Organize all your photos!

Develop a strategy to manage your photos on a Mac or PC
with Take Control of Your Digital Photos by Jeff Carlson!

Prep for El Capitan with Early-bird Discounts on Take Control Books

Apple plans to release OS X 10.11 El Capitan this fall with under-the-hood improvements aimed at improving performance and zapping bugs, along with changes to the Finder and core Apple apps. Because it’s only a matter of time before your Mac starts nagging you to upgrade to El Capitan, we have the early-bird release of Joe Kissell’s Take Control of Upgrading to El Capitan available now and Scholle McFarland’s El Capitan: A Take Control Crash Course available for pre-order.

You must click a link on this page to load the necessary coupon. These discounts will expire once El Capitan ships.

• El Capitan Bundle: Save 30% on both books — you pay $17.50, list price is $25. Put them right in the cart!

Save 20% on Take Control of Upgrading to El Capitan — you pay $12, list price is $15.

Save 20% on El Capitan: A Take Control Crash Course — you pay $8, list price is $10.

More about Take Control of Upgrading to El Capitan

So you can prepare for the upgrade now, we’ve just published the 74-page Take Control of Upgrading to El Capitan. In this book, the ninth installment in our series of “Upgrading” titles, Mac wizard Joe Kissell helps you with hardware and software compatibility, problem prevention, prepping your drive, and picking the best installation method. Whether you’ll be upgrading from the 10.11 El Capitan public beta or from 10.4 Tiger — or anything in between! — Joe coaches you through making a bootable duplicate of your main drive and gives you pointers for eliminating digital clutter and handling last-minute preparations.

Once Apple releases El Capitan, we’ll publish a version 1.1 update with full installation steps, post-installation advice, troubleshooting help, and more. Look for “Meet Me Back Here on Upgrade Day” in the book to learn how to get the free 1.1 update, or just watch for an email message with direct download links.

More about El Capitan: A Take Control Crash Course

In El Capitan: A Take Control Crash Course, by former Macworld editor Scholle McFarland, you’ll explore changes in the Finder and new features in apps like Safari and Notes, and update your know-how of key Apple technologies, including notifications, iMessage, Handoff, iCloud Drive, AirPlay, AirDrop, and Family Sharing. You’ll also find directions for working with Finder tags and Finder window tabs, plus special topics on user accounts and troubleshooting. As with all our Crash Courses, this book is designed to make it easy to dip in and read quickly, picking just those topics that interest you.

When you pre-order this book, you’ll download a one-page PDF. After Apple makes the official release of El Capitan available, you’ll be able to click a button in the PDF to get the full ebook (in PDF, EPUB, and Mobipocket formats) and start learning about El Capitan. We’ll also send you email with download links.

Posted by Adam Engst (Permalink)

Kirk and Chuck Talk about Audio Hijack

In his second interview with Chuck Joiner of MacVoices this month, Kirk talks about why he finds Audio Hijack 3 a user-interface breakthrough for the venerable audio utility. He also explains the real-world approach he takes in the book. So give a listen — if you have Audio Hijack, you might even want to record it!

Posted by Michael E. Cohen (Permalink)

Replace the Dots with Numbers to See Your Cellular Connection Strength

When your iPhone connects with a cellular network, whether to access the Internet or to make calls, you should know that a weak cellular signal not only may affect data transfer speed or call quality but also requires your device to use more power — and that means your device’s battery drains more quickly. If your device’s five dot signal-strength indicator does not give you enough information about the strength of a signal (“is that 3-dot signal closer to a 2 or a 4?”), you can make your device show you the exact RSSI (Received Signal Strength Indication) measured in decibel-milliwatts. Josh Centers has written up the steps in TidBITS.

