Archives For Tips

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

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Low light iphone 7

Following up my appearance in Adobe Create with tips for holiday low-light shooting, I’m happy to share… another tip for low-light shooting! In a total coincidence, Jackie Dove contacted me the other day wondering if I had any advice for shooting with the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus. You can read my tip in this article for Tom’s Guide: 6 Pro Tips for Taking Better Pictures With Your iPhone 7 Plus.

I opted to buy the iPhone 7 instead of the Plus, even though the Plus has a cool dual-camera system and Portrait Mode, because I find its size to be just too much for everyday use. But I’m loving my 7 so far.

Ellie holiday downtown

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.

Watch fitting

I’ve now had my Apple Watch for two months (here’s my review for the Seattle Times), and in that time I’ve gotten to know it very well while updating my Apple Watch: A Take Control Crash Course book (which is available now!). But don’t worry, this isn’t another “here’s my take on the Apple Watch after eight weeks” type of article.

Instead, my latest column for the Seattle Times is all “Practical Apple Watch” instead of “Practical Mac.” I share some of the useful tips and techniques I’ve run across with the watch so far, such as unlocking the watch without using the onscreen passcode, getting notified when emails from VIPs arrive, and, believe it or not, receiving phone calls on the watch.

Read the article here: Essential tips, tricks for living with an Apple Watch.

And since I mentioned my book, I want to point out that through the end of June, as part of a larger bundle deal called SummerFest 2015, you can get the Apple Watch Crash Course and all other Take Control books at a 25% discount when you use the code SUMMERFEST2015.

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.

Seattletimeslogo inside pulitzerIn my latest Practical Mac column for The Seattle Times, I enjoy that particular technological rush of using new software, digging into new and noteworthy features of iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite (and also pointing out a few areas where the future needs to be held at bay for now, like OS X translucency).

Read it here: Upgrades that bring the future into focus

Ipad call from iphone ios8

One new feature in iOS 8 is the ability to answer incoming phone calls on your iPad if it’s in range of your iPhone and both devices are on the same Wi-Fi network. When OS X Yosemite ships, most likely later this month, you’ll be able to answer calls on your Mac, too. It’s great if you keep your phone in a bag or purse, or if you want to see who’s calling before reaching for the phone.

In the last day, though, I’ve had two frustrated people ask me how to make the iPad stop ringing when a call comes in. It is a feature you can turn off, but the setting isn’t obvious. Here’s how to do it:

  1. On the iPad (or other iOS device) running iOS 8, go to the Settings app.
  2. Scroll down to the FaceTime settings and turn of iPhone Cellular Calls.

Facetime settings ios8

Now, when a call comes in, you can ignore one device instead of two or more.

Flying home after the holidays? Grab your camera from your bag under the seat and point it outside. Scientist and photographer Bryan Jones offers 11 great tips for capturing good photos while on airplanes.

Winging my way home. MKE to MSP.

(Photo by Bryan Jones. Some rights reserved.)

Shortly after I published this, Sam Grover chimed in on Twitter with two other good resources at The Online Photographer: Photographing from Commercial Airplanes and Black-and-White Aerial Photography.

Mail and gmail[Update, November 7, 2013: Apple has released an update for Mail that sounds like it fixes a lot of problems. Open the App Store and click the Updates button to get it.]

In the last 24 hours I’ve heard from several friends complaining about problems with the Mail application under OS X Mavericks not playing well with Gmail. Joe Kissell wrote an extensive article about the problems at TidBITS (Mail in Mavericks Changes the Gmail Equation) and also detailed at Macworld why he’s dropping Gmail entirely (Why (and how) I’m saying goodbye to Gmail). If you’re having issues, those are required reading right now.

The problem is that Gmail isn’t a standard IMAP client; IMAP is the protocol that enables your computer or other device to synchronize messages (and whether they’re read or unread) with the mail server. It’s surprising that Apple either didn’t pick up on these issues while Mavericks was in testing or chose not to do anything about it (yet?).

I didn’t get hit by this problem because I have an unusual email arrangement. A few years ago after an email provider of mine went offline for several days, I set my email up like this:

  1. Email to (my domain) first goes to Gmail as a catch-all archive and backup. It also provides a first line of spam filtering. Gmail is free.
  2. Gmail automatically forwards everything that isn’t spam to my account at Fastmail is a paid service, but I’m paying only about $40 per year, so it’s no great hardship. I also get another layer of spam filtering. (I get a lot of spam.)
  3. The Mail application on my Mac connects to Fastmail on a regular basis and updates its status: new messages, which ones are read or not, etc. My iPhone and iPad also connect to Fastmail, so no matter where I am I’m seeing the most up-to-date version of my messages.
  4. I also have Mail set up with rules that perform certain actions, like automatically filing some messages and highlighting messages from important people (like my editors). I also use SpamSieve as an additional layer of spam filtering.

I have to occasionally scan my spam mailboxes to make sure something important didn’t get caught in the net, but for the most part this arrangement works well. Since Gmail has a giant amount of storage available, I treat it as a big backup for searching for messages that didn’t get through.

I can’t say that this arrangement is helpful for everyone, but it’s worked well for me.

New Article: Making the most of multiple screens

My latest Macworld Create column looks at a relatively simple feature: adding a timestamp to your footage. It’s much better than the old days when cameras would burn the date and time directly onto your footage (and the typography is much better now). I also reveal how to fix footage that has the wrong date and time information embedded. See: How to time-stamp your video in iMovie.

15 Secrets of iMovie ’11

November 4, 2010 — 4 Comments

There’s a lot more going on with iMovie ’11 than movie trailers and audio editing. In this TidBITS article, I reveal several tips, trivia, and otherwise unknown aspects of Apple’s video editor: ”15 Secrets of iMovie ’11“.

Here are a couple of items to tease you:

Made with Morse — Speaking of trailers, you can choose which studio logo appears at the front. In the Signals Across the Globe trailer, the music that plays in the background is actually Morse code for “Made with iMovie.”

Change All Title or Transition Styles — If you decide to change the style of an existing title, you can drop a new style onto the section of the clip the title occupies (the video clip turns bright blue to indicate you’re affecting the title). Now, when you replace a title style, iMovie asks if you’d like to replace just the one title or all titles in the project. The same option applies to replacing transitions, too.