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Joe Unflips Bits with Chuck Joiner on MacVoices

Joe sits down with Chuck Joiner of MacVoices to explain some of the common misconceptions that people have about technology, why this Take Control book doesn’t have “Take Control” in the title, and how the book came to be written. The discussion includes visual aids, reveals the astonishing fact that there isn’t a hamster in your Mac, demonstrates what you can do with two thumbs, and treats us to Joe’s performance of a famous line from “Hamlet.”

Posted by Michael E. Cohen (Permalink)

Changes to Plex Authentication on Apple TV

When we published “Take Control of Apple TV, Second Edition,” the Plex app still required you to enter your username and password to sign in to your Plex account. Thankfully, Plex has now been updated to use browser authentication instead, so you don’t have to type or dictate your credentials with the Siri Remote. When prompted, visit http://plex.tv/link and enter the code on your TV screen.

Posted by Josh Centers (Permalink)

Using Apple Pencil with Keynote for iOS

In case you were wondering, the Apple Pencil, which is compatible with the iPad Pro (both 9.7-inch and 12.9-inch models), works with Keynote on iOS. When you construct slides, however, the Pencil merely works much as your finger would if your finger had a precise point — because Keynote offers no freeform drawing option, you can’t sketch items on slides. Nonetheless you can use the Pencil, as you would your finger, to manipulate objects.

Where the Pencil does comes in handy is when you use your iPad to present slides: with the Pencil you can use the markup tools to draw on a slide that is being presented. To reveal and choose the markup tools when you give a Keynote presentation from your iPad, press and hold briefly on the current slide.

Posted by Michael E. Cohen (Permalink)

Charles Talks OS X Server 5 with Chuck Joiner

Yes, Server 5 is alive, and so is Charles’ book about it, which means it is time for Charles to explain to Chuck Joiner of MacVoices what has changed, what hasn’t, and the pros and cons of running your own server. This far-ranging conversation has much to offer your inner sysop.

Posted by Michael E. Cohen (Permalink)

Now Playing on MacVoices: The Josh and Chuck Show, Season 2

Apple has new gear for the biggest screen in your home, and that means a new edition of Josh’s Apple TV book and a MacVoices interview. So pop some popcorn, put your feet up, and tune in to watch Josh and Chuck Joiner chat about all the new features found in the fourth-generation Apple TV, including apps and Siri. And, if you have an Apple TV you can watch the interview right on that system (the “Master AirPlay” chapter in the book tells you how)!

Posted by Michael E. Cohen (Permalink)

Joe Passes the Word about Passwords on MacVoices

Joe and Chuck Joiner of MacVoices sit down for a wide-ranging chat about the new edition of this book and the state of passwords in this age of multi-factor authentication, password entropy, and password managers. They discuss all the myriad ways you can improve your personal online security without having to create and memorize a new password like R>preVckEf7*fh% every few weeks.

Posted by Michael E. Cohen (Permalink)

About Night Shift in iOS 9.3

In iOS 9.3, Apple has added a new feature, called Night Shift, which reduces the amount of blue light emitted by your device’s screen. Many studies have indicated that exposure to blue light tricks your brain into thinking that it’s daytime, possibly both causing a variety of health problems and making it harder to fall asleep—see this Harvard Health Letter for more.

A new button in Control Center lets you manually enable Night Shift, but if you visit Settings > Display & Brightness > Night Shift, you can automate when Night Shift turns on and off, and adjust the intensity of the effect. You can enter a set time, or, if you have Location Services enabled, you can set Night Shift to turn on at sunset and back off again at sunrise.

For more coverage, see the TidBITS article iOS 9.3 Works the Night Shift, Protects Notes, and More.

Note that Night Shift isn’t available on all devices that can run iOS 9.3. It requires an iPhone 5s or better, an iPad Pro, iPad Air or later, an iPad mini 2 or later, or a sixth-generation iPod touch.

Posted by Michael E. Cohen (Permalink)

iOS 9.3 Adds Mid-cycle Features to iOS 9

Apple has added several features to its mid-cycle iOS update in iOS 9.3. The update adds Wi-Fi calling for Verizon Wireless customers, a new Night Shift mode to prevent your screen from keeping you up at night, Touch ID and password protection for notes, PDF syncing in iBooks, and more. you can read all about it in the TidBITS article iOS 9.3 Works the Night Shift, Protects Notes, and More.

Most users will want to install iOS 9.3 right away, because it also addresses a critical iMessage vulnerability that could let bad actors steal images sent over iMessage. Note, however, that a few users of older iOS devices, such as the iPad 2, have reported problems with installing the update, so if your device is long in the tooth, you may want to wait a week or so until Apple has a chance to investigate and resolve the issue.

Posted by Michael E. Cohen (Permalink)

You May Need to Re-download Your OS X Installer

One of the recommendations I make in my Take Control of Upgrading to… books could potentially cause a headache unless you know how to avoid it. I tell you to save a copy of the OS X installer that you’ve downloaded so that, if the occasion should ever arise when you need to reinstall it or put it on another Mac, you don’t have to download it again. Saving the installer requires deliberate action, because if you leave it in /Applications and run it from there, OS X deletes the installer app once your new version of OS X is in place. (Some people go a step further and create a bootable volume, such as a USB flash drive, containing the installer, which makes it easier to install on multiple Macs.)

Unfortunately, if you followed my advice and kept a copy of your installer prior to February 14, 2016 (whether or not you turned it into a bootable volume), you’ll find that the installer no longer works the next time you try to run it, because the certificate that Apple used to sign the installer (a crucial security step) expired on that day. Josh Centers explains the whole thing in the TidBITS article Previously Downloaded OS X Installers No Longer Work.

If you’ve already saved the installer but don’t need it yet, you can delete it and download a fresh copy (now updated with a new certificate); that way you’ll be ready if and when you need it. If you created a bootable installer volume, you’ll need to erase it and follow the instructions in my book to recreate it.

Should you find yourself suddenly in need to reinstall OS X but not have an updated installer handy, there are ways (mentioned in Josh’s article) to trick OS X into running the old installer, but they’re not ideal, and I recommend planning ahead for best results.

This issue appears to affect every version of OS X from OS X 10.11 El Capitan back to 10.7 Lion, although a few users have reported that their previously downloaded installers continue to work (the reasons for which are unclear).

Posted by Joe Kissell (Permalink)

Joe Drops in to MacVoices

Sure, you can read about what’s new in the second edition of Joe’s Dropbox book right here on this page (click the What’s New link just above), but it’s more fun to hear him explain it all to Chuck Joiner on MacVoices.

Posted by Michael E. Cohen (Permalink)