Master Siri with our comprehensive guide!

Discover the hidden capabilities of Siri on all your Apple
devices with Take Control of Siri by Scholle McFarland.

Free update to Take Control of Digital TV 2.1

The current version of this ebook is 2.1, which includes a number of changes, including details about high-def cable and DirectTV channels; updated coverage of products from Elgato, Miglia, and Apple; and more. However, since we have no plans to release further updates to this ebook, we’re no longer charging an update fee; feel free to download the latest version (from December 2007) using the link in the Downloads tab (it claims it’s version 1.3; that’s a little white lie to fool our content management system).

Posted by Adam Engst (Permalink)

Minor Update Info

Relatively little has changed in Apple’s approach to sharing files in Tiger since the last release of the ebook. However, there are changes in some third-party programs I wanted to make readers aware of.

File-Sharing Management Programs

Two of my favorite pieces of software for managing file sharing services under Mac OS X achieved Tiger compatibility. PureFTPd Manager, the graphical interface for the excellent Pure-FTPd FTP server software, reached Tiger compatibility back with version 1.4.4; it’s now at 1.6.3.

And SharePoints went up to date for Tiger in mid-2005; it’s software that lets you bypass Apple’s simplified and missing configuration for AppleShare and Samba file sharing. Version 3.5.2 is Tiger compatible; the developer hasn’t released updates since May 2005.

Both tools are donationware, so please remember to contribute to the developers through links on their sites if you find their software part of your regular routine.

New File Transfer Programs

In 2006, two interesting new options for exchanging files emerged that work across multiple platforms and employ good security. Both options rely on a special set of text that’s sent to a recipient that uses that to “claim” the file. Files are transferred using good, strong security. The week link in both systems is that anyone with the claim check can retrieve a file without any additional authentication.

Civil Netizen works on a peer-to-peer basis, in which the software turns your computer into a kind of FTP server with none of the complexity. The software is free and in beta. The only centralized element is a registry in which information is stored that allows a recipient to pull up the right details to access your computer to retrieve a file.

Pando works more like a repository, in that you upload your file to their servers, and send a recipient a retrieval note that allows them to pull down the file. Pando allows files up to one gigabyte (GB) in size during its beta period; it will remain free, apparently. In March 2007, I wrote a TidBITS article about using Pando for one-to-many downloads.

Better Control for AppleShare-over-IP with Old Systems

If you’re still running versions of System 7, or Mac OS 8 or 9, and want to add or get better control over AppleShare-over-IP, purchase and install Open Door Software’s Shareway IP. This software used to cost $79, but the company reduced the price to $39 after Tiger shipped, and just $29 for educational users.

Posted by Tonya Engst (Permalink)

Who Knew Fonts Could Be So Funny?

Sharon Zardetto, author of this ebook, recently stumbled on the Font Conference video at the CollegeHumor Web site. By mid-way through watching it, I was laughing so hard I was crying, and I nearly fell out of my chair. If you need a laugh, and you know your way around the basic typefaces, check it out!

Posted by Tonya Engst (Permalink)

Helping Your Apple Laptop Fall to Sleep

The sleep function in newer Apple laptops is meant to protect against data loss in a new way from earlier Apple laptops, but for some folks, this new design means waiting too long for sleep to begin. If you’d like to change the way your laptop sleeps, check out a two-part article, written by Take Control author Joe Kissell in TidBITS about how he solved this problem on his Mac Book Pro. Three caveats: one —read both articles before customizing anything on your laptop, two—this customization is best performed by people who feel comfortable going under the hood of the operating system [and three, check out SmartSleep as noted below].

Article #1: Stewing Over Safe Sleep
Article #2: Safe Sleep Revisited

[August 2009 – Another way to get your Mac to fall asleep faster is with the SmartSleep utility. In fact, in the Snow Leopard edition of this ebook, author Matt Neuburg recommends it!]


p>Pleasant dreams…

Posted by Tonya Engst (Permalink)

How to Change An Account’s Short Name Easily

Changing the short name of a user account under Mac OS X isn’t particularly easy, but Dan Frakes and James Bucanek recently came to the rescue with the user-friendly, donationware ChangeShortName utility that simplifies the process.

Posted by Tonya Engst (Permalink)

How to Change An Account’s Short Name Easily

Changing the short name of a user account under Mac OS X isn’t particularly easy, but Dan Frakes and James Bucanek recently came to the rescue with the user-friendly, donationware ChangeShortName utility that simplifies the process.

Posted by Tonya Engst (Permalink)

3 Ways to Convert Word 2007 for Windows Documents to Mac Word 2004

More conversion options are becoming available, though word has it that none of them are perfect, especially for more complext documents. In addition to Microsoft’s Open XML File Format Converter for Mac (currently at version 0.1b, b for beta), there’s MacLinkPlus Deluxe version 16 and Panergy’s docXConverter.

