Archives For Macintosh

Do you find that you’re the “photo guy” or “photo gal” in many group situations because you happen to be the one taking the most pictures? (Spoiler: I do.) In my latest Practical Mac column for The Seattle Times, I go over the ways to share those photos with other people, from iCloud Shared Libraries to uploading to Dropbox or Adobe Creative Cloud.

As a bonus, I also pass along a pointer to Kirk McElhearn’s excellent advice for preventing videos from auto-playing in Web browsers.

Read the Seattle Times column here: 4 ways to share groups of photos on the Mac and iOS.

If you like the work I do, please consider signing up for my low-volume newsletter that I use to announce new projects, items, and giveaways that I think my readers would be interested in.

Tom Negrino

Do you have any friends that live impossible distances away, that you interact with maybe a couple of times a year, and yet when you do get together it’s as if you’d seen them just the other day? I hope you do.

My long-distance friend Tom Negrino is choosing to die this week after a long, cancerous slide past the point where living has any meaning. And I don’t say that lightly or glibly, as if the misfortune of illness is reason enough to chuck it all in. For all the time I’ve known him, he’s walked with a cane, but I learned only a few years ago that it’s because he was born with spina bifida. As his wife Dori Smith said in an article about Tom’s choice, “When he was born, in the 1950s, only one out of 10 people born with spina bifida lived and of those, only one out of 10 ever walked. Tom was in the 1 percent who lived and walked.”

So imagine an entire life of physical pain and difficulty, and then top it with kidney cancer that was removed in 2010 and that reappeared everywhere in 2014. I honestly cannot imagine it.

I got to know Tom as a fellow technology book writer for Peachpit Press and frequent Macworld magazine contributor. We shared the best book editor in the world, Nancy Davis, and lamented when she was promoted out of a position where she was personally editing titles (although she’d sometimes make time to edit our books for a short while).

Most of our time spent together in person was at Macworld Expo, where at parties we’d nestle into a booth at an invariably-too-loud-for-conversation venue, and talk about business, personal stuff, whatever. Occasionally he’d call me out of the blue to talk about rates and contract items and other miscellaneous topics that working writers share. And I still remember a sunny lunch with Tom and Dori in their home town of Healdsburg when he spilled the beans that two other friends in the area, who I knew had known each other for years, had begun dating (hi Toby and Jim!).

The last time I saw Tom and Dori was at the final Macworld conference in 2014. Not having that type of large nexus for like-minded geeks to coalesce has been unfortunate, but I’m sure that if Tom wasn’t ill and we ran into each other today, our conversation would be just like picking up on the previous ones.

Peace and good rest, Tom.

[For other tributes and rememberances of Tom, please take the time to read those by Adam Engst, Andy Ihnatko, John Moltz, and Jason Snell.]

Talking about the new MacBook Pro with Touch Bar on the MacJury podcast last week brought up battery life and how initially the new machines suffered from a problem where the discrete graphics processor (GPU) was running when it shouldn’t. A system update fixed that problem, but sometimes an application might be forcing the GPU into use, even in the background.

For TidBITS this week, I wrote a short article explaining how to determine which applications are using significant energy, and how to tell whether the discrete GPU is in use instead of the power-saving integrated graphics. This advice applies to any Mac laptop with a secondary GPU, not just the Touch Bar models.

Read it here: How to Identify High-Performance GPU Apps on the MacBook Pro

If you like the work I do, please consider signing up for my low-volume newsletter that I use to announce new projects, items, and giveaways that I think my readers would be interested in.

I had great fun talking about the new MacBook Pro with Touch Bar on Chuck Joiner’s MacJury podcast. Together with Jeff Gamet and Dr. Robert Carter, we discussed which aspects we liked about Apple’s latest laptop—more than I expected—and which things still warrant attention. One thing I learned was how great the Touch Bar can be for people with limited vision who use VoiceOver. Be sure to tune in at 36:30 to learn how Robert takes advantage of it!

MacVoices #17077: The MacJury Goes In Depth on the MacBook Pro with Touch Bar

If you like the work I do, please consider signing up for my low-volume newsletter that I use to announce new projects, items, and giveaways that I think my readers would be interested in.

10 Years of Lightroom

February 19, 2017 — Leave a comment

Lightroom 10 years

Ten years, man! Ten! Years!

Thanks to Victoria “The Lightroom Queen” Brampton’s newsletter, I learned that my photo organizer and editor of choice turned 10 this weekend. Unlike Victoria, I joined the Lightroom party late after starting off with Aperture, but it’s been the heart of my photo library for probably eight of those ten years. In a new blog post, Victoria runs down the history of Lightroom from the beginning, from the early betas to the latest mobile incarnations. It’s a good read if you’ve been using Lightroom for a while.

