever reason, you can see him now on MacVoicesTV. Chuck Joiner from MacVoices caught up with Joe at Macworld Expo. You can watch (or listen) to their conversation, and learn about the types of Windows users that Joe encountered at the Expo. You can also learn Joe’s age, and what hardware caught his eye at the Expo.

Posted by Tonya Engst (Permalink)

“Take Control of Your iPhone, Second Edition” Offers Key Advice

It’s been a while since we’ve announced a new ebook, but we’ve been hard at work and are pleased to let you know that Ted Landau’s Take Control of Your iPhone, Second Edition is now available, and it is up-to-date for the latest iPhone 2.2.1 software release. Ted’s a writing machine, and he has pumped out a 183-page compendium (plus additional online resources) of the most useful information about the iPhone, with a particular focus on helping you work more effectively, avoid trouble, and fix any existing problems. The book normally costs $15, but as a limited time introductory discount, you can get it for $10 with the link above (follow the link, click the Buy Ebook button, and your discount should appear in the first screen of the shopping cart).

Taking the Murphy’s Law approach that if something can go wrong, it probably will, Ted explains how your iPhone figures out where in the world it is, how it connects to the Internet and cellular data networks, and how it communicates with your Mac. You’ll learn key details of syncing with iTunes and via MobileMe, how to manage your apps, and ways you can share files with your Mac. The ebook helps you get the most life from your iPhone battery and connect a Bluetooth headset, and it provides tricks for typing more quickly and accurately. You’ll find a cornucopia of advice for making the most of the main built-in iPhone apps, including iPod, Phone, Mail, Maps, and Safari. But that’s not all - extensive problem-solving sections help you solve network problems, resolve sync conflicts, avoid crashes, and, if necessary, restore an ailing iPhone from backup.

The ebook covers the iPhone from a Macintosh point of view, though most of the information is useful even if you connect your iPhone to a Windows PC. The ebook also covers the iPod touch; we just couldn’t figure out a clever way to work “iPod touch” into the title.


p>For those who have the preview version of the second edition “Take Control of Your iPhone,” click the Check for Updates button on the cover to access your free update. And if you own the first edition of the ebook, also use Check for Updates to look for a 50%-off discount on the upgrade. We’ve also sent email to these groups with details.

Posted by Adam Engst (Permalink)

New Macworld Superguides Cover Mac Security and Mobile Computing

Keeping up with our own Take Control authors is hard enough, but with our friends at Macworld putting together Superguides too, well, we fell behind in the end-of-year crunch in 2008. We now have Macworld’s two most recent Superguides in our catalog. The Macworld Mac Security Superguide is particularly interesting, thanks to its real-world advice to help you maintain your privacy online, protect your sensitive data, and keep your Mac safe from both malicious software and intruders. The ebook also helps you lock down your home wireless network, set up a firewall, and secure your data when computing in public. $9.99

And for those who are ditching the desk chair for a coffeehouse-based office for the first time, taking that first laptop to college, or switching to a job that requires tons of travel, the Macworld Mobile Mac Superguide helps you pick the best laptop for your needs, find Internet connectivity wherever you go, share files with your Macs at home, keep your data backed up while on the road, and work through common problems when you can’t easily call anyone for help. $9.99

The author lists for these ebooks again include numerous TidBITS and Take Control contributors - yes, it’s a small industry, and we work with the best.

Posted by Adam Engst (Permalink)

Google Sync Beta for iPhone

Google announced the availability today of Google Sync for iPhone. This service allows you to sync your Google Calendars and Contacts with your iPhone wirelessly, using push technology. The service requires you that you set up an Exchange account on your iPhone and that your iPhone is running iPhone software version 2.2 or later. You can see the instructions here, and you can see a list of known issues and limitations with the beta here.

Posted by Michael E. Cohen (Permalink)

Google Sync Beta for iPhone

Google announced the availability today of Google Sync for iPhone. This service allows you to sync your Google Calendars and Contacts with your iPhone wirelessly, using push technology. The service requires you that you set up an Exchange account on your iPhone and that your iPhone is running the version 2.2 firmware or later.

You can see the instructions here, and you can see a list of known issues and limitations with the beta here.

Posted by Michael E. Cohen (Permalink)

Take Control Site Now Running on ExpressionEngine

We’ve just finished a several-month effort to rewrite the extensive Take Control Web site in the ExpressionEngine content management system. Previously, we’d been using largely static files with a small number of dynamic elements, but as the site grew, it became unmanageable. With the talented help of Adam Khan of EngagingNet, we abstracted everything that we were doing into templates and database tables and rebuilt it in ExpressionEngine, which runs on top of MySQL and Apache.

Some things - notably URL formats - have changed, but for the most part, the site should look and work the same, and despite the new URLs, all old URLs should still work. If you notice any problems, please let me know at and I’ll check into it.

Thanks, and I certainly hope there’s no inconvenience for users at all.

cheers… -Adam C. Engst, Take Control publisher and chief Web monkey

PS: Be sure to check out the new cover graphics for our currently active books, courtesy of Jon.Hersh, a long-time friend and graphic designer!

Posted by Adam Engst (Permalink)

iWeb in iLife ‘09: Small Changes, Big Impact

At first glance, iLife ‘09 doesn’t appear to offer much in the way of improvements to the iWeb user. But after delving deeper into Apple’s announcement, it’s apparent to me that the new version of iWeb has significant changes that should help in the design and publishing of iWeb sites:

  • It appears that there are some new themes. In particular, Fine Line has the appearance of a WordPress blog, while BeBop has a happy, retro 50’s look.
  • The Media Browser has a new added button—Widgets. This button makes it simple to add a number of widgets, including a new countdown timer, RSS feeds, and YouTube videos. There are even widgets that can embed iSight photos or videos into an iWeb site.
  • The biggest change appears to be in the area of publishing. Publishing your iWeb site to any server other than MobileMe used to involve publishing the site to a folder, then uploading the entire folder to the server via FTP. Now you just enter your FTP server information into iWeb, and you can publish your site and any changes directly to the FTP server.
  • Apple has also linked the new iWeb with Facebook. Any time you change your iWeb site, your Facebook friends are notified so they can see what’s new.

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