I've just moved from a country where I had unlimited (really) data on my iPhone contract to one where data plans are metered and expensive. So this recent article by David Chartier, on the Finer Things in Tech web site, comes at the right time. It points out the simple setting in iOS to turn off automatic loading of images in Mail. As with Mail on OS X, you can load images later, but you won't need to load them for every message, saving download time and bandwidth.
To change this setting, go to Settings > Mail, Contacts & Calendars, and toggle Load Remote Images to OFF. If you get an email with images, and want to see them, just tap on Load All Images in the message.
This setting would make more sense if it only affected image downloads when using cellular data. But it's an all-or-nothing choice, so even when you connect via Wi-Fi, you'll need to download images manually, if you use this setting.
Some users have issues displaying PDFs in their web browsers. In some cases, when clicking on a link to a PDF, they get a blank black or white page. These issues can be caused by certain PDF browser plug-ins.
Michael Cohen has written an article for TidBITS discussing this issue, and explaining which plug-ins to remove.
I haven't seen this issue myself, but for those having problems, this is a simple fix. It's worth noting that, over time, you may have browser plug-ins that you don't need, so it's worth having a look in ~/Library/Internet Plug-Ins and /Library/Internet Plug-Ins to see what's there.
Google has added Google Now to its Google Search app for iOS. This provides local traffic information, weather data and more. Unfortunately, this also keeps GPS on permanently on an iOS device, depleting its battery.
After installing the new Google Search app, I had noticed that my iPhone's Location Services icon was on permanently. I quit all apps that could be using GPS or location services, but it was still visible. I restarted the phone, and it was still visible. It turns out that it was Google Now, and I resolved the issue by deleting the Google Search app.
You can also just turn off Google Now, in the Google Search app's settings. (See this screenshot by Dave Hamilton.) If you want to use Google Now, be aware that it will drain your battery, and remember to turn it off when you don't need it.
I assume Google will update the app soon to fix this, but in the meantime, it's a good idea to be aware of this issue.
Update, June 1: As you can see below in the comments, a Google representative claimed that Google Now has no effect on iOS device battery life. Interestingly, this person posted the exact same content on dozens, perhaps hundreds of websites that were claiming this was in issue. The Loop published an article with a screenshot for a recent update, whose notes discuss improving battery life. But The Loop's Jim Dalrymple, in an update to the post, says he might be wrong.
BitTorrent Labs has released BitTorrent Sync, a tool for syncing files across computers, using the BitTorrent peer-to-peer protocol. This app lets you choose a specific folder (or folders) to sync, and have it automatically synced on one or several computers. It runs on OS X, Windows and Linux.
I find this an interesting tool. While I use Dropbox regularly, and depend on it for collaboration, and to sync a number of files between my two Macs, there is a limit in the amount of space available. (With the free version, it's 2 GB; paid subscriptions are available if you want more storage.) But also, Dropbox requires that anything you sync be put in its own folder. You can use symbolic links in a Dropbox folder, but if you want to sync the contents of a specific folder on your Mac to another Mac, this gets a bit complicated.
With BitTorrent Sync, you choose the folders to sync, and store them wherever you want. You could conceivably sync your entire home folder, though I'm not sure I want to try that yet. There are no space limitations, because you're not storing the files in the cloud; they're merely getting moved from one side to the other. And you can sync files in both directions, or only one, using read-only folders.
Dropbox has many advantages. You can access files on an iOS device, and Dropbox stores multiple versions of files. But if you want to simply sync one or more folders across computers, BitTorrent Sync could be the way to go.
If anyone else has tried this out, feel free to post comments on how you've found it.
If you type a lot, you may find that the letters on the keys of your Mac's keyboard will slowly fade away. In my case, not only do they fade away, but one key - the D key, which, since I use a Dvorak layout, is the E key - actually has some of the plastic worn away. And this is on a wireless Apple keyboard that's only about a year old. (Note that since I touch-type, it really doesn't matter whether I see the keys or notÖ)
Topher Kessler, writing at CNet, posted an article with some ways to keep the letters from fading. He suggests possibly using a silicone keyboard cover, but I don't think that would be comfortable. But he also recommends using standard cellophane tape, cut into squares that cover the keys.
You probably wouldn't want to do this to all the keys on your keyboard: the most commonly-used ones are those most in need of protection: E, T, A, I, N, and others. (If you're not an English speaker - or typer - see this Wikipedia article which discusses the most common letters in a number of other languages.)
