Monday, November 29, 2010

Modify this.


A modifier key alters, or "modifies" the way other keystrokes or mouse clicks are interpreted by Mac OS X. Modifier keys include: Command, Control, Option, Shift, Caps Lock, and the functio (fn) key (if your keyboard has a fn key), and various combinations of these. For example, pressing Control-Option-Command-Eject shuts down your computer. Leave the Option key out (Control-Command-Eject) to restart. Option-Command-Eject will put your computer to sleep.

Throw stuff away much?
Command-Delete to throw an item away
Shift-Command-Delete empties the trash.
Option-Shift-Command-Delete empties the trash without the annoying, "Are you sure you want to empty your trash?" confirmation dialog.

One of my favorites is the Option key, which sometimes has "alt" also on it. This is one of the keys I use the most often, system wide. If I want to copy a file or folder, I hold the option key down, click and drag the item, let go of the mouse and then let go of the option key. Writing that sentence took way longer than the actual task. Like most modifier keys, the rule of thumb is Modifier key first and last. That means that for example in the task I just described, copying a file or folder, the FIRST thing you do is hold the Option key, use your mouse as described above, and let go of the mouse FIRST before you release the Option key.

A few more:

Option-Command key combination while dragging makes an alias of the item

And who hasn't needed this one?
Option-Command-esc to Force Quit.

One of the blingiest is this one. While clicking and holding an icon in the dock, press your option key and you get more, that's right, options. Quit becomes Force Quit. Hide becomes Hide Others.

Hold Option down while starting iPhoto and iTunes and you can choose or create a new library. The next time you open either application, it will open to the last library you used.
Option-Start on iTunes looks like this:

On iPhoto:

Hold Option while clicking on File(on the Menu Bar) in any program and see what you get. For instance in iTunes, clicking on File then pressing Option, we see the command Display Duplicates change to Display Exact Duplicates. That would help me sort through my 243 Track Ones for sure. And in iPhoto, holding Option while clicking on Photos in the menu bar changes Delete from Album  to Move to Trash (iPhoto Trash is a whole 'nuther blog). I could go on and on. But there are 3 hours of Family Guy playing in the other room, and my pop tart is ready.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Keyboard Shortcuts

First of all, here's the scoop. At our Thanksgiving dinner (which had too many delicious pies if there is such a thing), there was only 1 out of 20 guests who had his iPhone at the table. And what a surprise, it wasn't one of the teenagers, but a seasoned baby boomer. My son even said to me,"Dude..I mean Mom, what's with that?" I told him I guessed his mama ain't put the fear of sacred dinnertime into his head. Oh well, at least my young 'uns were chewing without clicking.

Now for this. I use my mouse for a few things; clicking, dragging, opening files and folders, but once I am in an application, my mouse is really just an expensive paperweight, keeping order over my Costco and Grocery Outlet receipts. Yes, I am a devotee of Keyboard Shortcuts. Although these links have more than you can learn in one viewing, even if you memorize a few (like Command-N for a new Finder window and Command-Shift-N for a new folder), your workflow will go smoother and your wrist will thank you.

Check this out, this is Apple's list of Mac OSX:

And this is one by nice guy Dan Rodney:

And of course, each program has it's own. Veteran users of Photoshop, Aperture, FInale and Sibelius use the mouse less and less.

You can also add your own in each program as well is in the OS through the keyboard pane of System Preferences. The possibilities are endless! Of course, so are the possibilities for conflicts between applications. So sometimes, you have to head over to that keyboard pane and reset the shortcuts to the default. But it is SO worth the trouble.

And I have not even talked about the Keyboard Viewer and Character Viewer. All in time, for sure.

Next time, the magic of the Option key, my fave!

Here's a bit of bling (ALT is the same as the Option Key):

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Dinner Survey

Admitted. If it has lights, buzzes, rings, I want it. BUT. A few places I keep my toys in their holsters are movies, the car, and the dinner table. So my question is this. How many people at Thanksgiving dinner will be texting, twittering, chatting or emailing?

Have a good one, and let me know. No judgement that I will admit, because I'm just saying.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Facebook, Big Brother?

I have accepted the fact that my 19 year old son won't friend me on Facebook. Why should he? He, like alot of college kids, uses FB to communicate with his pals, show off his guitar chops, sass at the establishment, etc. But, it doesn't matter, I can see a lot of what he's what he's doing. Why? Well, he hasn't customized his privacy settings, and especially since I am a "friend of a friend" (his sister, my daughter), I can get pretty good intel on him, especially through the photos that he has posted.
So here's the deal. If you just accept the default settings in facebook, pretty much anyone can find out enough about you to either do some damage (if they are so inclined), or just get an idea of what you look like in some of your "cutest" (read most embarrassing) poses. Some of these settings hide in places that most of us don't look. Go to Account (top right) and choose Privacy Settings and you will see this page.

