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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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).
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.
A Useful Hack for Throttling iCloud Photo Library Uploads
Over at TidBITS, we’ve written an article that offers a potential solution to the problem of Photos overwhelming your Internet connection with uploads to iCloud Photo Library. It’s not for everyone, but it might help you. See How to Throttle iCloud Photo Library Uploads.
Joe and Chuck Take a Bash at Using the Command Line on MacVoices
Chuck Joiner and Joe Kissell sit down to discuss Joe’s latest edition of his guide to the Mac command line on MacVoices. Together they ls the changes Joe made to the book to bring it current with Terminal in Yosemite, and man up to the challenge of explaining this essential but technical tool to typical Mac users. (By the way, if you don’t know what bash or ls or man mean, you need to read the book!)