Posted by Tonya Engst (Permalink)

Daylight Saving Time

In 2007, a number of changes occurred to the timing of Daylight Saving Time, and Apple did issue a special Panther update to handle the change. You can learn more in a TidBITS article written by Andrew Lawrence.

Posted by Tonya Engst (Permalink)

Movies, Games, and New iPods

iPod fans got a look at their digital future this week as Steve Jobs announced new products and services at Apple Expo Paris.

The iPod nano received a facelift and new colors. Many owners of first-generation nanos had complained about scratches on the plastic case. Apple’s response was to give the nano a new brushed aluminum housing in five colors (natural aluminum, blue, black, pink, and green). The new nano also boasts improved battery life, a brighter display, and capacity up to 8 GB.

The iPod shuffle has changed dramatically. What formerly looked like a Flash Drive is now a postage-stamp-sized clip-on device with 1 GB of storage. No longer do you plug the shuffle directly into your USB port - there’s now a diminutive dock for charging and syncing.


p>Owners of fifth-generation iPods with video can rejoice! Not only has Apple announced the availability of full-length movies from the Disney/Pixar library, but also a firmware update provides new capabilities. A new search function makes it easy to find tunes in your library of up to 25,000 songs. For the first time, classic games such as Bejeweled, Zuma, Texas Hold ‘em, and Tetris are available for the iPod. The games can be downloaded for $4.99 each and represent the first time that third-party software has appeared on the iPod. Capacities have also climbed, with the entry-level iPod at 30GB, and the top-of-the-line iPod reaching the 80 GB mark.




p>The iTunes Music Store is a thing of the past - it’s now the iTunes Store. The name change reflects the growing influence of other media - such as games, TV shows, and movies - on the iPod world.



Go Running With Your iPod

June 16, 2006 – The Nike + iPod Sport Kit ($29) is now shipping, providing yet another use for the iPod “beyond the music.” When you slip the wireless sensor into a pair of Nike+ running shoes and attach the wireless receiver to your iPod nano, you can track your time spent walking or running, distance, pace, and calories burned. The iPod nano can even provide spoken feedback to alert you to milestones during your workout.

The wireless sensor uses a tiny accelerometer to capture your progress, then transmits the information to your iPod nano. Once you’re done with your run, perform a sync to transfer workout data to iTunes and At, your peformance history is captured, and you can set goals for your future runs. One fun feature lets you challenge other runners to virtual races.

For more information on the Nike + iPod Sport Kit, visit the Apple - Nike + iPod - Gear page.

Microsoft Improves Entourage and iPod Syncing

March 21, 2006 – Microsoft’s Office 2004 for Mac 11.2.3 update adds new features to Entourage that allow it to sync contact and calendar information to any software or device that uses Apple’s iSync technology, including the iPod. While I haven’t tested the update with my iPod, this built-in syncing option may be a good and less expensive way to sync your data rather than using one of the third-party utilities I discuss in the ebook. To access the update, choose Help > Check for Updates in any Office program or launch Microsoft Auto-Update from your Applications folder.

The iPod Hi-Fi Ships

March 3, 2006 – Are you looking for a way to get amazing stereo sound out of your iPod? Apple’s iPod Hi-Fi ($349) may be just the thing. Any iPod with a dock adapter can blast sound out of the Hi-Fi and get charged at the same time. This works well with the built-in alarm function to make a very iPod loud alarm clock. Check it out on the Apple Web site:

Apple Ships New Nano; Drops Shuffle Price

February 7, 2006 – Apple is now shipping a 1 GB iPod nano for $149. The new nano is equipped with all the features of the 2 GB ($199) and 4 GB ($249) models. With the price of the 512 MB ($69) and 1GB ($99) iPod shuffle dropping, it appears that Apple might be moving to retire the shuffle, which is the only iPod without a screen.

XtremeMac Announces High Quality Audio Recording for iPod

January 10, 2006 – You will finally be able to use your iPod with video as a high-quality audio recorder when XtremeMac’s MicroMemo arrives later this spring. This $79.95 device will use the iPod’s batteries for power and feature a removable flexible microphone. Visit XremeMac’s website for more details.

Steve Jobs Announces iPod Enhancements

January 10, 2006 – At Macworld Expo in San Francisco, Steve Jobs announced hardware and software products that enhance the iPod:

  • Apple’s new $49 Radio Remote: Plugging into the top of the iPod, this device adds an FM radio tuner to your iPod so you can listen to local broadcasts. Although it doesn’t record those broadcasts to your iPod, it does transform the screen into a reasonable facsimile of a digital FM tuner.
  • iMovie HD 6: Software enhancements now make transferring videos to an iPod with video a lot easier. What used to take several programs and multiple steps can now be accomplished simply with iMovie HD 6 (part of iLife ‘06). When you finish creating your video masterpiece in iMovie HD, you “Export to iPod” to save the movie in the proper screen size and format for the iPod’s screen. iMovie HD doesn’t streamline the process of moving DVD content to your iPod…yet.

Posted by Adam Engst (Permalink)