Posted by Michael E. Cohen (Permalink)

See Exact Cellular Signal Strength for Hotspot Happiness

If you use your iPhone or iPad to create a Wi-Fi hotspot for your other devices, you should know that a weak cellular signal not only may affect data transfer speed but also requires your your hotspot-supplying device to use more power — and that means your hotspot’s battery drains more quickly. If your device’s five dot signal-strength indicator does not give you enough information about the strength of a signal (“is that 3-dot signal closer to a 2 or a 4?”), you can make your device show you the exact RSSI (Received Signal Strength Indication) measured in decibel-milliwatts. Josh Centers has written up the steps in TidBITS.

Posted by Michael E. Cohen (Permalink)

Google Aims to Simplify Wi-Fi with OnHub Router

Google has entered the Wi-Fi router marketplace with its newly announced OnHub device which purports to make establishing and maintaining a Wi-Fi network simple. If you are wondering whether Google’s device might be a suitable replacement for your router or make a useful addition to your Wi-Fi network, head on over to TidBITS where Glenn has posted his preliminary take on it.

Posted by Michael E. Cohen (Permalink)

MacVoices #15153: Jeff Carlson Talks Apple Watch and His Take Control Crash Course

A few months back, before the Apple Watch was released, version 1.0 of Jeff’s book came out, full of information for prospective watch buyers but, of necessity, short of usage tips and advice. However, now that Apple’s wrist-bling has been available for a couple of months, Jeff has been able to expand and update his book accordingly. Chuck Joiner naturally is curious about what Jeff has added to his book and what he has changed. That’s at the core of this MacVoices conversation, and if you have the time for it (check your watch), you can find out too!

Posted by Michael E. Cohen (Permalink)

TextExpander 5.1 Adds Suggestion Control

TextExpander 5.1 is out (click Preferences > Updates to get the update) and, aside from minor fixes, the update refines the new Suggestions feature. The app now excludes most single dictionary words when it suggests snippets, and it adds a new checkbox in its Preferences > Suggestions settings: Notify Me about Snippet Suggestions. When this box is unchecked, TextExpander will still add suggestions to its Suggested Snippets group but will not post notifications about them. If you don’t mind getting snippet suggestions (and, periodically, culling them as I suggest in the book), but you do dislike seeing notifications about them popping up on your screen, this checkbox is for you.

Posted by Michael E. Cohen (Permalink)

Michael Expands on TextExpander with Chuck Joiner

One of the best parts of finishing a Take Control book (aside from the royalties, of course) is the chance to spend an hour chatting with Chuck Joiner about it on MacVoices. As usual, Chuck and I had a great time discussing not just the book but the TextExpander software and why we like it so darn much.

Posted by Michael E. Cohen (Permalink)

iBooks Author Update Adds EPUB; iOS 8.4 Adds Multi-Touch Book Capability on iPhone

Apple has released version 2.3 of iBooks Author to accompany the releases of iOS 8.4 and OS X 10.3.3. The new version of iOS brings with it a new version of the iBooks app, version 4.3, that can now open and display Multi-Touch books on iPhone.

That’s pretty big news, but the bigger news is that iBooks Author now offers two EPUB templates. Using those, one can create EPUBs in iBooks Author using the File > Export command. Here’s what the iBooks Author Help has to say about EPUBs:

The ePub templates are designed for novels, mysteries, and other books with a lot of text. You can allow readers to scroll through the book or swipe to turn pages. You can include any objects and media on the book cover and the table of contents header, and for the body pages, you can choose from a set of objects specially selected for ePub books—tables, images, and Gallery, Media, and HTML widgets. (If an object is unavailable, the tools and inspector controls for working with it are hidden or dimmed.)

The Help also notes some limitations in EPUBs created by iBooks Author:

While reading a book created with an ePub template, iBooks users can change the font size and screen brightness, but can’t change the font style or read in night mode (light text on a dark page).

Posted by Michael E. Cohen (Permalink)

Sharon and Chuck Run the Numbers on MacVoices

Sharon Zardetto and Chuck Joiner discuss Sharon’s exhaustive, but far-from-exhausting, book about Apple’s Numbers. Don’t think spreadsheets can be fun? Sharon thinks different. Find out why on this episode of MacVoices.

Posted by Michael E. Cohen (Permalink)