The top one, Connecting on Facebook, is where you control who can search for you, see your friend list, see your education and work, etc. The Applications and Websites is often overlooked, but very important. This is where you should customize what information is available to websites and applications that your friends use. What?!! you say. My FRIENDS applications can see information about me? Aha, now you're getting the picture. And this is where the often overlooked "public search" option is hidden. This means that anyone searching through Google, Yahoo, etc. can see your rants and raves, if you have not protected them through these settings.
The one in the middle, Customize Settings, is VERY important, as you go here to control who can see your contact info, your photos, and to enable or disable" Places I Check Into", and "People Here Now", a thing I like to call "Identity thieves one stop shopping":

I could go on and on (I guess I already have), but the bottom line is this. You should get into your account settings and privacy settings and click EVERYTHING. 

Let's look at this possible scary scenario.
Some bad guy (or girl) decides he REALLY wants to be you, walk like you, talk like you, but most of all SHOP like you. He can go to Facebook, get a photo from your gallery (especially if you have portrait style ones) to make an ID card, find your mother's maiden name (if you have posted family info and made it accessible to everyone, or even friends of friends), your hometown, high school, place you work, any events you will attend,and if "Places I Check Into" is enabled, where you are at that very moment. The potential for damage is limitless.
Now, I use and enjoy Facebook, but I think of it this way:

Facebook is like a friend or business partner that is a lot of fun, takes me to cool places, but I would not leave alone with my sister. (Although my actual sister could handle him).

Facebook and Privacy

This has been bugging me, so I will post on this today a bit. AFTER my coffee.
Do you have your privacy settings where they should be on Facebook?
We'll see. Now for my Java.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Kindle or iPad for reading books?

KINDLE or iPad?
OMG, I am amazed at how many people ask me this question.
That's like me saying, "Shall I have coffee or breakfast?" Or, should I get the brown Fryes or the black ones? Those who have peered into my shoe closet know the answer to that.
The kindle is light, easy to read, and provides very few distractions to the words on the "page". Yes, you can fiddle with it, change the text size, listen through earphones if the book you are reading has text-to-speech enabled, search and buy stuff from the kindle store, etc., but it's really a small, light way to carry around an infinite number of words. Since it's not back lit like the iPad, it is easy on the eyes. But in real life, I read my kindle books on the iPad most of the time, and sold my kindle since my techno-bling purse just couldn't carry it all. But if I get up to stretch, or the book is too intense, I play a game of Scrabble, or look to see what those pesky Republicans are up to on the NY Times app. I check my email, maybe even log into my computer in the other room to get a file. No wonder it takes my 10 times longer to finish a book than if I had the actual book in hand, or my kindle.

So here it is:
Kindle pros: light, easy on the eyes, seamless download, enough customization to personalize, no distractions. Wifi version, $139
Kindle cons: Another machine, no distractions.

iPad for reading books pros: All in one, no need to carry around 2 machines, the ability to use other book reading programs also, can listen to music while reading, and so much more
iPad for reading books cons: Heavy! Many  distractions, expensive if all you want to do is read. Screen is hard on the eyes for some, text can look frayed.

BTW, this is not a discussion about how we are overtaken by technology and should use our public library and how the feel of a page between your fingers is part of the reading experience.
I mean, d-uh.

The Macmama

Does Your Computer Tech Speak Klingon?
 “I feel like I have been hit on the head with a blunt object!” This was what a client said to me after a visit from a home support computer company who “fixed” her laptop. After he was done “cleaning up”, she couldn’t find her files or access her email and he spoke in such techno-jargon, that she said, “I felt like a complete idiot!”
Many folks get a computer with great hopes of saving time and organizing their businesses, schedules and finances, and then get distressed when things start to go wrong. The printer doesn’t work, email gets stuck, they can’t hook up their digital camera. No one told them about these complications at the Apple store! Or their adult kids buy them a Mac, and then get impatient with their endless questions about operating the new arrival in the house. Often times when I arrive at a client’s home, they tell me that they are ready to throw their “time saver” out the window.
For me, this is my perfect client. I’m a middle-aged, menopausal, straight talking woman with years of experience and people skills . I’m also a professional musician ( I have been a teacher for 30 years and am a patient and thorough professional, a mixture of a software and system technician and a hand holder. I also specialize in teaching computer skills to children as well as seniors. If I can teach my 82 year old Hungarian mother how to enjoy her laptop, I can teach anyone. I just moved here from the east coast, and I look forward to serving the Bay Area. But just remember, I support Macs only, that's right, I don’t do Windows.