I wonder if there's not another solution though. While I've not tried it, I would think that clear nail polish might do the trick, and might be better than cellophane tape. The tape is likely to peel up from the corners after a while, but nail polish should stay shiny for a long time. I may try this and see how it works on my already-faded keyboard. Any other suggestions for protecting keys?
Sometimes clicking the "Show or hide panels" (the top-right icon on right pane for Tools or Comments) in Adobe Acrobat Pro XI v.11.0.2 on OS X 10.8.3 does no work. Clicking it does nothing. Here is the fix:
1. Select View > Read Mode.
2. Select View > Full Screen Mode
3. Press the Escape key
[kirkmc adds: I donít have Acrobat Pro, so I canít test this.]
I have an Android phone and wanted to automatically save photos that I take in iPhoto, similar to the Photo Stream feature that iPhones have. Dropbox has a feature that automatically uploads photos that you take into a folder called "Camera Uploads,Ē which is synced across all of my devices, so was a perfect candidate for creating a cross-platform Photo Stream.
First, I needed to import the existing "Camera Uploads" photos into iPhoto, as the folder action only triggers when a new file appears in the folder. Once this has been done, the folder action can be created.
Open Automator and create a new Folder Action. Select the folder "Camera Uploads" (in the Dropbox folder).
Next, drag "Import files into iPhoto" from the list of actions to the main window. Select the album to import into, and choose whether to delete the photos after import or not (I chose not to).
Save and give the folder action a name.
Quit Automator and iPhoto.
To test it, I took a picture with my phone, and allowed Dropbox to upload it. As soon as my MacBook downloaded the file, iPhoto opened, and the new picture was imported. iPhoto then quit automatically.
[kirkmc adds: I donít have an Android phone, and cannot test this, but it seems pretty straightforward.]
If you've ever been irked by the need to download iTunes Store purchases right away, or by seeing them constantly pop up in your Downloads queue until you download them, you'll be happy to know that Apple has changed this. You can now choose to download iTunes Store purchases later, as long as you're in a country which has iTunes in the Cloud. If you choose to download the content - a movie, TV show, or other large download - at a later date, it will simply be added to your Purchased list and you'll be able to download it later. Or not. Because in some cases, you may want to buy something on, say, an iPhone, but watch it on an Apple TV, and never actually download it locally. This will save a lot of time and bandwidth.
You may be familiar with the fact that, when typing on iOS, you can press and hold the . (period) key, or the .com key, to get a popup with a handful of top-level domains, such as .com, .org, .edu, etc. If your iOS device is set up with a country other than the US, you'll have these, plus others, such as .co.uk if you're in the UK, or .de if you're in Germany.
OS X Daily recently pointed out that you can also quickly type other top-level domains by simply adding international keyboards to your iOS device. To do this, go to Settings > General > International > Keyboards, then tap on Add New Keyboard. Tap the keyboard for the country you want to use. When you next go to type text, you can press and hold the . (period) key in, say, Mail, or the .com key in Safari, and access additional top-level domains.
Interestingly, when I did this, I found a surprising change. I added a UK keyboard to be able to type .co.uk easily, since I've just moved to England. I dictate a lot into my iPhone - much quicker than typing - and found that iOS was no longer recognizing "period" as a . but would type out the word. It would, however, type a . when I said "full stop." This shouldn't happen, because my iPhone is set with Voice Control to English (United States). Removing the UK keyboard fixed the dictation issue.
FaceTime uses 100% CPU when in a call, probably because of video encoding. Yet it's possible to reduce CPU usage to 20% when you only need voice, extending battery life when mobile.
To stop FaceTime from encoding video when in a call, make it fullscreen and it will move into its own space. Then switch back to your main desktop space with a four finger swipe to the right (or by simply switching to an app in that space). Although your camera LED stays on, this actually pauses the video, reducing your CPU from 100% to around 20%. You will also find that voice quality improves with less drop-outs and cracks because now your CPU is prioritized on encoding audio.
Update: As mentioned in the comments, it's seems to be sufficient to just have FaceTime in a space and move to a different space, or to minimize the FaceTime window to the Dock.
[kirkmc adds: I don't use FaceTime often, choosing rather to use Messages video chats or Skype, so I can't confirm whether this CPU usage is universal.]