Speaking of Lightroom, the application features heavily into my own book, Take Control of Your Digital Photos on a Mac. I’m almost done updating the manuscript for a new revision. Look for that soon!

If you like the work I do, please consider signing up for my low-volume newsletter that I use to announce new projects, items, and giveaways that I think my readers would be interested in.

Mbp touchbar

When I was working on ideas for my latest Practical Mac column for The Seattle Times, I wanted to talk about my new MacBook Pro, but felt as if I’d already beat the subject into the ground. Turns out I hadn’t actually written about it since I received mine. (Maybe the readers are tired of it anyway.) So this week, I share some observations about actually using the new Touch Bar-equipped MacBook Pro on a daily basis. I also reflect on a couple of utilities—TextExpander and SoundSource—that have served me well running older versions, but which I’ve finally updated for good reasons.

Of particular note with the MacBook Pro, I’ve seen vastly improved battery life since updating to macOS Sierra 10.12.3, which fixed a bug that wasn’t allowing the graphics processors to switch the way they were supposed to. (In short: most of the time, the machine uses the Integrated graphics that are part of the main Intel Core i7 processor, which is highly battery efficient. Some apps, like Photoshop, take advantage of the discrete GPU for better and faster graphics processing, which burns through battery power faster. Instead of kicking back to the Integrated graphics when no longer using one of those apps, Sierra would continue to use the GPU.) This change has almost doubled my battery life in some cases.

Read it here: A new MacBook Pro, and dragging old applications into the future

If you like the work I do, please consider signing up for my low-volume newsletter that I use to announce new projects, items, and giveaways that I think my readers would be interested in.

Project phoenix

Twitterrific was the first Mac client for Twitter, and I’ve used it since almost the beginning—10 years ago! When the app developers, The Iconfactory, expanded to iOS, Twitterrific kept up with Twitter’s features on iOS, but not on the Mac. (That’s due to programming resources, but also a lot of dickish moves by Twitter to shut out developers for a while.)

And yet, I still use Twitterrific as my Twitter client on the Mac, even though it lacks a lot of modern Twitter features. I’ve tried others, and none of them stick.

Now, The Iconfactory is Kickstarting a push to revive Twitterrific on macOS with Project Phoenix. If they can raise $75,000, they’ll be able to finish development on a brand-new version of Twitterrific. If they go over that amount, that gives them the ability to add more features.

In general, I’m not a fan of established companies using Kickstarter to fund their products. I get PR emails from one company all the time advertising some new product that’s actually just a funding plea.

But I make exceptions for companies I respect and trust, and The Iconfactory is way up on that list. I’ve kicked a contribution to help this project get made. You can too.

Airpods coffee

When Apple announced AirPods, the wireless earbuds, I thought they looked cool, but they didn’t really catch my attention. I already owned a pair of Bluetooth headphones, and regular earbuds have generally worked just fine in my ears.

And then people started to rave about them. As I mention in this week’s Practical Mac column for The Seattle Times, “… I began to see something unusual for modern Apple, with its deep marketing prowess and industry clout: enthusiastic word-of-mouth.”

After using them for a few weeks, I’m sold. They’re great, even with a few limitations (no volume control except via Siri, no quick pairing with the Apple TV). And AirPods offer the best first-encounter experience of any Apple product in recent memory, hands down.

Read the entire review here: AirPods turn out to be rare product that lives up to the hype.

If you like the work I do, please consider signing up for my low-volume newsletter that I use to announce new projects, items, and giveaways that I think my readers would be interested in.

A quick note: The annual WinterFest sale is on, with discounts on lots of great software and Take Control books—including mine! Nisus Writer Pro, Scrivener, TextExpander, PDFpen… all 25% off (or better) for a short time. Go get them here: WinterFest 2016.

In my latest Practical Mac column in the Seattle Times, I outline (in a more concise version than what I posted previously) why the perceived MacBook Pro limitations—RAM, price, etc.—didn’t stop me from ordering one to replace my aging 2010 MacBook Pro. I also offer a solution for stopping iCloud calendar spam and note Apple’s apparent abandonment of its AirPort line of wireless routers.

Read it here: MacBook Pro issues didn’t keep me away.

If you like the work I do, please consider signing up for my low-volume newsletter that I use to announce new projects, items, and giveaways that I think my readers would be interested in.